Archive for August, 2010

The Facts of Life

// August 30th, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Ashley's Blog

For a multitude of reasons being away from home is usually more trouble than it is worth. Going out to dinner or being invited to a friend’s for a meal often feels more of a chore than a treat. Traveling is never simple with fast food and gas stations as your main dining options it’s better to just bring your own.

Right now I am in the San Francisco Bay Area. I come here at least once a month to see my doctor who I love and keep trying to convince to move to Tahoe. He loves the outdoors and skiing. It would be perfect an my life would be so much easier!

Getting to the Bay Area is the first hassle. It’s about a four and a half hour drive. I often have to drive myself because my husband has to work two jobs to not even be able to keep us afloat, poor guy has worked 27 days in a row this month already. When I drive myself I always do fine for the first two or three hours. After that, honestly I shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a car. My cognitive function drops dramatically.

I arrive exhausted and typically get greeted by my 18 month old niece, who I love to pieces, but that means a nap is not an option for Auntie. My family loves me and they understand that I am sick. They do not understand my needs.

Luckily for me I didn’t have to drive myself down this month. Unluckily that means I don’t have a car. I greatly appreciate my grandparents letting me crash on the couch. Their generosity would is astounding, my sister and her daughter also currently live here, as does a cousin who just started at a local college.

So that is two senior citizens, a toddler, a single mother who works ridiculous hours, and a 6’3″ 300 pound teenage football player. The refrigerator is full, but trust me there is nothing for a Lymie to eat in there. I’m not even going to share with you what I have eaten today, you would be horrified!

I am glad I got the ride but it also means an extended stay in the house of chaos. Teenagers go to bed late and grandparents wake up early! I’m scared of dinner, although it can’t be much worse than lunch.

When I have my own car here at least I can go buy my own food. In my grandparents eyes I am still a child who does not know better. Trying to convince them that I don’t eat anything they have would seem as illogical to them as my trying to convince them the sky is green not blue. Facts are facts and according to them their food is fine and healthy for everyone.

Have I mentioned that I can’t drink the water here? There is so much chlorine in it sometimes I breakout in a rash from taking a shower! I gerenally don’t bother taking my pills when I am here either. There is no where to put them, everyone has questions and opinions about what I am taking or should be taking and why am I seeing that quack doctor? I should make an appointment to see their GP, she is wonderful. Right thanks for the advice.

I brush it all off, cast it aside and wish that my brother lived closer. Visiting him is exactly opposite. He loves when I come, I do all the shopping and cooking. He sleeps til 10am too!

On the plus side when I come here I get to see friends. Last night I went dinner with five other amazing women, all Lymies. It was wonderful and makes staying in the house of chaos totally worth it. I also will get to go to my favorite support group meeting tomorrow night and see most of these ladies again and even more friends. Grandma gave me frequent flyers miles to book flights to New York for my husband and I to attend the Turn the Corner Gala in November. I also have to admit that I love seeing my niece, it makes me feel very special that she screams her little head off whenever I leave the room.

I suddenly have this theme song running through my head so I changed the title of the post-

You take the good, you take the bad,
you take them both and there you have
The Facts of Life, the Facts of Life.

And that seems to fit the way I am currently feeling perfectly.

An Awesome Giveaway!!! You Gotta Be In It To Win It!

// August 26th, 2010 // 2 Comments » // LymeBites Blog

upcycled by ash lb post pic 3Most of you know Ashley van Tol.  She is the founder and creator of Lymenaide, she was the brains behind the ‘Paint May Lyme Green’ campaign, she is a frequent writer here on LymeBites, very active on Facebook and Twitter in raising awareness to Lyme disease, she’s the founder of the Lymenaide Awareness Team, and on top of all that she’s also my friend.  It’s been almost 6 months since I began working with Ashley on different projects, from writing for her website, to working like crazy all through the month of May to get the PSA’s done, to spread our message, and to be involved in Lyme awareness events from coast to coast.  In that 6 months I’ve come to love her like a sister.  She inspires me.  She is always raising the bar.  She is brilliantly creative.  And I don’t think there’s anything she can’t do when she puts her mind to it.

