Lemons 'n Lyme

When life gives you lemons, use them to beat Lyme


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Gluten Free Granola Cookies (nut free/sugar free option)

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I LOVE GRANOLA. One of the things I miss about eating mostly paleo is granola (I don’t like all that nut and seed only sh*t… that doesn’t count as granola). It was dangerous to have around even when I wasn’t eating paleo because I eat that stuff like there’s no tomorrow (haha we didn’t all die on 12/21… suckers!). Anyway, I gave in, bought some gluten free oats and made damn good granola cookies. Suck it. It’s the holidays, I wanted my oats.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup gluten free oats

1/3 cup coconut flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tbs. flaxseeds

1/2 cup sunflower seeds, toasted

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup coconut sugar*

4 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2-3/4 cup milk of choice*

1/2 c. currants

Optional: 3 oz. dark chocolate, chopped (anything about 70%… I used 100% so there was no sugar in it)

 

*I meant to do this but for some reason when pulling out ingredients saw coconut sugar and grabbed. My brain was/is still dead from finals. IF you don’t want to use the sugar, it would certainly work to sub in 2-3 very ripe bananas, just use the lesser amount of milk (maybe even a little less until you see what the consistency is like).

 

Didn’t buy toasted seeds? No worries. Preheat oven to 300 F, place seeds on a baking sheet and throw in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Make sure to check them to ensure there is no burning.

Next, mix all your dry ingredients together well (not the currants… so the first 8 ingredients, up through the seeds). No clumps!

In a separate bowl beat the oil and sugar/bananas until well combined, add in the eggs and vanilla and milk. Once its all mixed/beaten together nicely, add in the dry ingredients a little at a time (3-4 additions, don’t do it all at once). Beat in each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until you’ve got a nice dough. Next, add your currants (and chocolate, if using) and stir them in. Cover your dough and place in the fridge for a couple hours (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place dough by rounded tablespoon fulls onto a cookie sheet (either sprayed with oil or lined with parchment paper), flattening slightly. Cook for 15-18 minutes, until slightly golden. Let cool on a wire rack, then consume! Really yummy with a glass of milk or some coconut milk ice cream 🙂

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Healthy Holiday Alternatives For Those On The Lyme Diet

So I got a request to write this post. Guys, a request! OMG SOMEONE LOVES ME! No, but it is actually both awesome and an awesome request. So if you have Lyme Disease, or any other serious illness for that matter, you are very restricted in terms of diet. Sugar, alcohol, gluten, dairy are all usually big no-no’s as they feeeed those Lyme bugs, promote inflammation, tear apart your gut lining, and promote yeast overgrowth. Many with Lyme develop secondary allergies to all sorts of things- random food items, chemicals, you name it. So my goal with this post is to provide healthy, Lyme-safe alternatives to the normal holiday food fare. This post will not be perfect, so if you have anything to add that I missed out please comment and share! It is also long so skip around to the part that may be most prevalent to you. Some aspects I cut short because I didn’t want to write a novel, but I’d be happy to expand on it if you want!

I’d first like to start with saying, eating healthy around the holidays is hard for EVERYONE! But especially for those with Lyme because little slip-ups can cause a much bigger issue than it does for someone who is perfectly healthy (stomach ache vs. full on death sick feeling… yeah doesn’t quite compare). But I’m going to be honest, I cheat during the holidays. It’s hard not to, surrounded by deliciousness and wanting to try and seem semi-normal like everyone else. So let me start with some ways to cope if you DO indulge:

1. Tumeric. You can buy capsules at your local store or just sprinkle tons of this spice onto your food. It is a natural anti-inflammatory and also may contain anti-bacterial/fungi properties. It’s a part of the ginger family so no wonder it can be helpful. Image(source:http://www.bewellbuzz.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/turmeric-powder.jpg2)

2. Ginger. My roommate and I last year would juice fresh ginger and take ginger “shots.” Most helpful thing ever! Now if you don’t have a juicer you can drink ginger tea (cut a piece of fresh ginger and peel the skin off, place in a mug and pour hot water over top) or literally just chew on a piece of ginger (this is spicy and many people can’t stand the flavor, but if you can tolerate it, I’d give it a go). Ginger helps with inflammation and is an excellent stomach calmer- helps with nausea (although I always seem to forget that when I’m nauseous) and stomach aches.Image(source: http://www.reedsinc.com/wp-content/uploads/ginger2.jpeg)

3.Peppermint. Similar to ginger, very soothing and calming. According to webmd, sniffing peppermint oil can serve as a painkiller. I didn’t know that one. So yeah, drink peppermint tea and sniff peppermint oil (available at most health food stores).

