Holiday Food Warrior
In December comes my birthday, Christmas parties and Christmas day – events centered around food. Temptations are all around and indulgence is common place – “Come on it’s the Holidays!”
My diet for endometriosis makes it pretty difficult to eat out. Now granted, I don’t like to be a pain and will go out to meals or events and can usually find something to eat, be it a salad or a bunch of side dishes, lol.
I went to a Christmas party at a family style Italian restaurant – Ugh. Luckily they served gluten free pasta. Being the odd ball who has to wait for my own gluten free pasta (with just tomato sauce) while refraining from all the appetizers and desserts – begs the question – Why?
Then the awkward conversation follows as to why I choose not to partake in certain food choices and the consideration of bringing up the whole endometriosis thing. While most people are understanding, many just nod, “Wow. I could NEVER give up all that.”
Seems this thought process is rampant with everyone around me and sometimes its hard to stand alone, to draw attention to the fact that I eat differently.
Greater frustration comes when I have these conversations with people about what I don’t eat then its commonly disregarded at the next event so the awkwardness returns and I have to go through the same explanation to hear the common response, “Right you don’t eat ANYTHING…” 🙂
For the most part I try and eat my meals at home. The food at our home is almost all organic. My husband and I choose to eat organically because of the negative effects of GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, dioxins and other chemicals in our bodies. And because organic food just tastes better 🙂
With family in from out of town, my husband and I cooked the Christmas dinner this year. We opted for an organic, free range turkey – that was twice the price of a normal factory farmed turkey. In addition, we opted for a gluten free, dairy free, organic meal (with the exception of the stuffing and pies I opted out of).
I stood up for these choices, regardless of questionings on the price and value because I believe my health and well being are worth it and because I want to food in my kitchen to be the best it can be.
Somewhere along the way the value of organic food was lost to many, especially in my parent’s generation. I understand that there is no guarantee that something is absolutely organic, but isn’t it worth the attempt to try and remove chemicals from our bodies?
That is the food warrior in me that has grown through the last two years since changing my diet to significantly reduce my endometriosis pain and to create a body that feels good.
My views on food have changed dramatically. I cannot close my mind to the information I’ve gained about the American diet, about the downward spiral of the mainstream commercial food industry.
Now more than ever, organic foods are worth the extra money. Pay more now or pay more later in terms of health problems. I know now that diet does make a difference in the way I feel and I feel good 🙂
Five Foods to Avoid With Endometriosis – To Reduce Inflammation in the Body
The following is a run down of the main foods that I avoid on my diet for endometriosis and my reasoning for doing so…..
(Eliminating these foods should help anyone suffering with any type of inflammation in the body.)
1.) Gluten –
While most have heard of the term “gluten-free”, I realize that most people do not know what gluten is. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye (so if it has flour in it, it probably has gluten in it.)
An allergy to gluten causes an immune system response that ends damaging the small intestine, gastrointestinal distress and nutritional deficiencies. Common gluten intolerance symptoms include bloating, diarrhea, headaches/migraines, and chronic fatigue. Sound familiar?
Most importantly for endo gals is the fact that gluten causes an inflammatory response throughout the body effecting the brain, heart, joints, digestive track and more. This inflammatory response is related to endo cramping and pain.
2.) Dairy –
The consumption of dairy (any product from a cow – cheese, milk, ice cream, etc) causes mucus to build up in the body resulting in infections in the ears and nasal cavity. Its consumption is also linked to asthma, acne, skin rashes and eczema.
Like gluten, dairy also causes inflammation in the body, primarily in the gut often resulting in abdominal pain, flatulence, watery stools and chronic constipation. This inflammatory response adds to endometriosis pain.
Milk contains lactose. In order for the human body to digest lactose it needs to produce an enzyme called lactase, but the production of lactase drops after babies are weaned off of breast milk. Without lactase, cow’s milk is not properly digested in the body causing an overactive immune system response, where the body starts attacking its own cells.
In the United States non organic dairy products contain growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides and dioxins all of which contribute to breast, uterine and ovarian cancers.
These hormones and chemicals affect fertility and add to the growth of endometriosis as they disrupt hormonal balance. Excess mucus in the reproductive system also makes the journey of sperm to the uterus more difficult, adding another hurdle to conceiving.
Seems this year that milk chocolate was a popular gift for my husband and I. We’ve been flooded with it along with other sweet treats. Unfortunately, my food warrior status faulted a bit here. I’ve consumed a fair share of chocolate this month – Ugh.
Sugar causes an inflammatory response in the body. It suppresses the immune system and upsets mineral relationships in the body. It increases reactive oxygen species (ROS), thus causing damage to cells and tissues.
