Sometimes I wish that I had a licensed dietitian or nutritionist in my house to prepare all of my meals. Diet is perhaps the most important part of the Lyme disease solution. Lucky for me, my Lyme literate doctor knew a lot about the importance of food for treating Lyme disease. First of all, my doctor said to cut out all sugar. No cokes, diet cokes, sweet tea, candy, sugar sweetened cough drops, cookies, cakes, pancakes, donuts, pastries, puddings, and treats. Nothing white, (as in starches) is allowed because starches convert to sugar in the gut and bloodstream. This means that a person fighting Lyme shouldn't eat bread, noodles, pasta, rice, potatoes, dumplings, or anything made from flour. I later realized that bananas are high in carbohydrates and sugars. I thought that I was eating healthy by making banana smoothies. No wonder that I did not loose any weight on this strict diet and I continued to experience inflammation in my joints. I now make the smoothies with organic yogurt, coconut milk, and fresh or frozen fruit. Some doctors say to eliminate all dairy products as well. I switched to coconut milk. My doctor said that eating yogurt is a must, even though it is dairy, because it contains good bacteria and protein that will help to prevent a yeast infection caused by taking antibiotics. Try to use the organic kind that is unflavored and add your own fruit. Some people think that a candida infection can actually be responsible for a large part of the joint pain and swelling, so eliminating that can be half the battle. My doctor also recommended drinking something called kefir, which is like a liquid yogurt. You can buy unflavored or flavored at most grocery stores, including Walmart and Kroger in my area.
Add to this, lots of fruits and vegetables to round out your diet. Buy organic when possible, because pesticides will only prevent your recovery. Eat at least one leafy green salad a day. The chlorophyll in the greens will help flush away toxins released by the bacteria as they die off and provide necessary fiber, minerals, and vitamins. I always feel better after eating a salad, and I do love salad, so this part of the diet was easy.
For protein, chicken breast, turkey meat, beans, fish, and nuts are allowed. Avoid red meats, if possible.
Omega 3 oils are important for maintaining neurological functions and lowering inflammation in your body. Eating a handful of walnuts as a snack, or sprinkling them on salads, cereal, or in yogurt is a tasty way to sneak some into your diet. They can be expensive, so I make a special trip to Aldi's where I get a pound for around $6.99 a pound. Wild caught salmon is also a good source of omega 3 oils.
Maintaining a gluten and wheat-free diet can be difficult, especially around holidays. More stores are carrying gluten free products. Gluten- free products can be expensive, but I have found lots of mixes for breads, muffins, pancakes, and other products at Aldi's, if you have one in your area. I don't shop there often, but it can be worth a special trip there once a month or so to pick up a few of these items. They don't take credit cards, only cash. You have to bring your own reusable grocery bags, so plan ahead.
I also took a tablespoon of Barleen's flavored fish oil every day to help lower inflammation in my body. This helped, little by little, to reduce swelling in my legs and feet and reduce pain in my joints. They make lemon and Key lime pie flavor. (my favorite) Again, this is expensive, but well worth it. The Vitamin Shoppe sometimes has this on sale, but I have seen it other places. It must be kept in the refrigerator.
Organic coconut oil is also something that can help lower inflammation and contains monolaurin, which is a natural antibiotic. A tablespoon a day can be added to smoothies, yogurt, or stirred into coffee. It can also be used in cooking, along with olive oil. These two oils contain the good kinds of fats that we actually need in our diet.
While we are on the subject of fats, nutritionists have decided that it is better to consume real butter than margarine. I have made the switch, even though it is dairy. I use butter for cooking some things. I also like the butter-like spreads that are made from olive oil.
Drink lots of pure water. Tea, coffee, and juices are allowed, as long as they do not contain sugar. Alcohol is prohibited because it converts to sugar in your blood stream.
If you live with other people, this can be a difficult diet to stick with on a daily basis. When dining out, order a salad with no croutons, or the vegetable plate and water with a lemon wedge. Just explain to people who question that you are on a special diet for Lyme. They will understand.
Just remember that this Lyme disease is only temporary, even though it may take a few years to resolve. Be positive, and build some healthier eating habits along the way that you can pass on to your spouse or children. You will get better by making some small adjustments.
Here is a recipe that is perfect for combating Lyme disease from Take Back Your Health. Pair this with a leafy green salad:
A beverage to fight Lyme disease and boost immunity:
Lavender lemonade from one of my favorite web sites, Real Farmcacy. They have tips on nutrition and articles on Lyme disease:
Here is an article about 10 foods that should be included in your diet: