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3 Dietary Changes to Improve Your Endometriosis Symptoms Instantly!

Pain with Endometriosis

The first step to reduce your Endometriosis pain is to acknowledge the importance of what foods you eat. Your doctor might not even have mentioned your diet and perhaps you figured to change it can’t possibly make that much of a difference but… it is MASSIVE. Think about it this way: what you put into your body is what you will get out of it.

All your energy, everything you need to get better, comes from the energy source you have in the food you eat. If the quality of the food you eat is poor and has a low nutritional benefit, you are not helping your body get the best source of energy. It is this energy that we need to consume to feel positive and get through each and every day. If the food you eat saps your energy and gives your body more work to do, then that is counter-acting your energy levels and how you feel.

So, okay I get it – food is important but what should I eat and what should I avoid? What are the 3 dietary changes I need to make?

1. First dietary change: Increase foods that flush out toxins and help healing

The purest foods provide the best source of energy and will also clear out the excess toxins in our bodies, which contribute to Endometriosis getting worse. What are pure foods? The best ones are the ones that grow in the ground or on a tree. Nothing that comes out of a packet. In other words: fruits and vegetables. Aim to eat heaps of them from breakfast until midday.

I know it is a little strange eating vegetables for breakfast but you can get used to it. This is the time the body flushes out toxins, so it is the best time to eat them. Incorporate as many as you can into each and every day. Have a fruit, a vegetable or two every 3hrs in the day.

Fruits and vegetables are also genius! They contain every mineral, vitamin and element the body needs. They suck out all the good stuff from the soil and give them to us, in their most absorbable form. Try and get them organic but if you can’t, just get what you can and eat heaps of them.

2. Second dietary change: Get some Superfoods into your diet

Superfoods are simply foods that contain more of the ingredients fruit and vegetables we usually have access to. Many of them are organically grown but most importantly they contain heaps of everything good for our bodies. Spirulina, Aloe Vera, Maca Root Powder, quinoa and bee pollen are all fantastic superfoods which provide you with more protein, more vitamins, more of all the good stuff.

Don’t be scared of any of these. They are foods. Grown in the ground. The reason they come in capsule form is simply to make them more easy to take or they are from places around the world, which we may not be able to grow where we are. They provide you with more energy to get through the day. If you can get all of them, fantastic! If not, choose one and take that.

Also, remember it is not crucial to take these every single day – much like food. We want a variety and we don’t necessarily want to eat too much of any one thing.

3. Third dietary change: Avoid inflammatory foods and drinks in your diet

I know you are not going to like this one, as this is where I tell you the foods you should avoid. Initially, when I read this list, I simply thought, “Oh, no way! My endo isn’t that bad! I will carry on without taking these out.”

What we need to recognise is that every single one of these foods creates a reaction in the body which not only inhibits our body but they actually PRODUCE an inflammatory reaction by the body. This means they make things worse. Not even keep things as the status quo but worse!

So, without further ado… here are the ones you need to avoid:

– Dairy

– Meat

– Sugar

– Gluten (found in any wheat-based products, sauces and breads – check labels)

– Over-processed and refined oils

I know this is a scary list for some of you but once you get used to them, they actually aren’t that bad. You can replace dairy with goat’s cheese or use almond or rice milk. Replace meat with fish. Replace sugar with Stevia (actually an anti-inflammatory) and replace bread with salads, vegetables, beans and pure grains (quinoa, buckwheat and chia seeds). Use coconut oil or cold-pressed Virgin Olive Oil instead of other oils which are over-processed and rancid. Coconut oil is also naturally anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory.

If you are new to all of this, please don’t attempt to change all of these products in one go. You will find it very hard! Take one and change that one for the first month and then gradually change the others. It will be much easier. Also, leave the gluten one for last as that is the hardest one.

I must admit, it took me ages to cut out gluten and I only recently made the switch. It has taken me 35 years to realise the importance of cutting it out. Though I had tried before, I had never understood its value. Now, after sticking with gluten-free for over 5 months, I wouldn’t even consider going back. My stomach is flat and I have no more bloating from digestive issues. I must admit this one made the biggest difference for me. It is the hardest change to adjust to but in my opinion it is really important.

