The most common beneficial dietary changes you will find reported by Lyme Disease patients are the elimination of difficult-to-digest foods like gluten, dairy & soy and the elimination of immune suppressant & inflammatory foods like sugar.
If you’re wanting to just start there, scroll down to the links section of this page or head right over to the Recipes & Meal Plans page. This is a collection of blogs that are dedicated to allergen &, for the most part, sugar-free recipes. Some of them are even created by fellow Lyme patients.
Once the common culprits are cleaned out, you may feel that you want to go a step further towards having a more healthy diet.
Unfortunately, this is where people tend get overwhelmed. There are many theories out there on what it means to eat “healthy”. If you’ve done any looking around at all, you may have found advocates of the raw, vegan diet and proponents of the paleo/caveman diet. People seem to be seeing positive results with many divergent approaches. Paleo, vegan, raw? Meat or plant-based? How can they all be right? My guess is that there are so many theories because no one thing is right for everyone at any given time.
Also, the thing that is not immediately obvious, is that there is actually some overlap in these theories. Traditional diets guru Weston Price was a fan of raw foods. He recommended that they be a substantial part of the diet. I’ve also heard modern raw foods guru David Wolfe state that a diet only needs to be 50% raw foods in order to prevent the immune system from reacting to cooked foods.
Both camps tend to embrace probiotic fermented & cultured foods & drinks to improve digestion & immunity. If they’ve done their homework, they also tend to soak grains, nuts & beans in order to increase digestibility & nutrient density and understand that the sourdough process further achieves this.
Another concern that is usually addressed is that of quality fats. The elimination of rancid, inflammatory fats and the addition of quality, healing fats can have quite an impact & is usually achieved regardless of whether you take a raw foods or paleo approach.
The most important part is that, either way you go, you will likely be giving up allergens, refined flours & sugars, and processed foods. So, just pick whichever path appeals to you most & go for it. Chances are that you will notice an initial improvement either way & then you can adjust from there as you begin to experiment with what works for you. In the end, you may find that it is a blend of approaches that is optimal for you.
If you’re ready to get started, jump down to the links section of this page or head over to the Recipes & Meal Plans page where I have purposely included a variety of blogs that take varying approaches.
If you’d like, though, we can even take it a step further & look at it from a wholistic, ancient medicine point of view.
One More Step
In the book Healing with Whole Foods, Paul Pitchford discusses Traditional Chinese Medicine’s concept of diseases of excess & diseases of deficiency. In our culture we find that people are often suffering from both because we tend to eat an excess of nutrient deficient foods.
The general idea, though, is that if the predominant condition is that of deficiency – frail, thin, weak – the healing approach should begin by strengthening & building the body. This is where the meat, animal fats & even organ meats like liver are beneficial.
On the flip side, if the predominant condition is that of excess – toxins, sugars, inflammation – the healing approach should begin by cleansing the body. This is where the raw, plant-based diets tend to be beneficial.
This is very much an over-simplification of what Traditional Chinese Medicine understands, but it’s a great way to start to think about things if you are trying to figure out what might be best for you at any given time.
For instance, if you choose the raw foods/juicing approach & find that you are only getting frailer & weaker, it may be important to add some more building foods like bone broth, ghee (allergy-free butter fat), and organ meats.
If you choose a more meat-based paleo/traditional diets approach and you find that your toxin-related symptoms are not subsiding, it may be a good idea to add more cleansing foods like veggie juices.
It is also important to note that people whose Lyme Disease is affecting their nervous system have a high need for fats & minerals. If you are choosing a raw foods approach, it is important that you pay special attention to these along with the B-vitamins & a broad spectrum of amino acids. Lyme can also affect blood sugar levels. This is also something to consider when choosing a route. A fruit & vegetable based diet with out sufficient protein may tend to cause further blood sugar issues.
It’s forever an ongoing process. As the body heals or goes through periods of stress, adjustments may need to be made. That’s why, in the end, it is best to know the whole story & be familiar with the benefits of all the approaches that seem to be helping people. It’s also ultimately important to pay more attention to your own symptoms & needs than to the ‘rules’ of any particular approach. You can learn an enormous amount by paying attention to what your body is trying to tell you.