What Exactly Is Mold Illness?
Mold exposure is a tricky, deceptive, and sometimes devastating illness. We’ve learned through scientific studies that mold illness is one of the primary triggers of many diseases and health conditions, such as:
Mood and sleep disorders
Mast Cell Activation Disorder
And even death!
Mold-related illness can be particularly challenging to diagnose and treat because symptoms can initially seem vague and unrelated. Having a practitioner who is experienced with mold symptoms is key. Symptoms can range from coughing or wheezing to chronic headaches to persistent rashes. If you have unrelenting and unexplained symptoms or suspect your symptoms could be from mold illness, it might be time to do a consultation with a reputable Integrative or Functional Medicine Practitioner.
So, How Is Mold Illness Treated?
Treating mold illness requires a comprehensive approach that is two-fold. The first step is removing yourself from sources of exposure whether the mold is in your home, work place, and even the food you eat.
The second step in treating mold illness is giving your body the support it needs to heal and start detoxing. One of the most powerful ways to help your body detox from mold is by following a low-mold diet.
Why Follow a Low-Mold Diet?
The low mold diet is designed to support your body in healing from mold illness in the following ways:
It prevents mycotoxins from accumulating in your body by limiting your exposure to potentially contaminated food sources.
It focuses on restoring nutrient deficiencies and imbalances that are caused by mold exposure.
It boosts your body’s immune function and ability to repair itself by minimizing inflammatory foods that suppress your immune system.
It reduces exposure to refined carbohydrates that feed candida and yeast.
So, in addition to a specific mold detox supplement protocol, eating the right foods helps expedite ridding the body of mold.
What Foods Should I Avoid on the Low-Mold Diet?
When it comes to following a low-mold diet, you’ll want to strictly avoid foods that are chock-full of sugars and additives. These fuel fungal growth and could exacerbate your symptoms. You’ll also want to avoid foods that are notorious for being contaminated with mold.
Let’s break these down into the following three categories:
Sugars are one of the primary sources of fuel for candida or mold. Sugar, in particular, can be sneaky because it can go by many different names and may be hidden in places you wouldn’t expect – even in foods you might consider “healthy”.
When following the low-mold diet, you should avoid:
Certain fruits also have a notoriously high sugar content and should be avoided when detoxing from mold. These include:
Dried fruits and fruit juices
While sugar is typically the biggest dietary culprit that contributes to fungal growth, fast-absorbing carbohydrates and man-made additives can also promote mold growth – which leads us to our next category of foods to avoid.
Packaged and Processed Foods
Processed and pre-packaged foods almost always contain sugars, simple carbs, and/or additives that will fuel fungal growth in the body.
You’ll want to stay away from:
Canned foods: Baked beans, soups, ready-made sauces
Pre-packaged meals: Ready-made meals, breakfast cereals, frozen foods
Processed drinks: Soft drinks, fruit juices, flavored water, energy drinks
Bottled condiments: Vinegar, mayonnaise, pickles, soy sauce, mustard, relish
*Get in the habit of reading the ingredient list of any product before you buy it. If it has more than five ingredients or is full of things you don’t recognize – it’s probably best to avoid it while on the low-mold diet.
Mold and Yeast Containing Foods
If you’re trying to prevent mold from entering your body or kill off what you’ve already been exposed to, you should always stay away from products that have a reputation for being contaminated with mold or fungal growth.
Some examples are:
Cheese and sour milk products: Buttermilk, sour cream, cream cheese, aged cheese, sliced or block cheese
Nuts: Peanuts, cashews, & brazil nuts
Dried fruit: Raisins, apricots, prunes, figs, dates, etc.
Grains: Wheat, rice, oats
Packaged and smoked meats: Sausages, hot dogs, corned beef, pastrami, smoked fish, ham, bacon
Edible fungi: Mushrooms, truffles
Alcoholic beverages: Beer, wine, cider, liqueur, whiskey, gin, rum, tequila, etc.
Fermented foods should be avoided in people with histamine intolerance.
