Within the Endo Sisters Support Group, we have frequently had discussions around which type of diet to follow to really optimise healing. Sometimes, it can get quite heated as we go back and forth around whether we should eat meat, not eat meat or what sort of diet is truly beneficial to support our bodies and our health. With new diet trends popping up all the time, selling us on the benefits of one diet versus another, it is very easy to get confused and question which diet is really the best way to eat to really help support us in managing endometriosis.
Why I don’t follow a specific diet trend
I have often been tempted to recommend a specific diet or to find one that really resonated with me and promote that one as it would be much easier for me to then guide you on what to eat. Here is a couple reasons I don’t:
- I don’t like the word “diet”. To me this implies having to “stick to something” and treating it as dogma. This prevents us from truly connecting with our bodies and what we feel like eating at any given time. We start to believe that if we are “strict” then we will get results and if we are “naughty”, we won’t.
- The key message of nutrition can get lost or confused. I watched the TV Show with Pete Evans who is all about eating Paleo. Within the show he talked about “Paleo” desserts and how delicious and easy they were to make. Though they were certainly “Paleo”, if someone misinterpreted this, they could believe they could eat it these frequently just because they believe that because it is “Paleo”, it must be healthy.
- They truly come and go. I have followed many diets in my past and though they offered some benefits, they eventually die off. They pass, like a season or a moment in history because generally they have too much restriction and not enough nutritional grounding. Ultimately, everything we eat needs to focus on how it truly nourishes our bodies and if our diet is able to do that successfully.
How to decide what to eat
So where does that leave you, in terms of what to eat? Here’s the thing… if eating according to a specific diet helps you, stay more healthy, then certainly follow it but don’t go against how your body feels just because you are following a diet. Here are some easy tools to help you decide if a food helps and supports your body:
- Be present with your food and recognise how it tastes and feels in your body. Most of us rush through our meals. We barely know what we have been eating and have little recollection of taste. Slow down enough to enjoy each mouthful, without the distractions of TV, your phone or emails. Sit and enjoy your meal and be fully present with it. You will soon recognise if you truly enjoy it and if it is something your body really wants.
- Recognise how you feel after eating. Do you feel tired? Swoopy in the head? Bloated, drained or tired? I usually find a good timeframe to measure is around 30 minutes to 2 hours after eating.
- Pick foods based on nutrition rather than taste, diet or popularity. How much of the good stuff does it really contain. Go beyond just looking at protein, carbs and fats and think about how many vitamins and minerals it contains. Where did it come from? How fresh is it? How long has it been sitting on the shelf?
What do I eat?
I recognised early on that the best forms of nourishment come from foods which are fresh, picked and come from the ground. These include our fruits and vegetables and the more variety we can get, the better! I incorporate a wide range of green foods, including wild foods, seaweeds and algae. They are fabulous for aiding the body in detoxifying.
I do eat animal products but not in the huge quantities we typically see in the western diet. I prefer to focus on good quality and have it less often, than having it each and every day. My decisions on what to eat are based on a gut instinct and I really feel into what I want to eat each day. If it is colder, I feel like different foods than it is warmer. If I have done heaps of muscle building exercise, then I feel like different foods than if I have done Yoga in the morning.
To me, our gut health is imperative and I base a huge amount of my decisions on how my gut is feeling each day. I make an effort to support my body with foods that nourish and heal the gut each day.
How to decide what is right for you?
You can either simply join a program, like my REACH beyond Endo Program, which guides you on how to make food choices based on how foods nourish your body or you can experiment with different diets. The key is not to be too ridged with anything and to explore this as an adventure in trying different things that truly resonate with you.