Nourish, Heal, Thrive: A Comprehensive & Holistic Approach to Living with Lyme Disease is a complete nutrition guide to your Lyme journey.
I knew I was going to relate to the text when I saw the opening quote:
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice." - Unknown
The author of the book, Rika Keck, is a certified in Applied Clinical Nutrition, Metabolic Typing Advisor, and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition. She founded a company called NY Integrated Health LLC located in New York City. According to her website: "It is her belief that eating well, taking responsibility for healthier lifestyle choices, feeling well, looking great and operating from inner balance can result in motivation, empowerment and achievement of long-term goals."
The Introduction to Nourish, Heal, Thrive discusses how patients with chronic Lyme disease struggle to get a diagnosis and the challenge of getting proper treatment.
"One patient suffering from chronic Lyme expressed that she felt she was becoming a shadow of herself and that she was slowly dying."
Most people who have been through this experience can relate to the sentiment, but the goal of the book is to help you find hope through diet and lifestyle changes.
Rika's philosophy is to remain neutral about medical treatments, such as, antibiotics vs. herbs, because the choice belongs to the patient. She says, "My intention is not to tell you how to treat or cure your chronic Lyme and the coinfections. Instead, this book is geared toward building resilience so you can tolerate your medical and alternative therapeutic protocols for your sickness."
Early in the book Rika writes, "There is no such thing as a perfect diet. We are all different." The rest of the book details how to find the right diet and detox program for the reader.
Each chapter has a different topic related to mind, body, spirit healing, such as "Eat for Energy" and "Action Steps to Optimize Digestion and Absorption."
I found the chapter on the landscape of persistent Lyme to be very interesting. One of my favorite quotes was, "Being in balance, with acute stress followed by rest, is called healthy stress adaptation." It's a good reminder that following emotional or physical stress we must rest in order to integrate challenges into our body in a healthy way. In this chapter Rika provides a detailed "Toxic Exposures Checklist," which was helpful; however, there were some "toxic exposures" that I was not familiar with and would've liked a more detailed explanation, such as "surgical scars on the body" and "drink iced drinks or cold water with meals."
There was also a valuable chapter about blood sugar issues and hypoglycemia, which I think could be discussed more in the Lyme medical community.
The most interesting information I found in the book was in the last chapter where she compared foods as "friend or foe." She highlights foods like dairy, oxalates, nightshade vegetables, and fruit. Some diets recommend a food, while others claim it will bring you harm. In this part of the book, Rika does a good job of showing both sides, so the patient can be an informed consumer.
Rika's writing style is pleasant and friendly, making this an easy read. The knowledge in the book is a lot to digest and spans the basics through advanced nutrition.
This book is probably not for people who have their PHD in Lyme treatment. I would recommend it for those with a more recent diagnosis and needing some comprehensive knowledge on how to nourish, heal, and thrive.
"Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great." - John D. Rockefeller
On this blog I write a lot about books, because I truly believe books can heal. Most of the books I highlight are about Lyme or chronic illness and fall into the health or self-help categories. These are five books that changed my life before I was ever touched by the Lyme world and they continue to be five of the most inspirational books I've ever read. One is a book of poetry, one is a memoir, one is self-help, and two are novels.
5 Books That Changed My Life:
1. The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni.
I was first introduced to Nikki Giovanni's poetry in high school and she remains to this day my favorite poet. This collection showed me that a book of poetry can be just as influential as any novel or non-fiction book. I have sixteen poems bookmarked in my copy and whenever I need inspiration or just want to feel filled up I read one. Her poem, "And I Have You," was read at my wedding. Many years ago Ms. Giovanni appeared at a bookstore in Chicago and I didn't go. I still regret it, but I redeemed myself when I saw her speak at the Harold Washington Library on April 30th, 2011.
"though I worship nothing (save myself)
you were my savior—so be it
and it was
perhaps not never more or ever after
but after all—once you were mine"
2. I Know this Much is True by Wally Lamb.
Reading this 897 page epic was the greatest literary journey I've ever been on. I consider this my favorite book and Wally Lamb my favorite author. This book encompasses all my favorite subjects: family dynamics, mental illness, substance abuse, race relations, redemption, and love. Mr. Lamb is my biggest writing influence and if I can learn to paint a picture even half as clear as he does, I will be on my way.
"...that the evidence of God exists in the roundness of things."
3. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.
I don't even remember what made me pick up this book. I probably judged a book by its cover, because Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of the best titles of all time, especially when you know the context. Reading this book is like reading a novel length poem. The language and imagery has yet to be matched in any book I've read before or since. I could read it fifty more times and still get completely lost in it.
