Why I Don’t Have Fermented Foods on My Blog – Part One

Fermented Foods like kombucha, kerif, sauerkraut, and kimchi are supposed to be great for leaky gut, but they have been a problem for me. Come find out why. Think you have a yeast allergy? You'll be interested in this post too!

Seeing as Whole New Mom is a blog that mainly talks about health and related topics, you may be wondering why I’ve never done a post about fermented foods.

I’ve got posts about going sugar-free, about the dangers of gluten, and about heavy metal toxicity and the burden of toxins on our health.

But no posts about:

  • homemade sauerkraut
  • kombucha
  • water kefir

and all that cultured stuff.

Read on to find out why–and hang with me. This is one of those longish posts with lots of info.

Remember my series on Candida and Gut Health from a while ago? If you didn’t read it, hop on over there. You’ll get to see up close and personal the way that candida wreaked havoc on my body and my life.

Candida is essentially a term to describe an overgrowth of yeast that causes many problems in the affected person.

And I had it bad.

If you look around the internet, many people say that kombucha and fermented foods are one of the key ways to rid oneself of candida.

But they didn’t work for me.

Here’s what happened instead.

The Candida Diet and Fermented Foods

About 4 years ago (I think that’s when this all started), I went on a pretty strict dietary regimen that excluded all sugary foods, and limited starches. The program included fermented foods in the “restricted” category, stating that often when folks were dealing with systemic candida, their bodies were sensitized to yeast products and fermented foods.  Instead of the body responding positively to the introduction of such “beneficial foods,” their bodies might react negatively instead.

So I followed that prescription.

No–

  • kombucha
  • kefir
  • vinegars
  • mustard
  • yeast
  • nutritional yeast

Etcetera.

The whole thing was pretty complex (more on the story later), but overall I was getting better. Sort of. Actually, there is a reason why the Candida Diet didn’t “do it” for me, but I will touch on that in a future post.  So make sure you subscribe to my blog if you haven’t already. You’ll for sure not want to miss that.

Anyway, I always wondered about the exclusion of fermented foods from the list of allowed foods, because there are many who tout cultured foods as being key to overcoming candidiasis (systemic candida).

Trial #1 – Super Fermented Drink

After a while of “doing the Candida Diet,” I was hitting a wall. So I talked with a man who had a lot of experience in candida, heavy metals, and the like, and he recommended my doing a “flush the bad guys out” protocol.

The Plan? Buy a boatload (about 5 2 liter bottles) of heavy-duty probiotic drink, and drink a bunch of it over the course of a few weeks.

It was expensive, but I was desperate to get better.

So I bought it and started to drink.

What followed was very unpleasant.

My symptoms worsened. A lot.

Itching everywhere. Intense and uncomfortable. And frightening.

I really didn’t think I could go on and see where this might lead. I felt like my body was rebelling against me and I was ready to surrender.

I packed up the unused portion of the boatload and paid to ship it back.

No more fermented foods for me for a long time.

Trial #2 – Kombucha

Fast forward a few years. I’d made a lot of changes–tightened up my diet and worked on adrenal healing, heavy metal toxicity, and more. It was a hard, hard time for me but I was starting to have more energy and wanted to start making kombucha for my family (and maybe for me—I hoped).

So I did. And I drank.

Not good.

More itching. Lots of it. Skin, scalp, ears, and the dreaded feminine itching thing. (Sorry if that’s TMI.)

I talked with my practitioner and she said that maybe I was reacting to the fermentation, or perhaps I should just go with fermented veggies since they have no sugar that can remain in them. She also said that I could try again some time down the road.

Now, to be clear, I fermented my kombucha ’til it tasted like a strong vinegar, so I think there was little to no sugar in that stuff, but I still wasn’t tolerating it.

I ended up trying to ferment some carrots, but they didn’t work well. Sigh.

So since I couldn’t tolerate it, and I was still pretty low on energy, the SCOBY died and I left the dream of fermented foods alone for awhile.

Trial #3 – Fermented Superfood Probiotic

This next part is a little murky, but here’s basically what happened.

I started taking a new fermented superfood probiotic back in July of 2012.

I went right into a full serving, but I ended up having some ear itching again and thought I needed to back off. The symptoms went away immediately, so I thought I was having a reaction to fermentation. Again.

I decided to back off. But tried again around October.

Same thing.  Ear itching and sinus stuff.

I figured fermented foods and I just didn’t get along.

Trial #4 – Fermented Superfood Probiotic

In March of 2013, I decided to try one more time to see if I could handle the fermented food probiotic.

I really really wanted to add this stuff to my diet and felt like the probiotic was really great for my gut.

