5 tips for managing endometriosis

I was diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis in January 2014, at that time and for many years prior I was extremely unwell and could barely function.

Endometriosis is a multi-faceted disease so it needs to be considered from all angles. It doesn’t just include monthly pain – the pain for me was daily, but there was also extreme fatigue, depression, gut problems including bloating, constipation, bowel pain and malabsorption of nutrients.

These days I am feeling much better and rarely experience the symptoms mentioned above. There are many factors that have contributed to my improved health and I want to share with you some of my learnings. Firstly, let’s understand a bit more about the disease:

Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside this area and creates inflammation, scar tissue, adhesions, pain and sometimes infertility. It is unknown what causes endometriosis but there are a few factors that may contribute to the disease:

Estrogen dominance is one factor that may contribute to endometriosis. If this hormone is not being expelled appropriately from the body it can worsen the disease and create other symptoms associated with estrogen dominance. There are two key components to maintaining optimal hormone levels; the liver which removes excess toxins, including excess hormones such as estrogen (and xenoestrogens) and the gastrointestinal system which is essential for absorbing nutrients and expelling waste.

Here are 5 tips for managing endometriosis:

  • Find your health care A-team; for example, I have the support of a general practitioner, a gynaecologist (who specialises in endometriosis), a naturopath, a gastroenterologist and an acupuncturist. Make sure the people you do see really understand the disease and are up to date with the latest research. Good health care will make a difference. Take responsibility for your own health though, do your research and ask questions; if you’re not comfortable with what your practitioner is proposing, seek a second opinion, it’s your body and you know it better than anyone. Excision surgery done correctly by an endo specialist is widely regarded as the best way to improve symptoms and quality of life.
  • Establish your support network. Having a chronic illness can be very isolating and can lead to depression. Creating my Instagram account healingyogi and this blog, was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made; the support from other endo sufferers (along with the support from my husband) was incredible. In addition to social media, you can find support networks through friends, family, local support groups and through a psychologist.
  • Consider your diet. As mentioned earlier, if your body is not absorbing the appropriate nutrients and expelling waste/toxins as it needs to, it’s only going to make you feel worse. There isn’t one diet for endometriosis, but there are a few guidelines that can help:
    • Eat a high fibre diet.
    • Buy food as close to its natural state and prepare your own meals as often as possible – eat lots of veggies!
    • Buy organic where possible and reduce the amount of toxins you consume.
    • Eat plenty of healthy fats found in olive oil and wild salmon as they are anti-inflammatory.
    • Avoid soy products such as tofu as they contain isoflavones which are similar to estrogen and therefore can have similar effects on the body.
    • Reduce your sugar intake (including alcohol). Processed sugary foods and drinks can cause inflammation and will only make you feel worse.
    • Drink plenty of water.

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  • Reduce your stress levels. By allowing your body to rest appropriately it will switch on your parasympathetic nervous system and allow your body to do things such as; conserve energy, digest food and reproduce. Find your happy place! Whether it’s playing sport, painting or going for a walk in nature – just do something that gives you time to nourish your body and mind. Not surprisingly, I recommend yoga and meditation as it provides benefits for both body and mind and can help manage pain. Restorative yoga is brilliant for when you are unwell and not up to doing exercise.

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  • Address your digestive problems. If you’re tackling endometriosis it’s important to have your gut absorbing the appropriate nutrients. After many years of gut problems, last year I was finally diagnosed with SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) which meant I was malabsorbing nutrients along with some other unpleasant symptoms. At the time I had blood tests completed and was low in iron and vitamin B12; I suffered from extreme fatigue and brain fog as a result. Research your symptoms and talk to a naturopath / gastroenterologist. Find out what’s going on and take steps to address the problem so it doesn’t create additional health complications going forward.

There is so much more I could write about with regards to managing endo, but these are the 5 points that come first to mind. What are your tips for managing endo? I would love to know your thoughts.

