Hello wonderful readers!
Thanks for stopping by. I apologize it's been a few weeks(ish) since I've written, and that's simply because my days have either been rough to the point of not being able to leave bed, not being able to eat, not even able to open my eyes due to pain, etc., or good-for-me days, meaning I was able to do things like go to church a couple Sundays ago (always wonderful!), get really involved in the NCAA tournament (C-A-T-S!! Cats!! Cats!! CATS!! -- Number 9 will have to wait till next year, boys, but man, it was a great year and a fairytale of a tournament!), or sit outside on our porch for 5 hours this past Saturday (with hat, sunglasses, and electric blanket because it was 46 degrees!) while we had a yard sale. So even though the bad days are still here and can happen whenever they decide to, there have been good days sprinkled throughout, too. :-)
I originally wanted to clue in the blogosphere (okay, at least those of you who read this) on a few different updates about my personal journey over the past few weeks, but instead of making this a super duper long post, I decided to write about them one at a time over the course of the next few days/several days/few weeks as I'm able to sit and type. First on the list is possibly one of the single most imperative-to-functioning changes I've made throughout my journey thus far:
The Anti-Candida Diet!
I briefly mentioned this in my last post, I believe, but I have now been on a very strict anti-candida diet for over 3 weeks. Some of you may have no idea what I'm talking about, and if you're curious about all the ins and outs of this lifestyle change, allow me to direct you to this website, which is a good, comprehensive resource about all things candida/ACD related. But if you're just looking for a brief explanation/summary (in layman's terms, because sometimes it's just easier that way): Candida albicans is a yeast that exists in just about every single one of us, but typically peacefully coexists (within reason) with all the good bacteria that live in our gut (which is where the majority of our immune system lives). However, in someone with a chronic illness or leaky gut syndrome or any similar condition (*cough* including myself, along with other Lymies out there *cough*), this yeast/bacteria essentially overtakes your body, become a systemic (whole-body) issue that has to be taken care of along with any other illness, because even if you treat your other illness(es), you're not going to heal as long as candida is a problem for you. And candida overgrowth can cause a myriad of health problems/symptoms--so many that I'm not even going to list them here because this paragraph would be substantially longer than it already is, but if you're interested, here you go.
Now, yes, there are lots of people out there who will tell you that systemic candida and an anti-candida diet is just the latest health craze/diet fad and that it's not worth your time, but I'm here to tell you it is a BIG deal, especially for those dealing with chronic illness. And in order to resolve the candida issue, you have to go on an anti-candida diet and continually detox, detox, detox! (The detoxing all Lymies should be doing daily, anyway, but it's important for this, as well). Basic guidelines for the anti-candida diet are this: no grains (not just eliminating gluten, but all grains because they contribute to inflammation in the gut and are counterproductive to healing), no sugar (yeast thrives on sugar, including sugar in fruits, sweeteners such as agave nectar [that was a hard one for me but I've managed just fine without it]; plus, sugar feeds Lyme buggers, too, so just get rid of it), no dairy, no yeast. You also have to make sure you do eat lots of vegetables, antimicrobial/antiviral/antibacterial foods and spices, and make sure you're taking good quality probiotics to restore your digestive flora. Some variations of the anti-candida diet allow low-glycemic fruits throughout, and as you progress through the different stages of the ACD you're able to add other foods back in slowly, at the pace you're able to tolerate them. Here's a link with some good, basic guidelines about ACD foods in PDF format if you want to look into it further, but remember everyone's body is different so listen to yours and do what works for you!
The reason I've now rambled so much about the ACD, though, is that I credit a large portion of my good days to following this diet so strictly. In the past two weeks (14 days), I've had probably 3-4 days that I would consider good-for-me (I say it like that because these wouldn't be considered good days to the general public, but for me they're a welcome change of good!), another 4-5 days where I've had at least some decent moments where I've been able to fix a meal or two or do a few small things around the house, and only the remaining 5-6 days where I was bedridden all day/in massive pain of some kind/couldn't lift my head from fatigue/lack of energy. THAT IS AWESOME TO ME! I truly think this change has been one of the most significant I've made in my treatment thus far, and I plan on continuing it indefinitely because when something so basic can yield such positive results, why would I not do it? Yes, it was probably a little easier for me to make the switch than it would be for someone who doesn't already have to follow a strict diet like the Lyme diet (I've not been able to eat gluten, dairy, eggs, refined sugar, yeast, and multiple other foods for a year now), but it is doable.
Is it always easy to come up with a variety of meals that a.) taste good, b.) are easy to fix, even on bad days, c.) comply with every ACD guideline? No, not always. BUT the longer I stick to this diet strictly, the easier coming up with meals becomes.
Becca's tips to make the process easier:
Like I said, it's not easy at first (even though I haven't had refined sugar in a year, I had sugar cravings when I eliminated fruit, agave, etc.), but it does get easier. Even though I know that's one of those things that everyone who had ever done a low-whatever diet says about cravings. Just trust me, it gets easier. And it's possible to maintain this as a healthy lifestyle since you're feeding your body what it needs to heal and you're not putting things into it that will cause further damage or impede your healing ability or ability to function.
I'm not saying I'll never have dessert again in my life, but I am saying that for the foreseeable future the ACD is a way of life for me. Because during these past 3+ weeks, by undertaking this challenge of letting food be my medicine (in conjunction with the supplements and the treatment protocol I'm doing), I've realized to the greatest extent yet that God truly designs our bodies to be efficient machines--masterpieces even--and when we utilize the natural goodness He has placed on this earth in an effort to restore His temple (our bodies), and we acknowledge the healing power that is inherently part of all of us, we realize we've already been given one of the greatest tools for healing.
That last paragraph got a little rambly, but just trust that in my mind it made perfect sense.