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Sugar-free, Gluten-free, and Yeast-free? Seriously?

June 25, 2011

There’s going to be some very big changes coming here to Epicurvegan HQ.

In early February this year, I was diagnosed with severe candidiasis by my naturopathic doctor. I’ve had a problem with candida to some degree or another since I was in my early teens. This is likely due to the numerous rounds of antibiotics I was put on as a child. Antibiotics are known to trigger an overgrowth of candida in my body by killing off the various intestinal flora that, in most people, keeps candida albicans from proliferating.

Although I have been experiencing candida-related symptoms for most of my life, it’s only the last two years during which I’ve begun to experience secondary illnesses as a result of candida overgrowth, such as thyroid failure. Acid reflux, which I have also had since I was a teenager, has worsened. And I’ve also experienced severe fatigue, loss of memory, inability to focus, new food sensitivities, and other health concerns that at times leave me feeling almost unable to cope with daily life.

Since February, I have been ignoring my doctor’s advice to switch to a diet that excludes all sugars, yeasts, and grains containing gluten. It seemed like too much of a daunting task for me to take on, and so I’ve continued to eat as I’ve wished. Until now.

I’m not okay with living my life, as young as I am, feeling so unwell all the time. Being healthy again may mean permanently cutting a lot of things out of my diet, but if that’s all it takes to stop feeling decades older than I am then perhaps that’s not so bad of a solution.

The reason why I’m sharing this is because there may be other vegans like me who come across this blog in their search for solutions to their own issues with candida. There might be a lot of vegan blogs on the Internet, and quite a few of them gluten-free or sugar-free. Not too many of them, however, talk about excluding gluten, sugar and yeast.

From now on I’ll be attempting to chronicle, in the best way I can, my experiences as a vegan eating a diet free of sugar, gluten, and yeast. Hopefully along the way I’ll discover delicious recipes to share and maybe even offer some support to those of you find yourselves on the same path as I am.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Betty Lestin permalink
    June 30, 2011 6:22 pm

    I have severe candida and can barely get through my days. I recently adopted three little girls from Haiti and need to get well.
    When I read your article, it was as if I had written most of it.

    I would be most appreciative of any advice you may be able to offer.

    Thank you,

  2. June 30, 2011 8:12 pm

    Hi there!
    I have another challenge for you/us. I’m severely allergic to soy in all forms. So no tofu, no tempeh, no Braggs.

    I’m asking because I’ve adopted a vegan eating plan due to promises to better my health, and so far I feel better, and have managed to stay away from soy too. And all sugar and most glutens (no breads, etc).

    But why are you staying away from steel-cut oats and bananas on your ‘evolved’ vegan plan?

    ok, i’ve asked quite a bit – but i am interested.

    over to you,

  3. July 7, 2011 5:49 am

    Just chanced on your blog and wanted to offer encouragement. I had to cut out wheat, dairy, sugars, salt, yeast and oils for my endometriosis diet and it was hard going, but made a difference. Now I only avoid the wheat and dairy regularly and limit the others as much as possible, because I was more miserable without them than I am eating them occasionally and dealing with the effects.

    If you find yourself falling off the wagon at any time try to minimise the effects by having a less ‘bad’ version of old favourite’s. Chocolate is my weak spot but I learned to eat really dark really bitter choc so that I wouldn’t be tempted to gorge and if I take it with a bit of raw ginger, it has so muck kick you don’t need to eat much to feel you’ve had a flavour explosion. Better than munching down a snickers and regretting it.

    Thankfully in the last 10yrs there are so many alternative products available that actually taste nice so it’s easier to tweak recipes. In 3 to 6 months you’ll have got into the swing of the new foods and it will get a lot easier from there, plus your taste buds get used to less sugar etc. Good luck.

  4. Lucy permalink
    July 8, 2011 12:17 pm

    I can’t believe I’ve just stumbled upon your blog. I am starting a yeast-free, sugar-free, dairy-free plan today to combat systemic candida. Thanks for the inspiration. I hope you keep writing!

  5. July 11, 2011 11:43 am

    Hi Betty:

    Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry to hear that you’re feeling so badly. I can’t imagine how tough it would be feeling that way and also having three little ones to care for.

    Have you been diagnosed by either a medical doctor or naturopathic doctor? And have they suggested a course of treatment for your candida?

    As I’m not a medical doctor, I’m sorry that I can’t give you advice in terms of what you should do about your candida. I can, however, offer a ton of support in the recipes area. If you need some ideas on where to start, feel free to let me know.

  6. July 11, 2011 11:56 am

    Hi Catherine:

    In response to your question, the ACD plan I’m following excludes oats in any form from the first stage of the diet. Although oats are a great source of fiber and a number of nutrients, it is also high in carbohydrates. The first stage of the WholeApproach ACD diet I’m following restricts most carb-heavy foods so as to “starve” the candida in my body. I adore oats, and I don’t plan to exclude them from my diet permanently. For now, though, if I want to get well, I need to avoid a number of carbohydrate- and starch-rich foods. Also, oats can give me severe heartburn, especially raw oats and cereals like muesli. What I have is actually called GERD – gastroesophageal reflux disease – and it may or may not be caused by the candida. Excluding oats from my diet right now also means allowing my digestive system to heal from the GERD.

    Bananas, as you know, can be pretty sweet when they get ripe. Since I prefer bananas at the stage just before they get black spots, they can get very sweet. Sugar is the #1 worst offender on an ACD diet, as the best way to encourage candida is to eat sugar. No matter the source – fruit, refined sugars, “natural” sugars, etc. – sugar in any form is totally off limits on an ACD diet. Eventually, I will be able to introduce more fruits back into my diet than I am eating now. Currently, I allow myself one serving of berries a week, which is not necessarily what many ACD diets allow, but it’s something I’ve decided I’m okay with. The berries I choose are pretty low in sugar.

    Any other questions? 🙂

  7. July 11, 2011 11:58 am

    Thanks for the encouragement, Cally!

  8. July 11, 2011 12:00 pm


    Have you checked out the blog called Diet, Dessert, and Dogs? It’s written by Ricki Hellier, and it’s been such a great support to me. Ricki is also vegan and currently following an ACD diet as well. Definitely make sure to check her blog out – I’ll bet you’ll feel a lot better once you have a look at Ricki’s tasty recipes.

    Good luck with your plan, and let me know how things go for you!

  9. jeanieliz permalink
    January 3, 2012 4:25 pm

    I’M SO HAPPY I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE ! I’m glad to have found you via googling “yeast sugar gluten free diet”. I have systemic candidasis and 1st cut out sugar and yeast, then when this plus Rx did not help, I added gluten-free. I am certainly getting more creative in the kitchen!

    Can anyone recommend some books that cover dietary notes, tips, recipes for living free from all 3 of these – yeast, sugar, gluten ? I’ve been combining resources, a bit discouraged that most recent publications are 10 years old.

  10. Orla Burke permalink
    April 24, 2012 2:32 am

    Hi I just read your blog and Oh my god I’m the same… Just wondering seeing as their is sugar in everything have you cut out all food with sugar in it like food with 0.1g of sugar in it… I have been diagnosed with a intolerance to gluten wheat yeast sugar oats rye so as you can imagine my diet is very particular…

  11. jeanieliz permalink
    April 24, 2012 3:27 am

    Oria Burke – Can you tell me what kind of tests you had to get the diagnosis? Just yesterday had a blood test to determine celiac sprue, but am wondering if I should go to a GI specialist for other tests.

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