Lemons 'n Lyme

When life gives you lemons, use them to beat Lyme


1 Comment

Cilantro Celeriac “Rice” (AIP/Vegan)

Here is a super simple side dish for any night of the week. You can sub this celeriac rice out for normal grain-filled rice in any of your favorite Mexican dishes (tacos, taco bowls, fragrant rice w/ fajitas anyone?) or any meal you love having with rice!

img_8932

Cilantro Celeriac “Rice”

Serves 2-4

Ingredients

1 large celeriac

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 tbs. Extra virgin olive oil

salt to taste

Peel and chop the celeriac into large chunks. Place in the food processor and pulse until you get a rice-like consistency.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the “rice” and cook 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until it begins to brown. Turn off the heat, stir in the cilantro and salt to taste.

Serve!

img_8925

img_8931


2 Comments

Guest Post: Advice for the Newly Diagnosed Lyme Disease Patient

I’m really excited today to be sharing a guest post by Kerry from Body, Mind, Lyme. Kerry was diagnosed with two autoimmune disease before finally figuring out the root cause- Lyme disease. Today she is sharing some tips for those recently diagnosed with Lyme and how to handle the diagnosis.

Although both of us have been dealing with health issues for quite some time and many of you reading this have also been dealing with Lyme for awhile, Kerry’s advice still applies. I know I get many newly diagnosed with Lyme reading my blog, as well, so here is some great advice for everyone! Let me know in the comments what you wish you would have known when you were first diagnosed. And don’t forget to head on over and check out Body, Mind, Lyme!

_________________________________________________________________

Advice for the Newly Diagnosed Lyme Disease Patient 

Man with Flashlight.jpg

I suppose the silver lining of a chronic Lyme disease diagnosis is that you have a diagnosis. So many of our ranks suffered for years with no answers. I know the sense of relief I felt when I finally knew what was wrong.

But that is just the first step. Now you must venture into the strange maze of chronic Lyme disease treatment. Here are a few things I wish I’d know when I asked the doctor, “So, you’re sure this is it?” and she confidently and reassuringly said, “yes.”

1. You are not alone. 

It is scary to receive a diagnosis of a “rare” disease, but Lyme disease is not rare. There are 300,000 new cases recognized by the CDC each year, and some estimate a much higher number that go unrecognized or unreported. In my small circle I know 2 other people who have been diagnosed with Lyme. Once you start telling people about your diagnosis you will start hearing the stories, “my cousin has that,” “my uncle’s sister’s best friend’s niece has that.”

Aside from connecting with people who are 2nd and 3rd degrees of separation, I would strongly suggest tapping into the vast Lyme community on the internet.

The first place I looked was on Facebook and I joined a closed group for female Lyme disease patients all over the world and a regional closed group for people in Illinois (where I live) to share resources and ask questions. Then, I tapped into the blog world looking for posts from people who have had similar experiences to mine. Finally, I started my own blog to connect with other bloggers and Lyme patients with the goal of being a positive place for Lyme patients to stumble upon, like I did with so many other blogs, including Lemons ‘N Lyme.

There are countless blogs and social media feeds related to Lyme disease. I would suggest finding a few that share your attitude and approach to illness. I follow blogs and social media feeds that focus on positivity and a modified diet. Some people may want to follow blogs with a focus on research or a certain treatment protocol. The good thing is whatever you are looking for, you will find it.

I truly don’t know how Lyme patients diagnosed over 10 years ago coped with this illness without the internet.

If possible I would also recommend talking to Lyme patients face-to-face. I eventually joined a Lyme disease support group and have found it to be extremely helpful. If there isn’t a support group in your area, I would suggest having coffee with another Lyme patient who lives close by. If you live in a small area and are unable to find any other Lyme patients near you there is the option of Skype or continuing to form connections online.

The good people of the chronic Lyme disease community are a wealth of support and information. We have to be, because besides some medical professionals, we are all that we’ve got.

2. It gets worse and then it gets better (and then it gets worse, better, worse). 

Now that you and your doctor have decided on a treatment plan, it is time for the roller coaster ride of Lyme recovery. I often describe the Lyme treatment process like an upward moving roller coaster. There are rises and falls, but slowly you will be making upward progress. It just doesn’t always feel that way.

I’ve found that on my bad days I can’t remember how I felt on my good days and on my good days I can’t remember how I felt on my bad days.

You’ve likely read up on Herxheimer reactions and if you haven’t here is a good post. You could feel better for weeks, then have a huge herx reaction as the bacteria die off and leave your body.

My doctor has a good strategy for showing me that things are slowly getting better. She documented all the symptoms I brought to her on our first visit (debilitating pain, headaches, dizziness, blurry vision, etc.) and each visit she asks if I still have those symptoms. Most are better, if not gone. I still feel sick, but she helps me see the progress.

This is a strategy you could do with your doctor or on your own. Write down all your symptoms and return to the list once a month to add new symptoms and track progress on your old symptoms.

