I've tried every low-inflammation diet out there. Every. Single. One. There were times where I was eating only vegetables and meat and there were times when I fell off the wagon and ate everything in sight.
On the most restrictive diet I was losing too much weight and my quality of life suffered. No one wanted to invite me out to dinner or to a party, because they knew there would be nothing for me on the menu. On the standard American diet my aches and pains were unbearable. I couldn't sleep at night, because of the aching in my back and hips. I'd spend hours tossing and turning.
Enter The Lyme Diet. Dr. Nicola McFadzean's plan is the perfect balance. Don't get me wrong, compared to the standard American diet, it is extremely restrictive with the basic principles being no gluten, no dairy, and no sugar. But compared to an incredibly restrictive diet, like the autoimmune protocol, it is a diet you can stick to while still being able to dine out and not spend every waking hour cooking from scratch.
Like most anti-inflammatory diets, there are restrictions on gluten-containing grains and dairy, but unlike some anti-inflammatory diets, one is still allowed eggs, rice, beans, and potatoes. I think any anti-inflammatory diet has to be individualized. Personally, I avoid eggs, some types of beans, and limit my grain intake to 1-2 servings a day. Over time, I've been able to determine which foods increase my symptoms and limit those in my diet.
The Lyme Diet is also a quick read. It's not published by a major press, so there are some aspects are slightly unpolished, but, for me, it didn’t take away from the information presented. This is also a comprehensive book about Lyme and wellness. It gives clear and concise suggestions about things like detoxification, supplementation, and natural treatments. There is also a list of resources and referrals. After reading this book, I hesitated to put it back on my shelf, because it feels like it should always be with me.
Many doctors have told me, "You have to live your life." If I have a cupcake at my sister-in-law's wedding, it's okay. I might have physical consequences, but if most days I stick to the diet, it’s better than no days.
"Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things." - Chaim Potok
After water, tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world. However, in the United States we are loyal coffee drinkers. That's why it's so difficult for those of us with Lyme Disease to give up coffee when the time comes. The Lyme Diet, like many other anti-inflammatory diet protocols, advises against coffee due to the caffeine. The good thing is that after you shake the addiction tea is a lovely substitute.
Like coffee, tea is inexpensive, easy to brew, and warms your insides. I start every day with a cup and usually brew another during the mid-day adrenal crash. Sometimes I even have a calming cup before bed.
These are my personal favorites:
My go to tea, because it is always caffeine-free. Here are some great options:
1. Trader Joe's Organic Chamomile Herbal Tea
A dependable, inexpensive option with nice light, flowery flavor.
2. Equal Exchange Organic Chamomile Tea
A pure blend with pleasing aroma and taste. You can feel good about drinking it because it is organic and fair trade.
3. Tazo Calm Chamomile
A little more expensive, but a very smooth taste. The best part is you can taste the rose petals, which are part of the blend.
For the Gut
I like to drink gut healing teas daily, such as, mint, ginger and licorice root. Here are some good ones to try:
4. Trader Joe's Herbal Peppermint Tea
Mint tea is a good alternative to coffee. It has a definite “pick me up.” It also has the added benefit of settling the stomach.
5. Yogi Ginger Tea
This ginger tea has just the right balance of ginger. It’s not too strong, but it has a slight kick. This tea was a lifesaver when I was having strong nausea related to Lyme. I had 3 cups a day for 3 days and my nausea was gone. The other wonderful thing about Yogi tea is that each teabag has a "Yogi Inspiration" on the end. You can also write your own and post it on Twitter using #yogitea.
6. Aveda Comforting Tea
This is a tea a worthwhile splurge. I always ask for a cup of it when I go to an Aveda salon for a haircut. It's an herbal blend, but the primary flavors are licorice root and peppermint. It is so sweet and decadent you won’t even notice the healing powers. And it smells amazing, too.
Then, there is Chai. Probably my favorite flavor of tea, but not always decaffeinated. Here are some decaf ones to try:
7. Tazo Decaf Chai
A rich, flavorful tea, that is an excellent substitute for coffee. Unlike some chai teas, which can be overwhelming, all the notes in this chai blend together for a taste that is both subtle and spicy.
8. Teavana Oprah Chai Herbal Blend
I loved Oprah's Chai Tea blend at Starbucks when it came out. I also loved the Oprah’s Chai Tea Latte, because it had less sugar than the regular Starbucks Chai Tea Latte (update: the Oprah Chai Tea Latte is no longer available at Starbucks). Teavana and Oprah have developed a caffeine-free version for those of us who have given up caffeine. It is a loose leaf tea, so it requires a tea infuser, but that makes it even more special.
I'm always looking for new teas to try. What is your favorite caffeine-free tea?
"Where there's tea, there's hope." - Sir Arthur Pinero
I'm Kerry and I was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease in 2016. This is a positive space for those of us coping with Lyme disease and other invisible illnesses.