Here are my top 5 foods which I have found to be consistent at reducing pain and aiding in healing with endo within the body. An interesting concept which I guess I need to mention is that pain is closely linked to inflammation within the body so if you are ever unsure, think of foods which are anti-inflammatory and you will be heading in the right track in trying to use foods as a source of medicine for your body.
Black Cumin or Nigella Oil (also called black caraway, kalonji)
I won’t lie to you. This stuff is strong and it tastes strong but the benefits are incredible! If ever you have wanted something that addresses a bunch of stuff at the same time – this is your miracle juice! It fights off some of the nastiest bacteria – some which have become antimicrobial-resistant. Things like staphylococcus, tuberculosis, influenza, gonorrhoea and of course good old candida. The reason it is so powerful against these is the key phytochemicals found within the nigella seed – namely Thymoquinone and Thymol. These key phytochemicals fight off moulds, fungi and bacteria.
What is even more cool about Nigella Seed oil is that these same constituents also fight free radicals and preserve some of our most important enzymes, namely glutathione peroxidase and glutathione-S-transferase. For those of you, who have joined my REACH beyond Endo program, you know that these are key within the detoxification processes within the liver.
This is really a secret formula for health and I put a splash of it on my food as often as I can. My favourite way to have it is in some lightly steamed spinach with salt & pepper.
Discovered over 293 researched articles on the benefits of Nigella Seeds and oil
Moringa (also called Ben oil tree)
This is a fabulous tea and can easily be taken in a powder form and hidden in a smoothie if you don’t like that “green” taste. With over 1300 studies and with the National Insitute of Health calling it the “plant of the year”, you will want to get this stuff into your body!
The biggest benefit here is that Moringa is a natural antioxidant. This means it reduces inflammation in the body and aids in your liver. Anything that hurts, is swollen, causes pain or persists is generally related to inflammation and this little tree can help! Think of stomach pain, endo pain, bloating, diarrhoea, gas pain, adhesion pain, chronic headaches, kidney stones, interstitial cystitis, thyroid disorders and fluid retention. Moringa will aid in reducing all of those!
The greatest benefit of Moringa is that it also contains heaps of natural healing nutrients like protein, vitamin A, potassium, calcium and vitamin C and offers a whopping dose of each of these – hello nutrient-rich diet!
Some studies have suggested that it can aid in balancing hormones naturally as it aids in the detoxification pathways with natural increases shown in glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase.
Once again this fabulous plant also has fungal and yeast fighting abilities (bye, bye Candida) and can ease stomach pain, kidney damage and ease digestive complaints.
Start slow on this one with 1/2 a teaspoon of dried moringa per day for 3-5 days and then gradually increase. Don’t overdo it as it can have a laxative effect on some people. *Avoid during pregnancy.
This is one of the 20 naturally occurring amino acids (think protein) in the body and it gets used a heap by your body. I get it in a powder form and take about a teaspoon on an empty stomach in a little water. It doesn’t really have a taste but has oh so many benefits.
It helps our bowel health tremendously and helps reduce any inflammation you might be experiencing. It is quite common for us endo ladies to also experience bowel issues such as IBS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis and leaky gut. This can cause similar pain to endo and sometimes it is hard to distinguish between the two!
L-Glutamine helps repair some of that inflammation and any gut-related immune response that might be going on. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Immunology discovered that THS 2 response stimulates inflammatory cytokines to be released. This is common with anyone who has food sensitivities and L-Glutamine has been shown to reduce this response significantly.
Many of us with endo would have damaged our gut and potentially caused stomach ulcers by taking pain-killers for years and year – I certainly did! L-Glutamine has been proven to heal these for us.
It is also a fabulous way to improve recovery after an intense workout – hence why it was first discovered within the bodybuilding industry!
You can get L-Glutamine from foods too – like bone broth, spirulina, asparagus, wild-caught fish and turkey but I prefer to supplement with it as it is super easy, doesn’t taste bad and I can feel the effects immediately.
