Lemons 'n Lyme

When life gives you lemons, use them to beat Lyme


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Homemade Vanilla Cinnamon Cashew Milk

I know there are a lot of cashew milk recipes out there but there isn’t one on my blog :). I recently posted the picture below on my Instagram “> and had some feedback for the recipe. So, I decided to post the recipe on my blog as easy access for you all. I’ve recently become obsessed with making homemade nut milks because 1) It’s super easy 2) They are so delicious and creamy 3) There aren’t all those nasty, unhealthy additives like in store bought varieties 4) You can make all sorts of flavors!

So let’s get to it. Homemade milks allow you to adjust flavoring and sweetness to your liking so take all the flavoring ingredients I post below with a grain of salt, adjust according to your lovely taste buds!

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Homemade Cashew Milk
Makes about 6-8 cups

Ingredients
2 cups organic, raw cashews
4-6 cups of water (less for thicker and creamier milk, more for a thinner milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 dates

Soak your cashews for at least four hours or up to overnight in filtered water (store soaking cashews in fridge). Drain and rinse thoroughly.
Place cashews and all remaining ingredients in a high speed blender (I use a Vitamix). Blend on high for 1-2 minutes until everything is well blended, smooth, and creamy.
Strain milk through a fine mesh strainer or nut milk bag (I’ve found that cashew milk doesn’t create much pulp compared to, say, almond).
Store in glass mason jars in the fridge for up to 1 week.


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Why I Call Myself a Lymie

There is a divide within the “Lyme world.” There are those who refuse to associate with Lyme, call themselves a Lymie, or define themselves by there illness. Then there are those who 100% define themselves by their disease and would consider nothing else then to be called a Lymie.

I understand both sides. When you are so sick you can’t even lift your arm because of the pain, you feel so incredibly lost that you don’t know what else to associate yourself with other then your disease. I think some people are just more positive about the whole situation or they have many other things to associate themselves with or they have an amazing support system or they’ve been lucky enough to where they haven’t truly suffered. Whatever the case may be, I get it.

I call myself a Lymie but I fall somewhere in between the two extremes (as many do). So why do I associate with my illness? Because it IS part of me. At least for right now. It doesn’t define me but it sure as hell feels like it tries to. I associate with this illness because I feel an obligation to. What I mean by that is this community of Lyme-fighters 110% needs advocates in the world. How many people and doctors don’t believe in chronic Lyme disease? How many sick patients are out there without a proper diagnosis? How many of us who ARE diagnosed are STILL suffering? I define myself as a Lymie to make a point. To let the world know I have suffered, I am suffering, and I will continue to suffer until progress in the medical community is made. I do it to let the world know there are 100’s of others just like me, worse then me, SCREAMING for help and relief and progress.

I spent years in pain and sick, searching for a diagnosis. So yes, I am a Lymie, a Lyme-warrior, a Lyme-fighter. I want the world to know how hard I have fought the system to get a proper diagnosis, to get my health back. I want the world to know how much of a battle this disease is BECAUSE of how abused and corrupted our medical system has become. I want people to know how much I’ve suffered. Not because I want pity, but because I want people to understand how much this “easy to treat and hard to get” disease can take from your life!

I don’t call myself a Lymie to make people feel sorry for me or to feel sorry for myself or to drag myself into the depths of this disease (although sometimes I go there, don’t we all?). I do it to make a point. To bring awareness. To support others in this battle. I’ve put up one hell of a fight to get where I am today and I want everyone (especially the medical community and insurance world) to know that. To know how brave people with Lyme actually are. I want to be the face, the voice, the advocate for those who can’t work, who are bedridden, who have lost friends and family because of this illness. Lyme isn’t a joke and it can’t be treated with just 2-4 weeks of doxycycline.

