I’ve been very mindful of my diet the last couple of weeks. I can almost hear the collective eye roll from people who can eat “anything”. Such is life. I can’t eat anything I want, although I’d certainly like to, so therefore I have to be really aware of what I feed my body. I am always gluten and dairy free. But even with abstaining from gluten and dairy, there are plenty of inflammatory foods that if eaten on a regular basis, can cause some significant issues for me. We’ve talked about the effects of the inflammation bucket in the past, and over the last few weeks, mine has been spilling over.
I’ve been in what I would consider a “medium” Lyme flare for 6 weeks. It took me a couple weeks to even recognize what was going on because I had been feeling so good for several months prior to the flare. It’s as if I had almost forgotten I even had Lyme if you can believe it! The flare is a reminder that even when we’re feeling really good, we can’t forget that our bodies don’t work like the average Joe’s body. We have to stay on top of things even if what we’d really like to do is forget we’re in a battle with a very smart and nasty and potentially deadly, bacterial infection.
One major component of a Lyme flare is inflammation. I swear inflammation is the root of all evil when it comes to illness. Once you get past the point of mild inflammation, things just get uglier from there. It can take several weeks to several months to get it back under control. So as soon as it finally dawned on me what the heck was going on, I went into inflammation battling mode.When we can put out the flame, our immune system can fight its battle properly.
The first thing I always do when I recognize a flare is examine my diet and lifestyle and start asking myself a lot of questions. Have I been too loosey goosey? Inflammatory foods aren’t just problematic for the obvious reasons, they also cause gut issues which further imbalances the immune system. Am I detoxing enough? Detox is something people with Lyme have to keep up with on a regular basis. Our livers need help getting rid of toxins. Are my intestines eliminating on a regular basis? (In other words, we need to be pooping a lot, and often!) Am I eating enough vegetables that feed the good bacteria in my gut (pre biotics)? Do I need to consider switching up my supplements and probiotics? Have I been too generous with gluten free grains, sugar, and ignoring my stress level? Have I been exercising to much or too little? Have I changed something that may be causing issues?
Self care has to stay consistent in order to keep the Lyme bacteria in remission. Consistency isn’t always easy. Sometimes flares are completely out of our control, but other times, it can be due to sticking our heads in the sand and not sticking to a good health plan. Stress is the number one issue for me when it comes to my immune system. The second issue is germy, sick people whose germs wiggle under the radar. And equal to pesky germs, is the impact that my diet choices have on my body. I have to be careful because any imbalance in my immune system and it flies off on a negative health tangent. Making sure my self care is at top notch (which it wasn’t), helps me deal with attacks on my immune system.
I have also had to remind myself that even when I’m feeling great, gluten free grains and other inflammatory foods can be a big problem if I add them to my daily diet. Because I was feeling so well, I was being a little careless with the inflammatory foods. My body can process them and handle the inflammation if I indulge every now and then, but not on a regular basis.
So, the last two weeks while I’ve been practicing intuitive eating (see my last post), I’ve also been experimenting with different types of foods to see how my body reacts. I eat two or three meals a day with anti inflammatory, very clean foods, and then every couple of days I’ve been trying one item with gluten free grains, or certain potatoes, or other inflammatory foods. It’s been interesting to see my body’s response. Very telling.
I’m getting reacquainted with my body in different ways and am getting the inflammation under control. Sometimes it takes a painful and worrisome setback for us to be mindful and remember that self care and consistency need to be the foundation of healthy living. It’s back to basics and grain free foods with a major focus on anti inflammatory foods and detox. I’ll save the little indulgences for special occasions.
Going “Back To Basics” certainly doesn’t have to be boring though! This breakfast cake is grain free and dairy free. It can also be made without refined sugar by using coconut sugar in the frosting.
Grain Free Blueberry Breakfast Cake
*Makes 16 servings
3/4 Cups of Coconut Flour
1/2 Cup of Sweet Potato Flour
1/4 Cup of Arrowroot
2 teaspoons of Double Acting Baking Powder
1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt
3 Tablespoons of Coconut Sugar
6 Tablespoons of Dairy Free, Soy Free Butter
1 Cup of 100% Full Fat Coconut Milk
1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon of Pure Almond Extract
1 1/2 Cups of Frozen (or fresh) Blueberries
For the frosting I just did a basic powdered sugar frosting. Powdered sugar, almond extract, melted dairy free butter, a little water to thin.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×9 inch square pan with parchment and coat with non stick spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Cut in the 6 Tablespoons of butter. Add the eggs, coconut milk, vanilla and almond extracts, and whisk to combine. Fold in the blueberries.
Spread the batter into the pan and bake (I use convection) for 35 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan by grabbing the edges of the parchment liner and place on a cooling rack. Cool completely and frost.