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Diet, Chronic Disease and Optimal Health
by Ron Schmid, ND

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Lyme Disease

In the summer of 2002, I came down with a severe and debilitating case of Lyme disease. I'd experienced unexplained joint and muscle pain for several weeks, which I'd attributed to the normal strains of being an aging athlete. On a hot July evening after a long run in extreme heat, I experienced severe shooting pains throughout my upper body, with fever and chills, headache and a variety of other extremely uncomfortable symptoms. Only my training as a naturopathic physician kept me from going to the emergency room--I knew there was nothing conventional medicine could do for me that I would want done. These symptoms raged on for several days, and I sent a sample of my blood to a laboratory that confirmed what I suspected--I was having an acute attack of chronic Lyme disease.

In the late 1990s, I had learned that optimal native diets were invariably high in the fat-soluble activators available in animal fats. I'd begun using more raw dairy foods and fatty meats to complement the huge amount of raw vegetables and moderate amounts of fresh fish and fruit that I'd eaten for decades. When I came down with Lyme, I'd just begun working on my next book, The Untold Story of Milk, which was published a year later.

I thought my diet was great. But why did I get sick? I've always maintained that if health is optimal, one should be resistant to all disease, acute or chronic. Yet here I was with a debilitating case of Lyme disease. What was going on?

My lab tests made it clear that my Lyme was chronic, that I had had it for some time. The unexplained symptoms I'd been experiencing before the acute attack confirmed that the problem had existed for many months. I'd continued to function at an intense physical level but was in retrospect clearly overdoing it. Eventually the Lyme overwhelmed my system and I became acutely ill. But the question remained, why had I been susceptible to Lyme?

Because of my basic assumption that the fundamental cause of all disease is faulty diet, I went back to the drawing board. I decided to question all my assumptions and make any changes that seemed reasonable.

Understanding what Weston Price taught is really just the beginning of understanding how to use food to prevent and heal chronic disease. Think of it this way: Price studied cultures all over the world, all of which ate wildly different diets. From the vast amount of information he gathered, he extracted certain principles about what foods were most important and the nutrients those foods contained.

Based upon these principles, we must try to choose from the foods available those that will best supply the essential nutrients common to these varied traditional diets, and then supplement the diet with the special foods extracts and concentrates that even the best diets generally available today do not supply in optimal amounts. In so doing, it's essential to decide what the optimal proportions of different foods are, how much of each to eat. Then there is the question of which foods, and how much of them, are best eaten raw or undercooked. These are among the issues I looked at in tackling my Lyme problem.

I resolved that I would not take antibiotics. When the disease is diagnosed early, when it initially appears, antibiotics are not unreasonable, and often eradicate the organism that is involved in Lyme. Many people go this route and never have a further problem. However, once Lyme is established for several months, as mine was, conventional treatment calls for months of intravenous antibiotics. Results are at best mixed; I've interviewed many patients who continued to suffer severe symptoms in spite of such treatment.

The symptoms of chronic Lyme tend to exacerbate into acute attacks lasting a few days about every four weeks, and that was my experience. A month after my first acute attack, I again had several days of marked symptoms, but this time only about half as severe as the initial attack. I'd been applying what I'd learned, and was eating much more animal food and much more raw food (more on this later). It took me three or four months to get to the point where I felt 95 percent well, to where I was playing tennis and running again (although less than before, having decided that there is wisdom in moderation and that discretion is the better part of valor). During my recovery, I was writing The Untold Story of Milk, and in the spring we bought the small farm where we now live.

 

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