Walking Science Experiment

20160413_103853When I first believed that I had lyme in December 2015, I talked to numerous people about lyme and what to eat. A close girlfriend of mine had a very severe case of it and still struggles with it daily. One of the things I heard from her was to eat gluten free products. Lyme feeds on sugar, and gluten transforms into sugar. So I began to stock up on gluten free bread and crackers. I even bought gluten free chocolate chip cookie mix to try out.

It was so early on in my illness that I was having inflammation constantly, and I wasn’t eliminating anything but the obvious carbohydrates like regular bread, cookies, crackers, and sweets. We like breaded chicken and pork chops, but for me now, that meal was out. I bought gluten free bread crumbs to try out one night. It was a pain cooking with two different types of bread crumbs, but I knew I couldn’t pass off gluten free as regular to the keen eyes and stomachs of my daughter and husband.

The gluten free bread made by UDI’s wasn’t bad…as long as you toasted it. So, I’d make it w/cinnamon or peanut butter in the morning, or use it on tuna fish sandwiches for lunch.

And the cookies were very sweet…a yummy delight to me!

I was still eating cheese at that point, so I’d try to eat gluten free crackers with them. Again, not too bad, but still facing issues with inflammation.

I was also eating fruit. I had read somewhere that pineapples have a compound in them really good for combatting inflammation. Great! I loved pineapples and I was dealing with inflammation– a win-win in my eyes. So, I bought Dole canned pineapple already cut. I made sure there was no extra sugar—I was starting to become a label reader at this point, and I knew sugar was not good for me by my own body language.

But even eating the pineapple or a regular apple for a snack would give me inflammation. After a while, I realized that fruit is all natural sugar—and my body for some reason just couldn’t handle it. So there went the fruit. I was also drinking lemon water daily, thinking that would help to cleanse my body. It would be three months before the light bulb went off in my head: LEMON IS A FRUIT—maybe that is why I was also having a constant stinging in my system every day!

Ok…with the fruit gone, I still felt like I had some options. I loved vegetables, and I could still eat my tomatoes, cucumber, and mozzarella salad for lunches and snacks. So, I began eating that religiously in the morning for my snack. It was a favorite, although I’d still have inflammation, however slight.

I was steadily becoming a label reader, checking carb numbers on anything that was packaged. I knew that anything higher that 5 or more carbs per serving would cause my inflammation to perk up. At one point, I compared the gluten free bread to regular bread, and I soon discovered that the carb content in both was virtually the same! And since a carb is a carb, my body couldn’t handle either type of product. So…that cut out the gluten free market from my diet.

As the months ticked by and I made my way to my first naturopath appointment in March, she took me off cow cheese as well. Oh man! That hurt. I loved cheese, and it was a natural source of protein! Now, the options on my plate were really getting smaller. Since she prescribed some heavy duty supplements, I was also directed to drink at least 64 oz of water a day! That seemed like so much I would float away! But she knew more than me about my health needs at that point, so I began tracking my food and drink intake as instructed, and drank the 64 oz of h2o a day. I had a Tervis tumbler I had gotten for work which held 20 oz of fluid…and as the days ticked by, I could drink one of those at one meal, so 60 ounces or more became no big deal.

In addition to the naturopath, around the same time I went to a dietician because my meals were becoming less and less in terms of calories and content, and I knew I needed help. She instructed me to get at least 4-6 oz of protein with each large meal. And that definitely helped me feel satisfied and not get lethargic during the day. She had also suggested that I begin cooking in bulk to have meals on hand for myself, since my diet was so compromised. So I decided to go to the library to find some cookbooks that would help me. All of mine were for regular people meals…not tick sick people!

I took out a few books that I thought might be helpful, including a Paleo slow cooker cook book. The next night, I went through the book and found a few recipes to try out. Stuffed peppers sounded good…it was made with things I could eat and using the slow cooker for something other than chili would be great.

I know that early on in my illness, I had read on some website about foods to avoid, and yet it never occurred to me until after I made the stuffed peppers to recheck that list!

I made the peppers the next morning, and kept the residual turkey and pepper meat mixture to eat for dinner. I took a little taste of it after cooking it on the stove before stuffing the peppers, and noticed a little buzzing in my system, but I didn’t think anything of it. At dinner that night, my husband and daughter had pasta and sauce, and I ate my turkey and pepper mixture. Within an hour, I was so itchy under my chin and my neck and my stomach! I couldn’t believe it! It was so bothersome I had to take a Benadryl.

I checked that list again, and sure enough: no tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, or eggplant! So much for the stuffed peppers!

Every day there are new symptoms and things to learn around lyme and my body. I am truly a walking science experiment. And now I know to keep a copy of foods that I can’t eat in plain view! Experience is the best teacher they say…for me, it can be a painfully itchy one!

Yours in Lyme Adventures,