Do you call yourself a veteran because that’s all you associate with? That’s all you are? No, you do it because it’s a huge part of your life. You fought a giant battle and you probably have scars or medals or insane stories to show for it. We honor you for your bravery. Well, I fought a damn huge battle myself. Against my own body. Want to see the scars? Or hear the stories? I have them. You can call me a veteran if you want, I’ve been brave enough to keep fighting this battle every single day and to keep myself alive through it all. Lyme disease is a large part of my life, every day revolves around treatment and pills and how I feel. It doesn’t define me but it IS a huge part of who I am, how I’ve gotten to where I am today, and what I’ve learned.

I’m not saying you should fall into the trap of your disease or only associate with the negatives in your life, but if you have a chronic illness, it is part of who you are. It’s okay to connect with it, to identify with it. Sometimes that can make it easier to understand and live with, rather then trying to continually push it away and make it this foreign, frustrating thing that has taken you over. Accepting your illness is important for recovery, it allows you to come to terms with it, acknowledge it, and figure out how to move forward. I am still working on this, it isn’t easy. The more I’ve tried to push it away, the harder it is for me to mentally cope because I become angry at Lyme (which is totally okay to do, too) rather then work with it. And those negative emotions towards your disease can actually make it worse and cause flares (anger is a type of inflammation in your life and Lyme feeds off inflammation. Lyme also looks for any moment to pounce and when you are sad or upset or negative, it can weaken your immune system and allow Lyme an opening). I am coming to terms with Lyme by acknowledging I’m a fighter, a warrior.

 

I AM a Lymie. I’m proud of it. I stand up for everyone else who is suffering. I’m making a point.

And this is why I'm a fighter… because I had an IV line in my arm, straight to my heart, for 7 months.

And this is why I’m a fighter… because I had an IV line in my arm, straight to my heart, for 7 months.

Oh, you take a multi-vitamin and fish oil? Add 50 more pills to that and 7 tinctures. Now you're close to my level.

Oh, you take a multi-vitamin and fish oil? Add 50 more pills to that and 7 tinctures. Now you’re close to my level.

Why do you call yourself a Lymie (if you do)? Let me know in the comments!


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Detoxifying Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

I’ve been really into smoothies for the past few months. I’m not a fan of super sweet, all fruit smoothies and if you have a chronic illness like Lyme disease you really shouldn’t be drinking those types of smoothies too often. The sugar content of an all fruit smoothie is both inflammatory and will feed the Lyme bugs so I’ve had to find ways to make my smoothies nutrient packed but still tasty.

Although this smoothie takes a little bit more effort then throwing 3 ingredients into the blender, it is totally worth it! It contains both ginger and turmeric for anti-inflammatory effects and cilantro, lemon and lime juice, and greens to help detoxify.

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Detoxifying Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1/4 cup full fat canned coconut milk

1/4 cup almond milk (or replace with more coconut milk or non-dairy milk of choice)

1/2 cup cold filtered water

1/4 tsp. ground turmeric

1 tsp. grated fresh ginger root (can replace this with 1/4 tsp. ground ginger)

1 tsp. maca powder (optional)

1 scoop protein powder of choice (optional)

1 small handful (1/4-1/2 cup depending on how strong you want the flavor) fresh cilantro

1 large handful spinach

Juice from 1/2 a lime

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

1/2 frozen banana

1/4 cup frozen mango

It is easiest to prep all your ingredients. THEN throw them all in a high speed blender. The best order is to place the liquid first, then all the powders/spices and lemon/lime juice, then the spinach and cilantro, and finally the fruit. This allows everything to blend evenly. Turn blender on and let it whirl until all ingredients are mixed in and it is nice and smooth.

I top mine with local bee pollen which contains an amazing amount of nutrients, has natural antibiotic effects, and provides the body with sustainable energy. I’ve added it into my diet to help aid in healing from Lyme disease. Using local bee pollen can also help with allergies. So, even if you aren’t sick but you suffer from seasonal allergies, bee pollen can be a great natural way to boost your immune system to local allergens without using drugs or chemical filled allergy meds.