There are sooo many probiotics out there and I have tried A LOT of them. With most of them, you just know that they aren’t working, but with this one, I could tell for sure that it was.

So I tried.

I started with 1/8 of a teaspoon and progressed to 1/4 and was tolerating it pretty well.

March 22 – I upped my dose of the probiotic to 1/2 teaspoon and my eyes started itching again.  I backed off again.

Trial #5 – Lots of Fermented Foods

By mid-April, I was trying again. I was determined to get this stuff into my system.

I ramped my dosage up to 1 tsp per day and felt great (tons of energy and great digestion), but I ate some other foods with yeast in them on April 15 and woke up with INTENSE itching in my ears.  Like “I’m going to go nuts” itching.

Well, I know this is kind of gross, but my ears were peeling inside a little and I smelled some of the discharge / skin.

The discharge from one of my ears smelled like yeast.

Was this my body trying to get rid of it?

Or was this a reaction to the fermented foods?

Regardless, it seemed I was doomed. Big sigh.

Trial #6 –  The Big Guns

Just 3 days later, April 15, I was given the chance of a lifetime.

The chance to talk with someone who really knows his stuff about probiotics.

Not just a health food store employee, but an expert in the field of probiotics and superfoods.

I’ll fill you in in the next post about what he said and what happened.

Click here for Part Two of Why I Don’t Have Fermented Foods on My Blog.
Click here for Part ThreeWhy I WILL Have Fermented Foods on My Blog.

Sorry to keep you hanging, but I’ve got a lot to say on this topic :-).

Have you had reactions to fermented foods or been told you are sensitive to them?

By the way, the photo up there was done by Michaela of Vicariously Vintage. Nice shot, eh?

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  1. I’m glad that I found this post and your blog. I realized I also react badly to fermented foods. I love almost all the fermented foods so it’s very sad, but I’m staying away from them for now. Have you tried Bragg Liquid Aminos? I wonder if I should try it since I don’t want to use soy sauce.

  2. I just started drinking Kombucha and my ear itching has come back. I never even made the connection. I used to have the horrible ear itching to the point where I itched so bad, I developed an infection and couldn’t hear properly. I have Kefir and Kimchi in the fridge and I’ll have to try those separately to see how my ears react.

  3. I have been working on my diet for years. After being gluten free for a couple of years finding offending foods has become so much easier as I am not just an autoimmune mess anymore. I get terrible histamine reactions from fermented foods. I thought it was a yeast problem for so long but after researching I am pretty sure it is a mast cell/histamine reaction. I was pretty focused on leaky gut/yeast etc. that I didn’t look beyond that. Looking into high histamine foods has helped me a lot. I think I tried everything – elimination diet, candida, fructose malabsorption, paleo, etc. Itchy skin is indicative of a some sort of histamine reaction. I finally gave up on fermented foods – just not my friend and I doubt they ever will be.

    • I know–I wonder abt that as well. We’ll see how things go moving forward for me. I was doing great on them for awhile and now not again so I am doing more gut work.

    • I’m in the same boat, am very sensitive to histamines and have been gluten free for about a year and a half. I’ve had much improvement since going GF but still had pain in the joints, major pains. I made a batch of sauerkraut in a Pickle it jar and let it go for 2 1/2 months which is supposed to bring down the histamine levels. The recipe I used mixed in caraway seeds and thin slices of apple along with a few juniper berries. This morning when I opened it and tried a bit (gotta start slow, just a little a day to start) I could barely open the jar the stabbing knife pains in my hands were so intense.

      Now, this afternoon the pains in my joints are completely gone. My knuckles aren’t even red? Wow, but I gotta say I’ve been taking Benedryl liquid gel caps due to all the stuff in the air in Austin. I’m sure this helped me overcome the histamine reaction but also allowed me the benefits of the ferment. At least I hope so. Its only day one but my knuckles are not red and my ankle has absolutely no pain, ditto for shoulders, elbows..etc. I’m hopeful…

