Author of Three Amazon #1 Best Selling Books

Thoughts on Chronic Illness, Based on “Chopped” Reactions


May 29, 2014 health , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 20 Comments

The internet is a safe haven for people to act nasty, but it is also representative of cultural opinion at large. Based on this knowledge, I am extraordinarily dismayed that with all the PSA’s for Lyme Disease and new info circulating around it, it still doesn’t “count” as a serious illness to many people.

Of course all the details about my late stage neurological Lyme, like how I had fibromyalgia so bad I couldn’t move my limbs for a spell, were cut from Chopped, and the CO poisoning was played up because it made me look insane that a stove tried to kill me. The reactions from people, though, were still shocking: I didn’t have cancer, how could I call myself a survivor? My illnesses didn’t compare to cancer. The other two contestants had cancer, and I need to GET OVER MYSELF. Never mind that my CO poisoning– which I have very real blood work and medical records from, just like my Lyme– involved a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s by a Cedars Sinai neurologist, and the gas killed my ex’s cat, it was considered “trite” compared to cancer.

Lyme disease has a tendency to keep people laid up for years, and many simply never get well. There is no “cure,” only methods of treatment that very thankfully work for some, like me. My family and I did intensive research to find holistic treatments for both my illnesses when they each occurred, and thankfully, I successfully moved past both. My mom had cancer, and was mortified when I told her yesterday about people’s statements of my illnesses being “nothing” compared. Pain and suffering are pain and suffering, and one thing that can kill you is no less bad than another thing that can kill you.

There is simply no need, ever, to compare illnesses and minimize the suffering of others. People used the hashtag “#killerstoves” to mock my experience as minimal compared to cancer. Some even said there is no way it happened, because I’d be dead, which is clearly untrue: the ventilation problem was real, and was fixed by real HVAC people. The exposure was slow and low and not detectable on an alarm designed to only detect life threatening levels. It left me with a huge array of brain damage related troubles, all of which I have recovered from fully via holistic methods. (And most definitely NOT only with avocados, that was some fun editing.)

Our culture is rife with judgment, and social media fuels our ability to depersonalize others. We are all critics from our couches. I write this not to say I feel I was perceived unfairly (that’s a whole different blog!), but to ask people to realize that being laid up for years is a nightmare, whether or not one is sick with cancer. Period.


  • katie.w
    May 29, 2014 at 10:52 pm Reply

    I am watching this episode on dvr.

    I am certain the show is heavily edited.

    I have a couple of things with which I struggle concerning your blog. These are things that you presented and edited yourself.

    I got the impression that you healed yourself of a vast array of diseases by simply eating certain foods. I have a chronic disease and have been told that I can heal myself with food, that I can be healed by Chinese medicine, and I have even been told I did this to myself by a lack of faith. Therefore, I take issue with anyone preaching a “cure” for a chronic disease.

    Also, fibromyalgia and Alzheimer’s as well as lyme disease and CO poisoning? I wish I could believe you, but I have heard far too many claim to have fibromyalgia, which is hard to diagnose. I think (my personal opinion) you may have stretched the truth a bit much.

    If you have indeed healed yourself with food, I implore you to present yourself to the medical field so that others can also benefit. I think it would be much more beneficial than complaining that Chopped didn’t promote your agenda.

    Congrats on healing yourself.

    1. Ariane
      May 29, 2014 at 11:01 pm Reply

      Hi Katie,
      Thank you for the very calm tone of your comment.
      I have multiple blogs detailing all I did to heal from Lyme. It is far, far more than food. I haven’t detailed the chemical poisoning modalities in blogs bc it’s so uncommon, there seems no need. The point of posting those is to help others looking for answers.
      I never said I had Alzheimer’s, but rather that the damage from my chemical poisoning warranted the diagnosis due to its severity. I’m sorry if that wasn’t clear.
      Fibro is very, very common with Lyme. It is simply the medically accepted term for widespread nerve pain, which tends to accompany Lyme. I very much had a fibro diagnosis from a very real doctor, and when I healed from the Lyme, it dissipated along with all my other Lyme-related problems.
      My illnesses took place at different times, not the same time, and it is typical when dealing with something major that you have subsequent diagnoses. I am not trying to come across as a girl who survived plane train and automobile accidents, and I certainly don’t wish to be perceived as a lair or truth stretcher. I speak my truth in the hopes that it will benefit others, because it does regularly. I do nutrition consults (I’m a certified nutritionist) and I do health consults for people with Lyme. Many ill people have benefitted from my knowledge, so I continue to share it unapologetically.
      My best to you on your healing journey.

