Interlude : The Glowery

Please consider helping me fight my battle against Neuroborreliosis. I am five months into one year of intensive and incredibly expensive treatment. Absolutely nothing is covered by insurance and the expenses have become impossible. As a thank you, I will write you a written thank you card in the mail, and ship you a freshly picked, handmade sea-glass necklace if you request one. Please click the yellow donate button on the top right column. And thank you. 

Not long after being diagnosed with Lyme disease, I became very trigger shy when it came to searching the internet. Personal accounts of people living with the disease are pretty spooky, filled with broken marriages, bankruptcy (insurance does not cover treatment for Chronic Lyme) and some pretty extreme suffering. The amount of information is overwhelming but any consensus, from diagnostics to treatment, is vague and hotly contested. The medical community is fiercely divided between those who acknowledge Chronic Lyme and those who do not. Those who acknowledge it are further split on whether or not it can ever be cured.

I needed to find a website or a book that documented all of the different ways that people can live with and recover from Lyme, without scaring the pants off me. I needed it to be glossy, poppy, and sort of fun. Light reading. Easily ingested. I needed this to accompany, not replace, the books (Stephen Buhner's Healing Lyme and Why Can't I Get Better by Richard Horowitz, MD) the forums (Healing Well has an excellent forum on Lyme that I highly recommend) and the websites (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, 10,000 others.) Needless to say I didn't find it, so I decided to create it.

I chose Instagram as my platform, because it's as glossy and emotionally lightweight as it comes. Ingesting information one bright square at a time is the electronic equivalent of being spoonfed. The original intent of this account, the glowery  (@theglowery) was to document my own experience with Lyme disease, but not long after creating it, I came to a startling revelation: I'm not the only one who is sick. Woah. And Lyme is not the only misunderstood and disabling disease out there.

In all the research I've been doing about nutrition and alternative forms of medicine, I keep running across these chronic diseases that share a set of symptoms, probable mechanisms and possible treatments as lyme: chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and lupus, to name some of the hard-hitters. In fact, people suffering with Lyme Disease, which has been called "The Great Imitator," are often misdiagnosed with one (or many) of these conditions.

There is a growing community on social media of people living with invisible illnesses (spoonies), connecting with one another, swapping information and hope and horror stories, documenting the doctors appointments, recipes (the autoimmune paleo protocol is all the rage right now) IVs, acupuncture, oils, exercise plans, mystery rashes, crystal therapy, insurance battles, injections, ultrasounds, juices, herbs...

And a good deal of it could be very useful to anyone who wants to (gain a deeper understanding of chronic illness, develop empathy over sympathy, help a loved one, be a good friend, all that but also) live healthier, feel better, have more energy, and look great. Paradoxically, people living with invisible illness often look very healthy, they have nice thick hair (a result of drinking collagen powder and bone broth) and luminous skin (juicing, essential oils, detox rituals) and are in excellent shape (following a whole foods diet, yoga). In many ways, getting sick forces you to become healthy.

What I mean to say is, what The Glowery is no longer just about me, or about lyme disease. It's also about living healthier, feeling better, having more energy, and looking great. Often, served up with a twist of Lyme.

In the past few days I've received a few questions on the Instagram feed about juicing, recipes and oils. I'm going to post responses here, since typing anything lengthy on IG will make you crazy.

Juicing 101 and Celery Juice 

I invent my own juicing recipes based on whatever specific vegetable or nutrient I want to be consuming in large doses that week. You don't need a recipe for juice: there, I've come clean. Just buy a juicer, cram it full of vegetables, add a little bit of fruit for sweetness, then drink up. But if you're new to juicing, this might be helpful to you.

Celery juice keeps coming up in my research lately, so for the past few weeks I've been drinking a lot of it. Celery is soothing and alkalizing, and it's a nutritional powerhouse, filled with the coveted B vitamins (B1, B2, B6) folic acid, potassium and phosphorus. It's mild, refreshing, and cheap, so it's perfect for creating a high volume of juice, to which you can add smaller quantities of other veggies and herbs.

If you are experiencing mysterious stomach pain or any sort of gastrointestinal issues (if you're treating Lyme with high-dosage antibiotics you may fall into this category) I recommend starting your day with a big glass of straight celery juice. Nothing added. Unless you hate celery, you get used to the taste very quickly. It's very calming, and the trace salts and micronutrients work with the hydrochloric acid in your stomach and aid in digestion all day long. If you're not up for straight celery juice, fair enough. Try one of these recipes:

The Detoxer
1 Bunch of organic celery
1 handful of parsley
1/2 an apple

Hawain Surf 

1 bunch of organic celery
1 whole bunch of romaine lettuce
1 slice of fresh pineapple

The Refresher 
3 Stalks organic celery
1/2 bulb fennel
1/2 an apple

Super Green
3 stalks organic celery
1 cup spinach
1 cup kale
fresh mint leaves
1/2 an apple

-Put the ingredients that will be harder to juice, such as parsley, mint, and spinach into the juicer first.

-Make sure and juice the leaves as well, they contain a high dose of vitamin A

-Juice is quickly digested and the nutrients hit your bloodstream very does the sugar. It's easy to ingest a lot of sugar without realizing it, so be as sparing as you can with the fruit. Begin with what's listed here and then reduce as you get used to the 'green' taste.

-I use this centrifuge juicer. It's worked great for years, but when I eventually buy a new one, I'll invest in a Masticating Juicer (sounds dirty.) It's much more expensive, but it's more efficient at juicing leafy greens, and the nutritional integrity of your juice lasts longer, so you can make one batch and keep it in the fridge.

-If you use a centrifuge juicer, drink the juice immediately.