FACING THE FEAR:: going gluten free

continuing my three part series on facing the fear, here is my take on how to easily make one of the most common diet changes a doctor may suggest to you. 

“go gluten free? you have got to be kidding!”- me, four years ago. i was living in canada at the time but in ohio meeting with a specialist who explained how my current diet was straining my immune system and adding unnecessary stress to my body. because my kidneys were starting to worry us, i decided to just go for it. thankfully, i had a lot of help and it was an relatively easy process. now, you couldn’t pay me to go back!

 

one of the first things a chronic illness doctor will instruct us to do is to some sort of diet change. this can be overwhelming and often does not get accomplished. let’s break down gluten today (an awful joke) and see what simple steps you can take to gather momentum towards a healthier lifestyle.

first, cut gluten out of your beverages. this is pretty easy- but you’ll want to make sure you aren’t drinking items like beer where it may be hiding. (although you really shouldn’t be drinking alcohol if you are living with dis-ease anyway.)

next, change over all of your snacks to be gluten free. this ensures that you have easy fail safes in place in case your meal ends up having gluten. remember the theory of crowding out—limit the “bad” while eating more of the “good”, until good is all you are eating. items like veggies and hummus, fruit and cheese, nuts or smoothies are all great snack choices that are naturally gluten free and easy to prep. as you start incorporating more nutrient dense foods into your routine, your taste buds will change and new, healthier cravings will start- which is great progress!

now- your meals. pick one to start with and consistently make it GF for a week or so, or until you feel like it comes easily to you. once you’ve nailed down a GF breakfast for example, move on to the next meal time until all three meals are GF.

tada! you just made a significant change for your health! i’ll bet you have noticed that you are feeling better too- less digestive symptoms, more energy, skin clearing up perhaps? it’s amazing what food can do.

one more word about going GF- you have to learn to read labels, and you have to learn to meal plan ahead of time. planning is the best thing you can do to keep yourself on track. once you’ve learned what to avoid, eating clean becomes simpler. remember this rule of thumb- if it comes in a package, can or box, there is probably gluten or hidden forms of gluten in it.

still apprehensive? that’s okay. start with what you feel like you can. it really does get easier over time, especially when you start to feel the improvements in your body. commit to love yourself, and your body by making this change and i promise you’ll be glad you did!

 

are you gluten free? going to try it? tell me how its going for  you in the comments below!

FACING THE FEAR:: managing your daily meds/supplements list

“lisa, i have so much i have to take throughout the day to stay on my protocol. i cant handle the amount of supplements, pills, powders and drops anymore!” the other week i got into a conversation with several friends who are living with lyme disease and this same topic came up with all three of them.

i totally get it.

each doctor’s appointment brings anxiety and stress as it is. leaving the office with new additions to our pill stash and then trying to introduce the new aids brings more anxiety- what will this pill do? how will i feel taking it? am i actually going to get better or is this going to be the rest of my life?

again, i totally get it. i still feel those fears sometimes!

over the next few weeks i’ll be blogging my answers to the top 3 questions i get from people– questions that all stem from fear in the life of a chronically ill person. i hope you’ll find this series helpful and insightful! for now, read on to see exactly what i shared with my friends- my best tips to condensing the daily meds list and making it more manageable!

 

 

  1. shrink the list as much as possible. talk with your doctor(s) and ask what supplements you can combine together to be taken in one dose. this can take a little creativity but isn’t difficult. your doctor will help you figure out spacing, interactions and ideal dosage times for your bio-individuality.

don’t forget that incorporating certain foods into your diet can be enough to replace the need for a pill or powder. for example- nutritional yeast! i gave this suggestion to a friend because it’s packed with b vitamins, anti microbial properties and actually battles the bad yeast overgrowth we can have in our guts. plus, it tastes like cheese! who doesn’t love that?

(one caveat- make sure you have already introduced the individual items to your body first to gauge your tolerability before combining it with something else. you want to make sure you know what is the trigger if new, negative symptoms start occurring and you need to do some detective work.)

