Learning to Eat Like You Have a Fungal Infection to Improve Your Health
by Erin Porter
It can almost feel unfair. First, you get hit with toxic mold which can bring on bizarre and oftentimes scary symptoms. Then you come to learn that part of your healing must include a new, healthier diet, one which is often foreign to most Americans. I am referring to a diet stripped of all the things many of us love to eat–sugar, wheat, and processed foods that often include artificial colors, dyes, and preservatives. Let’s not leave out foods that are high in simple carbohydrates and fats too. We love to eat all of those things that taste so good, and why wouldn’t we? Those are the foods that make us feel good and comfort us too, or do they?
The Link Between a Poor Diet and Chronic Illness
For those of you that don’t know my story, I found myself in this very position–wanting desperately to heal my body, but being scared to give up all of the foods I thought I loved so much. I was at a crossroads with my health and needed to make a decision: I could continue to suffer the pain of more sinus surgeries, more infections, endless antibiotics, doctor’s visits, and prescription drugs while continuing to add to my never-ending list of ailments, or I could do what needed to be done and make a radical change to my horrendous diet.
The decision to change my eating habits didn’t come fast or easy, though. I had stopped at that same fork in the road before and knowingly continued down the wrong path. The difference this time was that I looked at my life and realized that I had already lost too many years to illness. This time, I had had enough and wanted to commit to a wiser decision; a decision that would trade temporary pleasure for a way of eating that would lead to a longer life. I wanted to see my child graduate high school, meet my grandchildren one day, and choose a life I could be proud of. I wanted to honor my body and help it heal, instead of work against it. At this point, I had already spent twenty-five years ill and decided to choose health over my addiction to food. Adopting a different, healthier mindset about food and establishing better eating habits took time and patience, even tears at times as it was like ripping away a blanket from a child, but I did it and am here to tell you that it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
If you are reading this and thinking, “I don’t have to change my diet, because I have never been exposed to toxic mold, nor do I suffer from mold illness,” please, keep reading. What we are eating to fuel and maintain our bodies is more important now than ever. In fact, we are finding that the standard American diet (the SAD diet) has only one path, and that is a path to illness and disease. Think of all of the too-common illnesses today: diabetes, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, candida. Almost all disease states have links to poor diet and all show promise of recovery with dietary changes. I feel that we would all benefit by going back to basics and eating what we were intended to eat. And while we cannot expect to defy the laws of nature and stay healthy or heal from disease with food alone, doing the hard work to overhaul your diet is one of the most worthwhile and gratifying things you can do for your health.
What Kind of Diet Should I Choose?
With all of the “diets” out there today, it can be daunting to choose the one that is right for you and the one that will move the needle for your health. I spent a long time in a state of confusion about which diet I could actually follow. There were many foods I just could not eat because I had leaky gut and was allergic to many foods. Thankfully, the confusion lifted one day while I was watching the television program “Know The Cause”. I was at home dreading the fact that I was about to have a fifth sinus surgery when the host Doug Kaufmann began talking about chronic sinus infections. In his talk, Doug pressed the importance of an “antifungal” diet in order to get well. I had just been diagnosed with a sinus fungal infection on top of the decades of bacterial infections so I felt that finding his program was not a coincidence. With nothing to lose at that point, it was an easy decision to attempt this antifungal diet myself.
A Diet for Better Health
The more I watched and learned, the more I realized this diet was not just an antifungal diet but also an anti-cancer diet, an anti-diabetes diet, and so on. Doug has studied mold and its serious health effects on humans for almost fifty years. His mantra is “FUPO”, fungus until proven otherwise. Part of his mantra is to tell his audience that you can start eating in a way and living in such a way “as if” you have a fungal infection. I did just that and was able to forgo the fifth sinus surgery. It was a step in the right direction to regaining my health. I also took Doug Kaufmann’s advice and rotated anti-fungal supplements such as oil of oregano, garlic, and caprylic acid. I also starting rinsing my nasal passages with a saline rinse with CitriDrops Dietary Supplement added to the bottle. CitriDrops can also be mixed with water to drink as an antifungal dietary supplement.
Why an Antifungal Diet?
