It’s Not about the Lyme; It’s about the Individual
NOURISH, HEAL, THRIVE: A Comprehensive and Holistic Approach to Living with Lyme Disease is an essential companion for anyone struggling with the long-term challenges associated with Lyme-related illness. Rika Keck shares her extensive clinical knowledge and expertise from a whole-person perspective. Informative and engaging, this valuable holistic and nutritional guide serves as an important adjunct to every Lyme and coinfection treatment protocol.
Rika Keck founded NY Integrated Health, LLC, in 2006. With a mind-body philosophy, the company integrates foundational principles including personalized nutrition, lifestyle, and physiological stress management while also considering the impact of environmental toxins, chronic infections, emotional trauma, and genetic predispositions.
|Publisher:||Greenleaf Book Group, LLC|
|Product dimensions:||5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.65(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Nourish Heal Thrive
By Rika Keck
River Grove BooksCopyright © 2017 Rika Keck
All rights reserved.
Nourish, Heal, Thrive
To improve our resilience in regards to chronic infections, we must place great emphasis on nourishment, beginning with the foods we eat. Consider this book a starting point for your specific dietary needs and a trusted self-help guide that reveals how foods can heal or harm you. No, it is not about recipes and shakes; it is about exploring foods that are ideal — or not — for you today. I know that your daily dietary needs and your ability to tolerate foods can fluctuate with symptom flare-ups and side effects from medications, so you need to customize your daily choices to what you can tolerate at a certain time.
When you are feeling nauseous from medications and are herxing, you might only be able to tolerate a few sips of chicken soup or a bowl of oatmeal. (Herxing is named after Adolf Jarish and Karl Herxheimer. It describes a systemic inflammatory reaction after antimicrobial treatment is introduced and the body is not able to clear the die-off toxins.) Your body knows best.
After prolonged illness with antibiotic treatment and other medications, many people suffer from digestive dysfunction, which affects their resilience and ability to thrive. Treating infections without addressing the individual's unique milieu will not bring desired results. Consider the following:
Prolonged stress of any kind alters your gut terrain, inflames the body, and increases toxicity. This plays an important role in your ability to heal and flourish after years of illness.
How efficiently you eliminate toxins plays an important part in your ability to become well.
Our gut houses up to seventy percent of the immune system; thus, our gut terrain is a major component of any personalized healing strategy.
This book goes into great detail regarding optimal food options and overall digestive wellness strategies. The collateral damage from long-term use of oral antibiotics and other medications is debilitating for the gut, because they alter the flora diversity and internal regulation between different microbial species.
Our gut health plays an important role in our energy, mood, and resilience; we must keep that in mind, especially because some infections, such as Lyme and Bartonella, can directly target the gut, making us feel depressed and anxious. Digestive function is compromised when chronic infections are present, and this raises various questions, including —
Can healthy foods give you a headache?
How does your gut flora affect your food sensitivities?
Are you eating the right fats and oils that lower inflammation?
How does your stomach lining affect your chronic joint pain?
What role does your gallbladder play in your inability to tolerate healthy fats?
Many have sought out nutritional counseling in the past in an attempt to alleviate digestive troubles and extreme energy slumps while also treating their Lyme infections. However, when it comes to secondary gut infections, such as Blastocystis hominis, Cryptosporidium, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and Giardia, nutritional modifications without targeted antimicrobial interventions will not be effective. Advanced gut testing from specialized labs is helpful in ruling out hidden infections in the digestive tract. This is all part of the Lyme labyrinth.
When it comes to what foods are best for you, consider that specific influences, including your ancestral traits, environment, financial means, stress levels, gut health, and food preparation all matter. A question I often hear from my clients is, "What foods can I eat?" I wrote this book to help you answer this question. I am sure you know that what you eat affects your digestive symptoms, but how do you choose which diet is right for you when there are so many to choose from? It can be very confusing.
The environment and food availability have changed tremendously in the last hundred years. We are able to preserve, ship, and transport foods around the globe and are now eating foods that do not correspond to our immediate environment and climate. If you are living in a cold climate, you want to eat warming foods, such as stewed meats or braised vegetables; compare this to eating cooling foods like salads or watermelon, which are ideal in the summer or when living in a tropical climate. Food availability during different seasons is important because locally grown, seasonal foods support our body's needs in our specific climate. It is time to see the big picture — your own unique dietary picture within your immediate environment.
Maybe you are hoping to find out what the perfect diet is for dealing with the collateral damage from Lyme infections. If I said this book will provide you with all the answers, I would be untruthful.
There is no such thing as a perfect diet. We are all different.