3. Your treatment will not be like anyone else’s treatment. 

Dr. Richard Horowitz calls Lyme disease Multi Systemic Infectious Disease Syndrome or MSIDS. That is because Lyme usually comes with multiple coinfections (including parasitic and viral) and attacks multiple systems in your body. So depending on which coinfections you have and which systems they are going after you are going to present differently than any other Lyme patient.

There are common symptoms across most Lyme patients, like fatigue, brain fog, and pain, but there are hundreds of other ways the disease can manifest.

Other things that will affect your treatment plan are: autoimmune responses (such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis), food intolerances (gluten, dairy, etc.), gene mutations (MTHFR), and vitamin/mineral deficiencies (anemia).

When you look at the above list it is pretty clear why no treatment plans look alike.

Usually they include antibiotics and/or antimicrobials, supplements, and lifestyle changes, but it will always be a variation.

4. There is no right treatment, there is only the right treatment for you. 

In my first suggestion I tell you to tap into the Lyme community on the internet. In this suggestion, I’m going to tell you to take it with a grain of salt.

I tend to skip over any Facebook post that contains any negativity or controversial discussion. There are people who will say never take antibiotics and there are people who say antibiotics are the only thing that worked for them.

It is very difficult to land on a treatment that you are comfortable with. When I was undiagnosed, I said no to many different medications, including antibiotics. At the time, I just wasn’t comfortable with that particular treatment. I feel like at this stage of my disease I am on the right treatment for me, so I tend to take with a grain of salt advice on what to take or not take. I’m always open to a new approach, but it has to be something I am comfortable with or it will end up doing more harm than good.

5. There is hope. 

Lyme disease is a devastating diagnosis and will surely have many days where it feels like an impossible climb.

When you are feeling like you will never get better, go online and read one or two stories of recovery.

I’m 75% better than when I began treatment and I still have moments where I break down and cry. In these moments I use advice I heard on The Oprah Winfrey Show many years ago. There was a guest who had been hit by a drunk driver and had severe, disfiguring burns covering most of her body. She told Oprah that she allows herself 5 minutes a day to cry and after that she gets up and keep going. When I break down, I let it all out, then I get back up and keep going.

It’s all we can do.

IMG_1505.JPG

If we can figure out how to fly above the clouds over the middle of the ocean, we can heal

 


8 Comments

From Paleo to Plant-Based: Why I Returned to a “Vegan” lifestyle

So let me preface this post with a couple of things:

1) “Vegan” is in quotes in my title because I am NOT vegan but I am plant-based. I just didn’t want to reuse the word plant-based in the title two times :). I’m not vegan because I do eat small amounts of raw, local, organic honey and my whole life is not vegan. I eat plant-based (I don’t consume animal products besides honey) but I do still wear animal based clothing (which I hope to eventually switch out… baby steps). I believe all my beauty products (or most of them) are vegan but will be double checking as I use up a product and before buying a new one.

2) Many people follow my blog because I post PALEO recipes and some of you may have a fit that I went plant-based. But please, stick around and read this whole post to find out why! I’m still going to be posting amazing recipes and most will be paleo, I just won’t be cooking meat.

Delicious date granola with fresh fruit

Delicious date granola with fresh fruit

I want to walk you all through this.

Why did I go back to plant-based?
First, some background. I grew up eating meat but then in high school I decided to go vegetarian, for a few reasons. I stuck to it for a while and then started eating chicken again and eventually fish and all meat. Mostly because it was easier, although I did try to eat mainly vegetarian through my freshman year of college. Eventually I went paleo, almost exactly 4 years ago, actually! When I got sick I became more interested in paleo and stuck to it. About 2 years ago I decided to go raw vegan for healing. I LOVED it. I was less bloated, had less abdominal pain, and improving my digestion was a big deal because I react to almost everything I eat. I wasn’t doing it right, though. I wasn’t eating enough and felt run down (like the tired you feel when your body needs fuel) so I returned to paleo not realizing it was because I just wasn’t eating enough as a vegan.

About a month ago I decided to go back to vegan. It started with reading Skinny Bitch which sincerely opened my eyes. I then watched almost every food documentary on Netflix. I recommend Cowspiracy, Vegucated, and Forks Over Knives. I watched this speech by Gary Yourofsky. I became painfully aware of the harm every aspect of meat can cause. I learned that meat production is horrible for the environment (yes, even grass fed meat), it’s even worse for our health, especially cancer and chronic illness (Have you read the China Study?!), I learned how horribly animals are treated in slaughterhouses (yes, even grass fed, organic meat). I watched film footage from inside slaughterhouses and balled my eyes out. Yes, I did cry like a little baby.

Some quick facts (thanks to Cowspiracy):
-The meat and dairy industry use 1/3 of earths fresh water
-1.5 acres of land provides 370,000 lbs of plant based food OR 375 lbs of meat (uh, we could feed seriously more people with 370,000 lbs of food vs 375)
-You need 1/16th acre of land to feed one vegan for a whole year, you need 18x that much land to feed a meat eater for 1 year.

