CANDIDA DIET ROASTED CAULIFLOWER, QUINOA, AND CHICKPEA SALAD

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Real talk: it’s been a rough few weeks. Long story short (seriously, I cut this down from 800+ words), after my last post, my digestive system got even worse. I visited that functional doctor and started reading Happy Gut because I knew, whatever the doctor found, my gut needed a reset. I got the results back from the doctor and it turns out I had a candida overgrowth causing a gut dysbiosis. She put me on a prescription, some gut-supporting supplements, and, of course, the candida diet.

The candida diet removes all potential gut-disrupting, candida-feeding foods. This includes all sugar, grains, dairy, alcohol, and most fruit. It’s similar to the Happy Gut diet, which also removes eggs, coffee, and most legumes. I was miserable enough to give up whatever it took to feel better, so I decided to just give it all up for the four weeks in hopes of taking care of this shit.

It definitely felt overwhelming at first because I’m not exaggerating when I say cooking and eating are my favorite things in life. But as I started looking through my recipe boards on Pinterest (while going through some very real coffee withdrawals), I realized several of the recipes would work with a few tweaks. So I made a meal plan, shopping list, went grocery shopping, and started cooking. The first thing I made was the roasted cauliflower, quinoa, and chickpea salad (recipe below).

I’m about halfway through now and, I have to admit, I thought I would feel better faster since I’m basically giving up all the things. It’s definitely been a two-steps-forward-one-step-back sorta progress. I feel like all the websites and health bloggers always talk about how glowy your skin will be and how much energy you’ll have and how just all around fucking incredible you’ll feel by giving up sugar and dairy and gluten. And I can’t pretend I’m not a little salty about not only not feeling any of those things but also still feeling a little dysfunctional in the gut. But I’m trying to be patient.

One thing I have noticed is the fact I don’t miss everything as much as I expected. The main things I really miss are coffee (obviously), wine, crumbly cheeses, and plain yogurt. And while I can’t wait to get back to my normal moderate diet, it has been interesting to be more aware of the things I maybe don’t truly need on a regular basis in my diet. (Basically, this is me trying really hard to find a silver lining here. Like, really hard.) Here’s hoping the next couple weeks I start to feel normal again.

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Roasted Cauliflower, Quinoa, and Chickpea Salad | Serves 4-5

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1-2 handfuls cilantro
  • 1 small handful mint
  • ¼ cup pepitas
  • 1 lime, juiced and zested
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425. Break cauliflower into small florets and roughly chop red onion. Toss both with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange on a baking sheet and roast in preheated oven for 25-35 minutes.

Rinse quinoa under cold water and add to a pot with 2 cups water. Bring to boil and then lower to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, until tender. Drain excess liquid if needed.

Roughly chop herbs and add to a large bowl. Rinse chickpeas and add to bowl, along with pepitas, lime juice, lime zest, and olive oil.

Once quinoa and veggies are done cooking, let cool slightly and add to the bowl. Toss to combine and add salt and pepper, to taste. Add a bit more lime juice or olive oil, as needed.

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