Yours in health,

Meredith

Melbourne healthy eats

It’s been a while between blog posts but I’m happy to be back. I just completed my first semester studying nutrition, it’s been full on, but I’m loving learning about how food can help us to heal our body.

Recently I took a trip to Melbourne to visit friends and family. I lived in Melbourne, Australia for my entire life up until a year ago so I have a strong connection to the city. Melbourne is blessed with a diverse culture and as a result it has a unique and inspiring food scene, which includes healthy eateries. During my visit I was so inspired by the food being served I thought it was worth sharing. If you happen to find yourself in this beautiful place anytime soon and are in need of a healthy and delicious feed, give one of these eateries a go:

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  • Coin Laundry Cafe – located in the charming inner city suburb of Armadale, it is a cute corner cafe and a local favourite, it has a friendly vibe and serves up delicious food including excellent gluten free bread (yes, gluten free bread that actually tastes great).
  • Transformer – posh sister of veggie bar in Fitzroy, this restaurant serves up inspiring vegetarian food in a sophisticated atmosphere.
  • Walk Don’t Run – another cute cafe in Armadale serving up organic, locally sourced produce with a menu that allows it’s healthy and tasty ingredients to shine through. 
  • Serotonin Dealer – located in Richmond, this cafe is all about boosting your happiness via your tummy, which makes a lot of sense really when you consider that most of your serotonin (a neurotransmitter responsible for mood balance) is produced in your gut.
  • Heal Thy Self Co this was my regular when I lived in Melbourne. The delicious seasonal menu is built on bio-availability, eastern medicine and high performance psychology.
  • Tahina – Simple, healthy Israeli street food in Northcote. Try the green shakshuka!
  • MOM cafeif you have gut issues, this is your place. The menu was built by nutritionists, doctors, naturopaths and chefs and it caters for pretty much every dietary requirement you can think of.

If you visit any of these places or can recommend any other healthy cafes then drop me a note below!

Yours in health,

Meredith x

 

 

Tackling fatigue

Fatigue is something everyone can relate to, we all get tired and run-down at one point or another in our lives. What happens though when it takes over your life? Constant fatigue, brain fog, lethargy, aching muscles, to the point where even the most simple tasks become difficult. When it doesn’t go away, even with a good nights sleep, you know there’s a problem. This is what I’ve been dealing with for the last 6 months. It’s been so overwhelming that I haven’t been able to work or function normally.

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My naturopath believes I have adrenal fatigue, this condition is where the adrenal glands don’t function properly and below the necessary level. It is believed to be caused by prolonged levels of intense stress and poor health that result in strain on the body. For me personally I have been dealing with severe endometriosis, gut issues (SIBO) causing nutritional deficiencies, I had 2 surgeries last year, moved interstate and my husband has also been tackling his own health issues; when you look at all these factors, it’s no wonder I’m exhausted.

On a positive note, this week after 6 long months I feel like I’m starting to improve, I’m trying not to get too excited and tread carefully because I know I’m still not completely well. So, what has helped? The first step has been listening to my body and resting when I need to; the biggest lesson for me was when I took on a full time job after moving interstate to Brisbane, I struggled from day one and when I could hardly make it up the stairs at work I knew something was wrong, after 2 weeks I quit. Now, about 3 months later I’m starting to feel a little better, so I thought I’d share with you my tips for tackling chronic fatigue:

