I was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2006, when I was a freshman in high school. I had all of the symptoms—achy joints, intense fatigue, and bouts of memory loss and severe headaches. I spent about three months on antibiotics, even though my doctors promised that the Lyme would clear up after two weeks on the bright blue pills.
Instead, I got worse and my doctors became suspicious. Finally, they suggested that my symptoms were psychosomatic and that I needed a psychiatrist, not an MD.
Frustrated and feeling hopeless, I decided to speak with a natural health practitioner. After I began taking vitamins, switched to a mostly plant-based diet, and eliminated most toxins from my environment, I felt better than I had in a long time. Eventually, I began to heal.
Here are some steps I took to heal from Lyme disease.
1. Cut down on dairy, red meat, sugar, and caffeine.
I know…ouch. The key here is moderation. The bacteria that carry Lyme, spirochetes, feed off of sugar. As a result, I had to completely forgo desserts and minimize my intake of fruits. I stopped eating red meat unless it was organic and grass-fed, and even then only once in a while. Instead of drinking pasteurized supermarket milk, I switched to raw milk from local dairy farms. I also cut out coffee and drank more herbal, healing teas. Without excess sugar and toxic chemicals, the spirochetes didn’t have fuel and died off more easily.
2. I made friends with the mesclun mix.
When I first met with my nutritionist and created a plan to attack the Lyme, he gave me one order: “Eat an organic green salad every day.”
And so every afternoon, I ate a huge bowl of organic baby greens with sliced carrots and cucumbers, drizzled in olive oil. I was feeding my body with great fuel right during the time of day when my fatigue reached an all-time high. Remember, food is medicine. Feed your body with only the best, the cleanest, and the most nutritious food so that your body can do what it was meant to do: fight disease naturally.
3. I reduced foods that cause inflammation.
This is includes gluten and dairy products. With the exception of raw, local milk, I avoided all dairy. A major symptom of Lyme disease is achy limbs and joints, which trace back to inflammation. (Sidenote: to help with inflamed joints, turn to some herbal therapy).
4. I started taking vitamins.
When fighting an autoimmune disease, it is important to arm your body with the necessary tools so that your system is ready for battle. I took multiple vitamins with every meal, all Standard Process brand, including cat’s claw, vitamins C and B, venus flytrap, and many others. Both cat’s claw and venus flytrap, specifically, do wonders for chronic diseases. If you have difficult falling asleep, your melatonin levels might be low. Take a melatonin supplement so that your body can get all the rest it needs at night. (Of course, always check with your doctor or natural health practitioner before taking anything new).
Speaking of rest… This is not the time for taking up a new spin class or PTA responsibility.
5. I was compassionate toward my body.
Healing takes time and energy that your body may lack if it is too “busy.” Instead of a vigorous Vinyasa practice, switch out a few morning routines with Yin Yoga. Go to sleep an hour earlier than you normally do. Soak in a lavender-infused bath. Turn off all electronics at 7pm. Do not be afraid of saying no to events, meetings, and favors asked of you. This is the only body you have…treat it well, and it will return the favor.
Lyme disease is a very political illness, mostly because of the battle between the Infectious Disease Society of America and Lyme patients who still have the disease after 20 years (making it chronic, which the IDSA says is impossible). There is a slew of criticism over the relationship between the IDSA medical companies who create the antibiotics.
As a result, more and more patients are finding relief through the natural route. If you have been diagnosed with Lyme disease, or suspect that you have Lyme (the tests are ‘reliably inaccurate’), you should make an informed decision for your own health.
Some family members caught the disease early and, after taking antibiotics for two weeks, felt completely fine. However, a substantial number of Lyme disease patients are not so fortunate.
Before you take an herbal or medicinal supplement, or drastically alter your lifestyle, consult with a doctor or natural health practitioner. Find what method works for you and do not be afraid to try it (even if this means taking antibiotics while following the steps outlined above.)
Stay positive and focused on healing, and it will come. In the meantime, arm your body with the fuel it needs to rebuild.
Ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.