I never thought my diet made that much of a difference. I never understood why I would have completely pain-free days for ages and then suddenly, out of the blue I would have a day of hell. It was only once I recorded everything I ate that I realised the importance of what I put in my mouth.

One of the biggest symptoms I suffered from for years was nausea. Bad nausea, especially before my period. Well, I can tell you what caused nausea for me: sugar and heavy fats. I believe nausea is the way our bodies are telling us that it doesn’t want what we are feeding it. It is an instant thing of saying: get this out of me! Now, because I craved chocolate before my period, I would eat two slabs before my period – reality is…. they are loaded with sugar and fat. If you suffer from nausea, try anything green. Just eat a cucumber or some parsley and you will be amazed at how easily the nausea goes away!

Eating for your health makes sense and this change is actually really easy when you understand how important it is and how much of a difference it can make! Let me know if you have any questions on foods you are not sure about.

Hugs, Melissa x
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This Post Has 38 Comments

  1. Kat

    Are dates considered sugar for endometreosis? I put 1 date in a smoothy sometimes.

  2. Melissa

    It depends a lot on the quality of the Salmon you are eating. Is it wild salmon or farmed? Farmed Salmon are often fed on Grains and this can actually contribute to an inflammatory response within us. I can’t see any harm in eating more than 280grams if it is a good source of Salmon 🙂

  3. Leone Arendse

    Hi Mel

    I was wondering about how much Salmon to eat. I have heard that having too much (eg more than 280grams per week is bad. I love salmon, but am not sure if I am possibly overdoing it and what the impact will be.



  4. Nicki

    Thanks Melissa,

    Very usful articles. You know, I have researched this before and even read a book on the subject (The China Study) but the media/dairy industry had managed to beat the ‘milk is essential to health’ message back into me again! I have just bought some coconut milk and will be trying that on my gluten free muesli!

  5. Melissa

    Hi Nicki,
    It is funny you should ask me that today as I did my live recording for my new course on dairy today 🙂
    I did a whole bit about calcium. We have been told that we need calcium from dairy for years and it is simply not true. It has actually been shown that countries that consume large amounts of dairy develop osteoporosis. It has to do with what we do to the milk – pasteurising. This is essentially heating the milk which then changes the structure of the calcium, making it hard to absorb and acidi on the body.
    There are other alternatives to getting calcium and it is just as important to get adequate magnesium and vitamin D as they all work together for good strong bones 🙂
    Check out these articles:

  6. Nicki

    I am trying to make the suggested chages to my diet. I love vegetables so that part is easy and I am happy to replace meat with fish, sugar and gluten will be a bit tricker to eliminate but I can definitely cut back. The thing that concerns me is dairy; is there not an issue with calcium if we cut out diary? Does yoghurt have to go too?

  7. holee

    Great Site! I was diagnosed with Endometriosis two years ago while having two 10cm endometria’s removed, only to find it on my bowel, lower intestine and bladder(causing difficulties with digestion/regularity).

    Just found out last week that I now have 4 new endometria’s (much smaller than the last, so far) and I am dreading the thought of another procedure. I’m hoping with some dietary changes and a positive attitude I can have a better experience than last time…and help move things around a little more smoothly. haha.

    Today is day 1 of going gluten free. I know this may be the hardest but I know it will take a while to notice any changes so I want to start now. Dairy will be next and hopefully I can phase out sugar along the way(sugar will be the hardest for me).

    Thank you for all the info on your site! I’m excited to learn more.

  8. Jess

    While I really agree that what you eat is important, I think you are off track when you write: “Try and get them organic but if you can’t, just get what you can and eat heaps of them.” because this simply isn’t true. For example bananas and grapes are among the worst fruits when it comes to how much chemicals (such as pesticides) they contain and eating heaps of them would probably not be a good idea.

    In my opinion, this is the biggest problem when trying to eat healthy: going for less food/boring organic food or for more varied food that are not organic? It’s a matter of both availability and price – eating raw food, which is supposed to be very healthy, is very, very expensive if you chose organic ingredients and for most people it isn’t an option. Even changing most products to organic ones does make a difference on the bill, and then there is the question of availability and environmental impact (fresh tomatoes from the other side of the world for example) It’s not an easy choice.