Part of what Ashley loves to do is to help do fundraising projects for not-for-profits.  At this time neither Lymenaide or LymeBites are not-for-profits, so we joined forces with other Lyme organizations in May to raise money to do the PSA’s.  But beyond Lyme Ashley took up a cause in the past few months with the Gulf Spill.  She began working with Nani, another team member and craftivist, and began upcyling projects to raise money to help with the Gulf.  We are kicking off another upcycling project this fall to benefit Lyme disease, and we’re really excited with all she and Nani are doing for that.

upcycled by ash lb post pic 4Ashley created another persona for her upcycling projects, and you can follow her adventures on her upcycling blog Ash’s Upcycled Blog.

upcycled by ash lb post picRight now she is in the middle of a very exciting giveaway, where you can choose your own bag!  You can enter as many times as you like, to find out how to enter and read more about it you can check out her post on the project Choose Your Own Bag Giveaway.  I encourage you all to check out her amazing stuff and enter the upcoming giveaway.  Her products are incredible, individual and make a great gift for your wife or girlfriend (for all you guys out there!!!)

You can also follow Ashley’s upcycling on Twitter @upcycledbyash as well as on Facebook at Upcycled By Ash Facebook Page.

Make sure to enter as many times as you can and increase your chance at winning the bag you choose!!

Way to go Ashley on such a great project and on the giveaway.  I already have picked out who I’m going to give it to if I win!

upcycled by ash lb post pic 2

What To Eat When You Can’t Eat Anything: Allergy Friendly Foodies

// August 23rd, 2010 // 4 Comments » // Candice's Corner

What do you get when you combine organic ground pork, pears, and a bag of roasted pumpkin seeds?

Absolutely nothing.

No, that wasn’t an incredibly lame joke. That was the question that I asked myself as I sat in front of my computer after arriving home from a trip to my lyme literate physician, my new list of “safe and unsafe foods” in hand. I scratched my head as I tried to map out a 4 day rotation diet that excluded all unsafe allergens but only used each of my safe foods once. I desperately wanted to rip the list to shreds and go back to my large book of crossword puzzles, because those puzzles were surely less complicated than the one sitting at my fingertips. As if having Late Stage Lyme Disease alone wasn’t perplexing enough.

Yet, I shook it off and started googling. I googled my little fingers off. I searched a countless number of terms, some of which included “dairy free smoothies”, “eggless breakfast ideas”, and “tomato free soups”. All of which had to also exclude gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, nightshades (tomato, potato, bell peppers, eggplant), most grains, eggs, corn, onion, garlic, chocolate, nuts, fish, and citrus. If one of those ingredients happened to slip into the recipe, I know my taste buds wouldn’t mind but my body would be quite an unhappy camper.

Needless to say, I didn’t come up with much.

So, I started experimenting myself with recipes and ideas, coming up with a few tasty successes here and there that soon became my staples, but also conjured up some pretty awful concoctions. I don’t think my taste buds will ever forget the heaping mass of slime that I called “Coconutty Okra”, or the disaster that I dubbed “Jicama and Parsnip Mashed Fotatoes”, a dish that has left me with absolutely no desire to ever toucha parsnip again.

Then one afternoon, after I was nearly googled out, I struck gold. I had set out to search for some recipes for turnips, since after my parsnip experience I was determined to never mash a root vegetable again. This time, I decided to type nearly all of my food allergies into the search along with the word “turnip”. I didn’t think I’d come up with anything, but to my surprise, “Affairs of Living” popped up onto my screen.

