My Battle with Lyme Disease

This post is written by Charlene Andersen. She’s been on zero-carb for decades. Her story reminds me a lot of what I went through. Thanks for sharing.

 

“I was born on March 22, 1973. Since then, my battle with life began. I was sensitive to every food my parents introduced to me, trying to wean me off of breast milk by 3 months old. I guess they found the “least reactive” combination of foods to give me, but not without consequences.

I developed asthma and extreme allergies at a young age. At age 4 I was allergy tested, after a scary breathing incidence at nursery school, and was found to be sensitive to just about everything. Diet was never considered at that point of being my base issue. Instead, allergy shots were given to me for years, along with oral medications, nose sprays, ear drops, inhalers and cream for all my rashes. I hated every single one of them.

At age 8 I developed trichotillomania. I pulled out all of my eyelashes and eyebrows due to sores on my lash lines. This was seen by my parents as a bad habit I needed to break. I never did “break it” until about 17 years later. So, I grew up extremely self-conscious about anyone looking at me, especially from the side.

I was an only child, so my parents wanted me to be involved with as many activities with other kids as I could. So, I went to a lot of camps, which I absolutely loved. One of them is most likely where I contracted Lyme Disease from a deer tick. I never saw a bullseye rash or developed the initial Lyme symptoms.

When I started to mature around 13 years old, I developed extremely painful and ugly acne. This made my physical appearance even more shameful to me. This crater-like acne plagued me until I was around 25 years old. I developed cellulite around age 12, and although not fat, my body composition was bad.

By age 16 my periods slowed and stopped. No doctor could figure out why since I ate a “healthy” high fiber, low fat diet.

College years my health declined even more. The extreme fatigue and depression really set in. I couldn’t stay awake in class, and I pushed friends away. Even though I’d had suicidal thoughts since childhood, they became more intense.

I got through college and soon met my life-saver, Joe Andersen. I always say, this is the point where my downward spiral finally had a chance to end and reverse, little did I know at the time.

We shared so many of the same passions in life (art, music, etc), including diet and health. I knew that how I ate had an impact on my health. I just didn’t know exactly what to eat to reverse my many conditions.

With the job I had at the time, I was heavily exposed to chemicals, which worsened my physical and mental conditions. So, before Joe and I could figure out the best diet path, my health continued to decline.

I had worsening fatigue (I fell asleep everywhere – at work, in the car while driving, etc), depression (several plans of suicide), mental confusion, brain fog, paralysis/numbness in limbs (Joe had to carry me out of work a number of times), extreme eczema on hands (like 2nd degree burns), neck and face, continued amenhorrea (lack of periods), cervical dysplasia, Degenerative Disc Disease (couldn’t sit – worked standing up, constant sciatic nerve pain), continued weight gain (50 pounds overweight at my heaviest), muscle twitches (over 100 twitches in a minute’s time), personality change (from laid back to full of rage), and on and on….

I tried to use working out to help me feel better, but it didn’t do anything for me but add to my fatigue and anger. I even became a PT throughout the process of trying to figure things out for optimal health.

I tried conventional and alternative doctors, but with each “fix” they gave me, it lead to more issues and even further sickness. Of course, most doctors just thought my symptoms were in my head and said I was depressed.

Joe had always been into physical fitness and old-time body builders and athletes. He knew they used steak and egg diets to improve their athletic performance and abilities. So, we started going toward that approach.

We first started lowering carbs, and that was an instant success when it came to my allergies and asthma. I lost a little bit of weight, but most of my conditions didn’t really improve at all.

Joe and I married on August 8, 1998. It was bittersweet. I was marrying the man of my dreams, but even the adrenaline and awesomeness of the day couldn’t mask how badly I felt. We were the first ones to leave our own reception due to my fatigue.

Soon after I was diagnosed with Lyme disease by an alternative M.D. This at least gave Joe and I something to pin a lot of my problems on, but it didn’t do anything to cure it. That was up to us.

We took the next necessary step in diet to a very low carb diet. Again, things improved (acne, some weight loss), but not enough for me to be content.