Sugar reduces the body’s ability to defend itself from bacterial infection and it feeds bad bacteria like Candida, which has been linked to endometriosis. My sugar binge has resulted in a breakout on my hands, which I believe to be eczema – a result of Candida overgrowth and inflammation. Sugar can also cause acne.
Sugar interferes with the body’s ability to absorb calcium and magnesium (minerals that aide in the reduction of cramps). Over consumption of it can lead to ovarian cancer.
In my opinion, sugar is the worst drug out there. It is extremely addictive, resulting in a response in the brain similar to cocaine. With drawls from it include anxiety and crankiness. For me, best to steer clear completely.
While alcohol is not a food, I’ve included it in this list as it too causes inflammation in the body. It dehydrates the cells in the body and forces the liver to work harder to filter out its toxic effect. It compromises the immune system.
Alcohol tends to increase estrogen levels and oxidative stress – both bad news for endo. Like sugar, alcohol feeds Candida, leading to digestive issues and further pain.
Alcohol consumes the vitamin B stored in the liver, and is, overall, wearing on the liver. This is not good considering the liver is vital to eliminating excess estrogen from the body and for detoxing other bad things that feed endo.
Alcohol messes with the central nervous system and interferes with a good night’s sleep. My last few experiences with hard alcohol in particular have resulted in a night of tossing and turning and exhaustion the next day.
5.) Bad Fats –
Omega 6 fats are the building blocks for pro-inflammatory hormones in the body. Omega 6 fats are present in vegetable oils including corn (canola), sunflower, safflower, peanut and borage oils. These fats stimulate fatty hormones including prostaglandins, prostacyclins and resolvins – causing inflammation in the body.
Other bad fats include hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, which contain trans fats. Trans fats block anti-inflammatory prostaglandins and block normal conversion of cholesterol in the liver, leading to increase blood cholesterol.
Trans fats cause immune system imbalances and disrupt digestive processes as it takes 52 days for half of the trans fats eaten to be removed from the body! Wow.
There bad fats cause arthritis, joint swelling, fibromyalgia, eczema, dry skin, decreased immunity, headaches, heart problems, PMS, and neurological damage. They also contribute to endometriosis pain.
On the Positive Side?
Since adjusting my diet two years ago, I feel so much better. I have lessened my once daily endo pain to just one managed day of pain the first day of my period. I no longer get headaches and the joints in my body do not ache like they used to.
My digestion is amazing now. No more bloating or constipation. I have regular movements with limited to no flatulence 🙂
I rarely get sick from the common head colds or flu. I have more energy and a greater desire to get out and enjoy the beautiful world 🙂
While I struggle at times with being the one who eats differently, I appreciate the fact that it often strikes up conversations about food with people who are interested in learning more. I am very passionate about natural healing and believe the very best medicine we have in this world comes from mother nature. I hope that you feel the same (or will consider it).
You truly are what you eat. Choose wisely….
Sweet blessings to all fellow food warriors out there who stand for better health, happiness and a cleaner environment. We stand together across the world.
Peace to you. <3
Hi Aubree 🙂
I have endometriosis too.. I am bloated always.. Im eating a healthy diet now.. Since, my obgyn told me that, ivf is the solution for my pregnancy.. So i choose to be healthy as you did.. Im so happy, because i saw and read your article..
I have a question, do you have a children? What did you do? My husband also has a problem, he has varicocele, but 6months ago, he has been medicated already, to fix his veins.. We are waiting now to have our 1st baby.. And we hope, normal pregnancy yet d best not ivf..
Hi Grace – Good to hear that changing your diet helped you. At this point I do not have any children. I wish you the best of luck on your fertility journey. I think that anything is possible. Sending you love.
I just stumbled across your website – really clear and definitely hits home!
I was diagnosed with endo a few years ago and have been wheat-free (most of the time!) for about 4 years but lately I’ve found the IBS-like symptoms returning despite still being gluten free. My last period had me collapsing with pain and was bed-ridden for a full day and then exhausted for the following few days.
Really want to bite the bullet and try the dietry changes you’ve suggested – it’s so difficult to make the change when no-one else in my life would really understand… I’m always paranoid about being labelled as ‘fussy’.
Hi Michelle – Happy that you found me! Good for you for cutting out wheat. Sorry to hear that you are still struggling. It can be difficult to change your diet, especially this time of year. (Not much has changed since I wrote this rant three years ago, Lol).
I’m do offer health coaching services if you need support making changes. Would love to do a discovery session with you 🙂