    (Sorry for my bad english, I live in Europe. I guess organic food is cheaper in the US, but I also read that your rules are more generous than the ones we have in the EU, so possibly there is something to be aware off.)

  9. Melissa

    Thanks Jen and great that I was a trigger for positive change 🙂

  10. jen

    Diet plays such a big part in treating endo. I try to stick pretty much to the diet, say 90% good to 10% not so good (it’s so hard to give up all those yummy things, though I don’t have sugar at all). The only time I have stuck very closely to the diet (in conjunction with lots of vitamins etc) was when I was trying to concieve after my miscarriages. It worked and I now have 2 gorgeous girls. Though I may have to become a little more strict with myself as my endo is starting to play up a lot more recently so your article has been a timely reminder and perhaps a gentle push in the right direction.

  11. Sharon

    Have had endo 10 yrs and over a year ago I removed all processed foods, dairy, anything white( flour, salt sugar), pork, didn’t eat beef anyway, and I make everything from scratch for my son & I- he suffers from ADHD. It has completely changed our lives for the better. Not only did we lose weight- an added bonus – but our energy is great! However, my endo has gotten worse recently. Don’t know why- still on diet, work-out, run, play basketball, yoga but feel like I’m in labor every month, no energy, look 5 months pregnant for 3 days/month, no one can come near me. I am going to try the Maca Root and hope this helps- I’m at the end of my rope! wish me luck

  12. Melissa

    Hi Heather,
    To be honest I don’t buy much from the health shop that I eat in large quantities. It is more just additions and extra’s. I buy things like Quinoa for breakfast, organic nuts and teas. Brewer’s Yeast, Coconut Oil and milk, Algave Syrup. Sometimes I will make my own muesli – and I buy all the grains which contain no gluten.
    It is almost impossible to avoid sugar and gluten completely – you are right – it is in everything but …. you can avoid it by eating mostly fruit and veg. I eat mostly fruit and veg in my daily routine and it avoids having to buy much else. I will write to you and we can work out a little menu for you 🙂

  13. Heather Crabill

    Hi Melissa:) I see you mentioned shopping a the health food stores and using their products. I recently browsed the shelves of one of the health food stores where I live in Virginia, and honestly, EVERYTHING had wheat or sugar in it!!! Sometimes even dairy and soy, etc… The only thing I managed to find was puffed rice cereal!!!

    So I’m curious: what kinds of foods are you purchasing at your local health shop?

    Heather 🙂

  14. Melissa

    Pleasure! Check everything you eat – unfortunately there are so many hidden things in food now 🙂

  15. kanyagia

    wow! thanks.i need to check on my diet the things i thouth could help my situation have turned out be be poison.thanks for the information.

  16. Heather Crabill

    ok: thanks for the tips! Looking forward to more info on nutrition from you!

  17. Melissa

    Hi Heather,
    I never used to find salads filled me up in the beginning either! Now they do but I usually have to add a whole bunch of stuff to them. The only trick I can suggest is – Just have more of it and eat all day. I went through a major adjustment in the first few months where I think my body just got so excited it was finally getting some good food, that I was permanently hungry. I just ate all day long. That is okay, as long as you eat good food. Eggs, avocados and plenty of superfoods like Maca, Aloe Vera and Goji Berries really helped me. I also found eating soups with heaps of veggies in them made a massive difference to the lunchtime hungry thing. It is really about finding the most nutritionally rich foods you can lay your hands on. Get into different types of grains – Quinoa is fantastic! I spent hours in a health shops which had food and just learnt about how to use the foods. I am releasing a course in the next few months called – Eating with Mel- I will let you know when it is out and hopefully that will help you find some good recipe ideas and fill you up 🙂

  18. Heather

    Thanks Melissa: So what foods do you find give you the caloric intake you need to stay at a healthy weight, and also promote good energy levels? This is where I seem to get stuck. I had a green salad with romaine, chopped chicken and green beans (all organic), and a pear for lunch. Well it’s nowhere near dinner and I’m starving!!!! I must be missing something… Any more feedback??

