by TBDA junior board member Lauren Sturges
It is often a strain to remember what life was like pre-tick bite. I find myself struggling to recall sitting down with friends and having pizza and beer, or leaving for a weekend without packing my body’s weight in supplements and medication.
For so many of us, survival mode has become a constant state; and remembering better times is like trying to remember peace in the middle of war. I believe that anyone who has experienced tick-borne illness firsthand wouldn’t find this comparison far-fetched. We are truly at battle with our bodies, our insurance companies, our doctors, our employers, and even sometimes our own family and friends.
It is easy to get bogged down thinking about how different your life might be if you hadn’t gotten that fateful bug bite. I spent the first of my sickest months obsessing over every trivial decision and event that led me there.
For dramatic effect, I wish I could say that I woke up one day with a new mentality, but the change happened slowly. I had just switched to a new doctor, who put me on a very strict diet. No dairy, no gluten, no sugar, no acidic foods, no red meat—the list went on.
Talk about insult to injury. I loved to eat. How could I survive this diet? Visions of lukewarm wilty spinach danced in my head. But I was willing to try it. Anything to get my life back.
It was tough at first. I became so put off of vegetables that I invested in a blender. I heard you could hide their powerful taste in smoothies. I was dubious, but shocked at how delicious my first creation was. It tasted almost exactly like a milkshake.
I began to wonder what other beloved foods I could make healthy versions of. I was out of bed more and experimenting in the kitchen. Pizza, pancakes, even desserts were all possible with a little creativity (and Stevia).
Then something wonderful happened. I started to feel better. My body became stronger and I began to do things I was worried I’d never do again. I could drive. I could grocery shop. I could travel.
Social media was the perfect medium to share photos and recipes on. I connected with hundreds of tick-borne disease sufferers and others with chronic illness. I discovered that a clean diet helped people all over the world to find a better quality of life.
It makes sense. When we are sick our bodies are more vulnerable to the environment. We feel every indiscretion we make. But in this, there is a silver lining. We have the ability to listen more closely to our bodies’ needs and give them the tools they need to fight this battle.
For me, and so many others, what started as survival mode has become a better, more sustainable way of life. Sure, some days we must mourn our losses, but there is something to be profoundly grateful for. Tick-borne disease can force us to open our eyes to new modes of living, new inner resolve, and to flaws in the system that governs our lives. It can make us stronger people and wiser citizens.
I look forward to sharing with you each week the things that I have learned in my own battle, from eating clean on a budget, to introducing anti-inflammatory foods into your diet. I will also be sharing some of my recipes with you. I hope we can be an inspiration to each other to support our doctors’ protocols with healthy, healing decisions.
You can find me on www.Instagram.com/VirtualSpoons. I also have a Facebook account and Twitter under the same handle. My website www.VirtualSpoons.com will be up soon!