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Eating for Endo….. Put simply!
Practical approaches to an ‘Endo Friendly Diet’
By Michelle Middleton

As a woman with Endometriosis, IBS, Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia, I often ask myself if there is anything I can do to alleviate my symptoms and strengthen my immune system with an overall view to improved well-being (and better quality of life).
 
Approaching Endometriosis and health management from a practical point of view, I wanted to address the “things that I can do to help myself” and at the top of this list was that old chestnut ‘diet and nutrition’.
 
I have found so much information that it has been difficult to collate, digest and apply to my own particular lifestyle. Just like our health circumstances, lifestyle too is unique and one size does not fit all.  I have spoken to many women and I can safely say that we are all different (battling similar health issues), and that what works wonderfully for one person may not work for the other... the trick is about having an open mind, understanding your options and knowing what will suit you and your lifestyle.
 
I decided to approach the information with a simple Traffic Light structure, grouping dietary information into an easy to remember structure.

  • GREEN- These are the foods which adhere to the ‘Endo Diet’, and principally the strictest form of eating specifically for Endometriosis.
  • AMBER – These are the foods which fall into the category of common sense           healthy eating, whilst also offers benefits when tackling Endometriosis.
  • RED – No NO ! These are the foods which have a negative impact on Endometriosis.
 
Personally, I am an Amber kinda girl! With a busy lifestyle, limited funds and weak willpower for anything I shouldn't eat or drink!
 
I must stress that is important that prior to embarking on any significant lifestyle changes one must consult with a medical practitioner, especially if taking the Endo diet to its strictest degree. It is also advantages to consider the benefits of increasing physical activity however gradual.
 
STARTER TIPS

  1. Keep it fresh, fruit’n’veg are best fresh, any cooking can remove minerals and nutrients and breaks down fibre that benefits the intestine.
  2. Allergies and Intolerances can effect how your body processes and reacts to certain foods and food groups…. If you suspect you may be suffering from food intolerance please check with your GP, or you might find this website helpful http://www.yorktest.com/. The York Test is a company that offers a variety of services in testing for intolerances, which may interest you.
  3. If your looking for a nutritionist to help you then there is a UK database of all professional nutritionists http://www.nutritionist-resource.org.uk/
  4. Drinking water helps your body flush away toxins and aids digestion of minerals and vitamins, that’s 8 medium glasses (1.8 Litres).
  5. If not buying fresh, read the labels and ensure you know what’s in your food, look for sugars and salt and any hidden additives.
  6. Do not skip meals and eat little and often to try reduce fatigue.
  7. If following a diet constantly is too much then sometimes running from a Friday until  monday once a month etc could reap benefits , anything that fits into your lifestyle.
 
The Endo Diet in summary
 
The Endo Diet is a diet that is aimed to tackle and alleviate the symptoms of Endometriosis. Before I list the GREEN foods I will explain the basic umbrella of the Endo diet theory. All of the following Information is supported and explored fully by the book “Recipes & Diet Advice for Endometriosis” by Carolyn Levett.
 
  • Wheat Free – There is a belief that Wheat exasperates Endometriosis, and by cutting out wheat from the diet 80% of women have found some re
  • Gluten Free- Like Wheat there is a belief that this too exasperates Endometriosis and its associated conditions such as IBS, Coeliac Disease and Candida.
  • Meat Free – Red Meat is known to increase the production of bad prostaglandins in the body, which in theory increases pain and the acids within meet promote inflammation; additionally the fatty acids are responsible for further inflammation and cramping.
  • Dairy Free – Like red meat it is thought that Diary is pro-inflammatory and difficult to digest. Diary is also a common source of intolerance.
  • Yoghurt is however beneficial to dietary health and it is recommended that goats milk yoghurts are eaten within the Endo Diet.
  • Sugar Free – Sugar is high refined and with concentrated carbohydrates it has a negative effect of Endometriosis symptoms. Sugar is also linked with increased PMT, problematic bowels and Candida as well as the pain and inflammation increases.
  • Soy Free -  Endo diet avoids this for multiple reasons
  • Additive Free
  • Caffiene – Increase Oestrogen in the body, and can worsen symptoms of Endometriosis.
  • Eggs – It is suggested that as eggs contain Oestrogen then in order to balance hormone levels one must avoid them. Eggs are also known binders which could exasperate constipation.
  • Alcohol – Alcohol puts pressure on the liver and also effects the absorption of vitaminB12. A healthy liver is needed to remove excess oestrogen and B12 is needed for a healthy immune system.
  • Yeast – linked to intolerances and candida.
  • Looking at unprocessed foods, organic, in season and free from toxins.
 

