What does your anti-Lyme diet look like?
I focus on real and whole foods. For me personally, I do really well on a low carb version of paleo with high protein. As I have healed, I can definitely handle more foods and can have a cheat day on a gluten-free treat here and there but for the most part, I try to be as grain-free as possible and eat really clean. I notice so much more brain clarity and lower inflammation as long as my diet stays clean and at this point, it is a lifestyle more than a diet.
Do you focus on eating anti-inflammatory foods? If so, are some more helpful than others?
Absolutely! This is really a big key for me. I used to have over 60 food allergies at my peak with Lyme and now I have a handful of foods I am mildly sensitive to. That said, I do notice certain foods like grains and legumes cause a lot of inflammation for me personally so I generally avoid those except for rare occasions and stick to grass-fed meats, wild fish, and lots of veggies and healthy fats. I honestly eat my book Wandering Palate most of the time when I am not creating new recipes for my blog so that is a great window into what I eat in a day.
Reducing Lyme flare-ups can mean getting your gut health under control since the gut plays a large role in developing a strong immune system. Are there certain foods or supplements you take to ensure a healthy gut?
The gut is such an important piece of the Lyme puzzle. For the 2 years it took me to get diagnosed I was mostly diagnosed with gut issues like candida, SIBO, leaky gut, Celiac Disease, etc. I think that actually really helped set me up for success in my recovery from Lyme since I had spent so much time and effort healing my gut. I am a big fan of bone broth and gelatin/collagen and I think a good probiotic is important too. I also think it is very important to cut out grains and legumes as they can be very irritating for the gut and exacerbate a leaky gut as well. Maybe not forever, but definitely while you are working on healing.
Are there any foods that you avoid because they may cause flare-ups?
Right now the only foods/ingredients that really wreak havoc on me are gluten since I am also Celiac and also guar gum. Guar gum a really strange one, but it causes major digestive distress and brain fog for me and is hidden in a lot of frozen desserts and coconut milk.
Gluten interestingly does not cause any digestive issues for me but does cause major neuro issues and brings back brain fog, occipital neuralgia, fatigue and moodiness, and it unfortunately last exactly 7 days. I tend to accidentally ingest gluten more often than I would like to admit and find that even gluten-free labeled foods can be cross-contaminated with gluten. I am extremely sensitive that even a microscopic crumb really sets off my immune system so this one is really challenging, unfortunately.
Is dairy really as bad as they say it is for those with inflammatory diseases like Lyme?
I think dairy is very individual. I took dairy out for a few months multiple times in my healing journey and never noticed any difference from it being gone. I also had so many other food allergies that I was reacting to I didn’t feel the need to deprive myself of dairy too when I was having no negative reaction to it.
Now that being said, not all dairy is created equal and it’s really important to stick to a grass-fed clean dairy and I also think everyone should experiment with taking it out of your diet for a while and seeing how you react to it.
Since being diagnosed with Lyme, do you focus more on detoxification in your diet? If so, what foods help you detox your body?
Definitely eating clean and eating foods that are not high in pesticides and toxins is a good place to start before you even begin putting foods in your body. I do like to use a lot of fresh herbs which have a lot of polyphenols and nutrients to boosts your immune system and can help in detox. Otherwise, I tend to do external detox methods like my infrared sauna, lymphatic drainage, exercise, etc.
If you could give one piece of dietary advice to someone who was just diagnosed with Lyme, what would it be?
Definitely work on your gut and diet early. The foods we eat, even if healthy, can cause so many symptoms that may seem like Lyme but are not. It’s really easy to blame Lyme for every symptom but we have more control than we think over the foods we are eating. Also, remember that the strict diet is not forever. As you heal you will be able to eat more and more so give your body time to heal and give it nourishing foods that work with your body in the meantime.