How I survived a candida cleanse

I get a lot of questions on my instagram @adios_candida about the cleanse/detox phase of a candida diet, AKA the hardest part!

Some common things I hear:

Why does my head hurt so bad?  **  I feel like I have the flu!  **  I have NO energy.  **  I keep crying.  **  I had no idea I would feel this lousy!  **  Aren’t I supposed to feel amazing?  **  All I want is to eat sugar & carbs!  **  Will this really work?

Let me assure you… this is all completely normal. That said, these feelings should all only last for a few days (minus the crying perhaps, but more on that later).

When I did my candida cleanse, I followed a VERY strict diet for 7 days:

  • No meat
  • No gluten
  • No dairy
  • No legumes
  • No alcohol
  • No sugar (including fruit)
  • No caffeine

So what the heck did I eat?! It was not easy, but I survived on:

  • Homemade vegetable broth
  • Eggs. LOTS of eggs.
  • Fiber-rich vegetables, mostly steamed or lightly roasted
  • lemon water, water, herbal teas
  • detox drink (apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, water, cayenne pepper)

Beware of Candida Die-Off:

One of the most common things I read about as I prepared for my own candida cleanse (something I suggest you definitely do before you dive in head first!), was candida die-off, or Herxheimer reaction. Essentially, when large numbers of yeast and fungal cells are killed quickly in a detox, they release noxious substances, including what some credit as at least 79 toxins (WHAT?!) including ethanol, uric acid, and acetaldehyde ( If you’re experiencing die-off symptoms, don’t fret! These symptoms are a sign that your liver is working on overdrive. Adding in liver-supporting supplements like milk thistle can go a long way in helping to eliminate toxins and calm your symptoms (you can see below when I finally discovered milk thistle’s magic).

It’s important to know about die-off symptoms, as these are one of the biggest reasons why people abandon their Candida diet too soon. Being prepared will help you to avoid this ‘bump’ in the road (It won’t seem like a bump…more like a mountain? But I assure you it is just a bump).

My Candida Cleanse:

(you can see some of this noted in my instagram from July 10-16, 2017)

Day 1/Monday: I felt good. I was motivated. I cooked/prepped my meals! I’m gonna do this thing! Detox drink tastes pretty gross at first. Slept well at night.

What I ate: eggs scrambled w/ asparagus & peppers, cauliflower fried rice (made w/ eggs and veggies), detox drink, herbal teas, tons of filtered water, homemade vegetable broth

Day 2/Tuesday: Detox drink is still pretty gross, but growing on me. Still motivated, but I had a horrible headache starting (what happens when you cut out sugar & caffeine cold turkey!). Trying to not take any advil for pain. Feeling a bit drained. Slept like a rock.

What I ate: eggs scrambled w/ asparagus, zucchini & peppers, cauliflower fried rice (made w/ eggs and veggies), detox drink, herbal teas, tons of filtered water, homemade vegetable broth

Day 3/Wednesday: Another day of this damn detox. Feeling icky, but still motivated. Been feeling a little constipated, so tried to up the green fiber-rich veggies today. Craving sugar big time. Feeling weak & tired. Already lost a couple of pounds – water weight. Went grocery shopping and cried in the store. yep… I cried IN the grocery store and basically had a panic attack as I stood there and realized I couldn’t eat ANYTHING (NOT true, but sure felt that way).

What I ate: eggs scrambled w/ asparagus, zucchini & peppers (another failed attempt at an omelette), green veggies – steamed broccoli + roasted brussels sprouts & kale, detox drink, herbal teas, tons of filtered water, homemade vegetable broth (I wish I had discovered bone broth by now…)

Day 4/Thursday: Unfortunately feeling some pretty intense detox/candida die-off symptoms now. VERY emotional and weepy, super brain-foggy, achy and still can’t go #2. I am peeing like crazy, but I’m so bloated from constipation and uncomfortable. I cry a lot from frustration and the pain I’m in. Skipped detox drink today and went for dandelion tea as it has detoxify qualities in it. I also discovered SUPPLEMENTS today (thank god!) to try to help move things along (the point of a detox is to eliminate stuff from the body after all).

Added milk thistle and molybdenum glycinate supplements to my routine. Also took a good sweaty yoga class (despite feeling weak) to try to help with the detoxing and die-off symptoms.

What I ate: eggs & asparagus, green veggies – steamed broccoli + roasted brussels sprouts & kale, dandelion tea, tons of filtered water, homemade vegetable broth + SUPPLEMENTS!

