About Candida by Michio Kushi and Alex Jack

Candida albicans, a fungal microbe (yeast) that normally coexists in the linings of the digestive, respiratory, and reproductive organs, can multiply and cause a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, depression, food allergies, and chemical sensitivity. Candida, the popular name for this yeast infection, lowers natural immunity and can lead to chronic gastrointestinal, nervous, and endocrine disorders. It most commonly affects the vagina, the mouth, and the skin. Oral thrush, another yeast infection, appears as painless white patches in the mouth or throat that come off when eating or brushing the teeth. It commonly affects babies, young children, and the elderly.

Normally, fungal organisms are kept in check by bacteria that also live in symbiosis in the gastrointestinal tract and other systems in the body. Yeast outbreaks are primarily the result of consuming foods that create a dark, moist environment in which the fungi can spread. Dietary extremes, including meat, chicken, eggs, and other strong animal foods, as well as sugar and refined sweets, milk and light dairy foods, tropical vegetables, too much fruit and juice, polished grains and flour, create the underlying acidic condition that weaken the blood, lymph, and other body fluids and accelerate the spread of potentially harmful yeast, bacteria, and viruses. Antibiotics are often a contributing factor, either as a result of overmedication or through consumption of beef, chickens, and other animal foods that are produced with antibiotic-laced feed. AIDS patients, in particular, are at high risk for candida because of past or present antibiotic use or lowered natural immunity.

To prevent or relieve candida, all extreme acid-producing foods must be discontinued, especially sugar and simple carbohydrates, vinegar, spices, and stimulants. Avoid all flour products, oil, fruits, and raw salad until the condition improves. Whole grains contain lignans and other phytochemicals that naturally suppress yeast and other anaerobic growth and will help restore beneficial microorganisms in the intestines. Candida patients are generally told by their physicians not to eat bread and other foods containing yeast since fermentation fosters the growth of enzymes, bacteria, and other microorganisms. However, miso, shoyu, natto, and other naturally fermented foods in the standard macrobiotic diet that are made with salt usually can be eaten in small volume. Overall these foods will contribute to alkalinizing the blood and helping reduce the spread of undesirable yeast. In contrast, the fermented foods that underlie the condition are made with vinegar, wine, spices, or mushrooms. However, several macrobiotic seasonings and fermented foods that do not have much salt should be avoided until the condition improves. These include brown rice vinegar, umeboshi vinegar, young miso (white, yellow, or red varieties), tempeh, and amasake. Noodles may be eaten twice a week if well cooked in vegetable soup, but be careful because these are a flour product.

For both candida and oral thrush, eat a centrally balanced diet. Home remedies may be helpful such as sweet vegetable drink and a hip bath and douche. Kinpira soup and ojiya are also especially good for candida and each may be taken several times a week.





Interview with Alex Jack of the Kushi Insitute

by Candida International

Alex Jack is a macrobiotic author, teacher, and dietary counselor. He has served as general manager of the Kushi Institute, director of the One Peaceful World Society, and president of Planetary Health. He is the co-author with Michio Kushi of The Book of Macrobiotics, The Cancer Prevention Diet, and Diet for a Strong Heart. He lives in New England with his wife, Gale, a macrobiotic cooking teacher and counselor, and his family.

Candida International: Macrobiotic therapists and candida therapists have similarities with regards eating whole organic foods and avoiding yeast, sugar and refined processed food. There are some differing views amongst candida therapists themselves when it comes to some types of meat and dairy. What is the macrobiotic view of these two foods?

Alex Jack: Traditionally, meat and diary products have been eaten in cold, northern climates or in specialized environments such as deserts or mountains. They are generally not suitable for people living in temperate climates and environments, especially modern sedentary populations. Regular intake of these foods is the principal cause of heart disease, certain cancers, and many other degenerative diseases. The poor quality of meat, poultry, and dairy today furthers contributes to health problems. Animal food production is also a primary cause of environmental imbalance. It is the main cause of water pollution, rain forest destruction, and other ecological problems.

C.I:What would you recommend to people with candida who cannot eat fermented food such as shoyu, miso and tempeh, as well as rice syrup and fruit, which all contribute greatly to the flavour of mainstream macrobiotic cooking?

A.J: Those with candida who cannot eat fermented food as well as rice syrup and fruit may temporarily avoid these items and gradually incorporate macrobiotic quality foods into their diet as their blood, lymph, and digestive system become more alkalinized.

C.I:How can a person who is 'allergic' to rice and other whole grains overcome this enormous draw back when eating a whole food diet?

A.J: Similarly, some people are allergic to rice, wheat, and other whole grains in the beginning because they are very powerful and trigger a discharge mechanism in which the body begins to eliminate mucus, fat, toxins, and other excess accumulated in the past. In this case, avoid these items temporarily and then gradually introduce them as positive changes are experienced.

C.I:What is the benefit of rice, above other grains?

A.J: Like other cereal grains, rice has long been recognized as the Staff of Life. Traditionally it was eaten in Asia and West Africa and over the last five hundred years has spread around the world. Biologically, rice is the most advanced cereal grain as reflected in its lack of a seam like wheat, barley, and most other grains. This contributes to holistic, unified thinking and behavior. Today rice has emerged as the premier planetary grain for the entire world and in the years ahead will help unify the planet as part of a balanced diet that includes many other regional and local grains.

C.I;Macrobiotic therapists are generally non-judgemental and supportive with their patients who smoke marijuana. However, they tend to discourage it. Could you explain why?

A.J: Marijuana creates strong relaxing effects. Over time, it can lead to loss of focus and concentration, scattered thinking, lowered metabolism, and other dispersing effects. For strong day to day health and vitality, it is not recommended, though it has traditionally played a ceremonial role in some cultures.

C.I:What are your views on genetically engineered food?

A.J: Genetically engineered products are, by definition, seeds, crops, and foods that cannot occur naturally. They represent a break with millions of years of natural evolution on this planet. While there are no comprehensive long-term studies, already a multitude of scientific and medical studies indicate that they are harmful to human health and the environment. The British Medical Association has warned: "Antibiotic resistance, the threat of new allergic reactions, and the unknown hazards of transgenic DNA mean that on health grounds alone the impact of genetically modified organisms must be fully assessed before they are released."

C.I:How do you feel about the growing pressures from the enormously powerful pharmaceuticals industries that are being exerted on governments world-wide to clamp down on and even ban alternative therapist and supplements?

A.J:Like society overall, the pharmaceutical industry is splitting into two directions, one more artificial and the other more natural. On the one hand the pharmaceutical industry has sought to suppress alternative therapies in favor of synthetic medicines and new gene therapies, while on the other it is developing neutraceuticals, botanicals, and other more food- and plant-based medications. The first approach should be resisted, while the second should be supported.

C.I:The basis of macrobiotics is yin and yang. Sometimes this can get a little confusing for some people. Could you explain the basic principles and why in macrobiotics the traditional definitions of yin and yang are somehow reversed?

A.J: Macrobiotics is the art of living in harmony with nature. The concept goes back thousands of years (to ancient Greece) and has its roots in all cultures and civilizations. Modern macrobiotics uses yin and yang as a compass to classify and analyze phenomena. While there are several schools or approaches to yin and yang, the macrobiotic community tends to favor a dynamic approach where these terms (representing the complementary opposite tendencies that make up all things) are understood to be constantly changing, not fixed and static. Hence, any phenomenon can be viewed as yin or yang depending on the context and by the time it is defined it may have transformed into its opposite. Like life itself, the principles of macrobiotics are flexible, adaptable, and take into account the unexpected, unknown, and inexpressible.

C.I: Thankyou Alex!


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