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Carrot Apricot Protein Bars (AIP, raw, paleo)

i’m a snacker. I don’t really like eating big meals during the day, it makes me lethargic (and we all know I’m already exhausted as is). I like snacks, they are more fun and it means you can eat more often. But I get tired of the usual… larabars, nuts, plain fruit. Store bought protein bars are filled with additives and sugar so those are out. And if you are following the paleo autoimmune protocol then I think snacking is EXTRA hard. I can only eat so much meat and, honestly, so many veggies. But it’s also not healthy to just eat a bunch of dried fruit all the time either (so much sugar!) so I wanted to come up with a snack bar recipe that had some protein, some veggies, and a little bit of sweetness.

NAILED IT! These bars pack a punch AND are protein-filled. They are different from the usual date-based snack bars/recipes out there and resemble carrot cake but are way more healthy and are AIP friendly.

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Carrot Apricot Protein Bars (AIP/raw/Paleo)

Ingredients:

4 large carrots

1/2 cup dried apricots

2 large dates

1 cup shredded coconut

1 scoop vanilla protein powder of choice

1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 tablespoons coconut flour (you can replace this with an extra scoop of protein powder instead if you’d like)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Soak your dried apricots and dates in hot water for at least 15 minutes.

While apricots are soaking, peel and cut carrots into chunks. Throw them in your food processor and shred. Once your apricots/dates have soaked, add them to the carrots and process until things start to get smooth. Add your remaining ingredients and process until everything is smooth. You may need to stop occasionally and scrape down the sides of your food processor.

The mixture should be a little sticky but not so wet you can’t handle it and it just sticks to your fingers. If it is too dry and falling apart (which it should not be but just in case) then add 1 tsp. at a time of the water you soaked the apricots in. If the mixture seems to sticky or wet then add a little extra coconut flour 1 tsp. at a time.

Line a baking dish (the size is really up to you, if you want thicker bars use a smaller 8×8 or 9×9 pan, if you want thinner bars use a 8×11 or larger. I’ve used all sorts of sizes and they all come out great ;) ) with parchment paper and scrape your batter into the pan. Use a spatula (or your hands) to spread the mixture evenly into the pan.

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Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour until the bars are more solid. Cut them up into whatever size/shape you like and store in a freezer bag or airtight container. I prefer to store these in the freezer because 1) They last longer and 2) They will get nice and solid!

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Perfect on the go snacking and taste delicious with nut butter spread on top (if you are not AIP). You can also feel free to add 2 tablespoons of chia seeds when making the bars if you can tolerate seeds. Just adds an extra boost :).

Let me know if you give these a shot how you liked them!


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Tummy Calming Banana-Berry Ginger Smoothie

The past few weeks I have been dealing with A LOT of nausea. My tummy has always been a mess but this extreme nausea is pretty new. Smoothies seem to be the calmest thing on my stomach and easy to digest so I’ve been making a lot of them. I have a favorite which I will share in a later post. For now, I want to share the smoothie I make when I’m nauseas but hungry and know I need to get some food in me. This smoothie includes fresh ginger which 1) is pretty much my favorite flavor ever, you all should know that by now and 2) is great for nausea and an upset stomach as it helps decrease in inflammation, relaxes the stomach muscles, and helps the neutralize stomach acid.

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Tummy Calming Banana-Berry Ginger Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1 frozen banana

1/3 cup frozen raspberries

1 inch piece of peeled and grated ginger

1/4 cup full fat coconut milk

1/2 cup almond milk (you can use all coconut milk, I just prefer mixing the two)

1 handful spinach (optional but I like to add some greens to get my veggies in. Green veggies can also help detox out any toxins that may be contributing to nausea)

Throw everything in your blender and blend until smooth. Drink up and feel your nausea slowly dissipate.

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LDI Update

After my last post in regards to LDI treatment, I received A LOT of feedback. Especially from people who were searching it online and my blog came up. I received many emails and comments (both on my blog and on Instagram) asking questions about LDI, how it was going, how they can start this treatment. I am more then happy to help all of you but, just a small reminder, I am not a doctor and this is only MY experience. I am so happy to share it, though :).

