Monday, September 12, 2011

Food matters...

I recently put up a new page on this site entitled "Healing Recipes for Lymies", and felt the need to expand on the topic of food, and how crucial it is to have a VERY specific diet while you are sick. 

That diet is widely known as the "pH Diet" or "Alkaline Diet" (I'm pretty sure most of you have already heard of this...) If you do not know what I'm talking about, I would highly recommend you buy and read the updated and revised edition of the book, "The pH Miracle, by Dr. Robert and Shelley Young". It not only explains why you need to follow this diet, but offers a step by step guide on how to make the transition, AND it also provides a section chock full of recipes to get you started.

If you would like to buy the book on Amazon, here is a quick link:

On the flip side, if you'd prefer the "cliff notes" version, here's the premise and basic idea:

  • "pH" used in this context refers to how "acidic" or "alkaline" (another term for "base or basic" used in chemistry) your body is. The symbols "+" mean alkaline, and "-" mean acidic.
  • Your body goes to GREAT lengths to maintain a steady and slightly alkaline blood pH level of 7.4. This is because ALL metabolic processes and functions of the body depend on it in order to stay healthy.
  • The foods you ingest metabolize in the body and, depending on what you eat, can either create a more acidic or alkaline environment. The higher the acidity of the food you eat, the more energy your body has to spend to normalize your pH level again. If done on continuous basis, your body simply cannot keep up, becomes more acidic than it should be, and you slowly start to get sick.
  • Harmful bacteria, parasites, fungi, etc THRIVE and depend on an acidic environment to survive and multiply. Um - Lyme IS considered to be a VERY harmful I really need to say anymore??

Like any and all life changing events, the first six weeks will be the hardest. I remember there being times where the cravings I had for the foods that were "off limits" where SO bad, that I actually had to grab onto something grounded to prevent me from going out and getting it! (*Note: This tactic has about a 50% success rate, but it's worth a try : ) 
Just keep at it - it will pass; the cravings you are experiencing are actually those "harmful bacterias" begging for food! Once they die from starvation, you will no longer experience these cravings - in fact, you will even wonder why you would ever want to eat those things in the first place.

*Note: I consider this diet to be a "Transition in Bodily Awareness". This means that you will find yourself going from, "I'm eating this because it tastes good, comforts and distracts me from my stressful day, but man, do I feel like shit and wish I could go to sleep afterwards" to, (eventually), "I'm eating this because it tastes good, is good for my body, makes makes me feel less stressful about my day and, my god!, I can't believe how much energy and mental clarity I have afterwards!"

Below is a very helpful chart and can be used as a rough guideline to what you can and cannot eat. The diet says that 80% of what you eat should be alkaline (left side of chart), 20% can be slightly acidic (middle part of chart), and that you should try to avoid eating anything that is highly acidic (right side of chart). 

Now, of course, the pH level of the body is just one of many factors that determine overall health and vitality. For example, the diet calls for a vegetarian diet, and besides the moral issues surrounding eating meant and dairy, I cannot say that it is something that works for everyone.

 I'm aware that the book "Eat Right for your Blood Type" is only a theory, but my blood type is O+, and because of that, the book adamantly calls for meat. Why? Because "O" stands for "oldest", meaning that I have the oldest blood type, the blood type of the "hunters and gatherers", and therefore would thrive on a diet that is similar to what they would eat. 

Unfortunately, I have tried to be a vegetarian, but really do feel better when I'm not. The compromise: I only eat Grass fed, Free Range, Anti-biotic Free meats about four times a month. 

Let me give you another example. About 80% of the population has had a cold sore at some point in their life. If you have a strong immune system you usually don't have to worry about this. But Lymies immune systems are often very weak...why am I mentioning this? The above chart says that almonds are "awesome" for you, but what you may not know is that almonds contain a huge amount of the amino acid L-Arganine, and this particular amino acid triggers cold sores, shingles or any other type of virus in the herpes family in people who have weakened immune systems. You do not want to activate a latent virus while trying to heal from a bacterial infection! The Compromise: Either avoid almonds or counteract the L-Arganine effects by eating foods or taking supplements that have Lysine (another amino acid) in them.