"They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God."
4. Lucky by Alice Sebold
Lucky is Alice Sebold's memoir of being raped by a stranger in college and how it transformed her existence. You probably know Alice Sebold from her other bestseller The Lovely Bones. This book broke my heart for the writer, but also for all survivors. It left me angry and appalled by the complete disregard for victims' rights. People need to be aware of the retraumatization victims, like Ms. Sebold, experience through our legal system. Her nightmare occurred in the early eighties, so I can only hope that things are better today.
"I live in a world where two truths coexist: where both hell and hope lie in the palm of my hand."
5. A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
This book came to me at the exact right time in my life. I was going through a mini identity crisis and felt like I was losing myself. It seemed like everyone around me was content in their position in life and I was the one left wanting. This book taught me that my true purpose in life is not an occupation, a hobby, or a talent, it is to find a state of consciousness where I am able to live in the present moment as much as possible. Since reading this book I have made a concerted effort to not compare myself to others and to allow myself to just be in the moment, because it's the only thing that's real.
"When you don't cover up the world with words and labels, a sense of the miraculous returns to your life"
What are the books that changed your life?
"A lot of people ask me if I were shipwrecked, and could only have one book, what would it be? I always say 'How to Build a Boat'" - Stephen Wright
During the summer I like to take things a little slower, which means curling up with a good book. The number of books I want to read is ever expanding and growing, and I've added these books to my reading list. This list is a snapshot of some of the books I can't wait to read this summer.
There are so many great books related to chronic illness, or better yet, wellness, that it was hard to narrow it down to ten.
Chronic Illness Summer Reading List 2017:
1. You Are the Universe: Discovering Your Cosmic Self and Why it Matters by Deepak Chopra, MD and Menas Kafatos, PhD
In the most recent offering from the alternative medicine guru, Deepak Chopra teams up with a physicist to explore our role in creating the universe. Understanding the science behind co-creation can be powerful to chronic illness patients who often feel powerless. Plus, the dark blue and gold cover is simply beautiful.
2. Life is Your Best Medicine: A Woman's Guide to Health, Healing, and Wholenss at Any Age by Tieraona Low Dog, MD
This book was recommended to me by a healer, and I can't wait to dive into it. Tieraona Low Dog has a positive message about health and healing that will benefit anyone with a chronic illness.
3. No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering by Thich Nhat Hahn
No mud, no lotus has been my battle cry since the beginning of my chronic illness journey. I even got a lotus tattoo to signify it, but admittedly I haven't yet read this book. The book is about how we run away from suffering, when instead we should be facing it and allowing it to transform out lives.
4. Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal by Anthony William
A friend of mine, April Moor, who writes the blog Happy Healin' Vegan, talked about how this book changed her life and it has been on my "to read" list ever since.
5. Nourish, Heal, Thrive: A Comprehensive and Holistic Approach to Living with Lyme Disease by Rika Keck
This book was sent to me by the author and I have been enjoying both her writing style and the incredible detail of her healing strategies. Her words are encouraging and loving, which we all need.
6. The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine N. Aron
Many people with chronic illnesses are also highly sensitive people. This book provides some insight on how to cope when life is a little more intense for you than most.
7. Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life by Glennon Doyle Melton
I just finished Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton about her marriage struggles. In it she briefly opens up about her struggle with Lyme disease. All people with chronic illness are warriors and this collection of essays touches on how to keep going when life gets you down.
8. How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers by Sylvia Boorstein
Buddhist principles of mindfulness have guided my healing journey, so when I saw this book I knew I had to read it. The challenge of how to live well when sick is a difficult one, and I hope this book provides some thoughtful insights on the topic.
9. The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook: A DIY Guide to Living Well with Chronic Illness by Mickey Tresscott, NFP and Angie Alt, NTC, CHC
I first became acquainted with Mickey Tresscot and Angie Alt form their website about the autoimmune protocol diet. This is their most recent offering and I can't wait to dive in.
10. Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
I read Elizabeth Strout's Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Olive Kitteridge, and loved how it transformed me to a place and life completely different from my own. There are so many books about healing we sometimes forget to take a break from it all and get lost in a good novel.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think? What's on your summer reading list?
"We read to know we're not alone." - William Nicholson
I'm Kerry (She/Her/Hers) and I am a licensed therapist, writer & speaker. This is a positive space focused on how to thrive in any situation and the transformative power of suffering.