The Healthy Skin Show 006: How To Tweak Your Diet To Combat Candida w/ Ricki Heller

Some rashes, like candida and eczema, can seem to last forever! You might have tried a dozen different creams, seen specialist after specialist to no avail. Ricki Heller shares today why you should not give up. There is hope. You just need to be persistent!


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My good friend, Ricki joins me today to tell her story dealing with candida caused skin rashes. Ricki has spent 19 years following an anti-candida diet and now she helps people eat, cook, and live well so they can focus on healing and enjoying their lives. She’s the author of three best-selling cookbooks in addition to writing for a whole bunch of magazines and websites. She’s just amazing at helping people learn to love their food regardless of how restrictive their diet is.

Ricki’s shares her own story of changing her diet to overcome her skin rashes. I believe it’s so important to hear Ricki’s story. When the process of ridding herself of her rashes looked bleak, she hung in there and persisted. Now she lives a rash free life.

She’ll be back again in a future episode to talk about eating sugar-free by making use of alternative sweeteners. I hope you’ll join us then!

Have you had candida related complex? Tell me about what helped or didn’t in the comments!


In this episode:

  • Ricki’s story of finding a treatment for her candida rashes
  • What a candida rash actually looks like
  • Staying positive when a skin condition just won’t go away
  • Lifestyle changes and natural remedies you can use to help you get relief



“Candida is just so persistent… So even though I had been feeling good for a while, as soon as I started feeding it all that sugar, and all those processed foods, and refined foods, I think that’s what tipped the scales and boom, my body just said I can’t handle this. It has to come out somewhere.” [6:27]

“I truly believe that our bodies are meant to be healthy and want to heal. If you give the body what it needs, it will heal.” [10:24]

“As long as things were getting better, no matter how small the improvements, I knew I was moving in the right direction and that eventually, things would clear up.” [11:15]



Get Ricki’s free ebook: Top 10 Quick and Easy Anti-Candida Recipes

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The Healthy Skin Show 006: How To Tweak Your Diet To Combat Candida w/ Ricki Heller

006: How To Tweak Your Diet To Combat Candida w/ Ricki Heller FULL TRANSCRIPT

Jennifer:              Hey everyone. It's Jennifer here and I am back today with a very good friend of mine, Ricki Heller. She teaches people how to love your food no matter how restricted your diet is. She spent 19 years following anti candida diet and now she helps people learn to eat, cook, and live well so they can focus on healing and enjoying their lives. Through her programs and writing, she shares her passion for sugar-free, gluten-free, allergen friendly recipes and healthy living. And she's authored three fantastic best-selling cookbooks and is written for a whole bunch of magazines and websites like mindbodygreen, Chris Carr, a glutenfreeamor, etcetera. She just, she's, Ricki is brilliant. Let's just put it that way. Ricki, thank you so much for joining us.

Ricki:                      Oh, I'm so excited to be here. It's great to see you.

Jennifer:              I know. So I, one of the reasons I wanted to have you on the natural skin show is because you have what I consider to be a really interesting story about having skin rashes. So could you, would you mind, I think that'd be great for people to hear just what your journey has kind of looked like. And of course we will always want to qualify this with what Ricki's journey was, is hers alone. So we're not necessarily saying that if you have these exact symptoms, this is what you should do, but more so that Ricki was able to overcome this. So Ricki, can you tell us a little bit about your chronic rash story?

Ricki:                      Sure. So I think, as you know, I was diagnosed with Candida a long time ago, and I went on a really strict diet for two years and my symptoms cleared up. I thought everything was copacetic. I went to nutrition school, so I was eating a whole foods diet, but I was still enjoying my sweets, natural sweeteners. And then I sort of went on a bender one Christmas and started eating all of the conventional sweets again. And then around, it was a pretty soon, right? Maybe January, mid January I noticed this tiny little rash just sort of like in my cleavage, right? And it was a bit itchy, but it didn't really bother me that much. I thought I will go away. So I ignored it and I think subconsciously I kind of knew it's connected to what I was eating and I was pretty sure it was candida, but eventually it did get a little bigger. It's about the size of a quarter. So I went to my family doctor and she said, yeah, that's a Candida rash. Here's a cream, it'll go in two weeks, you know, use it every night. And I thought, okay, great. So I'm using the thing and it seemed like the rash was gone. And then one day I started having a little bit of itchiness under my breasts, sort of like where your bra line is. And when I looked there was like this whole line of rash right across my chest and then

Jennifer:              So it had just suddenly popped up as if like you just,

Ricki:                      Yeah !

