Lemons 'n Lyme

When life gives you lemons, use them to beat Lyme


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An Award? For Me?

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Wow, I feel so honored to be nominated for the Liebster Award this year by Kayla who blogs over at Joy Rises. The Liebster Award is a way to honor and celebrate young (not as in age) bloggers. From what I’ve learned from others who have been nominated, Liebster is a German word that means anything from kindest to lovely to valued (and much more). When honored with this award you answer a few questions about yourself and then chose your nominees and ask them to answer a few questions in a subsequent blog post. Kayla put it best that “It’s all about building a community and connecting with others.” What fun! 

First, or after you read my post :), you should head on over to Kayla’s blog to check her out! She also has Lyme disease and we have connected over the past few months- talking about Lyme, treatment, diet, and life. She is one of the sweetest people I know and her blog is so honest and open, most of her posts make me emotional because they are just so real. She has been eating a paleo diet to help combat her Lyme and occasionally posts some delicious recipes! These are intermixed with her series The Lyme Diaries where she shares others Lyme stories- showing all sides of and the real truth about Lyme. She works her butt off to promote Lyme disease awareness and I can’t thank her enough!

These are the questions she asked me to answer:

1.) Why did you choose your particular diet plan and what health benefits have you seen from it?

I was introduced to the Whole 30 about 2.5 years ago when I confided in someone about my digestive issues that I’ve had for YEARS! I didn’t know what paleo was or that the Whole 30 related to that. I decided to give a variation of the Whole 30 a try and made it about 20 days, if I recall correctly. Cutting out grains made a HUGE difference in bloating and other digestive problems I was having so I started researching what the Whole 30 really was and came upon this whole paleo lifestyle. I then began researching all about the paleo diet, reading books and articles and blogs. It made so much sense to me and is truly based off the idea of eating whole, natural foods that the earth provides! So I dove right in.

Recently I started incorporating the idea of a raw diet, as well. With trying to heal from Lyme, I’ve done so much research and half of it is BS while the other half is worth a shot. There is a lot of research and evidence for the basis of a raw diet in healing (and for health in general). I believe in both the raw diet and the paleo diet so I mix the two- I eat some animal protein and eat most of my veggies raw.

I have to say I haven’t seen leaps and bounds in health benefits, mostly because my body is so out of whack from the Lyme. If I’m REALLY strict about eating raw or paleo my digestive system improves somewhat (less bloating and pain). But I’m not perfect and I don’t eat 100% paleo/raw. I have to say, my skin has cleared up and managed to stay clean when I am consistent with my diet. I’ve also always had very soft hair but I contribute my diet to helping it stay that way. 

2.) What inspired you to start your blog and what is your favorite part about blogging?

I’ve always loved cooking and baking and being creative in the kitchen. When I started paleo, it forced me in a new direction and challenged me in the kitchen. That was exciting and I wanted a way to document my creations. Once I was diagnosed with Lyme (only a few months after going paleo), I became fascinated in the idea of how diet could play a pivotal role in treatment and recovery. I wanted to raise awareness about Lyme disease, as well, so I decided to merge these two ideas- my love for the kitchen and the fact that I had Lyme. Plus, I randomly thought of the name Lemons ‘N Lyme and thought it was the most genius thing ever so I just HAD to start a blog!

My favorite part about blogging is meeting other amazing people! Whether they have Lyme or not, I’ve met some of the most awesome people who I never would have connected with had it not been for my blog (and related social media like Facebook and Instagram). I also love how it forces me to continue to be creative in the kitchen. It helps me from getting bored and makes me try new ingredients and ideas.

3.) What foods do you eat most often?

Bananas. Like wayyyy tooooo many for being someone with a chronic illness. And Granny Smith apples (since they have a lower sugar content then other types). And kale. I drink TONS of green juices (at least 2x a day)… which, obviously, contain kale. I have an obsession with carrots but have been trying to limit my carrot intake recently since I get headaches from them (actually I get headaches from any food I over consume :) ). Those are foods I consume almost daily. I also really enjoy pumpkin seeds because they add a crunch to salads, soups, or snacks (like with a banana).

4.) What is your favorite “cheat food” or comfort food?