After leafing through Kim’s delectable gluten free, corn free, soy free, egg free, yeast free, citrus free, tomato free, potato free, peanut free sugar free recipes, I then explored her blog roll and came across a few other chefs that catered to folks like me. I explored their blog rolls, and before I knew it I had a collection of recipes that could not only be tweaked to work for my needs, but sparked the creative chef that resided somewhere inside of me (way, way deep inside, most likely). As I showcase some these newly discovered allergy friendly foodies, I’ll share a few of the treasures that I discovered on their blogs, in hope to help someone else who may have the “What to Eat When You Can’t Eat Anything” blues too.

Affairs of Living

Kim is a kickass cook. She also happens to be a lyme patient too, who I find to be incredibly inspiring in her journey to heal naturally and eat for wellness. Aside from her recipes being nutrient dense and free of gluten, corn, soy, egg, yeast, citrus, tomato, potato, peanuts and sugar, she’s recently gone grain-free for health, and it’s been pretty fascinating to see both her physical results and the resulting recipes that pop out of her kitchen.

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Turnip and Carrot Fries Recipe

Now turnips don’t usually thrill me, but I was excited to come across this recipe. My previous root vegetable trial and error had me sort of scarred, but Kim has officially turned my “augh, turnips” turned into “yay, turnips!”. Being nightshade free (that means no white potatoes) left me relying heavily on sweet potatoes, but after roasting turnips I’ve officially been cured of my sweet potato monotony. Funny thing is, I haven’t even roasted them with the crust yet! I plan to coat them in pumpkin seeds tomorrow night and have myself some potato free fries.

Diets Dessert n Dogs

Ricki rocks. This woman wears a lot of hats, but wears an apron along with them. Her recipes are primarily geared toward the anti-candida diet, but she’s also vegan and caters to those who are gluten free. Pretty perfect for a good majority of lyme patients, right? It also doesn’t hurt that Ricki is exceptionally kind and will answer yourquestions about how to solve your seemingly impossible ingredient issues when trying to recreate one of her recipes. When I contacted her wondering how I could make this recipe work for me, since I can’t do most of the grains on the lists, she let me in on a little secret…coconut flour can be used as a “List C” ingredient!

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Pick Your Own Pancakes Recipes

THE ultimate pancake recipe for someone who is allergic to more foods than they can count on all ten fingers. With this recipe you can pick yourown flours and ingredients off of her carefully categorized lists to create a tailored pancake recipe that suits you and your needs. Pretty brilliant, if you ask me.

Simply Sugar and Gluten Free

Amy has quite an inspiring story. She struggled with weight issues for nearly her entire life before making the connection between allergies and sensitivities and her difficulties with food. By admirably dedicating herself to eating both gluten and sugar free, she not only achieved and maintained a 60 pound weight loss, but discovered a newfound passion and sense of peace and balance.

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Gluten Free Socca

After coming across Ricki’s recipe, I was really in the mood for pancakes. I hadn’t figured out the logistics of her recipe yet though, since figuring out what to use for baking powder and such is a tad complicated in my case. In the meantime, while I sorted things out, I needed something to satisfy my pancake desire. This is when I discovered Amy’s recipe for ratatouille and Socca. I nearly scrolled by the recipe because I knew the ratatouille probably wouldn’t work for me since I’m nightshade free (but it’s a beautiful recipe for someone who is gluten, dairy, sugar free, and vegan!), but I was curious as to what on earth “Socca” could be. It sounded like it could be the singular form of “socks”, but to my surprise, Socca is a big chickpea pancake! I was delighted to discover this, because not only was the recipe simple and the ingredient list concise, it was free of all of my many allergens.

Elana’s Pantry

Elana’s history is an eclectic one, one that I find myself a tinge envious of! It ranges from studying ayurvedic cooking to running an environmental consulting firm. It wasn’t until she and her son were diagnosed with Celiac disease though that she ventured into the world of gluten free cooking. Her recipes have been such a success that she continued on to write a well known cookbook, “The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook”. Since she therefore primarily cooks with almond flour, you will find that most of her recipes are grain free as well as gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, and soy free.