Jennifer:              Oh, okay.

Ricki:                      Well you know, I mean candida grows where it's moist and warm and so you know, you're, you're talking in winter and you're wearing sweaters and you know, I'm like not tiny. So there's a cleavage there with a little bit of sweat sometime. So it was warm, but, I thought for sure because I didn't see it anymore up here. I assumed it was gone. But actually I think what had happened was it was growing under the breasts at that point. And then it came back up. It started just growing everywhere. I'm not kidding. I, it was like the size of an apple or a grapefruit. It was huge. And it, and it seemed to me at that point, cause it's this rash, you know, it was connected. I, I'm sure now it was connected to my intended overgrowth in the way I was eating and feeding it with sugar and eating all these toxic foods.

Ricki:                      And it was itchy. It was painful. It was red. It would blister. I mean it was really gross. And I started going to specialists, so she sent me to, a dermatologist and other specialists and everybody said, here's a cream. This'll fix it. And it didn't. And it kind of came to a head for me. I remember one day I had been to the dermatologist that I was seeing, she had given me diflucan for two weeks, which is the maximum that they think is safe here it seems. And I said, you know, it was just barely starting to feel better. Could you extend the prescription? And she said, no, absolutely not, its too dangerous. I'm not going to do that.

Jennifer:              Really!

Ricki:                      And yeah, yeah. I guess she was concerned about liver, you know, because it can be hard on your liver. But I think what she didn't realize was I was eating such a clean diet, it probably wouldn't have made a difference to my liver, but I was literally sobbing in this woman's office saying like, you've got to help me.

Ricki:                      And she just said, Oh, you know, there's nothing more I can do for you. And she was like the fourth person I'd seen at that time. And I went on to see maybe seven more dermatologists over the next year. So finally I did find a holistically minded MD. Cause we don't really have functional medicine doctors here in Canada yet. And certainly not at that time. So between her and my natural path, I did get a longer term prescription. But my feeling is that what really helped because I did not see any change in this rash for almost six months. I mean it was just basically steady. We were able to prevent it from going further.

Jennifer:              Okay. So you were taking the diflucan as you said, and you were doing the diet but for six months it just stuck there.

Ricki:                      It just basically stayed there. Like I said, like this, it went almost down to my belly button and I mean the itching stopped but the rash was there and it would kept going through the cycle of blistering and I thought it was starting to heal and then we'd get red again and it would be raised. And so eventually with the diet and we did lead me off the diflucan after about six months. That's when I started seeing a little bit of improvement. And once it started getting better, it got better really fast. So, you know, it took six months to see any difference. And then I would say within the next three or four months, it was 95% cleared up. So it, and, and I attribute that to again, like I'm sure that I was dealing with some kind of serious leaky gut issue at the time.

Ricki:                      And my natural path was working on my internal terrain and the balancing. We, you know, I was taking all kinds of anti-fungals and digestive aides and probiotics and all the things that help to heal and I was eating a really, really clean diet. So, for me that's really what made the difference I feel. And since then I've seen people with similar rashes, maybe not on their chest, but rashes that I seem to be related to, you know, really warm, moist areas of the body and they get better through diet ,some, get better through diet alone, some get better with diet and supplements. I was a really severe case and I think what sort of tipped the scales for me was I had this past history of really overdoing the sweets, having a candida outbreak, being treated. But because it's candida's , just so persistent, right? Like, it will just persist and persist. So even though I'd been feeling good for a while, as soon as I started feeding it all that sugar again and all those processed foods and all those refined foods, I think that's what kind of tipped, you know, tip the scales and boom, it was like my body just said, I can't handle this. It's got to come out somewhere.