  • Della
    May 30, 2014 at 6:41 pm Reply

    Very well said Ariane!

    I really appreciate your awareness work AND your recipes! Keeping a positive attitude when people try to internet troll and bash you is very difficult to do. Much respect to you.

    For others reading the comments…
    (Ariene I know you already know all of what I am going to try to say.)

    Everyone heals differently because no one person’s chronic illness and/or body make up is the same. Chronic Lyme Disease affects the whole body and is often misdiagnosed as Fibro, CFS, Parkinsons, Alzimers, MS, ALS… the list goes on. These illnesses can be caused by Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease is often called the great imitator. It mimics many other illnesses. That means many people get misdiagnosed.

    I’m in Wisconsin and Lyme Disease is epidemic here. I run a Lyme support group and I see hundreds of new people at my meetings every year. It’s frustrating seeing new people all the time but also hearing about how people have treated them (doctors, family and strangers) because those people didn’t/don’t understand and choose not to try. But I get to help people find local health practitioners across the state who believe them and help them find answers and healthy food is always one of the big ways a body can start the healing process.

    Chronic illness, no matter what it is, is real. Pain is pain, and suffering is suffering. To compare illnesses and say one isn’t worthy of compassion or awareness efforts or that it’s not real? That’s an ignorant thought process and behavior. It hurts my heart when people behave that way. The world is often cruel, but luckily there are people with beautiful hearts, souls and minds that care enough to speak up for themselves and others so that people can truly be helped.

    Ariane is one of those people.

    I for one have been helped by incorporating a major diet change to my health treatment for Lyme Disease and all the co-infections that came along with it. I’m in the Paleo boat. It has helped me with many of my symptoms. For me organic veggies and proteins have helped my sleep, mood, stopped my weight fluctuations, lowered inflammation and pain and greatly helped my brain fog. Well worth time and money to eat healthy delicious food instead of taking more pills.

    Remission is a sacred thing and no one should bash anyone else for finding it.

  • Pingback: FoodiePleasure | Home Cookin’ with Chef Ariane

  • Melanie C.
    Jun 5, 2014 at 6:11 pm Reply

    Ariane – I was just watching your chopped episode and I hope it helps to know that I haven’t even finished the episode – as soon as you were chopped and they popped up your full name, I went out in search of your website to read more. I was impressed by how you handled ingredients that you had no experience with – taking on the challenge and not complaining about them (you see many vegan or clean chefs on that show having a fit about having to use canned or processed food – have they never seen the show??) and very interested in what you had to say about healing through food. I totally agree that cleaning up what you eat can do wonders for your health and I can’t wait to see your recipes and read your experiences. I didn’t think you came off crazy (In fact, in light of your CO poisoning experience, how could the clicking stove NOT freak you out??)

    (and I still don’t know who won that episode).

    Good luck to you.

    1. Ariane
      Jun 5, 2014 at 7:04 pm Reply

      Melanie, thank you so much for your sweet comment! I appreciate greatly those who understand I reacted as anyone would in such circumstances, and that I was quite edited into a specific character; somehow, these people tend to be the ones who know the value of healing outside the pharmaceutical industry.
      The nice lady named Rose won. Have a beautiful night.

  • Tommie
    Jul 5, 2014 at 3:38 pm Reply

    Chronic CO poisoning is very real. Though I have recovered from most of the effects, I’ll have a lifelong tremor to remind me I’m fortunate it wasn’t worse. It was my own fault that the fireplace damper above my gas logs had not been opened following the summer/fall season. By the time three months had passed, I had terrific headaches and balance problems. My cat didn’t die but she would hiss and scream to the point I considered having her put down. I’ll never know just what she went through. I’m just now watching the Chopped episode and got to this site by googling “chopped carbon monoxide contestant”. A good friend’s son is still recovering from Lyme Disease. I can’t imagine dealing with both. Good for you for putting yourself out there! And shame on the people who made fun of you.

    1. Ariane
      Jul 5, 2014 at 4:52 pm Reply

      Tommie, thank you so much for your kind comment! I’m so sorry you and your cat went through a similar experience, but I’m very glad you survived. The reason there is no “treatment” for CO poisoning, other than short term hyperbaric oxygen, is because so few of us are exposed slowly enough to live. That you made it through is a huge gift.
      Just a thought, you may want to try essential oils for your tremors. Lemon balm, lavender, and passion flower all calm the nervous system and could help. I’d also try various forms of magnesium (there are many), as those calm the nervous system, as does lecithin.
      My best to you and your kitty. <3

      1. Tommie
        Jul 5, 2014 at 5:01 pm Reply

        Thanks for the tip. I have been taking dopa mucuna and have eaten enough fava beans to fill a good-sized sailing vessel. Fortunately, my right side is dominant and only the left hand is affected. It would be nice for the tremor to be history, though.