We went zero carb and started with a fish and “healthy oils” diet. I felt I was heading down the right path, but didn’t have the results I wanted.

When I turned to all meat and meat fat, I ovulate within a couple days and had a period within two weeks. I couldn’t believe it! All the research I’d done on this subject in countless books and NONE of them talked about animal fat being king for proper hormones!

That alone gave me a huge incentive to keep going, eliminating foods that gave me any type of reaction. I really didn’t mind the smaller and smaller list of foods I ate, as long as I felt better. In so many ways it was freeing to me. I became less of a prisoner to hunger, food, and illness.

As I continued to experiment with Joe, we started keeping food journals of our meals, activities, reactions, wins, and fails. We often would re-introduce foods to re-test for verification. Luckily, I was consistent with my food reactions.

As every one of my issues started to reverse (some within days like acne, to around a year, like the fatigue and muscle twitches), I became happier and healthier.

People around us didn’t respond well with what I was eating. They were (maybe?) happy for me feeling better, but very concerned with what I was (or wasn’t) eating.

Nothing and no one trumped how I felt, so we pursued this venture despite all the rolled eyes, accusations of doing this all for attention, etc. I finally was starting to feel like a “normal” person and I wasn’t going to let ignorance take that away from me.

Not all meats were equal for me. I started out with free range eggs, pork, lamb, beef, poultry, and wild-caught fish. But, as time went on, I didn’t feel as well with anything but beef. And, not just beef, but fatty, ribeye steak, the very thing that Dr. Blake Donaldson and Dr. Newbold talked about being the best food for most people suffering illnesses.

I even started to notice that I didn’t need my contacts, and soon threw them away along with my glasses.

The better I zeroed in on my optimal diet, the more weight I lost and the better my body composition became. I started lessening my extreme workout routine from kettlebells and heavy lifts and HIIT sprints to eventually not exercising at all.

I’ve had two healthy boys in the process and we’ve been able to provide for them a happy, healthy environment.

My diet of fatty, ribeye steak (conventional grass fed/grain finished) gave me the best results, and from there, my life has exploded with energy, happiness, and health.

Approaching my 20-year anniversary (“carniversary”) of the all meat diet, I can confidently say, “There is life after illness”!!”

29 thoughts on “My Battle with Lyme Disease

  1. Meat eater says:

    Lyme disease is very specific to deer ticks, but other issues can arise ticks not associated with deer. For example in Australia there is a tick in the Noosa bush that can cause this meat allergy thing but has been proven to NOT have the lyme disease. Unfortunately some people are opting for years on antibiotics which is just going to wipe out any good bacteria in the body. Being iron deficient in itself can cause a range of things like pulling out hair and anxiety etc. The journey to health is unfortunately a very long one for some. Now they are showing how baby wipes can cause allergies by breaking down the skin barrier. We also know not being exposed to dirt as a child and having too clean an environment causes a lot of allergies.

    • Sherri-Lee Bolognone says:

      Mosquitoes and fleas are also proven to carry Lyme disease along with co-inffections like Bartonella & Babesia. A really good Lyme specialist will not treat tertiary or late stage Lyme disease with antibiotics . It is only effective for acute infections ! LDI, bee venom injections, emulsified Oil of orgegano, and other herbs and protocols are highly effective at managing and putting Lymeinto Remission. There are several homeopathic remedies that are highly effective at addressing co-infections and viral infections that accompany Lyme. Stress reduction is a MUST! Lyme attacks adrenal 1st & too much stress will cause quick relapse. Also faith & hope in God to get you through toughest days is essential. I hope this was helpful!

      • Charlene says:

        Sherri-Lee, I tried all sorts of conventional AND alternative treatments (homeopathics, herbs, oils, supplements, what you mentioned and then some). NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING, worked until I went to all ribeye and spring water. All those other remedies just made me worse. And, in changing my diet, THAT reduced my stress because of the natural calm inside from proper nutrition.

        • SteveK says:

          Please provide the opinion of your medical doctor before you offer your anecdotal experience for others to follow with potential disastrous results.

