When I first heard of the Endometriosis Diet, I really thought it was the most amazing thing ever! It started for me with just cutting out gluten and I was totally hooked! I have written heaps of blog posts about it and was heavily focused on everything that it was about. The trouble was, although I experienced some dramatic improvements within my healing and no matter how much I stuck to the endometriosis diet, there still seemed to be something missing. I also felt like the whole thing was about “being strict” or “motivated” and that, as the word implies, I was on a “diet”. I have never liked being told what to do, so the whole thing of, “You are not allowed that food” just made me feel resentful about it all and I instantly felt like I needed to rebel and have it for that very reason—I am sure some of you are the same.
So, I started to research more about our food and how food influences our healing and discovered that the endometriosis diet is a little superficial in its approach. Here is why I personally don’t think it is quite enough:
1. We can’t just cut a whole bunch of stuff OUT
For those of you who are new to the endometriosis diet, I will break it down for you in simple forms. The diet recommends cutting out sugar, gluten, dairy, meat and any processed foods and replacing it with good organic fruits and vegetables, some non-gluten grains and avoiding packaged foods. To me, that is where its focus lies. Yes, these are foods we should definitely take out of our diet BUT the diet doesn’t focus heavily enough on what to eat instead that truly nourishes the body. This is key! Yes, eating organic fruits and vegetables is a great start and yes, having these foods taken out is important as they cause inflammation and can trigger more pain within the body, but there is not enough focus on getting more good nutrition back into our bodies.
Good nutrition and getting a range of vitamins, minerals, trace elements and bio flavanoids from a variety of different foods is crucial to real healing. Ultimately, our bodies are lacking in some or other of these or we wouldn’t be experiencing pain and inflammation. To try and figure out which one our bodies are lacking is not always that simple. We are better off getting a large variety of foods which can supply us with everything we need, rather than just taking a whole bunch of individual supplements which aren’t often absorbed by the body.
These are foods like fermented foods, seaweeds and wild foods. They are not common place as recommendations within the endometriosis diet but I believe they are so crucial to really provide real nourishment and super healing power!
2. Eating well is just laying the groundwork
What we perhaps don’t realize with endometriosis is that most of us have been on a fairly long road, prior to this change where we simply didn’t give our bodies the best healing tools. Chances are, we have been on the pill, or hormone treatments, or countless varieties of drugs for many years. We may have had fillings with mercury in our mouths. We may have been exposed to various environmental toxins in our past or quite simply we started our life as little babies with less than adequate livers, the main detoxing organ of the body.
See, food lays the foundation for good healing. It allows your body to have a fighting chance and not just be fighting and healing with food—many foods actually cause an immune response within the body.
However, foods can’t flush out all the stuff we did before this—all the stuff that has been accumulating for many years, possibly even from birth! Certain diets can certainly help with this—I know many women who find benefits from doing a completely raw food diet but personally I find this very taxing and extreme for the body to deal with.
What we really need to do is detox our bodies of all that stuff that we gathered over the years. We can do this in various different ways. There are some softer detox approaches, as mentioned in my friends book, this week’s recommendation. There are also more advanced detox and cleansing techniques. These include things like fasting or liver flushes or doing bowel cleanses or juice fasts. Acupuncture is another fantastic method which encourages meridian flows within the body to be opened and thereby allowing the detoxification pathways to work well again.
They are highly effective tools to really get rid of all the junk we have gathered over the years.
It was only when I did my juice fast that I really noticed just how tired my body was before doing it. When I was on my juice fast, I woke up completely refreshed and really bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!
3. If you are emotionally stressed out then it simply won’t work that well
Food can do wonders for stress. It will certainly be better for you than living on a whole bunch of highly refined carbohydrates, coffee and chocolates! However, if you are permanently stressed and your adrenals are taxed to the max, your body will be absorbing everything you feed it faster than you can even imagine. Stress and emotional stuff is a super hungry beast that will literally eat up mineral reserves. It is like a nasty monster that just needs constant feeding.
Unfortunately, when you have this nasty “stress monster”, your body is not getting all that fabulous nutrition you are giving it. It is just feeding the “stress monster” instead. So, you are eating all this good food and it is not reaching the parts which really need it—your organs and the bits that need healing.
Now, you may not even think you are that stressed out. You might think that you are doing fine. Here are some signs that you are in fact stressed out and putting your adrenals into overdrive:
- You worry about a particular supplement. Is it making your health worse? Better? could it really be the right thing? Should you buy something else? I honestly get so many emails like this. The truth is, there are certainly some supplements we should avoid and yes, there are some that are better than others but supplements are not the ultimate for healing anyway. They are there to supplement your food. If you are stressing and worrying about whether to take it or not or if it is right or not, then you probably shouldn’t be taking it. If it feels right in your body and your healing journey, you will instinctively know you should be taking it. Of course, do your research but don’t place all your emphasis on a handful of supplements. There is so much more to healing than those guys! Try taking a walk, meditating or cleansing your body for a different approach.
- You are fanatical about your food and what you eat. If you go to a social function and are going around checking labels, asking what is in every meal and worrying that you might be inadvertently eating a preservative here or there, then you have taken this whole “diet” thing a little far. Other people’s food is never going to be like your own! Just accept that and work with what you can with what is there. If there is meat and you doubt it is organic then have a small portion. Have more salad and potatoes instead. Avoid the big ones like gluten and sugar as much as you can but really, stressing about what you are eating is possibly worse than just enjoying the moment with friends and family.
- You are constantly doing laps around in your head. Mind chatter is scary stuff and many of us on our healing journey will probably have old residue in this department! I know I had heaps of stuff about being sensitive, being weak and just not really believing my body was getting any better. I would tell myself this every single day until one day a friend pointed it out to me and I realized what I had been telling myself for years. This is totally counter-intuitive, isn’t it?
I am sure you can probably figure out if you are experiencing emotional stress in your life and big emotional things are bound to do that. Give yourself the understanding and appreciation of what you are going through. Let yourself experience it but then also let it go.
The biggest thing I have found that really helps reduce my stress is to be present. Present with whatever I am experiencing in this moment. So, if I am feeling vulnerable, I just let it sit there and let it be. I don’t judge it or question it but let it sit and eventually it will pass on its own.
Allow yourself to recognize your own stresses and find your own ways of letting them go. Let go your anxiety around endo, your future, having a baby and all that stuff. Just stop those voices and stop that drain. You can. Just tell it to SHUT UP!
So I hope this opens your eyes to why your diet may not be enough to really heal and feel better. We are all different and at different stages of our healing journey. Know that your journey is special to you and you need to get back in touch with what your personal body needs right now. Ask it a simple question: What do you need to feel better?