I take about 1 teaspoon in water before food, after my fitness routine or Yoga routine in the morning.
What are your favourite foods and supplements that you would recommend to someone with endo?
When we first think of endometriosis we think the worst feeling of it all is the pain. The dreaded sunken pain that wells up in our abdomen. Or perhaps you might feel that the worst feeling is all the hormonal upheaval of it all and how you can’t seem to feel like a normal person – you feel either really down or hyper excited.
Perhaps you think the worst feeling is the endless questioning of what is going on inside your body and the terrible anxiety that builds up around all of that. The endless thinking and worrying that endo is spreading and that you simply have no control over any of it.
Or maybe you feel like the worst thing about endo is that no-one truly understands and that you wish somehow your voice could be heard. That someone would listen and appreciate just how much you are truly struggling with it all.
Maybe for you, it is the mask that you put on to the world, that you resent more than anything. The feeling like you can’t really be yourself or express how much pain you are really in because you don’t want others to think you are just seeking attention or even worse, that they share some weak attempt at sympathy. You’d rather be strong and have others not know what is going on… or would you?
Or perhaps you are more like me. That the worst feeling of all is actually the feeling of letting others around you down. The inability to stick to your word. The having to go home early because you are just too sore to carry on. The endless apologizing and hoping that others understand. Whether it is letting your boss down at work or your friends down at a party or even harder, letting your husband down in bed, it is all the worst feeling in the world. The having to simply accept that you can’t push through anymore and that sadly in doing so, you have to let others down.
I think for me, that feeling was the worst because I consider myself to be someone who follows through on her word. Someone you can count on and someone who is there for others and when my body went against that, it really frustrated me so much. It made me feel incredibly powerless against the endo. The ironic thing is that perhaps because I am always that dependable person who gives so much, I probably exhausted myself on some level which of course indirectly affected my health and well-being.
I know this is not one of my usual hopeful and uplifting posts but I always want to share some of the harder sides of endo so you know you are not alone in any of it. I have been there sweetheart and I also know that you can get to a place where you can be there for others and where endo doesn’t control your life.
There was one day in particular that stands out in my journey with endo. I was visiting my aunt in Germany and she had spoken about really wanting to create a fishpond in her backyard. My husband and I naturally chipped in to help. The trouble with having fish in Germany is that the fishpond needs to be deep enough so when the water freezes over, the fish can swim to the bottom of the pond and still survive. This means the pond needs to be super deep – like more than a meter and a half deep. Well, you can imagine how much digging that required!
So, we began digging and digging and we eventually took a break for lunch and I went for a little visit to the toilet – as you do. Well, I had discovered that my period had arrived. It was a complete surprise and what was even more amazing is that here I was digging in the warm sun and working quite physically hard and I had experienced absolutely no pain. It honestly felt like a huge achievement because if that had been a year or two before that, I would most certainly not have been helping out and would have probably been laying in bed, resting, while my husband did all the work.
I guess what I want to reveal with all of this is that all those nasty things you currently believe to be the worst feelings of having endo can be taken from your life and your thoughts. You can get to a place where endo doesn’t feature and you can do all you want to do. No more letting people down and no more feeling defeated.
I want that more than anything in the world for you sweetheart and in my next webinar series, you can discover exactly how it all can happen for you.
You deserve to live a normal life and I know it is possible. Please know that you can.
It is very seldom that we actually take time to reflect on our day, our lives and this very moment we are enjoying, just by being alive. Somehow we get busy. There is something to sort out, things to organise and stuff that desperately needs to be done. And so we are all out there, driving our cars to various destinations, living in our own little world of problems, events to attend, things we just have to get done. We pass each other with all of this busyness and moments blend into each other and before we realise it, it is almost the end of the year again and yet it all seemed to happen at the blink of an eye.
I recently started a ritual of just sitting outside in the early morning and listening to the birds. At first, it was hard. I struggled with the simple act of sitting still with no other agenda to attend to. My natural inclination was to multi-task. Maybe do Instagram at the same time or check my emails. But that defeated the whole point. The objective here is to simply sit still with the sounds of the birds in the early morning. To allow them to be the busy ones, flying back and forth and singing to seek out a mate. Allow them to be busy and for me to simply watch and take in the beautiful sounds and the crisp air into my lungs.