Sweet potatoes! Mostly in fry form. Or a Red Robin burger on a gluten free bun. Or tortilla chips. I have the BIGGEST obsession with tortilla chips, but obviously since being diagnosed with Lyme have tried to cut them out of my life. Two years ago (when I was first diagnosed), I had the worst craving for tortilla chips in the middle of the night so my best friend (and roommate at the time) went to the grocery store for me at 3am to get me a giant bag of them. They were gone by the next evening. This is why I can’t be around them.

5.) What do you want your readers to know about you? (It can be anything)

I want them to know that I’m not perfect. I’m not perfect with treatment or my diet. I feel like a lot of people read blogs and think that blogger is awesome because they eat this perfect diet (I mean look at those healthy, wonderful recipes they post regularly) or stick to this perfect workout regimen (look that those sweaty pictures of themselves!) or are so committed to treatment it hurts (they also post about their latest addition to their regimen). And yes, those bloggers ARE awesome. I mean, I AM awesome ;) but I’m not perfect. I don’t think any blogger is. No on is perfect. I have days where I eat foods I’m not supposed to (I mean really bad ones like gluten-free chocolate chips cookies or tortilla chips or ice cream) and I have days where I’m so sick of or so exhausted from Lyme that I refuse to take my meds/supplements/whatever that day or do my detox regimen (that probably would make me feel better). It doesn’t mean I don’t know what I’m supposed to do or what is healthy… I do know, but everyone has their bad days. Bloggers get to post what they want on their blogs, they don’t post everything. I’m here to provide recipes and insight but I don’t post my whole life. I’m here to support every single one of you, though, so never forget that! 

 

Now for my nominations:

Canada Girl Eats Paleo- This Chick Rocks. Point blank. Sam and I started blogging around the same time and she was one of my first blogger friends. She is Canadian (obviously) but all my American followers, don’t let that deter you ;). Just Kidding. Seriously, though, she posts delicious paleo recipes! She also will run various challenges, like right now she is holding a one month yoga challenge where you can join along in doing yoga with her daily! She’s just plain cool and nice and has really been there for me through Lyme and with eating paleo despite being in another country :).

Health Without Sacrifice- This girl posts some really freaking delicious, easy recipes! She doesn’t call herself paleo but some of her recipes are. Not everything is gluten free but most of her recipes can be easily made gluten free. I’ve really enjoyed following her because she is also a college student so her recipes are simple and not too crazy fancy. They are just very relatable if that makes sense at all.

Ethereal Junkyard- Dude, this girl is the funniest ever! She also has Lyme and although I know she struggles with it like the rest of us Lymies, she seems like such a blast and is kickin’ its butt! She doesn’t post recipes, but her posts are hilarious (most of the time… but her sarcasm is always fantastic), honest, and real. She posts about her life but not in a boring way. Really, go check her out now.

My questions for the 3 lovely ladies above:

1) What is your all time favorite food?

2) If you could have ANY superpower, what would it be?

3) If you could build a house anywhere that you wanted, where would it be?

4) What was your vision for your blog when you started it (what were you hoping for it to be)? And has that changed over the course of blogging? (For example: your goal was to just post recipes but now you realize it’s an outlet for XYZ, as well)

5) Is there any aspect of your diet that is a “no exceptions” aka you will stick to no matter what? (For example: sometimes I cheat and eat dairy or sugar but I will NEVER touch gluten)


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Jicama Fotato Salad (Raw, Paleo)

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When I was in Santa Fe I had this amazing jicama fake potato salad at one of the raw food bars we went to. I wanted to re-create it but not exactly. I’m NOT a mayo fan plus I’m not doing eggs right now so I wanted to make a different type of “sauce” per-se for a jicama salad. I use mustard in this recipe so it does have a little bit of a different kick then potato salad but I like it :). This salad is very light and refreshing so it makes for a great side dish to classic summer dishes. It makes me happy because I think of warm weather when I eat it. Perfect for this sneaking up spring weather (yay!).

