Sleeping kid with Lyme disease

When your Child has Lyme

Growing up is overwhelming and for a child with a chronic illness such as Lyme disease, it’s even more challenging. As with any chronic illness, the impacts are felt differently by the child and their support network. Children with Lyme will struggle with the unpredictable symptoms while parents too, will feel the pains of their children. Raising a child with Lyme can be difficult, more-so when a child faces social pressures at school for being sick. This includes learning disabilities, depression, physical disabilities and neurological issues. But our strengths are magnified when we are prepared as parents & caregivers. Here are some ways that you can prepare and play an important role in your child’s growth and development as they heal from Lyme or tick borne diseases.

Growing up is overwhelming and for a child with a chronic illness such as Lyme disease, it’s even more challenging. As with any chronic illness, the impacts are felt differently by the child and their support network. Children with Lyme will struggle with the unpredictable symptoms while parents too, will feel the pains of their children. Raising a child with Lyme can be difficult, more-so when a child faces social pressures at school for being sick. This includes learning disabilities, depression, physical disabilities and neurological issues. But our strengths are magnified when we are prepared as parents & caregivers. Here are some ways that you can prepare and play an important role in your child’s growth and development as they heal from Lyme or tick borne diseases.

Gather Information and Analyze. Get The Best Picture You Can About Your Child’s Wellness and Community

Lyme disease is can be very difficult to diagnose. In fact, when Lyme was first discovered in Connecticut it took years for doctors to understand that the cluster of children diagnosed with juvenile arthritis was more than just a higher occurrence than normal. In fact, it took almost 10 years to figure out that these cases in Lyme, Connecticut was caused by a bacterial infection. Factors that helped identify the problem focused on patterns and ruling out other illness through testing and research. Patterns in children’s behaviors, energy levels, and health tell a lot about their state of wellness. Sudden drops in energy levels, complaints about pain, nausea, or any deviation from their usual selves might be a sign that something is wrong. Getting a good picture of what changes occurred and documenting the events leading up to that sudden change can help determine if a visit to the doctor is warranted. That doctor should be well-versed in Lyme, such as a Lyme-Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD) or Lyme-Literate Naturopathic Doctor (LLND), who will be more willing to work with you in treating Lyme disease and making appropriate referrals.

Lyme disease is can be very difficult to diagnose. In fact, when Lyme was first discovered in Connecticut it took years for doctors to understand that the cluster of children diagnosed with juvenile arthritis was more than just a higher occurrence than normal. In fact, it took almost 10 years to figure out that these cases in Lyme, Connecticut was caused by a bacterial infection. Factors that helped identify the problem focused on patterns and ruling out other illness through testing and research. Patterns in children’s behaviors, energy levels, and health tell a lot about their state of wellness. Sudden drops in energy levels, complaints about pain, nausea, or any deviation from their usual selves might be a sign that something is wrong. Getting a good picture of what changes occurred and documenting the events leading up to that sudden change can help determine if a visit to the doctor is warranted. That doctor should be well-versed in Lyme, such as a Lyme-Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD) or Lyme-Literate Naturopathic Doctor (LLND), who will be more willing to work with you in treating Lyme disease and making appropriate referrals. 

Understanding Your Child’s Community

This is crucial to their wellness, too. Chronic illness is difficult to handle and being in a supportive environment can increase the potential for healing. Schools, social institutions outside of school and friends play a strong role as they begin to understand what your child is going through. That allows them to offer support as well. The opposite end of that spectrum is the potential of a child with chronic illness to experience bullying because of their condition. Lyme disease, with its coinfections, can even produce behavioral and psychological changes in a person. It is important for people to understand that changes in a child with chronic Lyme may happen because of the disease. Other children might not understand why your child is “different” and that can lead to bullying. Learning more about your child’s illness and their external social and environmental pressures can give you a clearer picture about what your child have to deal with outside of your supportive environment. Talk with your child and ask them about what they experience on a daily basis. This can allow you to share and develop strategies to teach your child, so they can grow up with effective coping mechanisms and healthy habits.

