The answers to Life’s BIGGEST questions.

Feeling low or lost? is your life filled with anxiety, fear, or worry? Don’t know which way to turn? Need a boost to your self-esteem, or directions about how to find your purpose?

Then, great news: my latest book Why Your Life Matters is now available on Amazon for your Kindle and as a paperback. Also, of course, to be found on iTunes. I’m so proud of it. Already it’s received seven unsolicited reviews on Amazon, saying amazing things, such as:

Why Your Life Matters‘You will love this book….a must-read…brilliant writer…’ 

Rich with wisdom, replete with guiding principles, and abundantly practical, this book is for us all.’

‘To be short and to the point, this is a wonderful, wonderful read. Once started, I could not put this book down.’

There is nothing out there like this. It is inspirational, uplifting, moving, informative stuff that I guarantee will change how you handle life’s challenges. Above all, it will help you understand who you are and your place in the universe, as well as inspiring you to find and fulfill your purpose.

Just recently, Spirituality & Health magazine ran an excerpt. To read it, click HERE.

Why Your Life Matters is food for the soul for anyone seeking to make sense of his or her life. Great wisdom lives here. Read it and remember why you and your life are indeed important.’ – Alan Cohen.

“So well-written. A very enjoyable read.” Dr. Rita Louise, Just Energy Radio

“I really enjoyed this book. Wonderful principles, packaged perfectly.” Robert Sharpe, BITE Radio

 

 

 

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Candida: could there be a magic potion cure after all?

Taming the Beast Within Final CoverHappy new year, candidates.

New book – available now. Taming the Beast Within. How I tackled Candida and won (almost). Maybe it will help you as well. 

Buy it on Amazon today (click on picture to go to site), and iTunes very soon. 

This is a brief –  but getting longer all the time – P.S. to the Candida post I wrote last year. That whole thing, if you recall, was an experiment to discover what the causes of candida overgrowth are and to find ways to bring it under control. It was a mixed bag. As interesting as it was, other than cutting out sugar, dairy, and wheat, and reducing salt, I’m not sure we ended up any the wiser and the world still searches for a solution.

candida-albicansMy own status is that I still have whistling in my ears and slight recurring deafness that has no rhyme or reason to it, as well as skin that’s prone to break-outs whenever it feels like it, but usually related to the foods I’ve eaten. The break-outs puzzled me for the longest time. Then I discovered they might be related to leaky gut syndrome, and I went, “Oh.”

That’s all: oh.

Well, come on, how many theories I have heard by now? Thousands.

Sometimes, when you have a candida overgrowth, you find that nutrients, toxins, and whatever else spill out through holes in the intestines and enter the bloodstream, which then redistributes them around your body, causing zits, rashes, and all kinds of acne-like symptoms. I’m making it sound more fun than it is, but trust me, it’s annoying in the extreme. Same thing happens with parasites.

Anyway, I’d almost given up trying to solve what is turning into a long-term systemic problem. I was done. Nothing worked. It was just the luck of the draw – something I was stuck with forever. That’s how I saw it. It was quite depressing.

Then, one day last November, I stopped by an amazing health food restaurant in Los Angeles to buy some lunch, and spotted in the cooler cabinet a little plastic bottle with no label on it. Underneath, stuck to the shelf, was a piece of paper that said, ‘Anti-candida shot.’

Wow. Really?

The guy behind the counter assured me it was: i) very popular, ii) tasted good, and iii) actually worked.

The mystery potionSo naturally I bought a bottle. Here it is, on the left. It looks like something you’d carry a urine sample in.

Having drunk the contents, I can honestly say that the man in the store was lying through his teeth – about number ii anyway: the potion was probably the worst-tasting liquid I have ever put in my mouth, and if you know me or have followed my career as a travel writer even a tiny bit, you’ll appreciate how bad it must therefore be. Soooo bad, actually, that there’s nothing to compare it to. Except maybe urine, mixed with vinegar, pepper and ginger.

But hey, that’s just me. And if it works, what the hell – right? It’s worth any amount of suffering if it means getting my hearing back and clearing up my skin.

To make things more complicated: a) the drink is only ‘alive’ in the bottle for 48 hours, so you can’t buy a batch of it in bulk ahead of time; and b) the store only makes it when the chef is in the mood, OR if you nag him by calling up every morning, asking, “Is it in yet?” Which is what I did. After much pestering, I’ve managed to get them to agree to make and sell me two bottles every two days for the next two weeks. It’s my two-two-two candida solution, and if it works, then I’ll be the first to tout it as the miracle healing potion we’ve all been looking for.

So what does the bottle contain?

I asked them. It’s a cocktail of several powerful natural ingredients mixed in set proportions, including oregano oil, pau d’arco, cayenne, apple cider vinegar, and ginger (but no urine). Because it’s made fresh, the store doesn’t ship it, but – and this is where it’s so great – if you email them, they will give you the recipe!!!!! Not sure why they would do that, but it’s what the manager told me. I mean, how fantastic is that? I love these people.

So there you go – I feel a whole new experiment coming on.

The crash test dummy is submitting to another two-week self-medication program. I’ll be drinking a bottle of the mystery potion every day, though not all at once, of course – it’s so strong – and reporting back. At the same time, I’ll be helping the process along by cutting out sugar, gluten, and dairy from my diet, and reducing my salt intake. That at least gives the potion a fighting chance. Then, if it works, I’ll name the place and give you their email address, in case you want to follow up and ask any questions of your own. How does that sound?

Good.

I returned from the store an hour ago, clutching my first two bottles. I am very excited. So let the masochism begin. Come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you how the first day went. Watch this space.

DAY 1:  Drank the potion in two separate stages.

By mid-afternoon, felt slight pains around my liver and also where my gallbladder would be if I had one.  Bear in mind, my body is very confused right now. When you take into account the combined abuse it received between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day – all the food, all the drinking, and so on – it’s a wonder my organs still function in any meaningful way and haven’t stormed out in protest. So I’m allowing a little leeway for my system to clear itself up.

Leaky Gut

Actual X-ray of my stomach today

As a result, my leaky gut is flaring up terribly and my face is a mess (if this is the equivalent of organs storming out in protest, then the protest is right there on my skin). As the potion kicks in and I cut out the things that cause the problem – sugar, wheat, dairy, etc. – that will subside, I’m sure.

What I’m noticing on this first day is that the skin tone is better. Not  a lot better, but part of it could be that I’m waving goodbye to cookies and chocolates and coffee, and switching to salads and green drinks, using water to flush the system and calm everything down. But it’s hard. Taking this potion is like throwing a wet towel over a nuclear power plant fire. The problem won’t go away in a morning. But at least I’m noticing minor differences, and any zits are clearing up faster than normal.

By tomorrow, there should be progress.

DAY 2:  Well, I guess it depends on what we mean by progress. I say this because something terrible happened.

To begin with, let me admit that I think it’s working. At some level, the magic potion is causing change to happen, because my skin tone is definitely better and the volatility of my complexion has subsided greatly. I still bear heavy scars from the Holidays and the gluttony that is my calling card these days, but on the whole things are picking up quite noticeably.

I have huge sugar cravings still, which I’m told is a sign of candidiasis, because, like the plant in Little Shop of Horrors, the angry yeast needs feeding.  And I confess, I buckled: somebody landed a box of Edelweiss chocolate pretzels in front of me, and I simply didn’t have the willpower to resist eating two of them. But no more. I’m done with sugar, dairy, etc. There will be no more lapses.

So things, I thought, were improving.

Then, last night, something terrible happened, and it left me quite shaken.

I was having a crazy dream – the kind of dream that’s so vivid it jolts you awake. You know the kind? Well, in this dream I was choking and drowning, desperately trying to expel water from my throat. It got so bad that in the end I opened my eyes, and found that it wasn’t a dream. I tumblr_men3eomeiA1rm2wy4o1_400really was choking and drowning.

There was fluid stuck in my throat. My gag reflex was triggered. Vile-tasting fluid that I think was bile, and which would neither come up nor go down, had accumulated in the hinterland past the back of my tongue, blocking my passageway. Oh my god, it was horrible. For thirty seconds or more I resisted panicking and just coughed and swallowed, coughed and swallowed, until eventually the bile dissipated and I could breathe again. But it was a horrific moment. My throat is still sore and the muscles in my neck are aching.  The taste in my mouth afterwards was ghastly as well. Again, it had to be bile from my liver.

First thing this morning I rushed to the health food shop and spoke to the guy who prepared the potion. He seemed unfazed by my apoplectic ranting about almost dying in my sleep. “It’s probably your lymph system detoxing,” he told me calmly.

“But I’ve done four Master Cleanses, how much more bloody toxicity can there still be in my lymph system?”

He rolled his eyes. Doesn’t think much of the Master Cleanse, apparently. “The body’s just clearing out toxins, that’s all. The liquid is strong.”

“Oh. Okay.”

And so I bought two more bottles.

I felt like a fool doing so, but I can’t stop now. I can’t allow myself to be thrown off-course by an act of non-erotic auto-asphyxiation. The experiment will continue. Drinking lots of water and green tea now. No more sugar, coffee, dairy, gluten, etc etc etc. You know the drill.

And we’ll see how things develop tomorrow. I promise I’ll never use the word progress again.

DAY 3: Itchy. So very itchy. It started off at my thighs, but now my ankles itch as well. I’m told that many lymph nodes are in the legs, so maybe that’s it, and the potion is being a new broom, cleaning out all the trash. Still, it’s annoying. Just visited a friend’s place for brunch, and people kept looking at me, wondering what I was scratching.

Also, woke up with loud ringing in left ear, almost distractingly so. Is the candida throwing a tantrum?

The chef who makes up the potion has gone to Australia for a month, so he instructed someone else how to make it while he’s gone. Clearly, the recipe didn’t get passed on right, because this batch is a lot less offensive. I managed to drink a full bottle in under an hour, and do so without convulsing and making noises.

Poop-check: Was expecting blobs of candida in my stool, but nothing so far. The poop sits in the toilet like a sleeping dachshund, peaceful and happy. Hopefully, as I continue drinking, that will change.

DAY 4:  Did I mention the itching? Oh my god. It woke me up twice in the night. Thighs and shins, itching like mofos. And you know how much a mofo itches.

I also have the most appalling sugar cravings today. Since a symptom of candidiasis is an insatiable hunger images-1for sugar, I have to believe that this is connected. Without sugar, the candida overgrowth will start dying off, and it doesn’t want that. So perhaps the itching is symptomatic of change. I notice when I eat too much sugar, or if I drink a Diet Coke, my arms and legs itch for hours afterward. It’s possible it sends the lymph system into overload, trying to remove the crap I’m putting in. So, without sugar, the lymph nodes start cleaning themselves out and I end up itching all over again. Maybe. Who knows?

On the plus side, my skin is looking better all the time. The zits from New Year’s Eve are subsiding finally and things seem to be looking up on that front.

I’m thinking this might be a two to three-week process – reducing the foods that stoke the candida while killing off the overgrowth that’s already there. My ear is whistling today, but not as much. I’m just trusting that this is the candida being pissy like a two-year-old,  and howling – literally – in agony. Instead of tinnitus, I imagine it screaming, “Nooooooooooooooo!”

This is all becoming quite bearable, though, now that I’m in the groove. Even the potion doesn’t taste quite so bad.

Today, off to buy two more bottles. I love the way the store is making sure they have them available when I get there, so that I can continue this treatment. The woman behind the counter told me, “It’s more about the health thing than the money thing.” I love that. They could go broke before I’m healed, mind you, but I’ll respect them as long they’re open. Hurray for them.

DAY 5: I had high hopes that there would be some improvements by now.

The skin thing is definitely a plus, but other than that there’s not much to tell. The tinnitus has subsided, which is good, but the itching continues and is maddening. Whatever’s happening on the inside of my thighs I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, unless I wanted him to scratch himself to death. Since this is a new phenomenon, I must assume that it’s all linked in to the cleanse.

Last night, a friend came over for dinner. “Don’t hug me, I have a cold,” she said. Then it turned out she’d given up wheat and dairy and her body was detoxing. The runny nose was just her body clearing itself out. It’s what happened to me on the parasite cleanse last year. Even so, she left without eating, and without a hug, she felt so bad.

The sugar cravings are catastrophic. I caved again yesterday. Ate two chocolate-covered almonds. Hardly the end of the world, but it broke my intention. I’m shocked at how much the candida wants to be fed and how powerless I am against its demands. They say sugar is as potent as heroin, and I believe it after this. I keep getting up and going hunting for something sugary sweet, then telling myself, “No, buster, you’re having an apple.” But it’s hard. Reeeeal hard.

Oil[UPDATE about sugar cravings] I read somewhere that a great way to combat sugar cravings is with coconut oil. ‘If you take a tablespoon of coconut oil twice a day,’ the article said, ‘it not only has a bunch of health benefits, but it stops the craving for sugar.’ How it does this I have no idea, but clearly it’s a brilliant thing and I’ll give anything a try. So yesterday, when every impulse in my body was telling me to go to Coffee Bean & Tea leaf and buy some cookies, I instead took a tablespoon of coconut oil, and….well, bingo! My desire went away. Just like that.

Now, don’t forget, I’m highly suggestible, so it could be my mind playing tricks. Also, coconut oil is fat you’re putting into the body, but I certainly didn’t want any sugar for the rest of the day.

I must admit, it’s taking me longer each day to get around to opening the little bottle and drinking the potion. Right now it’s 1.13pm and it’s still sitting in the fridge, untouched. I just can’t face the taste. But I need to have it by mid-afternoon, so I’m bracing myself.

Hope things start improving tomorrow.

DAY 6:  Slept through without itching in the night. So that’s good, right?

First thing, off to the health food store to get two more bottles. The woman who usually makes them was late today, so the cashier had to do it. I hope that’s okay. She seems like she knows what she’s doing, but who knows? In any case, I looked at the liquid as I was leaving and it has blobs floating in it. Blobs of goodness, no doubt, but still….

As I sat in the store waiting, my ankles began itching and I spent the whole time scratching them. Without doubt, this is the worst part of this exercise, but otherwise I feel great. What I think is happening is that the liquid is going in each day and bullying the candida into backing down. There are battlefronts all over my body, and the potion is working hard to take down the enemy. Yesterday, I had ticking in my ears. That’s new. And I was a little woozy briefly – I mean for seconds, that’s all. These are, to me anyway, signs of die-off, a signal that something is going on unseen, so I’m just accepting it and plowing on.

I am, however, eating half a pot of probiotics every day, to counteract anything the potion might be killing. Because, let’s face it, it could be a bloodbath in there for all I know, with millions of dead flora and yeast lying around all over the place. I have to put good stuff in to replace that.

Still no candida in poop, I should add. That’s disappointing. Poop-watchers everywhere can stand down. Nothing to see here.

DAY 7:  Depressed and angry today. Wow, this is going great.

SadWhat I noticed when I did cleanses a while ago was that the release of physical toxins often triggered the release of trapped  emotional toxins too. All kinds of old wounds surfaced during the two weeks or so of the cleanse, and I became quite mopey. Well, maybe this is what’s happening today. Not feeling good at all. Persistent problems rankle, old scars are nagging me. Feeling discontented, mildly resentful. Very strange. I keep telling myself, ‘It’s just part of the die-off.’ Only, myself keeps replying, ‘But what if it’s not, and you’re just depressed and angry?’

It took me all day yesterday to face what was in the bottle. If you recall – and if you don’t, scroll up – the woman by the register in the shop made the potion for me because the chef was late, and it had dark blobs in it. Not to be overdramatic or anything, but I see them as ‘dark blobs of terror.’ And…I dunno, I just had a feeling they’d be tough to get down and keep down, so I waited, and ….well, I was half-right. The drink was more potent than usual. I realize now, you have to shut off that part of your brain that goes, “Oh my god, yeuwwww!” and just drink it. Get the thing down and shut up with your whining. Anyway, an hour later my left ear started screeching. Hopefully, that was the candida taking it to the gut and acting up like a little girl.

On the plus side, the itching is way less today. My legs are sensitive and if I wanted to, I’m sure I could scratch them, but I’m trying not to exacerbate anything. Ignored candida is happy candida, I’ve decided.

DAY 8:  Feeling much brighter, thanks for asking. The clouds have passed.

Skin good, itching stopped. Ear whistling more than usual, but bearably so, and anyway it’s probably due to the wine I drank last night.

Wait – what?

This quitting sugar thing is hard, as is cutting down on salt. They’re in everything, often discreetly, especially if brockyyou eat out in restaurants. I’m convinced, as I once again transition to a mainly raw, living, plant-based diet, that if there’s something going wrong with the body, it’s our fault. We’re doing something to ourselves that causes the problem, or perpetuates it anyway, and if we’d only stop doing that harmful thing, then the body – which knows a thing or two about healing and can be its own physician – will put itself right. It knows what to do, it’s just that we keep hindering its efforts by eating the wrong foods, or abusing ourselves with substances, additives, excessive sugar, salt, gluten, and so on.

keep-calm-and-eat-no-sugarThe more I cut out sweet stuff, salty stuff, gluteny stuff, fatty stuff, and dairy-y stuff, the better I look and feel, that’s just a fact, and the healthier my body becomes. So what if it’s as simple as that? Make essential adjustments that the body is crying out for – and we know it is, because that’s what pain and disease are, the body trying to get our attention – and it will heal. Could take a little time, but healing can happen, if only because healing is always on the body’s to-do list.

Yesterday, my closest friend was diagnosed with HIV. he’s been losing weight drastically for a while. The doctor told him, ‘Your liver is eating you alive, and eventually it will kill you.”

OMG. Your own liver can eat you?

When he first got sick, we discussed how he might switch to raw, living food, and try being less angry, exercise more, dump his phobias in favor of enjoying life, and so on – but he was resistant. He loved his comfort foods too much, and his anxieties were a safety net. Instead, he was looking for an external solution; a pill to sort out his problems. But of course that doesn’t work, and now here he is, faced with taking a cocktail of harmful poisonous medicines for the rest of his life, just to keep his liver from swallowing him.

For anyone interested in natural ways to heal HIV, I found a brilliant article you might want to read. The final quarter deals with ideas on how to bring the body back to full health. It sounds amazing, if true.

believing book coverIt would also be remiss of me if I didn’t mention my book. This blog is not about plugging stuff, but the book includes the ‘7 Pillars of Self-Healing,’ and these have helped people all over the world who are sick or coping with disease to understand how healing works. I know it looks like a religious book, but it’s not. But it’s a really useful thing to have on your shelf just in case. It’s available HERE.