  • Rest, whenever you feel you need to, sit down for 10-15 minutes (don’t sleep during the day though) and sip a cup of herbal tea or water.
  • Try incorporating meditation and deep slow breathing, or breath regulation and lengthening (a technique in yoga called pranayama), it is a wonderful experience for your body and mind.
  • Cut out caffeine, alcohol and other stimulants. If you’re working, try taking a week or two off, schedule a holiday to get through the worst part of the caffeine withdrawal and help recharge your body.
  • Light exercise every day is important, try yoga – restorative or yin yoga, they are superb for fatigue. Walking is great too, try 15-20 minutes of light walking in the morning and/or evening. Don’t push yourself beyond this though.
  • Get outdoors and get some sunlight, (not excessive amounts of course) it does wonders for your state of mind, along with being the best source of vitamin D which is essential for assisting in the absorption of vitamins and for maintaining a healthy immune system.
  • Talk to your doctor to get an overall health check and get a blood test. I was deficient in iron and B vitamins so taking quality supplements has helped enormously.
  • Eat a healthful diet and drink plenty of water, reduce your intake of sugar and eat home made meals made from unprocessed ingredients, including plenty of vegetables. All of this sounds obvious, but in our fast paced world it can be difficult to maintain, organisation and preparation is key.
  • Aim for 8-9 hours sleep a night and get to bed before 10pm. Try taking magnesium – I was waking during the night cramping (a sign of being deficient in magnesium), since taking a supplement powder I sleep like a baby.

 

Do you suffer from chronic fatigue? Are there any other tips that work for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Yours in health,

Meredith x

 

SIBO – what do I eat?

I have SIBO – what do I eat? It’s a fair enough question as there are many things you should not consume such as; sugar, starch, gluten, grains, legumes and certain dairy products. Even the things you’re allowed to have, many have limits on them, for example almonds; you can have a couple but no more than 10. It’s also important to leave a minimum of 3 hours between meals. For someone who loves to graze this is not an ideal situation! But it is doable.

Put as simply as possible, the SIBO diet is a combination of Paleo and a low FODMAP diet with a few exceptions; you should avoid starches e.g. sweet potato and sugars e.g. maple syrup.

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I’ve found it’s important to eat plenty of protein and healthy fats, as this is the best way to feel satiated while eating a low carbohydrate diet.

The bulk of my diet consists of freshly prepared vegetables (low FODMAP vegetables only, so no garlic, onion etc), accompanied with eggs, fish or chicken and occasionally grass fed red meat (I was previously a vegetarian but I have found it too difficult to maintain while treating SIBO). Add plenty of herbs and spices but read labels and make sure anything you buy in a package doesn’t contain any nasties! Fresh is best. Use healthy oils to cook with such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, organic grass fed butter and ghee.

I make every meal from scratch, it is time consuming and you have to be organised, but I’ve found it’s the best option. Always choose organic pastured / grass fed eggs and meat, if you have SIBO it’s more than likely you have a leaky gut which means any toxins or excess hormones you consume can leak through your digestive tract into your blood stream, causing havoc with your body and already compromised immune system.

Your naturopath or doctor will prescribe you either antibiotics or anti-microbial herbs, these play an important part in treating SIBO as they kill the bacteria. I’m currently taking HCL to aid digestion, Bactrex to kill the bacteria and selected supplements to aid my various nutritional deficiencies such as iron.

Please note that I am on a SIBO maintenance diet, which is where you gradually introduce and increase certain foods into your diet. When I first started treatment I was not allowed any fruit and restricted the quantities of certain foods that could trigger a flare up. Below are some examples of vegetables to restrict initially:

  • Asparagus limit to 1 spear
  • Artichoke 1/8 cup
  • Beetroot 2 slices
  • Broccoli 1/2 cup
  • Brussel sprouts 2 each
  • Cabbage 3/4 cup
  • Celery 1 stick
  • Chilli 11cm
  • Fennel 1/2 cup
  • Garlic not allowed (try infused in olive oil as an alternative)
  • Green beans 10 each
  • Leek not allowed
  • Mushrooms not allowed
  • Onion not allowed
  • Peas 1/4 cup
  • Potato (or sweet potato) not allowed
  • Pumpkin 1/2 cup
  • Snow peas 5 pods
  • Spinach 15 leaves
  • Zucchini 3/4 cup

All other vegetables should be well tolerated. I would suggest restricting fruit initially then introducing berries (limit to 1/2 cup) as you start to improve.

Avoid sweeteners except pure Stevia powder or liquid initially.

