Jun 13, 2016

Lyme Disease and Living Healthy - Simple Things to Do to Protect and Heal Your Body


My Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor and this blog post is not meant to diagnose or be used as a treatment plan. Please check with a Nutritionist or Naturopath to discuss your unique health condition. Your medical doctor may look at you cross-eyed and prefer to give you medication.

Over the years I've listened to many discussions and medical talks about Lyme disease. One of the things I always wondered was why some people can get bit by a tick and not get sick while others get bit and become overcome with illness, sometimes very severe.


With all the research I've done it has become more evident to me that our bodies will either make or break us and that the condition of our immune system has a lot to do with whether or not Lyme will make you sick.

What do I mean by this?  If our body is healthy and strong, we have a better chance of resisting disease and infection by fighting off whatever tries to attack it. If our body is weak in any way and our immune system compromised, we are at risk for disease and infection.

Before I became sick with chronic Lyme disease I would have told you that I was very healthy. I ate mostly whole foods, I cooked from scratch but sometimes I included processed food, especially when life got busy. Snacks were almost always either fruit, carrot sticks or something crunchy from a bag like pretzels, popcorn or tortilla chips.

I thought I was offering healthy snacks when I included yogurts and granola bars only to find later they're mostly filled with sugar.

I exercised daily and tried to take the best care I could by avoiding medications and chemicals. I was living a very stressful lifestyle, I didn't allow margin in my life and I had just had a baby.

I thought I was doing great and by most standards I was a considered a healthy eater because the majority of my menu was homemade.

So, how did I get sick? Well, the same way many of you have gotten sick or will get sick in the future.

Here are a few things to consider about how to live healthy to protect and heal your body.

1. Nutrition

Our food is our fuel, it helps or hurts our immune system. Eating processed foods, foods with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and drinking sodas or other highly sweetened beverages are just some of the things that deplete our immune system and create an atmosphere that is welcoming to disease.

Think of your food and drink choices as the fuel that keeps your immune system system running. If you're putting in fuel that is not easily digested or that causes inflammation you're actually making your immune system work harder just to try to process those things and eventually your immune system becomes weak and begins to break down.

What You Can Do
Instead of easy, processed foods focus on eating real foods. So, if it's made in a factory you really shouldn't eat it.

Contrary to what you're told, red meat is ok and even good for you, especially if it's from grass fed sources. When you avoid grass fed red meat, you're missing out on very specific key amino acids and nutrients that are very beneficial to your health, helps your mood, and from my understanding you can't find them in any other food sources.

Another important part of our diet should be healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, organic cold pressed coconut oil, real butter again; organic, grass fed is best. Wild caught fish is another great option.

Your food choices should include plenty of vegetables, low sugar fruits and plenty of clean, filtered water. The closer to nature your food is, the better nutrition to provide the nutrients you need to stay healthy.

2.  Gut Health

The next aspect of our health is our gut. To many practitioners, it's actually the first thing to be addressed because so much of our health begins in the gut.

If our gut is not healthy, filled with beneficial organisms, it may not be working properly which can make us sensitive to foods, cause allergies, or worse yet make it so that we can't absorb the nutrients in our food.

Taking antibiotics is probably the number one way of killing off those beneficial organisms but so is eating non-food items and too much sugar.

Taking medications such as proton pump inhibitors, acid reducers and other harsh medications can lower acid levels in your gut, making it impossible to maintain a healthy microbial rich atmosphere which promotes overall good health.

What You Can Do
Begin by changing your diet as suggested above. Incorporate a quality probiotic into your diet and maybe fermented foods. A word of caution though, START SLOW! Too much good bacteria all at once can cause a fight in your digestive system against all the bad bacteria which can cause unpleasant symptoms.

Many people suffer with acid reflux, heart burn and an acid feeling in their gut because they are actually low in acid.

When I suffered with gastritis and acid reflux my favorite treatment was to drink 1 TBSP of raw apple cider vinegar (with the mother or good bacteria) mixed with 1 TBSP raw honey in a mug of warm water.

I did this before meals and at bedtime and before long I no longer needed prescribed medications. I still enjoy this drink as a pick me up or if I'm feeling like I'm coming down with something.

Bone broths are another easy way to help heal your gut and are very nutrient dense so they can help to restore your gut to a much healthier state. 

Store bought bone broths won't give you the same nutrition as homemade bone broths which are really quite simple to make. Be selective in the types of bones you purchase, organic and grass fed are always best for optimum nutrition.

3. Sleep Habits

Many with Lyme find it quite difficult, if not impossible to sleep at night. Insomnia is a real problem. If you're going to bed late or sleeping in late, you won't get the rest you need for your body to heal and repair.

