Smooth and creamy, this candida-diet safe shamrock shake is delicious without needing any high-sugar fruits or other sweeteners. It’s naturally-colored, paleo, and vegan.
Table of contents
Years ago, I came across something that caught my interest. While visiting the Facebook pages of one of my fellow bloggers, who just happens to be from Grand Rapids, Michigan, like me, I came across one of her posts that hit home for me.
It was a post linking to a candida cleanse book. She listed some of the possible candida symptoms, several of which I was dealing with at the time.
What is candida?
Candida albicans is a type of yeast that can cause infections in the mouth, digestive tract, and vagina. It’s something that we all have to a certain extent, but when you have an imbalance and overgrowth, it can also affect your skin, nails, and can have other unpleasant effects.
I remember studying candida back in dental school. It can lead to a white coating in people’s mouths and tongues, commonly known as thrush. It can also cause yeast infections. I, however, not being plagued by either of those, never even considered that it could be causing me issues.
Seeing all of the symptoms together, though, made me curious.
Some of the possible symptoms that caught my eye were itchy skin, extreme hunger and/or cravings, mood swings and/or depression, brain fog, frequent urinary tract (bladder) infections, and acne.
One study shows that candida overgrowth in the intestines could be a cause of chronic fatigue, so the tiredness and brain fog makes sense.
Candida overgrowth triggers
Not only had I constantly been given antibiotics for recurrent ear infections and strep throat infections as a kid, but I had also taken long term antibiotics for acne in college. I had also taken “the pill” for several years to try to help with mood swings and acne. In fact, at one point my doctor had me taking the pill non-stop, without taking the 7-day break to get my period. It seemed like a great idea at the time, never having to deal with my period nor PMS. I’m pretty sure now, though, that it wasn’t a great idea.
How to find balance again
I happened to mention my epiphany to a group of healthy living blogger friends and was surprised by how common problems with candida could be.
- Low sugar, healthy diet (The Candida Diet)
- Pau d’arco
- Oregano oil
- Probiotics (I recommend these as they are the very best I’ve tried!)
I ended up working with a naturopath who helped me with my diet and supplements. While I don’t know if my issue was really candida or not and/or if what she did really helped me with candida. What I will say, though, is that I had been getting UTI’s every month when I started. I haven’t had one since I started last summer. (Knock on wood)
What is the candida diet?
The candida diet is a healthy, low-sugar diet. It’s meant to lower inflammation and the sugars that fuel the candida. Even fruit is reduced to small amounts of low-sugar fruits.
My naturopath suggested I try to stick as closely to a similar diet for around 2 months while using a local supplement (Candisan from here in Spain) with Pau d’Arco, oregano, and black walnut, amongst other things. I also focused on taking a quality probiotic first thing in the morning.
After those 2 months, I was allowed to incorporate more foods, but have stuck to keeping sugar and fruit intake low. I also avoid most grains, only allowing for a few on the weekends.
The diet allows for a variety of fresh veggies and cultured or fermented foods. Healthy fats, clean (organic and/or wild/free range) proteins like eggs, meats, and fish, nuts and seeds, many types of legumes, etc.
With the change in diet, I really don’t have cravings for my real food shamrock shake. I didn’t want to miss out on the fun of the holiday, though, so I decided to make an adaptation, a candida-diet safe shamrock shake.
Healthy Shamrock Shake Ingredients
Making a “shake” without sugar, or even most types of fruit, is a bit of a challenge. Luckily, over the years, I’ve discovered some ways around the limitations.
Whether you consider it a fruit or a vegetable, it’s a healthy, safe addition to this shake. I also love adding it to smoothies. It thickens them up and bulks them up without the need for higher sugar fruits.
Avocado is a fruit, but it’s one of the few fruits that is allowed on the candida diet. It not only gives us healthy fats, but it adds a creaminess to smoothies and all sorts of paleo desserts. Here, it also adds a beautiful green color.
To get the minty flavor for this shake, there are several different ingredients you can try.
When I first started making these, I used a couple of drops of a “food safe” peppermint essential oil. (While it seems less common in the US, here in Spain many essential oils are instructed to be used internally.)
When I realized that many people were concerned about taking essential oils internally, I tried other options.
The simplest way, of course, was to use a handful of fresh mint leaves from my garden. (Why didn’t I think of that sooner?)
If you don’t want to use essential oils and/or don’t have access to fresh mint leaves, you can also use a peppermint extract.
Keep in mind that you should do your own research when it comes to using essential oils. This is particularly true when children will be using/consuming them. (Peppermint is one of the oils that is not recommended for use with young children.)
I have used a food-grade essential oil here. Make sure that you choose a trustworthy brand meant for consumption when using them in this way. Also, be conscious not to use too much.
Spinach adds nutrients and color to this shake. If you are concerned with oxalates, you can either omit the spinach or you can use stinging nettle instead. (Yes, really!) I have more information about using nettles in smoothies in my nettle smoothie post.
To thin out this thick “shake,” you can use a dash or two of coconut milk (homemade coconut milk works wonderfully here), almond milk, and/or even just a bit of water.
- Peel and cut the cucumber(s) into small chunks, and place into a blender with the rest of the ingredients.
- Blend until smooth
Other than switching up what you use to give a minty flavor to your “shake,” there are other ways to modify the recipe somewhat.
I have often added a raw, pastured egg, as a source of protein. It may sound gross, but it really doesn’t change the flavor much, if at all. If anything, raw egg is supposed to add a “vanilla-like” flavor which is very characteristic of a Shamrock Shake. If you want to try it, but are concerned about eating raw eggs, consider using a pasteurized egg.
You could try adding a scoop of protein powder. I like using green protein powders like pea or hemp protein.
Sweetening the shake
I was actually surprised to find that this shake didn’t need any extra sweetening. The creaminess of the avocado really pairs well with the cool cucumber and refreshing mint. They fool your tastebuds into thinking it’s sweet.
That said, you could always add a dash of liquid stevia to sweeten it more if you feel it needs it!
This post was originally published on March 11, 2014. It was rewritten and republished with new information about the Candida diet (adding sources to studies about candida) in March of 2020.