Last week I published a post about Vegan Candida Diet explaining the reasons behind my decision to take the journey and about my first experiences and difficulties.
In this week’s post I concentrate on vegan candida diet meal planning.
I was determined to stay on a whole food plant-based diet also during my fight with candida, i.e. I would not consume any oils in addition to refined sugars and flours which are to be avoided in any case while on candida diet.
As you most probably know, the energy that you consume is divided between fats, carbohydrates and protein, i.e. every day you get a percentage of calories from each group. Normally I’d try to keep the relation as follows:
- 65% or more calories from carbohydrates
- 20% or less calories from fat
- 15% or less calories from protein.
Now, while I was eating everything including fruits and starchy vegetables the above was very easily achieved. What I saw when I started to insert my Candida meal plans into nutritional database was that it was very difficult to get enough energy while keeping to those percentages as I was not capable of eating non-starchy vegetables in an amount that’d keep the percentages where I’d been used to. And it’s not that I can’t eat – on the contrary, I can consume huge amounts of whole food plant-based food. I simply had to increase my nuts’, seeds’ and protein rich foods’ intake and therefore also raising my calories from fat percentage to 25-30 and calories from protein to 15-20 – all that on the expense of carbohydrates. Since all the calories still come from whole foods, I do not have a heart condition and I consume all the energy I eat, I am fine. Should you have a heart condition or any other illness though, consult your doctor before making any dietary changes.
Inserting my meals into a database was a crucial step as otherwise I might have lacked on some of the nutrients and energy in general. With the vegan Candida meal plans that I have established I am beyond the RDA with most vitamins and minerals. I consume 1750-2000 kcal a day depending on how much I exercise.
The calories are divided as follows:
- Breakfast – 20%
- Snacks (2) – 7% and 7%
- Lunch – 24%
- Dinner – 30%
- Dessert – 12%
Macronutrients divide as follows:
- Carbohydrates – 266 grams, 54.2%
- Fats – 64.1 grams, 29.4%
- Protein – 80.8 grams, 16.4%
The fats are divided as follows (percentage from calories):
- Monounsaturated fats (olives, hazelnuts, almonds, avocados) – 9.2%
- Polyunsaturated fats (sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds) – 10%
- Saturated fats (coconut, Brazil nuts) – 7.2%
Now, with fats you need to remember that within polyunsaturated fats there are omega 6’s and omega 3’s and their healthy ratio is 1:1 – 4:1, i.e. you shouldn’t get omega 6’s more than 4 times of the amount of omega 3’s.
Here’s ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 of some foods:
- Flaxseeds – 4:1
- Chia seeds – 3:1
- Hemp seeds – 1:3
- Walnuts – 1:16
- Grape leaves – 6:1
The following cocktails have a good ratio of omega 3 to omega 6:
- Omega 3/6 ratio 1:3 – 1 tbsp of flax seeds, 1 tbsp of hemp seeds, 1 Brazil nut, 1 tbsp of sunflower seeds, 3 tsps of sesame seeds
- Omega 3/6 ratio 1:3 – 1 tbsp chia seeds, ¾ avocado, ½ tsp tahini, 3 green olives, 2 Brazil nuts
- Omega 3/6 ratio 1:4 – 1 tbsp flax seeds, 1 Brazil nut, 1 tsp poppy seeds, 3 tsps sesame seeds, 1 tbsp sunflower seeds, 2 walnuts
On an average day I would get from food (% from RDA):
- Vitamin A – 114%
- Vitamin E – 237%
- Vitamin B1 – 145%
- Vitamin B2 – 277%
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin) – 213%
- Vitamin B6 – 460%
- Vitamin B12 – 207%
- Folates – 400%
- Vitamin C – 219%
- Potassium – 207%
- Calcium – 119%
- Magnesium – 280%
- Iron – 198%
- Copper – 333%
- Iodine – 147%
- Selenium – 112%
- Zinc – 367%
Vitamin C – to support my immune system during candida cleanse I take the time release formulation vitamin C; 1000 mg/day.
Vitamin B12 – there are two different forms of B12: methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin. Cyanocobalamin is synthetic and created in a laboratory, whereas methylcobalamin is a natural form of B12 and therefore probably better absorbed by our bodies. It has not been proven, but I choose to use my logic.
As nutritional yeast contains the synthetic form I do not rely on that entirely and in addition take the natural form supplement once a week.
Vitamin D – I take vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) in liquid form, especially in winter when there’s not a lot of sunlight. Remember, the UV (ultraviolet) index has to be at least three in order to get vitamin D from sunlight.
Agar-agar – it actually is food and not supplement. However, as I only add it to my food to meet the daily iodine allowance, you might as well call it supplementing. ¼ tsp. of agar-agar a day is enough to keep your iodine levels up to date. I add it to my porridge or chia pudding.
Apple cider vinegar – I start my day with a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water. I started with 1 teaspoon and gradually worked my way up to a tablespoon. Apple cider vinegar helps the liver to detoxify your body and is also told to enhance mineral absorption when consumed before meals.
I usually make porridges for breakfast. My favourites are:
- Oat bran-buckwheat carrot cake porridge (discard the carrot in the first stage of your Candida diet)
- Oat bran-buckwheat pancakes
- Oat bran porridge
- Oat bran-quinoa porridge
- Oat bran-millet porridge
- Oat bran-amaranth porridge
Buckwheat bread sandwiches with some tahini or avocado, cucumber, tomatoes and oven-baked veggies.
