With Little Other Options…
The years preceding my official diagnosis of endometriosis were some of the worst of my life. My body shook with unrelenting pain day in and day out and everywhere I turned I was faced with the message from friends, doctors and other endo sisters online that the pain was only going to get worse.
I couldn’t imagine it getting any worse. How could I lead a life like this? I spent my time away from work under the covers of my bed, in the fetal position, with a heating pad clutched to my abdomen. I was exhausted and truly disheartened.
I couldn’t go on like this.
In search of an alternate solution to help control the pain without added hormones or pain killers, I came across Carolyn Levitt’s website. She shared her inspiring story of healing from endometriosis and her story inspired me. An anchor in this recovery was her following a diet for endometriosis.
I admit when I first saw the Endometriosis Diet I turned away. There was no way that I could eat like that. It eliminated way too many of the foods that I was used to eating and it required me to have to cook and…. well I wasn’t really a cook 🙂
The Endometriosis Diet
But with little options left, I decided to give the endometriosis diet a try. I eliminated all the foods in the “to avoid” section in a fell swoop. And things got pretty frustrating at first, LOL. But I stuck with it and as a result I experienced a significant reduction in the pain from endometriosis.
Without further adieu, here is my take on The Endometriosis Diet:
Foods to Add:
To avoid the negative consequences from many of the poisons and hormone altering chemicals sprayed on our foods, it is best to buy everything possible organic.
Omega 3 Oils — Anti-inflammatory; Helps balance out bad prostaglandins.
Found in: oily fish, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, dark green leafy vegetables, omega 3 fortified eggs, hemp seeds.
Fiber — Helps move out bad estrogens through your digestive tract.
The best source of easily to digest fiber is in fruits and vegetables.
Full Color Spectrum of Fruits and Vegetables — Fruits and vegetables are full of such wonderful nutrition to help heal you body. The fresher the better and organic is the best choice.
Cruciferous Vegetables — Full of healing vitamins: zinc, A, B, C, D and E. More importantly cruciferous vegetables contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C) that participates in the metabolism of bad estrogens.
Examples: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choi and brussels sprouts
To note: Cruciferous vegetables contain goitrogens which can cause an enlargement of the thyroid gland. In addition they can act like an antithyroid drug, slowing down the thyroid ultimately causing hypothyroidism. To avoid this effect, cruciferous vegetables should be consumed lightly cooked or steamed.
Good Fats — Our sex hormones are made from cholesterol so it’s very important to include healthy fat sources in avocados, nuts, seeds and if desired, hormone-free, grass-fed animal sources.
Cold pressed olive oil is another good choice, though it should only be consumed raw. When cooked, many oils turn rancid and cause free radicals to roam through your body, causing further inflammation.
The best oils to cook with are coconut oil, grapeseed oil or avocado oil as they have a higher smoke point before going rancid.
Foods With a Lower Glycemic Load — Monitoring the glycemic load of different foods helps keep blood sugar levels balanced and increases a hormone that regulates the metabolism of fat and sugar. Studies suggest that there is a correlation between glycemic load and systemic inflammation.
Here is a chart showing the glycemic load and index of a variety of foods. Foods with a glycemic load of 10 or less is good.
Water — Dehydration adds to the aches and pains of endometriosis. Water helps move out toxins and waste from your body. The suggested amount is to drink half your body weight in ounces.
Foods to Avoid (Eliminate):
Wheat — Wheat contains a high amount of phytic acid which prevents the absorption of vitamins and minerals. It also contains gluten which causes inflammation and contributes to leaky gut.
Refined Carbohydrates and Sugar — This includes white flours and sugars and makes up most processed pastas, cakes, cookies, and other treats. These foods have a higher glycemic load and cause inflammation in your body.
Dairy — Stimulates bad prostaglandins causing inflammation and pain. Much of the dairy produced these days contains hormones and other unwanted additives that are no good for endometriosis.
Hydrogenated Oils — These bad oils also stimulate bad prostaglandins and free radicals that cause damage to your body causing inflammation and pain.
Soy — Soy is very hard to digest and much of the non-organic soy in the United States is genetically modified. Soy contains a large amount of phytoestrogens which can aggravate endo. Small amounts of fermented soy are alright in moderation.
Food Additives — These include anything at the end of the ingredient list that is not natural. Watch out for coloring – i.e. Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 6, etc. These dyes are horrible for digestion and have been linked to behavioral disorders.
Also linked into this category are sulfites, nitrates, etc.
Sugary Drinks & Alcohol — Sugar increases inflammation as does alcohol. Alcohol wears on your liver and is said to increase estrogen levels.
Citrus Fruits — The elimination of citrus fruits is of individual choice. Citrus irritates the stomach and can upset the way in which estrogen is excreted by your body.
Of final note: “If a food is upsetting digestion and causing an immune system response, then that food should be avoided,” says Dian Shepperson Mills.
On the Positive Side?
I admit when I first started the endometriosis diet I was overwhelmed. I really struggled eating out and going to social events. I found that it took some planning.
But all of it has been totally worth it. I feel so much better when I follow the guidelines above and I have eliminated much of my pain. When I get off track with the diet I still feel it, but the impacts are not as bad as they once were, which tells me that my body is healing.
The endometriosis diet has expanded my food palette and encouraged me to try new foods and recipes. Yes it is hard to eat out on the endometriosis diet, but with some pre-planning and dedication it is possible 🙂
It helps to have a partner along the way to a big change like following the endometriosis diet. If you are ready to try it, but need help in doing so then please set up a time for us to chat. I’d love to partner up and help guide you through this transition that is a first big step towards healing endometriosis.
I am also in the process of putting together a group program to provide even more support on the road to naturally healing endometriosis. More details on that to come….
So what about you? Have you tried the endometriosis diet? How do you feel since doing so? I’d love to hear from you….