Hi, I'm Kim

Hi, I’m Kim Christensen, M.Om., Dipl.OM, L.Ac. I’m a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and owner of Constellation Acupuncture & Healing Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Back before going to school and becoming a healthcare practitioner, Affairs of Living was my creative outlet while healing from chronic health issues. These days, I'm in a new phase of life, and this website is no longer updated.

Want to stay up to date? Check out my new website www.constellationacu.com.

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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Back on the Anti-Candida Train with Herbed Chicken & Greens Soup (ACD Friendly, low carb, gluten free)

Hello friends.  Today I'm writing with some sadness.  I have decided I need to return to an anti-Candida albicans diet (ACD) protocol. What is Candida albicans?  It's a yeast organism that everyone has in their system, but in some of us - the lucky ones - it multiplies and overgrows in our gut and leads to a whole host of nasty symptoms: things like brain fog, chemical and food sensitivities, food cravings, fatigue, skin problems, rashes, headaches, arthritic symptoms, allergies, digestive distress, depression, anxiety, and most notably, vaginitis and oral thrush.  When a Candida albicans overgrowth reaches this kind of systemic level, it is called Candidiasis.

Candidiasis can happen to anyone, but some people are more susceptible than others.  A history of antibiotic or steroid use, high carbohydrate or high sugar diets, or leaky gut syndrome or intestinal inflammation makes someone more likely to suffer a Candida albicans overgrowth.  Treatment methods vary, but most schools of thought agree that dietary changes and antifungals are necessary to rebalance proper bacteria levels in the gut.  Since sugar and carbs feed the yeast, dietary protocols generally call for a reliance on low-carb, no-sugar foods, and limiting or omitting entirely starchy vegetables, grains, and fruits, depending on personal tolerance.  Fermented foods are discouraged by some protocols, alcohol is a strict no no, as is an excess of mucous forming, dampening foods like dairy.  One has to watch out for molds in spices, herbs, nuts, mushrooms, and bulk foods.  And there needs to be a strict avoidance of yeasts - they hide in everything.

Last year I was on a strict ACD for about 10 months.  It made a huge difference, but was incredibly hard on me.  I was very sick when I went on the ACD; my digestive system was thrashed and I was suffering severe Candidiasis symptoms and extreme fatigue.  My system was weak, and  I wasn't strong enough to withstand the intense cleanse I was putting myself through.  I lost weight rapidly, lost a ton of hair, and was completely lethargic.  Once I started seeing a naturopath, we tested for Candidiasis, which proved that I was right in my suspicions.  She helped me moderate my ACD diet and gave me anti-fungals, and together, we worked on a good protocol.  While my blood sugar was still a disaster, I stopped losing such frightening amounts of weight, and started feeling better.  Over the next 5 months, I noticed more and more improvement, and then in March, I tested negative for Candida.  I had beaten it!  I felt really great, inside and out.  I was even able to eat fruit again, without the old BActerial Vaginitis flaring up. What a victory!

So, I slowly started letting more foods back in; fruit, agave nectar and maple syrup.  More baked goods.  More starchy vegetables.  Lately, even itty bitty amounts of cane sugar in those allergy-free chocolate chips and tapioca chips.    And I had been feeling really good until about June, when I noticed a few things coming back.  My carb cravings got stronger.  My food cravings in general are sometimes out of control.  I have been experiencing more headaches again.  More fatigue.  Join pain. Some of my old skin issues are coming back, like random hives, more breakouts, and some eczema on my hands.  And despite more my active lifestyle, I have been gaining weight like crazy.   For a girl with a perfectly function thyroid and pituitary, that's weird.  But the most irritating and frustrating symptom is the flare-ups in Bacterial Vaginitis-type symptoms.  On a few occasions, after eating more sugar than usual, I experienced a bad hangover type reaction.