So what am I thinking? I’m thinking that this ‘magic potion’ from the health food store may well assist in bringing candidiasis under control, and seems to be doing exactly that – hurrah! – but in the end, it’s going to be down to me – and you – to figure out how we’ve abused the delicate balance of our internal infrastructure, and to take steps to put that right. It’s us, it was always us.

Okay, sermon over. I’m now going down to the store to get two more bottles.

DAY 9:  January 1st, California made it illegal for stores to use plastic bags to put your Unknown-2stuff in. The bags now have to be paper or nothing, and if you want a paper one you have to fork out ten cents. I found this out for the first time the other day at the supermarket, and thought, ‘Nah, I’m not wasting 10c on a bag,’ whereupon, like an idiot, I walked all the way home with an armful of vegetables.

So I go to the health food store yesterday. My two bottles are waiting for me, specially labeled, which is nice (love this store!), and I buy them. But the woman behind the counter doesn’t put them in a bag. And when I ask for one, she in turn asks for ten cents.

“We don’t use plastic bags any more. You can either buy a paper one or bring one of your own. You didn’t know?”

“Yes, I knew,” I say, “but I keep forgetting. And I can’t carry a bag around with me just to put two small bottles in.”

Hippie bag for carrying two bottles in“Sure you can. Get a bag and carry it. Like this one.” (She bends down and picks up a woman’s hippie-style purse as an example.)

“Just so that I can put two bottles in it?”

“Of course.”

Good grief. No way, okay? So I give her ten cents and buy a bag. She then begins riffing about how we have to save the planet and be kind to Nature, something I agree with but don’t want to hear from her. So I rush out before I’m tempted to cancel future orders and not come back. Hate being lectured to by zealots. Even lovely, well-intentioned zealots.

Anyway, I have my precious potion, that’s all that matters.

Update: zits on face clearing up nicely, though it’s taken a week. Ear is whistling still. Skin tone good. No candida in poop. Keep getting little pains here and there throughout my body – stomach yesterday – but that could be part of the die-off.

So all’s going well and I’m feeling good. Don’t forget, though, I have changed my diet as well, and that is probably 90% of this. I’m eating mostly raw living food every day, and anything that’s cooked has to be vegan. I’m only drinking green tea and water. So by not feeding the candida, this is helping enormously. I even have a feeling, as yet unproven, that if I simply did the diet without the magic potion, things would still be improving at the rate they currently are.

But I’m pressing on with the regime anyway to the end. Then we’ll draw our conclusions.  Oh yes.

DAY 10:  Sunday. Got shifting pains in my stomach. Wondering if the potion isn’t a bit hard on the system.

Otherwise, feeling good. Ear still whistling – wondering if that might have something to do with NISC, non-intentional salt consumption. We ate out last night, and nowadays everything I eat in restaurants tastes really salty. Every so often I break with the raw food thing to have normal stuff, just to ensure balance, but always I suffer. By the time we left, I’d lost 30% of my hearing capacity in both ears. Today I’m fine again, but food’s impact on our bodily system is clearly huge. They’re right when they say you are what you eat. Last night I was chicken piccata. Today I’m humble pie.

There’s an interesting article here about whether salt is good for you or not. The comments at the bottom are fascinating. One person says, “My basic nursing course gave me enough knowledge to know salt causes intercompartmental shifts of fluids.” Oh my god, really? That could explain why my ears go deaf when I eat salty food. After all, aren’t the ears compartments? Sure they are. They’re compartments I listen to stuff with. And salt causes ear fluid to thicken in those listening compartments, and I go deaf. So it’s all connected.

Other than that, nothing to report. The face is still in the process of clearing up, but nothing new or bad is happening, so that’s a good thing. I need new bottles, but my partner is getting them from the shop as I’m finding it a little tedious to keep going down there every two days.

Only a week to go. Yay!

DAY 11:  A warning about the potion. It’s made fresh every day, and potency varies.

I mention this because the latest batch is so awful I can’t get it all down. Sorry, not possible. It tastes like they’ve added an extra ingredient, which could be Castrol GTX, or that liquid they put in refrigerators to help them freeze. (Kidding BTW – they wouldn’t do that). Anyway, it’s so disgusting for some reason that, quite honestly, I’ve left a quarter of the bottle undrunk. That means I have one and a quarter bottles to drink tomorrow. Ghastly or not, at five dollars a pop, I’m not going to waste it – are you crazy?

When I recoiled visibly at the first sip, my partner walked over and tried it too for the first time. There was no expression for a while, then a bunch of red-faced coughing and ‘Woah, that’s strong.’

Good, so it’s not just me.

But there’s no doubt it’s having an effect. Face looking better, feeling okay. I have a rash on my neck that I didn’t even bother to mention before – I’ve had it so long, I forget it’s there – and even that seems to be clearing up. So maybe it was all candida-related.

A little miffed that there was no candida in my stools this past week, though. I did a coffee enema yesterday, using this fantastic special enema coffee from Canadadetail_3_detail_2_newbags__36647.1270646735.1280.1280. Once I was done, I was like an archaeologist probing and investigating, digging in my poop for anything even remotely suspicious. But other than making me think, ‘I really have to start chewing my food more,” it was a bust. Nothing interesting.

Oh, and then I had an accident.

Dramatic re-enactment

Dramatic re-enactment

Bear in mind, I’m a stable human being generally and haven’t fallen over, not that I remember anyway, since I was a toddler, but yesterday I fell over. I was putting my shoes on after the enema, using the bed to rest them on. Obviously I didn’t want to get the bedcover dirty, so I used my messenger bag as a footrest instead. I tied the laces, but when I tried to lift my foot off, it caught in the bag’s handle. I hopped a bit, tugged a bit, kept tugging, but too late, I went crashing to the floor. Ouch. Bruised my arm and did something funky to my back that had me worried all night that I may have damaged myself. Fortunately, I’m only bruised, but it’s little mishaps like that that lead to hip replacements in later life. “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” Very worrying.

DAY 12:   Couldn’t do it. Sorry. Nope. no way. I could not get the thing down my throat. Not immediately anyway. It was so vile that for the first time I watered it down and drank it in stages. Even then, I only managed to get 75% of the thing into my system.

The problem is worsened by the fact that, when you buy two bottles, if the first tastes horrible, then you just know the second one will too, because they were made together. Needless to say, this has been a grueling two days. And my back still hurts.

At Xmas, someone gave us a box of chocolate-dipped glazed apricots. It’s been sitting here the whole time untouched because I was staying away from sugar. But yesterday I lapsed and ate one, and, oh my god, huge mistake. My legs started itching like mofos again. So when you couple the sugar cravings with the itching, I seriously think we’re talking candida in the legs here.

Skin much improved, though. Rash on neck better. Ear squealing still, so not much change there. And feeling fine. The pains in the stomach seem to have stopped. Obviously, it’s doing some good, so I’m not complaining, and I think if it’s coupled with a rigid diet change etc., taking the potion could be beneficial, but as we approach the end of the experiment, I’m almost ready to conclude that a change in diet and health regime alone will perform miracles, and to hell with drinking anti-candida shots.

DAY 13: The potion wasn’t ready today. The person who knows the formula didn’t arrive until 3.30pm, and even when they got there, the store didn’t have lemons. So I had to wait until 4.10pm. There’s something adorably scrappy about any business with organic/raw nutrition at its heart. The people seem to have it together on the surface, but look beneath the patina of civility and decorum and there’s always a little kooky turmoil going on. I like that. And I still LOVE this store.

Ear termites

Ear termites

These new bottles taste better, that’s for sure. Yesterday’s was an aberration we’ll never mention again. What’s interesting is that within an hour of taking the latest lot, my left ear started ticking the way it has done before, but more intensely, and crackling. This continued until I went to bed. I can’t decide if that’s the candida physically being torn from the cells and sent packing by the potion, or if I have something trapped in my ear that can’t get out. I’ve read about doctors finding spiders and even cockroaches in people’s ears before now. This sounds like termites.

And the itching in my legs! Oh, boy. They’re practically bleeding from the scratching I’ve been doing, and that’s not good, right?

Also the zits have come back around my nose. I’m now convinced that this has more to do with diet than anything. Diet feeds candida, which promotes leaky gut, which leads to zits. That’s it. That’s the circle of life for yeast.

Mouse, visual aidOh, and I woke up in the middle of the night and there was a mouse on my bed!  A mouse, though! Not once have we ever had rats or mice in this house, but last night I opened my eyes and found a mouse sitting on my blanket. Jeez. Maybe this potion works like a cologne and makes me attractive to rodents suddenly. ‘Eek! for Men’ from Jean-Paul Gaultier. That would really round off my week perfectly.

DAY 14:  Just got back from the health food store. Told them about the severe itching – they had no idea what it might be. Told them about the disgusting, foul-tasting liquid they’d sold me, passing it off as an anti-candida shot, and they were quietly horrified. So they’re giving me two free ones. That means I’ll be doing the experiment for an extra two days, then giving it a rest for a while to see what happens.

saunaSpeaking of itching, I now have a lumpy rash behind my right knee – a cluster of bobbles crying out to be scratched. And of course I oblige. This, together with how raw my ankles are from scratching, is making life extremely uncomfortable.

I mentioned this to the woman in the store and she agreed that it might be the lymph system playing the diva and going toe to toe with the candida. If so, there must be a full-scale battle happening in there. I mean, what, other than candida carnage, causes bobbles behind the knees? She suggested I take a sauna to speed up the release of toxins. Well, it just so happens that we have an infra-red sauna in the house. We bought one years ago. Had it shipped from China. It’s a great little thing. So I’ll use that tonight and see if it has any results.

Other than that…nothing to report. Ear still ringing, sugar pangs just as strong as they were, feeling okay. No candida in poop. I do keep getting small headaches above my left eye, which I believe has something to do with the liver/gallbladder meridian, so something’s happening there too.

To sum up, I’m a mess, but a healthy one.

DAY 15:  I’ll keep this short, simply because the itching is making me irritable and I can’t sit in one place for long.

Had a sauna last night to drain some of the toxin build-up away (see above). I still scratched my legs well into the night, however, so I’m not sure it helped at all. Let’s just say it didn’t, and leave it at that.

Another great way, I read, to help the lymphatic system drain is rebounding.

Me this morning on my rebounder.

The lady is a trampoliner.

Well, how’s this for amazing? Just as we happen to have bought a sauna years ago, we also, around about the same time, bought a rebounder, which is a fancy name for a mini-trampoline, the kind clowns leap on at the circus before jumping through a fiery hoop and setting their hair on fire.

According to a site called Candida Solutions: “Rebounding is a cellular type of exercise that cleanses the cells and strengthens the body’s immune system….The act of jumping can cleanse the lymph nodes and cause perspiration, which can also have a cleansing effect. It also gets your heart rate up and gets oxygen through your body, which creates an alkaline environment. Because candida thrives in an acidic environment, it’s ideal to get yourself to an alkaline state.”

Same thing, only with an annoying person doing it.

Same thing, only with an annoying person doing it.

Ooooooh!

But wait, there’s more. According to the same site: “Just five to ten minutes a day of rebounding could substantially increase your body’s ability to successfully reduce candida bacteria production.”   Woah, dude – that’s huge.

So I’m throwing this into the works as well, while taking every precaution as I do so to make sure my hair doesn’t catch fire. My new regime, then, consists of: rebounding every morning, sauna-ing every night, and in between times consuming lots of green vegetables and juices. This is combined with a reduction in salt intake, and cutting out refined sugar, dairy, and wheat products altogether. I will also be continuing with the anti-candida potion until Monday.

I have to say, though, that my skin is much-improved; the rash on my neck is considering going, I feel sure of it – it’s clearly in two minds; the bobbles behind my knee have gone; I have no aches and pains, and I feel great. Oh, except for the damn itching, which is in my ankles, my thighs and yesterday in my back. Otherwise terrific.

So there you go – consider yourself updated.

DAY 16:  So I wake up this morning with a large puffy growth on the inside of my right elbow – at that point where syringes go in when nurses need a blood sample. And I’m thinking, ‘Wow, candida, you’re quite something. This potion is your nemesis and it’s causing you to flee.’

Turns out it’s a spider-bite. Bloody hell. Now I have something new to scratch.

The itching in my legs had stopped completely by last night, though, and I slept right through. That bit’s great. This morning, they’re back to itchy again. Half of me wants to go ahead and stay on the potion until the candida is eradicated; the other half of me is scratching the spider bite. First a mouse, now this. Jeez.

The whistling in the ears has gotten quieter, I think. And, very noticeably, my complexion is way better. And when I eat foods that previously gave me zits they don’t now. So the leaky gut is being tackled all the time and resolved, I would say. But, as I keep repeating, I’ve also modified my diet to largely exclude troublesome foods, so it could be that. At any rate, I’m coming off the potion Monday and will stay off the harmful foods too, see if the skin thing keeps going well.

Today I have to go visit my friend with HIV before he starts chemo for lymphoma this week, so my thoughts will not be on myself and my itchy legs for once. That might be useful as they’re starting to obsess me.

So there’s progress, but not the kind of blazing success I was hoping for. If I consult my book of medical divination, the I Tching, I see that, the moment I come off this potion, all these symptoms will stop. I can only hope.

DAY 17:  So here we are, on day 17 of our 14-day experiment. I have two final bottles left in the refrigerator, one for today, one for tomorrow, then I’m stopping.

Current state of play: my ankles are bloody from scratching. Bloody, I tells ya! My left ear is still whistling, though nowhere near as much as it was. My shins have small swellings on them. My face has a zit that, even though everything else cleared up, has persisted throughout. And I got bitten by a spider – nothing to do with the experiment, it’s just one more swelling on my body that won’t go down.

In the healthfood shop yesterday, I spoke to a guy this time, and he emphasized that the anti-candida shot is no use at all if it’s not accompanied by tough lifestyle choices – no sugar, reduced salt and fat, and so on. “If you’re taking the anti-candida shot, but you’re still eating these things, how can it work? It can’t.” Which makes me feel even guiltier about those chocolate-covered glazed apricots I ate, and other sundry lapses. Damn my boundless appetite for the good things in life!

After tomorrow, my plan is to continue the experiment, this time without the potion. Cut out all the candida-promoting things that I like to eat, maintain a steady regime of green vegetables, juices, etc., and simply monitor what happens.  At the very least, I think the itching will go.

The whole thing has been annoying, I would say, with no conclusive result I can point to and go, “See? My candida’s on the run. It works!” That’s just not how I feel. I’m left thinking, ‘Hm, I wonder if it’s the candida that’s causing the itching, or the potion itself?’

All of that said, yesterday I visited my friend who has AIDS and cancer both at the same time and is wasting away before my eyes. The fact that my legs itched and I’d been bitten by a spider suddenly seemed particularly smallfry concerns alongside his suffering. At least it added a sense of proportion that was missing up to this point. We have every belief that he’s going to recover somewhat, but he’s at his lowest ebb right now, and I came home in a much more sober frame of mind and less obsessed with something as trifling as whether my ankles are bleeding.

DAY 18:  Well, this is depressing. I wrote an entire entry this morning explaining the state of play, and for some reason it never appeared on the blog. All day I felt my work was done, and now I have to rewrite it. Bugger. Anyway, here goes…

Today I’m not itching. This is the headline. But I figure it’s because I’ve not had my potion yet. And why have I not had it? Because I wanted to eat a scone first.

“But hang on – why, given that everything about a scone promotes candida, would you eat a scone?”

You make a very good point. Because I wanted to see if it was sugar causing the itching in my legs, or the drink.

So I ate the scone, and guess what – no itching. Hurrah.

Therefore it must be the anti-candida potion. Which leaves two options: either the potion itself causes the itching and I’m allergic to something in it, OR my legs are Afghanistan and the potion is on the front lines fighting the Talibandida. trying to regain ground over my lymphatic system, and everyone knows that lymph nodes are rampant in the legs. Hence the itching.

That’s my theory. Probably not a good one, but it’s all I have.

So it’s now 2.50pm on the very last day of the experiment. I will drink the potion at 3pm. Even now it still takes me ten minutes to summon up the courage to drink it – it’s quite horrible – and about an hour to get it down. Tomorrow I will tell you what happened, and also finally reveal the name of the store and its details, in case you want to contact them about their lovely potion.

Secretly, I’m quite glad this is over. I’m tired of wriggling and people staring at me, wondering if I have fleas or bedbugs.

DAY 19: Here we are, it’s done.

I left off this blog yesterday just before I drank my final anti-candida shot. By bedtime, I can report, my legs were itching again. So the two are definitely connected – hopefully in a good way.

Therefore here is my conclusion: the anti-candida shot probably works.

Probably, notice. Because I have no idea, honestly.

It seems on the face of it to be a worthwhile addition to our armory on the assault on candida overgrowth, but I don’t think it’s an antidote all by itself. We have to play our part too, and that part seems to involve – unsurprisingly – cutting out of our diet all the things that promote candidiasis: sugar, fruit, dairy, wheat, etc etc etc. Without those actions by us, there’s no magic potion that can come along and zap away the problem. This is not Bewitched. On the other hand, anyone who’s willing to take all necessary steps to avoid those factors that promote candida overgrowth may well find that the anti-candida shot is a worthwhile weapon in the battle. It tastes so horrible, how can it NOT be doing something?

I found the people at the health store to be incredibly concerned and helpful. They couldn’t have been more obliging during this experiment. These are really nice guys, and even if you don’t use their ‘anti-candida shot’, I still recommend the place. The word awesome is overused, but this store definitely is. The food – and especially the raw desserts, OMG – is incredible.

My spiritual home

My spiritual home

It’s called Lifefood Organic. 

The store is at: 1507 Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Their phone number is: (323) 466-0927. Their website is: HERE. And the glowing Yelp review page is HERE.
 
Also – because I know what you’re like – you can email them HERE. 
 
When I was in there Saturday, I asked the guy, “Is it okay if people contact you for the formula for the potion?” And his reply was, “All the ingredients are available commercially, so it’s not a secret. Yeah.”
 
So I leave it up to you.
 
