WARNING: The following post may contain TMI (too much information) for the average Joe or Jane.
Approximately one week ago I began a new breakfast ritual of consuming steamed greens with vinegar and Chef Aj's Faux Parmesan (a blend of nuts, Nutritional Yeast and Benson's Table Tasty).
No more oatmeal. No more green smoothie. No more coffee.
And I felt great.
That is, until I developed a yeast infection. See, I said this might be TMI for some people.
It did not occur to me that it could be my new morning ritual that posed a challenge for my system. You see, I consider myself prone to yeast infections, getting one about every year to two. They totally suck, but I use the over-the-counter medicine for a week and then it's gone. I never thought much more about it.
At the same time this is going on, there was a conversation happening in the comments section of HGK about the safety of ingesting Nutritonal Yeast (I recommend finding that comment and reading it a few times, but the summary is this: Nutritional Yeast is a concentrated source of protein and protein raises IGF-1 levels). It seems one of the Vegan's favorite ingredients has been called into question by researchers. Dr. Alan Goldhammer gave Chef Aj the 411 on the whole business. Bottom line is, we shouldn't be eating it every day, but occasionally it's fine.
I didn't want to believe either one of them! I was so pissed. So I decided to google it myself. What I found was not much about the whole Nutritional Yeast business, but stuff about vinegar and yeast infections. Oh no!
"Yeast infections are caused by the overgrowth of a fungus called Candida. Candida lives in small amounts inside everyone's body. In small amounts it is beneficial to the body and certainly not dangerous . . . Certain foods can create an environment within the body that encourages the yeast to grow . . . The pH level of the body also affects the growth of Candida yeast. The pH level, which stands for 'potential hydrogen' is a measurement of the amount of acid in the body. The scales runs from 0 (high acid) to 14 (low acid). The pH level of human blood should be between 7.35 and 7.45. Pure water has a pH of 7 which is considered to be neutral. Even a small change in the pH level can have a significant effect on our health.
The higher the acid level the easier it is for yeast to grow. Anyone who suffers from yeast infections should everything possible to maintain their body's pH level at the lowest healthy point possible . . . White vinegar is extremely acidic with a typical pH level between 2.4 and 3.4. This extremely high acid level makes an idea environment for Candida yeast to grow out of control. White vinegar should be eliminated from the diet of anyone who has a yeast infection or is prone to getting them. Most other types of vinegar including balsamic, red wine, and rice vinegar are also highly acidic.
The only exception to the rule is apple cider vinegar which has a pH of 7.5. Often sold at health food stores, organic apple cider vinegar that is unfiltered and unpasteurized can actually lower the acid level of the body. Many researchers believe that a teaspoon or two each day will help to prevent yeast infections as well as improving overall health.
The answer to the question, 'does vinegar cause yeast infections?' is yes and no. White, balsamic, red wine, and rice vinegar will definitely cause yeast infections. Natural organic apple cider vinegar will not." source
So I guess the good news is that I can switch immediately to apple cider vinegar. I can even make my own fruit infused flavors, as Maria pointed out in her blog posting this week, which is exactly what I did. But it's 4-6 weeks until I have a supply, so I picked up some of this at Whole Foods this morning:
My husband, who is a chemist, thinks this is all b.s. According to Wikipedia, the pH of apple cider vinegar is typically between pH 4.25 and 5.00 if undiluted. Apparently, to get the health benefits of apple cider vinegar you have to get the RAW kind, i.e. the Braggs apple cider vinegar (which I did not get). I guess I'll be making those jars of flavored vinegar all over again.
Now don't go blaming Chef Aj. She told me that she eats the steamed kale plain most mornings, but on those days when she just can't get in the mood for it, she uses some of those expensive flavored vinegars. I'm sure they're uber delicious. She did not tell me to put the vinegar or the Faux Parmesan on mine, but that happened to be what sounded appealing to me at the time, I really liked how it tasted and so I ate it like that every day. Now I'm looking at having plain steamed kale for breakfast tomorrow morning, at least until I can get myself a bottle of Bragg's Raw Apple Cider Vinegar.
Anyone else out there have a similar reaction?
Have you ever used raw apple cider vinegar medicinally? What were your results? Is this for real or a bunch of hooey?