Dairy is usually avoided then gradually introduced in the form of butter and hard aged cheese, I only seem to be able to tolerate butter and a very small amount of cheese.

I must reiterate how important it is to read labels, if you can’t pronounce it don’t consume it! Maltodextrin, starches, sugars, gums, carragenan, thickener, soy, tamari, palm oil, agave, xylitol should all be avoided.

Below are some example meals that I eat. Everyone is different and if you can’t tolerate any of the food listed, listen to your body and try introducing it at a later stage when you’re feeling a little better. As for drinks, stick to water and herbal tea, I personally love lemon and ginger for an anti-bacterial kick and a chamomile blend of an evening.

BREAKFAST

I start my day with a hearty breakfast to keep me going.

  • Poached eggs on a slice of nut & seed loaf with smoked salmon, avocado & rocket drizzled in lime juice and dill.
  • Scrambled eggs with finely chopped kale and spinach, accompanied with roast carrots and fresh coriander in garlic infused olive oil.
  • Shakshouka, which is a Middle Eastern dish of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce, check out my instagram page for this recipe.
  • Spiced zucchini and tomatoes with eggs, recipe here.
  • Frittata filled with roast vegetables, olives, some pine nuts and a little grated parmesan cheese served with a green salad.
  • Fritters made with zucchini or pumpkin grated with eggs, almond meal and herbs.
  • Paleo pancakes (made with coconut flour), go easy on these as excess coconut can cause symptoms.

SNACKS

You are allowed to snack but make sure you leave a minimum of 3 hours between meals. Some of the below items listed may not be good when you are first starting out on the diet, just see how your body reacts, if they don’t agree then remove. Quantity is important, try not to consume too many nuts, seeds and fruit as they can cause symptoms.

  • Nut & seed loaf (1 slice) with grass fed butter and a teaspoon of honey, or avocado. Organic clear honey is allowed in very small amounts.
  • Berry smoothie, 1/2 cup of berries blended with 1/2 cup of coconut water, 1/3 cup of almond milk, ice and 1/4 tsp of pure vanilla powder.
  • Carrot sticks with 1 tsp black tahini paste or almond butter.
  • Coconut and lemon bread this one is great as it’s nice to feel like your eating cake again! Stick to 1 small slice though.
  • Frittata, this is a great dish to keep in the fridge and there are so many variations to try.
  • Bone broth made from beef or lamb bone.

LUNCH / DINNER

  • Baked spiced chicken thigh with a side salad.
  • Nicoise salad, without potato, opt for low FODMAP salad ingredients.
  • Salmon pan fried served with a herb sauce or crust, served with salad.
  • Roast chicken breast, marinated in garlic infused olive oil, lemon juice and herbs with vegetables or a salad.
  • Roast chicken and vegetables.
  • Mexican inspired beef burrito mixture served with avocado, cucumber and rocket dressed in lime and olive oil and some spicy home made mayonnaise.
  • Vietnamese inspired chicken salad.
  • Vegetable and lentil soup.
  • Roast vegetable salad.

I hope you have found this post helpful.There’s so much information relating to this topic, so I’ve tried to make it as succinct as possible. If you have a question, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll respond to you.

For me personally, I am by no means cured from this disease, I’m tackling it everyday but I have noticed gradual improvements. My naturopath is helping me with my treatment and I would highly recommend seeking medical advice if you believe you have a gut disorder such as SIBO.

Yours in health,

Meredith

 

 

 

Endo awareness month

March marks endometriosis awareness month. Endometriosis affects approximately 1 out of every 10 women, it is a chronic illness with no cure, it can cause debilitating pain, chronic fatigue, anaemia, infertility to name a few. It can have serious psychological and social impacts on a woman’s life.

About 1 year ago I had major excision surgery to remove endometriosis, it involved 7 hour surgery which removed 90% of my endo that had stuck all of my lower organs together including my bowel and following surgery was a stint in intensive care.

