Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's Treat Day

Or perhaps after Alyssa's earlier post it should be 'Cheat Day'.

I remember reading a quote from my Lyme doctor saying that when people are put under such strict dietary guidelines (which let's face it, those of us who have Lyme and have learned about the disease either on our own, or from a Lyme literate doctor know there are certain no-no's with Lyme) need to be able to allow themselves times to "cheat" otherwise it's just something else that can add to anxiety and depression over your illness. Now how often you can allow that happen is individual, some people may have such reactions they can't cheat but once a year on their birthday, for example. Then there's me, who insists I get one day a week to's the only thing that keeps me from completely losing my mind 6 days a week.

So here's the lowdown of all I can't have:

Gluten...that's been a major no-no even before I knew I had Lyme. I saw a nutritionist who was able to pinpoint a reaction to wheat in my system. Soon after that I found out I had Lyme and that gluten is one of the things Lymie's should avoid. I am not 11 months into treatment, and no longer have a physical reaction to gluten, so I am a bit more lax with this than I was a year ago. That doesn't change the fact that a gluten free diet is just a good idea, with or without Lyme.

Sugar...I've known all along this was bad, but paid no heed to it. Because honestly, after being on different forms of antibiotics now for 11 months, there are days I cannot stomach or tolerate any normal food. But I can almost always make room for S-U-G-A-R!!! (In my mind I spelled that out to the tune of the commercial for J-E-L-L-O, I hope you picked up the musical inflection in my writing.)

And Yeast. Apparently I was begining to show signs of a yeast infection (did I happen to mention I've been on antibiotics for 11 months???) This was a slap in the face. I didn't think it would be too hard, but as it turns out I really dig food that rises on it's own. And I want my food fluffy like bread, not flat and stick-to-your-teeth-like which is the case with tortillas.

So here I stand (technically I'm half laying down because I had too much sugar today) with my dietary restrictions, and today is my "happy day". Not only did I have something for dinner that included bread, I followed it up with a chocolate ice cream from my favorite little ice cream stand in the world. I'm finishing my Gatorade (I happen to have a secret love affair with high fructose corn syrup also, but we won't even begin to disect that issue until I get through the inability to eat toast and jam, together or by themselves). I'm ready to get back on the sugar and yeast free horse for another week, until my next cheat day comes along. Wait, I mean treat day...whatever, the day I get to eat (bread), drink (gatorade) and be merry (ICE CREAM!!!!)

So in response to Alyssa's earlier post and the question 'do you cheat?' I proudly answer yes, yes I do cheat. Do I feel good afterwards? No...but Lyme takes so much from you, you have to find a balance to not lose everything that is important to you in addition to the things you love. And I think that's what it comes down to, balance. We are not perfect, we are sick people who want to eat the same things the rest of the world, but we can't because those things can slow down our recovery. But we are human, and therefore I think I'm not the only one who can admit that yes, they do cheat.

Eric Rutulante

1 comment:

Alyssa said...

Eric...I like that you have given yourself a day. It's a great way to handle the pressure of such restrictions. I find now that I am further along in my treatment that I am able to just moderate myself...but I fall off the wagon and go food nutty sometimes. Also...since the Lyme I have acquired food allergies. I have anaphylactic reactions to dairy...but like Lyme I am hoping that will go away with treatment. I long for the day I can eat a slice of extra cheese pizza and top it off with an ice cream cone.