Tips and advice to help you adapt and start a new diet to help with endometriosis
There is lots of advice about diet and nutrition to help with endometriosis, but how do you adapt to a new diet? This article gives you advice how to get started and gradually introduce a new diet regime.
Taking on diet changes and altering old eating habits will take you a while to adjust and get used to the changes, but it will soon become a new good habit. You will need to gradually restock your food cupboards with the basic ingredients for the endo diet, which you can find details of here. Don't worry about the ingredients for the diet being totally different or hard to get. Many of the ingredients are easy to find but you may not be using them right now.
You may be required to learn a couple of new cooking skills like working with a food processor, making juices and smoothies, and being organised and getting used to the process of bulk cooking – bulk cooking is a great idea as it allows you to have extra ready cooked meals in your freezer to use on days you are feeling bad and do not feel like cooking.
Your first requirement is to find out where you will be doing your shopping to get hold of new ingredients. This is where the internet comes into its own. Most supermarkets have online stores and you can browse their website to see if they stock what you are looking for. There are also specialist online food suppliers who offer such items as organic herbs, and spices, herb teas etc.
Even Amazon has a pantry section. The beauty of these online suppliers is that you can get home delivery which saves you time and more importantly energy. Some days with endometriosis, you just don’t have the energy or you are in too much pain to go grocery shopping, then these online services can be a godsend.
The trick with changing to a new diet is not to do it all at once. It will be too challenging to do all the changes in one go, especially if you have to change many of your store cupboard ingredients. If you have been eating a lot of sugar you may go through a detox if you stop all at once, and it would be a good idea to wean yourself off your sugar habit. To change to the new diet, it really will be easier to do a little at a time and gradually adapt to the changes. Maybe set yourself tangible, weekly targets.
For example, your timetable to change to a new diet could be:
Week one - start by changing your hot drinks and change over to healthy options like herb teas
Week two - change your lunch-time habit of having a wheat-based sandwich every day - change over to a healthy alternative, like buying gluten-free bread from your health store and adding some healthy dips and salads
Week three - be brave and chuck out all those nasty ingredients from your cupboards and restock with safer alternatives – you even need to get rid of those bad oils you may have been using and buy healthier options
Week four - start to write up meal plans, building in time-tables for your periods so you can plan what to cook in advance to get you through rough times
Week five - gradually build up your new diet regime to include all meals based on the principles of the endo diet. Start collecting recipes for different meal ideas – there is a basic collection of endo-friendly recipes HERE
Week six - continue building this new regime. Do not worry about lapses, you are only human. In a few weeks’ time you will be able to detect what really upsets your system when you have a relapse. I think wheat and coffee will knock your system side-ways - it does for a lot of women
At around week ten - give yourself a huge treat - go for a lovely therapeutic massage if you can afford it. If you can’t afford a trained masseur, then maybe a friend who has a natural touch could give you one. Whatever you do, don’t throw in the towel. The benefits will not come over night, but they will come. Believe me, many women have had huge benefits from changing their diet and have reduced their endometriosis symptoms immensely.
Resources to help you make the changes:
All the links here open a new window so you won't loose your place.
For a list of the basic ingredients to have in your store cupboard read HERE
For help which alternative ingredients to use for sugar, milk and wheat flour you will find advice HERE
To find out more about using oils in your cooking and which are the best oils to use, you will find advice HERE
Many with endo have found by getting rid of gluten in their diet they have really good results and reduced their symptoms. You need to watch out for hidden sources of gluten which you can read about HERE
There is a good diet/recipe book from endo-resolved which covers just about all your needs to get you started on the diet with drinks, soups, main dishes, spicy dishes, curries, sweets, baking, cakes, dips and spreads – over 250 recipes, which will give you a good kick-start – details are HERE
Don’t forget to check out your local health food store as they will be a good starting place for many items you will be looking for. Find out if there is a weekly organic-box scheme near where you live so you can get a regular supply of organic veggies and fruit when it’s in season.
It is strongly advised to change you cooking equipment if you are using items like non-stick pans, cookware made of Teflon and aluminium pans. My favourite saucepans are the stainless-steel pans with the copper insert in the bottom as they maintain heat better and are safer to cook with. Cast iron is another option and you get the benefit of added iron in your food that comes from the pans, but they are rather heavy.
If you have got a birthday coming up ask for a good quality food processor which will help to take the hard work out of the prep with some recipes that require blitzing of ingredients like pate's, spread, and smoothies. Also, a juicer is another nice pressie to get – you can then juice up those fruit and veggies and get the benefits of all the vital nutrients.
Just take one step at a time and if you get overwhelmed about the diet, you can always get advice from others on places like Facebook endometriosis groups or endometriosis forums.