And finally, for the sake of perspective once again, I should note that my friend who’s dealing with AIDS and cancer simultaneously goes in for his first chemo today. He called me yesterday, unable to speak and barely able to breathe. He’s lost 95lbs in mere weeks, and is very depressed and very scared. He fears he’s dying. We hope not.
 
[UPDATE ON LEN]  Sadly, he didn’t make it. The AIDS swept through his body so fast – diagnosis to demise in under six weeks. He thought he would live forever. And to a certain extent that’s true, he will. Still, we’re all missing him like crazy.
 
His brother, Ray, is a phenomenal writer. Prior to Len’s death, he penned this article about him. Check it out.  
 

 
 
 

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OMG, could THIS be the final solution to our candida problems?

Taming the Beast Within Final CoverBlocked ears.  Multiple sclerosis.  Diabetes.  Acne.  Cancer.  Rashes.  Cold hands and feet.  Tinnitus.  Food allergies and sensitivities.  Digestive issues.  Itching. Sugar cravings. 

Problem: having Candida overgrowth and not understanding why you have ailments that won’t go away.

Possible solution: information! Read a book that explores the whole Candida phenomenon and arrives at a unique conclusion that could impact your whole life.

ThursdayMorningMemo1400x1400LISTEN NOW to Cash talking about Candida and what he believes is the REAL cause of yeast infections, on his podcast The Thursday Morning Memo. Also available on iTunes. 

                                                     ———————

Some years ago, I was lured into having a course of colonics. I’m not sure why I did it. For kicks, probably, knowing me.

It involves lying on a table while an expert irrigationist in a white coat takes a tube and floods your intestines with warm water, pressing on your belly at the same time and flushing out all manner of horrors into a sink. Horrors that may have been stuck up there since childhood, including undigested food, mucoid plaque, and other debris.

It was more pleasant than it sounds, actually. In fact, I only stopped doing it after I arrived at the clinic one time and found the woman openly smoking a joint. Sorry, dear, but if you’re going to perform a delicate medical procedure on my rectum, I want you firm of hand and mind. That’s just me.

However, before I fired her, she said something alarming that stuck with me. She was examining the tube to see what was being flushed out and exclaimed, “My god, you are a candida factory, aren’t you?”

“I am?

I tried to sound horrified, but in reality I had no idea what she meant.

Turns out, candida albicans is a microorganism. A yeast actually, and it’s essential to our good health. Without being asked to, it consumes heavy metals, undigested food, excess sugar, and various toxins that might overload our system otherwise. So three cheers for candida. But then, at other times, like guests who come to your home and stay too long, it can go nuts and take over.

candida-albicansA candida albicans overgrowth, or candidiasis as it’s known, is NOT fun. At its worst, the yeast turns into a beast. Colonies escape the main pack and start roaming the body, pitching camp and causing trouble. They’re like physiological Vikings. Their steady, slow imagesinvasion is similar to having an intelligent malignant force running rampant through your organs. That’s at the most extreme end of things, but those cases are rare, and are to be found in people with severely compromised immune systems. Half of them will most likely die of their problems. That’s how serious this is. Long before that happens, there’s a more common low-level kind of candida overgrowth. The Viking Level.

Vikings don’t care what inconvenience they cause, and their meddling can lead to all kinds of weird and mysterious ailments. Doctors might spend years looking at your symptoms and still not figure out that they’re caused by, of all things, yeast.

Symptoms of a candida overgrowth can apparently include prostate problems, fatigue, brain fog, cold hands and feet, spaciness, zits from leaky gut, odd rashes that linger inexplicably, food/sugar cravings, rectal itch, hemorrhoids, loss of sex drive, heartburn, a ringing in the ears, deafness, lack of impulse control – I mean, heck, it goes on and on – there’s a whole scary checklist. I went down it, marking off my symptoms, and found to my horror I had approximately all of them. Well, nine anyway.

There are about half a dozen ways to test for candidiasis. These range from the reliable and the scientific right down to ‘Oh, shut up!’ quackery.

spit-testThe oft-suggested way to test for it is known as the spit test. Many experts I’ve come across scorn this approach as unreliable at best, but according to the National Candida Center (was there ever a more venerable institution?), first thing in the morning, before you go putting anything else in your mouth, spit into a glass of water. Make sure it’s saliva and not mucus. The spit’s activity over the next fifteen minutes will indicate whether you have issues. If it floats on the surface, you’re fine. If it sinks to the bottom in clouds, then you probably have candidiasis at some level. If it forms odd filament-like vertical strings from the top to the bottom, you also could have a candida overgrowth, it seems. This is all according to the NCC anyway. (Some people doubt the test has any value. See comments section below.)

Most of my spit sank. Sank, and hung ominously about the bottom of the glass like tweens around a McDonald’s. There wasn’t much of it, just three clouds with a couple of strings, but that’s enough, I guess, to set off alarm bells.

So what causes candida to thrive excessively, and eventually possibly turn into a Viking horde? Oh, many possible reasons, it seems.

  • Overuse of antibiotics. Doctors routinely prescribe antibiotics for this and that as if they were M&Ms. Problem is, each time we take them, as well as doing what they’re supposed to do, they interfere with our system and encourage candida to spread. Plus, there are antibiotics in milk, meat, and poultry, so over the years we’ve been getting a steady supply. Every regular latte you drink, every unorganic burger you eat, every processed chicken dinner. Oh my god.
  • Amalgam fillings. Seems candida loves anything metal. It uses heavy metals as a life raft and clings onto them. Imagine! Which is exactly what Vikings would do too, by the way. Candida thrives on mercury vapors from those old fillings, which are released every time you chew.
  • candy barsSugary, oily diet. Anything from bread to cake (the Food of Kings) to nuts to candy to…well, probably whatever you eat most days for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Not to alarm you or anything. Anyway, it’s funny, I think, that eating candy may lead to candydiasis.
  • Chlorinated water.
  • Birth control pills. (Not guilty on this one. But it’s the only one!)
  • Radiation from medical exams.
  • Lifestyle. Anything fun, really – alcohol, sodas, chockies…they all feed the Vikings.
  • But according to a fascinating post on Curezone not long ago, the real fundamental cause of candida overgrowth may actually be too much fat in the diet. OMG. Really?

And that’s where this experiment we’re about to do gets very, very interesting.

“When you eat too much fat,” the post says, “the fat starts coating all the cells and their receptor sites in your body, which makes it harder for insulin to do its job, and any of the glucose that can’t get into the cells remains in the bloodstream. High sugar in your blood is dangerous, so your backup system (candida) begins to eat all the excess sugar in the bloodstream. A side-effect of this is that the candida population starts to grow in size, but soon returns back to healthy levels once all the excess sugar is gone.

images-1“The problem arises when people continually eat too much fat. That indirectly causes a constant supply of excess sugar in the bloodstream which keeps feeding the candida, causing the population to bloom out of control, and that is why candida is “nearly impossible to kill,” because even if you did start killing off the excess candida population, a person’s high fat diet will just keep indirectly fueling it.”

(I’ve added punctuation to this, otherwise it was just one long breathless rant.)

The post is written under a pseudonym, but whoever’s behind it is a genius.

Screen shot 2013-01-26 at 8.58.59 AMThere’s also a great little video you can watch HERE, in which a smart, healthy-looking woman called Rosslyn Uttley Moore points at blobs on a board, explaining why fat is the root cause of candidiasis.

As you’re aware, I’m no medical expert (if you’re in any doubt about this, please click on the Disclaimer tab at the top of the page, that’ll convince you) so by all means research this for yourself. Do not rely only on what others say, especially me. But as far as I’m concerned at least, this revelation is one of the most significant I’ve heard in the past ten years.

Of course fat is the problem. Why did I not think of this before?

Because it may be something else, that’s why!

But for now let’s say it’s not. Let’s say fat plays a role in candida overgrowth. What then?

An Amazing Breakthrough

Almost everything I ever eat has some kind of fat in it somewhere. And yes, the body needs fat, but surely not as much as I’ve been giving it.

For decades I drank lattes – which contain fat. I ate burgers and fries – they contain fat. Cheese – fat. Cookies, cakes, chips – fat, fat, fat. Good grief! And where there’s fat there’s very often salt and wheat and dairy and sugar, or combinations of these.

More recently, to help clear up a hearing problem and tinnitus caused, I believe, by candidiasis, I switched to a 70-80% raw vegan diet. And guess what, many of the things I eat on that diet now contain fat as well: avocados, nuts, oils, and images-2seeds, for instance. I also eat salmon – contains fat; I drink goat’s milk – fat; consume bread – fat; chocolate now and then – fat; and will allow myself to splurge and eat normally at parties and dinners, which means I consume even more fat. In short, it’s a disaster. I even drink a tablespoon of coconut oil twice a day. More fat.

With that kind of steady continual fat build-up, glucose is probably struggling to feed my cells and can’t. So when I put sugar in, in any form whatsoever, it stays in my bloodstream, causing the candida to go bonkers and start running around my body creating havoc – blockages, ringing in the ears, rashes, pimples. To me, it makes perfect sense.

Even so, and even if fat plays a role, I think there’s more to the story. Fact is: there are many things we eat that we shouldn’t be eating. We know they’re bad for the body and cause blockages and inflammation, but we continue devouring them because they taste so great. I’m only passing on what I’ve read in books and blogs, and, in one case, the leaflet inside a box of kefir starters, but what they all seem to say is that the chief culprits oftentimes are dairy, wheat, sugar, and excessive salt. The first three in particular appear to play a large role in the development of a candida overgrowth. But isn’t it true that, generally speaking, when we eat these things, we’re often eating fat too? It’s true for me anyway.

A dear friend of mine, Ruth, died two years ago. She was extremely deaf by the end of her life, sadly, and things became very difficult. But here’s the thing about her – she wrote cookbooks, featuring food that was alarmingly old-school. Lashings of lard, cheese, butter, cream, pastry, oils, sugar, salt, meat, etc. (At her memorial service, guest speakers stood at the lectern and read out her recipes. It was hilarious.)

images

Cinnamon roll

Ruth used to boast that she never ate vegetables, and would laugh hysterically at my healthy diet. Every day of her life she’d get up and cram down a couple of cinnamon rolls, and what are cinnamon rolls if not two giant lumps of fat, sugar, salt, and wheat crafted into balls?

Every other meal she had was pretty unhealthy too, jammed with all the wrong things.

Wheat, I learned recently, creates mucus and can cause inflammation as well as a bunch of other side-effects. Dairy is mucus-causing in a major way. Salt can contribute to blockages in the ears due to fluid retention. (How it does that I have no idea, but it came in a bulletin from the hospital, so I guess there must be some validity to it.) Food additives and preservatives generate problems that we don’t even begin to understand. Additionally, Ruth smoked for most of her adult life – more mucus created.

Another example: look at Rush Limbaugh, and how overweight he seems. That tells me his diet ain’t that good. Plus he smokes cigars, which is a bad idea on all kinds of levels. Advanced Bionics Cochlear Implant

He thinks he looks so smooth, right?

He thinks he looks so smooth, right?

Well, guess what – turns out, Rush is deaf too. He has had operations, and he wears a device called a Cochlear Implant on his head to help him pick up vibrations. But here’s the thing: what if….I mean, it’s crazy, I know…but what if his problem is not defective hearing at all, but a blockage caused by mucus and various forms of inflammation due to diet, and even candida? What if he quit smoking those damn cigars and changed his diet for a year to a raw food-based nutrition system – would that help, I wonder? According to my theory, it just might.

What about Beethoven? He began losing his hearing at 27, with chronic tinnitus, The Beetand was totally deaf by 1815, when he was just 44. But hey, you know what the German diet consists of? Cakes, bread, cream, fat, sugar, salt, meat – everything that clogs up the body. What if there was nothing wrong with Ludwig’s hearing? What if he simply had a gluten allergy, or the salt, dairy, and sugar were too much for him, with candidiasis stirring the pot as well somewhere? An amazing thought, right?

Anyway, my point is, maybe that’s why my dear friend Ruth’s hearing was so bad. Maybe, because she had an out-of-control sugar, salt, wheat, dairy, and fat intake and therefore mucus and inflammation build-up in her body, it resulted in candida overgrowth, caused in part by glucose not being processed properly. I know she struggled with expensive hearing aids for years, when perhaps all she needed to do was cut down on the bad stuff for a while, giving her body time to adjust itself. Just a theory for the moment, but pretty massive if it’s right.

Which brings us to an even more amazing idea.

Hearing loss is rife among the elderly, right? How many of our older friends and relatives are forced to wear hearing aids past a certain age? Doctors tell us, “It’s just a normal part of growing old.” But what if it isn’t? What if hearing loss in seniors is simply a product of eating the wrong things over a lifetime, things the body has problems processing, and, bit by bit, that unprocessed junk has clogged things up, causing candida to go crazy and block the ears? There’s no way for medical procedures to detect that, I don’t think, or even make the connection. And every day, because more salt, wheat, sugar, and dairy are being eaten, together with more fat, the condition never gets a chance to right itself.

In which case, all the elderly would have to do is trim back their diet to healthy, regulated levels and, perhaps, over a few months their ears would recover. Wow. (In my case, however, before we get excited, I should say that reducing my sugar, wheat, dairy, and general fat intake is like a license to become anorexic, have no energy, and look ill. People have actually asked me, “Are you sure you don’t have HIV?” Incredible.)

Taming the Beast Within Final Cover[UPDATE: August 2014] There’s so much information floating around out there, so many books, so many blogs – I found it hard to separate the good stuff from the bad. If you want a source of info that’s practical and unlike all the others – try this. It’s called Taming the Beast Within and is available HERE on Amazon. The results I got were ASTOUNDING!]

See post on the home page of this blog: Candida: a new weapon in the war.

So what now? 

Well, first, I’d recommend you to read the Disclaimer above. Just click on the tab. Always useful to know.

After that….clearly, this is a vast and complex topic with many different strands to it – like candida itself, in fact. I can barely scrape the surface in a short blog post like this one. But last year I did a 30-day Humaworm Parasite cleanse and chronicled it. You can read the blog HERE.

Also, if you haven’t clicked on the Disclaimer yet, do so now. It’s at the top of this page. That way you’ll know I’m just a layman who likes to experiment with alternative health remedies and pass on the results.

The cleanse was extremely successful for me, and, in terms of traffic, is the most popular one I’ve ever written, mainly because of the results. I got a whole tapewormbunch of strange things out of my system during those 30 days, including worms. Just recently, I noticed that the same company, Humaworm, makes pills to combat candida overgrowth as well. And of course I can’t see something like that and not get excited. So I ordered them on the spot.

Because here’s the truth – I always have rashes or other odd skin problems; I told you, I get dizzy sometimes, I have cold hands and feet, sugar cravings, ringing in my ears, shifting deafness in one or both ears…it goes on and on. All of them candidiasis symptoms. Plus, the colonics woman confirmed I have industrial-strength candida overflowing out of my system. I’m essentially a walking yeast dispenser.

So, for the next 30 days, I’m going to sweep it all out. The candida won’t thank me, but it has to go. At the same time, I will be cutting down drastically on my fat intake each day. That way I can see if the two are related.

Of course, I’ll be chronicling my progress with Humaworm’s Candida Cleanse – or, as I call it, Viking Be Gone. In the instructions that come with the bags of pills it says you can continue to eat a normal diet while on the cleanse, but I’m ignoring that. I’m hardcore, remember. I’ll be cutting out all the things that cause these rugged Norse invaders to multiply abnormally – sugar, of course, but dairy, wheat, nuts, oils, soy, and even bananas (oh my lord, it seems bananas are horrific in their impact on candida!) Whatever it takes to rid myself of these horrible symptoms. [For an entirely different candida experiment, and perhaps a magic potion, click here.]

Hey, here’s an idea: why not come along on this journey with me? Bookmark this page or subscribe to it on your RSS feed, and read what’s happened each day. Let’s suffer together. And I say suffer because, when parasites die off, the effects can be horribly debilitating. That’s been the case in the past; I expect no less from my darling candida.

The 30-day Humaworm Candida Cleanse

DAY 1: Took the first two Humaworm tabs last night. Got drowsy early and fell into bed. This morning, I woke up with a thick head, blocked ear, and awful sensation of DIZZINESS. Yay! We’re on our way. The tabs contain an herb called wormwood, I think. And wormwood, someone just told me, can cause dizziness and other side effects. So if this is true, then dizziness and Humaworm’s candida cleanse may go hand in hand. We shall see.

Feeling very tired and lackluster already, and my very first poop on the cleanse already showed up white blobs, plus strange curly things in the water that look like hairs but aren’t. This is powerful stuff. I’ll keep you posted.

DAY 2: Tiny STABBING PAINS. That’s today’s big news. The first full day on the candida cleanse gave my system fair warning that the next week or so is not going to be pleasant, and it responded petulantly, with shifting aches – above my eyes, in my head, on the bottom of my feet, and so on. I got ZITS as well, even though I didn’t eat the things I’m allergic to, and I woke up exceedingly dizzy yesterday. Same today, as a matter of fact. In other words, the candida die-off seems to be accentuating the problem to begin with, getting worse before it gets better.

Had big gray rings under my eyes, and also the dizziness, which lasted ’til lunchtime and was a little creepy and worrying. Could yeast have such a grip on my body that it controls whether I walk in a straight line or not?

DAY 3: Woozy in the morning and zitty all day – that seems to be what it amounts to. I wake up and am a little unsteady on my feet. Left ear blocked more than usual, and one glance in the mirror tells me I have pimples on my face, especially an eyebrow pimple that doesn’t look like it has plans to leave any time soon. Yesterday, I got a very sharp pain in my abdomen five minutes after swallowing the Humaworm tablets, and I regularly feel recurring aches in different parts of my body, but mostly my head. I’m also very spacey and stumbly, and my memory keeps lapsing.

Overall, then, I feel groggy, lackluster, HALF-DEAF in a weird, echoey kind of way, and ready for a significant development. Make that happen, Humaworm.

DAY 4: This has just become a whole new ballgame. [See breakthrough details above] 

Now that I’ve discovered that a candida overgrowth may be related to an excessive consumption of fat, I’m simply reducing my fat intake each day to miniscule levels for the next three weeks, to give my body a chance to begin redressing the imbalance. How exciting.

