This past Sunday was the Light on Lyme event, and I was so honored and excited to be one of the keynote speakers, along with Dr Richard Horowitz, pictured.
My major take-aways from the day:
First, my spirits soared with the consistent theme of RESILIENCE. Yes, there were many people there because they were still sick, and still searching, but there were also so many who had been sick, and were recovered or recovering, and were there to support and inspire. In fact many of the wonderful organizers definitely fell into that category, and I honor their desire to share with, inform and inspire the larger community.
I include myself among those. Coming back from 2 serious chronic illnesses, one of which was Lyme, has been part of my journey, and a very big part of my determination and inspiration to help others reclaim vibrant, exuberant, unstoppable HEALTH!
Second of all, I was very, very gratified to hear most of the presenters talking about Lyme in all its complexity: the difficulties of diagnosis, the number of co-infections involved, the ease of contracting it, and the difficulty of getting rid of it. I have worked with this understanding for a very long time.
As for the use of antibiotics, Dr Horowitz, who I deeply admire and respect, believes they are essential for recovery, so I want to note that Dr Klinghardt, also an MD as well as a PhD, and with whom I have trained for the past five and a half years, believes it is neither necessary nor ideal to use antibiotics for chronic Lyme.
I have worked with many, many clients with chronic and neurological Lyme who either have not fully recovered on antibiotics and are looking for something else, or who feel strongly that they don’t want to use antibiotics, and others who make antibiotics part of their program as they work with me.
Just to be clear, I am happy to support whatever else you are doing, and have even suggested at times that clients request particular antibiotics to support their healing process.
I was also happy to hear Dr Horowitz emphasizing the importance of anti-inflammatory nutrition (the focus of my presentation), and detox, with a particular support for infrared sauna use, which is part of my Zen Vitality Room.
I was asked to talk about optimizing nutrition for healing Lyme, and I would like to share some of what I covered. Really, this information applies to all chronic illness, not only Lyme.
While my presentation at this event focused on nutrition, when I work with clients with Lyme, I want to emphasize again how essential it is to look at many issues, including (in no particular order):
- Parasite, Bacteria, Viruses, Fungi
- ElectroMagnetic Fields
- Water Quality
- Liver Support
- Nutritional Deficiencies
- Mold and Mycotoxins
- Leaky Gut
- Hormone Imbalances
- Heavy Metals
- Brain Fog
- Cognitive Issues
- Emotional Issues
I believe that ALL of this needs to be investigated and addressed, and it has to be done carefully and with sensitivity. It can’t be just about killing bugs.
At the same time, I know what it’s like to have to function, and not know how you’re going to, either because of illness or because of treatment, and I try to work in a way that is gentle and compassionate as well as effective.
One reason is that Lyme is not just Borellia. Dr Horowitz calls it Multi Systemic Infectious Disease Syndrome. Dr Klinghardt says it is multiple infections against the backdrop of a toxic body.
Our systems are, by design, self-healing. When we are chronically ill, the system is failing, and that must be addressed broadly and systemically.
Another key, from my perspective, is that one size does NOT fit all. Each individual has a unique constellation of issues to be addressed, uniquely. I know that one reason my clients are successful is that I customize everything I do in my practice, including nutrition and supplement protocols.
For more on my philosophy about addressing Lyme, please see this interview from a few months back with Well-Scent, or simply make an appointment for a consultation, either in person or by phone/Skype.
So, back to optimizing nutrition for Lyme, which should have 3 goals:
- improve the health of the gut;
- decrease inflammation;
- stop feeding the “bugs”.
I. Improve the Health of the Gut
Gut and immune function are inextricably linked.
You can not have a healthy body, a healthy immune system, without a healthy gut.
You can not fully benefit from oral supplements or medications if the gut is seriously impaired.
Healing the gut is the foundation of health and of healing all chronic illnesses.
Sometimes, people ignore the fact that if you can’t digest your food, you are unlikely to be able to digest your supplements and medications optimally, either.
One of the principles of my practice for 20 years is: You are NOT what you eat. You are what you can digest, absorb and utilize.
How Can We Bypass An Impaired Gut?
If you can’t absorb nutrients because of damaged digestion, how can you start?
My approach is to bypass the gut, at least temporarily, and use the skin and the rectum for absorption instead.
1. The Skin
- In the past few years I have become a big fan of using therapeutic oil products that have developed specifically to address Lyme. Not only do these get absorbed directly through the skin, but the one-two punch of oils and anti-microbials makes them helpful in addressing biofilm. These are a great place to start, for many people. One line I highly recommend is Well-Scent. This line was developed by a woman who has Lyme herself, and has formulas specifically for it as well as others that are excellent adjunctive support.
- Another way to bypass the gut and absorb therapeutically through the skin is the use of Detox Baths. These can give instant relief of aches and pains, engage the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and relax), and help obtain better quality sleep, which is so essential a component of healing. My basic recipe is a quart of epsom salts, a small box of baking soda, and a couple of cups of distilled white vinegar. Make sure you hydrate before during and after!
2. The Rectum
Yes, I said the rectum. Here I’m talking about anti-microbial suppositories, and also coffee enemas. Both are great methods of treatment, that help heal the gastrointestinal tract without putting additional demands on it, and can also support the function of the liver and gall bladder.
BioPure offers a variety of suppositories, but often I just have people make them with customized ingredients from among the anti-microbials and anti-parasitics that I use in my practice, in a base of cocoa butter or coconut oil. Small ice cube trays work well for this.