This is crucial to their wellness, too. Chronic illness is difficult to handle and being in a supportive environment can increase the potential for healing. Schools, social institutions outside of school and friends play a strong role as they begin to understand what your child is going through. That allows them to offer support as well. The opposite end of that spectrum is the potential of a child with chronic illness to experience bullying because of their condition. Lyme disease, with its coinfections, can even produce behavioral and psychological changes in a person. It is important for people to understand that changes in a child with chronic Lyme may happen because of the disease. Other children might not understand why your child is “different” and that can lead to bullying. Learning more about your child’s illness and their external social and environmental pressures can give you a clearer picture about what your child has to deal with outside of your supportive environment. Talk with your child and ask them about what they experience on a daily basis. This can allow you to share and develop strategies to teach your child, so they can grow up with effective coping mechanisms and healthy habits.

What Is A Patient Advocate? Communicating With And For Your Child With Lyme

Aside from gathering information and knowing external pressures, a good goal is to encourage your child to talk about their health. Conversations about pain and wellness help children learn about communicating what they are feeling. This allows you to better communicate with the health professionals that are coordinating care. As their parent, you will always know when your children are feeling unwell. A patient advocate speaks on behalf of the patient in order to deliver a clear message about their current medical situation. Your ability to innately listen to your child will be useful when speaking to their doctors. Communication, and active listening, can be crucial tools in helping your child deal with chronic illness. Repeating back to your child whatever symptoms they are feeling lets them know they were heard, and it tells them that you understand what they are going through.

Aside from gathering information and knowing external pressures, a good goal is to encourage your child to talk about their health. Conversations about pain and wellness help children learn about communicating what they are feeling. This allows you to better communicate with the health professionals that are coordinating care. As their parent, you will always know when your children are feeling unwell. A patient advocate speaks on behalf of the patient in order to deliver a clear message about their current medical situation. Your ability to innately listen to your child will be useful when speaking to their doctors. Communication and active listening can be crucial tools in helping your child deal with chronic illness. Repeating back to your child whatever symptoms they are feeling lets them know they were heard, and it tells them that you understand what they are going through.

Build A Team

Working with others toward a common goal makes difficult tasks more achievable. Chronic Lyme disease can be a complicated issue and requires the help of many health professionals. Building a team of competent, caring and coordinated professionals can lighten the weight on your shoulders and help to spot patterns easier because of their experience. Lyme’s impacts each person differently. While struggling with illness, it is possible to develop psychological symptoms like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. So, your child’s emotional and psychological needs may have to be considered alongside health and nutrition.

Working with others toward a common goal makes difficult tasks more achievable. Chronic Lyme disease can be a complicated issue and requires the help of many health professionals. Building a team of competent, caring and coordinated professionals can lighten the weight on your shoulders and help to spot patterns easier because of their experience. Lyme’s impacts each person differently. While struggling with illness, it is possible to develop psychological symptoms like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. So, your child’s emotional and psychological needs may have to be considered alongside health and nutrition. 

Surround Yourself With Supportive Teammates

Chronic Lyme disease is tricky, and it can be isolating as you go from appointment to appointment trying to care for your child’s health. It’s important to surround yourself with supportive family members, friends, and coworkers, so you don’t feel isolated. Your child will also pick up on your mental and physical health, so self-care is vital, as you can only provide support if you are healthy. Raising a child with chronic Lyme disease can be trying. However, there is hope. An important part to remember about ourselves is that we are resilient. We can support each other and provide an environment that promotes and encourages healing in our children and in ourselves.


