As I’ve stressed in other sections of the site, your diet is the most important tool to controlling the health of your urinary tract and vagina in general. To get the full effect of a low sugar and low carb diet, it is best not to ease into it. Instead, go head first into it. I am not a doctor, nor a nutritionist. This is simply my personal experience with a low sugar/low carb journey and it has produced amazing results for me.
Before You Start
Before you begin a low carb/low sugar diet, you first need to realize that this is a way of life. This is not a 1 month diet you go on and then go back to your regular way of eating once the month is up. If you are a sufferer of chronic infections, the problem will only come back once you stop the diet. Also, know that this is a healthy way of eating. It goes back to the way humans originally ate–the way our body was made to eat. Native Americans practiced a low carb lifestyle. Hunters and gatherers lived off of meat, nuts, and berries. Also, this is a “low carb” lifestyle, not a “no carb” lifestyle. Often times when people hear low carb, they assume it means no carbs. If you happen to have health problems, you should consult your doctor first before beginning any diet.
Once you’ve mad the conscious decision to do the low carb/low sugar diet, set a date to begin. Before your start date, you should rid your cabinets of all high in carb foods. These foods include: sweets of any kind, bread, potato chips, crackers, cereal, pasta, rice, sugary juices and soft drinks. If you live alone, this should be easy to do. If you do not live alone and you can’t throw all this stuff out because you have family members who eat it, then you might just try putting all these foods in one cabinet and then put the foods you are allowed in another cabinet. This way, when you reach for your food, you won’t be tempted by the high carb/sugar foods. Try the same thing in the fridge too, if possible. Next you should go grocery shopping to stock up on plenty of low carb/low sugar foods in the diet list, so you’re never in a situation where you don’t have anything to eat. You may want to invest in a carbohydrate counter, it has the carb counts and serving size of various foods. In addition, I would suggest buying a low carb book. There are several low carb books out there. My diet follows the basics of the Atkins diet. There are a couple of different versions, I bought “Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution”, which is an older Atkins book, on Amazon for about $3 or $4. Although, this page tells the basics of the diet, the book really explains the details as well as the science behind the diet. Dr. Atkins’ even has a section in the book on yeast infections. There is also a carbohydrate counter and recipes in the back of the book.
For the first month I cut out all foods that had more than 1 gram of sugar and completely cut out all white carbs (NO bread, pasta, potatoes, chips, crackers, etc.) as well as caffeine and even fruit. I basically stayed on what is referred to as Induction in the Atkins plan for 1 month. You have to do lots of label reading. You want to starve the yeast by not giving it sugar to feed off of, and you want your urinary tract to take a break from all the carbs and sugar that have been irritating it. The basics of my diet were meat, a little cheese, and low carb veggies. Below is a list of the foods . Meats are the free foods. You can have as much as you want because they have low or no carbs. I ate about 20 carbs a day or less. There is no need to count calories, just worry about the carbs and don’t eat anything with more than 1 gram of sugar.
Meats/Fish All meats are allowed except liver. All types of fish are allowed. Nothing breaded is allowed. Use only seasonings that do not contain sugar and have very little carbs.
Chicken, Turkey, Hamburgers (without bun), Hot Dogs (without bun), Steak, Sausage, Bacon, Eggs,Ham, Bologne, Venison, Veal, Pork, Lamb, Tuna, Salmon, Sole, Trout, Flounder, Sardines, Herring, Shrimp, Lobster, Squid, Crab.
Cheese Most cheeses are ok to eat. You just have to look at the labels and look for something with zero sugar and 1 gram of carbs or less per serving.
Bleu cheese, Havarti, American, Swiss, Provolone, Cheddar,Mozzarella, Cream Cheese, Goat cheese.
Vegetables I limited myself to either one large salad a day with dressing or two small salads with dressing.
Lettuce, Romaine, Escarole, Arugula, Endive, Radicchio, Chicory, Sorrel, Mache, Bok Choy, Chives, Parsley, Radishes, Fennel, Peppers, Celery, Alfalfa sprouts, Mushrooms, Olives, Cucumbers (peeled), Asparagus, String beans, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Eggplant, Kale, Tomatoes, Onion, Rhubarb, Scallions, Leaks, Spinach, Summer squash, Zucchini squash, Okra, Turnips, Avocado, Bean sprouts, Water chestnuts, Snow pea pods, Collard greens, Broccoli.
Condiments Read the labels of these as well because different brands sometimes have different carb and sugar counts.
Ranch Dressing, Bleu Cheese Dressing, Cesar Dressing, Mustard, Mayonnaise, Sugar free relish, Soy sauce.
