Fiona Stewart, you scared the sugar out of me!

Fiona Stewart, you scared the sugar out of me!

I’m just back from a talk about Candida. You know… Candida, that fungus with a sweet name. Actually until today I thought I had a fair idea what it was. Mostly what I knew about it is the complete and utter hassle that people go through to get rid of it: going through such extremist diets that I’d call them jihadist diets if I wasn’t afraid to infringe on political correctness. All I know is that, as much as i condemn religious extremism, i could never ever come to terms with such dictatorial food control. That’s why I just decided not to have Candida. How do you do that? well you just decide: “I don’t have Candida.” Impossible. I have all of these annoying symptoms for which I’ve been looking for causes for years, and Candida is just not one of them. And among all the cures I’ve been looking for, quitting sugar and carbs for the rest of my life is just not one of them. That’s it. Decision made. All sorted.

Great. Until my doctor sends me for a blood test that comes back positive for Candida (and a bunch of 30 other food intolerances…). Well what happens then? not much… surely if I stop eating bread and go easy on the cheese for a couple of weeks, everything is gonna be ok. Surely it will. Even my doctor barely even mentioned it (good woman).

So everything is great, (besides an auto-immune Thyroid disease, pretty constant bloating and year long sleepless nights). Everything is great until today, because today is the day I met Fiona Stewart.

Fiona Stewart is a life coach, a life coach who lost her job in a multinational corporation because she didn’t even have enough energy to go to work anymore, because of Candida. Now reconverted “Candida whisperer”, she educates stubborn people like myself about what it is and mostly why we really shouldn’t ignore it. And how she does it is by scaring the s… (sugar, i meant sugar…) out of you.

So Fiona starts her presentation by distinguishing 4 types of people in relation to Candida:
– The resigned, those who tried everything, couldn’t get rid of it, and are resigned to live with it.
– The masters, those who had it, killed it, and live happily ever after.
– The procrastinators, those who know they have it, know they should do something about it, but start mowing the lawn instead.
– The innocents, those who just don’t know much at all about it (or pretend not to know?… that’s just me saying).

I let you figure out in which category I raised my hand, right?

So then Fiona carries on and explains what it is. Candida is actually a microscopic yeast. And for those who think they don’t have it, think again. We all have it. No exceptions. We all have it because it rests dormant in this microscopic harmless form in ALL of us. So that’s it, in a healthy body it stays in a microscopic spore form. Ah well… Gremlins are cute too… until you feed them after midnight.

And that’s where the trouble starts, it doesn’t have to be after midnight actually, but when you feed your body the wrong stuff (and it doesn’t even have to be food… antibiotics, contraceptives and steroids are doing a good job too), cute little spores mutate into a savage form that pretty much eats your body away. Not so cute.
And here is the thing: we all have candida for a reason, precisely because it is supposed to mutate and eat our body away. But only AFTER we die. Yep, that’s what is going to rot us to the bones when the time comes. And the problem is… what happens if the time comes a bit too early, as in… while we’re still alive and kicking???

Oups… You said it.

Wanna know what happens then? (I know I know, I don’t like horror movies either but hey, you can do this, keep reading.) So what Candida does when it mutates is… It starts by making holes in your gut. In case you think a little ventilation is not that bad, let’s clarify something: What is your gut supposed to do? Your gut is like an immigration officer: it discriminates! Separating legal guys from illegal guys, so separating waste matter from nutrients: the former is eliminated while the latter are reabsorbed into the bloodstream. You either have a visa or you’re escorted out of the country, right? Well imagine if there are unattended gaps at the border?… happy days! everybody gets in! What’s the consequence? your blood basically gets contaminated with waste matter. If it starts to remind you of the Fukushima disaster, you’re getting it right.

So what happens once the bad guys are running wild all around? Bruce Willis is getting old so that would be your immune system that’s gonna be on alert all the time to fight off the vermin… and it has a pretty overwhelming job with all this stuff that’s not supposed to be there, so it might also start fighting innocent victims along the way. (Allergies, anyone? food intolerances? worse.. auto-immune diseases? sounds familiar?)

