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October 09. 2012 8:36PM

Recipes for Repair: Eating better to feel better


 (COURTESY)

SUNAPEE — When Laura Piazza Herd was first diagnosed with Lyme disease, she knew she had to make changes to get better, but she didn't realize the impact her diet would have on her recovery. Now Herd, and her mother Gail Piazza, have joined forces to share their knowledge of Lyme disease and the foods that can help aid recovery in their new book, ”Recipes for Repair.”

When Herd, a professional photographer and graphic designer, was diagnosed with Lyme disease she began educating herself about the tick-borne malady by reading, “The Lyme Disease Solution,” written by recovered Lyme patient and Lyme specialist, Kenneth B. Singleton, MD, MPH.

“He had an entire chapter devoted to nutrition, including the four-phase, anti-inflammation diet that he developed,” said Herd. “Until that point, I didn't realize what an important role nutrition had in the healing process and wanted to implement the diet, but hesitated because of the limited amount of recipes included in his book.”

The diet's protocols strictly limit the types of foods one can consume during the first week, and gradually adds more ingredients through each phase of the four-phase plan. But for the first four weeks, no dairy is allowed, red meat is off the table except for venison and lamb, and pre-packaged or processed foods are completely out-of-bounds.

What the diet does promote, during the first four weeks, are lots of fruit and vegetables, plenty of fish and white meat, whole grains, nuts and very limited types of fats and sweeteners. The list of acceptable ingredients increases after the first two phases have passed, but Herd wasn't confident that she could get through that first four weeks without help, so she turned to her mom for help.

Gail Piazza, home economist and food stylist, had a knack for taking rather limited lists of foods and combining them to create delicious meals.

“Implementing the diet now was easy and didn't feel like a diet at all,” said Herd. “I knew the recipes she was developing could also help others, which sparked the idea for a book.”

Herd and Piazza reached out to Dr. Singleton who fully supported the women's efforts to create a cookbook based on his diet and even wrote the forward for Recipes for Repair.

The main goal of the diet is to ward off inflammation. While inflammation is the body's natural response to injury, infection and allergens, Lyme disease causes the immune system to create chronic inflammation that leads to unpleasant symptoms like fatigue, depression, and soreness in the joints to more serious repercussions including heart disease, according to Singleton.

Though reducing inflammation doesn't cure Lyme disease, it eases the symptoms and prepares the body to fight off the Lyme bacteria through antibiotics, and one of the easiest ways to reduce inflammation is to not feed it the carbohydrate and dairy-rich foods the condition thrives on. Because chronic inflammation shows up in people who have a variety of illnesses, including rheumatoid arthritis, thyroiditis and Crohn's disease, Recipes for Repair is about more than just helping the victims of Lyme disease, Herd said. For more information, go to recipesforrepair.com.

Ghee

Ghee is another name for clarified butter, the clear yellow liquid that is left after the milk solids have been removed from butter, and is an important ingredient in Recipes for Repair.

Makes about 1½ cups

1 pound unsalted organic butter

Preheat the oven to 250ºF. Place butter in ovenproof dish. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Foam will form on the surface and milk solids will sink to the bottom of the dish. Remove pan from the oven and carefully skim off and discard the foam. Ladle clear liquid into a container. Cover and refrigerate for future use. Discard milk solids.

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Nutty Coconut Delight

This recipe is a real treat. During Phase 1 of this diet, you are urged to keep your intake of sweets to a minimum, so restrict yourself to one.

Ingredients

¼ cup Ghee
½ cup raw honey
½ cup almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup unsweetened coconut
½ cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place ghee, honey, almonds and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse 6 or 7 times, or until the nuts are ground. Grease bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan. Spread the nut and honey mixture over the bottom of the greased pan. Sprinkle coconut over honey nut mixture, and then sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the coconut. Place pan in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges bubble and begin to brown. Allow the pan to cool and then refrigerate it for several hours or overnight. Scoop the mixture into balls using a small ice cream scoop or serving spoon. Serve immediately and refrigerate any leftovers.

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Spinach and Lentil Salad with Warm Honey Vinegar Dressing

Ingredients

½ cup lentils
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into quarters and then sliced into strips
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups baby spinach leaves
2 hard cooked eggs, sliced
10 toasted pecans
½ ripe avocado, sliced

Cook the lentils according to the package directions. While the lentils are cooking, heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes, or until hot. Sauté the onion for about 5 minutes, or until golden-brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Combine the vinegar and honey, and pour it over the onions in the pan. Stir well to combine, and cook for 30 seconds. Add the remaining ¼ cup of oil to the pan and cook for 30 seconds. Divide the spinach between two bowls. Top each with half of the onion vinaigrette mixture and toss well. Spoon the cooked lentils over the salads. Top with a splash of the dressing, and the eggs, nuts and avocado.


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