‘You are what you eat’ – I read this as a teenager in my school canteen and I didn’t really understand it until I didn’t have to adopt an Endometriosis, PCOS & an Ehlers-Danlos syndrome friendly diet.
Food is a large contributor to how we feel not just physically but emotionally too and if you have a medical condition then expect this to hold true far more than we give it credit for.
I was always a careful eater – I never over-ate or had a great sweet tooth but even then I didn’t restrict what I ate, I just ate in moderation.
It was in October 2015 when one day I couldn’t stand let alone walk, when I couldn’t chew on my toast without losing my breath, when I was having sudden drops in blood pressure, when I was facing 18 months of incorrect diagnosis, and a bunch of steroids that it was time to do whatever I could to feel better and diet was the first thing that came to mind.
In April 2017, I was eventually diagnosed with Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) along with POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) and fibromyalgia – phheeww! I had a diagnosis! What an incredible feeling that was – anyone who has had to struggle to get a diagnosis will relate to this feeling.
But now, what do you do – do you let the feeling of pity take over over or do you work with this challenge and tackle what’s in your control?
I couldn’t only be dependent on medication which was making me feel worse than I already did. My food needed to support the medicines I was on and the medical condition I was dealing with.
So, it was time for a diet change.
Please remember: the diet mentioned below is what works for me. I have consulted a nutritionist who understands the medical conditions I have. I am not a medical professional so please consult your doctor and a nutritionist to make sure you’re on a plan tailored to your needs.
If you would prefer to see a video version of this article then it’s right here (the video has subtitles/captions too). If you like it then please do like, share and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Instead, if you wish to read through then just scroll below and it’s all there.
My Diet for Endometriosis, Adenomyosis & Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
A change in diet wasn’t going to eliminate endometriosis or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, but the whole purpose was to reduce pain and feel healthier.
Both these chronic conditions can cause pain because of inflammation so it was important that I geared my diet towards being anti-inflammatory.
I had to remember that I would be setting myself up for failure if I made sudden and drastic diet changes – so I didn’t. I eased myself into my list of changes and here’s that list.
1. Gluten Free Diet
As I briefly mentioned above, with my sudden Ehlers-Danlos syndrome flareup, chewing was tiring me out and I had been reading for a while that eliminating gluten has helped some endometriosis patients too – although no study has proved this but for me it wasn’t worth getting tired over gluten and under-eating.
Gluten is anything with wheat, barley or rye and I love bread, pasta, having an occasional piece of cake – I mean self-raising flour has gluten added to it too… O’ and how can I forget – I LOVE biscuits. If you’ve been brought up on English biscuits then you’ll know what love I’m talking about.
So this was going to be a tough challenge for me.
With the reduction of this form of carbohydrates, I went through withdrawals – migraines just wouldn’t stop, but I kept at it.
Over time, my withdrawal symptoms disappeared and most importantly, since eliminating gluten, I feel lighter, less bloated for sure and there has been a significant change with my endo-belly issues too.
But what did I replace gluten with?
I love having roti with Indian food, but that’s usually made of wheat so I replaced my wheat roti with mixed flour roti.
The mixed flour was jowar (sorghum), bajra (millet) and makki (cornmeal). It’s more filling and nutritional than a regular wheat roti and definitely easier to chew for me.
I also switched to gluten free bread which is usually made of buckwheat.
I also have pasta made of buckwheat too.
I’ve added quinoa and brown rice to my diet which is great in a salad or with Indian food.
Eliminating gluten has meant a reduction in fibre in-take, and with bowel endometriosis, it’s almost madness if you’re to apply pressure on your bowels when on toilet seat.
To help me from this issue, I started taking Psyllium Husk, a form of fibre which I have spoken of in detail in my earlier post on Natural Pain Relief for Endometriosis & Adenomyosis.
Taking a couple of spoons of this with warm water four to five times a week has made sure that I am not troubled with the reduction in fibre.
2. Reducing Dairy & Non-Vegetarian Food
I prefer to stay away from anything that adds foreign hormones to my system. Endometriosis, adenomyosis and PCOS are all hormone driven medical conditions and it has never made any sense to me that I keep anything to my diet that adds to the already complicated situation.
In dairy, if I must then I do have yogurt because it’s a pro-biotic and helps create a healthy digestive system and improves the immune system too. I do avoid yogurt at night as it adds congestion in my chest making it tougher for me to lie straight and sleep.
O’ and another time that I do cheat with dairy is when I have my afternoon tea in which I do put two tablespoons of milk 🙂
I have egg whites three to four times a week because in India we get organic, free range and hormone free eggs. Plus it’s a great source of protein, which I lack.
What we don’t have access to in India is organic fish or chicken – well, nothing that I have come across so far. We are promised hormone free chicken, but I think it’s probably been over 18 months now since I’ve had any and it feels better that way.