Just as we each have a different shoe size, we each have a different biochemical makeup. Yes, many of us wear a size eight shoe, but there are many variances to consider. For example, how wide does the shoe need to be to accommodate a bunion, a longer second toe, or a wider foot? What color or style of the size eight shoe do you prefer? With persistent chronic Lyme infections, you need a fortified and resilient shoe that fits your unique foot — and one that can handle any terrain. Your dietary needs are unique, and they must be seen in context with your ability to digest foods at the present time. With your health challenges, you need a customized nutritional approach that fortifies and energizes your body and mind so you can get back into a life of fulfillment and productivity.
Your body knows what it needs to help you get better; it is best to closely assess how you feel when you eat foods after each meal. Some individuals respond better to a diet high in protein and healthy fats, and others feel ill when eating a lot of fatty foods, even if the fats are healthy. If you are salivating for a lamb chop, that is your body talking. If you dislike dark meats and prefer to eat a plate of vegetables, that is also your body talking. Listen to it. (The Healthexcel System of Metabolic Typing can be very helpful in fine-tuning your dietary needs.) Common examples of how our dietary needs change as our bodies change include a pregnant woman who may be craving foods she did not care for prior to pregnancy; or when a woman experiences chocolate cravings before menstruation, and then the craving dissipates after a few days; or when you are not feeling well, chicken soup is welcome, but a Cobb salad is not. Thus, a generalized approach does not work, even though it certainly would be easier if there was a one-size-fits-all diet for individuals dealing with persistent Lyme and toxic mold illness.
Some foods may not agree with you. With a sluggish gallbladder, which often occurs with chronic infections and various medications, fat digestion can be a challenge; yet we need a variety of fatty acids to protect our brain, to lower inflammation, to support our hormones, and to help us function. Other foods might cause you to experience bloating or gas. There are various possible reasons for this, and I will address many of them in this book. Respecting your unique nutritional needs is key.
Ultimately, it is not about the food, it is about how your unique biochemistry responds to the foods you eat. You might already be following a specific dietary path and feel some improvement but have reached a plateau. The information in this book can take you to the next level, or it might present you with an angle you had not considered before — especially when it comes to your nutrient absorption, gut flora health, and blood sugar balance. And if no one has ever mentioned gut repair, mitochondrial function, membrane wellness, butyrate, or glutathione to you, you will know all about it by the time you finish reading this book.
This book is not about a specific diet. Instead, it is about creating your own eating plan that works for you and makes you feel better by lowering inflammation, giving you energy, decreasing bloating, preventing unwanted weight gain, and supporting your gut restoration.
You can choose any dietary approach (and there are so many), yet none of them will be effective if you do not consider the important role of digestion, absorption, and elimination. All must be optimized, especially when dealing with multiple symptoms from Lyme-related infections. I recommend making gut healing part of your daily nourishing program because it plays a very important role in your long-term ability to thrive. Each step of the digestive process matters, and when it functions correctly, you will be able to eat a wide variety of foods without indigestion, bloating, or blood sugar crashes.
By following the action steps provided in this book, you will nourish your depleted body and heal your gut by —
Exploring optimal food choices that you can tolerate
Accessing an insider's perspective of why you may not be able to tolerate certain foods
Learning about the important fats and oils that lower inflammation
Optimizing food preparation for your individual challenges
Lowering your stress
Implementing helpful tips to improve the function and health of your digestive tract
Increasing your energy by supporting your brain and adrenals
Supporting blood sugar balance with food choices
Optimizing your ability to detox, so you can lower the accumulated toxic burden in the body
Moving on a daily basis, choosing options that make you feel better and think better
Resetting the mind (Instead of being defined as a chronic Lyme patient, reestablish your identity as a creative, gifted, and spiritual being who is on a human journey.)
My philosophy is a positive approach — focus on the foods you can eat, rather than focusing on what not to eat (that only reinforces sabotage and cravings). Do not try to be perfect; that is impossible and will only create added stress. However, elimination of inflammatory food triggers such as refined sugar, processed foods that are high in sodium, gluten, yeast-containing foods, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, and soy is necessary if you want to become well.
Multiple food intolerances and hidden infections increase inflammation, drain your hormones, affect your fertility and bone health, and cause fatigue. There are informative guidelines and nutritional action steps in this book to help you navigate your dietary conundrum. Some action steps may be familiar to you, and some may not. Implementing these over time will help your body's ability to deal with infections as your energy increases.
Throughout the book, I mention nutritional, herbal, and homeopathic supplementation that complement customized dietary strategies, but know that I believe in a foundational food-first approach. This book will give general information regarding supplements that can assist you on your dietary path, but you must discuss your unique situation with your physician before starting any supplementation.
Everyone has challenges when living with Lyme, and everyone responds differently to different foods. As such, this book is created as a general guide, not as a nutritional prescription. Take your time; take it page by page. I hope that you will find it helpful and that it will make your life better. I invite you to start on the path to support your overall wellness.
