Quick Start Guide
The endo diet is a self-care system that uses a collection of nourishing foods to help you
reduce inflammation, boost your immune system and balance hormones.
*This is strictly informational and not intended as medical or nutritional advice,
nor as a substitution for medical or nutritional advice.
What is the endo diet?
he endo diet or “endometriosis diet” is a collection of anti-inflammatory foods that help nourish the mind, body
The endo diet or “endometriosis diet” is a collection of anti-inflammatory foods that help nourish the mind, body and soul.
The basic concept is simple: eat more anti-inflammatory foods and less inflammatory ones.
So what does this look like?
Anti-inflammatory foods are what folks back in the olden days called “food”. AKA, fresh, natural foods in their whole form as nature intended.
This includes fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and such.
(We’ll get to animal products in a bit.)
These anti-inflammatory foods are filled with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that combat inflammation and free radical damage, support hormonal balance and fortify the immune system, helping you to forge a strong and resilient body.
…V.s Inflammatory “Phood”
Inflammatory foods, on the other hand, tend to be a modern invention. Frankenstein “Phoods” is you will. That’s “Ph” for Big Pharma, if you get my drift.
These heavily processed, refined and often addictive Phoods can contribute to chronic inflammation, hormonal disruption and a struggling immune system, with a body that is well fed yet starving for nutrition.
It’s no wonder anyone can feel drained and inflamed, let alone those of us with a pre-existing chronic inflammatory condition like endometriosis.
Thankfully, when it comes to what we eat, the power is in our hands.
Can food really impact endometriosis?
I approach my endometriosis as a trifecta made up of (1) chronic inflammation, (2) immune dysfunction and (3) hormonal imbalance, namely excess estrogen.
Food can impact each of these elements, to the determent or betterment of our body.
Since we have direct control over the food we eat, and it’s something we do multiple times a day, it’s a good place to start – especially if you are suffering from “endo belly”.
Sick and tired of being sick and tired?
Many people believe that being tired, run down and susceptible to catching other people’s germs is the norm. It’s not.
Food can either fuel or fatigue you.
I bet you know firsthand what that’s like.
I used to eat dairy and then be unable to stay awake, no matter where I was (think public transport).
…Or you have a busy week, relying on caffeine and ready meals to get you through, and then you end up with the sniffles.
…Or you gorge on ‘comfort food’ during your period and the pain skyrockets.
Although I have endometriosis and the strain that has on my body and immune system, I don’t get ill with coughs and colds like many people do, and that’s no happen accident.
A dog trainer once told me, “think of it this way, every time you ask your dog to do something, you either put a coin in the jar (he humours you) or you have one taken away (he mugs you off)”.
What has that got to do with anything?
Well, it’s the same principle when it comes to food.
Every time you eat something, this is your chance to put a coin into your savings account. Every time you eat something inflammatory, you spend one.
It’s ok to draw from your savings, just make sure that your savings outweigh your withdrawals. The more you can build your bank balance, the more secure you will be for times of unexpected stress and other people’s germs.
So while we don’t know what’s possible in terms of stopping or slowing the growth and spread of endometriosis, research into endometriosis is in its infancy, after all, this doesn’t mean we can’t feel better and manage our symptoms where possible.
What the endo diet isn’t
1. The endo diet is not one-size-fits-all.
While we’re 99.9 per cent the same. that 0.1 per cent genetic difference means that what works for me, may not work the same for you.
For instance, you may have intolerances to certain whole foods; the nightshade family is a common culprit for those with an impaired immune system and includes tomatoes, peppers, white potatoes and aubergine/eggplant.
That said, I used to be intolerant to nightshades, along with wheat, dairy and the 5 C’s (citrus, caffeine, cocoa, carbonated and canned) and have since been able to resolve all of my intolerances through strengthening my immune system.
So if you have restrictive food intolerances, don’t despair. Eliminating them from your diet, for the moment, can help take pressure off of your body while you build yourself back up.
Later down the line, you may be able to reintroduce them, or at least tolerate them when eating out and such.
Personally, I no longer include wheat and dairy in my daily diet, even though I can manage them. This is because they take a toll on my body over time, and my whole aim is to be free from chronic inflammation. I do eat nightshades now though, (though sweet potatoes over white potatoes) as they do contain a variety of nutrients. Please be aware, intolerances are not the same as allergies!
The point is, the endo diet is not some stringent rulebook. It’s a way of getting back to basics and tuning into what your body is trying to communicate with you. It’s down to you to listen and adjust accordingly.
2. The endo diet is not a “diet-diet”.
The endo diet is also not a “diet” by modern standards. The aim is not to “get skinny” nor to be faddy or horribly restrictive.
So if you’ve looked into the endo diet before and found a list of “No-Go” foods and subsequently dispaired, take a deep breath.