I am not a red meat eater so this doesn’t affect me but red meat is discouraged for endometriosis patients because it has been associated with higher levels of estrogen which we know encourages the disease.
3. Avoiding Refined Sugars & Processed Foods
Refined sugars are processed from sugar cane and sugar beets – all this is chemically manufactured.
The same goes for processed foods which are foods that have a long shelf life, they’re our convenience foods – such as tinned and frozen foods – they’ve been processed with additives, preservatives, are high in salt, sugar and oil.
Therefore any food that is processed and and has refined sugars tend to be low in nutrient value, low in fibre, high in sugar, high in fat and very importantly, are believed to promote pain. Now who needs that?!
Read Here For:
- The Relation Between Endometriosis / EDS and Chronic Fatigue
- How Much Does Laparoscopic Endometriosis Excision Surgery Cost?
4. Increase of Fluids
I drink more water than I use to – it helps to flush toxins out faster, so no, I don’t go crazy and drink three to four litres a day, but I do try my best to complete my two litres a day.
I also have herbal tea once a day. My favourites are mint tea which helps in digestion and ginger turmeric tea because both ginger and turmeric are anti-inflammatories and have antioxidants.
I always get my teas from Bushwick Tea. They’ve kindly offered to give a 10% discount to all of you on any of their organic teas [US Shipping Only] if you use my code: ATE10
5. Increasing Low-FODMAP Fruits & Vegetables
This has been a new discovery for me.
A low-FODMAP diet promotes foods that are less gassy, easier to digest, reduce pains, improve bowel habits and reduce bloating.
For example, vegetables such as cauliflower and asparagus are high FODMAP foods whereas aubergine, spinach, capsicum are low FODMAP foods. So I haven’t eliminated high FODMAP foods entirely, but I definitely eat it less often by replacing them with more low FODMAP foods.
Since this is a recent change, it will take time for me to understand how well it’s working with my body – I’ll keep you updated.
But what I will do is share some recipes that work for me.
This is an area I feel that definitely requires a nutritionists help. So please seek one out if you are looking to make such a change because again for me, I have multiple issues going on so I have adjusted my vegetables based on the needs of all my conditions.
View this post on Instagram
6. Omega 3 Fats
Omega-3 Fats are known to have anti-inflammatory properties which is exactly what I am looking for, but the trouble is that we mainly associate higher levels of Omega-3 with fatty fish.
Since I do not have access to organic fish, it’s not something I prefer to buy and cook and the vegetables and nuts I have are not a sufficient in-take, so unfortunately I take supplements for it… but…
I now have a very yum addition to my improve Omega-3 fats in my diet – chia seeds!
Chia seeds don’t just have anti-inflammatory properties, are high in protein, high in fibre, have important bone nutrients and more – all the things that will help me.
And how are they yum?
Well, chia seeds pudding is yum. I make my pudding with almond milk, maple syrup, organic cacao powder and chia seeds all garnished with crushed almonds.
Here’s the recipe for this heavenly pudding.
Since I avoid cakes because it’s made of flour containing gluten and has a lot of refined sugar in it too, chia seed chocolate pudding is an amazingly yum alternative… Slurrpp!! 🙂
My diet plan ends on this yum note and I hope over time, I can add recipes to the various healthy categories that I have spoken about so please do watch this space.
If you have a diet plan that has helped you then, please do share in the comments below.
Thank you for reading 🙂
View this post on Instagram
My body goes through a lot of anxiety and stress a few days before my periods. This is where chamomile tea steps in. It helps reduce premenstrual symptoms, but what I didn’t know was… . According to Healthline.com “A 2018 study showed that chrysin, a compound found in chamomile, suppressed the growth of endometrial cells.” Thus suggesting it helps those with endometriosis. . So here’s my favourite chamomile blend – Carroll Gardens from @bushwicktea which has organic chamomile blossoms, organic rooibos, organic silver lime flower, organic lemon myrtle, safflower petals, organic corn flower petals, organic rose petals! . . . . . . . [ID: A white tea cup on a white saucer with a tea bag of various flower petals brewing the water. Hanging out is a tea bag string with the Bushwick Tea logo of a black goat at the end of the string. The end of a spoon is also visible resting on the saucer] . #tea #HerbalTea #ChamomileTea #enodmetriosis #PeriodPain #PMS #FootprintsNoBoundaries #ILoveTea #ChronicPain #EatClean #BeCurious #ChronicIllness_Engage #HealthJourney #HealthBlogger #Fibromyalgia #EDS #ZebraStrong #EhlersDanlosSyndrome #Adenomyosis #Potsie #ChronicLife #Goat #BushwickTea #1in10 #EndometriosisDiet #OrganicTea #TeaBlends
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. I am a patient and have created this platform to share my experiences. This is all purely informative and in no way am I providing medical advice. Please consult a medical professional.