Today, though – rash on neck completely gone! Didn’t get out of bed feeling dizzy either. Zits on face already going away too. Hearing still bad, but the ears might take a while to unblock, if this new theory is true.

images-4Every morning I eat the same thing – a homemade breakfast cereal consisting of pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds. All of these contain fat. I might then have an avocado on wholewheat toast – avocados are really fatty, and the toast contains fat too. It turns out that the health food I’ve been eating is the very thing that’s contributing to the problems.

Normal anti-candida diets tell you to lay off the fruit, since the sugar is feeding the candida. But if you cut down on the fat instead, you can probably have as much fruit as you darn well like. Again, another breakthrough if it’s true. Anyway, that’s what I’m having for breakfast today – an egg white omelet and fruit. I’ll drink green juice, have a plain salad with no dressing for lunch, and some vegetable soup for dinner.

So there we are. To me, this is more interesting than the most interesting thing I can think of. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

DAY 5:  Plenty of MUCUS to go around today. Come one, come all. Blowing my nose a lot, which is the body’s ways of ridding itself of stuff it doesn’t want. That’s why we get colds, of course, so I don’t suppress phlegm, and would never take tablets to dry my nose. I just let it all out.

The candida die-off – if there is any – is relatively tame, I’m noticing. I’d expected to suffer more with headaches, major limb aches, fatigue – at least. But really it’s been very easy. Later today I’ll do a coffee enema, to see if that helps things along. Having cleansed a fair bit over the years, I tend to feel disappointed if the result isn’t seismic. I want to feel bad and I want it now, damn it!

Yesterday’s diet was about as low-fat as a guy could go. Breakfast today has been grapefruit and green tea. (No fat there.) With fresh green juice to follow. (Ditto.) As a result I am not dizzy this morning, which is great. And my hearing has improved noticeably in my right ear. My left is taking its time and keeps fluctuating. Sometimes there’s an exact balance between the ears, in that both ears are blocked to the same extent and therefore I ‘don’t hear’ equally, which, in my world, is the equivalent of hearing pretty well. Happy about that, believe it or not.

Now that the focus has shifted away from eradicating sugar from my diet, which was my preoccupation initially, towards lowering my fat intake, things have become harder. Cutting out sugar is a breeze, whereas navigating my way through the rest of the week without taking in any fat is going to be difficult, since almost everything has fat in it. But we shall see. At the very least, when I eat out, I can always go for the low-fat option.

Feeling buoyed up and optimistic about this now.

Day 6: More zits, less rash. That’s today. Ears are much better, which is excellent news. Very crackly, and not so deaf. Something is shifting.

Last night, though, I woke up in bed with my FEET LIKE ICE. It stopped me sleeping, they were so cold and nothing would warm them. That, I believe, is also candida-related, so I’m not panicking. But there is no sign of actual candida anywhere – nothing coming out, that is to say. So I’m not sure what’s going on. Is it jammed so far up and clinging on so damned tightly that I can’t release it?

Ghee

Ghee

Anyone here like ghee? No, not the TV show, the clarified butter. I ask, because I made some ghee today, to help reduce fat intake even further.

Method: heat 3 sticks of butter in a saucepan on low for around 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. It will melt, then bubble erratically. The milk solids will rise to the surface and, magically, two minutes later, sink to the bottom. Take it off the heat and strain it into a ramekin. Place in the fridge ’til it goes solid. Voila! Clarified butter. Butter taste without the fat.

Kurt Hummel

Kurt Hummel

I am reminded, incidentally, by a lovely lady called Sylvia Hunter in the UK that ghee is still fat. However, it’s less fatty than butter, so it allows for a little indulgence. Even with this on the plate, I have still cut down on my regular fat-intake by, I would say, 85%. That’s not too shabby.

Day 7:  I have noticed two things, one of them with a certain amount of alarm.

First, I have a zit on my cheek now which won’t go away. It just fills and fills. That is part of the die-off, I must assume. But there’s no – zero, zilch – candida in the toilet bowl ever. If it’s in there, it’s not coming out. I do feel light-headed and I woke up with a head ache, that is to say an ache inside my whole head, which suggests something is happening.

More worrying, though, is that the coldness in my right foot that kept me awake last night has not gone away. It’s on the underside, where all the nerve endings are, and peculiarly has graduated to a kind of weird numbness now. My hope, since cold hands and feet are a side-effect of candida, is that this is just one more aspect of the die-off. If it continues, mind you, and my foot gets colder and more numb, I may have to stop the cleanse.

Clearly, we are approaching a crossroads.

Day 8: Developments.

No light-headedness today, so that’s something. The zit on my cheek has dried up very quickly. Experiencing odd aches and pains that last about twenty minutes then stop. In kidneys, in pancreas. The cold feet thing has cleared up too. I am, though, feeling noticeably colder in my extremities than I did before. That seems to be an element in this confrontation with candida. (That said, it’s cold here, so I can’t ignore that) Also, I have a constellation of small zits that came up across my hairline this afternoon. No reason given, they’re just there. My skin is volatile generally. I scarcely dare look in the mirror. In the mornings especially it’s horrific.

Not so goodThis morning I woke with a nagging headache that lingered all day. I get these occasionally, whenever there’s rain in the forecast. My partner had one too. Something to do with living in California where the air pressure is usually high. When a storm front moves in, we get barometric headaches. However – and here’s the fascinating part – this evening I took my two Humaworm tablets before dinner, the way I’ve been doing, and the headache vanished within two or three minutes. Strange, eh?

Stranger still, I’m leaving FOAMY WHITE ISLANDS in the toilet when I pee. Not Minorcas or Icelands, but entire New Zealand-sized ones. Proportionately speaking. So I’m guessing that’s some kind of yeast deposit maybe? Candida? Not sure. I was expecting it to come out in my poop, so this is a surprise. Poop-wise, there’s very little action. I am a bit constipated. Then again, I’ve changed my diet, so my body’s in shock. Right now my organs are saying, “Where’s the fat? Where’d it go?” I hear this is the #1 hot topic around the water-cooler in my colon right now.

DAY 9:  Wow, is it day nine already?

Oddly uneventful day. No headache, no dizziness – not even a little bit – no cold feet, no zits. No symptoms of any kind really.

Oh, wait, my SKIN’S PEELING. I’ve noticed this happening the whole time – around my eyebrows, like dandruff, constantly coming, leaving patches of redness. And there are red patches down the sides of my nose too. What I’m assuming is that there’s something in the tablets themselves that my body’s not fond of, and I’m having an allergic reaction to it. But it never goes away.

Also, ITCHING. So much itching in my calves and ankles, and it seems to come on in response to sugar and/or salt ingestion. Sugar mostly, I think. Which could tie in with candida overgrowth. There’s a whole forum here of people with the same problem, chronic itchy legs, and they’re completely mystified. Somebody says the solution is a tanning bed, another recommends drinking more water. And a third says it could be allergy to detergent that our clothes are washed in. Fascinating, and also annoying. Another thing that won’t go away.

So not uneventful after all. Sorry to mislead you.

Day 10:  Oh dear. Starting to feel a bit rough now.

Couldn’t get out of bed this morning. Another dizzy attack that took four hours to wear off.  So I spent half the day horizontal. However, d’you know what every dizzy attack has in common? It occurs either just after or just before I deal with my agent. I’m serious. How weird is that? Yesterday we confusedswapped emails and I felt light-headed for an hour afterwards. Today I have a meeting with her at noon and I’m barely able to stand up. I recall clearly, the first time I had one of these episodes was on the day I signed the contract with her. What’s that trying to tell me?

Additionally, it’s possible I’m sickening for something, I suppose, or else it could be part of the wonder of Humaworm. At this stage I’m not sure. All I know is I have a sore throat, my eyes are starting to water, and my arms are very, very itchy. My bet’s on the candida cleanse, if only because when I did the parasite cleanse last year my nose ran for about four consecutive days non-stop. So this might just be the same kind of thing. I’ll let you know in a few hours. But right now, this ain’t good, people. You have been warned.

DAY 11: Another roughie. Not feeling good at all. Spacey, throaty, disoriented.

Somehow managed to work on my new book the whole day without much problem, but everything else – don’t ask. I drank tea and ate leftovers. If I so much as close my eyes, the room turns over on itself. It’s like being locked in a tumble dryer. Stress and sugar – they are now my enemies, which only makes me more stressed, and when I’m stressed I crave sugar. So this is an exercise in endurance as well as deprivation and discipline.

I feel like I could explode into a FULL-BLOWN COLD any minute. My voice has dropped an octave and I’m woozy. But at this stage, who can tell the difference between getting-a-cold wooziness and candida-die-off dizziness.

There have been moments when I think, “Jeez, maybe I’ve got something serious, like diabetes, brain cancer, or some disorder heralding imminent pancreatic failure.” Then I remember, I’m taking tablets to make me feel this way.

On the plus side, the ringing in my ears has completely subsided. Yay. And the hearing overall is better. Not brilliant, but better.

Unbelievably, I still have 19 days to go. Is this a cleanse or just masochism? The two have overlapped this time, that’s for sure.

DAY 12:   I have a confession. Tonight I decided not to take my tablets. I honestly couldn’t face it. This is making me so ill and putting me out of commission to the extent that I needed a rest from going to bed dizzy for once, and feeling as though half my head is numb.

So I’m lapsing briefly. I’ll begin again tomorrow, knowing that within an hour of swallowing the pills I will be stumbling all over the room again, about to pass out. But I have to say, already I feel better without the tabs. The throat’s clearing up, I’m not dizzy, and I actually have a bit of pep in my step. So the die-off symptoms are pretty severe.

Homemade Snow Globe

Homemade snow globe

Today’s spit-in-a-glass test has a whole host of candida colonies floating around in the bottom third of the glass. If this is really an accurate test, then it looks pretty bad. Which would explain: a) the comment, ‘You’re a candida factory”, and b) why the die-off has to be so horrible.

In other news: the zits seem to have calmed down a little, and the feet are warm, but the tinnitus is back and I’m really deaf. Had to cancel a dinner engagement. Couldn’t face going out and straining to hear what everyone was saying. Additionally, I have had a sore and phlegmy throat for two days. That’s abated somewhat, but I don’t have much of a voice left.

This is turning out to be a cripplingly unpleasant cleanse. Humaworm has given me a shellacking.

Day 13:  Alrightee, then. Back on the program. After a day of feeling great and convincing myself that I probably don’t have brain cancer after all, I’ve downed two more of the Humaworm pills. Back to business. Or dizz’ness. Whichever.

41pvISA6i7L._AA160_This afternoon, treated myself to a coffee enema, which I thought might help. Got some interesting stuff out, including a couple of large stones from my liver, but no candida.

People cringe when I mention doing coffee enemas. I think they imagine that I stop by Starbucks, buy a vente mocha frappuccino and inject it into my backside. To clear things up, it’s nothing like that. Yes, I do use Starbucks coffee, but it’s brewed at home, and is ever-so-slightly warm, not freezing cold or, worse, scalding hot.

Max Gerson

Max Gerson

Personally, after huge reservations initially, I’ve found coffee enemas to be delightfully productive. Or, to give them their full title: coffee implants and retention enemas. So you implant the room-temperature coffee into the downstairs area, then retain it for 15 mins or so. They’d been used for hundreds of years before I ever heard of them, but were pioneered more recently by the legendary Max Gerson M.D. as a hydrotherapy treatment for his cancer patients, to “mechanically cleanse their colon”, and offer all kinds of benefits:

  • stimulate the liver
  • flush out toxins
  • cleanse the intestine walls
  • help eliminate parasites
  • promote mental clarity
  • stimulate bile flow

My partner and I do them twice a month. Not only do I feel incredibly perky afterwards, but the hour or so it takes to do the protocol gives me time to read, which is important. And in terms of this particular one, it removed a couple of hefty stones and hopefully helped with the candida cleanse.

If it stops me, even for one night, getting so dizzy that I fall over while I’m cleaning my teeth, then it will have done its job. Thank you, enema.

Day 14:  Last night I found two CATERPILLAR-LIKE CASINGS in the toilet, probably as a result of the coffee enema. Don’t even ask me what they were. They could have been vegetable-based, from a salad or soup I’ve eaten, but they didn’t look that way. They honestly could have been dead caterpillars. Very odd.

OMG

copyright 2013 NASA

This morning the dizziness is back, and I was woken up early by the loudest WHISTLING in my left ear EVER.

So I tried that spitting-in-a-glass experimemt again, which, if it’s a valid candida test, is a handy way of checking in each day to see how fast the blighters are dying off. To the left is today’s glass, and as you can see, it’s HORRIFIC. Like a photo taken Hmmmmby the Hubble telescope in deep space, with long strings that I’m told are candida colonies, as well as clouds of residue across the bottom. No wonder my ears are ringing.

So I take one day off, and this is what happens. It shows up again like an ex who’s been given your new address by someone you thought was your friend. If this kind of test is accurate at all, it’s SUCH bad news.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go cough up some phlegm. (Yeuw!)

Day 15:  Halfway through the cleanse. So many pills left. So many days of discomfort to go.

Non-stop COUGHING and zits – that’s today’s main event. The candida thought it would come out by means of cold-like symptoms, then had second thoughts and decided to stay in my throat. So I’m coughing at the same rate per olive leaf extractminute that a dog barks when it’s trapped in a cellar.

Other than that, I feel okay. Decided to supplement the pills with olive leaf extract a couple of times a day. I have found this is a good remedy for the dizziness, and so it has proved. Since taking it, I’ve not been tripping over everything and walking into walls. Yay for O.L.E.

Day 16: Aaaaaah, the first signs of something tangible after all the suffering.

polystyreneToilet-talk:  had a bowel movement, and it released a bunch of white objects into the bowl. You know when you scrunch up polystyrene with your hand and it flakes into bits? Well, like that. They floated around in the water for quite a while before sinking to the bottom. This, I must assume at the halfway mark of this cleanse, is candida finally making its way out of my system. (The picture on the left is NOT of the candida, BTW!)

We had a doctor friend staying with us overnight, and she was just as excited as I was. “Ooh, we should put these under a microscope.” Er….no.

Anyway, the zits persist, forcing me to wear a hat to cover them and putting paid to any social life for the time being. Plus, I’m coughing up a ton of phlegm, which is unpleasant. Otherwise, no symptoms at all. The initial fogginess I was suffering at the start has vanished, and my hearing is better. The tinnitus has subsided a fair bit.

I have no idea what to expect next. Do candida colonies just keep coming out from now until the end?

Day 17:  Feeling subpar. On a scale of 1 to 10, about a 4. Coughing up stuff and feeling woozy. Yesterday I had another dizzy spell. This lasted half an hour, then dissipated and I was fine. But it was touch and go for a moment there. On the plus side, my ears crackled a lot this morning and when I blew my nose, my hearing suddenly got a whole lot clearer on both sides. Yay.

KalSaw a video today by a guy called Kal Sellers. Not sure who he is exactly, or what his qualifications are, and he does seem a little angry for some reason, but what he’s saying about candida makes total sense to me. His theory is that we’re eating too much, and too much of the wrong thing. If we eat sparingly, and switch our diet to things our bodies like and can process effectively, we needn’t even give a thought to candida – that’s his message. It seems to mean eliminating dairy products and animal proteins, and focusing on eating fruit, but always on an empty stomach so that it doesn’t ferment. As with everyone else in this field, he’s selling a course of information, so I’m leery. Still, his point is a good one.

Might I at this point urge you to read the comments beneath this post, because they contain some fascinating alternative takes on the information I’ve found out while I’ve been on this cleanse.

It’s amazing how many ‘experts’ on candida there are, both professional and amateur. And how many of them, by the way, tell you just to eat right and stop worrying, and it’ll all be fine. It’s also amazing how many ideas, myths, suggestions, and protocols there are to deal with it. I’m a little mind-boggled right now. Apparently, there have been 24,000 studies done on candida in the past sixty years. So that’s 24,000 studies, and about the same number of suggestions as to how to bring it under control. This is way more complicated than I thought when I set out.

And harder to deal with when you’re subpar. Bleh.

Day 18:  Turned out to be a rougher day than I imagined. I woke up fine, but then took the candida tablets and within an hour I was UNABLE TO WALK IN A STRAIGHT LINE. The dizziness was atrocious. At one point, I was heading in the general direction of the post office (which is the best you can hope for, I’ve decided) and passers-by must have thought I was Saddrunk, I was weaving all over the place. So I hurried home, took olive leaf extract, lay on the couch, and just waited it out.

I also coughed all day and my feet and hands were very cold.

So last night I had a talk over dinner with my partner about the whole thing. He thinks I should continue and see it through, whereas me – I’m all for cutting my losses before something more serious happens. Normally, you’d never hear me admit that. I have laser-like determination with these things and see them right through to the end, but this treatment is so debilitating that it’s preventing me from functioning on a daily level. I have deadlines and tasks to complete, but can’t because I have to stay glued to a chair or sofa, for fear of stumbling over sideways and throwing up. How do people with regular jobs get through this? It’s borderline impossible.

In the end, it might come down to taking a different route. I may just say no to my best friend sugar from now on, keep the fat-intake low, stay off bread, and gradually allow my body to put itself right. Candida can’t thrive if you don’t feed the yeast. I’ll make the decision later today. But for this morning only, I’m skipping a tablet again, just so’s I can leave the house without risking an incident, because it really panics me. Going to the post office, it was entirely possible that I could have toppled sideways into a hedge and just laid there until I was found, like a homeless person.

Last week, I went to the store a couple of blocks from here. Afterwards, I felt woozy, so I sat down on a metal bar that people use for chaining up their bicycles, and fell asleep. In a way, it felt more like passing out. Then suddenly I woke up, wondering where the hell I was. So it’s possible these side-effects have something to do, not with candida die-off, but with an intolerance to the tablets. I’m going to write to Humaworm this morning and ask. I’ll let you know what they say.

Day 19:  If only you could have seen me. Last night on the toilet, I pooped and then stared for the longest time into the bowl. It was absolutely fascinating, because, as well as the poop, there was a very obvious slick of scum on the surface of the water, and this scum contained all kinds of white strands. Some of it looked like specks of white parsley. Then, around the feces itself, a white blob floated around, as if propelling itself, which it probably wasn’t. More likely, the current within the water was nudging it around. All the same, it looked like it was swimming.

So that’s a result, and cause for jubilation.

Otherwise, here’s the state of play: I didn’t take any tablets yesterday, and as a consequence I had no dizziness or other symptoms of candida die-off. My hearing was a lot better, there were no zits, and my cough is slowly clearing up.

