“Ninja Foods” helps kids with Lyme choose food that heals, not hurts
People being treated for Lyme disease often have to change what they eat. Eliminating sugar and gluten are two biggies. Many must also avoid dairy and eggs.
Eating differently than you are used to often means cutting out your favorite foods. A tough sell for anybody, that’s especially challenging for children. They already feel awful and now you’re telling them they can’t even have that cookie they want?
The Glowac family of Vermont knows all about this. The mom, Christina, learned she had Lyme disease in 2016. Over the next couple of years, both her daughter Julie Anne, now 12, and Trevor, now 8, were also diagnosed with Lyme.
Trevor, only 4 years old at the time, did not understand why he could no longer eat his favorite snacks.
The right foods can help you heal
That’s when the idea of “ninja foods” was born. Christina explained to Trevor that certain foods—such as whole fruits, vegetables and nuts—could help kick the Lyme bugs out of his body. Eating those things while staying away from other ingredients could help him get well.
Next, Christina got busy in the kitchen trying to recreate some of Trevor’s favorite treats without using sugar, gluten and eggs. She reports that many of these early efforts were not successful, but slowly she began to make recipes that he really enjoyed.
Then, when COVID hit and the schools shut down, the family needed a project. They decided to create a children’s book called “Ninja Foods.”
Christina wrote the text and her kids helped brainstorm ideas for the book’s illustrations.
Christina decided to broaden the book’s scope to include any medical condition that required a specialized diet. That way the concept of Ninja Foods could reach children beyond the Lyme community.
“The dietary restrictions that come with medical diagnosis can be challenging and confusing,” Christina explains. “Ninja foods are a fun and engaging way to involve children in the process of figuring out what foods are okay to eat and the foods that they should avoid.”
The story line is followed by recipes that most kids would find appealing, such as banana ice cream, chocolate banana cupcakes, and pumpkin bread.
“Ninja Foods: Recipes Included” is available at bookstores and online booksellers.
TOUCHED BY LYME is written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland, President of LymeDisease.org. She is co-author of When Your Child Has Lyme Disease: A Parent’s Survival Guide. Contact her at email@example.com.