All we are doing here is giving ourselves higher quality nutrition. It’s a step-by-step process.
There’s no judgement here either; you won’t be iced out of the group if you make your raw seed energy balls from cocoa instead of cacao.
3. The endo diet is not backed by medical research.
Shock-horror that we should be so brazen as to bypass red tape.
On a serious note, I would be very interested in getting involved in a research paper, and I have begun discussions on this. However, getting a paper published would take a long time and I’m not prepared to wait on this before doing something for myself. Especially when what I’m doing is eating real food. Something we’ve been doing for thousands of years.
As ever, I only speak for myself and as I’m not a dietician, doctor or naturopath, I’m not saying you should do anything for your endometriosis. That’s your bag. I’m just here to share my personal experiences, thoughts and findings.
Saying that I have done my due diligence and consulted with a dietician and am working with her on the meal plans.
Also, doctors are telling us to eat more vegetables. So yay for vegetables.
Food for the mind, body & soul
(A mindful approach to eating)
At the very beginning of this page, I mentioned food for the mind, body and soul, and you may have wondered what that means.
We get food for the body, sure, so what does it have to do with the rest of it?
Well, we’re not just a body right so we’re not just here to feed the Tamagotchi.
By mind, body and soul I mean the whole-self, and it’s all intertwined (even if doctors would have you believe you can be compartmentalised – take her uterus to the gyno and her fatigue to the psych ward).
Think of it this way, by eating something, you are absorbing its energy. Some cultures believe that by eating the hearts of strong animals, they too will be emboldened with the strength of that beast.
We’re not taking it that far.
What I am saying is ’empty food’ makes you feel (snack-happy while you’re eating it) but void for the long haul. Not just the physical fatigue and inflammation, but the brain fog and hormonal imbalances it can bring on.
For a long time, I felt like a zombie, and I just couldn’t get excited about anything, and that’s not me. With my energy, I lost my humour and my silliness, and it was as if someone has pressed a mute button on my emotions.
Hunter-gathers had a compelling purpose in life; to survive. Nowadays we get fed so easily that we’ve lost that primal power and can eat mindlessly if not careful.
The chemicals in artificial and processed foods can also make us feel out of sorts, so it’s time to get back to you.
By reconnecting to the simple but powerful practice of nourishing ourselves as best we can, we can discover a greater sense of energy, drive, peace and purpose.
…And feel like you again.
The nuts & bolts of the endo diet
Now that we’ve put down some groundwork, let’s take a look at what the endo diet actually looks like on a day-to-day basis.
Here on The Endo Diet, I have compiled a collection of foods and recipes I use to manage my endometriosis.
To my right are the foods that I make my recipes from, and far-right that are the foods I just don’t have the need for.
Foods I love
- Vegetables (especially cruciferous)
- Berries & fruits
- Nuts & seeds
- Pseudo-grains (such as buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa & wild rice)
- Some grains: brown rice, gluten-free oats
- Beans & legumes
- Sea vegetables
- Fermented foods
- Sprouted seeds
- Herbs and spices such as garlic and ginger
Foods I leave out
- Heavily processed foods and all those containing additives
- Animal products* (with the exception of pure, cert. organic honey)
- Drinks that contain alcohol, caffeine, artificial ingredients or fruit juice (the sugar in fruit is best consumed with its fibre).
- Refined sugar
- Heavily processed or low-quality cereal grains
- Rancid oils
Take a deep breath…
Don’t panic if your current diet falls more into the latter camp. Stress is at the root of chronic inflammation, and so having one more thing to stress over kinda defeats the object here, and could even lead to more pain.
This is not to say I never eat the “leave out” foods, I still eat out etc. What’s different is that my day-to-day diet is based on the “love” foods and the “leave out” foods are occasional.
This helps you to become more mindful of how foods affect your body and the way you feel, and you can make your decision (is it worth) based on that.
If you want to change the foods you eat, change your recipes (or adopt the ones I use).
That way you’re not left with all of these nice ingredients but no clue what to do with them.
You can take as much time as you need to transition too. You can follow my pantry and recipe challenges to help get you there.
A note on animal products: you may be wondering why animal products don’t feature on the ‘love-list’ since we’re going a bit primal and all.
Well, there are a number of reasons a plant-based diet is gaining traction. These include reasons for health, animal welfare, budget and the environment. You can find out more about that here (coming soon).
I’ll be creating loads more resources and challenges to help you manage your endometriosis naturally, so join the group below to stay in the loop.
Right now, have a browse through all recipes and find something that you like the look of. Start there.
While I don’t use exotic ingredients, there may be some health-food ingredients you have never heard of or know where to find. Ask in the group if you want any help. Amazon is usually a one-stop-shop for anything you will need, or your local health food store will likely stock it. These items will make up your health-food pantry and serve you well for the next recipes.