Day 5/Friday: Feeling better than yesterday. Much clearer. Finally went #2! Also Down 5 lbs. Head feels clearer. I feel less flush and weak. Took a hot epsom salt bath to further detox my body at night and fell into a deep sleep afterward.

What I ate: eggs, green veggies, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, kale, brussels sprouts w/ a fried egg for dinner, detox drink, dandelion tea, tons of filtered water, homemade vegetable broth + SUPPLEMENTS!

Day 6/Saturday: Feeling good. Feeling lighter and non-bloated, I am reeeeeally ready to add some foods back in now. Like meat. mmmm.. Took a stretchy chill yoga class. Sleeping really well.

What I ate: eggs, green veggies, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, kale, brussels sprouts w/ a fried egg for dinner, detox drink, dandelion tea, tons of filtered water, homemade vegetable broth + SUPPLEMENTS!

Day 7/Sunday: Down about 7 lbs now. Crazy! (Not the reason I’m doing this, but a nice side effect for sure.) Feeling good. No real cravings anymore. No headache. Feeling awake and motivated. Sleeping like a ROCK. I spent the day buying groceries, meal planning and prepping for the week ahead. Bought a cute meal planner template that I’m using (whatever works, right?), and bought a journal to chronicle how I’m feeling each day more thoroughly I’ve been doing just on IG.

What I ate: eggs, green veggies, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, kale, brussels sprouts, detox drink, dandelion tea, tons of filtered water, homemade vegetable broth + SUPPLEMENTS!

PS… I know this menu is pretty repetitive by now, but I made big batches that I ate throughout the week. I wasn’t so inspired by the end, and spent a lot of time looking up recipes I could make once I reached the next phase of my candida diet. 

So moral of the story is this: YES, a cleanse sucks. You are depriving your body of things it has grown accustomed to — caffeine, sugar, meat, and more… of course you will feel like crap. You’re literally having withdrawals from these things. But, I can assure you that once you get past that 4/5 day mark, it’s like you’re a whole new person. I felt AMAZING. I slept like a rock. I still had weepy moments in grocery stores (in cars, at work, at home…) for the next few months, but I now saw first-hand that the changes I was making and the positive effects I was feeling were WORTH those moments of sadness.

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  1. Karen

    I just found your site a few days ago and it’s been wonderfully helpful!
    I’m now 8 days into my month long cleanse. The first few days were killer for me because I normally eat a lot of fruit and usually rice or some kind of pasta daily. It’s been an adjustment, but your recipes and suggestions have made it much easier! Thank you!

    • Shannon

      You can do it! You’ve made it through the hardest part. Keep it up – it’s so worth it. So glad my resources have been helpful to you!

  2. Esmeralda Sanchez

    Hi, came across your page on Insta and been reading on it. Is this cleanse if you’ve had yeast infections? I am 47 and I remember only getting one maybe 2 yeast infections in my entire life. Is this cleanse necessary or beneficial even if you don’t suffer from that? Thanks appreciate your help and feedback ?

    • Shannon

      Hi! Yes, definitely. This cleanse can still help as a gut reset for most people to give their digestion a break and refocus on eating whole, nutritious foods and less inflammatory triggers.

  3. Esmeralda Sanchez

    Sorry another question I have is
    How often do you do these cleanses?
    And is it still helpful and beneficial if you do it for a week but afterwards don’t keep a clean diet? Sorry for so many questions, I am new at this and I am trying to learn. I’ve been barreling skin rash in my legs and arms and my dermatologist insists it’s allergies to small insects but the more I read the more I’m convinced it’s an internal problem I have. ?

    • Shannon

      It’s best when used as a reset and then followed by a healthy, balanced diet. You don’t have to follow it with a strict candida diet by any means if thats not what is right for you and your body, but its definitely best to follow it with slowly reintroducing foods and eating healthy, or else theres not much point to doing it. and yes, you are right! MOST skin issues are really candida issues! I say give it a try and see – I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results.

  4. Gabriela


    My daughter is 6 and a half and suffers from what doctors told me was candida because she has a lot of smelly discharge. My naturopath also discovered sensitivities of dairy, sugar and yeast. She has bad eczema and I believe it is a result of candida.
    I think this detox would be too much for my daughter but do you have any tips on how I can start to improve her health or sort of a baby step guide to the detox.
    Also, the naturopath said to avoid vinegar and herb teas as they contain yeast.
    Thank you so much in advance.

    • Shannon

      Hi there,

      so sorry to hear she’s been suffering. Glad she has you to help advocate for her! eczema is definitely a sign of candida, too. I would suggest focusing on whole, real foods (lots of fruits, veggies, eggs), and minimizing as much packaged food as you can, and other sources of added sugar (keep in natural fruit sugars for now as it would be too drastic to cut all sugars for her).

