Lyme4Lent Challenge FAQs

Some frequently-asked questions and "big buts" about the L4L:

What is the purpose of the Lyme4Lent Challenge?

The L4L Challenge was conceived as a way to give people the opportunity to experience firsthand some of the challenges and suffering brought on by Lyme Disease, while also giving them an incredible health tool to prevent systemic chronic illness in their own bodies. Please read the introduction here.

Do I have to read the book, "It Starts With Food"?

Yes, you have to! It has all the research, reasons, and rules you will need to complete the L4L Challenge, and reading a book is part of the exercise – chronic Lymies spend hours on research!

L4L is not affiliated with the book, author, or publisher – you can buy the book anywhere or borrow it from a library.

Is L4L just for people with Lyme Disease?

The L4L and Whole30 challenge is specifically meant for everyone else, so that they can better understand some of the hardships that come with Lyme and/or other chronic illnesses.

Some people with Lyme, however, have benefited from the Whole30, or major parts of it, as an anti-inflammatory diet. Anyone with chronic illness or autoimmune disorders should discuss nutrition with their doctor – another diet better suited for gut permeability, SIBO, mast cell disorders, etc. might be more appropriate for them.

That being said, everyone can read the book and learn from it! Lymies are encouraged to follow the Facebook page, share with their friends, and join in the discussion!

Who is the beneficiary of the L4L?

Everyone! Actually, there is no fundraising involved in the L4L. All you need to purchase (or borrow) is the book, from any source. If you want to make a donation to a Lyme-related charity, you are free to choose one – L4L and are not affiliated with any organization and do not accept donations.

But Lent is 40 days.

Yes it is. After reading the book, you’ll find that the Whole30 requires more than 30 days – you are to continue the eating plan while reintroducing food groups one at a time. If you notice health benefits from the Whole30, please continue a proper reintroduction stage.

If you only want to commit to 30 days, the extra 10 days kindly gives you room to mess up and start over. You can also use the first few days to just cut sugar and sweeteners, so you’ll be better prepared for a Whole30 (depending on your current diet, this can be the hardest part and leave you couch-bound during sugar detox!) You may NOT, however, insert days for eating off-plan.

But that’s not how we do Lent.

No, it’s not. The L4L is using the Lenten season only as a backdrop and general context for this exercise. It does not adhere to any prescribed religious practices.

But Lent gives me Sundays off.

Yes it does. The L4L does not, because Lyme Disease does not.

Can I take communion?

ANY gluten or alcohol consumption will void your Whole30 and you must start over. If you take communion on Ash Wednesday to begin the Lenten period, you must start your Whole30 the next day, or after.

Therefore, you cannot take communion during the L4L, unless it is made with approved ingredients (100% fruit juices and a nut or vegetable wafer, for example). While the original Whole30 plan would likely allow you a small exception for devout religious observance, the L4L does not, because Lyme does not. Part of the purpose of L4L is to bring you face-to-face with real problems facing the chronically ill. Their exclusion from religious practices is precisely the type of issue we want to draw attention to.

Why Whole30?

Because that’s the book I found, read, and followed. It works. There are countless other books, diets, and programs, but this year, I chose this one.

I don’t believe anything in the book is true.

Welcome to Lyme Disease! Chronic illnesses are often poorly understood, under-funded, misdiagnosed, mistreated, and steeped in controversy. We never know what to believe. Please consider opening your mind and just trying. That’s what the L4L is all about – awareness.

Is (insert food here) Whole30 compliant?

Look it up! L4L is not a Whole30 affiliate or meant to provide Whole30 coaching. Just like Lyme Disease, you will be required to dig up your own resources, guides, forums, and support communities to get help for adhering to the plan. No SWYPO!

But I’m going on vacation / to a wedding / to a funeral / hosting guests / a VIP at the Waffle House / insert excuse here.

The horrible thing about Lyme is that it steals your life – all the vacations, weddings, funerals, reunions, and social functions – and it doesn’t care how much money you paid or how much you looked forward to it. It never goes away, and your entire life begins to revolve around your disabilities. You either take your own food, call ahead to verify the ingredients, or miss out. Welcome to the Lyme life.

That being said, there is no cosmic law governing the L4L, and you will not have 7 years of bad luck if you do not complete your mission. The point is to become aware of these struggles, so that you may do your part to better serve and accommodate the chronically ill. If you choose to break the rules to fit your life, at least devote some deep thought and communication to how this is affecting those with invisible illness. If you want to redeem yourself, continue the L4L and make a donation to a Lyme-related charity!

But I have a special condition.

Read the book. There are some guidelines for special populations that may be able to serve you. In any case, please consult your doctor before beginning any nutritional protocol, and discuss how you can adapt the Whole30 to your needs.

I want to do the L4L but I truly can’t because of my circumstances.

The Whole30 program won’t be possible for everyone to implement, but you can still learn from the L4L! Read the book, make adjustments as you see fit, and follow the Facebook page to participate in the most important part: chronic illness awareness! Remember, Lyme can happen to anyone - if you can't handle the L4L, be prepared to prevent Lyme!

Who are you?

I am Groot. Just kidding. I’m Joyclam - a housewife, artist, and writer. I’ve had Lyme-MSIDS, Bartonella, Babesia, MCAS, and hypothyroidism for over 4 years, and it got lonely.

Got more questions? Ask below!

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