The first few times I did this, I would struggle to sit there without checking the time. I would worry about missing out on something else while I took this moment. The guilt of “not doing” would take over and the thoughts of to-do lists would start to form in my mind. On some strange level, I needed to always feel productive…
It is about a week into this new ritual and it honestly feels like the most beautiful way to start the day. It is about being fully present with the birds and the time and the moment. To take it all in and experience it to it’s fullest capacity. To dig deep into that feeling of gratitude for this day and this moment we have right now.
What’s cool about doing this is that suddenly other things become so much less important. You realise that in the scheme of things, how your hair looks and what your neighbours think is actually so irrelevant to your life. Your perspective changes and suddenly the world seems so busy with such silly little things. Worry and anxiety become a waste of time as they aren’t anything that creates results.
I would love to invite you on my morning ritual. There are a few caveats to the exercise:
- You can’t bring your phone or anything that will distract you from being fully present.
- You can set an alarm inside your house to truly reveal to you how short 5-10minutes are when you are fully present in the moment – just in case you truly have to be at work or something.
- Be prepared. Dress up warm with a thick coat if you still need it.
- Allow your thoughts to drift if they do but slowly bring yourself back to the simple sounds of the birds when you remember. Don’t punish yourself for making to-do lists – we have been trained to do this!
Would love to hear if you’ve tried this and what your experience was. Did it lighten the stress load a little? Did it ease some of that anxiety? Did you find a place of peace and freedom within yourself and your day?
There are many ways to achieve the things we want in life and when you look at how different people approach their goals and the things they want out of life, they could typically be placed into two compartments: pushing or nurturing. What is interesting is how these two approaches can affect us on an emotional and physical level and how they might affect our level of happiness with the very things we are trying to achieve. We might achieve the same outcome but it is how we feel along that journey that is really the key point here and I believe particularly relevant when we consider our health as being the main goal.
The Pushing Approach
You tackle things with vigour and with a “to do” list. You feel that as long as you achieve everything on that “to do” list, then things will work out well. You are adamant about doing things right and following a process 100%. You believe that you have to push yourself through to get things done. Now, if we have to demonstrate this example within your health journey, you might believe that there are a list of foods you should eat and that you should eat only those foods, that there are specific supplements you need to take and a set protocol you need to follow. Your “to do” list is about working through everything on a daily basis and believing that if you just do these things, everything will be okay.
You push yourself to do them. There is little pleasure within the process or within your journey. Secretly you believe that it is a type of penance for having endometriosis, that you have to do them. Because you really don’t want to do them at all.
The downside of this approach is that you will generally resent what you are doing. You will feel a type of stress around doing it as you are resisting that you have to do it. The likelihood is also that you will feel tired about the thought of doing any of it. It will feel overwhelming and believe that it is all too hard.
The Nurturing Approach
This approach is about tuning inward and feeling into what you want to do. It is about really embracing where your body is at and what it needs from you right now. It is about taking your time, about reviewing information and viewing your experiences as a test, an exploration and something new to try. If you were to use this as an example within your health journey, you would see everything as something fun to try, a new adventure of things to explore. The test would be around figuring out what works for your body and feeling into what your body needs right now – no matter what someone says or suggests.
It is about really nurturing your body and what you are trying to achieve for your health, based on how you feel physically and emotionally. There is no pushing and there is no deadline. There most certainly is no “to do” list. It is about layering up on ideas and suggestions and feeling into what you personally want to try next and what feels good within your body.
It is about asking yourself what you need right now, today and in this moment and recollecting what made you feel good in the past and simply doing that. Whether it is something as simple as deep breathing, sitting still with the birds or drinking a smoothie. It is really about asking what it is your body needs right now.
