Somewhere in all this “treatment” talk, I need to bring up the issue of food as medicine. Throughout the decades the idea of what “food” is right for you has changed in many ways. We count calories, carbs, fat, trans fats, sodium and sugars just to name a few. Women starve themselves or binge and purge to be too thin (most recently with the emergence of “The Thigh Gap.”) Men and women both put in endless hours at the gym to have the “perfect body.” We shame ourselves for our eating habits but do nothing to change them. Many Americans, children included, are overweight or obese. Yet these same people are severely malnurished. Our healthcare costs continue to rise exponentially with doctors prescribing drug after drug. The only ones who win this way are healthcare companies, Big Pharma and our nations leaders. Healthcare does not imply that any one cares about your health.
I have spoken about being your own doctor and finding a doctor who work will WITH you. These have been 2 key elements in being at the place I am now.
Prior to my correct diagnois of Lyme Borrelliosis Complex and co infections, I was diagnosed with Relapse-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis, that quickly was re-diagnosed as Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. For anyone that has suffered this misdiagnois or knows some who has that disease, you know how serious that can be. So how does this occur? Like LBC, MS is based on a combination of tests and physical findings. In my case, my neurologist was NOT a Lyme literate doctor. In the course of 4 years seeing him, he never bothered to tell me that I had tested positive for 3 bands on the Western Blot test (because according to the CDC I didn’t meet their criteria.) Despite a negative MRI of the brain and spine, a negative spinal tap and other negative tests for MS, I was diagnosed with RRMS. The only “MS” test that was positive, an evoked potential test showing one eye wa delayed retrieving images from a screen to be processed in my brain. I was started on Copaxone which required daily injections. Copaxone is designed to surpress the immune system. It basically told the Lyme and co-infections the assistance to run wild. This is where I discovered the importance of food.
After 5 and half months on the Copaxone, I wasn’t getting any better, I was only getting worse. Never convinced from the beginning that I truely has MS, I reached for my iPad and began searching for homeopathic or natural treatment for MS. I came across a video of a doctor who had MS and just years before, was completely wheelchair bound. She talked about food being nature’s remedy, giving the body what it needs to heal itself. From the time the doctor started the food treatment herself, it was 18 months and she was riding a bike. Pretty damn impressive!
I continued to search and search. I came across all kinds of “diets” and then I found my Holy Grail. Paleolithic. I hate to call it a diet because in America we all know diets are temporary, their just the newest fad.
I’m a picky eater. I denyed it for the longest time. I would taste foods but very rarely could I say something was “good.” I loved my Lucky Charms (They’re Magically Delicious!) I wanted my sweets. The only good for you food I ever craved was Brussell Sprouts. I did go a full month eating nothing but potates (mostly mashed.) I wasn’t a fruit eater, except for bananas. There were only a handful of veggies that I would eat. I was a meat and potatoes girl. (And Maryland Blue Crabs!)
I knew I had to change. I was at my wits end. Doctors failed. Medicine failed. So, I figured “What the hell?” and prayed that it would work. I chose to go full Paleo straight off.
What is Paleo? Well thanks to Pintrest and the internet, I found out. The best summation I’ve seen thus far is from Pintrest: “…only eat real food. Avoid sugar, grains, corn – gluten. Don’t count calories. Eat healthy fat. Eliminate toxins from your body, food and environment. Sleep in a pitch black room. Break the rules now and then, its good for you!” If you think about its what we were doing 60 years ago and its the basic principals of what we’ve known for years.
I will warn you that Paleo is hard for at least the first week and that, depending on meal plans, can be rather expensive. I almost never cooked. I lived alone so what was the purpose? I could just grab a burger somewhere, of pop in a TV dinner, or have some cereal. Now I had to actually think about my food. I learned to cook. I was using ingredients that I had never heard of. Coconut Oil became one of my best friends. I bid a fond farewell to my beloved “Lucky Charms” which I still wave to at the grocery store. Sugar and carb cravings are hard to handle. They are like a drug.
After the first 2 weeks on Paleo, I saw such a drastic change in how I looked and felt. It helped that my mom stared going partially Paleo with me. Even partially doing it my Mom both lost weight and felt better as well. I felt like I was on my way to healing and I even came off the Copaxone. Then I started the “cycle.” Staying Paleo with an very occassional treat, I would get sick, very sick for about 10 days, then I would start to feel better for the 20 days and this continued.
By the time I got my LBC diagnois I was just continuing down hill. I attribute this to the fact that when I was sick, I was too sick to cook and began to cheat more and more until I felt better. During treatment I would have to be Gluten free. My doctors knew about Paleo and were very impressed that I had put myself on it voluntarily. I went right back on it, hardcore. I continued to improve throughout April, May and most of June (during my treatment prep I was on new medications.) July was a horrible month. Because I was so sick I barely ate. My mom would let me “cheat” more and more. In her defense, I will say that I do not blame her. Her child was sick and she wanted to comfort me any way she could. Donuts and Twizzlers were my things. I volutarily and willingly ate them.
When July’s treatment was done, I promised myself and my mother, that I was going back to strict Paleo. I’ve been back on Paleo again for 3 weeks and this month of treatment is not nearly as bad as last month. I’ve come to a point, I think, where I miss the idea of what things taste like rather than the actual taste. My taste buds are completely different now, my mom has said the same.
I am not an expert on Paleo. There are plenty of books out there on the subject and good information available. Check out several diets. I chose Paleo as a way of life for myself. I stay fuller longer, I enjoy what I eat, I crave healthy foods and its helping my body to heal. I plan on passing this on to my children. Going in all at once is hard. Slowly incorporate whatever meal plan/lifestyle you choose. It will make the transition easier. But if you’re sick and you have a reason driving you to do it, as in my case, all in is the way to go. You’ll see your changes much faster and that’s what you probably need. I still swear that the reason I was able to suffer so long without becoming more disabled is due to the fact that I changed from the “American Diet” to Paleo along with detoxifying my house. I let what little immune system I had left fight LBC and not to worry about having to fight daily toxins.
I started going organic years about 5 years ago (mostly on meat.) Then I detoxified my home-no chemicals and nothing not found in nature. The only thing left was to detoxify by body and food was the way to go. Even before I knew I had LBC, I was being put on a path to detoxify my entire life.
FOOD MATTERS! I know organic, while best for you, is expensive. Look to the internet and/or Pintrest for way to go Paleo on a budget. You’re either going to spend money on pills or food. The choice is yours. Just look at the food you are putting into your body. You are what you eat and you are what you eat eats.
Some Recommendations if you are interested…
Against All Grain by Danielle Walker (Paleo cookbook)
Food Matters (documentary) Netflix
Farmageddon (documentary Netflix
Chemerical (documentary) Netflix
Utilize Pintrest its a great was to learn and find recipies that are “normal”
I was just diagnosed with Lyme about a month ago and my wife bought The Paleo Cookbook last week – for her more than me. I haven’t changed my diet yet but today we talked about trying paleo to see if it helped. Then today I stumble upon this blog post. I definitely want to try it now. Thanks!
Its a little hard in the beginning but stick with it and I guarantee you’ll be feeling better soon. Good luck with your treatment. I hope you find some thing on my blog that will help make things easier on you:)