When it comes to what you eat, spending time shopping and on food preparation will take work and energy. A sometimes complex schedule of medications and supplements is an additional challenge, especially when you are feeling tired. So think about what you can you do to add energy into every day. Rest periods? Meditation? Planning adequate rest helps to lower your stress, and you will have more stamina for self-care during the day. Rather than thinking of this as work, why not consider taking care of yourself as part of a nourishing lifestyle?
* * *
Become mindful of the foods you choose to eat: They can help heal you. When you hold a bunch of celery or kale in your hand, is it not a marvel, this gift nature gives us? When making broth from bones, is it not a gift that the animal kingdom gives us? Maintaining a sense of gratitude in adversity is helpful during tough times; it reconnects us to healing and hope.
Nourishment from loving relationships will increase your resilience in the face of the tough reality that you deal with every day that not many understand. I will be frank; living with Lyme, coinfections, and mold illness can be a tough, lonely, expensive, and overwhelming road. Navigating daily life with a lack of stamina can be a difficult process (especially if you are living alone).
By connecting with Mother Nature and your inner spiritual being, you can open up channels of hope and healing that will support your immune system, lift your mood, and reduce your hormonal stress. Taking care of yourself also includes appropriate daily movement. Do what you can, go slow, and take appropriate rest afterward. Movement supports flow of your lymphatic and digestive systems and energizes the mind and body.
We have to nourish as a whole from a mind-body perspective. This takes mindfulness, careful planning, and patience; it is a slow process, and it takes practice. Lowering your stress with daily biofeedback techniques, deep breathing exercises, or meditation will greatly assist you in getting back into a life that is not defined by Lyme-related infections, chronic fatigue, and hopelessness.
It is very important to be kind to yourself. Surround yourself with supportive family, friends, and colleagues who understand your daily challenges without judgments. Emotional nourishment also includes surrounding yourself with positive individuals who make you laugh out loud or lift your spirits, especially when you are having tough days. You cannot do it alone. This can be in your immediate community or in a virtual community, wherever you receive compassion, understanding, and kindness. Take time to reflect on joyful moments or relationships in your life. This will increase your coping skills during difficult days when you are filled with doubt that you will get better or you are frustrated with joint pain or your daily life. There will be tough days; you know that. Do not hesitate to reach out to someone you trust when you need to share your pain, frustration, or despair.
Embrace other healing arts that are supportive on an emotional and spiritual level. When we wish to heal, it is not only about our physical body. Our emotional body and mind must be part of this complex journey. Past traumatic experiences must be addressed because they play an important role in our ability to become well. Family constellations, shamanic healing, hypnosis, energy healing, homeopathy, and meditation are helpful at this level.
Instead of thinking of yourself as a chronic Lyme patient, reset your thinking. Become proactive in the self-care areas of your life where you do have control. Taking care of your digestive tract and adrenal glands will go a long way; your efforts will be worth it because you will have more energy than before. Give your body a break by decreasing toxic environmental exposures as best as you can. Should you learn just one tip in this book that makes your health change for the better, then writing it was worth it for me. Becoming well is neither a race nor is it linear. In everyone's life, there are always curveballs along the way.
Experiencing small changes for the better on a daily basis are the rainbows we seek, and these provide the motivation to show up every day, on good days and bad days. Take a step back and observe yourself with kindness and love, not judgment and frustration. You are doing your best; take comfort in that.
I invite you to read about the landscape of chronic Lyme in the next chapter. Having a good understanding of the labyrinth of Lyme will make it easier to chart your unique healing strategy. The more you know and the more tools you acquire in your toolbox to handle your own sickness, the more you increase your body's ability to tolerate treatment and to live with the infections — and that is empowering.
"We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails."
Excerpted from Nourish Heal Thrive by Rika Keck. Copyright © 2017 Rika Keck. Excerpted by permission of River Grove Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
CHAPTER ONE Nourish, Heal, Thrive,
CHAPTER TWO The Landscape of Persistent Lyme — A Functional and Holistic Perspective,
CHAPTER THREE Eat For Energy,
CHAPTER FOUR The Whole Food Kaleidoscope,
CHAPTER FIVE Energize — The Blood Sugar, Food, and Stress Connection,
CHAPTER SIX Action Steps to Support Your Blood Sugar Balance and Energy,
CHAPTER SEVEN Digest + Absorb = Nourish,
CHAPTER EIGHT Action Steps to Optimize Digestion and Absorption,
CHAPTER NINE What Goes In Must Go Out — The Elimination Factor,
CHAPTER TEN Action Steps for Constipation and Diarrhea Resolution,
CHAPTER ELEVEN The Mind-Body Connection,
CHAPTER TWELVE "Friend or Foe" Foods,
APPENDIX A An Easy and Practical Shopping List,
APPENDIX B Rika's Simply Nutritious Shakes,
APPENDIX C Rika's Favorite Bone Marrow Broth,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR,