Most LLMD’s will recommend that while undergoing treatment for Lyme it is a good idea to follow a sugar free, gluten free and sometimes dairy free diet. You may be thinking, “Wow, isn’t the treatment enough without adding food deprivation to the mix too!” It may seem like a hard concept to accept at first but once you find nourishing and yummy food substitutes you will realize it is not all bad. I can’t see how allowing yourself a treat now and then will be the end of the world and you will deserve it for following such a strict diet.
Organic is now becoming a new way of life when living with Lyme. Non-organic foods can sometimes be laden with harsh chemicals, preservatives, hormones and toxic substances. As Lymies we are already trying to do our best to keep our bodies clean and toxic free as we are already overwhelmed from the toxins that Borrelia and its friends throw at us. Organic foods are still somewhat limited to us here in the prairie provinces so I would just say to take advantage of organic products whenever you can. Farmer’s markets are always a fabulous source of fresh organic fruits, veggies, herbs, etc. and strolling around checking out all the mouthwatering goodies is so much fun. Now that spring has finally arrived Farmer’s markets will be popping up throughout our cities and towns everywhere so why not skip the grocery store and take advantage of these local markets. It is always a great idea to help out and support our local farmer’s. Health food stores and grocery stores are starting to introduce organic foods as well so organic is slowly becoming a big part of the picture.
I am a regular health food store junkie and I love the alternatives to my favourite food products that are currently available. This concept has definitely come a long way since more and more people are following specific diets either to help them overcome their health issues or because they prefer to stick to a healthy way of living. The following is a list of my favourite food substitutions that are usually available at your local health food store. I was so excited to go into my local grocery store and see their new line of “natural foods!” So, more and more grocery stores are getting on the whole food craze which is terrific to see!
I am in awe everytime I step into Whole Foods in the U.S. and it is my dream that one day we will have this store too. They are a huge grocery store dedicated solely to whole, natural foods! You can create gluten free pizzas, sample sugar free desserts, enjoy naturally made soda pop and so much more. It is like one of our local health food stores but 10 times the size. So, if you ever find yourself vacationing or seeking Lyme treatment in the U.S. and come across a Whole Foods…… you should really treat yourself and take the time to revel in the experience. You will be amazed!
Here are just a few of my favourite healthy foods:
- Brown Rice Pasta – I absolutely love this pasta! Personally, I can’t tell the difference between rice pasta and regular pasta that is packed with gluten. Most health food stores carry a great line of gluten free pasta and you can pick and choose to whichever tickles your fancy. I find the consistency is really good and it doesn’t get mushy and once you add your favourite toppings it is just as good as regular pasta but is a much healthier choice.
- Gluten Free Bread – Glutino has a wonderful array of gluten free products including several different flavours of bread to choose from. There are definitely certain gluten free breads out there where you might as well munch on a piece of cardboard. I prefer Glutino especially because they manufacture breads, crackers, pasta and many other delicious products.
- Agave Nectar – Yum, Yum! This is a delightful sugar substitute and it is a completely natural sweetener so it is good for you. There are a couple cookbooks on Amazon whose recipes are devoted entirely to using Agave Nectar. I have used it many times in some of my favourite recipes, use it anytime you need a sweetener because it is fantastic. Find creative ways of using this sweetener and you will wonder why you didn’t find it a long time ago.
- Xylitol – A 100% natural sweetener! You may already be familiar with Xylitol as it is frequently used in our favourite chewing gums. Although Xylitol tastes and looks just the same as regular sugar it is so much healthier and contains half the amount of calories. This wonderful all natural product also won’t raise your blood sugar levels the way regular sugar does. You can use Xylitol in all your delicious desserts to replace sugar as it has the same amount of sweetness vs. regular sugar. Just use it the same way and in the same amounts as you would use regular sugar. Where sugar consistently wreaks havoc on our bodies; Xylitol heals, repairs and helps build our immune systems. Give it a try, you will love it!
- Pure Raw Honey – Another great option! I have also used this in several recipes as a sweetener and it worked very well. It is better to use the pure raw alternative than regular grocery bought honey because it goes through a healthier manufacturing process and there aren’t as many additives which means it is a healthier choice.
- Coconut Oil – This is a great alternative to other cooking oils and it has a yummy taste. Coconut oil is a “super oil” in that it supplies fewer calories than other fats, does not contain cholesterol and has been known to increase metabolism and promote weight loss. How can you argue with that? I have recently learned this glorious oil is antimicrobial and antiviral as well so it can be a helpful tool as part of your Lyme treatment. I incorporate coconut oil into my daily smoothies and it gives them that wonderful tropical flavour I love so much! If that is not enough to make you want to run out and buy it…… it also has healing properties for the skin. It can help soothe dry, chapped skin, psoriasis, rosacea and so on.
- Rice/Coconut/Almond Milk – I was following a very strict sugar, gluten and dairy free diet when I first received my diagnosis and didn’t know how I was going to cope without my daily glass of milk in the morning. Although, honestly once I gave these types of alternatives a try I really grew to like them. They have a great flavour and you can still use them in all of your everyday recipes. I use these milks in my smoothies, with my oatmeal and the coconut milk is delightful in rice pudding and makes it oh so creamy.
There are so many more amazing alternatives you can try such as eating a mixed bowl of fruit instead of a chocolate bar when you have a sugar craving. Try out some of the gluten free flours for making your favourite pancakes. Experiment with different flavours and herbs/spices. Once you get the creative juices flowing, the options are endless and you may prefer this lifestyle change and stick to it even if you are feeling better.
Gluten Free Chickie is a wonderfully unique website in that it doesn’t just offer gluten free recipes, it offers so much more! It gives readers a thorough and intelligent guide to dining out and finding great gluten free food in Alberta. Also available are FREE gluten free food tours! I love it, such a smart idea! Please click on the logo to guide you through this one of a kind website!
Food.com is a website that caters to sugar, gluten and dairy free cooking where I found lots of impressive recipes.
Elana’s Pantry is an amazing gluten free website that hosts tons of recipes for simple mouthwatering delicacies. Also, it is a great resource for organic, healthful recipes.
I am sure there are many more excellent websites to check out. There is a great selection of cookbooks out there who also cater to these dietary needs. Amazon has a great selection specifically for those with dietary restrictions so that is always a terrific place to look if you have trouble finding the cookbook you need in a bookstore. I ordered “Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Cooking by Susan O’Brien from Amazon and am very pleased with it. My absolute fav’s are the Brown Rice Pudding, Sweet Potato Fries and Roasted Green Beans.