Lemons 'n Lyme

When life gives you lemons, use them to beat Lyme


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My Favorite Detox Baths

If you aren’t subscribed to me on Youtube, you should be. I haven’t been announcing here every time I post a video and if you don’t want to miss one, head on over to my channel and click that red subscribe button!

My Youtube is filled with tips and tricks for healing Lyme, some food stuff, and a few random videos for fun on occasion :).

I posted this video a few weeks back but wanted to make sure you all saw it. Detox baths are one of my favorite ways to, well, detox, also to relax and even help kill Lyme!


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Rosemary Faux-tatoes (Paleo/Vegan)

Mashed potatoes are a classic Thanksgiving dish. If you eat paleo you may still eat them on Thanksgiving, but if you are on any type of strict paleo diet or version of it, they are probably out of the question. They are for me with being on a low-fodmap, nightshade free paleo diet.

My favorite mashed potato substitute is mashed cauliflower. That’s a pretty classic trade in the paleo world, but it can get a little old. I decided to spice this dish up and just in time for Thanksgiving dinner ;). So this week I’m bringing you another super simple side dish that everyone will love.

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Rosemary Faux-tatoes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 medium celeriac (celery root), peeled and cubed

1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into florets

1 tbs. coconut oil

1 tbs. coconut cream from the top of a can of full fat coconut milk (you can replace this with milk or more coconut oil)

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. dried, crushed rosemary

Steam celeriac and cauliflower until soft and easily pierced with a fork. The cauliflower may finish cooking first, which is fine, just keep checking and pour out the cauliflower when it’s done to let the celeriac cook a little longer.

Once cooked, put the veggies into a bowl or food processor and add all the remaining ingredients except the rosemary. If using a food processor, pulse/blend until desired consistency is reached. If in a bowl, use an immersion blender or handheld mixer to mash everything together. I like my “faux-tatoes” well blended and fluffy but some like them on the chunkier side, so blend/process until you reach the consistency you love! Mix in the rosemary at the end and sprinkle extra on top for presentation, if desired.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday!

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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!

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Advice for the Newly Diagnosed Lyme Disease Patient 

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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.

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

 


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The Lyme Interview

I hope everyone is having a great Friday, yay for the weekend! I recently did an interview with Kerry over at Body Mind Lyme and it would be awesome if you all would head over there and give it a read (plus let Kerry know how awesome she is). Kerry has a great Lyme blog and a regular series called The Lyme Interview where she interviews various Lymies, sharing their stories and how they remain awesome despite illness ;). My interview encompasses a little bit about my story, why I started a blog, and how I cope with Lyme disease.

I also wanted to share this video a new Lyme friend, April Moor, posted sharing the faces of Lyme and the variety of symptoms we deal with.


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Evening Routine: How to Prepare for Sleep

Hello, allow me to introduce myself.

My name is Victoria and I am the Queen of Insomnia.

I can stay up… all night… staring at the ceiling.

Although I take sleep medication (I know I know. Yes, I absolutely hate that I need it. Trust me, I need it), I still can manage to spend the night awake. But, over the past month I’ve not only developed a morning routine, but a night routine that helps to calm my mind and allow me to both fall asleep easier and stay asleep (hopefully I don’t curse it with this post).

It’s usually anxiety and a racing mind that prevent me from falling asleep and I’m slowly learning to calm those thoughts. The tips I provide below help with all aspects of the falling asleep process, though. Sleep is a huge issue for me, so the tips I provide aren’t lame “relax your mind, breath, think happy thoughts” tips. They are legitimate tips that have helped me and I think can, hopefully, help you, too!

Last week I shared my tips for STARTING your day and today I’ll be sharing my tips for ENDING your day.

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1. Pick a Bedtime: This is crucial. You need to pick a reasonable time for you to go to sleep. This is important because, not only is routine important (as we are learning), but picking a time allows you to determine when you need to start your wind-down process each evening and lets your body know WHEN it needs to start winding down each evening. Pick a time that not only works with your schedule but also is plausible given your life and personality. Don’t choose 9 pm if you are used to staying up until 2 am. You can get it to 9, but it won’t happen the next night. If your ultimate goal is to be asleep by 10 pm every night and you are used to being up until midnight, start by setting your goal at 11 or 11:30 pm, then slowly work back.

2. Begin Your Evening Routine 30-60 minutes Before Bedtime:  You’ve got to get your body ready for sleep. You can’t be raging to metal music one minute then expect to fall asleep the next minute. 30-60 minutes before the bedtime you’ve chosen, begin preparing your body for sleep. If your mind knows that bedtime is approaching, it will begin to calm down. You have to give it time to prepare itself and your body for sleep.

3. Lithium: Melatonin is a popular sleep supplement. But if you are anything like me, melatonin ain’t yo thang. Okay, but seriously, melatonin KEEPS ME UP! I’ve found lithium to be a much better supplement for sleep and anxiety. I take a lithium supplement about an hour before sleep to calm my brain (anywhere from 2-5 pills).

