We touched on nutrition for Lyme disease in our last Facebook live, and I thought it would be great to talk a little bit more about it here. Treatment for chronic Lyme disease can include pharmaceutical antibiotics, herbal antibiotics and antimicrobials, and detoxification treatments. This can put some extra stress on the body, and the patient, in the initial stages of treatment.
The diet needs to support detoxification, improve gut health, increase antioxidant status, and be anti-inflammatory to support healing. Because of this, I recommend a plant-based-paleo-type diet for my patients. That’s a lot of hyphens, so what does plant-based-paleo-type mean?
Plant-based – the majority of your diet is plants. In this instance, it is all vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. At any given meal, at least 50% of your plate should be filled with vegetables. You want to get as many different colors as possible for the widest range of nutrients. As much as you can, opt for organic. Reducing pesticide and herbicide exposure will do wonders for helping your body to heal. Fruits, nuts and seeds will make up a smaller percentage of your diet, and offer great fiber, anti-inflammatory fats and protein.
Paleo-type – this is going to include all types of meats, fish, and eggs. You don’t need much; your serving of meat should be the size of a deck of cards, or about 4 ounces. Your meat should be grass fed and finished, fish should be wild caught and eggs should be organic. The hormones, antibiotics and corn and soy diet fed to conventionally raised animals are incredibly inflammatory. In fact, the overuse of antibiotics in animals is a big contributor to resistant bacterial strains.
Unlike your traditional paleo diet, you are not eating as much meat as you want. You also want to avoid any processed meats such as hot dogs and lunchmeats.
Unlike how we normally think of a plant-based diet, you are not consuming grains and beans. Though grains and beans can be part of a healthy diet, in this case we are limiting them because these foods can be harder for the body to digest, especially if digestion is impaired in any way.
Each person is unique, and based on symptoms and treatment parts of this can be different from patient to patient. This is also not a diet that needs to be followed forever. Once treatment is complete and the patient isn’t experiencing symptoms any longer, they may begin to add back in beans, grains, some dairy, and even alcohol.