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So, since I last posted I have taken 6 doses! Here’s how it worked: I started at 15c (yes we dropped way back from my original 8c dose) and then every week I dropped 1c lower (15->14->13, etc). The idea was to drop 1c until I took a dose that made me feel GOOD after and not herx. Dr. Vincent recently changed his protocol where if you had no response to a dose you could take another one the next week instead of waiting 7 weeks. Now, if you have a negative reaction (herx) you must wait the 7 weeks.

I made it down to 11c post-vacation and felt alright the following day (aka, I didn’t need a nap). But I wasn’t sure if it was the LDI or just that post-vacation high (and having gotten tons of rest) so I took 10c last week. I have felt crappy ever since and I’m not sure if it is the LDI either. I think the LDI kicked off a herx and then Lyme just set in. I saw my doctor this afternoon and we have decided 11c will be my dose for now. This means I wait another 7 weeks before the next shot of 11c.

It can take up to 6 months to find your ideal dose and it can take even longer to really feel effects of LDI. It takes time for it to work and ideally after every dose the positive effects will last a little longer.

The next thing that is going to be added to my treatment regimen is bee venom therapy. I am starting with some topical bee venom and then will soon add in the actual bee stings. I am very excited to begin this treatment as I have heard some very positive results from it (cough BROOKE cough… among others). I also have some other exciting treatment options that I will be adding in but won’t be sharing about those quite yet. I’ll be sure to keep you all updated along the way!


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Turmeric-Caper Cauliflower Steaks Plus Life Update

First, I’d like to thank you all for your support! I’ve received a lot of positive feedback for being so honest and candid about what it is like to have Lyme and go through treatment. It means a lot to know that my openness is helping so many of you and I will continue to be transparent with my experiences.

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At the beginning of June (holy crap, it’s July 1 already!) I spent a week in San Diego visiting my best friend! It was such a blast. I haven’t gone on a real vacation in YEARS and I haven’t seen my best friend in 4 years all because of Lyme. The first weekend there I had a bad reaction to a new medication and spent 2 days sleeping. I finally realized it was this new med causing my symptoms, stopped it, and felt much better! I was able to spend the rest of the week enjoying time with my best friend, hiking, attempting to learn to surf, and attending the San Diego County Fair! Yes, there were naps in there, too. And detox baths. We also did some cooking, exploring of new restaurants, and, of course, I had to check out the new local juice bar!

IMG_9387IMG_9389One night we made cauliflower crust pizza! I topped mine with pesto and sautéed veggies.

IMG_9395We explored an awesome raw food restaurant, too! It was AMAZING. We went twice and shared a couple dishes every time. This was my lunch right before getting on the plane to come home- raw nachos made with red bell pepper “chips”, walnut “meat”, and cashew cheeze. So delicious!

IMG_9332And last but not least we checked out the local juice bar. Had to get my green juice on even while on vacation ;).

I’ve got a full LDI update I will be posting in the next week, as well! Stay tuned.

Anyway, on to the recipe! This is a fun side dish and I bet it would taste amazing grilled (just place the cauliflower steaks on top of some tinfoil on the grill) but it is oven baked here. The capers add a fun twist to a basic cauliflower steak and a little extra flavor.

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Turmeric-Caper Cauliflower Steaks

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

1 small head of cauliflower

2 tablespoons mustard

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon turmeric

3 tablespoons capers (including the water in the jar they come in)

Preheat oven to 400 F.

First cut off the base/leaves of the cauliflower. Then cut into “steaks” by cutting horizontally across the head of the cauliflower to cut strips of cauliflower. Lay cauliflower on a baking sheet.

Mix all the remaining ingredients together into a small bowl. Take a baking brush (or just use a spoon) and brush 1/2 the mustard mixture over the top of the cauliflower. Use a spatula to flip the cauliflower over and brush the other half of the mustard mixture on the second side.

Bake for 30 minutes, flipping the cauliflower steaks over halfway through (15 minutes into roasting). Double this dish to batch cook for the week or serve to a group of friends and family!

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