Were you ever told as a child that you need to go to bed so you can grow? Well, we need to go to bed so our bodies can heal and repair from the day.

What You Can Do
There are many causes for poor sleep so definitely discuss this with your doctor. I prefer to discover the reasons behind why my health is compromised rather than getting a prescription for a quick fix.

Could it be from the Lyme, maybe it's hormonal, environmental or from too much stress. You can quickly address some of these issues and make changes, others will take more effort to address.

Be sure to turn in around the same time each night. At least 2 hours before bed, limit anything that is stimulating such as electronic devices and television. Also, don't sleep with WiFi on or nearby as it disrupts sleeps and prevents your body from being able to heal.

4. Lack of Exercise

I'll be the first to admit that I don't really enjoy exercising. A lack of exercise can most definitely have a negative impact on our health. By exercising you're not only strengthening your body, you're creating endorphins which can help stabilize your mood as well as create natural pain killers. A lack of exercise keeps toxins in your body and allows your muscles, joints, bones and heart to become weak.

What You Can Do
Find something to do that you enjoy, it's a lot easier to exercise when you can look forward to it. You may be very weak, have chronic pain and find it difficult to do any exercise. 

I started off exercising using yoga bands while sitting in a chair. As I became stronger over the course of just a few weeks I began to do those exercises modified in a standing position. As the spring approached I began to work out in my yard and garden for 2 or 3 hours a day and now I'm incorporating short walks and doing a 30 day plank challenge with a few friends.

Just 6 months ago I could barely walk from room to room without extreme weakness and pain. Now, I'm feeling stronger and more energetic.

Start off small, search YouTube for easy strengthening and stretching exercises that you can start with and work your way up to more challenging exercises. 

Find someone who can encourage you and keep you accountable.

5. Emfs (Electromagnetic Fields)

Electric and Magnetic Fields are simply invisible areas of energy, often referred to as radiation. 

Exposure to cell phones, the Internet, wireless home phones, printers and cell towers is part of life.

It's probably impossible to avoid them but we can limit them to some degree. The Emfs have proven to cause a compromise in our health and in some have been found to cause cancer.

What You Can Do
Don't carry your cell phone on you or in your pocket. Keep your cell phone on your desk or in your purse.

Set up your WiFi box away from where you spend a lot of time and especially away from where you sleep. Make sure your printer and computers are also strategically placed in your home so they're not constantly bombarding you. Turn off your WiFi when you go to bed at night.

6. Attitudes

Stinkin' Thinkin' can definitely lower your immunity. Negative thoughts, anger, depression, bitterness and unforgiveness can all cause stress in your body which can compromise your health.

While I never appreciate a doctor telling me that stress is the root cause of my illness, I recognize that it could be a big factor, since our emotional health can most definitely effect our physical health.

What You Can Do
You may want to do some exploration into why you react or feel this way. Did you know agitation and anger can be caused by a liver that needs to be detoxed?

Rage, anger, depression and even self-loathing can be caused by Lyme disease, a hormonal imbalance or a deficiency in amino acids. 

Certain foods, especially food dyes, sugar, wheat, and preservatives can be a cause. Sometimes, these are behavioral responses that were learned as a child and never addressed.

Again, a Naturopath, Nutritionist or a good counselor can help you discover what's causing these symptoms in your life and can help you make a plan to achieve emotional health.

7. Underlying Health Issues

Mold, parasites, hormonal imbalance and pre-existing health conditions can also have a negative impact on your quality of health.

What You Can Do
Have a complete physical. See a Naturapath, alternative care physician or Nutritionist and explore aspects of your health that your primary care physician may neglect, such as your nutrition and environmental toxins.

8. Multiple Tick or Biting Insect Exposure.

Sometimes the first tick bite doesn't make you sick but the one right after that overwhelms your system and makes you very sick. It could be that there were just too many pathogens transmitted and your body couldn't handle it.

We don't know how our particular immune system will respond to the infections we're exposed to and so avoidance is really the best protocol. 

There is no cure for vector-borne diseases like Lyme disease. 

New bacteria and viral infections are being discovered at an alarming rate. Infections that never passed from the animal kingdom to humans is also growing.

What You Can Do
Protect yourself and your family by avoiding high risk areas. Always wear repellent and always check for ticks and bug bites when you return back home.

Work hard at boosting your immune system and take action immediately if you discover something.

Finally

There are many other factors involved in our health which I haven't discussed such as heavy metals, mold and other environment toxins and there are also many areas of health I don't even know about. I'm learning every day.

I'm not a doctor, but I know that we are fearfully and wonderfully made and it is in our best interest to care for the one and only body we have this side of heaven.

Whether you have chronic Lyme or not, we all can implement a healthy lifestyle and make changes that can improve our immune function and our quality of life.



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