The subject of coffee enemas often elicits groans and eye-rolls, but it is so worth getting over the yuck-factor, and making them a part of your self-care. There is plenty of research to back up their efficacy and worth. I like that they are easy to do consistently at home, and that you have control over the process, unlike colonics. For more on coffee enemas, go here.
Zen Vitality Room
I also, in my practice, offer the use of my Zen Vitality Room, which includes an infrared sauna, whole body vibration plate, and BEMER microcirculation mat.
For more info on these, use the link above, or watch this 3 minute video.
II. Decrease Inflammation
I never thought, when I started out over 20 years ago, that food sensitivities would be such a huge part of my practice. But I have come to believe that there is no long term health without identifying and eliminating them.
We need to identify and eliminate food sensitivities, as well as other foods that increase or contribute to inflammation.
Some foods should be avoided by everyone with chronic illness, and some are variable by individual.
I find that there are many foods that need to be eliminated temporarily, as part of the healing process, and they can be put back in some time later. I tell my clients: “more restriction short term, for more freedom long term”.
In my practice I use Dr Klinghardt’s Autonomic Response Testing (ART) to identify food issues (and much more). This is a very comprehensive and accurate form of muscle testing. I have used muscle testing reliably for my clients for more than 20 years.
I used to use IgG blood tests, but consistently found that I got better results with muscle testing, which only takes a few minutes of an appointment (long distance or in person) at no additional cost to my client.
And by better results, I mean that my clients experience improvements based on these suggestions, which is not always the case using blood work, in my experience.
III. Don’t Feed The Bugs!
You can nourish yourself, or you can nourish the bugs. It’s one or the other.
Don’t let them party on your turf!
Eliminate sugars, and foods that are essentially metabolized as sugars.
Those are my 3 basic principles for optimizing nutrition for Lyme and chronic illness: heal the gut, decrease inflammation, and stop feeding the bugs.
How do we actually apply them to food?
Basic Nutrition of Healing
- Start with real food. Keep processed and packaged foods to a bare minimum.
- Organic Produce When it comes to produce, you want it organic, or at least grown by organic, or biodynamic, methods. I don’t care if the farm actually got government certification, as long as they are farming as cleanly as possible.
- Grass fed Animals When it comes to animal products, you want pasture raised, grass fed, free range, not organic! Organic here would only mean that the animals were fed organic grain, which is not their natural food. Look for meat, poultry and eggs from animals that have been raised appropriately for their species.
- Lots of healthy fats. Coconut oil and MCT. Avocados. Butter and/or ghee from pastured cows (KerryGold pastured butter is available at many supermarkets.) Top quality olive oil for your salads (use it cold, not for cooking, as it has a low smoke point). Nuts and seeds and their butters, if you tolerate them, and as long as they are free from mold and mycotoxins, which can be an issue.
We are so fortunate here in the Hudson Valley to have more and more farms springing up that are producing excellent quality, healthy, clean food. I know, from speaking to clients all over the country, that is not the case everywhere, but it is worth it to seek out the best.
Don’t think it’s worth the extra bucks? I have seen so many people who can’t tolerate supermarket eggs, for example, but thrive on healthy eggs from healthy hens. Consider it part of your prescription for healing. It is.
What To Avoid
- Gluten I don’t even consider this a food sensitivity any more, or the grains it is found in, food. They have little to relation to the “staff of life” that sustained our ancestors. We know gluten causes inflammation in EVERYONE. So don’t eat it. Period.
- Dairy This one is variable, but often contributes to inflammation. So if you are doing your own elimination, rather than having me test it for you, you are probably better off taking it out for a while. Even if you are dairy-sensitive, most people can tolerate pastured butter, which is about 98% fat, and it is the proteins (casein and whey) that we react to. If butter still causes problems, then go to pastured ghee, which is 100% fat.
- Corn. Another high glycemic grain (not a vegetable!), another source of inflammation, and almost all of it is GMO. Don’t.
- Soy Apart from contributing to inflammation, soy can be suppressive to the thyroid and have estrogenic effects. Also almost all GMO
- Peanuts Huge source of mycotoxins. Peanuts are not a nut, but a legume. Many people find that eliminating peanuts helps relieves aches and pains and brain fog, if they have been using them as a snack or source of protein.
- Sugars Do you want to feed the bugs their favorite foods? Dr Klinghardt believes our cravings are directed by the parasites, bacteria, and viruses themselves. And I don’t mean just white sugar, but any form, including maple syrup, honey, dates, certainly agave, which is more like high fructose corn syrup than anything else. I recommend only xylitol, stevia, erythritol, and monkfruit. For more on healthy and unhealthy sweeteners, email me, and I’ll send you my 10 page PDF.
All 6 of the above should be eliminated by everyone with chronic illness.
Below are a few more that are often but not always issues. Again, if you are doing this by yourself, rather than having me tell you exactly what you need to eliminate and what is fine for you, consider taking these out of your diet temporarily, as well:
- Onions and garlic can cause methylation problems, and be too heating for the joints
- Coffee, because of the mycotoxins. I highly recommend Bulletproof Coffee, developed by Dave Asprey, who recovered from Lyme.
- Shellfish, a common intolerance. Beware of Krill supplements, for the same reason.
- Cashews, walnuts
- High glycemic fruits
I hope this information helps you on your healing journey. If you want more help with Lyme and chronic illness, and to customize this information for you, please make an appointment.
I’d like to leave you with another of my credos:
Healing is Possible. All you need is the right guidance, information, and support.
This information is offered as informational, not medical. No information I share is intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease and is provided for informational purposes only. Each individual must do their own research and consult directly with their own personal medical professional. Information is not intended to serve as medical advice. It is intended for the reader’s personal use only, and is intended only for personal knowledge.