  19. Melissa

    Hi Heather. It is often a tricky one isn’t it? We go gluten free and find the ingredients are often worse for us! I hunt high and low before I find a suitable gluten free option. Anything I can’t pronounce or that has numbers in it, usually gets the big fat “no”. Evaporated cane juice is definitely not a good one. Tapioca is a type of flour but not to sure what tapioca syrup might be 🙂 Molasses is actually really good for us – it is the raw part of the sugar process and contains heaps of vitamins and nutritious bits. So, that one is okay 🙂
    I actually don’t eat any pasta but that one sounds okay. The main reason I don’t eat pasta, is that the gluten free options generally go soggy and taste nasty. I also don’t eat a whole heap of bread and my gluten free bread lives in the freezer so it is there when I need it but I am not having it everyday so it won’t go off either. Try to not look at going gluten free as trying to replace what you already eat but rather change your eating habits completely, so they taste good and you can stick with it. Replace breakfast options with a protein rich smoothy – my favourite is banana and coconut. Replace lunch with a bean salad, green salad or something similar. The key is also to avoid mixing your carbohydrates with your proteins. We do it all the time and it does make it harder for our bodies to digest things. I try and eat vegetarian as much as possible and this makes it really easy to avoid doing this. Your goal is to eat as much raw food in a day as you can. Gluten free doesn’t really do this for you. Check out this article:http://endoempowered.com/have-you-become-label-and-ingredients-list-obsessed-is-there-anything-left-to-eat/

  20. Heather

    Thanks Melissa:) What is your opinion about eating gluten-free pasta and bread that is made from whole grains? I’ve noticed that the ingredients listed don’t seem very healthy: things like evaporated cane juice, tapioca syrup, and molasses (well that’s the bread), the pasta ingredients are simply bran rice and rice bran. What do you think?

  21. Melissa

    Hi Claudia. I really think I outta write one! 🙂 There is heaps of info on here but otherwise check out my amazon store and see the books where I sourced most of the information from. They all helped me heaps! Good luck and let us know how you go 🙂

  22. Claudia

    Hi Melissa
    Just found your website in my search for solutions for PCOS + a possible endometriosis (I think I have!!!). I am hoping to try some natural way to get pregnant (which I have been trying for 5 years now) without a IVF. I am on a waiting queu for a founded IVF for July next year but I am really scared I may get a bit traumatized with it. Anyway, I LOVED your articles and your website, have wrote down a whole lot of changes I can star making in my eating. Please let me know if you would reccomend any book that could help.
    Kind Regards

  23. Melissa

    Hi Heather. It is not so much about quantity but quality with foods. Unfortunately many of the foods in supermarkets is very low on nutrition. Real nutrition I mean. If you grow your own fruits and vegetables and give the soil everything it needs, the foods will contain more quality nutrients, so your body will get everything it needs. This is one of the key reasons it is important to go organic. It is not just about avoiding toxins but also supplying our bodies with what they need. David Wolfe actually says that if we ate more quality foods, with the nutrients our bodies need, we wouldn’t need to eat quite as much. I also strongly suggest adding heaps of superfoods into your diet to ensure you get more of everything. Maca Root, Aloe Vera, Spirulina – anything in a health store is usually a good guide, that contains super everything. I have incorporated these, increased my organic content, grown my own sprouts and vegies where I can and I have more energy now than I ever did. I hope that helps 🙂

  24. Heather

    I tried the gluten free, meat free, sugar free for a while and ended up going down to 105 pounds:( I looked and felt really unhealthy. My question is this: what CAN you eat that is going to give you the calories that your body needs to stay nourished and at a healthy weight? With eating oatmeal, rice, fruits, and vegetables I just wasn’t getting the caloric intake I need to stay healthy. Advise 🙁

  25. Wend

    I only eat organic meats from a local farm & have felt a difference. & I know I know, meat & dairy are no-no’s for endo. I used to be a vegetarian for 20 years but went back to meat ‘cos a lot of fruits & veggies BOTHER me. I feel like I’m actually getting healthier by eating a limited amount of organic meats. We need to do what’s best for our bodies. Like for example, raw milk. That has loads of nutrients good for us & can even reverse tooth decay (go to Weston A. Price site for further info). I used to get raw goat’s milk & only reason I don’t anymore is not ‘cos of endo but ‘cos I get earaches when I consume dairy.
    Not trying to contradict the people who say don’t eat this, don’t eat that. Just telling people to listen to their bodies.