4. Cinnamon. This baby is the bomb. Cinnamon helps with pretty much all health problems, I’m not going to list them all here. It is anti-fungal (fights candida like no other!) and the smell can improve brain function (go sniff some cinnamon, lymies!). It can also help stabilize your blood sugar. Don’t go too crazy, just sprinkle it on everything ;). I pretty much put this spice on everything, though, for reals. I sprinkle it in my almond butter, whenever I bake, even in main dishes! You’ll see what I’m talking about in a bit.

5. HEATING PAD. I couldn’t survive without it. When I’m feeling really terrible I climb in bed and wrap that baby around my stomach!

Now, I know there are a lot more but those are some of my favorites- feel free to share your ideas in the comments section or if you want me to research some other methods you’ve heard of and do a part 2 post I can!

ON TO THE FOOOOOOD! Now, I’m going to offer substitutes for various foods and ingredients Lymies can’t eat and then I will provide links to a few recipes. I’ll also be trying to post some recipes over the next week.

The Culprit: Eggs

If you are sensitive to or allergic to eggs, use flax eggs! Here is how to make one egg (just multiply this recipe if you need more then 1 egg in a recipe): 1 tablespoon flax meal + 3 tablespoons water. The key? Add the flax meal to the bowl first then pour the water over it. Let mixture sit in the fridge for 15+ minutes so that the egg can set and become the appropriate consistency.

The Culprit: Dairy

Honestly, for me, this isn’t a very hard one to avoid. I just don’t eat cheese much and I sub out milk in recipes with almond milk or even water if I don’t think that will alter the flavor. Now if you really miss your cheese, an option is to make a vegan- cashew version. Here is a great recipe from Oh She Glows, although there are many out there.

The Culprit: Sugar

Well, this is a biggie for us! And a tough one. It all depends on how sensitive you are, but for the most part Lymies should be avoiding sugar. I’m bad at this. Very bad. My substitution suggestions? Erythritol and Stevia. Other options include using fruit and fruit juices. Very ripe mashed bananas work well, although they do add a banana-y taste.

You can also use dates. Boil some water then pull it off the stove and throw your dates in. Let them sit for a few minutes, drain the water then puree the dates in a blender/food processor until smooth. Dates are mighty sweet and can be used a sweetener this way.

This is where cinnamon AND pure vanilla extract come in handy. When using less sugar I like to add extra cinnamon and a bigger dose of vanilla extract (not too much, maybe double what a recipe calls for) because these both bring out the natural flavors and sweetness in a recipe.

Honestly, some of your best bets since we can’t have traditional cookies and if you are extremely sensitive to sugar are no-bake cookies and truffle-type eats. Here are a few recipes (and the date-sugar sub would work well for the truffley ones):

bacon and peanut butter truffles by Katie K.

Pumpkin Butter Truffles (you could go no chocolate or if you don’t mind the strong taste of cocoa use 100% dark chocolate melted with coconut oil)

No Bake Pecan Pie Bars by Detoxinista

Lemon Macaroons by Composting Words (a fellow Lymie!)

This girl here offers some wonderful sugar free recipes- she can’t eat sugar at all!

Many nut butter based cookies or banana based cookies work well, too, and if those types of cookies call for a little sweetner it works just fine to leave it out. Here are a few options: one (just leave out the chocolate chips or use 100% dark chocolate bar chopped) and two (leave out the honey and use 2-3 bananas)

The Culprit: Gluten

Oh man, stay away! Even if you don’t have Lyme Disease, you’ll know I say avoid it!!! I’m not going to go into all the details here about why it is bad- it’s all over, you can read for yourself- but I’ll make a few points. It causes inflammation, feeds lyme bugs or any parasites or bad bacteria you have, it breaks down your digestive lining and can cause leaky gut syndrome, it makes you lethargic and can affect brain functioning, etc, etc etc.

For the basics, you can sub out normal flour for a gluten free flour blend you can buy at the store. That is the easy route. There are also many recipes out there that eliminate grains completely (paleo). I’m not going to go on a paleo rant here but I will say there are plenty of resources for paleo recipes (one of my favorites is http://www.fastpaleo.com)

OKAY, so now that I’ve reviewed some of the big ingredients, let’s just talk about general meal substitutes for the holidays.