Here’s what can happen as a result of your organs being fed with unclean fuel:
Itchy skin, sleep disturbances, muscle pain, joint pain, exhaustion, chronic fatigue, fybromyalgia, arthritis… As Fiona puts it “it might not be life threatening, but it certainly is ‘quality of life’ threatening.”

And do you want to know something scary? (as if you’re not scared enough already): every fybromyalgia sufferer has candida overgrowth, no exception. And even scarier, every cancer sufferer has candida overgrowth, no exception. We could argue, in a who-was-there-first-the- chicken-or-the-egg style, that Candida appears as a result of cancer, the body being weakened by the disease, the treatments, etc.. but here’s something to think about: as it turns out, cancerous tumors always have a higher candida concentration than the surrounding tissues… I don’t know, just sayin’.

So are you scared enough? do you want to know if you have it? Easy: spit it out. Yes you heard that right. It is not a 100% reliable but if you don’t have access to a proper blood test it will give you an indication of whether you might have candida overgrowth. So here is how it works: brush your teeth really well before going to bed, and after a long enough night sleep (to leave enough time to bacterias to build up in your mouth), take a glass of the purest water you can find and spit in it (before doing anything else, even drinking a glass of water). Come back half an hour later and check the forecast:
– Clear sky: so far so good, no candida in sight.
– Cloudy: chances are you have a candida overgrowth.
– Stringy: tornado warning, candida is already at a quite aggressive stage.
– Bitty: it might be candida, it might not, other bacterias could also cause this type of “weather” but you might still want to invest in an umbrella, I mean, let’s face it, if you’re going all the way to spit in a glass in the morning, I guess it’s not just for the fun… admit it, you’re a little suspicious, right?

No? really? Not even a little? So let’s look also at how Candida affects our emotions and our personality, just to be sure you’re really not possibly a “candidate”.
First, we know candida affects the ability of the gut to discriminate between what’s good and what’s bad for the body right? so guess what… Are you good at making decisions yourself? Are you good at deciding what’s good for you, what you should allow in in your life? are you good at letting go of bad stuff? Are you one of these people who “takes no crap” on board? or are you rather too reasonable? do you see too much other people’s points of view? are you bad at setting boundaries?
Then what happens next with Candida: contaminants in the blood are irritating the body, right? so on a bigger scale… do you take crap sometimes and get annoyed about it afterwards?
And lastly in the chain of events, the immune system gets in fight mode, right? so… have you ever had arguments out loud with people who are not even there?
Isn’t that scarily accurate? I know it is for me.

So what do we do about it??????

Here is the perfect script for a happy ending:
– Killing off the bastards,
– Saving the good guys (repopulating the friendly bacteria),
– Pacifying the atmosphere (rebalancing the blood chemistry).

And I’ll just throw a couple of advices here (well, Fiona threw them, i’m passing them on…):
1) To kill off candida, please think twice about using antifungal drugs as they can be very hard on the liver. There are natural and efficient alternatives like essential oils: Cinnamon, oregano, thyme, clove, melaleuca, also coconut oil and caprylic acid.
2) Once repopulating the gut’s friendly bacteria, don’t take the probiotics at the same time as the anti-fungal oils, the body needs time to kill some bad guys to make some space for the good ones. Otherwise the good guys are driving all the way down to your intestines but won’t find a parking space and will drive off straight away.
3) Don’t stop there, once the candida is under control, there are more steps to take: heal the gut with digestive enzymes and glutamine, detox the liver and rebuild the immune system.

