The Lyme Diet: Keeping Healthy During the Holidays
The holiday season is upon us which typically means a host of social gatherings are right around the corner. It also means there will be an abundance of tasty treats creating temptations at the table, that are impossible to ignore. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with Lyme disease, this could be an even greater problem, since it has been proven that the foods you eat can have a direct effect on your symptoms, for better…or for worse.
Now, let’s start by saying diet has not been shown to “cure” Lyme disease since there is no exact meal plan to follow that has bug-killing properties. However, some foods may be worth skipping or adding to your diet, on a regular basis. You may already know this if you have chronic Lyme disease, and have identified certain foods that trigger your symptoms. If you are newly diagnosed, however, it is especially important to understand that diet is a critical component. Healthy people are keenly aware that to remain healthy it is essential to eat healthily! Either way or if you are somewhere in between, we have a few suggestions to consider when making your dietary decisions this upcoming season.
Some people completely cut out foods that include sugar, dairy, and gluten (depending on each individual’s circumstances/reactions). But if we want to be realistic, we know it is hard enough for a healthy person to restrict certain foods, let alone the chronically ill. Ask yourself a couple of questions before you decide to indulge in some out-of-the-ordinary foods or sweets.
What foods does my body react to the MOST?
Ticks feed off the food you are eating and if you give them something they like, this may cause them to dance all over and spike your symptoms. Everyone is different so it is important to know your own immune system and what you can tolerate, or not. For example, one may eat milk chocolate and wake up in unbearable pain the next morning, but when they eat dark chocolate, there are only minor changes that make that delicious bite worthwhile!
How do I currently feel?
This should be a question every person with Lyme disease should ask themselves, but specifically when it involves decisions that could help/hinder your symptoms. If you already have inflamed joints, aches, brain fog, or any of the multitude of Lyme symptoms and they are severe, you may not want to indulge in having candy or a glass of chocolate milk that day. On your road to recovery, it is important to listen to your body and keep your immune system in tip-top shape.
Are there any nutritional supplements I should be taking?
This would require a talk with your Lyme-literate doctor to determine if there are any supplements that would be helpful in your Lyme case. Especially if you have been cutting out certain foods, which may cause a lack of nutrients in your diet that would be affecting your food decisions as well.
What efforts are you willing to make on special occasions to keep your symptoms at bay?
Whether you want an extra glass of wine or a piece of cake, remember that for Lyme patients the consequences are not simple sugar rushes and hangovers. Ultimately, the most important thing you can do is enjoy the time with your friends and family. Do not let holidays and special occasions be another thing that Lyme disease takes from you!
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1. Christensen, Lindsay. “Help Clients Recover from Lyme Disease with Diet and Nutrition.” Kresser Institute, Kresser Institute, 12 Oct. 2021, https://kresserinstitute.com/help-clients-recover-from-lyme-disease-with-diet-and-nutrition/.
2.Howley, Elaine K. “Living Well with Lyme Disease .” U.S. News – US News Health, 2020, https://health.usnews.com/wellness/articles/living-well-with-lyme-disease.