Jicama Fotato Salad

Ingredients:

1 small-medium jicama

4 stalks of celery

2 tablespoons of raw tahini

2 tsp. stoneground mustard

2 tablespoons of olive oil

juice of 1 small lemon

2 pinches of salt

1/2 tsp. cumin

Chop up the jicama into cubes and place in a bowl. Slice up the celery stalks into thin bites and mix with the jicama. Mix all the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the jicama/celery and mix thoroughly.

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Just store in the fridge. I find that when cooled in the fridge, it mutes the dressing taste a bit so feel free to add more mustard to the dressing when you make it (even though it may taste very mustard-y at that time). Simple and yummy. Get on it!

 


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Raw Parsnip and Kale “Tabbouleh”

If you follow me on Instagram (or Facebook) you’ll know I just got a Vitamix!

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My mom was so wonderful and bought me one because we figured it would save me energy in the kitchen since I can easily make almost every meal in it (smoothies, soups, sauces, salsas, etc). I’m so excited to use it and I’ve been thinking about it all day. Tonight I gave it a whirl to chop up some veggies and this fake tabbouleh recipe was born :). I don’t know why but it reminded me of tabbouleh so that is what I am calling it.

The thing I love most about cooking is spices! You can really change the flavor of a dish just by the spices and amounts you add. With this recipe, feel free to add more or less of the spices I suggested or other ones! For more of a true tabbouleh flavor I suggest adding some parsley and mint. I didn’t have these on hand so I didn’t include them plus i’m not a parsley fan but I do think it would work very well in this dish. This “Tabbouleh” works as a wonderful side dish or even as a main if you add some extra toppings (as I suggest at the end of the recipe).

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Raw Parsnip and Kale “Tabbouleh”

Ingredients:

1 big Parsnip

3 Dino Kale leaves

1/8 tsp. Cumin

Pinch of Turmeric

TINY pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt

2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

1.5-2 tablespoons Olive Oil

1-2 teaspoons stone ground mustard (start with 1 tsp and if you want more mustard flavor add another tsp)

1 big stalk of celery or 2 of the smaller ones from the middle that still have the leaves on them (leafy celery preferable)

Thoroughly peel and wash your parsnip. Roughly chop and place into the Vitamix. Put the setting on 3-4 and pulse about 6-8 times until your parsnip is ALMOST a rice consistency (still a little chunky). Add in your washed kale that is roughly chopped (about 3 chops) and pulse a few more times (about 3-4) until kale is chopped and parsnip is at rice consistency. Pour into a bowl and sprinkle with the spices. Mix evenly.

In a seperate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients (ACV, olive oil, mustard) and mix well. Pour over the parsnip-kale mixture and mix evenly.

Chop up your celery and mix in.

Place this mixture into the fridge. It is preferable to leave it in for 30-60 minutes but I got hungry and it was in for about 10 :). Still came out great, though!

I added some avocado, pumpkin seeds, and hemp seeds on top. Came out fantastic! Love a little extra crunch.

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Are you a tabbouleh fan? I  never was because I hate bulgur wheat (not that I eat it anymore, obviously!) but this recipe is just divine and light and summary. As always, let me know if you try it out and what you think!


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But The Food…

I survived a mini-vacation! My family and I went on a long weekend vacation to Santa Fe, New Mexico. My parents are moving there this summer and I had never been. I wanted to see where I would be spending the next year of my life after I graduate plus see some of the houses they were looking at. It’s different then anywhere I’ve lived before and I can guarantee you I am nervous about moving… but I’ll be spending the next year completely focused on treatment so I suppose the location doesn’t matter THAT much. I don’t care about making friends or going out, I just want a sunny, warm place to heal. I suppose Santa Fe will do ;).

This is the first semi-real vacation I’ve been on in over 2 years thanks to Lyme. I don’t count flying home to DC every month to see my doctor as vacation. My parents flew out to Denver and we drove my car down to NM. It is an 7-8 hour drive but that just meant plenty of time for me to rest. Plus, driving meant I could bring all my treatment stuff with me (my juicer, my sauna, food, meds, etc). It turned out pretty nice and my parents and I didn’t kill each other! That is a miracle in itself :).

While I was there I had a phone appointment with my LLMD and found out some big health news but I will be posting about that later this week.

