Carol (Missy) Cohen MPH, CHHC

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Not Everyone Gets Lyme Disease from a Tick Bite!

 

I was one of the “lucky” ones. My massage therapist found a tick on my back and 10 days later, to the day, I had  flu-like symptoms.  I was achy, feverish, extremely fatigued and had a bad headache. Normally this is something that I would just suffer through and deal with but it was August and I had just heard my acupuncturist talk about Lyme a few weeks previously. I dragged my body to the nearest minute-clinic where the nurse took one look at the bulls-eye rash on my back and informed me that I do, indeed, have Lyme disease.

But not everyone can identify a tick bite and NOT EVERYONE GETS LYME DISEASE FROM A TICK BITE!

Find Pain Relief through an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

So many people do not understand what inflammation this is and certainly do not realizing that it is connected to all the aches and pains that they are experiencing from “just” getting old or from their various disease states.

When you fall and scrape your knee, your immune system comes running to your defense to protect any outside “stuff” from coming into your body. That stuff might be bacteria, dirt, viruses or other things. You know your immune system is there and doing its job because you might bleed which pushes the gook out. Then a layer will form over it as a scab to keep more things from getting in. You will probably see some whitish-yellowish goo form over it. These are your white cells who are the active army in fighting any foreign invaders.

Now, think about your digestive system. At the end of the day, your digestive system is basically a tube extending through the center of your body. It starts at your mouth and ends at your anus.  Things enter through your mouth, travel through the whole digestive track and get eliminated at the other end. Of course, this is a VERY simplistic view of what happens. That tube that extends through your body is still technically part of the outside world. Scientists say that what separates some of that tube from the outside world is ONE CELL LAYER thick! WOW!

Obviously, it is not hard to damage your digestive system. Many of us have inadvertently destroyed it by eating processed foods (Think foods that come in a box.), sugar, gluten/wheat and dairy. Antibiotic use also destroys our digestive system by destroying bacteria that help keep our gut healthy. It does not take much to break down that barrier and allowing “stuff” from our outside world to enter into our system even when we do not know it is happening.

When this happens, much like the scrape on your knee, your immune system goes into overdrive. It sends those white cell “warriors” to attack the things that it doesn’t think belong there. These battles that occur can happen anywhere in your body. They can happen in your joints, brain, bones, muscles… anywhere. When they do, this causes pain that we associate with “just getting old” or the inflammation of chronic diseases such as arthritis, sarcoidosis, cancers and Lyme Disease, just to name a few.

When you take away the foods that your immune system is attacking, you can find relief from those aches and pains. Sometimes in as little as a couple of days! Some common culprits that cause inflammation in our bodies are:

Sugar – sugar is everywhere. Any words that end in -ose and -ol are sugars.  Also, be aware of                  natural sugars such as honey, maple syrup, agave.

Gluten/wheat – Gluten releases a protein in our gut called zonulin. Zonulin relaxes the junctions            in our gut that help keep it sealed off from the outside world. When those junctions relax, leaky              gut results.

Dairy – Two-thirds of the population is lactose intolerant and do not realize it. Two-thirds! Are               you? Give up dairy for 3 weeks and reintroduce 2 big glasses of milk or servings of cheese a day               and watch how your body responds. For many, the inability to clear their throat, achy joints and             headaches are just a few of the symptoms. It also has been linked to many mood issues.

Even foods that many would consider “healthy” such as broccoli and tomatoes can lead to inflammation. The gold standard to figure out what you are reacting to is to do an elimination diet. Another way is to get tested. The testing is very easy to do with a test kit that you can order off of Amazon and send to a lab. Work with a Functional Medicine Practitioner to accurately read and apply the results.