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Apricot Butter

So at this point, I felt like I was definitely set in the pancake realm, but I soon realized that I had nothing to put on my potential pancake-type creations. I definitely couldn’t use maple syrup, at a whopping 50 grams of sugar per tablespoon, and I couldn’t quite use store bought jellies and jams due to both their sugar content and tendency to sneak in ingredients derived from corn. Upon a little searching, I discovered a delectable solution: Elana’s apricot butter. I’m going to use lactose/casein free Ghee to make it, and see if it works with fresh apricots rather than dried. I have an inkling that I’m going to be tempted to just dig into it with a spoon.

Hope For Healing

Though Stephanie is not a lyme patient, her story is a bit similar to my own. At 22 years old, just one year older than myself, she found herself in such bad condition digestively that doctors spoke of invasive tests and drastic surgeries. She decided instead to take matters into her own hands and eliminated gluten, dairy, sugar and soy from her diet. Her health improved leaps and bounds. She is now a Holistic Health Counselor and guides people who find themselves in situations like the one she once knew. I hope that someday my story ends as similar to hers as it began! It’s a dream of mine to be able to heal, then turn around help others follow in my footsteps.

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Leftover Brown Rice Porridge

Stephanie’s leftover brown rice recipe is the recipe behind what I eat for breakfast every day. I can’t exactly use almond milk and agave syrup like her enticing recipe calls for, but her recipe is what ignited the lightbulb in my bewildered brain. After walking away from my doctor’s office and realizing that I could no longer rely on my packaged brown rice hot cereal every day, I was grasping for ideas on what else on earth I could possibly eat. Thanks to Stephanie and her brilliant yet delightfully easy Leftover Brown Rice Porridge, I now keep a tupperware of brown rice and a tupperware of wild rice in the fridge so I can create all sorts of delicious leftover rice hot cereals. I even created a recipe of my own. Thanks Stephanie!

I want to thank all of these food allergy friendly bloggers for their hard work and willingness to share their kitchen creations. I know that it takes a whole lot of time and effort to come up with these recipes, experiment with the dishes, and then turn around and write about the results. The efforts definitely don’t go unappreciated though, especially by people like myself. When you have a complicated, disabling chronic disease that is affected so dramatically by the food that you choose to consume, things can become quite overwhelming. It’s hard to find both the physical capacity and the brain power to resist just laying on the couch and munching on popcorn and potato chips. I know though that doing so will just make me feel a whole world worse and feed the very disease that has taken hold of my ever-so allergic body. In fact, it’d probably even send me straight to the emergency room. It’s bloggers like you though that inspire patients like us to accept that fact and forge ahead, spatula in one hand and pill bottle in the other.

I hope this post also inspires some patients who have been told to go gluten free or allergen free to go ahead and take the plunge. I know it may feel as though your legs are as jelly-like as your apricot jam, and that you may collapse into a heap as flat as a pancake, but if I can do it in all of my dysfunctional glory, I bet you can too. These food allergy friend foodies and I will be here to cheer you on.

Recent Warning on LymeBites Site

// August 23rd, 2010 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

Hey everyone…many of you have contacted me about a warning message that was up on the site on Friday saying there could be a problem with the site. Bob the Magnificent quickly took care of the problem, but it took a while for Google to re-evaluate and remove the warning message. Have no fear, the site is fine and all warning messages have been removed. Thanks for the many emails to let me know about it, and thanks to Bob for getting it taken care of so quickly!

Empire State Lyme Disease Capital Region Chapter August Meeting

// August 20th, 2010 // 2 Comments » // Support Groups

The Capital Region Chapter of the Empire State Lyme Disease Association is pleased to sponsor a unique informational meeting to provide basic education regarding the proper maintenance and care of PICC lines and other types of intravenous (IV) therapies used in home-based treatments.

The meeting will be held on 


Tuesday, August 31, 2010,


at the 

Guilderland Public Library,

2228 Western Ave, Guilderland,


at 6:30PM.