But you can’t be doing all of this without addressing your diet. And that is where I found Fiona particularly sympathetic. She doesn’t advocate the food dictatorship. She knows our modern lifestyle don’t accommodate the “everyday-all-organic-homemade-prepared-in-advance meals” strategy. She believes that a diet that is at times imperfect is better than a diet that never starts. And to help us along the way of re-thinking our eating habits and our lifestyles, she is launching a website where she will revamp the anti-sexy candida cook books and adapt the fancy recipe books to more reasonable requirements for candida victims. She will read food labels for us and tell us what we can or can’t buy in the supermarket (and yes, there is still stuff we can buy in there).

So yes, Fiona scared the “sugar” out of me, I wish she rather scared the candida out of me directly but even though she’s an amazing speaker, she’s not THAT good… yet! (Fiona, I hope you’re working on it) lol; she scared me but she also gave me hope that I will be able to do something about a condition that I realise now might be the root cause of pretty much all of my health concerns. I also stand reassured and empowered by the fact that I have my essential oil based products to assist me in rewriting the movie script of my health. I may not look like Uma Thurman and I don’t have a Bill to Kill but I have a Candida to Control. So if you’ll excuse me now, I am now off to start my cleansing detox, taking my essential oils infused supplements along with my Oregano and Probiotics, my Liver cleanse, my metabolic blend and a dash of Lemon.

If you too want to apprehend your candida suspect, you will soon be able to find information on Fiona’s website, (coming soon), and of course I strongly recommend to support yourself along the way by using natural solutions. The community of Essential Oils enthusiasts I am part of not only provides education on safe and effective natural alternatives to take care of your health but it also offers friendly and effective support in making the necessary lifestyle changes. If you too are looking for support in your Candida crusade don’t hesitate to get in touch.

It is thanks to Essential Oils that I met Fiona and learnt about Candida today. And I would like to thank Becky Barney for giving us this fantastic opportunity. Becky introduced my favorite Essential Oils company in Ireland 3 years ago and has been committed since to teach us a better way to take care of ourselves. Thank you Becky, and thank you Fiona for the fantastic job you are both doing in educating us.

Check Fiona’s website:
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CP-what??? My experience with Essential Oils

CP-what??? My experience with Essential Oils

I qualified in Aromatherapy in 2007. I was really excited about learning about essential oils! Well that was before I started my training though because I didn’t stay excited for very long… by the end of the course I was nearly put off using essential oils altogether… Why? Because this is what we learnt in class: “don’t take them internally!” or you might die… “don’t put them neat on your skin” or you might turn bright red and you skin will disintegrate… Always dilute them and never ever EVER put more than 2 drops for 5ml of carrier oill…. otherwise… i don’t know… the sun will turn cold and flesh-eating aliens will invade the earth?… and oh, I nearly forgot! don’t throw them in the sink or it could damage the drains (seriously??) pfff…. quel “tue l’amour…” (what a “love-killer” as we say in french…). Who wouldn’t be put off, right?

But anyway… I went by the rules and gave it my best shot. But after a couple of years I stopped using them as they didn’t seem to make much of a difference at all, apart from a nice smell.
Now… Fast forward 2 months ago: my aroma-enthusiast colleague Aileen coming back from a 6 months trip around the world brought back a little treasure with her: doTerra Essential Oils. To be precise, “doTerra CPTG essential oils”… CP what???

Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade… Which in a nutshell means the company guarantees that the oils are pure, that is to say free from any foreign particles, herbicides or pesticides, and that the process of extraction is respected to ensure the highest possible potency of each oil, granting them with medicinal grade. (It’s not me saying, it’s the american FDA). And the company went the extra mile by creating their own quality standard to reflect the amount of testing, third party and in-house, that they do to ensure that the purity and therapeutic properties of each oils are guaranteed for each bottle that is released on the market. Other brands are welcome to align on this testing regimen to benefit from this quality standard but so far no-one has been brave enough.

