Trust me, this is not going to turn into a diet blog, but I feel like I need to do a follow-up on yesterday’s diet post. If only for the people out there with autoimmune and chronic diseases who may be looking for dietary answers.
First, now that I’ve had time to digest what went on – the doctor who “counseled” me will not be counseling me again. She never once asked me about my Lyme disease (even though I put it down on the forms and even told her about it in the office.) And she clearly knew nothing about a Ketogenic diet (even though their website states they do.)
Because of my Lyme disease, I don’t even get the flu shot. Right now, it might be too much of a stress on my immune system and I’m not willing to take the chance. We’ve already had experience with one of my Lyme-compromised kids having a horrible reaction to a vaccination, we are just not going there again. I don’t take any medication (save for an over-the-counter sleep aid on occasion – darn that Lyme insomnia.) I try to be as chemical free as I can.
And yet, at the first appointment, I was counseled to consider an appetite suppression drug – without even first seeing if I could make progress on my own. Not cool.
When I asked the doctor about how the FDA seems to pull diet drugs as soon as they are on the market, she poo-pooed me. “Oh that was only with Fen-phen (which caused heart problems) these drugs,” she said pointing to a stack of brochures, “are much safer.” (Apparently as incentive, if you decide to go on one particular drug, you also go home with a brand new pink lunch bag – that advertises you are on a diet drug, how much fun would that be?)
The doctor suggested that I do a good 10 minutes of “fast walking” exercise each day. A few years ago before Lyme hit, I completed a triathlon. I had had some knee surgery 6 weeks earlier and as a result had to complete the run portion of the race on crutches, but I FINISHED. Although there’s currently too much weight on my knees to start running, you can bet I’ll continue with hot yoga, swimming, and even the elliptical for more than 10 minutes at a time. I’m not afraid of exercise. I just need to drop some weight so that I can do it without harming my joints. In fact, if I can drop the weight, look out – I just might do another tri.
In retrospect, I’m disappointed that I wasn’t offered real advice. She told me that I was over thinking the Ketogenic diet because I asked about the formula that gives you nutritional percentages for meals. The clinic also seemed to be very confused that I wanted to do a nutrition plan on my own without their sponsored shakes and bars (and this was not a commercial center, this place was affiliated with one of our local hospitals.) Yikes.
Instead, I was given a single-sided piece of paper with an “explanation” of a High Protein and Low Carbohydrate Diet that consisted of a list of 8 things to not eat and 8 things to eat (I’m not kidding, that was the “plan.”) No meal suggestions and no recipes. I was also told to eat between 800 – 1000 calories a day (all this advice for $100/visit –trick me once, shame on you.)
That’s not a plan, that’s a recipe for disaster.
A few people have contacted me and told (begged) me to see a proper nutritionist – I had thought that’s who I was seeing, but clearly I was not.
So this is what I’m going to do (this advice does come from the clinic – so see, there was some value.):
- Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day.
- Sleep at least 7 hours a night (with help sometimes)
- Exercise every day (even if it means just getting out for a mile loop around our neighborhood)
I’m essentially a creature of habit. I could eat the same foods day after day, so for the next 2 weeks –
Breakfast – Protein shake from Whole Foods (no sugar and it contains fiber and 10 million probiotics per serving.) I know I said that I didn’t want to use shakes but it’s the fiber and probiotics I’m trying to get with this drink (mixed with unsweetened almond milk.)
Lunch – 2 scrambled eggs (thank you girls) with vegetables and no more than an ounce of good cheese (if you use top shelf, flavorful foods, you don’t need to use much.)
Dinner – a serving chicken or beef with sautéed onions, mushrooms plus a salad that covers at least half the plate. (low carb salad dressing with no sugar and olive oil to sauté) I made this dish last night and the kids who were eating baked ziti didn’t think it was fair that I got such a nice meal while they had to eat pasta – no deprivation here.
Snack (if needed) – piece of cheese (Mozzarella stick or Babybel)
Oh, and I’m going to have coffee in the mornings, because, well, I can’t live without coffee (which is a pretty good reason to wean myself from it, but not now.)
This plan eliminates carbohydrates (in particular grains and therefore gluten) and should kick-start me in the right direction. After two weeks, I’m going to transition to Paleo (which is very similar but has more choices of vegetables and even occasional fruit.) I’m not about starving myself, I’m all about eating healthy food in moderation.
At some point, I’ll try to locate a (real) nutritionist who is versed in auto-immune and chronic diseases to see what else can be done and/or added.
I want to stress that this plan is my own and, of course, has not been prescribed by a medical doctor. I’m not trying to give anyone diet advice, I’m simply sharing my journey of trying to reclaim my body after the ravages of Lyme disease.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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