Before I end this post, let me give you some other tips I've learned  that I hope you find helpful if you plan on making this transition:

  1. Ezekiel Brand breads, wraps, pastas, and cereals are an amazing substitution for the carbs you are not allowed to eat, but make you feel more "grounded", and can usually be found in the freezer section of your local grocery store. If it's not there try Trader Joe's, Mrs. Green's, or Whole Foods - they will definitely carry it.
  2. Unless the only reason you are eating vegetables is to increase bowel movements, do not cook them! Raw vegetables are the best, but if you can't tolerate it, learn the art of steaming. You'll know when to stop steaming when the vegetables turn bright green. This will insure that all of the many wonderful qualities and nutrients the vegetables contain (the very reason your eating them!) will be intact when you consume them. Also, juicing and creating smoothies with veggies are awesome! If you can't stand the taste of the smoothies you create, add Emergen-C packets to them. Bottom Line: Invest in a blender and juicer...
  3. Water, Water, Water! Everyone knows to drink water, but I have two suggestions: at the very least, get a Britta filter - you can literally taste the difference...and, try adding fresh lemon juice and a dash of cayenne to your water. Lemon acts as an astringent for your cells and cayenne promotes increased circulation and lymphatic drainage.   
  4. Although called for, please do not eat soy products (with the exception of organic edamame). Nowadays, all soy beans grown in mass production are genetically modified and harmful to your body. Don't believe me? Watch the documentary, "Food, Inc".
  5. Still not convinced you should stop drinking coffee?? Well...besides being extremely acidic, coffee wears down the lining of your intestinal wall, overworks your nervous system by putting you into a constant "fight or flight" state, wears out your already "stressed out" adrenal glands, and after drinking one cup of coffee, it takes two cups of water just to get back to the level of hydration you were at before you had your cup of coffee in the first place!
  6. Can't go without chocolate? Neither can I...go to your natural food store and buy the 100% sugar free Mayan Cocoa Powder "superfood". (It is not the same thing you will find in your grocery store's baking section!) It is organic, and is processed at a very low temperature which leaves all of it's amazing nutrient, mineral, and anti-oxidant properties intact. I usually warm it on the stove with unsweetened rice milk as my own version of "hot cocoa". Also, ever hear the saying that chocolate induces the same chemical affects in the brain as having sex? They're right! Did you know that chocolate and cocaine actually come from the same source...they BOTH have amazing dopamine-enhancing affects on the brain, only chocolate isn't as intense, and doesn't share the same extremely harmful consequences as using cocaine, nor does it share its pitfalls after you stop using it...and (of course) - it's legal! 
  7. I'm sure you've all heard of the new fad of the decade...three meals a day is out, and five small meals per day is in. I totally support this idea and recommend you try it as well. However, while doing this, please remember the following two things. Try not to eat anything after 7:00pm...your body has a TON of things to do while you are asleep and adding digestion to that list is a BIG no no. The perk you'll get from doing this? - you will lose a lot of excess weight. The other thing...when you do eat fruits, eat them apart from anything else. Your body has its own agenda on which foods it attempts to digest first... The rule of thumb is this: Whichever food takes the longest for your body to break down, that will be the one it goes for first. Fruit is VERY simple to digest, and if you eat it after consuming carbs and some meat, it will literally sit there for hours and start to ferment until your body is able to get to it.

Okay!! That's about it...long post - hope it makes a difference : )



Wendi said...

Thanks for the post! I've recently resumed my battle against LD and have been trying to focus on the pH stuff - and cutting out certain foods - it's so hard to get my body off of sugar!!!

Sarah Lamando said...

Hi Wendi,

You have NO idea how much I can relate! Maybe it would be easier if we weren't brought up in a society that thinks it's a "great" idea to go have some warm cookies and milk after a really bad day...

In fact, due to just how "bad" our days can often be, I can't help but think that Lymies who manage to NOT consume massive amounts of sugar on a minute to minute basis - are actually doing rather well... ;)

Thanks so much for reading the post, and I hope you get well soon!!


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