Sadly, I heard nothing back from Humaworm after I wrote to them about the dizzy spells. I’ve seen comments elsewhere that their customer service is horrible when you have a problem. According to other people, Humaworm likes selling you its products, but isn’t so helpful when there might be an issue with those products. Which is now my experience as well. So on that score it’s a huge black mark for them, and you may need to be careful therefore before buying their stuff. Know that you’re probably on your own if you suffer problems.

Anyway, I have a new plan. I have a presentation on Tuesday and can’t afford to be sick for it, so I will begin the Candida Cleanse again on Wednesday morning, then see it through to the end. In the meantime, I won’t be eating or drinking anything that causes the yeast to flourish.

Increasingly, I’m coming around to the view that a candida overgrowth is caused (or certainly not hindered) by eating too much food, including too much fat and sugar. I am a compulsive eater. Often I’ll consume food for no other reason than out of boredom or greed. I just love eating, what can I tell you? As a result, the body gets overloaded, the liver can’t cope, and the entire biology of the system gets disrupted. Well, trust me, a lesson has been learned!!

This blog will continue in five days’ time.

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Was due to re-start the candida cleanse today, but I woke up this morning DIZZY without even taking a single tablet. Worse, the dizziness has lasted all day. I called to make an appointment with my doctor, gave the nurse the symptoms, and – woah – they’re rushing me in tonight to check me out.

Suddenly my week just got a whole lot more interesting. I’ll keep you posted.

THURSDAY UPDATE:  Lots of tests, lots of guesswork at the hospital last night. “Could be this, could be that – here’s a needle, let’s find somewhere to stick it.” All my vital signs are normal anyway, and today I feel better and am walking around normally. Even took a shower without falling over like an old person. But now, of course, I’m involved. The system has me. I’m being contacted by the hospital every ten minutes about what happened. Apparently, this ropes in several different departments – all of them curious about what might be wrong. I haven’t told them yet that it started when I took Humaworm tablets. I’m a little ashamed.

Oddly, the doctor said, “Your plan includes a course of psychological therapy – would you like that?” “Oooh, yes please,” I said, excited. As always, it’s not necessary, but I want to see what happens.

So the Humaworm candida cleanse is on hold. This all started during those first three weeks. I’m not blaming Humaworm – although they still haven’t replied to my concerned email, which is shocking, and exceedingly negligent of them, I think – but I don’t want to make this worse than it is, so I’m leaving off it for now.

SATURDAY UPDATE:  I’m just about well again now. Hearing’s pretty good, skin much better, tinnitus minimal, and balance restored – but then again, I’ve not been taking the Humaworm tablets these past few days. Indeed, I’ve decided to come off the 30-day cleanse, simply because I felt it might be doing more harm than good. The trip to the hospital freaked me out, as you know. But also the fact that Humaworm don’t reply to messages if you have a problem – that doesn’t sit easily with me at all. There’s a thin line between poor customer service and hiding, and when they don’t reply like this, it suggests they’re hiding.

Therefore, not only would I not take their candida product again, but I can’t in all honesty recommend that anyone else does either.

These side-effects may be just normal candida die-off symptoms, and limited to me alone – entirely possible – but I can’t vouch for a product that puts me in hospital, even if, ultimately, it was only doing what it was meant to be doing. So this experiment is officially declared a bust. I would have continued to the end, but I was in danger of collapsing in the street, and that’s not good.

THE FOLLOWING TUESDAY UPDATE: Still off the tablets, yet last night when I pooped there were white strings in the toilet and a large white blob that had to be candida colony, I guess. It resembled a small flake of tissue paper. So I’m thinking the candida cleanse may still be working.

FOLLOWING WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Got tests back from the hospital. Took me a couple of days to work up the nerve to open them and see the results, hence the delay. But I did and – I’m perfectly fine. Everything tests great, from blood pressure to cholesterol to colon to glucose. Basically, nothing wrong. Which therefore begs the question – if there’s nothing at all wrong, why am I woozy? The mystery deepens.

OSCAR NIGHT UPDATE:  I discovered this today. It’s a list of foods that have to be avoided totally in order to beat a candida overgrowth.

What’s fascinating about it is that almost everything on that list makes me go deaf or gives me zits or headaches or makes my skin peel off. Which once again points to my having a candida problem.

So starting next weekend, and for two months – that’s sixty days – I will be avoiding every item on that list. And instead I will be eating everything on THIS list, which starves candida from the body. In order to keep track of this I will be starting a new blog post, which I will be updating now and then, though not every day, since I don’t expect the changes to be major. The details of this protocol are outlined in a video, which you can watch here.

GENERAL UPDATE: I bought pH strips from the drug store, and tested my alkalinity after one of the dizzy spells, in case that had anything to do with it. Well, it was right off the charts! The strips are color-coded – whatever color it turns, you match it to the guide on the back, and that tells you how acidic your body is. Needless to say, mine isn’t. Not at all. In my efforts to get rid of candida, I have turned myself into Alkalinity Central.

I read somewhere that being alkaline can affect the distribution of oxygen to the body, so maybe that’s what’s contributing to the dizzy episodes. Just playing around here, but clearly nobody should be this alkaline, it’s dangerous, and I have to remedy it immediately.

NEXT TO LAST UPDATE: My hearing is almost back! After six years of searching, it seems that I may be much closer to the answer than ever before.

When I went to the hospital to get some dizziness pills two weeks ago, they gave me an info sheet. On it, amidst thousands of instructions and warnings was a single line that said: ‘Eat a diet low in sodium to reduce fluid build-up in the inner ear.’

That was it. The light bulb went on. Fluid in the inner ear, huh?

So I quit salt. Not altogether, because the body needs salt, after all, but substantially. I kept a close watch of any salt going in and kept it to a minimum. I also cut back on sugar and fat, which are in the mix somewhere too when it comes to the cause, I think.

At the same time, I treated myself to a fresh organic green drink every day from a health food store, with kale, apple, spinach, carrot, wheatgrass, cayenne, and ginger. I did yoga in the morning and meditated at night to counter any stress build-up, in case that was contributing too.

Finally, an energy healer in New Hampshire did some long-distance jiggery-pokery to clear the backlog of emotional issues I might be hanging on to.

Then I waited, and guess what.

My hearing began to come back almost that same night!

It shifted from deafness in my left ear to equal deafness in my left and right, then the deafness began to dissipate overall. By today, I was able to listen to my iPod and actually hear in stereo for the first time in six years. Brilliant. Out in the world, I could hear all kinds of things I’ve not heard before. Very liberating.

However, this is an experiment, and a very important one. I couldn’t just leave it at that. So today I ordered food at lunch with salt in it, and also ate two small cakes from a bakery and a couple of cookies that I know to contain salt, plus sugar plus fat. Within two hours the hearing in my left ear had dulled to about 80% deaf, with a loud whistling.

Conclusion: we are almost there. Almost at the solution. Looks like an excess of salt is the cause – did you know that Trader Joe‘s canned soups sometimes contain 25% salt per serving? – with sugar and fat playing a part in the overall problem.

That’s six years of investigation, a thousand experiments, months each year of diets, cleanses, detoxes, retreats, and other eccentric inconveniences to my partner and friends that made me the laughing stock of the group. But hey, it looks like it’s paid off. Persistence and endurance won in the end, my friends.

The next few days will tell.

LAST UPDATE – PART 1:  The vertigo attacks have continued. It’s now April 2013, and I’m still facing days when I can’t get out of bed.

Two weeks ago, I had a serious attack during a party we threw here at the house. I was supposed to be cooking and serving, but was so giddy on my feet that everyone thought I’d been at the booze since waking up, I was weaving all over the place. It was ghastly.

But then one of our guests said, “I had that too for about a year. In the end I went to see a chiropractor. It was a pinched nerve in my neck. He corrected it, and I’ve not been dizzy since.” The woman sitting next to her added, “I know a GREAT chiropractor, if you want his number.”

Next day I went to see the guy and he took X-rays. Yes, I have a pinched nerve in my neck, it turns out, which is impeding blood flow and could be causing dizziness and hearing loss. Indeed, he’s pretty sure it is. However, that’s not why I’m writing this, because he’s also a huge diet fanatic and he ordered me – ordered me, mind – to quit eating gluten products, gluten being a pernicious enemy causing mucus and inflammation, as well as dairy, excessive salt, sugar, and processed foods.

He urged me to replace this stuff with vegetables and wild fish and meat. “I eat lots of elk,” he said, and glared when I giggled.

Anyway, this accords with what I’ve written above. Candida thrives on wheat products, dairy, sugar, and in conditions of too much fat intake, we’re told. When my hearing came back earlier, I’d come off gluten and the rest and results soon followed. Then of course I got cocky and lapsed. So now it’s time to give it another shot. I have faith in this chiropractor and his elk diet – maybe he’s right.

I’ll keep you posted.

believing book coverNOTE: I’m not promoting any product here, and I’m certainly not linked with any manufacturer or producer of candida remedies. This is an independent and honest study. If it doesn’t work, you’ll be the first one to know. Also, you already realize by now, I’m sure – because I keep emphasizing it – that nothing I say has been verified, validated, or approved by the FDA or anyone else in authority. This is a personal experiment only, but one I come at with the same spirit of inquiry I used for exploring the healing of cancer and multiple sclerosis in my A Little Book About Believing, which so many people have read and found incredibly useful. If you, or someone you know, is worried about cancer, this is a great book to read.

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More about Cash’s life-changing health and healing book

believing book coverAre you sick and don’t know why?

Do you have a disease, and are frightened by what comes next? Or maybe regular doctors didn’t help you at all, or even made things worse.

If so, this book could change your view of life, the way it’s changed so many others.

A Little Book About Believing is a real-life adventure about the power of the mind and spirit to heal. A pioneering story filled with insightful discoveries and valuable life lessons that the whole world needs to hear.

It follows Spirituality & Health writer Cash Peters to a spiritual retreat in Brazil with a group of cancer and M.S. patients who are searching for healing outside the conventional medical system.

For everyone who reads it, it’s uplifting and incredibly inspirational stuff. But if you have cancer or any other treatable disease, or someone you know is currently addressing a serious health issue, then this book is a must-read. It could radically change your, or their, perspective on what it takes to get well. The second half features a section on the Seven Pillars of Self-Healing, exploring ways that even the most advanced sickness might be reversed. It’s incredibly revealing. I know cancer patients who read this part over and over and over again, so it comes highly recommended.

Now, you might be saying, “But it looks like a religious book, and I’m not into religion.” It’s not, though. Let me put that in bold:

This is not about religion

Simply put, you can’t possibly look at the world or yourself the same way after reading it.

Doctors can work wonders, but in the end it boils down to this: you are significantly more instrumental in your own healing than you may think.

In short, this is one man’s personal exploration of the subject of health and healing. The discoveries he makes and some of the conclusions he draws could someday help save your life.

It has a foreword by a leading Harvard doctor and an afterword by one of L.A.’s top cancer specialists.

But I’d say everyone needs to know this information. On top of which it’s a really engrossing story. However – and this is important – it must be approached with an open mind and heart, the way Cash approached the subject in the beginning. Some hardened skeptics have read it and learned from it, but many people have blinkers on when it comes to matters of spirituality in any form, and can’t get over their own deeply-ingrained prejudices.

You can listen to a June 2013 radio broadcast, in which Cash talks about his John of God experience HERE.

It is available everywhere on Kindle and the iPad, and paperback copies can be ordered on Amazon.com and will be mailed from America. The paperbacks can be signed if requested.

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July 31, 2012 · 6:40 pm

The 30-Day De-Wormer: not for the squeamish

Taming the Beast Within Final Cover

Before we start, a quick note: the new book about cleansing  Candida and worms from the body is available now. It’s called Taming the Beast Within, and it’s about time someone wrote a book like this. Not only will it inform you about this stuff and let you know what to do about it, but it looks deeper into the triggers for yeast and parasite infections, as well as examining why some people are prone to parasites and Candida and others aren’t. You’ll find it a fascinating read. There are even photos.

It’s already riding high on Amazon. You’ll find it HERE.

And in case you’re wondering what kind of parasite I’m talking about, try this little monster for size.

Rope worm

A stage 3 rope worm. This came out during the Candida cleanse featured in the book. I mean, look at that thing – it has tentacles!! And that was just the beginning.

Seriously, read Taming the Beast Within. We’re not kidding around here. It could save your life.

ThursdayMorningMemo1400x1400

LISTEN NOW to Cash talking about Candida and what he believes is the REAL cause behind all the misery, and also behind cancer, M.S., and diabetes, on his podcast The Thursday Morning Memo. Available for download on iTunes.

Now, on with the blog.

———-

I can’t honestly tell you why I’m doing this. Not why I’m deworming myself, but why I’m writing a daily blog post about it. In what universe could anyone other than me conceivably want to know about my parasite cleanse?

Then again, maybe you have parasites too. A-ha! Indeed, it’s very likely you do.

I read somewhere that 90% of us have unwelcome creatures of some sort living within us, invaders that lodge in various parts of the body and not only consume nutrients from our food to stay alive, but lay eggs and breed, causing a variety of mysterious ailments, such as rashes, headaches, allergies, boils, etc etc.

How can we contract them? Well, I wouldn’t try too hard, but if it happens, then it might be from pets; from eating sushi, meat, and raw vegetables; or from traveling; or simply from everyday human contact. Parasites can give rise to unaccountable health issues that doctors don’t know how to treat.

So, in my capacity as a curious layman and ceaseless guinea-pig, I’ve decided, for the next thirty days, to flush away the wee rascals from wherever they’re hiding.

After all, look at my life so far. I’ve traveled extensively, eating countless weird foods along the way in the most unsanitary conditions, in places such as Cambodia, Kenya, Russia, Brazil, Vanuatu, etc. I’ve also been a raw food guy for years, and even regularly kissed and cuddled my cats. I’m the perfect candidate for parasites.

Last year, I was doing a liver flush – my fourth or fifth – and a five-inch white worm dropped into the toilet. I almost freaked out. It was the weirdest thing! It’s this that alerted me to the possibility that I may have other unwanted guests in my system, an idea confirmed by an odd rash on my neck that never goes away, by a constant ringing in my ears, and varying degrees of deafness (which can also be a by-product of candida, I’m told), plus I have a stack of food sensibilities that are just plain ridiculous. I get pimples if I so much as look at milk, pig products, sugar, and oil, while nuts and wheat actually make my skin flake off like dandruff. It’s crazy.

Nobody could have been more diligent in pursuing a remedy. I’ve consulted dermatologists, regular doctors, Eastern healers, colonic irrigation experts, aromatherapists, reiki practitioners, and countless others. Everyone had theories, but none was ever able to pinpoint the cause of the problem. Then I read a really great blog about the subject which I recommend (the picture below comes from there) about successfully treating parasites and I was inspired to give it a go.

In some ways this is my list-ditch effort to get to the source of the problem. It’s almost as if it can only be parasites. What else is there left to try? Curious to see if my suspicions were right, I heard from a friend about this treatment called Humaworm, and sent off for a 30-day supply. The directions say to take two tablets twice a day 30 minutes before meals, so that the parasites eat the contents of the tablets, and not the food. Then they begin to die.

Humaworm isn’t the only method out there for dealing with this problem. A friend drew my attention to a post on Curezone about cleaning out parasite species called flukes from the blood, liver, GI tract, pancreas, & lungs. I can’t vouch for this, but it might be worth reading. Liver fluke drug treatment. You follow it at your peril.

Me, I’m sticking with Humaworm for now. Once again, I will submit myself as a human crash-test dummy.

I’ve been doing this – detoxing and reforming my diet and approach to life since my trip to the health and healing center in Brazil. You’ve probably already read my book about this. If not, obviously I recommend it. It will open your eyes in so many ways, as it did me. Life will never be the same again. It’s funny to me that many people see the hands on the front of the Believing book and assume it must be a religious work. Trust me, it’s not. It has a foreword by a Harvard doctor and explores the world of health and healing from a self-empowerment point of view, where we become our own saviors and bring our bodies back into balance.

That’s why I’m de-worming. I’m not an expert, remember, just a regular guy who’d like to shed a few parasites, if he has them. With that end in mind – and there’s really only one end they’re going to come out of – my 30-day experience begins here.

The 30-day De-Worming Program

Day 1: Not expecting much. The two tablets smelled very strong, and shortly after swallowing them I let out a belch that I could taste for at least fifteen minutes afterwards. Had three extensive bowel movements during the day, including an urgent one in the middle of the night. Otherwise, nothing to report.

Day 2: Noticeably lethargic today. Listless too. Could still be the jetlag from my vacation, or the beginnings of parasite die-off. According to the Humaworm site: “Die-off can take many forms: headaches, body aches, rashes, fatigue, mood swings, body odor, and gas and bloating to name a few. Drinking at least two quarts or more of water daily and having regular bowel movements will help get the parasites and toxins out of the body faster thereby eliminating many common die-off symptoms.”

The rash on my neck is redder, and I woke up with a pain in my neck too, which is interesting. Plus, I had shifting aches in my abdomen, sometimes acute, that reached up to my liver. Additionally, my stomach feels bloated. I’m not psychic, but I do foresee another bowel movement in my immediate future.

Day 3:  No worms, but woke with a headache that dissipated very quickly. More pains in stomach too, and a general wooziness. My left ear is really whistling. That’s not a good sign usually. Though today, maybe it is. All part of the die-off, I assume. Have to go to the cinema this afternoon to watch a movie for the BBC. Hope I can last 90 minutes without an explosive disaster ‘downstairs’. I notice in the list of ingredients that there’s a laxative, senna. Oh great. That explains it.

Day 4: No worms, but still getting shifting aches all over my body. This morning my fingers hurt for some reason. Taking Humaworm leads to several hefty bowel movements a day, which has got to be a good thing. I think I’m maybe expecting too much too soon. The one interesting side-effect – if indeed it comes from taking the tablets – is that they seem to make me extremely horny. I won’t go into details, but it’s very, very noticeable. Strange.

Day 5: Things with tails. That’s what I saw yesterday.

To help the process along, I did a coffee enema, which is more fun than it sounds. And in the second flushing there were a number of small stringy things in the toilet afterwards. Now, I thought, “They’re just bits of undigested lettuce or something”, and that may be so, but they looked suspiciously like worm casings to me.