        1. Ariane
          Jul 5, 2014 at 5:54 pm Reply

          My pleasure~ Sometimes essential oils work where other things have failed. I’ve had great luck with organic/therapeutic grade ones, taking them internally & rubbing diluted on problem areas.

  • Michelle
    Jul 30, 2014 at 9:08 am Reply

    Have you ever tried essential oils for lyme or just rife machines?


    1. Ariane
      Aug 10, 2014 at 2:11 pm Reply

      Hi Michelle,
      I didn’t discover essential oils until recently; I was way late to that party. I love them and find them to be highly effective for a variety of ailments. With new clients I’ve begun to incorporate their usage, and plan on working with them with Lyme clients in the future.
      Have you used them yourself? If so, which did you find effective? My research pointed to Frankincense, clove, oregano, cinnamon.

  • Dan H
    Aug 9, 2014 at 1:44 pm Reply

    Hi Ariane,

    Great showing on Chopped. The competition is tough both with the time constraints and the surprise of the ingredients. Dealing with two proteins is also tough for anyone but for someone from a vegan background particularly rough.

    I was pretty impressed with the food you managed to prepare and admired the spirit you went at the competition.

    It is unfortunate that people are downplaying your experiences with Lyme disease and carbon monoxide poisoning. Both are horribly frightening and difficult to deal with. I’m so glad you have recovered as well as you have.

    Finally, on the ticking stove. That noise is annoying and particularly so in the context of a nerve-wracking competition. Kudos to you in getting all the ingredients on the plate in such a situation.

    1. Ariane
      Aug 10, 2014 at 2:14 pm Reply

      Hi Dan, thank you so much for the sweet comment!
      Chopped was so wonderful as a learning experience– the airing of it more so than the viewing, of course. 😉 Everything happens exactly as it was meant to, and I am very grateful for people like you who were touched by my history and enjoyed watching me. <3

  • john
    Aug 25, 2014 at 6:12 pm Reply

    Good on you for defending yourself. The show did edit you unfairly, but I actually had a good ‘Curb your enthusiasm’ type chuckle out when the pilot light of the stove didn’t go off, given your history with stoves! I wish you nothing but the best in food and life. You’re a very engaging writer!

    1. Ariane
      Aug 26, 2014 at 8:58 am Reply

      Thanks so much for the sweet comment! Touching some people in a positive way (and especially all the people w/chronic illnesses who reached out, and continue to) made all the bs worthwhile. It’s always good to see how the world perceives you when you dip your toe into the water of tv land, before you take the plunge. 😉
      And thanks for the remark about my writing, I have a thus-far-rather-useless creative writing BA that I look forward to finally utilizing in my upcoming cookbook.

  • Jason
    Nov 2, 2014 at 6:25 pm Reply

    It’s not a competition of who has gone through the worst illness. People that give you a hard time aren’t worth anyone’s time as their opinion is worthless. You’re an inspiration for becoming a successful chef and competing on Chopped. Don’t let anyone get you down.

    1. Ariane
      Nov 3, 2014 at 11:42 am Reply

      That’s super sweet, thank you very much for taking the time out of your day to say something nice to a stranger!

  • Chrissy
    Nov 8, 2014 at 3:34 pm Reply

    Hi. I have two friends who also have Lyme disease. I would lovery to know which of your blogs to send them to for suggestions. One just got diagnosed. The other has had it for years. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I know you got some negativity from your appearance on Chopped (& I’m sorry for that), but God also used that appearance to reach people too. I’m thankful you went on & God used your testimony to possibly help my friends. Thank you for allowing God to use you.

    1. Ariane
      Nov 10, 2014 at 8:18 am Reply

      Hi Chrissy,
      Thank you for your comment and you are VERY right. Many people with assorted illnesses have found me through my doing the show, and I am quite glad for that. Thank you for reaching out to a stranger to say something nice!
      I have a few blogs about Lyme, but the one that details all I did is in the health section and entitled: “Get Well Soon: My CLD Protocols.” In the years since getting well and writing that I’ve learned about multiple other methods too, both for Lyme and other chronic illnesses like the chemical poisoning I had, so there is a bit that isn’t included in blogs. I do Skype consults regularly, focusing on either natural healing methods, diet, or both.
      Very best,

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