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vegitarian

What one food vegetarians should avoid when battling Lyme

You may be a vegan or vegetarian who eats soy products to increase your protein.

Nurse Jean Reist has treated Lyme patients in her Pennsylvania clinic. She explains the importance of protein in the diet.

Think of it as your weekly tasks of stocking your fridge with healthy foods and taking out the garbage. That’s similar to what occurs inside the lymph nodes on a regularly basis.

Critical trace minerals are transported by protein through the lymph system. If the patient’s diet lacks protein, the lymph system cannot properly do its job of delivering nutrients to the cells and taking out the toxins.

So she suggests vegetarians help out by adding a small amount of animal protein to their diet while battling the Lyme bacteria.

Eggs, whey, fish okay — but not soy.

Reist cautions against soy products because soy is high in copper. Lyme patients must also try to rid our bodies of an overload of metals, among them lead, aluminum, mercury, and copper.

Learn about
Lyme Disease and protein.

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Eat your (fresh organic) veggies!

Summertime means fresh, organic veggies and fruits. I'm a sprouts fanatic. They're easy to eat and digest. I've always liked them, but even more so since I've been fighting Lyme. Sprouts are just so delicious and appealing.

On a sunny day it's nice to come home from the grocery store or farmer's market and toss together a mouth-watering salad of greens. You might add in fresh ripe tomatoes, peas, shredded carrots and/or beets, and top it with a handful of broccoli or clover sprouts and drizzle on your favorite dressing. I like to crumble bits of organic goat cheese on top too. Raw foods can be beautiful to behold, and so full of zest and prana. The nicest part is that afterwards, you don't feel sluggish. Just clean and energized.

Fresh, raw food diets have been used with success to ease the pain of many chronic diseases. But your body must be at a stage where eating raw foods can help boost your vitality, and not simply give it more work to do. During an acute stage of Lyme disease, raw foods may be too harsh to digest. Before you become a raw foodie, talk with your Lyme doc. If possible, consult a nutritionist who is educated about Lyme disease.

During early or acute stages of Lyme disease, your body might not be able to handle many raw foods. However, since raw veggies are rich in enzymes, they can be very beneficial in later stages of Lyme.

Sprouts, though, are a helpful food to eat during any stage of Lyme. You don't even have to go to the store or the market for these - grow your own!

Given the right conditions, teeny-weeny vegetable seeds grow into flavorful veggies. Sprouted broccoli, clover and radish seeds can contain many times the nutrients of the mature vegetable. Broccoli sprouts are one of my favorites because they contain sulforaphane, a long-lasting antioxidant that has powerful anti-bacterial qualities.

Going raw is a personal choice, up to you and your doctors. You can always add more leafy green vegetables to your diet without going totally raw.

Veggies with sulforaphane:

Bok choy
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Collard greens
Kale
Kohlrabi
Mustard greens
Turnips
Radish
Watercress
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Vegetarians with Lyme disease

When I interviewed Jean Reist, RN, for our Lyme experts' series, I could hear the angst in her voice. She worries that her vegetarian patients do not get enough protein. As she explains, the lymph system doubles as a grocery delivery-person and trash collector in our immune system. The lymph carries the nutrients to each cell, then turns around and carries the trash away. Without sufficient amounts of protein, the lymph cannot do its job and the system gets slogged down.

Reist's Pennsylvania clinic is located in the heart of what many consider a Lyme epidemic, and a significant number of the patients she treats for Lyme disease are vegetarians. Her chief concern is that many patients calling themselves vegetarian don't actually eat many vegetables. According to NAVS , the North American Vegetarian Society, a vegetarian diet can factor into radiant good health. However, getting enough iron and protein takes some knowledge and a little mealtime planning. It's easy for people to make the mistake of assuming that the absence of meat in the diet equals a healthier diet. Not true--especially if it means they've stopped eating meat and simply replaced it with pasta, potatoes and bread.

Generally speaking, vegetarians seem to benefit from an impressive amount of health advantages, such as lowered risk of heart disease, fewer cases of chronic disease and Diabetes Type 2, and on average, they live longer. However, eating a vegetarian diet doesn't automatically guarantee better health. Reist strongly suggests that her patients add eggs, cheese or fish to their diet as they struggle to heal from Lyme.

If you're a vegetarian or vegan with Lyme, how do you know you're getting enough protein? Do you include a wide array of veggies in your diet, and do you include legumes, which are rich in iron?



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