All sorts of weird pains throughout my body that come and go. And I just collapse with tiredness around 9pm and sleep til 6.30. Odd zits here and there too. Part of the die-off or part of the original problem? As yet, I have no bloomin’ idea.

Day 6: Nothing today, except maybe disappointment. Feeling a lot better. It even looks like the rash on my neck is slowly starting to clear up. However, that comes and goes anyway, so I’ll have to wait a while to give a definitive verdict. Bit disconcerted by the fact that my fingers are aching still. Not sure why that is. But otherwise, still waiting for a big break-through.

Day 7: My little worm friends are back. But they’re different this time. Three semi-transparent coils that at first I thought were hairs in the toilet bowl, but which sat lazily under the surface of the water as if in shock at being dropped suddenly and without warning from a warm, closed environment into a cold, hostile environment.

In blogs about de-worming, the parasites that are shown as most common tend to look like a bear’s footprint or long and  brown. I’ve seen nothing like that. These were slender and quite hard to see, and very different to anything that’s dropped out of my system before.

Last night, we went to dinner at a friend’s house. I tried to talk about my deworming program. It’s remarkable how nobody wants to discuss this topic, particularly while eating.

Today I woke up with an achey stomach – food poisoning type achey (which is possible) – and a yearning to poo. A yearning I am about to satisfy. I ache in other ways too. Yesterday there were times when I felt like my body had been stored in a tight box for three days and just emerged, stiffly and painfully. Today….it’s not so bad, but my intestines are gurgling fitfully, so that’s a sign of something. Thank you, Humaworm, for contributing to life’s eternal conundrum in this way.

Day 8:  The rash on my neck has almost gone!!! That’s the big news. A-ha! Thank  you again, Humaworm.

Otherwise, theme of the day: weirdness. My esophagus overnight was so swollen that I could hardly swallow. It was like I had a huge blockage halfway down. It’s better today, but I sound like I have a major cold coming on. Very husky. Which doesn’t bode well for the broadcast tomorrow.

The website Livestrong.com lists common cold symptoms as among the results of the die-off. “Since increasing the flow of mucus is one way the body tries to rid itself of contaminants,” it says, “you may experience respiratory symptoms like those of the common cold–sneezing, coughing and a stuffy or runny nose. These are the body’s attempts to get rid of the dying parasites and their toxins, which it may perceive as invaders.”

Well bingo to that. So I guess the little blighters are pouring out of every orifice all the time.

BTW, no worms evident in the toilet this morning. I get very disappointed now when that happens. But maybe they’re mixed in with the general dump rather than floating freely. I know that some of the stools had strange little tails hanging off them. And, dead-center, was a white blob about a quarter-inch across which just lay there and could have been anything. Normally, however, I never get stuff like this, so something’s working.

Beyond that, it’s a mysterious process. I know some cleansing people like to take out their poo and dissect it, looking for worms. I am not one of those people. I have 22 days left on the Humaworm cleanse – I’ll trust it’s doing its work.

Jeez, I hope this sore throat disappears by tomorrow. Out, damn worms, out!

Day 9:  Cold symptoms continue to linger, but the worst appears to be over. My nose won’t stop running, but I feel fine otherwise. Once I’d accepted that it was my body detoxing, meaning it was a good thing, it became easier to bear somehow. I’m going to sound ropey on the radio tonight, but that can’t be helped. The show must go on.

Bit of a zit issue today, I notice – on my face and with little bumps like flea-bites on my fingers. Also my ears really itch.

And when I did my first poo of the day, I noticed more of those strange little tails, like ant-legs, sticking out of my stools. I don’t want to give you nightmares, people, but my turds have antennae! This whole regimen piles mystery upon conundrum. Was I really that infested with parasites? It’s hard to believe.

I wish my nose would quit running. This is getting annoying. I’ve run out of handkerchiefs and now I’m using kitchen towels.

Hope to be well for Saturday. Going to do yoga in Malibu. The woman whose home we’re doing it in tells me she’s been getting worms out for a couple of years, and that they’re 12-15″ in length, white and very thin. She’s fished them out of the toilet and taken them to show her doctor but he has no clue why she keeps getting them.

You have to admit, this is a fascinating subject. Gross, but fascinating.

Day 10: Felt rough first thing, but am slowly improving as the day revs up. Cold symptoms persist. My nose is running like a faucet still. There isn’t a clean handkerchief anywhere in the house. Clearly, my entire body was toxic with parasites, though how this can be I have no idea, given than I have been cleansing pretty consistently for five years. Am entering a depressed, ‘nothing’s working and I’ve wasted my money – again‘ phase. Maybe I didn’t have parasites at all, just regular stuff that everyone else has and I simply caught a cold. My powers of self-delusion are well-documented in the health field.

Nose stopped running after breakfast and didn’t run for the rest of the day. Like the faucet was suddenly turned off.

I have multiple zits on my face, but in one small area. They keep on coming. Unpleasant to look at.

Have decided to do coffee enemas every three days to help the process along. If I don’t get some serious worm action soon, I’m going to write to Humaworm and tell them. Oh, and by the way, the name’s appropriate. You really need a sense of huma to do this, otherwise you’d throw yourself off a bridge.

Day 11:  Big thing happened today.

Woke up feeling really, really rough. Sluggish, with a head full of sawdust, and a terrible ache behind my eyes. Found it hard to get out of bed. Actually, the cat was sitting on me too, so doubly-hard. But this is going to be a slow start. I don’t know if I can face another 19 days of this. It’s getting in the way.

Hope to complete my new mystery novel by tomorrow.  Yesterday, every word had to be dragged forcibly out of my head and onto the page. I either couldn’t settle or I couldn’t focus or I wanted to eat, or something. Always something.

However, I did my yoga practice first thing, and while I was mid-asana I had a sneezing fit. Immediately, the headache and the sluggishness went. Vanished. Now I’m fine. Oh, and the zits I kept getting on my left cheek – gone.

It’s typical to go to the toilet three times a day during a cleanse. I think Humaworm contains psyllium, which makes you, not runny exactly, but certainly prolific. Anyway, I noticed a couple of translucent threads in my bowel movement last night. I always think it’s just hairs in the bowl, but it didn’t really look like it. Was very excited that it might be more worms. So I leaped off the toilet, turned around to take a good close look – and, well, I had a little accident. Now I have to add ‘cleaning a rug’ to my list of chores today.

Day 12: Another rough one. Oh my lordy, do I feel awful today! Slept for almost 11 hours. More translucent threads in the toilet bowl, I notice, and also white blobs. These white things are candida, I think.

Decided to double down on the attack. Last year, when I got a five-inch white worm out during a liver flush, I was using a zapper at the same time. This is a little device I imported from South Africa which apparently electrocutes parasites as they sleep and breed, and it seemed to work. So I strapped that onto my arm last night and will wear it for the next few days.

According to the Orgonize Africa site: “All parasites and diseased tissues are positively charged. The zapper introduces negative ions through the skin and into the body’s living tissue, killing the parasites by reversing their polarity and also helping to heal the diseased tissue.”

So there it is. You can feel it pumping electricity through your skin all the time. The more acidic your body is, the more the electrodes tingle. Fascinating actually.

The parasites have had it pretty easy for the past few years, squatting in my system, being fed and watered, swimming each day in a heated pool. Now it’s time to evict them. They’re resisting like crazy, of course, which is why I feel so bad. Tired. Eyes watering. Headaches that come and go, and pains that shift around the body constantly. The cold symptoms vanished as quickly as they came, so that’s good, but I never feel ‘right’ or lively or upbeat, just depressed and drained. I guess August is the perfect month for this. Nothing else is happening – it’s a great time to feel horrible constantly.

18 days to go.

Day 13: Today was a big long day involving the amazing yoga session in Malibu, which was fantastic. I couldn’t afford to have a poo crisis suddenly while I was there, so as a preventative measure I had to skip my morning Humaworm tablets. This will probably have  a knock-on to tomorrow as well. It was worth it, though. Worms, you have a reprieve for now.

Before I left the house, there was a long string of white foamy phlegmy something in the toilet, which may have been mucus, but could have been candida. You’d think I’d get a book, wouldn’t you, and look these creatures up? But I simply flushed it all away without checking. In any case, I’ve not seen that before.

Blew my nose a lot all day. Incredible amount of stuff still pouring out.

My friend who has the 15″ worms that come out regularly (see above) has a vast garden full of organic fruits and vegetables. She took us around, plucking fresh raspberries and strawberries and handing them to me to eat. Fantastic flavor. But she was concerned.

“I don’t understand why I keep getting these long worm things,” she said as we walked. “It’s a mystery.”

But maybe it isn’t. Insects lay their eggs on plants. If you eat stuff straight from the garden, unwashed, those eggs and whatever else are going straight into your intestines, where I guess they hatch, live, feed, and breed. That makes sense to me anyway. And it did to her too. How weird that I would be the one to think of that. It’s so obvious really. Wash your fruit, lady.

Day 14: Feeling fine. All aches gone, feelings of sluggishness gone, and no worms or other suspicious objects in the toilet bowl for once. Things are looking up, finally.

Day 15: Halfway through, and unless it has some uncharted surprises in store for me, it looks like Humaworm has done its stuff. I feel great yet again, with no obvious alien beings wriggling in my stool, so all’s well on that score too.

I do notice that I have to get up to pee between two and four times a night, which suggests that Humaworm is still active, helping flush out smaller parasites, but otherwise…..nothing to report.

Oh, one other thing – for a long time now I’ve had dark crescents lining those little crevices on either side of my nostrils. Well, those have gone too. The skin is no longer dark. Quite fascinating.

Day 16: I was expecting this cleanse to slowly build to a glorious crescendo, but it appears that after a while you simply feel better and the whole rigmarole becomes regular and comfortable. Apart from the copious poos twice a day, there’s really nothing to report. Feel good all around, which, after a horribly shaky two weeks to start with, is a massive relief. So I suppose I should feel happy, not disappointed.

Day 17: The day’s big lesson about Humaworm: if you have a long day ahead and no opportunity to go poo, don’t take de-worming tablets in the morning. How I didn’t burst today I have no idea.  It’s not that anything bad was wanting to come out, but Humaworm, I believe, contains psyllium husks, and they promote colonic wellbeing. And nobody wants to be caught enjoying colonic wellbeing during a meeting.

Other than that, all’s well. Peeing and pooing inordinately, so it’s entirely possible that I’m jettisoning boatloads of parasites I can’t see. It just isn’t dramatic, and I feel great. Which is something, right?

Day 18: Oh lordy, could this be more boring? Apart from the fact that you constantly want to poo, I don’t see any difference between a person on Humaworm and one who’s not on it, that is once you break through the first-two-week barrier. Other people may be so chock full of worms and other parasites that the effects of die-off continue for weeks. Me – I’m just dandy. I’ve done liver flushes and Master Cleanses over several years, so maybe I’m relatively free compared to other folks.

The lasting effect seems to be: clearer skin. I’m not as sensitive to foods any more. That’s a major benefit. I do have one zit, though, that won’t go away. It’s in the dead center of my chin and, no matter what I do, it remains. That’s highly unusual, so I must account for it by saying, “Humaworm.” The tablets are on a covert mission. I don’t know what it is, but the pimple is the result.

Otherwise, as I say, just dandy.

Days 19 and 20: Two-thirds of the way through and feeling great. It’s possible that microscopic stuff is being jettisoned from my body and I don’t even know it, but there’s nothing obvious happening. Some people experience a relapse around this time, as though the body takes a rest to gather its forces then suddenly begins detoxing all over again, but in my case I may have been fairly detoxed to begin with, because I feel as fit as I’ve ever been.

Throughout this what-began-as-an-ordeal-then-got-better, I’ve been doing coffee enemas every three days. Normally, my partner and I, we do these twice a month, but because I wanted to empty my butt completely – it’s a technical term, don’t worry about it – I decided to give it a little help.

A coffee enema is a tremendous stimulant to the liver, increasing its performance in some cases by several hundred percent. You basically fill your small intestine with organic medium roast, following some very simple instructions, and lie on your right side for 12-15 minutes, doing so twice with two separate lots of room temperature coffee. This does wonders for your system. You feel brighter and look perkier afterwards, and the stuff that comes out can be startling.

I just heard that the best coffee for enemas, the one used by the Gerson Institute, is S.A. Wilson’s from Canada. 44% more caffeine! Bloody hell – I’ll be as high as a kite. Will give it a try and report back.

Day 21: Well, it looks like I’m clean. For the time being, nothing disturbing is emerging. But that could mean, as I said earlier, that things are coming out still, but they’re small. Entirely possible. The side-effects have gone, though. My complexion is definitely healthier looking, and if I do get reactions to foods, they seem to vanish at ten times the speed they did before. That’s tremendously empowering.

So 9 days to go. My Humaworm packet is almost empty. I’ll continue to the end – I never give up on things – but short of a major development, I think we’re done.

Day 22: Look the other way. Please, just go. I am not worthy of your attention today. I completely forgot to take my pills.

Well, it’s understandable – nothing dramatic has happened in over a week and after a while you get sick of staring into the toilet hoping for worms and getting nothing.

The pills are supposed to be taken twelve hours apart before meals. Tonight I ate dinner and didn’t give my Humaworm a thought. Just slipped my mind. I wound up taking them after dinner instead, and now I can’t get the taste off my breath. My punishment for taking my eye off the ball for a second.

So today the parasites won. They got a reprieve. Now, let’s move on and pretend this never happened, okay?

Day 23: BIG NEWS!

Just when I’d given up hope. My landing gear was down and I was cruising toward the terminal building, and there they are – parasites. Ta-daa!

For a start, last night I could not sleep. I lay awake for hours, which I never do. I never have insomnia. Plus, I have a strange zit-like boil thing on the side of my neck, which can’t be explained away by logical means. But that’s only the beginning. I went to the loo just now, and was quite shocked.

First, there was another of those translucent floaty things, about two inches long, a worm casing maybe, floating in the water. Haven’t had one of those in two weeks. But the most interesting thing of all was what lay around the water’s edge. Normally, I put almost everything I see in the bowl down to eating a lot of salad stuff, which can show up later in any manner of odd configurations when it drops out. But this was different.

Around the edges of the water, where the water laps up against the sides of the toilet, there were five little ‘things’. Short things. barely 0.75″ long,  lying half in, half out of the water, spaced around the bowl. Think about that: each one was half in, half out of the water, as though trying to escape. I have never seen anything like it. There was none in the the rest of bowl that I could see, only around the edge of the water.

Then, when I was performing a little cleaning ritual afterwards, on my hand I found a 1″ long yellowy-white hard thing. My first thought: it’s wet toilet paper scrunched up. But it didn’t look like toilet paper, it looked organic and dead.

So after 23 days, including a long vacant gap that was very depressing, something has finally shifted. Humaworm obviously keeps on toiling away, even when you’re not thinking about it. Fantastic.

Day 24: Woke up with pains in my left boobie. Those seem to have dissipated now. Keep waking up in the middle of the night with my body aching here and there.

No parasites in poop this morning. Not visibly anyway.

Day 25: Nothing noticeable in the toilet bowl today, apart from large patches of white stuff, which I think was a form of gas maybe, but not sure. I’m about to do another coffee enema, so we shall see.

However, there’s BIG news you should know about. Last night we went out to dinner at a friend’s house, which is always a difficult proposition for me, due to all the stuff I can’t eat. We didn’t know these guys well, and they didn’t know about my lifelong problem. It was just asking for trouble.

I have horrible food sensitivities. My skin reacts badly to cheese, meat, fried anything, cream, sugar…etc etc, so I almost freaked when every one of these was trotted out during the meal. In fact, it was made up 85% of these ingredients. There was nowhere for me to turn.

Normally, after a night like that, the following day I’m scared to look in the mirror. I can expect hives, rashes, even bits of skin flaking off. It’s ghastly. But today, guess what, people? My complexion is perfectly clear. Not a blip, no redness, no bubbling up, no spots. How wondeful.

So in that respect, it looks like my dear, fantastic new friend Humaworm has performed a very powerful service.

Day 26: Winding down now. Nothing to report. All aches and pains gone, nothing worth mentioning in my stools. There is a strange zit on my neck today that wasn’t there yesterday, so that’s a mystery. Otherwise, zlich.

I’m open to new developments, and even yearning for them, because I love doing this stuff personally, but we may be done.

Let’s see what happens tomorrow.

Day 27:  Oh dear. Well, here’s something unusual – my Humaworm tablets have run out!

I took the last two before dinner tonight. How can that be? I even skipped taking them twice during the past month, so theoretically at least I should have enough to last 31 days, not 30. But no, it’s day 27 and they’re all gone.

Hm.

I may write to the people who make them and raise this point. I’ll let you know what they say, because that’s very bizarre, isn’t it?

I’ll also write one last blog entry tomorrow, in case the parasites enjoy a resurgence and do something spectacular, like the firework display at the end of the Olympics. I’ll also offer some final thoughts on the experience, dispensing wisdom freely to anyone who’s interested and thinking of doing something similar in the coming years.

Otherwise, that pretty much sews up the experience. I confess, I’m a little disappointed that it ran out before the 30 days. I didn’t see that one coming. Bummer.

Day 28: I am Huma-less. It felt strange to wake up today and NOT take my tablets. But the packet’s empty, even though there are, technically still three days to go, including today, on my 30-day parasite cleanse.

I shot off an email yesterday to the Humaworm people, laying out the broad strokes of the situation vis a vis my shortage of tablets. They replied first thing this morning with a response that, unless I’m misinterpreting its finer nuances, indicated that they’re as confused about this as I am.

“We are very interested in your blog and discussions on radio,”a lovely woman called Barbara wrote. “I appreciate you letting us know about the shortage of capsules…I will bring this to Stephen’s attention.”

Two questions about that: 1) who is Stephen? and 2) Although I’m sure he’s lovely too and means well, how will bringing my shortage of tablets to his attention resolve anything?

A friend of mine started her Humaworm course three days ago and feels terrible, she says. Good, it’s working. She emailed me a photo of her poo with a white floaty thing in it. I’ve had several of these. They look like shreds of toilet paper, but they’re not.

I, on the other hand, am feeling fine these days. Not too different to before, but fine. A lot of unidentified alien stuff has dropped out and been flushed away these past four weeks. I can only assume I am better off without it. My skin has improved, the rash on my neck has lessened – although it changes daily – but I still have a whistling in my ears which I wish would go away.