The concept behind Doug Kaufmann’s diet is to starve and eradicate the fungi and yeasts that are to blame for causing so many of our health issues. If the fungi and yeasts die out, the instance of other diseases and illnesses does too. Diseases like cancer, chronic sinusitis, asthma, psoriasis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and more are linked to fungal/yeast overgrowth. If you have taken multiple courses of antibiotics, lived or worked in a moldy environment, or consumed a poor diet, you are at risk for fungal-related disease.
Fungi are human parasites that can begin to take over once they enter our bodies through contaminated air or through our food supply. Wheat, peanuts, and corn are crops prone to being contaminated with fungus. Once inside the body the fungus colonizes and spews poisons called mycotoxins into the body and bloodstream which cause illness and even sometimes death in humans. Eating in a way that makes the body inhospitable to fungi helps to prevent colonization. When we eat sugar, processed foods, and high amounts of carbohydrates we are literally feeding fungus (and even cancer); we are essentially giving them what they need to thrive!
I have hundreds of “Kaufmann Diet” approved recipes on my website Eat, Pray, Get Well. You can also watch one of my interviews on “Know the Cause” where I discuss my own battle with mold illness. I went from “student” who watched Doug’s television shows to having the honor of being a repeat guest over the past several years so that I could share my story.
What is Permitted on Antifungal Diet?
For Doug Kaufmann’s diet, things are done in phases to get you to work up to a place of maintenance and homeostasis.
Kaufmann 1 Diet
Below is the Kaufmann 1 and 2 diets in a nutshell. For a more in depth look at the list of ingredients permitted and/or excluded visit https://eatpraygetwell.com/diet-for-life/
Allowed – Sweeteners such as Stevia and corncob or birch tree bark xylitol, fruits low in sugar such as green apples, berries, avocados, fresh coconut, grapefruit, lemons, limes, and tomatoes. Beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, venison, salmon, tuna (wild-caught fish and grass-fed meats are best due to antibiotics and hormones). Eggs and dairy low in lactose, grass-fed butter or ghee, goat yogurt in moderation. Virtually all vegetables with the exception of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and legumes. Nuts, seeds, and pseudo-grains such as quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, and millet are great choices.
Kaufmann 2 Diet
Doug suggests that if your symptoms have improved after a period of time on “Kaufman 1”, this may prove you did indeed have a fungal component to your illness. If you are feeling better, you could also begin to experiment by adding new foods from the Kaufmann 2 diet and see how you feel. These include adding in small amounts of Manuka honey and maple syrup, higher sugar fruits on occasion such as pineapple and red apples. Sweet potatoes, legumes, beans, oats, and brown rice can now be added as well. Again, for more details see the complete list of foods at https://eatpraygetwell.com/diet-for-life/.
Tips for Staying on Course During the Holidays
1) Bring or make your own healthier dessert and side dishes so you will not feel left out when people are partaking during mealtime.
2) Eat something healthy before a meal so you are not so hungry. Some berries, nuts, or a smoothie will make you less tempted to overeat the foods that don’t fit your plan.
3) Don’t give yourself a chance to become tempted. Try not to keep junk food in plain sight. I still have to ask my husband to hide goodies, because if I see them laying out, I know I might be tempted. Out of sight out of mind.
4) Don’t be hard on yourself. You will fall off the wagon many times while trying to change your eating lifestyle. It is a monumental task for most of us, and you should be proud of yourself for taking on the challenge.
Two of My Favorite Recipes
In closing, I will share pictures of a couple of my favorite antifungal recipes with links to my blog that details how to make them. More recipes can be found in my book Eat Pray Get Well – A Journey from Chronic Illness, Brokenness & Junk Food Junkie to Wholeness & Wellness which chronicles my journey from decades of illness, a difficult childhood to how I healed and found God in the process. The book includes 60 recipes free of gluten, corn, peanuts, and refined sugar. My book can be found on www.eatpraygetwell.com and on Amazon.
I pray my story and articles bring you hope and give you the tools to start your own healing process. I continue to share my journey, healthy recipes, and chronic illness insights on my blog www.eatpraygetwell.com. Please feel free to visit me there and say, “Hello.”
Disclaimer – I am not a doctor, please discuss any new health and wellness plans including diet plans with your physician.