GREEN
 
So with the above summary in mind here is the first set of foods that fit within a strict endo diet!
  • Garlic
  • Oils that are natural and cold pressed not processed (like olive oil or walnut oil) especially coconut oil!
  •  Fruits and vegetables especially Grapefruit, Beets and Carrots, Leafy Green Vegetables, Apples, Onions, Lemons/Limes etc make sure washed thoroughly.
  • Tomatoes have a chemical named Lycopene which meant to reduce scarring and also reduce inflammation. 
  •  Whole Grains (like brown rice),
  • Foods which help banish extra oestrogens due to natural plant sterols are peas/beans/pulses, dark skinned berries, garlic, apples, parsley, fennel, cabbage/cauliflower, nuts/seeds, celery, carrots, rhubarb and sage.
  • Pineapple
  • Nuts
  • Noni Fruit (that’s a challenge for you)
  •  Green Tea (de-decaffeinated)
  •  Organic White Meat
  • Live yoghurt especially Goats.
  • Fish , oilier the better, but any fish that is sourced well.
  • Coconut Milk and Oil.
 
I think if you would like to know more detailed information and recipes then I recommend you invest in the book by Carolyn Levett, it’s an informative read and a boon to any cookery book collection in the very least…. Food for thought!
 
AMBER
 
These foods are foods are foods which are aimed at healthy eating as opposed to a strict Endometriosis diet and follow basic principles, which are as follows.
 
A tip is to read the label for hidden evils and try eat as healthily and moderately as you can , as often as you can,

  • Eat a VARIETY fresh fruit and vegetables 5 times a day, most often within your diet.
  • Fruit and Veg with strongly pigmented colours such a green/red peppers, cherries, cabbage, tomatoes, blue berries etc are all very good as an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory.
  • Frozen vegetables, like peas, are at their freshest as they are frozen closely after picking.
  • Superfoods are foods that pack an extra strong health punch and these are Apples, Baked Beans, Broccoli, Olive Oil, Wholegrain Seeded Bread, Salmon, Green Tea, Brussel Sprouts, Banana’s and Brazil nuts! Why not make your own top 10 tailored to your own diet! (sourced from Nutrition for Dummies)
  •  Eat wholegrain cereals and fresh foods, nuts and seeds, replacing white foods with brown (rice/bread).
  • Lean meat, poultry and fish (oily fish – essential fatty acids).
  • Non-processed oils such as a cold pressed vegetable oil.
  • Increase intake of fibre via wholegrains, foods and vegetables to enable the removal of excess oestrogen and improved bowel function.
  •  Butter or unhydrogenated margarine.
  • Dairy is not cut out but eat sensible, avoid processed or sugary products and swap cow for goat if possible, eat moderately in balance with other food groups.
  • Soya is an acceptable diary replacement in moderation.
 
 
RED
 
It is probably best avoid altogether or eat very sparingly the following foods.
 
  • Avoid excess salt, this can cause fluid retention and increase PMT (don’t cut out)
  • Caffeine, Alcohol and Tobacco can all exasperate symptoms.
  • Red Meats especially fatty
  • White grains like processed white breads/white rice
  • Fatty foods, junk foods and high sugar foods, saturated fats.
  • Avoid additives, preservatives and chemicals as these put pressure on the liver.
  • Stimulants like Energy drinks.
  •  Carbonated drinks.
 
Supportive Reading Material
Endometriosis – A key to healing through nutrition (Diane Shepperson Mills)
Recipes and Diet Advice for Endometriosis (Carolyn Levett)
The New Fertility Diet Guide (Niels H. Lauersen)
The Endometriosis Natural Treatment Programme (Valarie Ann Worwood)
Juicing for Health (Caroline Wheater)

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