Endo….. Put simply!
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).
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.
– 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.
- Keep it fresh,
fruit’n’veg are best fresh, any cooking can remove minerals and nutrients and
breaks down fibre that benefits the intestine.
- 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.
- If your looking
for a nutritionist to help you then there is a UK database of all professional
- Drinking water
helps your body flush away toxins and aids digestion of minerals and vitamins,
that’s 8 medium glasses (1.8 Litres).
- 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.
- Do not skip meals
and eat little and often to try reduce fatigue.
- 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
- 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.
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
- 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.
So with the above summary
in mind here is the first set of foods that fit within a strict endo diet!
- 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
- 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.
- Noni Fruit
(that’s a challenge for you)
- Green Tea (de-decaffeinated)
- Organic White
- Live yoghurt
- Fish , oilier the
better, but any fish that is sourced well.
- Coconut Milk and
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!
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
vegetables, like peas, are at their freshest as they are frozen closely after
- 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
- Lean meat,
poultry and fish (oily fish – essential fatty acids).
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
- 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.
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
- 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
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