  4. I am a male but went through 10 years of very bad health, nothing and I mean nothing would work helping me feel better. I had thrush so bad and was rushed to the hospital many times for very low o2 saturation. It felt like I was going to die but the doctors had nothing to direct them to help me other than calm down and take these pills. I’m not even going to go into what the pills were but none helped. I finally begged them to admit me and test me until they found out what was wrong. I received an eye roll from the doctor but he went a head and admitted me. They diagnosed me with a mycobacteria infection. This is so very rare for people without aids or advanced cancer. I was directed to an infectious disease specialist and he was absolutely no help what so ever. Said there was a rotation of 4 different antibiotics I could take for 18 months but he told me it probably would not work and would make me very sick. He also told me he could not tell me why I was dying from the inside out. Mycobacteria is what breaks down carbs and protein then turns them into soil. Anything that’s dying or dead attracts natures way of recycling and I was infected with it. This scared me to death and I was feeling just awful. I felt wired all the time with teeth grinding too. I guess the best way to explain it was I felt like I was being electrocuted day and night. I finally sent my blood work to a holistic MD and he took 5 minutes and told me I had some kind of poisoning, probably heavy metal. This was in 2011 and ordered some EDTA suppositories. I had HUGE reactions with boils on body and in mouth so I knew he was right. I did 6 months worth and felt better but not great and still had that bad infection. I then did 7 liver flushes and BOY did I have a butt load of gull and liver stones. I mean hundreds to maybe thousands. That made me feel so much better BUT I still did not feel right so I opened my mouth and said to myself, I have to get rid of these metal filings. I could even taste metal sometimes but I guess I got used to it. Well those suckers came out and that’s when the real healing and chelating started. I used DMSA and Zeolite powder to focus on the mercury. I still use zeolite everyday and will until I die. NOW on the subject of fermented foods. If your body is toxic especially with metals nothing will work so even doing the right thing was like a dog chasing it’s tail. Now that I have been chelating for 3 years I decided to attack this infection. I went with a very strict eating grasses and all raw alkaline diet. The first week was all blended to with NO SWEET stuff. NO FRUIT what so ever other than lemon. LET me tell ya,, If I would have guided or judged my healing for the way I felt, I would not be feeling so much better today. I literally felt like bugs were crawling all over my body and that was just one side affect. I had so much die off going on it was scary and I felt ten times worse than I did before I started. I also introduced Kefir and I can tell that bad bacteria does not like having a flood of the good stuff coming into my body. It makes me feel a little sick but I have learned that that’s actually a goo thing happening. Die off sucks but you have to power through it. There should no reason what so ever that your body should be having issues with fermented food other than it’s killing off the bad guys to quick. Summery,, Gotta make sure there is no toxic issues first by chelating and I don’t mean eating cilantro, I mean real chelation with DMSA, EDTA and zeolite. Then attack those bad boys with goo probiotic foods!!

    • Wow. What a story! I’m about to try a liver flush. I wonder how it’s going to be.

      • Sounds like your problem is quite a bit more serious than what can be dealt with simply. Test for Ulcerative Colitis, if positive try a two week regimen of Butyric Acid enemas, a diet high in soluable fibre and leafy greens (and generally veggies that cause flatulence) along with the probiotics. Butyric Acid is the closest thing you’ll find for miracle drug for you colon. Its normally produced by microbial action on soluable fiber in your colon (side effect is flatulence). Leafy greens have soluable fiber, plus there is additional benefit on innate lymphoid cells in your digestive tract.

  5. Histamine issues!

  6. Your experience sounds much like mine. I have been eating no carbs and consistent with Body Ecology Diet for over a month because I have food allergies and can’t eat anything any more without getting a painfully red itchy rash all over my body. I can tolerate homemade chicken soup with just veggies and a few pieces of chicken and that’s it, I started taking probiotics and then added antifungals and I don’t know if it’s die off or an allergic reaction to the different things but I can’t take them. Same with coconut milk kefir and fermented cabbage. I am so sick of spending money on different pills and supplements only to feel worse not better. I’m tempted to take that liquid zeolite you mentioned to detox heavy metals but wait I’ve already done that with so many other pills and stuff that I’m done trying the latest magic bullet. I don’t think I will ever stabilize enough to know if I am having die off or an allergic reaction. Doctors are of no help and they claim that I don’t even have food allergies. What can I even do at this point? I really want t just die. There is nothing I can eat and my health problems have ruined my life.

  7. May I suggest Pau D’arko medicinal tea? It kills Candida. It is a potent anti fungal. You also need to do a colon and liver detox to get rid of all the waste in your system from the Candida. After you use the Pay D’Arco tea the symptoms can worsen as you begin to have die off. Don’t give up. Candida support by Now Foods is also a good thing to take. I healed after a long battle with Candida and have lots of fermented foods in my diet. Kill the Candida first then add them in. I hope you can find healing.

  8. Princess says:

    You were having “die off”.. It’s normal… It happens to mostly everyone…that’s when people make the mistake and stop …. You should have continued and it would have resolved in a few days or so.

    • Hi there. I think you are possibly right, but it continued to plague me. Some told me I couldn’t tolerate them and others that it was a histamine reaction. I did actually try some fermented foods for a long time and it didn’t resolve so it was odd indeed.

  9. Histamine intolerance! All the classic symptoms. Might wanna do a genetic test for common problems in methylation pathways as faulty methylation is often an issue in people with histamine intolerances.