 

My Diagnosis of Lyme Disease

I consider myself one of the lucky ones. My experience with Lyme started exactly 10 days after my massage therapist found a tic on my back. I got the “flu.” I was running a temperature, had a headache, body aches,my neck felt like it could not support my head and my lymph nodes were so swollen that I could barely swallow. The following day, my husband, my youngest son and myself were supposed to leave for Chicago to pick up my other son and drive to a place to watch a total eclipse. I could not get out of bed.

As I laid in bed, I was thinking to myself, “It’s August. Who, but you, Missy, gets the flu in August?” My brain started going back to a meeting that I had sat in on a few months prior. I had joined a BNI group (Business Network International) and in our group, we have an amazing acupuncturist who I am lucky to call my friend. She happens to be an expert on Lyme Disease because her own son had it as a toddler and, at 19, has suffered the repercussions of it his entire life.

As I thought about it, her presentation came back to me. You don’t have to have remembered a tic bite to have Lyme Disease. However, a tic bite followed approximately 10 days later by flu-like symptoms means that you should not wait. You should not pass go. Get yourself immediately to a doctor and have them put you on a 2 week course of doxycycline.

I dragged my butt out of bed and got myself to the doctor. As the nurse was gathering my information, I lifted up my shirt and showed her where the tic had been. She immediately wrote me a script for the antibiotic.

I drove home chanting, “It’s early. You’ll be okay. It’s early. You’ll be okay. You got this. You know what to do. “ and, the reassuring thing is, I do know what to do.

With this acupuncturist as my friend and on speed dial with all of her amazing experience and my own background as a Functional Medicine Practitioner, I’ve got this.

One of the first things I did was boost my immune system. I have a foreign invader in my body and I am NOT going to roll over and say, “Sure. Come on in and take over!” That’s like inviting the vampire into your home. Everyone who watches bad movies knows that you do not do that!

I think it is important for people to realize that I am 51 years old and I do not take any medication. I will not take an aspirin for a headache. I know how to eat a healthy diet. I am not always perfect with it because we all make choices and sometimes the choices that I make do not serve my body but, for the most part, I do pretty well. When I do get a headache or struggle with my period, I use DoTerra essential oils and I work hard on my self-care. My journey into the world of holistic medicine started 10 years ago when, after working with conventional medicine because my youngest had severe constipation and stomach cramping, we were introduced to my mentor who is a health coach, who figured out that my 8 year old is lactose intolerant. That led me to the world of Functional Medicine and introduced me to the knowledge and education that has given me the tools to truly help myself and others heal.

I immediately stocked up on a bunch of supplements that will help me boost my immune system including vitamin C, cod liver oil, vitamin D, zinc picolinate and magnesium. I crawled back into bed and I called my friend, the acupunturist.

I could hear the concern in her voice as soon as I said “Lyme Disease. “ She sighed and then said, “It’ll be okay. You caught it early and we know what to do.” Absolutely! And, this is when I am grateful for the friends that I have, “I have an herb that I want you to take. It’s called Spiro-X. How can I get it to you?”

I had started the Doxycycline as soon as I had brought it home and, by the next morning, I was boosting my immune system and had the Spiro-X on board as well. I was tired and had no intention of leaving the house. That was officially a week ago today. I have waves of exhaustion and at the beginning of the week, I was struggling with focus but by Thursday I was back greeting clients at my salt room and coaching others to optimal health.

I know that this is just the beginning but I have also learned that many people struggle with what to eat, how to support their immune system and how to slow down and listen to their body. I feel that I was given this gift as a smack across the forehead that I am meant to help others on their journey.

Please, let me know what you struggle with most on your recovery from Lyme Disease.

Finding Energy – It’s More Than Just Choosing the Right Foods!

The first step to optimum health is making food choices that serve our unique bodies. Foods that are high in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that can be used to create energy that makes us look and feel great!

So, if you feel like you are choosing the foods that will do this for you. If you are listening to my mantra and incorporating those foods into your lifestyle. Lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Don’t forget your healthy fats found in fish and the occasional piece of grass-fed organic beef. Yet you still are not losing weight and feel BLAH! Why is that?