          • Charlene says:

            As I’ve already replied to you StevenK, my Doctor was very aware of the medical communities failure to find a way to assist me and others who were suffering from late stage Lyme Disease 20 years ago. She watched with great interest as our dietary change signaled a beautiful improvement in my health and life. She saw me frequently in the first year and was able to witness first hand how a diet devoid of sugar starved out the Lyme bacteria (which need glucose to survive).

  2. Truth Seeker says:

    The more I read and learn of others, the more convinced I am that EACH of us is so different that we MUST experiment until each of us finds what works best……. 2 Truths come from this:

    1) We all know of all the junk that must never be eaten (everybody agrees on that), and No Dairy, Sugar, Grains (Wheat), Alcohol since they are slow acting poisons and nobody “needs” them as well.

    2) We each must then add/subtract from the “healthy foods” since we are all genetically different. NOTHING in Nature is Equal.

    • Healthy Living says:

      Truthseeker:

      Here is what I have found –

      1. Sugar is a massive problem. In the USA there are over 47 different names for sugar, high fructose corn syrup being the worst. (banned in Europe)

      2. Dairy – The China Study describes in detail how the protein can cause cancer.

      3. Eggs – Listed as a carcinogen in Europe and one egg is equivalent to 1-5 cigarettes depending on the study.

      4. Fast Food – When a BigMac is on Youtube for two years, and it still looks the same? There is a problem.

      5. Oil – Palm oil has been banned, in the UK. Related to Heart problems.

      6. Deli Meat – Created from the leftovers, preservatives galore.

      7. Alcohol/Smoking – Self-evident.

      8. Lack of sunshine and exercise.

      Here is a list of supplements, which I take.

      – Turmeric (fantastic for joint pain)

      – B12

      – Flaxseed (excellent for the skin)

      – Matcha Tea (Limits appetite through the day)

      – At least 8 cups of water per day.

      Thank you.

  3. Brian Stockel says:

    This is fantastic. Mikhaila, I owe you one of these as well but I haven’t found a solution yet so you may be able to get updates as I go. I’m glad you’re doing this. We need more coming together and sharing our solutions.