  26. Melissa

    Hi Hilary. Though they are better for the body, they are unfortunately still acidic and hard to digest. They are unfortunately inflammatory by nature. A little here and there is okay though 🙂

  27. Hillary

    Has anyone felt a difference with sustainably farmed and organic meat and dairy?

  28. Melissa

    Hi Aria and thanks for your very fun and humorous comment 🙂
    I can totally relate to the sugar thing – I actually forgot how hard that was cos it was one of the first ones I dropped. I used to eat a slab of chocolate a day and whenever I had a bad day, it was the first thing I reached for. It relates to our Glycemic Index – read this one: http://endoempowered.com/do-you-get-sore-when-youre-hungry-could-it-be-our-gi-is-low/
    Moving out may be tough too…. so maybe just try to find a good replacement for when the craving hits. I used Dates and honey for ages until I no longer craved the chocolate and sweet things.
    My diet was kinda progressive. I didn’t try and cut out everything in one go … cos well I just failed. I cut out dairy first, then sugar and only recently gluten. I know am focusing on good food combining. For me, it makes me feel like I am making a step towards improving my endo, each day that I make the right decisions for my nutrition.
    I would have to say, maybe 6months for me but some women find a result in as little as 2 weeks – I think it depends on what you are eating right now and what your endo pain and digestive situation is.

    Also, add some Maca and Spirulina to your diet and you will have more energy – I found I used to eat heaps of sugar cos I was partly also tired.

    To make the progression off the pill a little easier, try some DIM. 🙂 http://endoempowered.com/how_dim_can_help_endometriosis/

  29. Melissa

    Fantastic! Brilliant to hear you are making the necessary changes to get your diet to help with the pain. Gluten is the hardest but made the biggest difference to me 🙂
    It is my pleasure! Glad to hear it!

  30. Tracey Gianakas

    Hi Melissa,
    I just found your site. I have made endless trips to the doctor, and endo, with my symptoms. After searching on the internet today, and deciding to see if I can figure out what the problem may be…. I came up with endometriosis as a possibility. The symptoms sure do match up! However, I’m curious why the doctors didn’t suggest it. Of course, I will be mentioning it at my next visit coming up. I always look for nutrition changes to try before diving into medicine. The diet you have here seems healthy, doable, and hopeful in making me feel better. So I just got back from the supermarket and I am now the proud owner of gluten free choices! Fruits, vegetables and almond milk are already a good part of my diet. So I am going to cut out gluten and dairy all together and see where it takes me. 🙂 THANK YOU FOR YOUR POSTS! I’ll be a daily follower now…..

  31. Aria

    New to your site – totes awesome! & +1 for being a kiwi (just spent 5 months on study exchange down in Dunedin – BEST experience of my life 🙂 )

    I have been on the pill for past 2 years with no periods – want to get off that stuff, ASAP! I just started following Dr. Axe’s healing foods diet (http://www.draxe.com/healing-diet/) which is almost the same as the endo diet except he recommends cutting out almost all grains (except for things like quinoa) as many are turned into sugar as the body’s end result & are empty nutritionally compared to fruit/veg/proteins.

    I must say – I have been gluten free/pescatarian for the past 3 years, but I have to say for me NOTHING has been as hard so far as avoiding sugar! (omg :_( dramatic cry face lol). TBH I think avoiding sugar in the form of healing foods diet where one should avoid grains is harder than avoiding the stereotypical dessert foods b/c I l miss the feeling of fullness from carbs. I think the hardest part though is that I still live with my parents, who are MAJOR sugarholics! If I were on my own I wouldn’t have much of a problem, but when the stuff is lying around the house with peer pressure to consume it is so hard to avoid (& then getting poked fun at whenever I do happen to stumble)! Just today I was talking about sugar with my mom (who had/has endo & had a hyster) & got her to agree to avoid sugar with me, while just a few hours later she went shopping & brought home cookies & gelato ice cream! Blargh! While I love my parents they truly are a stress factor in my life. It has been hard lately to balance whether I should get a second job so I can move out, or whether I should tough it out at home for another year so that I can focus on finishing my nutrition degree.