Gym Equipment

Staying Active With Lyme Disease

Muscle weakness and fatigue are common symptoms of Lyme disease. Coupled with nerve pain, neurological issues and depression, it becomes difficult to complete simple everyday tasks. Even thinking about adding daily physical activity during this difficult time can be stressful. And as your body reels from the constant strain of fighting off Lyme and co infections, rest becomes more important and, ironically, sometimes more difficult. Reclaiming a restorative lifestyle becomes a monumental task.

While some practitioners will only prepare patients with Lyme disease for the possibility of a loss of mobility, there are protocols and methods of exercise that can help with the treatment of Lyme. The details surrounding a Lyme focused exercise plan can be complex. For instance, vigorous aerobic exercise when fatigued is not recommended because it can exhaust you further and possibly weaken the immune system even more.

I have found that certain exercises and activities have actually helped those suffering from Lyme gain back their mobility, strength and balance. Additionally, as someone who has Lyme, I have also benefited immensely from them. They balance and integrate mindfulness and are essential in thriving and recovery. Examples of personal wellness abound when practicing low impact forms of martial arts and movement. That is to say, Tai chi, Qi gong, and yoga are excellent ways for the body to regain more than just strength. The benefits of exercise improve mental and physical health. This makes creating a beneficial exercise plan crucial for chronic Lyme sufferers.

Tai chi, Qi (or Chi) gong, and yoga can be described as part mindfulness practice, too. They focus on movements and stances that build a foundation for the body, mind, and nervous system. Deliberate movements activate multiple muscle systems and are often accompanied by a coach who can guide the meditative process, if you wish. These can be done at any fitness level and modified to suit your physical limitations, so is ideal for anyone suffering from Lyme disease.

Mindfulness practices such as meditation can contribute to lowering stress levels, which reduces the elevated adrenal response and lowers cortisol in the body. A lower cortisol level contributes to a healthier nervous & immune system, allowing it to restore proper function.

The contracting and movement of muscles, joints, and soft tissue increases blood flow and moves fluid around the body. This allows for more nutrients and oxygen to reach their target organs and cells to help them function better. Physical activity also contributes to the release of “feel good” chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins, which improve immune and brain health.

It is the combination of the meditative qualities of mindfulness and the physical exercise of yoga that produce such a wondrous effect on the body pertaining to combating Lyme. The MS-like symptoms that can sometimes accompany Lyme such as neuropathy, loss of balance, and muscle fatigue & pain, are resisted as the body practices balance and awareness. The body actively sends signals throughout nervous system connections to produce a certain stance, pose, or low-impact movement.

Combining the strengths of mindfulness and the benefits of physical exercise to treat Lyme can be part of a greater strategy to regaining one's life back. Bring movement back into your life. As with all exercise, listen to your body. If some movements seem too difficult, modify them or try something that you are comfortable with. Move at your own level, not everyone else’s.


Roasted Butternut Squash

Simple Roasted Butternut Squash

Ingredients

1 organic, whole butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 1 inch size cubes
3 tablespoons of organic coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon dried sage
2 cloves organic garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, toss butternut squash with coconut oil, salt, pepper, sage and garlic. Arrange on a baking/cookie sheet. Roast in oven for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly browned and fork tender. Remove and allow to cool before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

 


Chicken Soup

Dr. Ingels Chicken Soup

Ingredients

2 organic medium size, yellow onions, diced
6 organic celery stalks, chopped
1 3-4 pound organic, free range whole chicken
6 organic carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 sprigs organic fresh thyme
3 cloves organic garlic, minced or finely chopped
cracked black pepper, to taste (optional)
4 tablespoons organic coconut oil
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice, organic

 

Directions

 

In a large soup pot, place the chicken in (cleaned) and fill it with water, about 4 inches above the chicken. On high heat, bring to a boil for about 30 minutes. Next, add onions, celery, salt, thyme, garlic, carrots and coconut oil. Stir.

Continue to boil for another hour or until chicken is completely cooked. Turn off heat. Add lemon juice, stir, and sprinkle with cracked pepper. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Serve & enjoy!