  4. Sherri-Lee Bolognone says:

    MIkhaila… have you & or your dad been texted for MTHFR mutation? I’m so very interested & also would love to help you & your endearing father in any way.
    I’m going to be tested. We have remarkably similar backgrounds (health wise), although I was a healthy child until late teens when all the autoimmune issues ignited. You name it, I had/have it & have spent decades & countless dollars trying to figure it out. Was recently diagnosed with last stage Lyme. I’m a sideline research nerd & countless hours into best treatments, dr’s , essential oils, herbs, etc to break down the nasty life sucking biofilms & recover. I’ve had best gains with LDI. Check out series of YouTube videos! Unreal. RA discussed a lot . Sincerely turned everything around for me. Gentle, least invasive, ground breaking treatment (affordable too).
    My now 15 year old incredible son is a full autism recovery story. I knew in my gut something biomedical was happening (I’m a pediatric OT) & eveyone thought I was crazy. Nothing could stop me from seeking healing for my son. I nearly killed myself in the process of a 6 year journey that sounds so similar to what your parents went through with you . I learned SO much from research, diet, thick binders of food logs & Reactions, vaccine education, candida overgrowth, the horrible side effects to Dr’s giving out antibiotics like a lollipop at the bank,chemical sensitivity (our house could only be cleaned in vinegar & peroxide & friends who braved our life (there were only a few), would have to change into his clothes for play dates b/c he’d react instantly & behaviorally to ALL chemicals, perfumes. I’d Instinctivley give him clay baths & epsom salt baths multiple times per day b/c he looked & felt so much healthier after. Went all organic & rotated foods. For a long period he was only tolerating 9 foods. We dealt with seizures , food withdrawl (especially milk b/c undigested through a leaky gut mimics opioids at molecular level- which is why Nearly every kid on spectrum is addicted to dairy)! 9 days of watching a 2 year old go through opioid withdrawal was BRUTAL, but he started to come back to us… eye contact, accepting touch, smiling, no toe walking or stimmimg hands. It was a nightmare & miracle all at once. The dr’s continued to discredit me, my maternal instincts, & while so hard, I kept fighting. I attended DAN conferences & 12 years ago intuitively took away a crucial piece of this puzzle is illness, his & mine glutathione! I knew his was broken, mine was broken & tried to tell every naturopath this is the key , to our illness, to Autism & autoimmune in general. Now the info is becoming more mainstream. Please search MTHFR mutation. Our family listens to your dad daily.. he’s helped us in countless ways. His heart breaks when he talks of your suffering & he’s your biggest champion . I relate to that on so many levels & love him for that. It took 6 years , a lot of stress on our marriage , but our boy is a miracle story ! Full autism reversal. He’s incredibly bright, athletic & a leader in so many areas of life. At 4 he asked “how did you know what to do? Thank you for saving me mommy” ! The before & after pictures are remarkable. I wanted you to look into MTHFR b/c it’s genetic, could give you a lot of answers & help your own with your sweet boys should they carry some aspect of the gene. 40-60 % of population have it. Essentially the detox system is damaged , & body cannot rid of (methylate) toxins, especially metals! Also tyelonal & other drugs , vitamins & enriched foods should NOT be taken with an MTHFR mutation!
    Listening to your father today I felt led by my spirit to reach out to your amazing family. I’m still struggling with depression anxiety and fatigue … I know my body is depleted in certain minerals and I’m getting myself checked out b/t parenting , food restricted life style (aka Nazi mom). There are certain supplements and food absolutely necessary and also completely restricted if you have this gene defect I hear it’s only $99 to get a test or you can go to your regular doctor .
    From the bottom of my heart I wish you all the best. I thank you for sharing this blog. I think your dad for his honesty and for helping men to become a men and for all of us to be the best people that we can be in the world . I forwarded one of his pictures and our pastor actually showed it in our church! Truly God’s plan for all of us. Be blessed & well. Wish me luck going all meat. I crave beef all the time these days ( also eggs and avocado). So much to learn & definitly a passion of mine to share knowledge & do something with my life long insomnia.

    • SteveK says:

      You are a hysterical person attempting to resolve your psychological problems with desperate actions likely unrelated to your life problems. Attempting to diagnose and cure your ailments based on internet information is dangerous to you and others reading your story. Stop!

  5. Denys Williams says:

    A fantastically compact account of how things can change once poeple realise “You are what you eat.” because it never really sinks in. Sure, there are lucky people (like me) that can (for now) get away with this and that, but sooner or later you have to confront it — or face the consequences. There is this professor who does a lot of stuff online (you might know him) that said something appropriate, it was along the lines of “Think about that for 5 years.”, the implication being that some concepts take a lot of thought before the truth becomes apparent.

  6. Filip says:

    Thank you for sharing your story here Charlene.

    I want to share my anxiety towards trying this. I’m concerned that I will become very antisocial while I’m on this diet, a lot of my socialising is spent drinking during the weekends and I still want to have a social life. How do you cope with not becoming too antisocial because of this diet? I would like to try because I would like to believe my health is of utmost importance.

    I have a lot of issues with depression and bloated stomach, really irregular bowel movements (usually once every 3rd day, irregular I mean in its concistency, sorry for the explicitness but I have to be clear.)

    I just don’t know what I would do with that much free time I guess, as weird as that sounds.

    • Charlene says:

      We have an amazing social life. Most all restaurants have meat on the menu (if you choose to eat out), being one of the best places to have social interaction. My husband and I have never been drinkers, and we’ve never viewed drinking as a means to a proper social life. If your diet is right, anything and everything (known or unknown) should correct itself. So, experiment and give it time.

  7. SteveK says:

    What did your doctor(s) say about your self-healing diet? Were they amazed or did they still reject your claims of a cure? Has your case been medically researched? Thanks.