I want you all to understand that I have done my research. This post will be entirely too long if I provide all the specific facts, so maybe I will save that for another day. But for now, I encourage you to read and watch the above documentaries. I will point out that Skinny Bitch and a couple of those documentaries do discuss vegan junk food and vegan alternatives for non-vegan foods. I absolutely do not agree with this. Just because something is vegan (or gluten free or low fat or whatever it may be) does not mean it is healthy and should be eaten. I promote a whole-foods, plant-based diet that relies on fruits and veggies as the main source of nutrient dense food you should consume. I not believe soy is healthy or something we should be consuming on a regular basis and I believe the chemicals in processed foods (even vegan foods) are completely destructive to the human body.

Fresh, all-natural, earth-provided fuel

Fresh, all-natural, earth-provided fuel

So what do I eat?
A lot of veggies.

Here is an example of a typical day:

I start my day with a big green smoothie filled with greens, fruit, and super foods. I always top it with hemp seeds!

I start my day with a big green smoothie filled with greens, fruit, and super foods. I always top it with hemp seeds!

Sometimes this is lunch sometimes dinner. But lunch is usually raw veggies of some sort or a salad or another smoothie.

Sometimes this is lunch sometimes dinner. But lunch is usually raw veggies of some sort or a salad or another smoothie.

This is only one example of dinner. I like to make lettuce taco boats filled with veggies and sweet potatoes. Sometimes I make a big veggie soup or another big salad with potato/sweet potato fries on the side. Or zoodles with butternut squash “cheese” sauce. Possibilities are endless!

If you’d like me to do a detailed “What I Ate Today” post, let me know in the comments below! I’ll provide all my food, snacks, and recipes for that day.

So how do I feel?

I LOVE being vegan. My digestion isn’t fixed, my Lyme isn’t cured, my symptoms haven’t gone away (YET), but let me explain why I LOVE IT. First, I’m not harming the amazing, beautiful animals on this earth. My digestion has improved, again, not fixed and it still has a long way to go. BUT I have far less bloating and pain, I can handle more foods, as well. When I was paleo I felt sick every time I ate, I constantly looked pregnant and felt weighed down. I kept gaining weight and felt very inflamed. I reacted to every single food I ate.

I realized the meat and high-fat diet was causing this! It was destroying my digestive tract, I just couldn’t digest and handle that type of food. As a plant-based eater I can eat more foods, including limited beans and lentils, more (gluten-free) grains, and I don’t get a headache and stomach ache every time I eat. I’ve lost weight and inflammation. I handle raw food far better, as well. I try to make a majority of my diet raw (so many nutrients in those raw foods!) and eat cooked food in the evenings.

Raw vegan pizza from my favorite restaurant! You can eat out and you can eat amazing food as a vegan

Raw vegan pizza from my favorite restaurant! You can eat out and you can eat amazing food as a vegan

I truly do hope to inspire more people to switch to a plant-based lifestyle. Please let me know in the comments if you have questions, concerns, or are curious about any aspect of why I went plant-based.


10 Comments

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!


3 Comments

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.

IMG_9712

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.

IMG_9714


Leave a comment

Balsamic Grilled Kale and Romaine

If you are looking for a different, new, simple summer grilled dish then this is it! 

Image

This past weekend my parents and I went down to our river house and celebrated a belated Father’s Day. We made a delicious dinner Saturday night on the grill that included Hawaiian Pork Skewers (a guest post from Canada Girl Eats Paleo from a while back!) and grilled kale and romaine.

Image

Ingredients:

1 bunch of Dino Kale

1 head of Romaine

Olive oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Get your grill ready! I used a charcoal grill on this occasion.

Kale first: Wash and dry your kale. Toss the kale lightly with some olive oil (about 1-2 tbs., you don’t need much). Next, lay the leaves of kale in an even layer over the grill and generously drizzle Balsamic over the kale leaves (trust me, Balsamic is your best friend tonight, you want to use way more then you think). Let the leaves cook for about 1-2 minutes then use tongs to flip them. Generously drizzle the Balsamic on this side of the leaves and again cook for 1-2 minutes or until the leaves start to char on the edges and the leaves look crisp. Place on a serving dish.

Romaine next: If you are using hearts of Romaine, cut them in half. If you are using a full head of Romaine, cut into quarters. Wash and dry the Romaine. You DO NOT need to coat the Romaine with olive oil. Place your Romaine on the grill and generously drizzle with Balsamic (like you did the kale). Let the Romaine cook for about 3 minutes before flipping and repeating the process. Again, pull the Romaine once it begins to crisp up and char on the parts that were touching the grill. 

Serve along some grilled meat and you’ve got a new play on boring lettuce. 

ImageImageImage


3 Comments

Jicama Fotato Salad (Raw, Paleo)

Image

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.

Image

Image

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!