Makes 4-5 servings


Chilled avocado soup

Chilled Avocado Soup

Ingredients

12 ounces organic turkey bone broth (Pacific brand)
8 ounces of light coconut milk (Natural Value or Native Forest brand)
3 1/2 organic avocados halved and peeled (seed removed)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (add a pinch more to taste)
1/8 teaspoon organic onion powder
1/8 teaspoon organic cumin
2 teaspoons of fresh organic lime juice
2 teaspoons o fresh organic lemon juice
6 ounces of chopped organic cucumber (optional, for garnish)

Directions

Place broth and avocados in a Vitamix or similar type blender, and blend on high for 1 minute. Add coconut milk, onion powder, salt, coriander lime and lemon juice and blend on high for 2 minutes. Mixture should be completely smooth and the thickness of a cream soup. If it is too thick, add one tablespoon at a time of filtered water,  until desired consistency is reached.

Transfer mixture into a bowl, ceramic or glass is best. Do not use steel or stainless steel as it can react with the citrus.  Cover and place in refrigerator for 4 hours before serving.
Serve chilled and garnish with chopped cucumbers. Enjoy!

Makes 5 servings


Utah landscape

Dr. Ingels Speaking in Utah

Dr Ingels will be speaking at the

American Association of Naturopathic Physicians

Allergic Conditions of the Skin in Children, with Darin Ingels, ND

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Snowbird, UT


Man multitasking at work

Adult ADHD or Multitasking Madness?

I sit at my computer and begin a task, e-mail, research for a patient, chart notes, preparing a custom care plan for a patient, and I start to think about other things that I need to do. I look at the many to-do lists that I have written and I am proud of all the cross-outs I have telling me I have accomplished something. So many things are going on at once. Wow, I must be a great multi-tasker. However, it happens several times a day that I walk into a room and I can't remember what it is that I have to get or I go to do a google search and I can't recall what I need to look up. This terrifies me and my mid-fortysomething brain!

 Multi-tasking does not work!!

5 Ways to support your brain so you can accomplish more and feel more productive:

1.     Use focused blocks of time. Block out 60-minute time periods. It could be the first thing in the morning or whenever you need it. Do at least 2 per day. Use this time to focus on one thing. If we get distracted we need 15 minutes to get back on task. Brain fatigues after 60-90 minutes so take a 15 minute break when it is needed.

2.     Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep restores, rejuvenates and recharges the body.

3.     Nap. 20 minutes of sleep in the middle of the day can make difference
.

4.     Remove distractions. Turn off phone/internet/e-mail/. Put devices in Airplane mode. Check your e-mail at set times of the day.

5.     Take a walk in nature or look at photos of nature. Studies show that people who spend time in nature or look at photos of nature are more productive.

Sean E. Heerey ND, MA, CCC/SLP


Kimchi and fermented foods

Why You Should Eat Fermented Foods Every Day

Probiotics are critical for optimal health. They help maintain a healthy immune system which in turn keeps the whole body in good health. However, in addition to supplementing with a capsule or tablet, you can also boost your beneficial flora by eating fermented foods.

Fermented foods are loaded with billions of good bacteria. They help to sustain the balance between the good and bad bacteria. If you have dysbiosis, an imbalance of bad bacteria, you may experience a host of problems such as digestive issues, immune dysfunction, allergies, possible skin conditions, food sensitivities and chronic yeast infections, just to name a few.

Consuming fermented foods on a regular basis benefits you in the short and long term.

1. Fermented foods assist with B vitamin production, sleep regulation, proper circulation and nervous system function, and aid in preventing heart disease. Fermented cabbage is also a great source of Vitamin K2.  This is very important as it helps with blood clotting, bone health and brain function.

2. Fermented foods can be more easily assimilated than some supplemental probiotic pills. They support intestinal and digestive health by providing enzymes that help with the breakdown of foods. They allow your body to produce antibodies that strengthen your immune system and help fight off potential pathogens.