I've tried to ignore these symptoms, or attribute them to other things, but my gut tells me that it is a flare-up in the good old Candida.  For those of us that deal with this struggle, our systems are susceptible to being overcome by the Candida again, and we need to be careful.  While I had hoped I had truly beat it, I'm thinking that I may have been a bit overenthusiastic at the re-inclusion of some of those formerly forbidden foods into my diet.  My system is sensitive, more sensitive than I thought.  My gut tells me that this is what I need to do.  And if there is one thing I've learned from this process, it is that I need to listen to my gut (literally!), no matter how much I want to tell it to shut up.

So, what does this mean?  Anti-candida diet, here I come, once again.  I like the method used by the Whole Approach website - their diet phases and food lists are very helpful and totally approachable.  Fellow blogger Ricki from Diet, Dessert, and Dogs is also using this approach in her current ACD diet.  Ricki is a wonderful blogger and inspiring woman; I have gotten excellent support from her, and her encouraging words have helped give me the strength to make this decision.  If you aren't familiar with her blog, I highly recommend checking it out - she is a wonderfully creative cook, an excellent writer, and is generous with kindness and sincerity.  Someday, I hope to be able to meet her in person!  But in the meantime, I read her blog religiously.  As for my blog, you'll be seeing a lot less baked goods, that's for sure.  More high protein dishes, no more fruit, no more sweeteners other than stevia.  Lots and LOTS and LOTS of vegetables, fixed every which way.

The thought of doing this for winter SUCKS.  But I deserve to feel better than I do currently, and if this is what it takes, I need to be willing to go back down this road.  I think it will be easier on my system this time around - I'm much stronger these days, and I'm way better at cooking with all these restrictions than I was when I first started on this path almost two years ago.  I'm determined at making some killer ACD-friendly holiday food.  And maybe even treat myself so a little slice of ACD-friendly pumpkin pie.

Yikes, here we go again.  Back to the Whole Approach food list , the Jeanne Marie Martin's Complete Candida Yeast Guidebook , and Donna Gates' Body Ecology Diet.  Back to the coconut oil.  Back to the cleansing baths and being gentle with myself.  I know more this time around, I'm in a healthier place, and feel empowered by this decision, not a slave to something I don't understand.  I now know how to explain it to my friends and family, and how to ask for support.  And all things willing, I'll feel better.  I have a strong feeling it will make a big difference.

So, to kick it off, here's a little recipe for some tasty, low-carb, ACD-friendly chicken soup I made last night.  Full of chunky chicken, lots of green veggies, flavorful herbs, and one little carrot for spleen meridian-strengthening power, this soup feels satisfying, not restrictive.   Freeze leftovers for easy meals later on.  I started this chicken soup from scratch, with the whole darn bird, the best way to do it.   It is easy to cook a whole chicken, and once you taste the stock, you won't go back. Besides being delicious, the natural gelatin in real bone broth and stocks is ultra-healing to our body's tissues, and can help repair and soothe the lining of the digestive tract.  Between a couple batches of stock, and all the meat, one little chicken can yield many many meals.

I like using a crock pot to cook my chickens to save time, but it also works well on the stovetop. I put my chicken in the crockpot last night at 6:30, ate dinner, ran to Whole Foods for a bunch of low-starch vegetables and more coconut oil (argh.), went to the gym, and got home at 9:30 to a cooked chicken and about 6 cups of fresh stock.  I cut up the vegetables for the soup and sauteed them in the pot on the stove while I cleaned up the chicken and strained the broth, then finally assembled everything in the pot.  By about 10:15, I had a pot of fresh soup cooling the fridge.  I also had a second batch of stock going in the crock pot, and leftover chicken for meals later this week!  See?  Home-cooking doesn't have to take up all your time.  The more you do it, the faster it gets.