A year on so much has happened, but my health is still a work in progress. The moment I forget about my health, don’t eat the right food, allow excess stress and anxiety to creep in I feel it; the symptoms flare up which include pain, ‘endo-belly’ which is bloating usually associated with period pain and digestive problems. It just confirms for me the importance of nurturing your body and mind. My surgery was mostly successful, but there is no cure for endo, but by embracing self-care strategies it can make all the difference to your quality of life.

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This month, March 2016 there are plenty of awareness events happening around the world. I will be attending a high-tea organised by Endometriosis Australia to recognise endometriosis awareness month. By attending these events we can create awareness and end the silence.

Meredith x

 

 

A year of recovery and growth

The first day of 2016. How are you feeling? Personally, I’m ready for a fresh start; I feel as though last year was a culmination of the last 7 years of poor health. Yep 2015 was a doozy with 2 major surgeries due to endometriosis which included a bowel resection and re-implantation of a ureter to save one of my kidneys. Along with this I was diagnosed with SIBO which as with endometriosis, took years to diagnose.

So was my endometriosis excision a success? Has eating a healthful diet improved my condition? What are the key factors for improving health when dealing with a chronic illness such as endo? I’ll try and answer these questions for you.

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The first surgery this year was endometriosis excision which had covered my entire pelvis, all my lower organs were stuck together, including part of my bowel. In preparation for the surgery I was eating well but taking the new ‘wonder-drug’ for endo called Visanne. For me personally I felt little relief on the drug and continued to experience breakthrough bleeding. During surgery I lost a lot of blood which my surgeon believes could be because of Visanne, as a result I ended up in intensive care and had multiple blood transfusions. For those of you taking Visanne, if it’s working for you then great, but if you’re preparing for surgery then talk to your doctor, I would recommend to stop taking it pre-surgery.

Since my operation I have had a new endometrioma on my left ovary, I believe this happened about 4 weeks after surgery when I started taking a new pill Norimin and I experienced some breakthrough bleeding. There are also some adhesions and scarring which occured from the surgery which are unavoidable. The second surgery to save my left kidney was a success which I am happy to say. Unfortunately there is no cure from endometriosis and I still experience some dull aching and pain on my left side, but being on the continuous pill (so no periods) has been a relief. If I need surgery again my doctor believes a full hysterectomy is the only option for me due to the severity of my case. On the fertility route (which I started exploring about 4 years ago)  IVF is considered too risky now and my chances of getting pregnant through an egg donor are less than 30%. Not the best news but I’m learning to deal with my situation and move forward in a positive way.

How has diet helped? Eating a balanced wholefoods diet and drinking plenty of H20 has helped in many ways; reduced bloating, better digestion and improved energy levels, are all improvements that I have seen. After being diagnosed with SIBO I have recently just finished a course of antibiotics and have just started a new diet to treat this, the diet is a phased approach the first is very restrictive. I’ll share my learnings and experiences with this as I progress through the journey. I am focused now on healing my gut, as I believe it is the basis for good health.

Another factor that I believe has a huge impact on overall health is excess stress, so do what you can to remove it from your life. This will be a key focus for me this year, to remove negative energy and excess stress and continue to focus my energy on the positive aspects of life.

The last year has been full-on, along with my health struggles, my husband also went through brain surgery which was hugely stressful (as you can imagine). With 2015 now complete, it’s time to move forward; after everything we’ve been through my husband and I decided to sell our house, leave the city we’ve both lived in our whole lives and make a fresh start in Brisbane, as I write this my house is filled with packing boxes, I’ll admit it is stressful, but without action there is no change.

The last year has taught me how strong I actually am and it’s also given me a deeper sense of empathy and compassion. 2015 has instilled my love of nutritional medicine and yoga and I will continue on my journey in 2016 to find health, peace and love. Wherever you are at on your journey, I hope you find happiness and health in 2016.