The Hunaworm company does a cleanse for Candida too, so that’s my next one. Whistling in the ears is frequently connected to a Candida Albicans overgrowth. However, during a cleanse, you are not allowed to touch sugar, sweet stuff, or anything that turns to sugar in your body. I mean, not at all. That’s tough and a real trial, but worth it if this pesky ringing will stop.

Can’t do anything for three months, though. Must give traumatized digestive system a rest. But, come October, I’ll be gearing up for the next one. I am determined to beat these little bastards, whatever it takes.

I’ll keep you posted.

Watch: Cash’s award-winning short film about the Master Cleanse: Fast and Very Loose.
 
 

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Filed under Candida, healing, Health, Parasites, Self-help, Wellness

BBC. Fifteen amazing years. Done. Thank you.

So there we are. It’s done.

My TV/movie review slot on BBC Radio Five Live is no more.

Part of it is down to me – after 41 years of constant writing and broadcasting for radio and TV since the age of 15, I’m slowly tiring of doing this kind of presentation. The light and fluffy nonsense kind.

That said, light and fluffy has served me well. I’ve done everything I ever dreamed of doing, and way more. Written for The Two Ronnies, featured on a TV game show, hosted my own American TV travel series, which is still being shown and will probably continue running long after I’m dead; lived in, and reported from, a number of countries, been on countless adventures and assignments, interviewed thousands of interesting and not so interesting people, written nine books….and on and on. By anyone’s standards, it’s been astonishing.

But now it’s time to move on to more serious things. Things that matter and which affect people and how they see the world. A new life beckons, I must go.

Me, in the early days of the broadcast

After a decade and a half on the BBC’s Up All Night, and what has been truly the most wonderful fun with Rhod and a consistently great team, I’m done and ready to move on. The past five years were especially tough as I realized I was slowly outgrowing what I was doing. Each broadcast became a strain to do; to get enthusiastic about, to stay focused on, etc. I started saying dumb and irrelevant things just to keep my brain alive, and that’s not the way to engage in any kind of broadcasting. If you’re not loving it, leave, and let someone else take up the reins.

What a gift it’s been, though. I couldn’t have wished for better. I’m so grateful. We did some fab, entertaining stuff for the longest time, often against horrendous technical odds. But I have to face it – I’m finished. Each week my mojo was slipping a little more until I was no longer looking forward to doing the broadcast the way I once had. And the BBC people picked up on that. They felt the magic had gone too.

So how do I know it’s time to go? What were the subtle signs?

Here’s how it went. This was the paper-trail that led me to this conclusion:

  • First, the BBC fired me in 2010. One of the producers went nuts in the studio. She’d had her handbag stolen and was incredibly fragile that night, apparently. For fifteen minutes she yelled at me on the phone non-stop. It was quite bizarre. She even tried to have my pay docked secretly as a punishment. The BBC apologized for her spiteful behavior and paid up later on. Also, they reinstated me the following week. So no harm done.
  • Then, in 2011, a fresh assistant editor arrived on the scene. Part of a new breed. My theory has always been that the BBC orders these guys in bulk from a warehouse. Tags ’em, numbers ’em, implants ’em with a special political correctness chip, programs ’em, boots ’em up, and just lets ’em loose, whether they know what they’re doing or not. Somehow, impossibly, unstoppably, they then rise and rise within the Corporation. It’s a marvel to behold. Anyway, back to the point: we got this new editor. A nice enough person actually. Young. Pretty competent, no doubt. Alas, within months, he’d fired me too, only to relent somewhat and rehire me later. As Rhod told me at the time, with a weary sigh and shake of the head, “He doesn’t know what he wants, he just knows what he doesn’t want, and he doesn’t want you.” Anyway, who cares? No hard feelings. The guy was just carrying out orders, I’m sure.
  • Now, in 2012, yet another new assistant editor has taken over in his place, and…. you can probably guess the rest.

I don’t know about you, but I see a pattern building up. Only this time, even if they offered to rehire me, I’d refuse. I’d have to. Out of sheer self-respect. Someone has to draw a line in the sand. The annual firing ritual was becoming a joke.

Of course, from the BBC’s side, the axing of my Slot was a bureaucratic decision, rather than an artistic one done with the audience in mind. We know this because vociferous protests and petitions from so many faithful listeners were powerless to stop it.

[UPDATE: December 19th 2012: the guy at the top of Radio Five Live has been cantilevered from his position, and into another one. Deary me. It’s beginning to sound a lot like karma.]

The previous assistant editor called one day, very annoyed by the audience uprising and blaming me for taking it seriously. “We have a huge listenership, Cash,” he said. “Four hundred people writing in to support you is not a lot of people.”

Really?  Are you sure?

Have you ever known four hundred people voluntarily do anything in the middle of the night, much less send in petitions and write to the controller of the network? It’s almost unheard of, and I was totally blown away by the reaction. Secretly, I think the BBC was too, but management stuck with the decision anyway. Many listeners are still boycotting Up All Night as a result.

[UPDATE: Almost eighteen months on, I still receive messages and tweets almost every day, saying how much the audience misses the Slot. Crazy, really.]

Essentially I was silenced. The Slot was sacrificed on the altar of political correctness and removed from the air, albeit in a low-key, long-haul way, so that I could no longer offer my true opinion on things that the BBC felt was unsuitable for its audience’s ears. This happens on every network, by the way; they’re not alone. It’s a sign of the corporate times. Fear governs editorial decisions in Britain nowadays, I’ve learned to my cost, and this excessive editorial control is leading to the sad passing of yet another tenet of life we broadcasters used to take for granted – free speech.

Example: for years I would play clips of TV shows during my Slot to illustrate the points I was making. One night I ran a brief snippet from one of the most brilliant sitcoms on American television, 30 Rock. A snippet that aired during primetime here, when kids are watching, so it’s deemed completely inoffensive. In it, Alec Baldwin called someone “a douchebag.”

Well, next day, all bloomin’ heck broke loose within the BBC. Seems a few listeners had complained about the word douchebag. Listeners who were, in fact, douchebags themselves, I’m sure. In my experience, any person who has the time to complain to a broadcasting organization is lonely, bored with their life, jealous, or not getting enough of the right kind of sex. Instead, they fixate on minor stuff, and they channel their unspent energy into making total nuisances of themselves. If they were happy, they wouldn’t bother. What better thing to do, if you’re a miserable loser, than make other people miserable too?

One particular douchebag I came across a while ago had collected transcripts of every conversation Rhod and I had had on the air for ten years. Not because he’s a fan, but, incomprehensibly, because he devotes his life to monitoring the BBC for bias and wants to prove that my TV review slot is politically motivated, so that he can complain about it. Seriously. Can you imagine a more soul-crushing, deadbeat kind of existence than that?

You just want to take someone like him to one side and explain, “Do you know how precious life is? How short it is? How many of those precious days you have left before, pouff, you’re gone? Why not use your life like it means something? Why waste even a second on petty sniping and nitpicking? Live, my friend. Go out there and be constructive with your time instead of complaining. Inspire others. Encourage, build, enhance. Just do something.”

But do you think he’d listen? Not bloody likely.

In the 30 Rock example, rather than just ignoring the complainants, which is the correct way of dealing with them, the BBC office went crazy. The next morning, I received a slew of emails and phone calls from panicking producers and assistants in London telling me that I was banned from playing clips in future – not just clips like that, but all clips – unless they had been screened and okayed by editors in the UK the day before the Slot went out. A ridiculous overreaction. And impossible. I was in L.A., using a borrowed studio – the editing and sending over of material a day prior to the broadcast was simply not feasible. So that was the end of it – I was forced to do a TV review slot featuring no clips at all of the TV shows I was discussing. That’s how bonkers things have become at the BBC.

But I digress.

My own reason for leaving the Slot did not coincide with their reason for axing it. These were two separate things. In the end, however, the result was the same, and it’s a good thing. 15 amazing years. Done.

To dwell on the cancellation scenario is pointless and only makes me sound bitter, which I’m not. Baffled and disappointed on some level, yes, but I feel we should rejoice, not carp, about this change. Delight ourselves with how excellent it was to have that lone voice of comic spontaneity, clear and uncensored, on the radio each week for all that time. An era of vocal highwire-walking may have come and gone, and at some level we mourn its demise, but it sure was great at the time, right?

I’ve said enough. But if you want more, then I’m reposting below a blog entry I wrote last year after news of the second axing broke. This gives the bigger picture and ties everything up nicely.

—————————————

This post was written in October 2011 and published in December.

Making magic: how to do a TV review when you don’t own a TV

What’s fascinating to me is that the slot wasn’t even supposed to be a slot at all. It began as little more than a serendipitous coming together of a lost journalist and a struggling network with time to fill and nothing to fill it with. That was in 1997.

I’d been in Hollywood a matter of weeks and things weren’t going well. Thoroughly depressed, I was facing the serious possibility of having to return home soon if my life didn’t shape up. Then, one day, everything changed. A close friend of mine, who happened to be working on a relatively new BBC radio nocturnal magazine show called Up All Night, catering mainly to truck drivers and milkmen, rang me in some panic and said, “Our U.S. TV critic has vanished, or possibly died. Anyway, he’s not answering his phone. Would you be a poppet and review some television for us for a couple of weeks while we find a replacement? We’ll pay.”

Pay? Great heavens!

Unfortunately, I didn’t own a TV at the time, which would make reviewing shows difficult, I told them, though not impossible. Friends had televisions; I could muscle in on those. So…

“Yes,” I gushed. “I’d love to do it.”

In Hollywood, you always say yes, whatever the question. It’s one of the rules.

For the next month, as producers in London trawled the States for someone, anyone, who knew slightly more about American television than I did – there were roughly 380 million candidates at the time – I filled the gap. And for another month after that as well. And another. After which I guess they gave up trawling, because a year later I was still doing it, even though I still didn’t own a TV. Someone else in the house had one; I wasn’t flying completely blind. But I could not, by any stretch of the imagination, be regarded as a professional TV critic. Additionally, before each broadcast I’d pop down to Ralph’s, our local supermarket, and hover around the checkout reading TV magazines and tabloids, researching something to talk about.

It was all very laissez-faire. Nobody appeared to care that I knew nothing, as long as it was entertaining. The slot was a three-minute filler, that’s all, which is an eye-blink in radio terms, so patches of ignorance could easily be masked by a guy being funny, talking very fast, and giggling more than is right. Plus, it was done on the phone, lessening its integrity still further.

Problem was, I didn’t have a phone either! I shared a party line. This in itself presented countless problems.

Quite often, I would be sitting in my scruffy, mouse-infested apartment to the rear of the otherwise very beautiful Samuel Goldwyn Mansion right in the middle of Hollywood, jabbering live on-air to the BBC, giving my honest opinion about some show I’d not seen, when someone elsewhere in the house would come on the line and start talking over me. Or they’d suddenly dial a number and my voice would be drowned out by peeping noises. Or they’d go, “Hello? Hello? Who’s this?” The slot never went off without a hitch. It was always acutely awkward and nerve-wracking. But at the same time it was real! Real and spontaneous and entertaining and unpredictable – qualities that were valued back then; not stiff, over-prepared, and read word-for-word from a script, the way all other TV reviews were (and are). That’s what made it so refreshing and so un-BBC-like. Structure’s not my strong point, as you know – for instance, look at the way I’m rambling here – so I must applaud the producers of Up All Night for sticking with me, and it, for as long as they did.

Once, I remember, we’d just gone live; I was chatting happily to the presenter in London, when a well-hung naked black man climbed in through my window and ran across the room and out the door. He was being chased by another man, this one clothed and armed with a pitchfork, who also climbed in through the window and ran out the door. It was very dramatic, and, I should add, entirely representative of the madness that went on daily in that mansion. I’m surprised none of us got killed. Anyway, in that moment of crisis, as I expostulated, “Oh my god, there’s a big black man running across my room!”, history was made. I switched from talking about TV – which, let’s face it, I knew nothing about anyway – to discussing who the black guy was and why he was naked, which I knew A LOT about.

And that’s how it got started. The chatting, the cheekiness, the crazy Hollywood reporting about my life. For the first time, it gave people in Britain a chance to experience the real L.A., and what it’s like to live in this weird, mad place, from the inside – something they couldn’t find anywhere else on the radio. In time, it became known as ‘My Lovely Slot.’

Listeners, of course, adore stuff like this. And very soon what began as a brief fling turned into an ongoing affair. Within a couple of years I’d been upgraded from a three-minute filler on the phone to a five-minute filler on the phone, then ten minutes, then fifteen, until eventually I was given an entire half-hour every week to do my comedy thing, despite the usual complaints and protests. There’s always a small portion of your audience that, feeling helpless and unheard, takes their self-loathing out on other people, and usually – because they’re an easy target – media people, by endlessly writing in to whine about something you’ve said. When you’re in broadcasting, you accept that.

However, some of the protests originated within the show itself. That was the shocker.

They came from the creator and presenter of Up All Night, Rhod Sharp, who, according to one of the producers, took a rebellious stand in the beginning against their new  ‘TV critic’  getting any more air-time – “But why?” he groaned. “He’s not a real journalist!” – and even campaigned for the slot to be cut back. One of the producers told me this before I went on-air one night. The reasoning, though, was flawed. Of course I’m not a real journalist. That’s the whole point of the slot. Even so, a more persuasive argument would have been: “But why? He doesn’t own a television.” Now, that might have worked.

But Rhod’s a sweetie-pie. Eventually he mellowed, as we know, and nowadays we’re practically in love.

The spirits speak

With the passing of the years, the half hour became a little more professional, I must say.

I quit giggling as much, for example. Then, in year two, I actually went crazy and bought a TV, so that I could start getting my information first-hand, which was a vast improvement. I invested in a phone, that’s another thing. And later I even managed to wangle a real, and quite fabulous, studio in downtown L.A. to broadcast from. During those early bleak days, this little slot of mine, as silly and insignificant as it seemed, was my life-saver. Without it I could not have made it in L.A. The pay was risibly small, but it was enough. Enough to get me from week to week, if I didn’t eat much and walked everywhere instead of taking the bus.

The whole traveling-to-America thing had been a monstrous gamble anyway. I arrived here on spec with almost no money to my name and unable to earn any because I didn’t have a green card, so I was forced to rely totally on the kindness of strangers. And since strangers in L.A. are not exactly renowned for their kindness, that meant I was in survival mode every single day. Now, though, it’s been fourteen years and I’m no longer in survival mode, am I? I’m living quite the life. Things turned around in the end. I wrote books, had my own TV travel show, and got a regular gig on NPR over here.  So for the last half-decade or so, the slot has been done for pleasure only. Mine, if nobody else’s.

Rhod called me at home in October, the day after the axe fell. “Don’t be downcast,” he said, sounding just like he does on the radio. “There’ll be other opportunities.”

And yes, there probably will. But I don’t think he quite gets where I’m coming from on this. The ending of the BBC slot is not a bad thing. It’s a ‘thing’, that’s all. I tend not to fight change, I embrace it readily, and even a little starry-eyed at times, on the assumption that when one situation falls away, it’s only to make room for something bigger and better. It’s always been that way for me. And in this case that’s definitely going to be what happens.

How do I know? A psychic told me.

(Don’t you dare roll your eyes!!)

Back in September, I had one of my regular readings with a quite brilliant channeler guy in Oregon, and for the first time I heard myself ask, “When will my BBC slot end?” Don’t know why I was prompted to raise the issue, but I did. And he laughed, saying, cryptically, “Well, it won’t be less than a month, but it will be over by the end of the year. Just accept it.”

Oh my lordy! That soon?

He seemed very sure.  “You want me to go without a fight? Seriously?”

“Yup.”

So when the day came and I heard the actual words: “It’s over”, it should have been no surprise. Yet I admit I was caught off-guard. I didn’t yelp or squeal or do anything girly, but I think I may have emitted a gasp.

“It  probably should have happened after ten years, not fourteen years,” I told the assistant editor. Which is true. I remember joking on-air with Rhod only a month before. I said they’d have to take me away in a body bag before I’d ever give up my Slot. But I’d already talked with the psychic by then. I knew I was done for.

[UPDATE: when I chatted with the psychic again in the spring and told him I was doing monthly film reviews now, he sighed heavily and said, “Oh god, you shouldn’t have done that. It will be like a long slow fade to black, and it will end mid-year.” Bang on yet again!]

Winding things up, the BBC way

The young BBC man who called was extraordinarily polite and cordial, and probably nervous, wondering if I’d go bananas when I heard I’d been dropped. After all, he was most likely still studying for his GCSEs when I started this thing. To avert a crisis, he apologized sincerely for putting me out to pasture in this way, congratulating and thanking me as he did so for my long, devoted service, inadvertently making me feel gloriously cherished, brutally discarded, and very, very old, all at the same time.

I could have announced, I suppose, that it was my decision to leave, for the sake of my pride. But why?

Because if we’re heading down that road, why not go the whole way and issue one of those robotic statements that are euphemisms for ‘He’s been fired”, and which bruised artists routinely use to shield their pride?

“Cash is leaving to spend more time with his family.” (Which, since I don’t have a family, would make it an even bigger lie), or: “Cash is leaving to work on other projects.” (Okay. But strictly speaking is retirement another project?) Or even: “We’re taking the show in a new direction. We’re hoping to use someone who won’t cause as many listeners to complain.” (Er….oh…well, that might be nearer the mark, I suppose. Yes, use that.)

Anyway, that’s it – the bulk of it. We’re all squared away. Everyone’s happy. There’s no going back now.

[EDIT POINT: Both guys who authorized my firing – the editor of the show and also the head of the network have since been shunted sideways and replaced. Remarkable.]

Okay, I’ll take any questions.

Yes, you over there in bold, carrying the big Q.

Q. Will you miss doing your slot?       For a while, sure. It was engraved into my calendar all those years, week in week out – how could I not?

Q. Is your ego fragile right now?      It’s been a couple of months since I found out, so no, I’m over it.

Q. Does this make you feel old and over the hill?    Not as much as it used to when Rhod would go on vacation for a couple of weeks and be replaced by what sounded like bubbly children’s TV presenters.

These, I assumed, were considered the BBC’s best hope for the future. One or two were great – Giles Dilnot being one; now THAT guy has a career ahead of him – but the majority were mediocre, I thought. Humorless, awkward, and often floundering in the face of unscripted spontaneity, in ways that would have been inconceivable a few years ago, when you needed to have talent and years of broadcast experience to get on national radio, not merely a degree in media studies and lashings of youthful enthusiasm.