Jennifer:              So I think one thing that people might be wondering, cause I'm kind of actually kind of curious like the rash. So if somebody has gone to the doctor and the doctor doesn't really know what they have, because it's not uncommon for dermatologists to not do biopsies here in the U S I don't fully understand why, but they sometimes go, Oh, it looks like this or I'm not sure what that is. Try this cream. And that's basically as far as they get. Do you have any, you had said that it was blistering. Do you have any other descriptives of what the rash look like? Someone that might be in this boat where they're really not sure what their rash is?

Ricki:                      Yeah. So it was a red, sort of oval semicircle. But the edges weren't perfectly straight, so it was a little bit bumpy edges and raised. The skin was raised off the surface so it wasn't flat. If you ran your hand over it, you could feel the skin was a little bit raised where the rash was and even a little bit bumpy. And then as it got worse, it became really bright red. Like, I mean stop sign red and it would, it would look like it was blistering over and then the blisters would open and you would have like flaky skin. It would flaky, dry up and flake off the top layer. It was gross. That's what it was like. And then underneath would be pink skin again. And each time that happened, that cycle happened. You'd see this sort of raw skin underneath and you think, Oh, like when you have a burn or when you have a scab or something, it's that raw pink skin that looks like it's starting to heal.

Ricki:                      But in fact, that wouldn't happen with me. It would then go through that cycle again. So it would seem like it was healing, but it would become raised again and which is like inflammation, I think. And the blister would happen again and that took maybe a month for that whole cycle to happen. Yeah. And then eventually the blistering totally stopped. But as an example, like for the next, I would even say for the next three, four years, if I had a period where there was a lot of stress or I, I, you know, if I traveled and I ate more foods that I wouldn't normally eat that were maybe packaged or whatever, then I would get these raised red patches where the rash, so I guess it was the rash again, but much smaller, but the same idea where it would be inflamed and raised and red more blistering. And eventually, you know, if I treated it with my home remedies, it would go away. And certainly if I would immediately go back to like an incredibly clean diet, I wouldn't even have grains or whatever for a while to ensure that I could detox. But yeah, so that went on for years as you know, maybe two or three times a year that would happen.

Jennifer:              And so for somebody listening to this, I think this isn't a really important point and I, I, I'm not harping on it everyone, but I think this is important. It took me just, and I had eczema, so not a candida rash. It took my eczema six months to stop flaring and it took another six to eight months after that. So this is while I'm actively dealing with things for it to finally go away. So it took a long time. And so Ricki, you were dealing with this for a long time and I really appreciate you for being honest about that because skin issues take a long time. Do you have any, you know, any insights in just how did you stay? Like how did you not end up depressed and being like, forget it. I guess I'm just stuck with this awful rash. Like, what, do you have any mindset tips for us or anything that helped you get through such a long period of time dealing with something like that?

Ricki:                      You know, I guess just at the core, I always, because I was trained in holistic nutrition, I truly believe that our bodies are meant to be healthy and want to heal and that if you'd give the body what it needs, it will heal. So I really had to focus on that and I had a fabulous naturopath. It was so encouraging that way too. I mean, he, he was always like literally repeating every time I saw him that you know, it, you can't have unhealthy growth if the terrain is healthy. So, you know, like you can't have weeds in a really strong healthy garden. They, they will be crowded out. And so I really just sort of clung to that and I knew that I was doing the right thing. Then the other thing to consider, I mean this happened to me when I was about 40. So I had been living in such a way that I was encouraging all of these bad organisms to grow in my body for 40 years.

Ricki:                      I didn't think it made sense for things to just turn around in the space of a few months. And if I looked at it logically that way, I just held onto that belief that, you know, as long as things were getting better, no matter how small improvements, I knew I was moving in the right direction and that eventually things would clear up. So really just hanging onto that what I consider to be a truth. And so for me, if it's a fact that you do the right things, it will eventually get better. Then it just didn't make sense that I, that this would go on forever. And I, I guess in my core, I just didn't really believe that it would go on forever. I just knew if I did the right thing, eventually things would get better.