So what else did we do? Oh besides seeing the town and looking at some houses we ate some AMAZING food. My mom and I did research (okay, mostly I did) on restaurants in the area before going. I wanted to find organic, mostly raw places of course. And DANG DID I FIND THEM! Almost everywhere we went offered fresh juice so I hardly needed to use my juicer the whole trip!

The first night we went to Cafe Pasquals. Everything is organic and they have lots of gluten free and vegan options. Plus fresh juice, of course. We started with some great appetizers and green juice but my main course was a gluten-free vegetable-quinoa burger with sprouts+guac+side salad.

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The next days highlight of meals was dinner, again. The second night we went to BODY. An all organic, locally sourced, raw, gluten-free restaurant. They also have yoga classes and other holistic fun things. I’m excited to explore all they have to offer when I move next year.

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We started off with a raw chips platter that had dehydrated sweet potato, beet, onion, and kale chips. PLUS, Fresh juice, of course! AND A WHEATGRASS SHOT!

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For my main dish I had this incredible chopped kale salad with a creamy almond dressing and sunflower seed croutons (how cool?!)

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The third days highlight was lunch! We went to Rasa, another all organic, local, raw place. The place was adorable! They also have a spa and yoga. They had amazing options that change daily along with smoothies and juices, raw treats and chocolates, and raw crackers and granola that they sell, too.

I had another green juice plus portobello “steak” that came with a mixed salad and jicama “potato” salad. My mom had the most amazing raw pizza! I didn’t get a picture of the pizza but trust me, delicious and beautiful.

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The last morning my mom and I hit up Sweet Water Harvest Cafe where they make most things gluten-free, grind their own flours fresh every morning (from sprouted grains), and offer a few raw options. I didn’t snap any pictures but my mom had awesome buckwheat pancakes and I had a banana-almond butter smoothie with raw granola.

I’m excited to move and explore these places more plus up my raw cooking and baking game (I guess I should say raw food prepping, instead). I’m planning to get a dehydrator so I can be more creative in the kitchen with raw food. Anyway, wanted to share a quick post about my trip and all the amazing food! I’m sorry I didn’t take more pictures and the ones I did are kind of crappy…. but I had to get a quick pic before devouring these meals. Eating=more important than pictures :). Got to enjoy the moment!

I hope you all are having a wonderful week. I’ll post a health update soon.

What is the best meal you have ever had? Favorite restaurant? I’d love to know so share in the comments!


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10 Tips to deal with chronic illness

Originally posted on decimawho:

For my 150th blog post, I thought I’d write about the stuff I’ve learned. Read it, you might like it.

1. Accept your style – Zen acceptance or kickboxing your way through
Everyone’s different. Some people need to find acceptance in their illness, accept it with a quiet dignity, zen like stoicism and work their life around it. Some people can’t do this and have to kickbox their way to find ways to drastically improve their health at all costs. They may complain, moan and generally be more angry at the world than an average 15 year old. There’s no right or wrong way, both requires a crazy amount of strength and determination. There’s nothing wrong with coping in a way you need to cope, even if it’s not the way you were brought up to deal with things, or it’s not the way your friends think you should be…

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Smashing Fears

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I recently received an email from Cameron Von St. James, whose wife, Heather, has mesothelioma. Cameron runs a website to raise awareness about Mesothelioma and provide copious amounts of information! Yes, I have Lyme disease not cancer but this post isn’t about cancer- it’s about chronic illness and about fears. Cameron and Heather have a yearly tradition of smashing their fears. They (along with family and friends) write their fears on a plate and smash them into a big fire. They call it LungLeavin’ Day and they do it every year on the anniversary of Heather’s lung removal surgery.

Cameron emailed me because they’ve made this tradition a virtual one, so anyone can join. They’ve created this great interactive site where you can read Heather’s story (it’s short and sweet) and then where other chronically ill (or ANYONE) can do exactly what they do- write their fears on a plate and smash it into a fire! I literally teared up when I checked out their LungLeavin’ day sight and smashed my fears into this virtual fire. Being ill is SCARY. Having an illness with no set cure is scary. Having Lyme is incredibly scary given the medical worlds knowledge of the disease. But I honestly felt a wave of relief and like a slight weight had been lifted off my shoulders when I smashed my virtual fear plate.

