“If I Can’t Eat Sugar, Gluten, Dairy or Booze,
What in the World Can I Eat?”
Like a good and desperate Lymie, or normal human being who wants to eat healthier, you are trying to eliminate sugar, gluten, dairy, alcohol, and most caffeine from your diet. The obvious next question is, “If I can’t eat bread and cheese with a glass of wine for dinner, what in the world can I eat?”
I won’t keep you in suspense a moment longer. You can eat all the vegetables you want (preferably fresh and organic), with an emphasis on dark green and orange vegetables. Fruit is good in moderation, but focus on berries and citrus fruits, juice is tasty but you get all the sugar and none of the beneficial fiber. Cold-water fish that is high in Omega 3 fatty acids is great, but opt for the more delicious, and more expensive, fresh caught salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines (canned sardines are OK) when possible. There has been an ongoing debate about farmed salmon, but it does seem that the industry is cleaning up their act. Both the chicken and the egg are good sources of protein, once again you should strive for organic and free-range when possible. Nuts and seeds are super-foods, as are gluten-free whole grains such as oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, and buckwheat. Fat is your friend, especially cold-pressed virgin olive oil and avocados. Coconut oil was touted as the new miracle oil for a while, and while it might be great for silky hair and glowing skin it is not good for the heart. Legumes (beans to you and me) are a great option. Packed with protein and fiber, they both nutritious, filling, and contain up to 20% of your RDA of protein. Soon, I will be sharing my secret recipe for cooking a perfect pot of beans. Herbs and spices are proving to be more than just a pretty garnish. Yogurt and buttermilk that have been fortified with probiotics are essential to the diet (the only recommended dairy products). Coffee (yes, with caffeine) in moderation, green tea, and dark chocolate are all great anti-oxidants. Sadly, dark chocolate generally contains sugar, so eat sparingly. Finally, fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, tempeh and miso are looking like the Wonder Foods of the new millennium.
Now I will break this down and try to explain in more detail what you should eat, and more importantly, why.
As I mentioned in my last post, one of the greatest sources of Lyme and autoimmune disease related symptoms is inflammation. These symptoms includejoint pain and swelling, fatigue, brain fog, and headaches. Additionally, inflammation inhibits healthy cell function. One of the best ways to combat this is to eat food that helps fight inflammation, thereby decreasing pain.
Vegetables (especially dark leafy greens such as kale, chard, spinach, collards)
Onions & Garlic
Fruit (especially berries, citrus, pineapple, tomatoes, and avocado)
Olive oil (cold-pressed, extra virgin)
Nuts & Seeds (especially almonds, walnuts, flax and chia seeds)
Fish high in omega 3 fatty acids (salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines)
Chicken & Eggs
Yogurt & buttermilk with probiotics
Whole grains (oatmeal, quinoa, buckwheat)
Herbs & Spices
Vegetarian Beiler broth
Our bodies contain free radicals, byproducts of cellular reactions. Two examples of this are the liver using free radicals to detoxify the body and white blood cells using free radicals to destroy bacteria, viruses, and damaged cells. While this is a normal, free radicals need to be in balance with anti-oxidants to maintain a healthy system and avoid more damage to an already overtaxed immune system.
Dark green vegetables
Cold water fish high in Omega 3 fatty acids (salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines)
The immune system of a Lymie is fighting overtime to rid the body of the invading borrelia bacteria. Diet is critical in strengthening the immune system to better fight the disease. Following is a very simple list of immune enhancing foods. As it turns out, Grandma’s Chicken Vegetable Soup truly does cure what ails you, or at least helps.
Nuts and seeds
Raw, cultured dairy (yogurt and buttermilk)
Also known as natural antibiotics, these foods help boost your bacteria fighting troops, and help cleanse the blood.
Apple cider vinegar
Fermented Foods ~ the Wonder Foods
Probiotic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial, fermented foods are truly powerful foods. Some of my Lyme friends swear they crave fermented foods as if their life depended on it. With the exception of yogurt, and that one time I made my own kimchi (it was delicious), I have never been a huge fan of fermented foods. I will drink kombucha, but I have to hold my nose to do so. One thing I do drink twice per day, whether I like it or not, is two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in one cup of water. I really wish I were fonder of fermented foods, because they are truly amazing.
Apple cider vinegar
As I stated in my last post, 70% of the immune system resides within the gut. Eating right is easy, once you get into the groove of it, and has a tremendous and dramatic effect on your health.
In a future post, I’ll be talking about vitamins, minerals, and supplements. All experienced Lymies have learned the art of pill-popping, because every morning, every evening, and often every afternoon, we are popping hands full of drugs and supplements. Sometimes, our compromised immune systems need the added boost – better living through chemistry is my new motto.