It struck me many times as I was doing the slot that, if this was how far down the bar had been lowered in terms of presenter acceptability, then inevitably the BBC would soon be wielding the axe on its more seasoned professionals. It’d have to, if only as a way to make the newcomers seem less like struggling amateurs.

Q. Will the audience miss you?      Hm, not sure about that. Some, maybe. But I know how I am with people who disappear from my life. I move on very quickly.

Q. Would you stay if the BBC insisted?      They’re not going to insist.

Q. This whole cancellation lark sounds very fishy. Why would the BBC axe something that is incredibly popular with listeners? Is there something you’re not telling us?   Ah, well…

How hate, not love, sometimes prevails

If anyone asks, the only reason I continued doing my slot for as long as I did was because, each time I so much as hinted that I might stop, I’d be deluged the next day with emails, tweets, and Facebook messages begging me to keep going. “You’re the highlight of my week,” some milkman in Cheshire would say, or a matron stuck on overnights in Essex, or a cab driver trekking around rain-soaked Liverpool in the dead of winter. “Your slot brightens my life. Please don’t go.”

Ah, but I must, you see. The other day, I said there more reasons why I’m leaving. The first was by far the most significant: it’s time to go. It just is. And here’s another. Reason #2 was:

The corporation’s new “Delivering Quality First” initiative.

In much the same way that the Bush Administration’s topsy-turvy “No Child Left Behind” policy led to almost every child getting left behind, and now nobody in America under 25 can spell, add up, speak in full sentences, or find their home town on a map, the BBC is delivering quality first at its news and talk flagship Radio Five Live by seemingly eviscerating it; cutting £5 million per annum, I’m told, from a network whose budgets are already pinched like an Irish pie-crust, inevitably forcing editors over the next couple of years to sweep aside anything that isn’t cheap or nailed down.

I regret to say that this includes me. I’m not nailed down; I have to leave. It’s progress.

A compromise idea was tabled: how about I give up my slot but continue to contribute to Up All Night the way I do to any other radio or TV network – casually, informally, and as needed? To me that feels like a horrible demotion. Agreeing to it would mean I was just so desperate to stay on the radio that I’d do anything.

But then fate stepped in anyway. A couple of days later, I received my very first piece of direct hate mail, at which point everything changed.

Haters are very vocal. 10,000 listeners may love what you do, but of course they won’t write to the BBC and say so. I myself adored the sitcom Better Off Ted, and was mortified when ABC axed it last year. Did I write in and tell them that? Nope. I’m too lazy.

Haters and whiners, on the other hand, are not lazy. Also, they seem to have a lot more time on their hands than the rest of us. They’re always writing in. Years ago, before emails and texts, they had to send letters, which were easily misplaced or ignored. Now, though, they have the immediacy of the Internet, and they use it to the fullest extent – especially, it seems, when it comes to my little slot. And so the final reason for my leaving is this:

Reason 3: there have been complaints. 

Uh-oh.

Face it, whatever you say on the radio is going to offend someone. If I suggest that the latest series of Doctor Who is shallow drivel, which it is, dozens of easily-pleased people with no taste will write in, saying I’m wrong and it was the best ever.

For every stand you take, there’s someone out there poised to take the opposite side. And that’s fine. It’s democracy in action. The more the merrier. As long as – and this is the important part – as long as producers, editors, and network controllers don’t yield to pressure and let a tiny minority dictate program policy, or, worse still, let them silence voices they don’t happen to agree with. Because then the tail’s wagging the dog and you’ve strayed into very dangerous territory indeed.

Years ago, when broadcasters received hatemail, it was seen as a good, even important, thing. A strong listener response  meant you’d pushed buttons and stirred up passions to the point where they’d been compelled to get off their indolent arses and physicalize their anger. And what’s art, really, if not an attempt to arouse passions in people?

But you can see the dangers, right? For creativity to flourish, artists need to be protected. They need editors and managers with a backbone, who believe that every kind of voice should be heard, not just the ones that try to please all the listeners all the time. Managers who place self-expression first and their own promotion prospects second. Managers who understand the value of originality and defend it, if only as a way to resist the relentless, slow, downward drag into mediocrity that haters represent. Managers with real balls, in other words. They do exist, both inside the BBC and out, and I’ve worked for a couple in my time, but I need hardly tell you – in a world of shaved budgets and increasingly homogenized blandness, they are rare.

Times are tough. Backbone is scarce. You can’t buy it in packs of six, not like in the old days. To stand your ground and support something of value when you’re under fire and anxious to keep your job – that’s a lot to expect. If the choice is to either fall on their sword in the name of integrity, or to take the easy way out by buckling to the irate demands of a few loony listeners (and maybe a couple of complainers within the BBC too, naming no names), my guess is that most producers and editors will buckle. I probably would too.

One piece of hatemail helped clinch the deal

But none of that is important. For me, there was one specific piece of hatemail that made all the difference. The exact-same day, unbelievably, that the BBC man called, I received my first-ever angry tweet about the slot. Came from a new follower in Essex. It was uncanny how it happened. A bizarre coincidence.

“I’m following you,” he announced, “so I can tell you that you make me cringe every time I hear you on the radio. You’re a buffoon.” This was quickly followed by a second tweet. He’d thought of something else: “Oh, by the way, just how affected can an accent be? Answers on a postcard…”

Nothing to be concerned about, you might think. Just a guy I don’t know venting his feelings about an affected buffoon he doesn’t know, and with every right to say what he said. But that’s not the point. I don’t believe in coincidences. Nothing happens by accident.

This listener wasn’t aware of it, but he’d sent his tweet at a watershed moment. On any other day his intentionally cruel words might not have mattered. But somehow, that one insignificant little nugget of malice felt to me like a sign. A sign of changing tides. Same way the BBC is changing. We’re told it’s about to start delivering quality first. Well, good. About time. And I’m sure savage budget cuts, a reduced talent pool, and overall limited resources will help bring that goal nicely to fruition. However, the very nature of the terminology tells you that there’s no room for me in that scenario.

After fifteen years of the best fun I could possibly have had in broadcasting, I’m feeling cornered. There’s no air in here any more. Broadcasters find themselves hemmed in by watchdogs, whiners, and waves of insidious, way-over-the-top political correctness, the fascist kind imposed by the fanatical minority, that crushes the human spirit and ruins everything for everyone else. It’s like waking up in the night to find your longterm lover trying to suffocate you with a pillow.

So we’re drawing things to a close.

No doubt all those people, like the hater guy in Essex, who loathed the slot – and there are many others, including a couple of the lesser-talented stand-in hosts –  will be rejoicing, popping corks, and organizing singalongs and pageants of their own at this news. And so they should. They won. Their efforts paid off. Let’s not shy away from the truth, nor take even an ounce of their victory away from them. Whatever jubilation they feel today was earned through rugged persistence over many months and years, even if their triumph is, when viewed in a fuller perspective, tiny, since it was only a matter of time before I left anyway. A month, three months, six months down the line – at some point relatively soon the slot would have drawn to a close. It had to. Which brings us full circle, back to the main reason, which is:

Quite simply: I’m done. The affair is over.

To conclude, then, because I really am rambling now…

My friend, the one who started it all off by calling me in a panic in 1997, was quick to reply when I told him what had happened. “Given that it was initially a temporary thing,” he said, “fifteen years is not bad.”

He’s right, it’s not bad. Actually, it’s better than not bad, it’s brilliant! And it extends to a time way before 1997, because I’m not just ending my BBC slot, I’m ending all my media involvement – TV, radio, the works.

I climbed aboard the broadcasting carousel at the age of 15, doing pieces for BBC Radio Manchester. At 16, a short animated film I made was shown on BBC1. Also at 16, I began contributing material to BBC  comedy programs, first for radio, then later – at 17 – for TV, with The Two Ronnies and Talking Telephone Numbers.  And it’s been going on ever since, alternating between radio and TV, both in the UK and more recently in America. That’s some carousel, my friends. It’s been terrific in every conceivable way, I couldn’t have wished for more. But now it’s time to climb off.

The wind-down began last year when I left Marketplace, the U.S. public radio show I’d been contributing to for more than a decade, and quit being a reporter. Already I’m no longer up to date on world happenings, because I don’t watch the news any more. To me, it’s a bunch of contentious white noise – complete strangers telling me in the gravest tones what I should be worried or frightened about. Well, I can do without that, thank you.

Better still, in January, with no slot to research, I plan to get rid of my TV altogether. This prospect makes me very happy indeed. No more surfing endless channels of nothingness looking for topics to discuss. No more setting TiVo for programs I would never record otherwise. No more having to magic an opinion out of thin air about some vacuous fly-by-night celebrity or a mindlessly indulgent and derivative sitcom that’s going to be cancelled in a month’s time anyway.

Above all, I can quit judging things. Things, shows, ideas, ratings.  That’s the best development of all. I was not put on this earth to be a critic of other people’s work, or to poke fun at their efforts, even though it’s what I’ve done for twenty years. My remit has a broader reach than that. There are the handwriting analysis skils I have, for instance, which are mind-blowing. Also, my new mystery novel has just been published: Force of Habit – Sister Madeleine Investigates. That’s waaaaaay more representative of the kind of artist I am, I think. I was born to create, not to tear down.

Which is why, hanging up the phone on the assistant editor on the day of the axing in October 2011, I found I had a peculiar fizzing sensation in my crotch, as if someone had poured champagne into my pants. This only happens on two occasions: a) when someone really has poured champagne into my pants; and  b) when massive life changes are afoot.

And that’s where I’m at as I write this. I’m embarking on a massive life change, switching from being a media guy, which I’ve been since I was a kid, to being a very happy and non-involved civilian. My career has been living proof that you can have anything you want, anything at all, if you’ll just dream big and be persistent. In my teens, I had a bunch of what seemed like impossible dreams, and every last one of them came true. I’ve been living in a bubble ever since, letting my childhood dreams play out. Now, though, I’m done. Today I have a whole raft of new dreams. Grown-up dreams that don’t involve broadcasting, and which will take the rest of my days to fulfill.

For some reason – don’t ask me why – I have a peculiar feeling that my life is just beginning.

So that’s it really. It’s been great. Thanks to Rhod, all the BBC studio managers, producers, and editors I had dealings with, most of whom were fantastic and exemplary pros, and of course the fans – all 15 of you – not only in the UK (13)  but worldwide (2), who tuned in each week, and who sent me such wonderfully supportive messages. To quote Gabriel García Márquez: “No llores porque ya se terminó… sonríe, porque sucedió.”

In English: don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

Two final things:

1) Late breaking news: here are a couple of blog posts some lovely listeners wrote about the ending of the slot. One from Hugh McCallion and another from Stephen Duncan. Am I touched? Oh, for sure.

2) After so many fans of the slot wrote to him, the controller of Five Live, Adrian Van Klaveren, started sending out a robo-tweet: “Sometimes you have to make changes to keep progs fresh and try out new ideas/voices but we hope Cash will still appear on UAN…”. (It’s Twitter, so he probably ran out of characters, and meant to continue: “…doing something dull and safe that will upset fewer people.”)

Okay, time’s up. Gotta go before this gets maudlin. Or worse, bitter.

Missing you already.

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Cash’s mystery novel, FORCE OF HABIT, rockets up the Amazon chart!!!

Hey, you! Love mysteries? Love thrillers?

FoH Final coverIf so, I’m betting you’ll really enjoy my new mystery novel  Force of Habit: Sister Madeleine Investigates. Amazon has it listed in two different places, for some odd reason. So it’s available in paperback HERE for a mere $8.99. Or as an ebook HERE for only 99 cents.

The book was featured for one day only on an ereader website, which promotes new mysteries, and rocketed right up the Amazon listings as a result. I was so excited. It was even #4 in a separate listing for Women Sleuths.

Book on Kindle

Not long ago, someone wrote, saying it was their ‘favorite mystery-thriller EVER’, and it’s getting stellar reviews.

“This novel grabs from the beginning, with twists and turns which are totally unexpected. Madeleine is certainly not your ordinary nun….a great read!”

“Interesting, original characters, intelligent writing, plot kept me moving and thinking. Refreshing & original. Usually I guess mystery endings, but this one I didn’t guess the end. Great finish.”

“Guaranteed this book is not what you expect… If you really think about this book, it is very smart. If you don’t, it’s funny and exciting.”

“On the cover, Sister Madeleine looks like a disapproving kindergarten teacher. Don’t be fooled. If you really think about this book, it is very smart. If you don’t, it’s funny and exciting.”

I like that last one. So hey, c’mon, why not give it a shot? If you have a Kindle or iPad the book could be yours in seconds. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too.

Only last week, a reader in Florida posted a review on Amazon. I’ve taken the trouble of editing it slightly, but here is the broad gist:

“This is not simply a mystery; it’s a comedy, and an incredibly clever one at that. The author has a way of turning phrases that makes the ordinary brilliant. Of all the books I’ve downloaded over the past year or so, this one stands out as an absolute winner. The other reviewers who mention its humor as slight or secondary have missed the point. The entire story is a farce, savaging Religion, Ideology, Government, Society, and Celebrity in one fell swoop. Its Hollywood characters are among the funniest I’ve encountered. A wonderful book from a genius writer. I’m looking forward to the next installment.”

Genius writer, eh?

Well, next day, the review was taken down. By Amazon, I believe. You can imagine how bummed I was. But it was so gushing, they must have thought I hired someone to say it.

Anyway, here’s the story.

                                ‘BILLIONAIRE SUICIDE MYSTERY’

When news reaches Sister Madeleine that her old friend Howard Barley, a global publishing tycoon, has died in grisly circumstances, she is shocked but also very suspicious. Even more so when she learns that Howard left his entire fortune and business empire to her.

Forced to abandon their familiar convent surroundings, Madeleine and her young assistant Roberta take up residence at Milkwood Hall, the billionaire’s luxurious mansion, and immediately find themselves plunged into terrible danger.     

Burned human remains, trembling floors, strangers roaming the grounds, a freezer filled with corpses, and the return of a sinister organization she was once all too familiar with – the puzzles keep piling up, driving Madeleine to use every ounce of courage and cunning at her disposal to solve them, while also tracking down a ruthless murderer before he can kill again. 
 —
One reviewer, in response to reading an advanced copy, said it was ‘superb’.

Someone else: “Just finished devouring Force of Habit…when does the next book come out?  I am not the world’s biggest mystery reader – very particular about my reading – but this was really addictive. Great writing.”

And another:  “Refreshingly different. A brilliant mix of fast moving action packed mystery/thriller and humour…A brilliantly conceived plot with twists and turns that kept me guessing right up to the end. Highly recommended.”

MysteryNet, the site for lovers of mystery books, called it: “Action- packed to the very end.”  

Michy’s Book Reviews said: “The action and voice kept me reading. If you’re looking for a good and quirky mystery-style story, this is an author and a series that should satisfy.”  

From Wendy Hines of Minding Spot book reviews: “Great characters, a twisted plot, entertaining situations and really good writing, I can’t wait for book two!”

And Tristi Pinkston – yes, THE Tristi Pinkston – said: “Cash Peters has created a gutsy, loveable main character, placed her in breathtaking danger, and brought all his readers along for the ride of a lifetime.”

You’ll feel the same way, I’m sure.

A childhood dream becomes a reality

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write fiction. Specifically, a mystery-thriller – one of those thumping good ‘mysterious lights at night, noises in the corridor outside, body in the library’  type of books. Detective stories and vintage murder stories were my fascination when I was a kid. I gobbled them up by the dozen, and long believed I was capable of creating one of my own.

With that in mind, I thought, “It’s now or never”, shelved most of my workload for the next eighteen months and wrote Force of Habit. A modern mystery with a retro twist. I did it for me, mind. To prove that I could. To validate the kid inside of me and make him proud. It didn’t even matter if nobody else liked it, as long as I liked it.

But here’s the thing:  to my delight, the reaction from those who’ve read it has been incredibly warm and amazing. Beyond anything I could have hoped for.

“Dazzling,” wrote one.

“Compelling and brilliant. Relentless and frightening.”

“It’s so COOL,” someone else said. “I love it.”

Well, yes, me too. I’m as happy with this as anything I’ve ever done, and hope you love it as well.

Published by Penner Press, it’s lots of fun. A gripping wild ride filled with action, intrigue, humor, satire, and strange, unexpected twists.

My Life as a Nun’s Mentor

I had the idea way back in 1983. I was living in Golders Green, North London at the time, renting a small bedsit.

One day, a new tenant moved in next door to me. A nun. I remember her name: Sister Margaret Sherwood. Wonderful woman. Very toothy, quite oversized and shuffling, and absolutely  clueless about everything. She was on an apostolate, she said, which, as far as I could tell, meant she’d been thrown out of the abbey, a bit like Maria, and left to fend for herself.

Though Sister Margaret was in her 70s at the time, she’d led a cloistered life for decades and knew nothing – and I mean nothing – about the modern world. She had no clue how to use a can opener, for example. She’d never watched TV, made a Panini sandwich – in fact, she couldn’t cook a thing – and she absolutely marveled at the way my electric kettle boiled water all by itself.

“That’s fan-tastic!” she’d shriek. “How does it do that?”

It was quite bizarre. Like having Catweazel come to visit. Or the apes from 2001.

For the next three years we lived together in that house. During that time, I introduced her to the concept of convenience, leading her through the basics step by step, as you would a toddler, or someone who’s just arisen from a hundred-year coma, giving her simple instructions on how to cope with life outside the convent wall, such as how to make mushrooms on toast, how a water heater works, how to vacuum a rug without sucking half of it up into the Hoover, and generally demonstrating what’s what.

It was a life-saver for her, I realize that now, and also an intensely interesting character study for me. “Somewhere in this,” I recall thinking even then, “are the seeds of a really good sitcom, or book, or movie, not sure what – but something.”

Force of Habit title pageAnd that’s where it began. The novel stems from that situation, though with a much darker, sinister edge, and a lot more car chases.

——————————————

Force of Habit: Sister Madeleine Investigates is in paperback and available as an ebook right now as well. Get it HERE for just 99 cents. No strings. Come on, why not let the kid inside of you read the novel that the kid inside of me waited a lifetime to write? You might be pleasantly surprised.

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