To understand why you are consuming the right foods but still don’t have very much energy, let’s follow what happens after your food is consumed.

An Insider Look at Lunchtime in the Schools

I can’t believe that my youngest monster is starting his senior year tomorrow. If you have been following me, you are familiar with my son, Joshua, who we discovered is lactose intolerant while he was still in elementary school. Having a child with a food intolerance always makes social events interesting. You never know where a food that your child might not tolerate is lurking and the school lunches, despite drastic jumps in awareness and interest in our child’s health, are not always the best choices for our individual children. The truth of the matter is that we all just want our children to be happy, healthy and safe!

I am lucky to know Barbara Haimowitz. Barbara is a retired transitional kindergarten teacher. Because of her experience working in various schools, Barbara has insider information on exactly what gets eaten during school lunches and what many of the challenges are.

Lemon juice squeezer – a time saver in the kitchen!

While you can eat out and still stay healthy, it costs a small fortune to eat at those places that cater to organic fruits and vegetables and pasture-raised animals. So, unless you are well off financially and want you and your family to get and stay healthy, you really do need to spend some time in the kitchen. And most of us may enjoy cooking, or not, but we do not want to spend all day in the kitchen.

To that end, I have some tools in my kitchen that definitely make my life easier.

One of my favorites is the Amco Houseworks lemon juicer. You just cut a lemon in half, put half cut side up in the well and squeeze the top part down.

Why do I like it so much?

  • It’s bright yellow color makes it easy to locate in my kitchen drawer.
  • As described above, it is very easy to use.
  • The holes in the bottom of the squeezer allow the juice to flow out but not the seeds.
  • It is easy to wash and can even go on the top rack of the dishwasher.

I prefer fresh lemon juice in my recipes. This little, inexpensive kitchen tool provides the juice quickly and efficiently with little clean up to follow and no seeds.

Where to get one?

I bought mine in the grocery store for $9.99. They are also available on Amazon.

Let me know what you think!

What’s a Salt Room?

Salt caves and rooms are yet another example of old meeting new in the world of health, wellness and general relaxation.

What is a salt room?

A salt room, or cave, is a room that is decorated with salt, usually Himalayan salt, to create a relaxing and soothing environment. It may be simulated to feel like a cave with dim lights, “boulders” of salt along the edges and even granular salt on the floor. Or it may be more like sitting in your living room perhaps with one or more walls made with salt bricks. Perhaps there will be a mural that depicts a beach scene or a picture of a Buddha statue.

Radish and Beef Burgers – My Excellent Mistake!

 

A few days ago, I wrote about a mistake I made with an ingredient in a new recipe I was trying. The recipe was Beet and Beef Burgers from Clean Eating. Now, really I’ve been eating a fairly large variety of vegetables for a long time: pretty much since I outgrew the typical kid fare that many kids raised in the U.S. consume. I am even proud to say that my older son, who is a picky eater even at 19, can identify many vegetables that the average school child cannot. I remember watching an episode with Jaime Oliver with my son. Jaime was in a kindergarten classroom, holding up a tomato and the kids were looking stumped when he asked them what it was!

Are Your Cosmetics Toxic?

The FDA released a memo recently making the public aware that beauty products may be contaminated with mercury. You can see it here: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm294849.htm

Why is this a big deal?

Heavy metals are natural in our environment but when they build up in our bodies they become toxic and inflammatory. Mercury can cause agrophobia, panic attacks, and seizures. On the less extreme side, mercury toxicity can cause those annoying, little signs of “just getting older.” Things such as headaches, fatigue, achy and swollen joints, difficulty losing weight and more.

Depending on your diet, with a few nutritional tweaks and added supplements, those symptoms of “just getting older” can be a thing of the past. My grandmother was young and spry well into her 80’s!

Don’t eat mercury (or other heavy metals!)