Jennifer:              And you also, you also have showed us too, that you were persistent. You said you saw how many like countless doctors four five ?

Ricki:                      Oh, even more. Yeah, I saw it , even more. Yeah.

Jennifer:              I saw a ton of doctor you didn't give up. And I think that's another really important message for people to hear that you can't just be because you are blown off or you have a doctor that's like, no, I'm not giving you any more of this or whatever that they're saying. Or they don't believe you that there's any other options and they're not interested in helping. I think you can't allow someone else's negative state of mind about your skin to override your ultimately your health goal around that.

Ricki:                      Yeah.

Jennifer:              At least that's my, my personal opinion cause I, I see so many people that they're relying on someone else to tell them, Oh this is how we're going to do it. And then they go to the doctors and they're like so defeated and I'm like, you can't.

Ricki:                      Yeah.

Jennifer:              You can't let that doctor dictate what your journey's going to look like and whether you're going to continue forward. You just have to find another practitioner that meshes with your health goals and that can support you through that. And, just real quick in a couple of the final moments that we have, do you have any tips to share with people if they're kind of going through something similar? Any lifestyle changes or things that helped you get some immediate relief when you're kind of in the mix of that goal?

Ricki:                      Yeah, for sure. So I did a lot of compresses and things like that. I mean, I, you know, I can talk about some of the natural, treatments I use for myself, the sort of palliative things, but also just in terms of your food. I mean, alkalize, alkalize, alkalize. So I, you know, green juice, dark leafy greens that, that was sort of my go to. The minute things start to flare, I double or triple the amount of green I eat and it made a huge difference. And of course I think this should go without saying, but you know, I didn't need sugar to begin with, but no sugar and no refined anything. Which I generally don't have. But once I was feeling better, I might use like a gluten free flour mix once in a while to make some treats or something. So all of that was off the table when I was having a flare, like really, really clean and if you can drink a lot of juice, do that and then obviously keep things dry and whatever. But in terms of itch, there's so many natural treatments now. Like I like I do compresses with tea tree oil, diluted tea tree oil or grapefruit seed extract or even boric acid. I found very helpful that needed boric acid in one water and just to compress this. And that just helps. Like with the immediate itch and redness, at least it did for me. So if things were really bad and I think I couldn't concentrate or whatever, that's what I ended up doing. And walk around, walk around, braless if you're a woman.

Jennifer:              I mean I don't know how you could even wear a bra if you had it in that area. And you're right those. So the microbiome is really interesting on the skin. It differs based on where the area is. So areas that are more moist, like under the breast, the armpits, the genitals, you'll see a different, it's just a, there's a different microbiome that's there based on like maybe the back of your arm or your shoulders or you know, like they just vary. So that may be one reason why, some people will find that especially candida. My sister who's an acupuncturist, she was told me candida is a very moist, she said we always think of that as like a moist issue. And so those areas tend to be moister. So if you find that you're getting these rashes in those areas, that may be a really good thing to suspect.

Jennifer:              Especially too, if you have a history of any type of fungal infection. So vaginal yeast, infection, thrush, even if you have fungal toe infections, that can certainly be a red flag if you've had a history of antibiotic use, that kind of stuff. But I think this is really important for people to hear that you were able to, you know, you hung in there, you didn't give up hope and that you were able to overcome that. And I think everybody, so I'm actually going to have Ricki back because she knows a ton about the sugar-free landscape and natural and alternative sweeteners to, we're going to talk about that in another upcoming interview. So Ricki, thank you so much for joining us. I know that everybody can check you out at and you also have a fantastic, a little freebie that you can give to everybody called the top 10 quick and easy anti-candida recipes ebook. Where can they find that? And we'll put it in the show notes too. So if you're listening, don't worry.

Ricki:                      Really simple. It's just, so all three words together and then it'll take you to a sign in for that little ebook and get a taste of the sugar free recipes.

Jennifer:              Great. And like I said, anybody listening to this, I'm going to put all of Ricki's information in the show notes, including that link to the ebook. And Ricki, I am excited to have you back. Let's, let's do this again sometime soon.

Ricki:                      All right, great. Thanks.