This is, of course, a much calmer, better place to come from as it doesn’t involve stress or force. We appreciate what is available to us and simply incorporate what feels good as we need it. We use information as we want and filter out what we don’t. We experiment and try and keep doing what makes sense in our mind and body.
It is gentle, intuitive and yes, far better for your health and approach.
The Challenge with this concept
It takes time to find that sweet spot of knowing what your body needs and being able to tune inward is a remarkably hard thing to learn. We are often too busy to sit with that simple thought of “what does my body need?”. The other challenge is knowing what information to try and what to let go. There is so much information and often it is overhyped and overemphasised when it is often not even required or relevant. Articles and content on the internet often has an element of fear within it, which is why we feel we must do it. Sifting through all of the information can be a stress within itself.
When I created my REACH beyond Endo program, I incorporated all the things that I had layered-up on within my own journey. Everything is in there – from the food choices that truly helped me to the cleanses that really shifted my endo. I did all that sifting through for you, so you don’t have to. From an information source, it is sound and researched.
What I wish I could incorporate more of is a mindset that comes with wanting to heal the body. It is never about pushing or forcing or doing all the “right things”. It is never about “having to do all these things for my health”. It is about looking at the information and deciding if it feels right for your body, based on what is within it and then deciding if you want to experiment and try it.
I invite you to try this experiment with me:
Next morning, when you wake up, ask yourself: what would make me feel good, vibrant and alive right now?
Now, experiment with what that might be for you. From my experience, it could be doing some Yoga, some stretches, deep breathing exercises, eating a fresh bowl of fruit with some freshly made juice, a bowl of hot porridge, listening to happy music, calling a good friend, connecting with others and feeling like you belong to something, walking the dog, cuddling the dog, tending to my herbs, reading a fun book, going outside in the sunshine….
You get the idea. Just find the things that make you feel good and do more of those. They might include all of the above or just some but it is for you to experiment with and test for YOU. What makes YOU feel good? If you feel any sense of overwhelm, slow down and do less. Tune in and keep asking “what feels good to me right now?”.
Report back in the comments below…
Sometimes I look back on my journey and I do wonder how I did it all. So many different diets and supplements, so many cleanse techniques with some scary after effects and yet I kept going. I kept trying new things. Whenever I read about something new to shift my experience with endometriosis, I would try it. It didn’t even matter how bizarre or unproven it sounded. I would just try it and test it for myself. I was relentless at finding relief and luckily I eventually did find it.
My motivation was clear: Get rid of the pain & symptoms and finally live a normal life.
So, I thought I would start with some basic strategies you can use to shift some of your nasties, really quickly.
Nasty #1: Extreme Nausea
I was plagued by nausea for most of my life. I got so used to experiencing nausea that I learned how to mentally talk myself out of it, on many occasions. It used to be particularly bad on planes and in cars. I remember my mom having to clean up my puke on more than one road trip when I was young!
It was only later in life that I connected the dots on what made my nausea worse. I guess you learn the hard way on what your body rejects when you get sick far too often. The interesting thing is that my body started to speak more loudly on what it wanted me to eat and drink during those times of nausea and what I learned through years of study, is that the very foods that I craved during those times were also the foods that were more supportive of my liver health.
So what should you eat if you experience extreme nausea?
The key ones to avoid are rich fatty foods. Even if those fats are good fats, they still need to be processed by your liver and hence feeling the nausea. I can promise you that nothing makes you want to be sick than consuming too much rich fat!
The other major one is sugary foods. I remember many kids birthday parties, where I would consume far too many lollies and sweets and really bear the brunt on that, later in the day.
My recommendation, based on my own experience for feeling better: Stick with really bland foods. Nothing too spicy, nothing to rich and stick with the basics. Fruit for breakfast, vegetables, home-made soups and salads for lunch and rice with steamed vegetables for dinner. Use a good salt on everything. Just try it for a week and see how you feel. The biggest alleviator of nausea would have be drinking bubbly water and putting a sprinkle of salt in the water. Salt definitely seems to help with nausea.