While this list may seem restrictive, the good news is, there are still plenty of delicious foods allowed on the low-mold diet.
What Foods Are Allowed on the Low-Mold Diet?
Following the low mold-diet is not so black and white. There are some foods you should avoid entirely, some you can have in moderation, and some you can eat freely. We’ve already covered the foods to avoid, so let’s look at what you can eat on the low mold diet.
Foods to Eat in Moderation:
Foods you can incorporate into the low-mold diet in moderation include:
Gluten-free grains: basmatti rice, buckwheat, millet, certified gluten-free oats
Starchy organic vegetables: Japanese yams, peas, sweet potatoes, squashes, turnips, parsnips
Low-sugar organic fruits: berries, apples, pears, peaches, avocados
It’s ok to incorporate these foods into your diet on occasion, but try building the majority of your meals around the foods in the next category.
Foods to Eat Freely:
When it comes to the food you consume while following a low-mold diet, quality matters – a lot! When purchasing meat, opt for organic, pasture-raised, and grass-fed options. When it comes to fish and seafood, wild-caught is always a superior option. And when it comes to any kind of produce, always look for organic.
Now let’s dive into the list of foods you are free to indulge in as much as you’d like while on a low-mold diet:
Poultry (pasture-raised, organic, pasture-raised only): chicken, eggs, turkey, quail, pheasant
Fish (wild-caught only): salmon, “Safe Catch” brand tuna, anchovy, sardines, flounder, catfish,
Other meats (grass-fed, grass finished only): Beef, goat, lamb, buffalo, wild game, rabbit
Raw, organic nuts and seeds: flax seeds, almonds, pecans
Leafy organic greens: romaine, kale, collard greens, spinach, turnip greens, arugula, green and red cabbage
Organic root vegetables: carrots, onions, radishes, garlic
Other organic vegetables: brussel sprouts, asparagus, artichokes, broccoli, and cauliflower
Spices: Pure vanilla, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, pink Himalayan salt, wasabi, horseradish
Organic herbs: parsley, cilantro, basil, chives, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, tarragon, etc.
Healthy fats: Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, coconut milk, ghee, organic butter, avocado
Beverages: Filtered water, mineral water, and non-fruity herbal teas, Zevia brand soda
Building your meals around these nutrient-dense, whole foods will equip your body with the nutrients it needs to properly heal and detox.
How Long Does It Take to Get Mold Out of Your System?
The answer to that question is – it depends. Exactly how long it’ll take you to recover from mold illness depends on three main factors:
1. Length of Exposure:
This is the single greatest factor in determining how long it will take for mold to get out of your system. If you’ve been exposed for long periods of time, such as years, you’re likely to have mold buildup in your body.
Typically, the longer the exposure, the longer the recovery time. This is why removing any sources of mold exposure is the very first step in recovering from mold illness. If you fail to remove the sources of mold exposure – whether environmental or through the foods you eat – you may never be able to fully heal.
2. Type of Exposure:
Nearly 90% of all molds don’t affect the majority of the population due to them being nonpoisonous. But for those with fungal allergies, even these “harmless” molds can cause big problems.
And, if you have fungal allergies and you’re unlucky enough to be exposed to the 10% of poisonous molds – your recovery is expected to take longer than most. This is thanks to the toxic metabolites produced by poisonous molds known as mycotoxins. These mycotoxins can accumulate in your body and cause damage over time.
So, exactly how long it takes to recover from mold illness will depend on the types of mold you’ve been exposed to.
3. Your Level of Sensitivity:
The third factor in your recovery time is your degree of sensitivity to mold. This is important because some level of mold exposure is inevitable – we’re all exposed to mold on a daily basis. Every time you open the door, you’re breathing in new mold spores in the air and letting them into your home. And if you are in the 16-20% of the population that has a high level of mold sensitivity, this can impact your recovery time.
If you or a loved one is suffering from mold illness, I highly recommend scheduling a consultation. Having experienced a mold illness myself, I am well versed in the process and understand what you’re going through. You can overcome mold!