3. In numerous studies, it has been shown that without the proper amount of good flora, individuals are more prone to weight gain, sugar cravings and diabetes.

4. Fermented foods and probiotics are very beneficial for those with compromised immune systems, autism and autoimmune disorders. They can aid in reducing systemic inflammation by preventing toxins from passing through a weakened gut lining and entering the bloodstream. This also assists in mitigating the risk of food sensitivities.

Naturally Fermented Food Sources

Kimchi
Sauerkraut
Kefir
Fermented raw yogurt, milk and cheese
Tempeh
Natto
Kombucha
Braggs apple cider vinegar

When you decide to add fermented foods to your diet, start off slowly. You can begin with a few teaspoons per day with each meal, then increase as you become more comfortable with it.

If you don't like store bought fermented foods, you can make your own. This way you can choose the specific foods you would prefer to ferment.

If you don't like the taste of fermented foods at all, you can always supplement with a high quality probiotic capsule or powder. Each individual is different and one size does not fit all in this case. One of my personal favorites to recommend is Probiotic Plus. It has worked remarkably well for many of my patients.
Also, don’t be afraid to experiment with different brands. You need to find the right one that works best for your specific needs.


Vegetable quiche

Crustless Veggie Quiche

3 cups of chopped organic, seasonal veggies (zucchini, yellow squash, red onion, tomatoes)
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
3/4 cup almond-coconut milk blend, without binders or fillers
1 garlic clove, minced
8 pasture raised eggs
4 Oz of Treeline brand, Classic Aged Nut Cheese, chopped into very small pieces

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Place 2 tablespoons of avocado oil in cast iron or stainless steel skillet. Over medium heat, add onions, zucchini, tomatoes and yellow squash and sauté for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently. Use a lid and cover between stirring. Shut off heat. Allow to rest for a minute while preparing egg mixture.

In a large bowl, crack eggs and beat lightly with a fork. Add the salt, pepper, garlic and cashew cheese. Set aside.

Next, in a baking pie dish layer the sautéed veggies flat covering the entire dish.
Pour egg mixture into the baking dish right over veggies.

Transfer dish to oven and bake for about 38 - 43 minutes. It should be fully cooked when lightly browned all across the top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool 15 - 20 minutes.
Slice in wedges.

Serve & Enjoy!

Makes 4 servings


Child looking away

Why Isn't My Child Looking at Me?

When a child makes meaningful eye contact for the first time it is a very special event. The bond between a parent and child strengthens. Some children give great eye contact in the first few weeks of life while others establish eye contact around three months of age. All babies are different in how they develop.

As children reach the 12 month level they are starting to use eye contact in different ways by looking at people and objects to make requests. Even if a child does not have any words they are communicating with eye gaze, gestures and different consonant-vowel combinations.

Some children give very poor or fleeting eye contact. If they look at you it is for a few seconds or they look to the side of your face. Many parents have reported that they feel as if their child is looking through them. Other children avert their eye gaze completely. Several parents have reported that their child used to have great eye contact but regressed near their 2nd birthday.

Your primary care provider can check this out and they can make a referral to a developmental optometrist. In most cases there are no vision issues.

Early Intervention providers (SLP, OT, and PT) can assess for delays and commence behavioral therapies.

3 ways to improve eye contact with your child:

1. Get on the floor and play with your child. Share an activity with them, e.g., ball play, container play, stacking blocks.
2. Bring objects or toys of interest to your eye level. When a child looks at you make a big deal of it, i.e., give lots and lots of verbal praise.
3. Remove milk and dairy products from the child’s diet. Many parents have reported sustained and prolonged eye contact from their children when dairy is removed from their diet.

If no changes occur after the aforementioned recommendations, then ask a Naturopathic Doctor to create an individualized dietary/nutritional and homeopathic plan to support your child’s development.

Sean E. Heerey ND, MA, CCC/SLP