Potted dietary background
I've always had trouble with my guts. Starving myself for years and then being fruitarian for years probably didn't help the pre-existing situation either. I really wanted to believe in the Garden of Eden-type, happy bonobo-type myth, that eating fruit and avoiding fat was doing the best thing for myself. And when I quit eating quite so much fruit, I was working bees and eating quite a lot of honey. In fact, it was my perception that eating honey enabled me to digest fat, which led me away from sweet fruit as I tried to build muscle.
When I met Phil and took on his 'exercise tons and eat anything' philosophy, I didn't go much in for the higher-sugar end of things there either (most of it either had gluten, which I'm allergic to, or trans fats, which I have dogma about) : in fact, pretty soon I quit even eating honey and was already eating less fruit. Aside from honey (which is refined by the bees) and a tiny amount in very dark chocolate, I basically haven't eaten 'refined' sugar for close to ten years.
All kinds of sick
But until this past week or so when I felt so much better, I had been feeling progressively worse. Thyroid low but not calamitous. Adrenals low but not calamitous. Very unstable blood sugar. Chronically sluggish elimination, even when eating large amounts of fiber, drinking loads of water and taking 15 grams(!) per day of vitamin C. Exhausted all the time, to such an extent that I could no longer even begin to push myself to come close to Phil's activity level (which no one does anyway, but oh I had been trying).
What I'd been doing that helped me to feel so much better was eating primarily raw foods and very low-sugar foods (apples and carrots were about it), with plenty of algae (chlorella, spirulina). I'd also decaffeinated myself (i.e. stopped drinking tea and eating cacao). And, as Phil pointed out, it was a really good thing that I was feeling better already when I went into the Doctor's office last week to get back the latest test findings.
A Tea-Party in my Guts
As it turned out, there were some definite 'results' and a definite mandate/challenge/project for me to take on there. Fungee among-me: two different yeastie-beastie-species proliferating and misbehaving themselves and generally having a great big tea party in my guts! Almost a cliched 21st century problem, but my diet history is hardly that of the cliched grain-and-refined-sugar-junkie. I even did a very strict almost-zero-carb diet for three months last summer. So, 'why me?' - and that's the subject for a whole other post.
Well, there it is. I'm preferring not to think of it as a 'disease diagnosis' but as an imbalance that needs attention. And now it makes sense that I was feeling better eating as I was, but having little spells of feeling sick or headachy: die-off.
And so, with immediate effect, I have cut out those apples and carrots, and also mushrooms, apple cider vinegar, kombucha and kombucha vinegar, cacao, carob. I'm essentially undertaking to do Phase I of Gabriel Cousens' Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine
I was already eating something pretty close to that, but it's surprising how different it feels without the daily apple and carrot, and without those sour condiments. (I may add those back in at the sooner end of things, apple cider vinegar at least, since some say that it helps control yeast.) I've been spacy again, weak, depressed, irritable, and very hungry at times. But for now, whenever I think of eating something I first ask, 'Is it feeding me or is it feeding the yeast?' and decide on that basis. And surrender and accept that with die-off happening I'm going to feel lousy sometimes.
*Edit a few days later: I found this page with an updated summary of the phase charts in which some fermented food is allowed in Phase 1. Which makes sense to me. And one of the things I appreciate about Cousens is that he keeps checking and testing and doesn't stick with his original statement if he sees reason to change it. But I'll stick with lemon juice for the first two or three weeks and then try using apple cider vinegar and making cultured foods again.
I'm also going to do some colon cleansing. And after a week of that, I am going to take diflucan. These test results were very helpful, in that they also showed which drugs and which herbal remedies the two yeast parties are susceptible or resistant to. The bad news is that they are in complementary distribution with regard to the herbs' efficacy: herbs that one is susceptible to, the other is resistant to. None of the herbs are very effective against either species. But both species are susceptible to diflucan. I've been taking milk thistle for some time already to support my liver (which diflucan can be challenging for), and since this tea party in my guts has worn its welcome so far out, I am going to try the strong stuff.
Powerful Positive Thoughts
The other arm of my efforts to bring about balance that I regard as essential is to do with how I think about it. I am cultivating an optimistic attitude: I can do this, and I am going to feel better! There is light at the end of the tunnel. Just encouraging myself in these feelings is going to be tremendously healing for me: it's so long that I've been at least half-sick and viewing myself as a non-valid person.
And of course, especially when I get hungry and the old anorexia thoughts beckon and beguile and absorb me (as they did far too much when I did three months of no-sugar last summer), I need to beware of falling into black and white thinking again! That may be the most important challenge of all: that this current imbalance mandates a very strict diet, but that my whole health mandates not returning to black and white thinking.