It’s no secret. Endometriosis sucks.
But it is a part of my life and something I must tackle and deal with head-on.
I remember the first time my doctor told me I had to change my diet: “no sugars, no processed foods, no caffeine, no wheat, no alcohol,” she said.
She might as well have said “no life.”
What was I supposed to eat then? A slice of lettuce with a drizzle of olive oil?
Those first few months- let’s be honest, years- were what I like to call my “denial time.”
I knew what was bad for me. I knew it made me feel sick. But it was just oh so good.
According to the Mayo Clinic:
Endometriosis is an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus (endometrial implant).
When you are making lifestyle changes it is ok to move like a turtle. Change things one by one. Increase your activity level slowly too- maybe just go on a ten minute walk a day. You might think, how will that help? Well it does! It’s a start. Then increase it to 20 minutes a day, then try a light run or roller blading or swimming. Every little bit helps.
When it comes to eating, move slowly like a turtle too. But start making the changes your body needs.
2012 was a terrible year.
I underwent three surgeries. I was in constant pain.
To stop the pain, I turned to eating. I wasn’t exercising and I was making excuses. The truth was I was so used to being in pain, I didn’t know where to start.
Every day I felt fatigued. All I wanted to do was sleep. I watched as I gained weight and wondered if it would ever come off.
I felt helpless.
But I want you to know (and maybe you are going through this too) that it does get easier and there is help.
It starts by looking within yourself.
I started off slow- like a turtle. I made some necessary changes and slowly, over a period of a year, I watched the results slowly come.
Nowadays I have so much energy, I am active, I eat healthy, and I have a new lease on life.
Here are the steps I took:
1. Increase Fruits & Vegetables
The first thing I decided to do was increase my intake of fruits and vegetables. This was easy for me because I happen to love fruits and vegetables.
Click here for the recipe for Asian Sweet Potato and Chickpea Chili (I used sweet potato instead of butternut squash but everything else is the same).
Stick to simple ingredients, things that come from the earth: arugula, tri-colored olives, radishes, drizzle with olive oil.
Local, organic fruits- I cannot tell you how much better I started to feel once I switched to organic fruit. You already have enough toxins in your body, don’t add more by consuming pesticides. Try to eat at least 3-4 servings of fruit a day (or more) and get a variety! When you feel like snacking- turn to fruit first.
2. Remove Meat and Soy
We had our second meat-free Thanksgiving this year and it was glorious! The menu included:
- Field Roast with baked root vegetables (tri-colored organic carrots, sweet potato, onions, and celery)
- Mashed potatoes
- Vegan mushroom gravy
- Green beans with slivered almonds
- Homemade organic cranberry sauce
- Wilted kale with onions
Why remove the meat?
Well every year around Thanksgiving and Christmas, not only did I gain weight but I would start to feel miserable. I would feel emotional, depressed, and bloated. At first I thought it was the increase in alcohol over the holidays (this is part of the problem).
The doctor’s diagnosed me with IBS. In my opinion IBS is the stupidest diagnosis you can ever get. It doesn’t tell you what to do. It is a blanket diagnosis they use to get you out of their office.
What they are really saying to you when you have IBS is: “You are eating something wrong. Stop eating it.”
It took me YEARS to figure out that what was bothering me was MEAT.
Meet Your Meat: “
According to Science News, 80 percent of all U.S. feedlot cattle are injected with hormones.” – Sustainable Table
As someone who suffers from hormone imbalance, the last thing I need (or anyone needs for that matter) is to eat something that is being pumped with growth hormones and antibiotics.
So I decided to shift to a pescetarian diet. I started by cutting out red meat, then turkey, then pork, then finally (and most difficult of all) chicken. I kept fish in my diet for health reasons and still eat it occasionally today, though I am happy to eat mostly vegetarian.
What can you eat as a vegetarian? Everything.
I cannot stress how good beets are for you. Eat beets. Eat them a lot!
Homemade caprese salad: organic tomatoes, mozzarella, basil from our backyard, balsamic vinegar, olive oil.
When I first started eating pescatarian I made the mistake of eating a lot of soy.
While substituting meat for soy might work for some people, it does not work for me. I wondered why I was still feeling sick? Why was I still feeling emotional and bloated?
Soy is a phyto-estrogen, so it can mimic estrogen in the body. As someone who has fluctuating estrogen levels anyway, this was just making my hormone imbalance worse!
If you have endometriosis or PCOS (like me) I recommend you stay away from the soy and only eat it (or drink it) occasionally. Pick up almond or coconut milk instead.
Things to drink:
- Coconut water (straight from the coconut or brand names like Vita Coco or Zico)
- Green tea
- Water (filtered)
- Homemade freshly squeezed juice or lemonade
Your own infused fruit water (just slice up fruit and let it sit in the water overnight)
Cold-pressed raw juices packed full of nutrients like from my favorite store Raw Juce in Boca Raton, FL. Their juices are made fresh every day and include ingredients like beets, ginger, pineapple, apples, lemon, kale, and more. I highly recommend you try them out- the juice is just so good! And if you replace one meal a day with a cold-press raw juice, you will see a significant difference in your complexion, energy level, and digestive system.
4. Increase Good Fats, Try Gluten Free
Peanut thai stir fry.
Other nuts to eat: walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts…go nuts for nuts!
Home made avocado toast. Simply mix avocado, lime juice, garlic salt, and top with sprouts and cilantro.
Avocado and coconut = good fats. Do not over do them in your diet, but enjoy them.
Just because it’s gluten free, doesn’t mean it tastes bad. Take these pancakes (above) for example from my favorite South Florida restaurant, Green Bar & Kitchen.
Green Bar & Kitchen is 100% gluten free and vegan. I love this place. They show you that you can eat gluten free and vegan and still enjoy every last bite! It doesn’t hurt that the owners are just so adorable and fun. If you are ever in Fort Lauderdale, please check them out.
5. Enjoy Life!
To do list:
- Go on vigorous walks
- Take up an active hobby
- Dance, run, laugh
- Forget the pain/ tell Endo to eff off
- Make friends
- Increase your heart rate at least three times a week (aerobic exercise)
- Do yoga
- Meditate- look within
- Turn off the TV
- Start being your own best friend
- Love yourself