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Getting enough protein

Jean Reist, RN, tells me she is concerned about her vegetarian or vegan Lyme patients. She worries that they aren't getting enough protein, which is crucial in a healing diet. Protein, she says, is required to maintain a fully-functioning immune system. Being one of those people who hasn't eaten red meat since 12th grade when I ditched school to sit and scarf down Macs and fries with my buddies, I listen carefully when I hear Lyme specialists discuss the need for protein.

Protein works through the lymph system to help carry nutrients to your cells, and carry away the waste. Jean says she practically begs her patients who won't touch meat or fish to consider eating an egg or a slice of cheese. Her concern is that many people who call themselves vegans and veggies often fail to educate themselves about alternative sources of protein. Instead of eating a balanced diet, they simply consume more pasta and grains: more carbs.

Carbohydrates increase inflammation, which is exactly what we Lymies are trying to avoid. So although it's very easy to fix up a plate of spaghetti with a quick and tasty marinara sauce when you're cold and tired, it may only exacerbate your Lyme symptoms.

Meat, cheese and fish is all good, if it works for you. However, many health and diet professionals believe it is possible to get enough protein on a high quality vegan or vegetarian diet. You must educate yourself. Protein is available in foods such as phytoplankton, beans and kelp. Mmm, right? I know some of you don't consider phytoplankton food, unless you're a Baleen whale fitted with a special feeding mechanism.

Although I haven't consumed fast food since high school days, I am not a vegetarian. I have a weakness for salmon and goat cheese. I do take supplements, however, like so many people dealing with Lyme, and because I know that protein is a must for keeping my immune system in check, phytoplankton capsules are high on my list of daily requirements.

If you're a vegan or vegetarian, how do you get enough protein? I'd love to hear from you.
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