Anyway, that’s not how Aileen convinced me, CPTG sounds all great on paper but at that stage I was only vaguely paying attention to what she was saying. So how did she get me? first by giving me a glass of water… that I thought she had put mint syrup in. But no it wasn’t syrup at all it was peppermint oil…only one drop of peppermint oil in a whole jar of water. And the taste was so strong. To be honnest I was like… “You mean I can actually “drink” essential oils? (remember my training had nearly me convinced Essential Oils were nothing short of a “biohazard”). So anyway, yes! the answer is yes, you can drink them, eat them, rub them pure on your skin, BUT Aileen wouldn’t chance it with any other brand, and that is because she trusts doTerra for their purity and safety, precisely because of that CPthingey quality affair I wasn’t paying too much attention to at the beginning ;-). It is starting to make sense, right; it is true that on any bottle you find in the shop, even if the oil is certified organic, it always states “do not take internally” on the sticker. You can go check, I did. Anyway Aileen was starting to have my attention, because as simple as that I really like the concept of putting peppermint, lemon or lime in my water (I’m a bit lazy so would save me a lot of lemon squeezing, lol).

And my last mental block went down soon after, when she gave me the leftover of her peppermint bottle. I was just setting up my treatment room in the Holistic Center for a client and I already had put a couple of drops of I-can’t-even-remember-which oils in the burner (they weren’t smelling much at all), and since I had the bottle in my hand I added one drop, just one drop of Peppermint in the mix. And all of a sudden I was sitting in a field of peppermint… literally… I could smell nothing but peppermint all over the room. And I was astonished by the strength of the smell. That, people, is what sold me.

I have been buying doTerra oils since, (thank you Aileen!) and I have not been disappointed. I have been enchanted, amazed, baffled and maybe even flabbergasted (I love that word, so happy to find an chance to place it ). I have attended all possible classes organised by different doTerra enthusiasts, and I’ve met THE Lady, the lady who had the extremely good idea to introduce doTerra to Ireland 3 years ago, Becky Barney, and her husband Eric. Eric who is a young retired from the construction industry turned doTerra support team. Eric who could afford to close his own business because they’re doing so well working full time sharing the doTerra experience all over the world. Eric who was so anti-oils at the start that he actually thought his wife was crazy… but hey… how’s crazy now, right?

I certainly am! crazy about these oils, my interest and faith in Aromatherapy is back up 100%, and I keep being happily surprised by the results. And that’s the beauty of it, the surprises are always positive. As Becky says, they have no negative side effects, but they can have positive ones! For example when she started using the Anti-Ageing blend called “Immortelle” around her eyes, not only did she notice results in her wrinkles, but her eyesight improved too! Who doesn’t like that kind of surprises?

And I was thinking for myself, “you’d have to have been using them for years to have cool stories like that”, but not even, no later than last month did I have a “positive side effect” story myself: What happened was this: Julie + Paris + heat + metro + walk + walk + walk x high heels = pain + blisters! So as a desperate quick fix attempt, I decided to rub lavender on the ball of my feet… That’s all I had on me and since it couldn’t do any harm anyway…. So I rub it in… and yes, it probably helped to heal the blisters quicker and to numb the pain, but what shocked me is that after 5 minutes of applying the oil I started to breathe better and deeper, and I didn’t even think I was breathing badly in the first place, but suddenly my lungs opened up and it was like a rush of fresh air coming in. We could argue that the ball of the feet in reflexology is actually the location of the reflex point for the lungs, and that it was the result of massaging my feet… maybe… but i’ve massaged my feet before… and never did I experience such a difference in my breathing… The combination of the 2, the oil on the lungs reflex point, have proved unexpectedly successful and that, is a cool side effect I find.

These unexpected “side effects” are fun to write about but i’ve had a lot of very much “expected” results of course, like stopping stomach-ache and nausea in its tracks with DigestZen on multiple occasions, decongesting my nose with a Respiratory blend, stopping allergy crisis with Lavender lemon and peppermint, and more recently nipping a bladder infection in the bud with a protective blend. These are really cool for me because it’s already much more results in 2 months time that I’ve ever had for myself using other brands during the couple of years that I was practicing aromatherapy.

So please, if you too have had expected or unexpected results with Essential Oils, with or without positive side-effects, please share them!