Candida, My Childhood, and 5 Causes of Gut Dysbiosis (Imbalance)

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All Health Begins in the Gut. Find out about Candida, the Causes of Gut Dysbiosis, Why I Went Sugar Free, and to Improve Your Health from the Inside Out.

After writing “The Beginning of My Sugar-Free Life”, I realized that to tell more of the story, I really needed to back up a bit.

The issue of candida and my troubles with sugars really began way before my teen and childhood years, even.

Here is what I think happened.

I was born when things were really changing regarding the American lifestyle and diet.

And there are 5 things that I think set me up for health problems:

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5 Causes of Intestinal Dysbiosis

1.  Insufficient Breastfeeding

I was an active La Leche League member throughout the time that I nursed my sons.  LLL is a super support network for ladies trying to nourish their babies in the best way possible.  Physically and emotionally.

You can imagine how I felt when I found out that my mom had only nursed me for a short amount of time.

How short?

I still remember the day when I was looking through my “baby memories” and I found the pediatrician’s prescription for “Borden’s canned evaporated milk” to be fed to me at 3 months of age.

Borden’s.  Gross.

Maybe Borden had a contract with the AMA :(.

2.  Fake Food

During my mother’s childhood, things were changing in the American diet–and it wasn’t for the better.

I remember my mother telling me that when she was young, they would get margarine delivered to their homes.

The fake fat was in a bag that had yellow “goo” in it.  They would squeeze and massage the bag in their hands to distribute the artificial yellow color throughout the artificial fat.

Yum, huh?

White flour (nothing more than grains with the healthy germ and bran removed, and sometimes with vitamins added), white sugar (calories with absolutely no nutrition added), artificial colors, trans-fats, artificial flavors.

You name it.  Our food was becoming non-food packaged junk.

Anyone else grow up on Bisquick, American “Cheese”, quick bread mixes and more?

3.  Antibiotics

Pretty much every time I was sick my mom went to the doctor and asked for antibiotics.  Cold–flu–again, you name it.

I wish the doctor would’ve said no at least every once in awhile.

But I guess doctors thought they were doing the right thing.  Could that really be true?  Didn’t they know there are good bacteria in the gut that shouldn’t be assaulted over and over again?

I avoid antibiotics almost like the plague these days.

Because you want those antibiotics to work if you ever really really need them.  Like MRSA and those other big infections.

You can read here how our family Avoided Antibiotics for a Sinus Infection.

Please–try to not take advantage of those “free antibiotics,” unless you really need ’em, K?

 4.  Toxins

We all know that our environment has become more and more toxic.

I’d never thought of it before, but it really appears that toxins affect gut health.

One of the toxins I was exposed to a lot in my childhood was cigarette smoke.

My parents smoked.  A lot.  I have memories of being in our small black Ford Mustang with the windows up while they enjoyed their cigarettes.

I would beg for them to open the window and they’d open them.

A little.

It was never enough.

To this day cigarette smoke is one of the most disgusting smells to me.

I always suspected the smoke had done more damage to me than just to my lungs.  Here is evidence that it likely contributes to an unhealthy gut.  As if the lung damage wasn’t enough, huh?

For more on toxins, check out “Could You Have Heavy Metal Toxicity and Not Know It?”

5.  Stress

We all know stress is bad.

Well, we had a lot of it in our home.

I won’t share all of the details here, but my childhood home wasn’t a happy one.

You read a lot these days about antibiotics and sugar being the big issues that cause intestinal dysbiosis (a bad balance of good and bad bacteria), but stress is also a cause.  (Source)


To be clear, I am not sharing this as a complaint against my parents.  They had a lot of reasons for doing what they did (including professionals who told them what to do), and we all need grace.

I just thought I should share more about my childhood and the causes of intestinal dysbiosis so that you could know more about my situation and hopefully could prevent the same problems in your family.

And again, I am not a doctor or a medical professional.  I am relating my experience just to share them with you.  You shouldn’t change your diet or any exercise program, or take supplements without consulting your physician, OK :)?

For an interesting read on food and gut dysbiosis (and one theory about how to heal it), check out the wildly popular Gut and Psychology Syndrome.  I’ll be sharing more about my journey later.

Gut and Psychology Syndrome book

For more, read Busting a Popular Gut Health Myth.

Got another “cause” to add?  Or a “fake food” memory?

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    1. Hi Annette. Sorry about that. I think there is very conflicting info about potato starch and candida. On the one hand it appears to be a resistant starch that might be good for digestive health. On the other hand, candida appears to feed off of starch so in that case it wouldn’t be a good thing. So I guess I would defer to whatever practitioner one is using. Thanks.