Dranksss: Everyone is drinking champagne at Christmas dinner, what do you do?! My favorite is to mix sparkling water with a little bit of fruit juice (OJ or pomegranate juice, whatever you like). It’s bubbly and tastes better then plain water, plus if you put it in a champagne glass you’ll feel fancy just like everyone else :).

Eggnog? Okay, there are lot of dairy/sugar free recipes out there or fake eggnogs you can buy in the stores BUT most are still packed with sugar or you don’t feel like having to make your own. No problem- take your favorite type of milk (almond, soy, whatever you drink) and warm it up. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg and stir gently. Sprinkle a tad more on top and you’ve got something a bit fancier then boring old milk but not as unhealthy as eggnog.

Main Meal: Honestly, this is the easiest! Meat and vegetables, heyyy. BUT, on Christmas Eve my family always has perogi’s. I’ve been sad I can’t eat them the past few years but I found this awesome recipe! We are making them this year and I’m so excited! Christmas dinner doesn’t have to be hard- pork roast, pot roast, roast chicken, pork chops and then a nice salad or sauteed green beans on the side. Maybe a brussels sprouts dish or roasted vegetables. Simple.

Dessert: I’ve basically covered this above with the no-sugar. Play with some of those sweetener sub ideas or look at a few of the recipes I provided links to.

Wow, this is longgg. Maybe I should of broken it up into two or more posts. Oh well, I didn’t. If you made it this far congratulations! If you fell asleep or got a head ache looking at the screen for so long, my apologies. Anyway, I have a gluten free cookie recipe coming up for you later this week.

If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to comment. I hope this post was at least somewhat helpful. I’ll probably think of 20 more things later in the week, if so I’ll post more 🙂


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Done: Hello Winter Break

The past couple weeks have been pretty crazy. Crazy stressful, that is. I’m finally done with finals and I have made it home safe and sound! I finished off my finals yesterday morning, although my semester didn’t go as nicely as I had hoped. But that’s okay, I’m under the impression I didn’t fail any classes (although my usually straight A’s aren’t exactly on the agenda, either).

I have been waiting for this day to arrive. To be done with this semester. And now that it’s here? Well I’m kind of sad this semester is over. I almost want to cry. It’s weird. The past 6 months, no past year really, have been a whirlwind of both good and bad. The past year of being sick has been one of the worst ever. Dealing with Lyme Disease has been awful and sucky and miserable and all around not fair. Having to manage the ups and downs and medications and symptoms and whatnot has been more then I feel I can handle at many times.

BUT, I’ve also had one of the best years of my life. Weird. I know. I’ve met some of the most amazing people, realized how true and caring my friends are, and had some really fun times. I’ve dealt with a hell of a lot of stress this past year (not just from Lyme) and even though I can’t say I’m fully recovered from stress trauma and worked out a lot of my feelings, I can say I have some amazing people in my life to help me through it or take my mind off of it.

Dealing with Lyme makes every minor thing in life that much more stressful. Small decisions and situations become a huge deal, planning is so frustratingly impossible at times- will I feel good then? will i feel like i’m dying? can i commit to that or should i just bail now because i don’t know how i’ll be feeling? IT IS SO FREAKING ANNOYING. And although there are a lot of people in my life who don’t understand Lyme for the life of them, I have a few special ones who do and they understand this issue and that I might call them up telling them I can’t do what was originally planned. They usually are willing to drop those plans to come over and watch movies instead.

I was able to finish off my semester with a little bit of a bang though. I was feeling surprisingly well towards the end of this week (perhaps the adrenal is still high from no more school for 5 weeks? 🙂 ). So my best friend at school and I decided to go out to celebrate being done with finals. We went downtown to hit up a few bars. The first one sucked so we went to my favorite bar, which my friend works at (AKA FREE drinks) and has an awesome dance floor. We spent the remainder of the night there and it was a blast! I’m honestly sad to be home right now because so many of my friends are in Colorado. But it’s good to be home and I’m excited to catch up with all my friends here.

I don’t have any new recipes for you. My mom and I will be doing some baking this week so hopefully I’ll have some for you. Thanks for sticking through my rants the past couple of posts.


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Vent.

Yes I’m venting, so ignore this post if you don’t want to listen to me complain.

This week needs to end. Now. It’s only Wednesday but it feels like Friday:(.

I had a complete breakdown on Monday. I got so mad/frustrated/upset about having to deal with Lyme. I’m SO sick of it. I got mad at all the pills I have to load and take every day, at people and the world for not understanding, at the CDC for being IDIOTS!, at everything. I don’t even know who to blame.