If you don't want to start with the whole chicken and make your own stock, feel free to use store bought stock and skinless, boneless chicken breasts (or leftover pre-cooked chicken) for a super-fast and easy meal.


serves 6

1 whole chicken, free range, no antibiotic
6-8 c water
2 bay leaves
2-3 whole allspice berries or cloves
handful parsley and fresh thyme or other herbs
2 tsp marjoram or oregano
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 chunk onion
other vegetable trimmings/scraps

3 c cooked chicken, diced or shredded
2 c broccoli florets and chopped stems
2 c celery, sliced
4 large leaves Swiss Chard, leaves chopped and ribs sliced (may sub kale or collards)
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
optional: 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed and sliced
2 tsp dry marjoram or oregano
1 Tbsp dry basil
1-2 tsp thyme or savory
1/4 c parsley, minced
pinch allspice
8 c stock/broth and water
1-2 T olive oil
salt/Herbamare to taste

COOK THE CHICKEN/STOCK - looks like a lot of instructions, but it is REALLY EASY!

  1. Rinse off the chicken, and trim off any excess fat or waste.  Stuff fresh herbs inside the chicken.
  2. Place the chicken in large stockpot or crockpot with bay leaves, allspice, marjoram, carrot, celery, and onion.
  3. Crock pot: cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6-8 hours.  Stove top: bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 1 hour. 
  4. Once chicken is done, remove it from the pot.  Remove skin, setting aside for making another batch of stock later on.  Remove meat from bones, setting bones aside with skin.  Set aside 3 cups of meat for the soup, and save the rest for later in the refrigerator or freezer.
  5. Strain broth through a fine colander into a large bowl, and use it for the soup!  
  6. If you want an extra batch of stock, place skin, bones, and the veggies/herbs back in the pot.  Throw in some fresh carrot and vegetable trimmings from the soup veggies, more water, and more herbs.  Cook on the stove top for an hour or two, or up to 24 hours on low in the crock pot.  The longer it cooks, the richer it tastes!  When it is done, strain through colander, and store in jars.  Use within 5 days, or freeze for later.


  1. In a large stockpot, heat olive oil and saute garlic, celery, sliced chard ribs,  carrot, and broccoli on low, covered, for about 5-8 minutes, until fragrant.  
  2. Add chard leaves, cooked chicken, and stock, and simmer until all the vegetables are almost tender.  Add herbs and spices to taste, and let cook 5 more minutes to flavor through.  
  3. Serve!


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Reader Comments (9)

Damn yeast! Why does it have to be so stubborn? Sorry you've got a flare up. The colder months do seem like a yucky time to do this; I've had a hard time without the carb warmth/bulk and I live in FL. I can only imagine how hard it is for you, where it is actually cold.

As my mom would say, "back in the saddle again..."

October 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMetta

Oof, that sounds rough! I'm glad you have a positive attitude with a better history of recipes to fuel you though. Best of luck!

October 22, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterswellvegan

How long was it the first time around that the fatigue went away on your ACD? I've been on the diet now for almost 9 weeks (to cure some ailments including chronic fatigue) and I seem to have no energy. I'm hoping this gets better!

October 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShel

Sorry to hear you are so fatigued - the Candida diet is hard to stick with, and when you aren't feeling improvements, it makes it hard to hang in there! Are you working with a healthcare provider, or are you doing the diet on your own? I think it can be really beneficial to find a good naturopath, if you haven't already.

Just from my personal experience, it makes me wonder...
*are you getting enough calories?
*are you getting enough healthy, unrefined, complex carbohydrates?
*are you getting enough protein?
*do you have undiscovered food or environmental allergies/sensitivities?
*are you getting enough sleep and moderate amounts of gentle exercise?
*are you stressed or in an environment that would cause emotional strain?

The other thing is that depending on the severity of your Candida overgrowth, it may take a long time for your body to recover; it is such an individual thing.

