For the past couple of months I have been working away hard at Beyond the Bite Community. Essentially, this group is for those with chronic Lyme Disease to connect, inspire, and encourage one another that there is life beyond Lyme! While I have yet to write up a post and “announce” this community on Beyond the Bite, I thought that highlighting some of the members during the month of May (i.e Lyme Disease Awareness month), would be a great way to share what we in BTBC are all about! As you can read here, the three pillars of Beyond the Bite Community are paleo, prayer, and perseverance. It is not a place that individuals dwell on one’s illness, rather how we can use these three concepts to overcome our current circumstances and live a healthy, joy filled life. Today’s guest post serves as just that, as I chose to have Victoria Faling from the blog Lemons ‘N Lyme share a bit about her story. You can view the community site here, where I share some of the information posted in the exclusive, weekly newsletter that is sent out to all community members.
Hi, I’m Victoria! Some of you may already know me from my blog Lemons ‘N Lyme. I’ve had Lyme for over 10 years but was not diagnosed until 3 years ago. I’m 24 and currently living in Santa Fe, NM. I grew up in Washington DC (where I contracted Lyme) and went to college in Colorado. I’ve been through it all in my Lyme journey from many mis-diagnoses, to every oral antibiotic and anti malarial you can think of, to IV medication, to mold and heavy metal treatments, to herbal protocols, and now focusing on a very holistic and well rounded approach to healing. Although I am still going through treatment, I’m at a point where I can work and lead a relatively productive life. I still have some progress to make, though!
I have been lucky enough to find a fantastic doctor who treats for Lyme here in Santa Fe. We are focusing on building my system back up and supporting every aspect of my body. I’m currently taking many supplements, Byron White formulas for Lyme and Babesia, completing UVBI treatments and an array of other IV therapies (phosphatidyl choline, Meyers cocktails, glutathione pushes), and have just added in low dose immunotherapy for Lyme and co-infections. I also focus heavily on detoxing which includes green juices every day, detox teas, dry brushing, using my far-infrared sauna, detox baths, and castor oil packs (when I have time!). My doctor also believes diet plays a huge role in healing, just as I do! I actually discovered the paleo way of eating a few months before I got very sick 3 years ago. I was dealing with a bad bout of candida and discovered paleo as a way to help treat the candida. I had suffered with gut issues since I was in high school (my first major Lyme symptom) and adapting a more paleo diet began to help for the first time in years! The constant bloating decreased, I actually started eating during the day (I would go all day without eating because it made me feel so sick and so bloated that I would not want to move), and my digestive system felt less stressed. I was astonished and began researching as much as I could. I connected with all of the information I read, it made so much sense that I decided to continue with paleo eating even after the initial 30 days (Whole 30). Then, when I first fell extremely ill with Lyme I fell off the paleo wagon because I did not know what was going on, was exhausted, had horrible cravings, and was very depressed so I just didn’t care. Once I got my Lyme diagnosis and began treatment, I knew I needed to get my diet back in line. This is when I started my blog, as a way to document my treatment and the recipes I tried and developed. I have always been interested in health and I knew food played a huge role so now that I understood what was going on inside my diseased body, I knew I had to make an effort to improve my healing with food.
Over the past three years, my research on the connection between diet and disease and health continued. The more I learned the more excited and fascinated I became with using food to heal. Last year, when I completely relapsed after coming off of IV medication, I turned to juicing and a raw food diet. I truly believe in the power of a raw food diet as much as I believe in paleo. I basically ate paleo-raw (although did include some sprouted grains). My gut was a mess from antibiotics and juicing finally allowed my system to absorb nutrients easily. I began juicing 3x a day and now I continue to juice to improve and maintain my health. Green juice is excellent for detoxing, boosting energy, and cleansing your system, so I still am able to enjoy the benefits of juice. Constitutionally, I believe my body does need some animal protein and I feel better when I include it in my diet, so I transitioned from less of a raw diet back into paleo and eating more meat again. My diet now consists of NO grains, legumes, dairy, processed sugar, minimal natural sugars (I try and avoid most fruit but I have a BIG sweet tooth and I do use honey occasionally). I focus on eating as many vegetables as I can, include meat (I try to only buy free-range and organic), and lots of healthy fats (coconut oil, avocado, some nuts and seeds). I eat almost 100% organic since the pesticides in conventional food are extremely harmful and can make us sick! I think the phrase “Let Food Be They Medicine” (Hippocrates) could not be more true! As soon as I slip on my paleo way of eating, I feel it. If I eat anything “non-paleo” I immediately become extremely bloated, feel hung-over, have horrible stomach pain, and many of my Lyme symptoms flair for the next 1-5 days. This is how I know that my diet has a huge impact on the way I feel and my healing. When I stick to a 100% paleo diet, I feel almost normal again- my symptoms decrease dramatically, I have more energy, my digestive system bothers meless, and I’m in a way better mood. I’m still constantly learning about nutrition and healing and plan to continue to do so for the rest of my life. I make small tweaks in my diet as I learn new information but I know that I will stick to the general paleo style of eating for the rest of my life. I have played around with variations of paleo, including autoimmune paleo (AIP) and cutting out nightshades. Although I am not following AIP 100% at the moment, I have discovered some, normally paleo, foods that cause major symptoms for me through testing out AIP. I love food so it can be tough at times to know I can’t taste or eat certain things, but that is what allows me to be creative in the kitchen and develop recipes that work with my diet and still allow me to heal.
Connect with Victoria on Facebook and Instagram, or on her site Lemons’N Lyme
Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”