After 4 Months on an Endometriosis Diet, Here’s What I Learned

After 4 Months on an Endometriosis Diet, Here’s What I Learned
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The first time I went to an endometriosis support group, one word came up a lot: Diet. I quickly learned how certain foods dictate the symptoms we suffer, or worsen our condition. Gluten consumption can lead to inflammation and bloating, coffee and dairy can wreak havoc on your hormones, red meat is a big fat no-no, and the list goes on.

For a while, I was reluctant to make huge changes to the way I ate. Why would anyone voluntarily give up extra-cheesy pizzas or banish ice cream from their freezers? Could I give up my morning coffee? However, the worse I felt after eating certain foods, the more I thought about it. Now, it’s been four months since I decided to follow an “endo diet.” Following is what I’ve learned:

It may put you in a bad mood.

Gone are the days when I could fix myself a quick sandwich or grab anything on the go. My diet is almost completely plant-based and gluten-free. Lunch means coming up with ways of making bread using wheat-free flours, remembering not to reach for cheese when thinking about sandwich fillers. I even cried about this two weeks ago — first-world problems anyone? Most people don’t blink when choosing food. Endometriosis will make you consider each ingredient of every meal. It’s fine if it makes you a bit cranky.

It’s OK not to go cold turkey.

Most of the foods an endometriosis sufferer should avoid are the ones I love. I haven’t wiped out all of my favorites. Sometimes it’s cheese on my fries, others times it’s spoiling myself with a more digestible sourdough-based pizza. As long as I consider these as treats, it’s fine. The more tasty alternatives I find, the easier it becomes. Also, coconut-based ice cream is the work of gods.

The effects may not be immediate.

Avoiding gluten or dairy left me less bloated almost overnight. However, it took two months before I noticed any big changes to my general health. My energy levels are higher and the usual midday slump seems to have gone. My daily bouts of nausea have practically disappeared, and during my period I now only spend one day in bed on average, instead of three or four.

It won’t make you unsociable.

You can still go out and enjoy life, but it’s helpful if you plan your outings. Look up menus online for gut-friendly options, and be prepared to talk about your dietary needs with others. Not everyone will understand, but those who don’t will just have to miss out on spending time with you and some really good food, because …

… it can be pretty tasty.

My take on Jessica Murnane’s nut butter pie. (Photo by Jessie Madrigal-Fletcher)

I recently discovered a recipe for a vegan nut butter pie that tastes like Oreo cookies. Plant-based food has come a long way since we first began hearing about it. Recipes by fellow endo-sufferers, like Jessica Murnane, and countless gluten-free and veggie cookbooks make producing delicious dishes easy. (Word of warning: My kitchen has never been messier.)

As it works, it becomes easier.

It’s not so much a diet, but a change in lifestyle. It took me a while to notice any changes. But after four months, I don’t miss the bloating or the stabbing pains in my stomach. The increase in my energy levels makes me see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Life with a chronic disease may be something I actually can do.

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Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.

My name is Jessie. I am a writer and part-time Yoga instructor living in the south of England. Since being diagnosed with endometriosis, I’m determined to be the boss of my chronic illness. You’ll find me with two sausage dogs curled up on my belly and my duvet nearby, writing about life and whatever my mind thinks up. This is my journey.
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My name is Jessie. I am a writer and part-time Yoga instructor living in the south of England. Since being diagnosed with endometriosis, I’m determined to be the boss of my chronic illness. You’ll find me with two sausage dogs curled up on my belly and my duvet nearby, writing about life and whatever my mind thinks up. This is my journey.

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12 comments

  1. Freddy says:

    I see the author has ground knowledge it the topic in addition to some practical expertise.
    Such sort of info is more beneficial than copypasted
    blog articles thoughts.

  2. CK says:

    Calling dairy and red meat bad is really dishonest. There is nothing wrong with either if the product is raised well and prepared properly.

    • Hello CK, thanks for your comment, but nowhere in this post do I say that dairy and red meat are “really bad”. what I do say is that for me, – since this is written based on an honest and personal experience – these foods cause me inflammation. This is my experience on the endometriosis diet, which is one many patients follow. It works for some, not so much for others. Have a lovely day 🙂

    • Faye says:

      Of course meat and dairy are bad. They are bad for you, bad for the planet and really bad for the animals. Stop living in denial and do some research about what you’re condoning.

  3. Fran says:

    I had an endometrioma removed last december. I had the marina coil put in while under op. No problem until now. I am bloating so much in the last month really bad to the point i look 6 months pregnant. Now i will say my diet and exercise is crap. Ive been looking on how to do start this endo diet how and where do i start. Also i drink alot of coffee. I have of late start drinking peppermint tea not really helping. Any advise??

    • The basis of the endo-diet, is to avoid inflammatory foods. Anything that causes inflammation contributes to pain and bloating. Ideally, you should speak to a dietician so you ensure you are not missing out on anything you may need, should you start elliminating certain foods. I began by reducing my caffeine intake, and finding a good decaf. In my case, what causes me the most amount of pain is wheat (bread and pasta) and sugary foods. Dairy also causes me to bloat, as it is hard to digest, and certain types of vegetables. Start with very few changes, and go from there. Good luck

  4. Lindsay C says:

    Thanks for the article. I am suffering from endo and my MDs are all out of ideas. I am ready to take on this new life style change and like you love coffee, dairy and red meat. Is decaf still too much caffeine or do you recommend getting rid of it cold turkey? Any decaf items you really like that you can recommend?

    • Hi Lindsay, thanks so much for reading. I wrote this article a while back, and since then, have returned to drinking coffee. I just don’t do it daily, and the most I do is one cup. I also drink coffee that is low in caffeine. It doesn’t affect me negatively and in fact, it helps me deal with my chronic fatigue. When I don’t drink coffee I have either a matcha latte (dairy-free, max one a day) or an energizing infusion (ginger, turmeric, peppermint etc). I hope this helps

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