I was also fatigued for a very long time. And truth be told, the fatigue actually got worse once I started the diet on my own. I did it alone for about 4 months, which I see in retrospect was far too severe and low carb, then started working with a naturopath and getting her advice. The worst of the fatigue ended a couple of months after working with her on diet, anti fungals, and gut-healing supplements. We also did allergy testing, and removed many foods I was allergic too, and that also made a WORLD of difference in my energy levels. The combination of more calories + the right foods + the proper antifungals really helped. But I was on the diet for about 7 months by that point! And honestly, it wasn't until about February/March of 2009 that I really started feeling more like my old self again - almost 10 months after I started the diet.

Everyone's healing experience will be so different, and I hope that you find the information you need to get over the hump. When I'm having bad days, I find that positive affirmations and truly believing that my body is strong and capable of healing is just as important as diet modifications and supplements. GOOD LUCK!

October 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim

Thanks for your reply! To answer some of your questions (sorry this is so long)...

I am feeling a lot of improvement in every other symptom (no more PMS!!!) except for the fatigue. I wouldn't say it's gotten worse, it's just not an up and down thing anymore, just steady low energy.

I'm not seeing a naturopath at the moment since I'm overseas and it's just not available here.

I don't know if I'm getting enough calories, I don't count, just eat until I'm full. 3 full meals a day and I don't go to bed hungry. Pretty much lots of meat and cultured veggies at each meal. I've cut out all the starches and complex carbs to let the leaky gut (that I am sure I have) heal. So, pretty low carb and lots of protein. I've done that simple style of eating for the last 4 weeks and I have not have one bout of "D" and that's a record for me. The complex carbs run right through me at th moment.

Wheat was a problem. I was on SCD for a few weeks so that's why all the starches came out. Not quite sure about environmental sensitivities. Sleep...good weeks and bad weeks. Stress...my job is pretty stressful sometimes.

Severity...I had a vag yeast infection when I was 4 and in middle and high school, along with UTIs through my 20s so I must have been sick for most of the 31 years.

This fatigue is killer but it's good to know that it does get better, at least I hope so for me.

October 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShel

Congratulations on a monumental (and what I'm sure was a tough) decision! But you're right, you ARE stronger this time, armed with knowledge and experience. Your attitude is great and I know you will beat it this time! And veggies don't need to be boring, do they? Just look at this soup :)

Thank you for your kind words! I feel the same way about your blog :) I'm really looking forward to seeing what you come up with--yay! All foods I can eat!

PS Just wondering what candida test your ND gave you when you found you were clear? Mine hasn't actually tested me--says that most tests aren't reliable.

October 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRicki

Hi Kim
I stumbled across your blog tonight and wanted to let you know how impressed I am. I have marked it in my favorites! I am fairly new to Lyme and new to Yeast issues!

I will be back here for sure! Thanks for all you do to help so many of us!

Karen aka btrflynana

November 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbtrflynana...

Ricki - my test was through Metametrix, it is a really intensive DNA (stool) test that tests for all sorts of things - enzymes, parasites, bacteria, etc etc etc. It was really helpful. Here's the link: http://www.metametrix.com/content/DirectoryOfServices/DNA-Stool-Analysis-GI-Effects

Maybe you could check it out? I also had a another test run through another lab later on...I don't remember what that test was though, and can't find my lab report right now :)

Karen- thanks for the note and kind words! I'm not new to yeast and allergies, but am new to Lyme; just diagnosed about a month ago. I'm glad you enjoy what you find here, and hope to see you back often. Best!

November 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim

Shel -
Sorry, I've been so slow to reply! It sounds like you are doing a good job of listening to your body and trying out different things; hang in there, healing can be slow. I'm glad that some things are improving, and I hope that you find some relief from the fatigue and the digestive trouble with carbs - that must be so frustrating. It is unfortunate you cannot find any resources overseas. good luck with your continued healing process!

November 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim
Sorry, no comments/questions allowed right now.
Hi reader! My schedule as full-time grad student with two part-time jobs doesn't allow me the time to manage comments. I hope you enjoy what you find and can figure out answers to any questions you may have. xo