Fats and Oils
Olive oil, All vegetable oils, butter
Artificial sweeteners are sometimes said to be a no no when you’re on a diet to control yeast/urinary tract infections. In some people artificial sweeteners aggravate the urinary tract and spark yeast infections. Studies have shown yeast loves sugar and likes splenda less than sugar but loves aspartame even more than sugar. I was able to successfully rid my body of yeast infections and UTIs, while using splenda and aspartame in moderation. I might have 1 or 2 drinks or snacks a day that contain those artificial sweeteners. Some days I have none. If I have more than 1 or 2, I start to feel like I may have a yeast infection or UTI coming on. I have a hard time believing yeast loves aspartame more than sugar, because if I have something high in sugar, the effects are much worse than if I have too much aspartame. I personally prefer splednda to aspartame, but many of my favorite soft drinks do contain aspartame. You may want to try the diet first without using any artificial sweeteners and then introduce them at a later date and see if they have any affect on you. You may also opt to use stevia. Stevia is an herb (and contains no sugar) that grows wild as a small shrub. It is commonly grown in parts of Paraguay,Brazil, China, Japan, and California.
Drinks Limit the amount of artificially sweetened drinks. 1 or 2 a day. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. You may include club soda in this count.
Crystal light (raspberry ice, orange, lemonade, decaf tea), Diet Root Beer, Sprite Zero, Fresca (any soda is ok as long as it is diet, zero carbs, zero sugar, and caffeine free), Decaf Coffee, Decaf Tea, Fuze (slenderize), Club Soda, Water.
Low Carb Snacks to Soothe Cravings You will probably get cravings once in a while for something salty, sweet, or crunchy. Here are a few snack ideas to get you through those cravings and steer your mind away from the sugary carby foods you should avoid. Use the sweet tasting snacks in moderation. No more than 1 a day.
Almonds, Pecans, (raw unsalted are best, but salted are ok), Sugar free jello, Pork rinds, Coffee with sugar free flavored creamer (they come in flavors of french vanilla, hazelnut, etc.), sugar free gum, EAS AdvantEdge Carb Control Shakes (they come in chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, Cafe Caramel), Atkins Shakes (these come in Vanilla and Chocolate), Ice Breakers Sugar Free Sours.
If you are staying away from all artificial sweeteners and have a craving for something sweet, try eating something high in protein. Nuts, beef jerky, and meat work well. High protein foods help ease cravings.
After 1 Month
After being on the diet for a month, I discovered that my period came and went and I did not have a yeast infection. I also didn’t have any Urinary Tract Infections. Hopefully the results will be the same for you if you’re following the diet as well, but remember, everyone is different. What works for one person, may not work for another. If you feel a little better and not completely better, then I would stick to under 20 carbs for another month or so until you feel 100% better. Once you feel 100% better, you can start increasing your carbs a little each week by eating more vegetables and nuts. You can also introduce some new foods into your diet, like certain fruits. Over time, I increased my carbs to about 30 per day. You may be able to eat more, but for me that seemed to be the magic number to keep everything healthy down there.
Increase your carb level by 5 grams every couple of weeks until you reach your magic number. You can do this by adding an extra serving size of vegetables or nuts. You can also introduce Blueberries (21), Raspberries (17) , and Strawberries (13). The number in parenthesis represents how many to eat for 5 grams of carbs.
After First Few Months
Once you’ve discovered your magic number you can slowly introduce other fruits and other low carb snacks. As a general rule of thumb, I like to stick to recipes and foods that have 7 grams of sugar or less. I still keep my serving size of fruits small to keep my sugar intake low and daily carb count at 30. I don’t eat fruit on a daily basis.
The best thing about doing low carb/low sugar, is that there are tons of snacks and recipes out there to try. It would be difficult for most people to go the rest of their lives without ever having ice cream, cookies, cakes, etc. Luckily, there are many sugar free and low carb versions of these types of treats. Keep in mind these are only to be eaten in moderation. I’ve found I can handle them wonderfully in moderation. Everyone is different, as I mentioned above some people cannot handle the artificial sweeteners. You may want to try making your own treats with stevia if you’re not big on the artificial sweeteners. Many of the Do it yourself Low Carb Treats I have listed can easily use stevia in the place of splenda.
Low Carb Treats
These are a few of my favorite store bought (or online purchased) low carb/low sugar treats.
Breyers Carb Smart Ice Cream (Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberry, Rocky Road), Breyers Carb Smart Ice Cream Bars, Atkins Advantage Bars – Peanut Butter Granola and Chocolate Peanut Butter, Atkins Indulge Bars Caramel Nut Chew, South Beach Peanut Butter Wafer Sticks, Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Dark Chocolate Raspberry Bars
Do It Yourself Low Carb Treats
If you’d like to try making some of your own low carb treats, here are a few of my favorite recipes that I’ve found googling.
Sugar Free Almond Cookies – Lisa Shea, BellaOnline’s Low Carb Editor
Linda’s Low Carb Menus & Recipes – This website is chocked full of sweet treat recipes. I’ve tried many of these recipes. My favorites are typically the ones rated 3 stars or better. The Mock Danish is only rated 2 stars, but this was one of my favorite quick treats.
King Arthur Sugar Free Brownie Mix – This is sort of do it yourself. It’s a mix, so it’s not made from scratch but does require some mixing and baking. Extremely delicious though.