Second in a series. Read part one.
I really, really love to eat. I have Italian grandparents, and Sunday lunches and dinners at their house were always a big affair, with side dishes, and heaps upon heaps of spaghetti and red wine, followed by some glorious pudding creation my Nan had conjured up. By the time it came to eating to support my body and reduce my endometriosis symptoms, my relationship with food, however, was sadly broken.
I’d lost the joy of food, and I had no idea how to feed myself with a consideration of nutrition or my body’s needs. So, although starting to eat for endometriosis may sound restrictive, it was actually like a world of colorful food opening up to me once more. And as I saw the improvement in my symptoms and began to feel better, my perspective on food started to change as well.
I tell you this because these days eating for “wellness” can create judgment. I’ve had much eye-rolling and skepticism thrown my way for the foods that I eat. However, despite what many people think about it, I enjoy eating this way. So, if you’re feeling a little stuck for ideas on what to eat, or you are feeling restricted, I hope I can help you by taking you through what I eat for lunch and how it’s varied over my years of eating for endometriosis.
Lunch is almost always dependent on how much time I have. If I’m really pushed, I’ll cut up some sweet potato wedges, dose them in garlic powder, rosemary, olive oil, and nutritional yeast, then enjoy them with some guacamole, hummus, and a pile of leafy greens. If I do have a bit more time, I tend to make some kind of Buddha bowl or a big, hearty salad. My Buddha bowls are usually made up of a grain, like quinoa, rice, or buckwheat, which I cook in a low-salt veggie stock. Then I add a mix of vegetables. I will often roast some carrots and sweet potato, drizzle with a little honey, season with some herbs and spices, and add some sort of plant protein, like black beans or chickpeas with a side of salad and avocado.
If I’m not roasting, I might sauté some vegetables, like broccoli and green beans, flavor with lemon juice, garlic or sesame seed oil. Or I’ll cut up some raw veggies to make a salad, such as beetroot, peppers, and cucumber. Then I add a portion of lentils, and perhaps some seeds and fruit like pomegranate.
I work from home, so I can make these things up during the day. When I worked in an office, I sussed out the places near me where I could get a decent salad or some kind of hot pot or soup. And when I was cutting down on buying lunch, I’d take in jacket potatoes with salad and hummus. Buddha bowls are really easy to bring to work if you prepare the salad bits and veggies beforehand, and you can make enough to last for a few days.
I used to spend Monday evenings making a giant lentil bolognese, or a vegan lasagne, but I found that preparing ahead is not actually my thing at all. I’d much prefer making something according to what I feel like eating than make up a batch and eat the same thing for five days. If you like to have a more “traditional” lunch, then of course a sandwich or wrap is always an option.
Gluten-free bread is much more widely available now and is better in quality, too (you may find that gluten doesn’t bother your endo at all anyway). For a while, I got into having gluten-free bagels stuffed with eggplant “bacon,” gluten-free wraps, or pita bread full of jerk-seasoned pulses. I’ve written about some of my favorite gluten-free brands in a previous column, so head over there for recommendations.
These days, I tend to focus on a lunch that balances my blood sugar levels, and I tailor it to the phase of the cycle that I’m in. If you’re still stuck for ideas, don’t forget you can pretty much pack anything for lunch. Noodles, rice stir-fries, even cottage pie! Just think about the foods you enjoy, and do some research into how to make them a bit more endo-friendly for your particular needs and sensitivities. Some of my favorite blogs for ideas are Deliciously Ella, Jessica Murnane, and Minimalist Baker. These will really get your creative juices flowing.
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.