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4. Download f.lux: By now you’ve already probably heard about how bad screen light (from your computer, phone, Tv, etc) is for you at night and how it interrupts your minds ability to relax for sleep. Let’s be honest, we live in a world dominated by screens. And we all feel the need to check our email/social media/texts right up until we physically can’t keep our eyes open anymore. But that interrupts your bodies ability to not keep your eyes open anymore. I’ve go the solution: f.lux. It’s an application that adjusts the light on your screen to match evening glow and lessen the disruption of screen time on sleep time. You’re welcome, now feel free to email until the minute you pass out ;).

5. Choose Relaxing Activities: I’m not going to tell you to read a book or meditate for an hour before going to bed. But I don’t advise you do high energy or demanding (physically or mentally)  activities in that 30-60 minutes before bed. Watch a movie or favorite TV show, but I suggest choosing one that isn’t super action packed or scary (nothing that is going to raise your adrenaline levels). Reading is always a great option, as well. And if meditating is your thing, perfect! But I highly doubt your unable to sleep and reading this post if you spend an hour meditating before bed each night. Just create a routine and pick activities each evening that aid in relaxation and don’t awaken your body and mind.

6. Evening Yoga/Stretching: I know you might be thinking, why would I want to be active before bed? Won’t that disrupt sleep? Not if you pick a stretching or yoga routine that is calming and designed to help you fall asleep. This has been a life changer in my ability to sleep! I notice a difference on the nights when I don’t do my yoga routine before bed (I have a harder time falling asleep, staying asleep, am in more pain, and wake up early but exhausted). I recently posted my evening yoga routine video on YouTube and I highly recommend giving it a shot. Otherwise, I suggest you pick a couple of deep, relaxing stretches to do. Hold them and breath into them rather then moving quickly between poses. I also suggest doing your yoga/stretching close to your bedtime. I usually do this yoga routine anywhere from 1-15 minutes before sleep.

 

I truly hope these tips help you. I don’t take this topic lightly, as insomnia is a huge problem for me, so I really believe these tips can help you.

What tips do you all have for helping with sleep? I’d love to hear them!


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Morning Routine: How to Start Your Day on the Right Foot

Let’s face it, everyday is not going to be perfect. Or even okay for that matter. Some days are really going to S-U-C-K! And when you have a chronic illness, a lot of days can feel like the end of the world.

This year I’ve been working hard to create a morning routine that either 1) puts me in a good mood, 2) gets me going in the morning, 3) relieves some of the tension I woke up with, or 4) makes me feel like I did something for the day if all I can do is get up, drink some water, and crawl back into bed.

I always thought “morning routines” were pointless. Changing little habits in the morning isn’t going to suddenly turn my life around! But, it could… Wait, hear me out! I have found that creating a morning routine, and not just any morning routine, has helped me cope with my health issues a little better (at least on some days) and work to change my overall mindset. So, today I’m going to share my tips on how to start YOUR day on a better note.

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1. Breathing: It’s not as simple as you think. I don’t just mean breath. I mean take 1-5 minutes to do some specific breathing. I always thought breathing was dumb. It never did what it was “supposed” to do. Deep breathing to calm my mind? HA. Focus on my breath to ease anxiety?  You’ve got to be kidding me, my anxiety is bigger then my breath! But I’ve found that breathing TAKES PRACTICE. At the start of the year I told myself I would practice breathing every morning for the month of January whether I felt like it was helping or not. As I did it more (practiced), I learned how to focus on my breath better and found that it actually could lessen my anxiety sometimes. I’ve found breathing first thing in the morning is a way to try and ground myself before I even step out of my bed.

I have a few different breathing options for you to try. The first is just to lay or sit comfortably in your bed and take some deep breaths, trying to bring your focus to your inhales and exhales instead of having your mind wander. I mean literally, focus on your inhales and exhales by telling your mind inhale (and notice what that feels like as you inhale) and the same as you exhale.

Option two is my favorite- 4/7/8 breathing. You inhale for 4 counts, hold for 7, and exhale for 8. I really enjoy this because it forces me to focus on my breathing (I have to count the inhales and exhales). I like to do anywhere from 3-10 rounds but I suggest a minimum of 3 rounds. Start with 1 if that’s all you can mentally handle.

The third technique can be combined with either of the first 2. Place one hand on your heart and one anywhere else you feel is in pain or needs love (I usually do my heart and gut). As you breath focus on those areas and send the energy of your breath there.

Now, I have to give some credit to my therapist for introducing me to these breathing methods!

If you feel up to it, you can take this time to set an intention for your day as well as verbally embrace your bodies strength in fighting whatever health issues you may have. It’s important to take a moment out of your day to remind your body that you are proud of the work it is doing (whether you truly feel that way or not. Fake it till you make it!).

2. Stretching/Yoga: I recently posted my favorite morning stretching routine to my YouTube channel. I encourage you to go check it out and give it a try. I’ve found that stretching in the morning gets my blood and lymphatic system moving, as well as my body and mind in general. Movement is SO important even for those healing from illness (a whole post on this to come). Completing even just a couple of minutes of stretching or yoga poses in the morning can be beneficial.