 

  1. use your blender. smoothies are your friend here! if you don’t have a good pair of cuticle or kitchen scissors, get some. then start blending up your favorite smoothies—and add your pills. veggie or gelatin caps are easy to twist open and pour the contents into your snack. gel caps usually need a bit more effort, hence the scissors. i’ll use a piece of greens like a kale or spinach leaf to clean the capsule out as best as possible and give the gel something to cling to instead of the sides of the cup where they can still be, even after being blended.

check with your doctor on which parts of your protocol can be combined together and incorporate a smoothie at the suggested time. and be sure to keep the smoothie blood sugar friendly, or you’ll just be creating another problem!

 

  1. check for different forms of the harder to tolerate items. look for drops, powders or tinctures if you’d rather not be swallowing huge pills but don’t mind weird tastes. lastly- CREAMS! loves, the nutritional supplement world is catching on and making it easier for us. check with your pharmacy, local compounding pharmacy or naturopath to see what options you have available to you! i am willing to bet you will be surprised!

 

not sure where to start? i’d suggest your local compounding pharmacy—these are often a wealth of information and will host free classes and events as well as 1:1 sit downs with the pharmacists themselves. i’ve taken advantage of these offers several times and often have experienced a breakthrough after a counseling session because of the knowledge and expertise the pharmacist has.

 

was this helpful for you? what changes can you make to make your protocol easier to manage? shoot me an email and let me know!

dear weary warrior; what i’ve learned as a lyme disease patient

dear weary warrior,

i have been where you are right now. emotionally exhausted, body in pain, feeling like you are trying to see through eyes covered with ten layers of saran wrap. your brain is foggy and you aren’t sure what you are even thinking anymore. the road has already been long but seems to stretch out endlessly in front of you too.

i have been where you are right now. no plan, no hope, no help, no resources. it takes true courage to overcome the shadows each day. it takes a village and a toolbox to help you move forward. know that it is possible- if not today, then tomorrow. hold on to hope.

there are many things i have learned in my seven months since finally being diagnosed with lyme disease and several coinfections after 7 years of being mysteriously sick. seven months may seem short to you, but it was a whole life time to me. the lessons i learned are ones i will never forget. the person i am today i am grateful to be.

these are three of the biggest themes i have been experiencing in my life since getting those positive test results:

  1. self care, self care, self care: if you are tired of hearing this, you don’t truly understand what it means. you aren’t practicing it daily and therefore, aren’t healing the way you have the potential to. taking care of myself first every day is what helps me build up a reserve for the next day. we never know what we will come up against physically- that is why it is so important to incorporate habits and attitudes that enable us to feel mentally strong and resilient. showing love to myself by taking care of my faith, heart/mind and body is the best way to build courage and strength to be ready for whatever may come my way in the future.
  2. don’t fall into the label. MANY people are so relieved at finally getting a diagnosis, that it becomes all they can identify with. they spend all their time and energy talking to others who share the same symptoms and fail to work on building their way out of the hole- through relationships, hobbies and future goal setting. it’s ok to need to relate to others who truly understand sometimes. but don’t slap the label of LYME or something else over your entire life. you can have the tshirt, bumper sticker and fb friends– but are you nurturing those standing around you right now? are you finding ways to integrate back into the “real” world as you improve? have you found a purpose or an inspiration that lights your soul on fire and brings you renewed strength and energy? all of these are important.
    physical dis-ease is the last stop on the train. there are layers of factors that get piled up before our body begins to break down on the cellular level that lets disease take over. you should be spending AS MUCH OR MORE time addressing your emotional and mental health in form of removing negative thought patterns, limiting beliefs and trauma effects as you do taking care of yourself physically. the subconscious mind holds this load– and it is through alleviating that stress that we can being to experience true health.
  3. BREATHE. even when it feels endless, even when you truly believe the next time you close your eyes will be the last, IT WILL ALL BE OKAY. morning always follows night. always. remember, courage first, then conquer. pray for safe people. pray for clarity on the path forward. pray for real, quality sleep. pray for revelations of where you are stuck. pray, pray, pray. voicing our struggles out loud allows the brain to get unstuck from it’s negative thought loop. in releasing the negatiev thought, you allow space for a new pattern to be created. one you control, one that is positive, one that is uplifting. one that can drive you forward.

i say all of this in love. my journey is not over yet and neither is yours. but if we can approach our illness as a curious journey to be explored, i truly believe the possibilities are endless, the potential is limitless, the opportunity is great. of course, those are just my thoughts. i would love to hear yours: what do you think is the most important lesson you’ve learned through your chronic illness? comment  below or shoot me an email.