  1. I was very blessed to have a mom who breastfed till I self weaned, hardly ever gave me antibiotics (I actually don’t think I ever had them until a sinus infection in Middle School) and saw food as medicine. I sadly reverted to “typical American ways” as a young adult, but as a mom I’ve adopted my upbringing again and have never felt better. We as a family are rarely if ever sick, regular like clock work and (hopefully) have some super healthy guts!
    Thanks for sharing this, it is important to see that no matter our past nutritional mishaps have been we can move forward to healthier ways

      1. Adrienne, I tried to get a photo to you of the potato starch nutrition label. I don’t know how to post it to this site. So here’s the info on the label. Check it out next time you are at a health food store. Just make sure you get organic, because all wheat, corn and potato products now are GMO (we call them frankenfoods) ; unless the product states otherwise.
        Serving: 1 tbsp
        Calories: 40
        Fat: 0
        Cholesterol : 0
        Sodium: 0
        Total Carbohydrate: 10 gms. (This would be complex carbs, not simple carbs)
        Dietary Fiber: 0
        Protein: 0
        Of course you can always look for the recent episode of Dr. Oz, where he discussed Candida, and watch it. That’s where I got the info. All I know is that my fiance feels much better, his stomach is much flatter and he doesn’t complain anymore. Best Wishes!!!

  2. I am pretty convinced my three year old daughter has an over abundance of candida in her system, but her doc acts like I’m off my rocker when I try to ask and my husband is a big supporter of the “fake food” industry (margarine, etc.) so without a doc to back me up I get the “off your rocker” look from him, too. I havenMt found any candida cleanses for her age, do you have any suggestions?

    1. Candida need sugar AND an acidic environment, which is created with processed white flour carbohydrate junk foods, and an unbalanced acid/alkaline intake. Take the sugar out of your daughter’s diet. Heart disease and Cancer begin at 4, not 40. Sugars cause an acid gut which feeds Candida. She needs dark green leafy veggies, dark berries like acai, aronia, blueberries, & cranberries. Remove things like pasta, white and wheat bread, crackers, cookies and candy. If it comes in a box, bag or can, it’s got sugar in it in some form. Get rid of commercial cereals. Feed her as organically as possible with whole foods. My fiance had a candida issue. I helped him correct it with (1) Organic Green Smoothies:( Kale, spinach, green apple, mango, pineapple, unsweetened, unflavored almond or cashew milk, organic unfiltered apple juice and Vega Protein and Greens Vanilla Protein Powder.) (2) 1 capsule twice a day of a probiotic called Saccharomyces boulardii. (3) Removing red meat from his diet and replacing his old menu with an alkaline based diet, which removes acid and kills candida. You can Google lists of alkaline foods and incorporate more of them into her diet. You can make a smoothie with any food that she won’t eat in it’s whole state and she’ll never know she’s getting it. My fiance will NOT eat green things. HE IS 49 YEARS OLD!!! But he LOVES that green smoothie. I also have him on a mix of 16 0z water with: 2 tbsp of organic apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp of organic lemon juice and 1 tbsp organic potato starch,(STARCH, not flour, not instant potatoes). He drinks this every morning before coffee and every night before bed. She’s only what, five years old now, so make sure you consult a naturopathic physician before you do anything. Her dosages of probiotic or any other medicinal herb would obviously be smaller, and/or different altogether. Also, make sure your child gets on organic whole food vitamins/minerals. A lack of magnesium in the diet, for instance, can contribute to digestive issues. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO FIGHT FOR YOUR DAUGHTER’S HEALTH!!!

      1. Interesting. Thanks. The potato starch is something I wonder about, however. It’s very starchy and would feed candida. Thoughts?

        1. I saw this very subject on an episode of Dr. Oz. He had another doctor on the show as a guest. The other doctor stated, and Dr. Oz agreed, that potato starch cannot feed Candida. There’s no sugar in it. It’s a natural prebiotic which feeds the good bacteria in the gut and actually STARVES Candida. Candida REQUIRES an acid environment and sugars for food. If you feed the good bacteria with an alkaline diet, (green leafy veggies, non-starchy veggies, lean white meats and fish, dark colored berries and enzyme abundant fruits, like papaya and mango and pineapple you starve Candida. The guest doctor said he drinks a glass of water every night with a tablespoon of ORGANIC potato starch mixed in. He stated that this not only starves Candida, it also boosts your metabolism while you sleep. My fiance does it every night with a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar added with the potato starch. His belly bloat is gone and he has no more acid indigestion. Please keep in touch and let me know if this has helped your daughter. Organic greek strained yogurt with homemade organic berry puree mixed in will also help her tummy.