If you don’t know where to start I highly encourage you to give my routine a shot, even if you just do a couple minutes of it. The whole video is posted below! (Be sure to head over to YouTube to like and subscribe 😉 [shameless plug!])

 

3. Water/Lemon Water: Do I really have to go into detail about this one? How Many times have you heard it?! Really though, lemon water is great in the morning because it helps get your digestive system flowing, to detox and alkalize your body, and to hydrate your system after 7+ hours without water. So grab a glass of room temperature or warm water and squeeze some or all of a lemon into it. Even if you just drink a glass of plain water, Drink up!

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4. Wash Your Face: I have to say, I don’t really know anyone who doesn’t wash their face in the morning, but if you don’t you better start! If you’re not a morning shower person, make sure to wash your face every AM. Not only does it get the sleepy’s out of your eyes but it cleans your skin from the debris your pillows collect (from your hair, clothes, skin, and animals, if you let them in the bed). I suggest warm water and your favorite toxin-free soup/face wash and then finishing off with a splash of cold water to really wake you up and tighten your pores after cleansing.

5. Get On With Your Day: You’ve completed the first 4 tips? Great, now do your thing! Get ready, eat breakfast, go to work, or get back in bed for Netflix and a nap. Either way, I highly suggest creating a morning routine to both mentally and physically prepare for the day, especially if you are battling a chronic health condition. Creating not just any routine, but one specifically designed to support my mind and body in handling illness has been vital in my ability to mentally manage my current situation. And guess what? You may not complete your morning routine every morning or it may not help that day, but trust me when I say, in time it will make a difference (and you won’t necessarily notice it until one day you wake up and crave your routine because it really does help). FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT, PEOPLE!

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Pepper says, “Let’s do this!”

I hope you found these tips helpful and I’d love to hear what your morning routines look like, what you do to get your day started on the right foot, or what tips you use to help manage being sick! Sending love and healing ❤


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Slightly Sweet Butternut Squash and Red-Lentil Curry (Vegan) and a Small LDI Update

First, I’d like to give a small treatment update, mostly about LDI. A bigger update will be coming soon. I constantly get emails and questions on my blog and Instagram about LDI, how it’s going for me, can I provide an update. Well, it hasn’t been going so hot so I haven’t provided many updates. My last dose was on October 6. The dose before that, at 11c, caused a herx, so we dropped to 12c. I felt nothing. My doctor and I have decided to take a break from LDI because it has made no impact after 6 months of various doses. I’ll be focusing on some other treatments (details to come in future post) and hoping to make some serious progress with those before revisiting LDI.

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As you all know, I’ve decided to return to a plant-based diet. I love it! And I’m having a blast with recipe development. This curry is SO GOOD! YOU MUST MAKE IT NOW! And if you are paleo, leave out the red-lentils. BAM paleo. I’m not a spicy person so I don’t crank up the heat on this curry, but you could. I add some apple to add a little sweetness to the spice and switch it up from the typical curry.

Butternut Squash and Red-Lentil Curry
Serves 2-4
Ingredients
1 small butternut squash peeled and chopped into bite size pieces (about 4 cups)
1/2 cup red lentils
1 small head of cauliflower chopped into bite size florets (about 4 cups)
1 small onion or half a medium onion, diced
1/2 an apple chopped into small bite size pieces (I used Honeycrisp but you can use any pink, crunchy variety such as pink lady, fuji, or even golden delicious)
1/2 can of coconut milk (shaken to mix the cream in)
Olive oil
1 tsp. coconut oil
Filtered water
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. coriander *
1/4 tsp. salt

*If you like the spice, add 1/4-1/2 tsp. white pepper and/or graham masala

Preheat oven to 425 F.
Peel and chop your squash, lay on a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until squash is cooked through (pierceable with a fork and taste tested, of course).

While squash is cooking, cook your lentils according to package directions (or if bought in bulk, cook lentils with double the amount of water. Bring to a boil then reduce to low. Cook until water is absorbed and lentils are soft and cooked, about 20-25 minutes).

Also while squash is cooking, chop up your cauliflower, onion, and apple.

Add your coconut oil to a large sauté pan (you can even use a deep soup pan) and heat over medium heat until oil is melted. Add your onion and sauté until beginning to soften. Add the cauliflower and apple. Cook until cauliflower begins to soften, about 10 minutes.

Add 1/4 cup of water and cover. Let simmer while squash and lentils finish cooking. When squash is done, remove from oven and check that cauliflower is soft and cooked through. When cauliflower is ready, turn heat down to medium-low and add the squash to the pan.

Add all the spices and coconut milk and stir well. Let simmer for a minute to absorb milk and spices. Add the lentils. Stir everything well, again, taste, and add salt/pepper/spices as desired.

Serve over rice and spinach or as a side dish. My favorite is to add this curry over a big bowl of spinach and allow the spinach to wilt a bit.

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