Sunday, May 28, 2017

5 Things I Learned From the Lyme Diet

Almost two months ago, I began an intense and adventurous diet aimed toward healing my gut and ridding my body of inflammation. The diet is a combination of the AIP (autoimmune), elimination, and anti-inflammatory diets. When I started, I couldn't eat sugar, gluten, dairy, a variety of oils and trans fats, peanut butter, eggs, corn, soy, pork, or beef. Right now, the only foods on that list I have successfully added back in are peanut butter and pork.

On Instagram, I wrote about how the decision to go forward with the diet was emotional and difficult for me. However, as I approach the two month marker of “eating clean,” I am increasingly thankful that I said “yes” to this lifestyle change. Dieting has been an educational experience full of challenge, discovery, and mad chocolate cravings, amirite? I wanted to share with you five things I’ve learned these past few months that are important to this form of dieting.

1. If you're going to start a diet, make sure you're prepared. 

One of the reasons I was so nervous about beginning the diet was because I'd tried it before without success. In 2014, I dove headlong into a challenging eating regime that I really knew nothing about. It ended badly. This time, I collaborated with my doctor and did a lot of research before beginning. I experimented with different recipes allowed in my diet before actually starting it, so that I was familiar with the foods I'd be eating. I asked questions, read books, and allowed myself to make mistakes. I went gluten free immediately, but I took a few weeks before eliminating sugar, dairy, and other food groups. I made a point to eat "forbidden" foods over going hungry, and that was pivotal to success.

2. Food isn't Magic and it Doesn't {Usually} Cure Chronic Lyme

For a variety of health problems and diseases, dieting has become a trendy cure. One of the most common things I hear when people find out I have Lyme is, “are you trying any specific diet to help with that?”

Lyme is a ridiculously complex illness that requires lengthy, difficult treatment. Medication is still experimental and very specific to the individual. Dieting is certainly helpful during some phases of treatment, but antibiotic therapy and detoxes are also required. In my case, I spent a year on antibiotics, a year on detoxing medication, and I moved 600 miles across the country for a better healing environment. It upsets me to hear people say that if I had only removed certain foods from my diet, I wouldn’t have had to go through that. If I had only removed certain foods from my diet, I wouldn’t have had to be sick for as long as I was. Plus, it simply isn’t true.

When I tried the Lyme diet the first time around, it exhausted me and did more harm than good. It was far more beneficial during that time for me to focus on other things like antibiotics, my environment and getting enough food.

3. Guacamole is one of man’s greatest creations. 

Best thing I’ve learned so far.

4. The Lyme Diet is as Easy as it is Difficult

It’s difficult because it requires a great deal of planning and discipline. You can’t eat out, and if your friends are having lunch together, you’ll have to bring your own. Also, you can’t have s’mores.

But it gets easier. The planning becomes more routine and the food lists keep you organized. It’s an expensive eating regime, but the money balances out in some cases. I can’t buy anything on impulse and I can’t stop in for fast food on a day I’ve forgotten my lunch.

At first, I felt like there was nothing on earth I could eat. Being so confined to certain foods has forced me to be creative with the options that I do have, though. Through the diet, I have discovered great foods I never would have eaten otherwise.

5. I appreciate people.

I appreciate people who make healthy eating options available to me. Like Wegmans, wow, what a guy. I appreciate the folks who created dairy and sugar free ice cream. I have a better appreciation and respect for food itself as a whole.

I am so thankful for friends and family who have supported me on this new adventure. The ones who have encouraged me, suggested new recipes, and the ones who get really excited when they notice how healthy I look. I appreciate the people in my life who walk beside me and my choices, without telling me what to do.

Conclusion (Thing-y)

I do miss things like bagels, cake, cheese, s’mores (obviously), and even pizza, but I feel a lot better without them. I don’t have the desire to trade in my health so I can eat a s’more. I am thankful for this hard, real, wonderful experience. Even if I have to keep it up for a long time, I’ll be okay with that.

I think everyone should take the opportunity to do a diet like this one if they have the time and means. It’s a cultural experience. It’s helped me better discover how my body works and better understand how to take care of it properly. Lastly, the Lyme diet has given me a better appreciation for patients of autoimmune diseases. What they go through is incredible. These guys are my heroes. 

Thanks for sticking around to hear about my diet! Do you follow a specific eating regime? Tell me about it! 



  1. Eating on a diet can definitely be difficult... I know it was really difficult for me to make that transition in elementary school, just because there does seem to be a lot of social pressures that make "eating clean," as you put it, difficult. Still, I'm glad that it's helping you! (And I have to agree: guacamole is God's food.)

    1. It is difficult, Heather, but I am really enjoying it actually! The pressure is so insane, and I think it's almost easier this way because technically I'm "not allowed" to eat certain foods, so I am less likely to succumb to peer pressure. Thanks for commenting. :)

  2. We never eat pizza anymore cause Colton doesn't do well with cheese so whenever I eat it now I realize how horrible I feel afterwards. It probably always happened but now I can pinpoint it to pizza because I never eat that kind of food! It's helpful to really learn to listen to your body!

    1. I feel ya! I haven't tried pizza or cheese yet, but I feel really awful now when I eat eggs.

      p.s. I was thinking of you when I wrote #5


  3. The dialysis (renal) diet has similar impact on your life. No spontaneity allowed. Not much eating out. A huge number of restrictions. Lots of label reading.