The term “natural” is sadly so vague and unclear. As I have gone through my journey with endometriosis, I have noticed how my perceptions and ideas around what it means to be “natural” have really changed. I want to dispel some myths around what it really means to be “natural” and how we truly approach healing using natural methods.
The key reason I want to share these with you is because I have seen far too many scenarios of women who think they have tried “natural” or are doing the “natural thang” and are still not getting results. I believe this is mainly because they believe one of the following myths about what it really means to use a natural approach.
1. But I eat a healthy diet!
This one is possibly the worst one of the lot! When I connect with women through meetings or private consults, I will ask them to complete a form for me to indicate how healthy they eat or sometimes women will reveal to me that they have a healthy diet and they can’t understand why they are not feeling better. When I start to probe a little deeper and ask these women about the specifics of what they are eating, it becomes really apparent that what they are eating is very far removed from healthy.
Here are some things you need to know:
- Just because the box looks natural, healthy and has those washed out greens and blue colours, doesn’t mean it is healthy! Read the label and really determine what is inside that super “healthy” looking cereal bar or the amazing “gluten free, sugar free” muffin. These are gimmicks to get you to buy these products and they are not real – sadly! It is really important to become familiar with the ingredients in some of these foods and recognise the ones you want to avoid. Here’s a little mini clue: if it has a long list of ingredients and you struggle to pronounce them or there are a bunch of numbers on the box, it is not a healthy food!
- The magazine version of a healthy diet is not necessarily a nourishing diet. I have picked up some health related magazines in the past and I am always horrified as to what is considered a healthy meal. In most cases the foods selected are all about promoting a new product or simply looking good. What I encourage you to look at is the level of actual nutrients are in your food. How many vitamins, minerals, bioflavonoids, enzymes and anti-oxidants are in your food? Mini clue: The fresher, organic and closer to nature it gets, the closer it will be to providing real nourishment.
- Supermarket produce is not the same as home-grown or market produce. Even if you buy fresh fruit and vegetables and you do your best to eat them on a regular basis, you may still not be getting the level of nourishment your body really needs to be well again. The reality is that supermarkets are not about providing you with decent levels of nourishment. Produce can sit in cold-storage, can be sprayed with all sorts of things to keep it fresher for longer and is often picked before it’s prime nutrition level. Even if it is organic, it doesn’t mean it is full of nourishment. Mini clue: buy from your local market where produce has likely been picked the night before and is grown in mineral rich soil to prevent bug infestations.
The worst part of this myth is that women believe that eating a healthy diet is ALL they need to do to use a natural approach and I know I also believed this for many years. I believed that as long as I was super “good” with my diet, then endo would be better behaved. What we eat is only the first step towards using a natural approach. It is certainly an important step as it provides the foundation for everything else but it is not the only thing we need to be doing to truly approach endometriosis holistically.
2. But I take a bunch of supplements!
I know I did this too. I would take a medical version of something I was taking – let’s say a pain-killer or a hormone regulator and I would then scourer the internet to find something natural that I could replace it with or take along-side the drug I was taking. I figured if I just replaced it with a natural version, then I was using a natural approach.
Here is why that doesn’t work…
- Supplements don’t act in the same way as drugs. So, if you think that taking a natural alternative for pain relief is going to work, then you will be incredibly disappointed. It just doesn’t act the same way in the body as drugs do. Drugs actually turn off the mechanism that triggers pain, like a switch (with a bunch of side-effects in the process). Natural herbal remedies or treatments work on the underlying reason you may experience pain, like inflammation or hormone imbalance or any number of other reasons. They work differently which means they take longer and will have a different response for different people and of course, you may need different ones to get the results you are after.
- Supplements are not designed to be taken permanently or long-term. We are so ingrained in our thinking: I need to take some “medicine” to get well. I can certainly vouch for taking this approach myself – my cupboards were full of all sorts of supplements! I know many of you believe this too because it is still one of the most common questions I get asked about.
- We are merely nudging the body to correct itself. Supplements are designed to fulfil a temporary depletion of a nutrient or steer the body towards healing, rather than provide the sustenance to keep going. I do need to stress that there is a big difference between taking something that is a food (like Moringa or Lucuma) on an ongoing basis versus a supplement like magnesium or zinc.
Supplements may offer some relief or allow for deficiencies to be corrected or alleviate some pain/inflammation but ultimately, they are not ever going to provide the full answer for healing. This is because supplements don’t do the work – your body does!
