Before sickness I thought of food as an energy source, a quencher of hunger pangs, a ‘comfort’ or pleasurable thing, a social activity. I didn’t stop to think that my diet did affect bones, eye sight, teeth, joints, function of organs (brain, liver, lymphs, spleen, kidneys, etc), the health of skin, nor did I stop to think about junk food bringing down the immune system, enabling my body to sicken faster.
Times change. Sometimes in extreme ways and sometimes in slightness. Food and I? Extreme!
For those who wish to recover life, suppress Lyme, co-infections and want to begin healing, a change in diet is absolutely necessary. It is absolutely necessary! I’m saying it again: it’s absolutely necessary. There’s no way around it.
My body fought long and hard to overcome the losing battle and it drained my resources. The best thing I could do for my body was to feed it highly nutritious food. And no: I couldn’t find it down the canned goods isle in the grocery store; sometimes not even in the ‘fresh produce’ section!
Some people try to take pills (supplements) in hopes of replacing what has gone missing from our foods. In my experience it didn’t work as well as whole food. Natural food is balanced: in order for the body to digest one vitamin or mineral, it needs the others that are within the food source. Supplements can be great, but I’ve discovered the best thing I can do for myself is to eat farm-fresh, chemical-free food.
For this reason, I believe the homesteading lifestyle is the best choice for me as a mostly recovered Lymie. Gardening, raising natural meat birds, hunting and fishing, canning, fermenting and preserving food I grew or harvested from the wilds…the North American food system is broken and will eventually break the body. I believe in the case of Lyme disease, I must take responsibility for my own health and it begins with a change in diet. You can find more about how I manage the homesteading life at my second blog: hopeforbetterliving.com
Food grown in good, naturally composted soil is ideal. Local farmer’s markets or farm shares are an option if you don’t have your own garden space or the energy necessary. Stay away from animals that have been raised with hormones or in mass production. Animal products (eggs, milk) are best when coming from a small, local source. Buy from a farmer or small scale gardener, if possible.
Lest you should feel overwhelmed by all the dietary changes I’ve made, know it comes one step at a time. Start simple. It has taken me 8+ years to get where I am today!
Find a local farmer who will sell you farm-fresh eggs. It’s usually much cheaper that the grocery store “free-range” or “organic” variety and usually healthier to boot. Join a local farm share for fresh veggies. When the canola oil runs out, replace it with avocado or coconut oil. Begin incorporating more salads into your diet. Experiment with salad dressings until you find one you love! That’s why I have the second blog for you. An entire section is dedicated to recipes. Know that it takes time to adjust the taste buds. I crawled in the beginning, walked mid way and now enjoy having those changes be a normal part of my life.
Today, I’m homesteading. Natural living comes one step at a time and as you develop energy!
I threw out vegetable & canola oil, shortening and margarine. Research quickly showed that it did nothing good for me. I slowly learned and replaced my cooking/baking oils with coconut, avocado and olive oil (great brands at Costco). Olive and rich flax seed oil went into salad dressing and flax particularly for smoothies. To present date, I’ve incorporated fats from naturally raised animals (tallow, lard, butter, schmaltz) for frying eggs or meats. Good oils hold amazing benefits for the body. My skin has never been better!
It was important for me to have a regular intake of raw foods which still contain digestive enzymes, vitamins and minerals. Cooking/heat application destroys so much of the good! Organic or naturally grown raw veggies not only aid the body in detoxification but are packed with necessary nutrients I needed! Salads were the #1 method I used. A search for a delicious salad dressing that I liked (loaded with good oils of course) resulted in a love for salads. Sometimes I’d eat it just so I could taste the dressing! Grating root vegetables make chewing easier and eating faster. I still thrive off of these salads.
Most of the time, I avoid sugars, even in natural form. From the beginning I used raw honey and real maple syrup in small amounts. Liquid stevia took getting used to but I learned! Berries have been my constant friend. High in anti-oxidants, they aid the body and taste great when mixed into a morning smoothie with flax seed oil, greens and coconut milk.
I didn’t do well on grains, nor do I today. This is due to my blood type (see Eat According to Bloodtype on my pinterest account). I lived by the chart when so sick, not because I knew it existed, but because I felt poor on particular foods. When I informed about the chart, everything fell into place! I stopped pushing myself to eat lots of bread and instead, scratched it off the list. Of course, the list isn’t always true but the principles behind it usually are!
Bread with yeast was particularly bad. I learned to eat oatmeal, millet, flax seed, rice, quinoa and buckwheat as my starch.
Even today, yeast affects my stomach in a strange way! Grains also cause serious weight gain if eaten regularly. Rice, oats and flax seed are the main staple of our household, along with pan breads (yeast free), sourdough breads and the occasional yeast loaf. Again, this will depend upon your blood type.
I love, crave and go crazy over fermented vegetables! When sick, I could eat a bowlful of the tangy stuff in one sitting. It’s delicious in a winter salad! Loaded with beneficial bacteria, it helps rebuild the good in your gut. This is a winter staple in our household as we have a cool room to safely overwinter garden fresh ferments. For more information and recipes go to ferments at my second blog.
I do eat dairy now, but if I have too much it will stop things from moving through my system. I love homemade cheese from raw milk and a wee bit added to my salad can be a nice filler when I’m overly hungry. Many who battle with health issues are wise to stay away from dairy, particularly the pasteurized, commercial products. Dairy is also hard in the digestive system and when battling an overloaded liver, I cut it out completely.
Diet has a huge impact on long-term health. I’ve taken drastic measures because I have to. I’ve come to recognize that a poor diet leads to a poor life. I’ve experienced in extreme ways. Having a weakened body causes a person to notice everything. For recipes and healthy living tips, head over to my homesteading blog where I share about life as a mostly-recovered Lymie. My diet hasn’t changed! In fact, it keeps getting stronger in natural foods because I now have energy to put into it!