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Erika Schlick: “Stay strong and be your own advocate”

People living with chronic illness are not lazy. Trust me, we do not want to sit in bed all day or on the couch and not be working. We want to get better! Everything we do during the day, even the basic things, takes so much energy and work. When you are chronically ill you […]

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People living with chronic illness are not lazy. Trust me, we do not want to sit in bed all day or on the couch and not be working. We want to get better! Everything we do during the day, even the basic things, takes so much energy and work. When you are chronically ill you can’t function or work.

Don’t treat our disability as a burden. It is hard enough living with our diet and lifestyle changes to help heal. We don’t need others making us feel bad about it or like we are an inconvenience or a bother to you. We are still human and need love and support.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Erika Schlick, a health coach, blogger and the author of Wandering Palate, a collection of 28 days of travel-inspired healthy Paleo meals that help keep her in remission from Lyme disease and multiple autoimmune conditions. The book is a collection of recipes that helped her heal and now she is joining us from her home in Los Angeles to show us how we should be cooking to stay safe and healthy at home.

Wandering Palate has several healthy recipes to make while you have some extra time at home and are looking for simple and healthy meals to prepare.


Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

My name is Erika and before my health journey started, I was a licensed architect and went on to run a design agency, which I still run today with my partner. I am originally from Los Angeles where I live now. I absolutely love to travel, going to the beach, and spending time with my beautiful French bulldogs. I am a super active person and always like to be doing something productive. That is why I am working on the proposal for my next cookbook and a few other surprises coming soon.

Do you feel comfortable sharing with us the story surrounding how you became disabled or became ill? What mental shift did you make to not let that “stop you”?

I went on the third camping of my life in August 2012. After that trip, I had a weird flu that would come and go and some weird bug bites on me. I did not think anything of it since I used to get bites all the time and figured it was just a cold or the flu. Unfortunately, it never really went away and for two months I felt sick. During this time, new odd symptoms started to creep in such as joint pain, digestive issues, hair loss, short term memory issues, and brain fog. For two years, I went from doctor to doctor and got various diagnoses for SIBO, Candida, Celiac, Hashimoto’s, Alopecia, Fibromyalgia. It wasn’t until I sat in my doctor’s office crying and begging for answers that he said the only thing he hadn’t tested me for was Lyme disease and chronic fatigue viruses. I told him I doubted it was Lyme, I was 100% a city girl and had never been outdoorsy. Honestly, I did not know much about Lyme but a few weeks later my test came back CDC positive: Lyme was in fact what had been trying to kill me for those two years.

I felt relieved, I finally had a diagnosis, but scared I was just diagnosed with an incurable disease. For the first few weeks after my diagnosis, I started researching various treatment options for the first few weeks to see what resonated with me and I chose to go on a very natural path and not use any antibiotics. I did treatments for about three years and it got me to about 60% better. I then made the decision to get stem cell therapy using my own stem cells and that was ultimately what healed me and got me into remission. It will be four years in September since that treatment and I am still doing well!


Can you tell our readers about the accomplishments you have been able to make despite your disability or illness?

Lyme has somewhat been a blessing in disguise. I have met amazing people that are now very close friends who understand me on a very deep level because of our shared experiences. I also feel like I am going to be the healthiest I have ever been. I used to think I was healthy, but I have learned so much about health and diet in my journey which showed me I wasn’t really as healthy as I thought. My blog would have never happened, and I would not have written my cookbook had it not been for Lyme and Celiac disease. I am really enjoying this journey which has turned into a passion project to help people on their own path to wellness.

What advice would you give to other people who have disabilities or limitations?

Stay strong and be your own advocate. I can’t tell you how many doctors dismissed my symptoms and misdiagnosed me when Lyme was my root cause. If I had not trusted my gut and body and knew something was wrong, I would not have gotten my diagnosis.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?

I would definitely say my boyfriend Adam. We have been together for 10 years and have been through everything together. He helped me stay strong when I was at my sickest and took care of me. As I have come back to life, he has always been my strength to keep pursuing my goals and new ways to grow my brand. He definitely gave me the nudge to do more videos and start my YouTube channel. It doesn’t hurt that he has a marketing background and awesome ideas for these things too.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Absolutely! That is exactly what The Trail to Health is all about! It started off as a way to track the treatments I was doing to heal from Lyme and a way to help people find some options that could work for them. As I healed and got better over the years, it evolved to more of a health blog with healthy tips to prevent illness and stay healthy after being diagnosed with a chronic disease. I wrote my first cookbook, Wandering Palate, which was released in late 2018, kicking off the entire food and recipe section of my blog which is growing with more and more recipes every month. In 2019, I launched a travel section that focuses on Gluten-Free travel guides and city guides as a way to show people you can travel and enjoy life after chronic illness even with a new lifestyle and restricted diet. I also offer health coaching and have a few programs that focus on helping people heal from various chronic conditions.

Can you share “5 things I wish people understood or knew about people with physical limitations” and why.

Chronic illness can be invisible when people can look totally fine on the outside but feel like they are dying on the inside. I was so weak and in so much pain when I was at the peak of my Lyme disease and I had a handicap decal for my car. I would get so many dirty looks from people because I was young and appeared healthy when with each step I was in excruciating pain and fatigue. I wish people wouldn’t judge others based on their looks without having to mention they look fine or good when they are feeling so sick.

People living with chronic illness are not lazy. Trust me, we do not want to sit in bed all day or on the couch and not be working. We want to get better! Everything we do during the day, even the basic things, takes so much energy and work. When you are chronically ill you can’t function or work.

Healing is a full-time job and it takes all the energy we have. Between doctor appointments, IV appointments, testing, and supportive therapies, it takes a great number of hours per week to heal yourself and it is exhausting. Have a little compassion for people and how much work we put into healing ourselves.

We miss our friends and all the things we used to do. Come spend time with us, have a movie night, or just hang out with us. We may not be able to go out to dinner because our diet is really restricted, or we just don’t feel good. We might not be able to go see a movie or attend a concert because the lights and sounds will aggravate our neurological issues. We miss those things and we miss you, but we also need human contact, comfort, and understanding. We spend so much of our sick years watching our life go by and it can be really sad for us. I basically spent my entire 30’s in bed. I am looking forward to a new decade to start fresh and live my life again.

Don’t treat our disability as a burden. It is hard enough living with our diet and lifestyle changes to help heal. We don’t need others making us feel bad about it or like we are an inconvenience or a bother to you. We are still human and need love and support.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?

Health really is everything. I know people say it, but you don’t realize how true it is until it’s gone. I prioritize my health over every decision. Though I am in remission from Lyme today, it is very fragile, and I have to make sure I am thinking about how it will affect my body with every decision.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂

Oh, this is a hard one! So many good choices. I think I would want to connect with someone who is in the Lyme community, perhaps Avril Lavigne. I would also love to meet and be on the Dr. Oz show or Today show sometime.

How can our readers follow your work online?

Wandering Palate is currently shipping and available on my website and Amazon.

Website — https://thetrailtohealth.com/shop

Amazon — https://amzn.to/2ysea7X

People can follow me:

On my blog

www.thetrailtohealth.com

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