I’m tired and worn out. I have NO energy to study for finals… thus I’ve done no studying. No energy to cook. And the gym? HA! That is HILARIOUS. Working out hasn’t happened in a very long while. Which only makes me feel even worse, lying around doing nothing. Honestly, if it wasn’t the week before finals I would be lying in bed all day and skipping all my classes- I fall asleep in all of them on a daily basis, only to be poked by my seat mates. I can’t concentration any of them, I’m not really sure what we’ve talked about in my classes this week. I guess it is pointless to go… And then of all things, I can’t fall asleep at night! I plan on going home in 1.5 weeks and sleeping. Literally sleeping for the WHOLE week. then it’ll be christmas, I’ll sleep some more and then I’ll be ready to come back to life (hopefully). 

This week has just SUCKED! Actually the past week and half… it’s just been getting worse. I feel like crap- the nausea is not going way and the only thing I’ve been able to stomach the past few days is rice cakes, rice cakes, crackers, rice cakes, cracker, a banana (sometimes), some  almond butter occasionally, coconut milk ice cream (!!!!!), and chocolate chip cookies (hmmm not sure how that one happened ;)). But actually. Scrambled eggs occasionally. and apples sometimes. Everything else just makes me even more nauseous.

I hate having this. I want to be normal and not feel like crap when all my friends want to go out. I want to not feel like dying and sleeping 24/7. F*ck.


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Mustard Flaxseed and Coconut Crusted Chicken Strips With Easy Butternut Squash Soup

So this weekend…

Let’s back up a little bit. I’ve been REALLY nauseous all week. Up and down. I’ve had some nauseau before when I started one of my medications, it was mild and only lasted a week. This week has been horrible! Friday I was dry heaving and started shaking so bad I could hardly see. I made it home from campus (thankfully!) and lied down. I proceeded to eat a banana and rice cakes, which helped. Although the neaseau didn’t completely subside- just enough that I could go about the rest of my day.

We upped the dose of two medications and I started dry brushing this week. I’m not sure if it was upping the meds or the extra/new detoxing or both that caused all the neaseau.

Here is the problem: my best friends 21st birthday was last night. Yes, I was planning on breaking every Lyme rule in the book, I mean let’s be real it was my friends 21st BIRTHDAY! I worked yesterday morning then came home and spent most of the day in bed hoping to sleep off the neaseau before having to go out for the night. The evening started off alright but after dinner I wasn’t feeling so hot. I was getting really hot and my stomach was hurting. It felt like my stomach was trying to eat its way out of me. I made it through the night (with very very little drinking/Lyme rule breaking) but I wasn’t too happy that I couldn’t all out celebrate. It was a blast to go out though and hang out with pretty much all of my friends at once!

So onto the recipe…

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So it is more like two recipes, but I made both for a meal and it works really well as a complete meal so I’m posting it that way 🙂

Let’s start with the soup.

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This is a super simple variation of butternut squash soup. I wanted something easy and simple and this worked perfectly. Get your crock pot ready!

Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash (skinned and cubed)

1 large onion chopped

2 cups chicken broth

1 tbs. ground ginger

1 tsp. salt (or more to taste)

3/4 tsp. pepper (or more to taste)

Put all ingredients in your crock pot and mix it up. Set on low for about 8 hours, or until butternut squash is soft and cooked through.

Now it is time to grab your food processor or blender. Put soup into the processor/blender (if not big enough, just do it in portions) and pulse a few times so it is creamier but still a bit chunky. You can also puree until completely smooth. For some reason, I don’t like when soups or straight creamy. I don’t get full because it just feels like I’m drinking (weird, I know, but it’s the same with smoothies. Smoothies are delicious but if I had one for breakfast I’d be asking “so where is my meal at?” 2 minutes later). Plus, I like having little bites of butternut squash :).

So the soup is done, time for the chicken!

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts, sliced into strips

1 egg

2 tbs. mustard (I like the spicy brown mustard, but whatever you like works! Dijon is delicious with this recipe, too)

2 tbs. shredded coconut

2 tbs. flax seeds

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix the egg and mustard in a bowl. Mix the coconut and flax seed together in a seperate bowl. Have a glass baking dish ready. Line the bowls/dish up in order: egg, coconut mix, baking dish.

Take your first slice of chicken and dip in the mustard/egg mixture so it is well coated, then dip roll it in the coconut mixture. Place the chicken in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining chicken strips. Cook for about 10-12 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

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I served the chicken over a bed of spinach with a side of soup. Yummy 🙂