Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Candida vs. Gluten-Free: What's the Difference?

A lot of people may wonder what the difference is between cooking for candida and cooking gluten-free. IS there a difference?

Stock photo from stock.xchng
The answer is emphatically YES! Though all candida-safe foods are gluten-free, foods labeled "gluten-free" are not always safe for those with candida - in fact, most of the time they probably are not. Why not? Let's do a little comparison:

• Gluten-Free foods are just that - foods that have no gluten in them. This is all fine and dandy; but someone who is gluten-free can still have dairy, sugar, yeast, and any gluten-free starches (potato starch, corn starch, rice flour, etc.). This is why there are so many gluten-free baking mixes out there - they can still make a relatively "normal" loaf of bread or batch of cookies, by simply substituting out the wheat flour (containing gluten) for one or a mixture of gluten free flours (I am oversimplifying that statement a little - some flours will require some significant ingredient modifications to get it to taste right). Gluten-free also allows for all fruits and veggies, and has no meat restrictions.

• Candida-Safe foods have a lot more limitations. I know. It's annoying. Candida is basically an overgrowth of yeast in the body and so you want to eliminate or avoid foods that will feed that overgrowth.  These include gluten, dairy, sugar, yeast, fungi (like mushrooms - except shitake) and most starches. Later on in your candida diet you may be able to add in some starches like rice flour and potato starch, but it's not a recommended food and you certainly shouldn't eat it if you are just starting out. With candida, fruits and starchy vegetables (such as squash and potatoes) are off limits, though you can treat yourself to some berries once in a while. Where gluten-free doesn't have anything to say about meats, if you have candida you should stay away from pork, as well as shrimp and other "scavenger" fish.

I hope this helps clear up any confusion you had regarding the differences between candida-safe and gluten-free... and I hope you didn't get too depressed by reading everything you can't have. Check out the recipes on this blog - you can still eat good food!

*P.S. I am tired of apologizing for not posting... so... I now apologize for all times when I leave this blog hanging in the future. :-) Which I warn you, and you have probably figured out by now, is more often than not! :-/
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