The other big alleviator is lemons. Lemons in water, lemons in your food and even having lemon oils infused into the air.
Nasty #2: The Dreaded Pain
When I first began my journey I wanted to believe that there was one remedy that could instantly alleviate my pain. I searched for years trying to find one miracle supplement or herb that could do just one job: alleviate pain. What I didn’t get at the time is that pain is not something you fix that easily. Pain is your body crying out for help on many levels and wanting you to pay attention to all of it – not just looking for a quick fix.
Over the years I tried all sorts of focal points: hormone imbalances, digestive issues, emotional imbalances, stress relief and doing cleanses like my Candida Challenge and more advanced ones like Liver Flushes.
I was hoping one of these would be the miracle fix but what I didn’t realise is that each aspect that I added was actually making up a series of puzzle pieces to overcome the imbalances of my whole body.
So, I wish I could tell you there was one thing that fixed the pain. I wish there was one dietary suggestion or one specific cleanse or one fabulous supplement but I simply don’t think there is just one thing. It is about layering up on things that help your body rebalance. It isn’t really just about targetting pain because pain is merely a symptom or a consequence of the imbalances going on in your body. What you really want to be focusing on is those imbalances and correcting them, one layer at a time.
However, in saying that I can give you some focal points to help you alleviate pain:
- Avoid inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy and sugar. They really do make things worse.
- Focus on foods which are high in anti-oxidants. Google high anti-oxidant foods and you will discover they go far beyond the simple blueberry 😉
- Reduce the level of stress you have in your life as much as possible. This means paying attention to your thoughts, your environments and noticing when your heart-rate goes up and when you feel anxious, stressed or worried. Shifting our mindset and working on releasing negative past experiences is a huge help with all of this.
- Get them bugs out of your body! There are many unwanted fungi, bacterial overgrowths and parasites that can cause huge imbalances in our body. To begin with, start with the Candida Challenge. Candida has been shown to be closely linked to women with endometriosis and there are even studies to prove that pain with endo can be alleviated with the elimination of Candida overgrowth in the body. Read more here
Nasty #3: The “Fall Over” Fatigue
It is just the worst feeling. You are just permanently tired. Even when you think you have gotten enough sleep, you still don’t wake up refreshed and energized. You struggle to get anything done because the energy to do it, just seems overwhelming. Your worst time of day is around 3pm, where you could easily just fall asleep at your desk!
There have been a few lessons I have learned over the years on things that made me feel more tired. What I worked out is that fatigue represented my body simply not coping or having “too much work to do”. Interesting how our body simply translates that into a mental feeling of overwhelm 😉
So, what could be making your body feel like it has “too much work to do”?
One of the key things is looking at your meal portion sizes. Cut back on how much you eat and you will feel a huge transformation on how tired you feel. A big meal is a huge amount of work for your body to get through. Break it into smaller portions throughout the day and eat more often and you will naturally feel lighter and more energized. Naturally, choosing the right kind of foods also play a part here 😉 Give your body the work at the right time. Eating a meal really late at night and then going to bed within 3 hrs after consuming it, is not ideal. If you are able to shift your dinner to lunch or eat your dinner super early – like 5pm, you will feel a shift there too. Give your body enough time to digest it all and break it down.
An obvious one is sleep. Many of us assume we can go to bed late and just sleep in. Nope. You want to be in bed and ready for sleep by 10pm. No later. Try it! You’ll be amazed at how much better you sleep and feel.
I have to go into your thoughts and patterns here too. Stop telling yourself that you are tired all the time. I totally did this and found myself repeating the phrase “I am so tired” all that time! This just creates the same result. The other thing that will really drag down your energy levels is repeated negative thoughts or feelings of overwhelm. Try to catch yourself thinking those and let them go or shift your thoughts that make you feel happy and light instead.
I could go on for hours on all the different symptoms we experience with endo and there are a heap more to cover but these are some of the most common ones I get asked about all the time. If you have a symptom you would like help on, let me know and I can add it as a blog post.
The good news is that you can alleviate these symptoms and feel better. I know you can.