    Anyway, aside from a few typical stumbles I am willing to stick this out & give it a shot! Once you changed your diet, how long would you say it took before your symptoms started to become more bearable? I am absolutely terrified to leave the pill before I know changes will take an effect because I do not want to go back to the medieval torture that has been my period! Writhing on the floor beside the toilet every month is no fun!

    Aria from USA

  32. Melissa

    Hi Emma. Glad to hear the gluten free and the caffeine cut outs have helped 🙂 Add some super foods like Maca and Aloe and you will notice a dramatic improvement 🙂 It is my pleasure! Of course we will 🙂

  33. Emma

    Oh you’re so right, eliminating gluten is tough – but for me, it HELPS. Right now I am managing about 80% gluten free which makes a noticeable reduction in my symptoms – but I did a stint of being 100% gluten free a couple of years ago and the difference was phenomenal. But having said that, I find it almost impossible to stick to it 100%.

    Another one I am learning to live without is caffeine. Big difference for me – I’ve replaced all but one of my many cups of tea with something herbal and healthy. I have found Three Ginger tea in the UK by a company called Pukka. It’s made of organic ginger, galangal and turmeric. Fantastic.

    Shame that all my favourite things seem to be culprits, but in a funny way I am almost grateful to my endo for showing me what’s what and turning me onto a healthier path. Your research and advice really helps with this. We will all get there, slowly…..

  34. Melissa

    Yeah, it is funny how we try and ignore it cos we know it is going to be hard to do! I did that too – for years! Cool on the Stevia idea – i got the little bottle or go without 🙂
    Glad you started on Maca – I haven’t had nausea in months!

  35. Melissa

    Thanks for those suggestions Wend! I know! It is totally scary when we go and visit our doctors and they look terrible! How do we trust someone who looks like they are 10feet from the grave themselves? Interesting about Almonds. Luckily, we don’t have that problem here in New Zealand. We get our Almonds from Australia! They are fabulous!

  36. Wend

    Most docs nowadays are not trained in nutrition or, ironically, health. Just look at the majority who eat junk food, are overweight, smoke, & drink.
    Another ‘milk’ you girls can try is hemp. I had to cut out dairy (I still tho believe raw milk & organic meat can be nutritious, not starting a debate, just my belief LOL, heck some people have cured tooth decay w/ raw dairy products look at Weston A. Price foundation), soy is a yes/ no one, rice is nasty LOL, almond didn’t work out (plus all almonds in USA are DEAD! they are pasteurized & it’s illegal to sell raw almonds here!) So I tried organic hemp. No it’s not marijuana! Similar but no ‘highs’. I make my own w/ my soymilk maker & I think it tastes like a cucumber & sunflower seeds.
    For sugar, you can try coconut sugar. I use stevia but it can’t be used to bake if you want good results LOL Tried that! But coconut sugar, while pricey tho, can replace regular sugar. I have not tried it yet but my mom ordered some & we will split it. I do believe in moderation. I won’t cut out chocolate. But I do make it healthy at least.

  37. Jane

    I have really been trying to eliminate dairy, sugar and gluten from my diet. I really see a difference with the wheat. I tried to convince myself that it was not the wheat that was causing the bloating and gas pains. SO… I started eating some wheat. Then the bloating started again… SO.. I laid off it for awhile and then snuck it back in. Then the bloating started. I sweeten with stevia now and I really like it. I bring the packets with me, so when I am out I can just grab some from my purse. As far as dairy I think I have always had a sensitivity. Load up on fruits and vegs… Yes… definitily.
    I totally agree with it is all about what you eat.
    I can relate to the naseau. I get it every month. I started taking maca daily.

  38. Melissa

    No probs Epicurean Vegan! I know, if it doesn’t come in a bottle there can’t possibly be anything to help us – right? WRONG! Doctors can’t make money out of what we can buy at the local market!

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I'm Melissa

Sick of dealing with endometriosis and ready to move forward?

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