    • Charlene says:

      The doctors did what they could once Lyme was diagnosed. The typical Lyme protocol and alternative methods didn’t work for me. Luckily, I had an M.D. that supported us throughout our initial dietary change. And she was impressed with my drastic improvements.

    • Charlene says:

      Although everyone is a little different with what they have access to, can afford and feel best with, fatty cuts of meat (ribeye steak is the fattiest, but chuck eye steak is next to best) are optimal. There is beef, lamb, wild game, seafood (fish and shellfish), poultry and pork. Some consume a lot of ground meat (which can be very fatty). Some tolerate dairy and eggs. I eat twice a day, totaling about 1-1.5 pounds of cooked ribeye. A great source of meal plans and any questions regarding the all meat/carnivore way of eating can be found at the Facebook group, “Zeroing In On Health”.

  8. David says:

    Jesus Christ.. are you one tough lady. I mean, truly hats off!

    Did you run into social problems whilst dealing with your health problems? Personally It’s what I really, really, struggle with and would greatly appreciate any advice on how to manage without going insane or becoming bitter and resentful.

    • Charlene says:

      As many who try something “different than the norm,” people around them can feel somehow threatened by it. Just feel confident about yourself, what you’re doing and the benefit you’ll receive from it. Joe and I got rid of a couple of the most negative people in our lives which made the process that much easier. We were on a mission, and nothing and no one would stop us, not even family members. Joe and I are social people, and most of what we do socially doesn’t include food or drink, but as I commented above to Filip, there are ways around it. To know and anticipate that most people are going to not understand, or even get upset, is the first step. Just play it by ear. Sometimes the least said to others about it the better. (For some reason they almost always take it as a personal attack!) To surround yourself with the BEST people for you, who love you for who you are, sick or not sick, eat a certain way no matter why, those you feel better after being with them, THOSE are the people that will add to your journey and make it better. All the best to you in your path!

  9. anonymous says:

    Jesus Christ.. are you one tough lady. I mean, truly hats off!

    Did you run into social problems whilst dealing with your health problems? Personally It’s what I really, really, struggle with and would greatly appreciate any advice on how to manage without going insane or becoming bitter and resentful.

    • Healthy Living says:

      The long-term impact is the problem.There are four big problems:
      – Sugar
      – Dairy
      – Meat
      – Eggs

      If you remove, three of four.
      Here is my favorite explanation “How not to die”:

  10. Healthy Living says:

    Charlene: The long-term impact is the problem.There are four big problems:
    – Sugar
    – Dairy
    – Meat
    – Eggs

    If you remove, three of four.
    Here is my favorite explanation “How not to die”:

  11. Charlene says:

    I guess I’m not sure exactly what you’re trying to do here. Convince me? Or warn others? If I ate the way most people claim “healthy eating” is, I guarantee I wouldn’t be here. And if I somehow survived, the pain levels and crippling nature of my disease would consume me. This site is for testimonies. I gave my story. It’s not to convince everyone to eat the way I do, but I shared what worked for me. I believe there is evolutionary history backing my results. As earliest humans we evolved eating as scavengers, consuming the rib meat left behind from the predators. We ate from fatty ruminant animals. I’m replicating that and for me, it’s working.

    • Healthy Living says:

      Charlene – I only care about offering the truth to the best of my knowledge. There is no benefit to my life if you decide to eat meat or not. The video above is likely the best I have ever watched on the subject.

      I remember, there was an Australian study comparing game meat with processed meat. The game meat was up to four times healthier. If you are set on eating meat, try to get the best quality and stay away from saturated fat.

      I wish you luck!

  12. steven v says:

    Hey Charlene, really excellent comprehensive story. A couple of questions I have for you or anyone else that has some input on this subject.

    1. When you were pretty sick, looking back in retrospect, do you think it was a bad to exercise too intensely? I am pretty sick right now with lots of inflammation and moderate sciatica. I am getting the feeling to just exercise smoothly and wait for my body to tell me when I am feeling better to pick up the intensity.
    2. Also, if you can, go into more detail on how your sciatica cleared up? How did your sitting improve?
    Thank you for sharing, going to buy some ribeye tomorrow!!

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