It’s hard to let go of the fears we have, just general ones, but then tack on a chronic illness and it adds a whole new level! Although smashing a plate didn’t completely get rid of my fears, it did help dissipate them a bit- enough to let me relax slightly (which, let me tell you, is almost impossible for me to do!). I truly encourage everyone to check out this site and smash your fears!

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Fear is normal. It’s natural. We all fear. And sometimes it is hard to move beyond that. A lot of times it is hard for me to move beyond that. I fear a lot. I’m kind of a baby sometimes ;). I think I am so drawn to this smashing of a fear plate because it makes me thoughtfully acknowledge my fears (I mean, I have to articulate them and write them down on a plate!)… acknowledge them head on. Then smash them into pieces. It may be smashing them figuratively but it gives me a stronger ability to address them head on and move towards smashing them literally.

My biggest fear is of never getting better. I’ve responded poorly to treatment and it’s frightening to think I may never be 100% again. But I have to keep my hopes up and know I have people around me who are doing everything they can to help me get there. I’ve been struggling recently, especially mentally and emotionally with dealing with having Lyme and feeling like shit. I’ve had  A LOT of bad days but I am so ready to fight. I have to believe I will get better so that I can get better. Dr. Horowitz said that you can try every treatment in the world but if you have emotional blocks of any kind, none of those treatments will work. I have to continue to smash my fears so that I can take those steps, even if they are tinier then tiny, forward.

What are your biggest fears? Leave a comment letting me know what you’re afraid of, or at the very least, what keeps you going. We have to pull the strength out of ourselves and it’s okay to fear, but we can’t let that run our lives.

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Raw Hemp-Pumpkin Seed and Spinach “Pesto” (Paleo, Vegan, Nut-Free)

So I posted a picture of this on my Instagram in January… promising the recipe soon. Oops, my bad. But I’m finally getting to it:). This is a wonderful “pesto” or sauce-type to cover raw zucchini noodles in (or on top of chicken or fish or anything else you may want to smother in it :) ). Honestly, whole foods taste AMAZING! Yeah, occasionally I get bored of kale and spinach (that’s when I make some sweet potato fries) but I’ve loved having to be creative and come up with unique and interesting recipes. I draw my ideas from other blogs and raw foodists… but it is still fun to try out their recipes, tweak things, and make them my own. I LOVE THIS RECIPE! I literally lick the plate clean after eating anything covered in this pesto. I also tend to eat it by the spoonfuls…. yeah, it is that good.

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Pumpkin seeds are great because they contain high amounts of manganese (along with other minerals), plant based healthy fats, they help promote sleep but have protein for good energy, and they may help with arthritic pain (although my knees and hands still hurt…).

Hemp seeds have been my latest addiction. I literally eat them all day long (sprinkled in my smoothie, mixed into my homemade “hummus,” sprinkled over apples for an after dinner treat). Hemp seeds are a great source of plant based protein (which is why I eat them so much… to make sure I’m getting enough protein. I crash really fast if my protein levels aren’t high enough). Hemp seeds, like pumpkin seeds, contain a high amount of minerals and healthy omega-fatty acids. They also help with digestion as they contain a good amount of fiber.

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Raw Hemp-Pumpkin Seed and Spinach “Pesto”

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup hemp seeds

1/4 cup olive oil

4 big handfuls of spinach

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4-1/2 cup water

Optional: 1 big handful/1 cup of basil leaves (I didn’t use them the first time I made this recipe but had a few leftover this past week and threw them in… it is delicious both ways!)

Put all ingredients into your food processor, except the water. Pulse until combined and smooth. Add in 1/4 cup of water to start and blend. Continue to add water until you reach a desired consistency (you are going for a creamy, dressing pesto consistency. You don’t want something too chunky that is more like a spread, you want a sauce).

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TA-DA. Pour over your pasta or food of choice and consume :). ENJOY!

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This past week I served it over kelp and zucchini noodles topped with sprouts, radishes, and hidden-liver meatballs (in case you don’t follow my IG- I’ve been trying to consume some liver in effort to get more B12 and at the recommendation of my ND).

Go make this now, for your own sake, please.

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