[[UPDATE MARCH 2017]]
BEFORE YOU READ THIS:
1. Read Microbiome Myths and How To Really Help Your Digestion from Laura Thomas PhD, particularly the section called “Candida overgrowth leads to ‘leaky gut’”
2. Read Captain Science vs The Army of Fungus from Angry Chef (includes swearing)
3. Read my blog post on Why Yeast Free Isn't The Answer
I have changed my views a lot about candida and yeast free over the last few months and want you to learn with me! This historical post is here for reference so you can see my journey. But please read the three articles above for more up-to-date opinions.
So here's the thing. When I started this blog my main concern was getting the list 'wrong'. One big worry was the confusion over sugar, which on yeast-free you're meant to avoid. Yeastconnection.com lists "sugar and foods containing sugar" as things you should avoid. But what does that really mean?!
The logical place I thought to turn for information was Sarah Wilson's I Quit Sugar. And wow, there's a raging debate going on over there about what sugar is! Fruit is surely sugar? And even vegetables have traces of fructose in them, so where do you draw the line?
Ultimately I like Sarah's principles, which are the ones I personally have chosen to take on my own journey and for the recipes on this website.
Sarah's website explains it much better and in depth here, but in short:
- Fructose is the element in sugar we want to avoid. Fructose promotes fat storage, is addictive, makes us eat more and is linked to all kinds of nasty illnesses.
- If you're avoiding sugar it's better to have a 'savoury mentality.' Luckily for me (or perhaps because I'm listening to what my body is telling me?) I am very much a savoury over sweet kind of person. Snacking on nuts rather than sweet treats is a simple swap for example.
- Fresh fruit is okay, just not loads of it, 2-3 portions a day maximum. Low-fructose fruits are kiwi, pear, lemons, limes, blueberries, raspberries and coconut. High-fructose fruits to be avoided are melon, grapes, banana and mango (more on fruit here).
- Dried fruit and fruit juice are not ideal components of your diet if you're going yeast free. They're basically concentrated sugar!
So with these things in mind, my recipes will all be refined sugar free and contain no dried fruit.
The other thing is, it's all about what works for you! Fruit does of course contain loads of really important vitamins and minerals your body needs: It's not the same as a bag of pick-and-mix (does the concept of pick-and-mix still exist? Or do I just sound really old?!).
Also I am lucky that I am not allergic to yeast or sugar / fructose, so I am able to mix things up a bit more. I also allow myself the odd 'normal' dessert now and then, usually when I'm with friends and family; my sister over on Ella Rose Cakes is a mean baker, so I have to have a little try once in a while. But when I'm cooking for myself or reaching for a snack, I'm trying to stick to these guidelines.
I'd love to know what your experience has been going through the mine-field of information about sugar-free online. What are you including and what are you leaving out?