I just saw a post on Facebook about the artificial sweetener Aspartame. It said the documented side effect list has 90 symptoms on it. It reads just like a Lyme symptom list!
For what it's worth, I just thought I'd encourage those with Lyme to do some research on it before consuming it. It sounds like it creates an additional burden on the body that is hard for a person with Lyme to tolerate.
I just googled aspartame sensitivity, and wow a lot of links.
I'm guessing there are people who are chemically sensitive to it, since it's a manmade chemical that our genes were never prepared for, so some of us may not tolerate it well.
I know it's not practical for many people, but a couple of years ago after Lyme and babs and a massive systemic fungal infection from antibiotics, I stripped my diet down to the basics: grains, vegetables, fruit, protein, all as basic as possible. Then I add herbs and other things that I know the composition of (that is, they are not manmade chemicals like aspartame and don't have additives or preservatives with mysterious names), and it works extremely well for me. Sounds boring, but truly it's not. I'm not against 'modern' food, but find that a simple (yet delicious) diet suits me well. Not unlike a peasant or farmer's diet. Organic is good (when available and when not ridiculously expensive); the large chain grocery where I do most of my shopping has a house brand of canned goods that are organic, and they are quite good (and cheap!).
Once the taste buds aren't screaming for Doritos anymore, regular food is quite delicious. So I'm back to eating like my great-grandparents did, and it's working well for me. Just a thought. :)
I've been avoiding aspartame for years since my sister warned me how dangerous it is. Pretty much all artificial sweeteners are dangerous/toxic, but that's the worst if I remember rightly.
Since the symptoms overlap so much, I wonder if it toxifies the methylation cycle, which is the detox pathyway that lyme toxins overload. ?? Just thinking aloud.
Lots of lyme symptoms are caused by that toxin buildup, and if you can help the detox process you can improve lots of symptoms even when you haven't got the infection under control yet. I'm taking a heap of supplements that help with this and once you work out the right doses, they really make a difference - when I run out of vits I get a lot of yucky symptoms coming back.
I was a Diet Coke addict (down to 1 can a day) until my Lyme symptoms got pretty bad. My research led me to magnesium deficiency (I had 9 of 10 symptoms) and it said that soda contributes to mag deficiency. I also read about how bad aspartame is, especially in someone who is not completely healthy, and decided to stop. I have been drinking only water with the occasional lactose free milk or herbal tea, and I can say that after about 15 months, I am well over my addiction. I took a sip of my husband's diet coke a couple weeks ago and I thought it tasted awful, not to mention the acidic feeling. I can finally say I don't miss it!
I also stopped buying food with aspartame and MSG in it over a year ago. Jackie, I think your diet sounds great, and it is a goal of mine. But until I am well, I just can't get there yet. With my hubby travelling sometimes and a 6 year old (and neither one wanting to be gluten free with me), I am not always up for food prep. Soon, though!
I forgot to mention also that what you described this is a totally normal diet in Sicily. It's a pretty normal diet in England too among those who like to do their own cooking instead of buying microwave meals.
I have to say I do feel sorry for you Americans where it's hard (and expensive) to buy natural food like this. Every time I've been to America I ended up losing lots of weight because all the chemicals in the food tasted so awful. When you've never had them, its like eating a meal with bottles of window cleaner and washing detergent all over it.
Just wanted to say everyone how much I appreciate your tips, advice, experience and stories. You have no idea how much at times they help buoy me through my day and give me hope and encouragement. You are all doing such a fabulous job, even amongst you own pain, healing and business in life you take the time to invest in the lives of others to help bring them through as well. Bless you all!!! A big squishy Lyme Hug for each of you \\('')// .
Yeah, about my hippie-style diet, I hesitated to mention it because I know how hard it is to 'eat clean' at that level -- when I have family here, it's complicated for the reasons you state. I didn't think it would have made such a difference in how I feel day to day, and I'm no food purist .... just tossing it out there as an idea. No pressure. :)
Youvegottobekidding - I do wish we had Europe's style of eating and ban on GM foods. The big mega food companies here have convinced many Americans that convenience foods are superior. And they just spent tens of million$ running ads to defeat a GM food labeling bill in CA. They don't want us to know that a very high percentage of our food is genetically modified. I'd swear we are also collectively losing our knowledge of cooking, in spite of celebrity chefs and the Food Network.
In Europe there still isn't a law saying companies have to label food that is GM, but the companies that chose NOT to use GM ingredients all started declaring "GM Fee" on the label. This made them instantly outsell all rival products without this declaration, so more and more companies began boycotting GM ingredients because it was commercially to their advantage. The supermarkets also began favouring Non Gm foods wherever possible because they knew these products would sell.
So the whole thing in Europe was a "by popular demand" phenomenon.
There are also more and more organic fruit and veg associations. The farmers pool their Organic produce, and anyone who subscribes gets organic local veg delivered to their homes each week by the team of van drivers. It's cheaper than the non-organi veg in the supermarket a lot of the time and of course more convenient.
For some reason I was thinking GM foods were banned in Europe. But maybe that was just in England. The big food companies here are putting enormous resources and political influence into preventing labeling and being very quiet about GM foods. Americans are generally uninformed, but one survey showed over 90% would prefer labeling. But the food companies have former executives and lawyers in multiple levels of government including in the FDA making sure that there is no labeling.
Some are starting to put No GMOs on their packages and sales of those foods are increasing. It is still a small market, though. Most people still go for their favorite brands or by price.
I heard the same thing about the chemical taste in food here from a middle eastern refugee. She said she was brushing her teeth five times a day to get the chemical taste out for the first year she was here.
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