by Dr. Bill Rawls
Whether you have Lyme disease or other chronic illness, Dr. Rawls shares three basic diet tips for getting well faster.
Question: What’s the Best Diet for Lyme Disease?
Dr. Rawls here with some tips on diet.
When you look at any kind of chronic illness —Lyme disease or any other illness — gut dysfunction is always a component, and a lot of it stems from eating a poor diet. Just the process of digestion itself can cause gut dysfunction. So diet is really, really important.
We could go on for hours and hours about diet, but I’ve tried to boil it down to three basic guidelines. If you can adopt these three habits, then you will change your life from a diet point of view. You’ll feel better, and you’ll start getting well faster. Diet is really key.
Guideline #1: Eat more vegetables than anything else. Vegetables are just such an important component of diet. Vegetables supply the kind of fiber that keeps our gut and digestive process hydrated. It’s the kind of fiber that feeds the right bacteria. It’s the kind of fiber that helps pull toxins out of your body.
Vegetable fiber is very different than grain fiber, plus there are all the other antioxidants and wonderful things that come in vegetables. That’s my top rule for anything that is related to diet. No matter what diet you follow, the number one rule is, eat more vegetables than anything else.
Fruits? They’re also pretty darn good. They have a lot of the same antioxidants and good fiber and everything else, but also a lot more sugar. Temperate fruits like apples and blueberries are really good.
Guideline #2: Try to minimize the processed food. This is one that I struggle with every day, too. When I go to the grocery store, my target is not reading the labels on food, but instead I shoot for a goal of trying to make 90% of my food come without a label. Instead I buy lots of fruits and vegetables and fresh foods that I take home and prepare myself. Being part of the food preparation process is a wonderful part of life, and of being part of the food environment.
If you can, shoot for a goal of looking at your cart and saying, “90% of this doesn’t have a label on it,” or, “It’s basically a single ingredient like a carton of milk or a tub of butter.” And then avoid foods where you’re looking at the label and thinking, “Wow, I don’t understand some of these ingredients on this label.” Those are better left on the shelf.
Now, it’s hard to do that with everything. I don’t make my own mayonnaise, I don’t make my own ketchup, so there are certain things I buy. If you can aim for that 90% goal, you’re going to cut out a lot of those high-carb processed food products that are harming people.
The high-carb processed food products derived from wheat, corn, and soybeans are a leading cause of illness in our country today. If you make that rule of making your own food from fresh ingredients, you’re going to cut all of that processed stuff out at the beginning.
Guideline #3: Eat healthy protein and fat sources. Top of my list for protein is predominantly fish and eggs. Right now, the most cost-effective and available source of good protein on the planet is fresh wild-caught salmon from Alaska. It’s remarkably inexpensive compared to other protein sources. So, I eat healthy fish and eggs.
I also eat some poultry. I occasionally eat red meat, but not very often because of the high fat content and the other things that come with it. So if you can, shoot for good, healthy protein and fat sources.
Another great fat source includes olive oil. That’s my main cooking oil, but I don’t cook it at a high temperature so I don’t burn the oil. I eat a lot of avocados. I use a little bit of ghee (clarified butter) in my cooking because it adds another dimension to the cooking that’s really special, and ghee doesn’t burn when you heat it on the stove. It doesn’t disrupt the fats like some of your refined vegetable oils.
Those are the top three things. If you can really focus on those things alone, you will do wonders for your diet and well-being.