The way to truly provide for your body is through something you do three times a day – your food! You’d be amazed at the complexities within real, natural food and how clever it is at providing what you need.
3. There is far more to “natural” than you think
In most cases women believe that if they eat a “healthy” diet, take some herbal supplement and perhaps do some yoga, then they have covered the “natural” approach. Surely, that is all you can do to really provide for your body naturally? or is it…
I actually don’t like the word “natural” as it simply doesn’t describe what we really should be focusing on. I prefer the word HOLISTIC. When we approach the body holistically, we really consider all aspects of health and all the things that can influence your level of health, healing and pain with having endometriosis.
This is why I created my REACH Technique©. I developed it out of a personal experience with more and more women who were simply not getting the results I wanted them to. I found that these women were eating well, doing yoga and taking a bunch of supplements and yet, their pain levels were still not dramatically lowered. What I realised is that most of these women were incredibly stressed out and that many of them had been exposed to some level of toxins within their life.
Some key points to consider:
- The diet, exercise, yoga or supplements don’t actually do the healing… they provide an ENVIRONMENT for healing. This means, they provide the perfect tools for your body to do what it inherently knows to do. We are merely providing the right environment and it does the work.
- If you are stressed out and anxious, your body will struggle to process any of that good, clean and healthy food. I know how stressful endometriosis can be and how it can make us feel anxious and worried but this doesn’t help our body to feel well. Mini clue: take sufficient time out in your day to be present, connect with your body and release all the tension you are holding onto.
- Our emotional health plays a HUGE part in our physical health. This does mean looking at your past and letting stuff go but also really recognising what is not serving you in your life and shifting things emotionally.
- Toxins alter hormone balance. Toxins interfere with our immune response. Toxins affect our ability to process and absorb nutrients. Toxins alter our PH. Toxins create inflammation. Toxins affect every cell within your body. We need to get rid of those toxins to truly give our body a chance to breathe and be well. Imagine a river filled with pollution and muck. Is it going to flow freely?
We need a holistic approach to really give our body the space to heal.
I hope this dispels some of the myths about using a natural approach for endometriosis. I know I believed many of these ideas along my journey and I hope that by travel with me, we will unravel more and more insights around endometriosis to ultimately get healthier and healthier!
What have you tried that is natural? What has been your experience?
This Post Has 5 Comments
Thank you Svetlana 🙂 I am so happy you are enjoying my posts 🙂
Additionally, as I’m always looking for good recommendations, I did discover a brand of curcumin supplement that is water soluble like I described, and I can say from personal experience that I actually had a REDUCTION IN PAIN! I saw it advertised in Psychology Today (a publication who’s ads are generally for legit products), but I’ve been using it for a month & while I still needed my painkillers, I found I was needing less of them than usual (& actually WANTING to be physically active, which is CRAZY unlikely for me!) Thd brand is Solgar & it’s the “185x” formula that’s supposed to be 185x more effective than standard curcumin. Here’s the Amazon link, if you want to see the description/reviews: https://www.amazon.com/Curcumin-185x-40-Solgar-Softgel/dp/B00ZJS5D3C , though I found it at the Vitamin Shoppe for a few bucks less.
From someone who’s about to graduate with their MS in Holistic Nutrition, all I can say is: AGREED!
The only caveat I had is regarding the supplements. While I agree overall with what you’re saying, there are certain foods/herbs that just aren’t as readily absorbed if you take them in food form. For example, while the curcumin in tumeric is a great anti-inflammatory & can even help with pain in the correct amount, you only absorb about 4% of the curcumin when consuming tumeric as a spice/food. Whereas certain brands of curcumin supplements have been able to tweak the molecular structure in a way (like binding it with micelles to make it water soluble), thus making it much more bioavailable. Similarly are probiotic foods — where your body destroys a good portion of the “good bacteria” before it even gets to your gut, while certain probiotic supplements have a special coating to allow the probiotics to make it to your gut safely, where they need to be, without being destroyed by the enzymes, heat, and stomach acid involved in the digestion process. While I recognize that no single supplement will be the miracle pill we all want, *sometimes* its necessary to take a higher or differently-designed supplement of certain things in order for it to be strong enough to be effective.
I truly agree with you and acknowled your information.
Just want you to know that i loved this post. I would love more information on stuff like this. And how to truly help our bodies help themselves! Congratulations on 3 years old study! You will be an awesome naturopath Mel 🙂 love Svetlana