      Check out my free candida diet checklist — it lists foods to enjoy & avoid, and my candida diet survival guide goes into more detail about WHY we need to avoid certain foods/what it does to our bodies. Vinegar is one of them (except for apple cider vinegar, which is very helpful for candida). I’m happy to talk further with you, too if you want to sign up for a free health consult. Would love to help your girl feel better!

  5. Jenny

    Great article! I’m celiac and I did this cleanse in 2016 but 2 babies later and 6 weeks in quarantine I’m afraid I’m back into the terrible candida full body takeover ? How often do you do this cleanse to maintain your gut health?

    • Shannon

      Hi jenny,

      I have done this full cleanse twice — once when I originally started my candida diet switch, and then actually once again when I was about 10 months postpartum and it was clear that I had an overgrowth again, though I modified it then because I was breastfeeding, and still saw results/a reset occur pretty quickly. Once in a while though if I ever feel like I need a little reset I do maybe 24-28 hours of a similar cleanse and find that it helps a lot. Hope this helps you too! Feel free to reach out if you want to talk further or want to explore coaching 🙂

  6. Stephanie

    Beyond happy I came across your post. This helped me in so many ways. Finally feel like a normal woman again. I’ve been crying everyday because I would get reoccurring yeast infections. Ever since I started this cleanse I have not had one yet! My hair is healthier and I feel great.

    Thank you thank you thank you!

    • Shannon

      AMAZING! So happy to hear this. Its incredible what a little nutrition and lifestyle switch can do to your overall health sometimes. So happy for you!

    • Sara

      Hi! Was wondering if you could possibly share and advice that you could add. Maybe some other things you did differently or added to help with the cleanse. Any advice would be helpful as I’ve been battling chronic yeast infections for years and I’m beyond exhausted!

  7. Olivia

    Hi! How long did you do the diet/cleanse for? I apologize if you mentioned it and I just missed it. Some articles I’ve read recommend 30 days while others suggest 60-90 days. I’m on day 4 of the diet , well day 3 of eating (I fasted the first 24 hours to really give my gut a break before I started). I feel gnawingly hungry all of the time no matter what or how much I eat and I’m just waiting for my body to adapt to these new eating habits. I surprisingly haven’t had any headaches but I’ve felt weak and tired. I’m sleeping so terribly too. I’m having awful nightmares and wake up constantly throughout the night. It’s been tough but I’m determined to stay on track to fix my gut and skin. In addition to my initial question, I wanted to ask if you ate any fruit at all on the diet? Some articles say it’s okay to eat berries and citrus fruits in moderation but I’m worried if I do, it’ll slow down my progress. Would love to hear your thoughts on that.

    Love the post! Thanks in advance!

  8. Laurice

    Hi Shannon,
    I came across your blog on Pinterest. I was wondering if you have any advice on what I can do currently while breastfeeding, to help with my candida? I’d like to breastfeed as long as I can. My daughter will be 4 months this Friday! I’ve struggled with stomach issues my whole life and have had candida for many years. I’ve been gluten free and dairy free for 8 years now. I’d like to go on a candida diet, but know I can not detox at this time.

    Thank you,

  9. Olivia Smith

    Hi Shannon I am Olivia, I saw your most and I am interested. I am a diabetic and have been battling with yeast infections for the past months. Although I received medication from my medical practitioner yet the infection return within two days. It is a very uncomfortable and I feel like my entire body has changed. Thanks for the support and the initiative you have taken in assisting others by not keeping your experience to yourself. Did you drank one detox drink all the time or you had different flavours and can you send me the recipe for the detox drink. Surely I am trying this. Thnk you.

  10. Rawan aziz

    Hello .. I suffer from excessive Candida, castles and yeast infections, and I want to start on a Candida diet, but how long does the diet last and should I continue for it for life? Also my husband and children have Candida, what is the solution? Thank you so much .?

  11. Jill

    I’m day 1- I feel pretty good/ I’m doing this w a parasite 🦠 detox and a full body cleanse… I heard red light therapy is really good for this sort of thing… I hope that helps some people… I’ll be thinking about this post next few days…

  12. Ash

    I just started the candida diet and I’m worried I’m getting too many carbs? I eat about 160 carbs a day. I mostly eat veggies, however I do have 2 cups of blueberries for breakfast but that’s the only fruit I eat. Should I cut out blueberries completely and cut down on carbs? Eggs are kind of an inflammatory food for me so I’ve been struggling like crazy to find things to eat that are low carb and aren’t more veggies… Help pleaseee😊


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