Healthy fats – sunflower seed butter, almonds and/or shredded coconut.
Spices – turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, vanilla, and/or spirulina.
In my post 5 Ways to Prepare Nutritious Porridge I describe different preparation methods, including using soaked grains instead of flakes or groats. Should you want to go even deeper in porridge world read my post 9-Step Guide to Preparing Balanced Porridge.
Lunches and Dinners
I usually combine myself a Buddha bowl:
- Protein – millet, quinoa, buckwheat, or tofu + a few slices of my fermented buckwheat bread (replace agave with stevia or discard at all when on Candida diet).
- Healthy fats – avocado and/or tahini-lemon juice-nutritional yeast dressing.
- Leafy greens – lettuce + kale, beet greens or Swiss chard.
- Non-starchy vegetables – cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, rutabaga, eggplant, summer squash, tomatoes, red bell pepper, Brussels sprouts, green beans, leek, onions, sauerkraut.
It is quite easy with snacks and they don’t differ much from my regular pre-diet ones:
- Buckwheat bread sandwiches.
- Buckwheat crackers with avocado, tomato, cucumber and salt/pepper. Or just plain crackers.
- Raw cauliflower, red bell pepper, tomatoes, cucumber.
I usually make myself a chia pudding with:
- 1 tbsp. chia seeds
- 2 tbsps. oat bran
- some coconut milk
- cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cardamom, vanilla
- ground almonds
- Himalayan salt
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
I soak chia seeds and oat bran in water for 20-30 minutes stirring almost constantly in the beginning to avoid any lumps. Then stir in other ingredients.
Instead of almonds you can use any other suitable nuts/seeds or nut/seed butter.
I also add ¼ tsp. agar-agar for my daily iodine.
Another option is to prepare delicious candies by combining nut butter, oat bran, some salt and xylitol.
- Chicory root coffee with unsweetened non-GMO soymilk which has become my morning routine instead of coffee or matcha latte. Even though it may taste awful when you first have it, you need to give chicory a chance – I threw away most of my first cup, but now I’ve grown to like it. It’s important not to prepare it too strong in the beginning, which was the mistake I made.
- Peppermint tea – I make it with fresh leaves and drink as it is. Another option is a strong tea prepared with dried leaves and with a bit of soymilk.
- Camomile tea – good if I want to relax myself or my stomach.
- Ginger tea – I cut thin ginger slices and boil them in water for 10-15 minutes. This is my before-going-to-bed routine.
- Plain water or sometime also mineral water.
- Golden milk – turmeric-cinnamon milk prepared with almond or soy milk and sweetened with stevia or xylitol.
Vegan Candida Diet Meal Planning Essentials
When meal planning, remember:
- Have a variety of foods every day – different grains/legumes, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
- Eat a rainbow daily – something green, something yellow, something orange, something purple, something red and something white/brown.
- If you had a grain-based breakfast, have vegetables with some nuts for your mid-morning snack.
- If you want to have a grain-based dessert (muffins, cookies), have fewer grains with your dinner or ditch them altogether.
- Make sure to have a tablespoon of ground flax seeds or chia seeds a day so your body gets enough omega 3s.
- Always have some nuts or seeds with vegetables and fruits rich in carotenoids (carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens like spinach and kale, romaine lettuce, squash, cantaloupe melon, red bell pepper, apricots, peas, broccoli, tomatoes) as the fats help absorb vitamins.
The Plate Rule for lunches and dinners:
- ½ grains, avocado, nuts/seeds, tofu/tempeh,
- ½ raw and cooked non-starchy vegetables.
Bear the glycemic load of foods in mind. GI (glycemic index) tells you whether the carbohydrate in the particular food is a “slow” or “fast” type of carbohydrate. What this index doesn’t do is indicate how large the proportion of the carbohydrate is and how it will affect your blood sugar levels. The deficiency has led nutritionists towards the development of the improved index GL (glycemic load), which is the GI multiplied by the net carbs (the total carbohydrate content of the food minus the fibre content and sugar alcohols) of regular portion of the particular food.
It is our target to get NO more than 100 GL points per day. If we divide the points between 5 meals, we get 20 points (or less) per meal, which will keep your blood sugar stable.
GL of 10 points or below is considered low, and 20 or above is considered high.
Even though most foods with high GL are excluded from Candida diet, you still need to be cautious with the remaining grains in your menu, i.e. millet, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth and oat bran. The best choice from the list is oat bran having the lowest GL: 16 points per 100 grams of raw oat bran, whereas millet has 44 points, amaranth 39 points, raw buckwheat 37 points and quinoa 36 points for the same amount.
Should you have problems with blood sugar fluctuation like I do, keep the amount of grains in your morning porridge to 40 grams or less. For example, 50 grams of buckwheat gives you 20 GL points. Should you want to add something else to your porridge you’d exceed the recommended GL level. Oat bran is an exception with lower GL, i.e. 50 grams giving 8 GL points.
I myself am about to tackle the GL puzzle trying to compile meals that wouldn’t exceed the level. I decided to take a “scientific” approach because my blood sugar still tends to fluctuate, especially in the morning after I’ve had my (obviously too big) porridge.
If you are interested in reading about whole food plant-based meal planning in more detail read my post Plant-Based Diet: Meal Planning. If you are too busy to do your own meal planning, check out my whole food plant-based meal plans.