Yours in health,

 

Meredith x

Endo and fertility

For most of us, we grow up thinking that we’ll be able to have children whenever we want to, but for many women this isn’t the case. Endometriosis doesn’t always cause infertility, but in my case it has.

This isn’t a topic I talk about a lot, I think for me it’s a deeply personal issue and makes me feel very sad. This year, after having major endometriosis excision surgery, I found out my chances of becoming pregnant were less than 30% with an egg donor, conceiving naturally would be highly unlikely. IVF is an option for many people but because my case is so severe my doctor has recommended I stay away as it would likely cause the endo to flare up and spread further. A further complication is that I also have a condition called adenomyosis, which is similar to endo, where the cells that normally grow inside the uterus also grow where they are not supposed to, in this case they grow inside the muscle wall of the uterus, not only is it painful, it can create contractions which result in a higher chance of miscarriage.

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Meredith in hospital after surgery to remove endometriosis.

For some women they are willing to go through IVF to get pregnant and tackle many rounds to conceive at their own physical and emotional expense, I completely understand why some do this but for me it’s just not an option.

Am I giving up? No, but for me IVF poses too much risk and I have lost too many years to poor health already. Who knows what the future will bring, I think that despite not being able to conceive naturally, there is still hope. I will possibly try an egg donor as my doctor has suggested to me, or perhaps adoption.

To those of you reading this and feeling uneasy, don’t be too worried, I know of women who have been in various stages of endometriosis and become pregnant. If you have read this post and are feeling concerned that perhaps things aren’t okay, go and see your doctor, endometriosis is hard to detect so it’s important to be referred to someone who actually specializes in the disease.

Yours in health,

Meredith x

 

Endometriosis and gastrointestinal problems

For many women, not only are they dealing with endometriosis they are struggling with gastrointestinal issues; problems such as food intolerance, constipation, nutritional deficiency and more.

Hippocrates said over 2000 years ago, ‘all disease begins in the gut’, which makes me think, personally I have suffered with gut problems for as long as I have endometriosis – so could the two problems be linked?

Just today after years of health issues  I have finally found out what is wrong with my gut – I have a condition known as SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth). SIBO is where harmful bacteria damage the microvilli which are responsible for the digestion of certain sugars such as starch. This results in malabsorption of nutrients from food and can cause a wide variety of health problems such as food intolerance, fatigue, digestion problems, brain fog, inflammation, muscle aches and nutritional deficiency.

The small bowel or small intestine is not only for absorbing food and nutrients but there are cells there which play an important role in regulating the immune system.

‘Leaky gut’ is also a related condition and can be caused by SIBO. In a leaky gut the small intestine lining becomes more permeable, allowing particles through which are potentially toxic to the body.

A leaky gut is the culprit of many health conditions, it is widely believed this condition plays havoc with the immune system and can cause all kinds of autoimmune diseases and inflammation. Which leads me to believe that these health conditions could all be related.

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It is believed leaky gut and SIBO are caused by a number of things:

  • Chronic stress which results is a weakened immune system resulting in inflammation and increased permeability of the stomach lining
  • Medications such as NSAIDS, asprin and antibiotics
  • Yeast, especially yeast infections such as candida
  • Poor diet and excessive alcohol consumption

This condition is difficult to treat,  it includes taking low dose specialised antibiotics such as Xifaxan and a strict diet.

Here are a few signs you may have SIBO:

  • You have IBS symptoms such as bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhea
  • Acid reflex or heartburn
  • Blood tests show your are constantly low in iron despite taking supplements
  • You are on a special gluten free diet but you still have symptoms
  • Sugar (any kind, including lactose) causes gas, bloating or other gastrointestinal symptoms

Here are some telltale signs of leaky gut:

  • Multiple allergies or food intolerance
  • Bloating
  • Skin rashes
  • Respiratory conditions
  • Fatigue and brain fog
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Joint pain and inflammation

If you feel you could have this condition, don’t ignore it as it will only get worse with time. See an integrative doctor or naturopath who will be able to give you the appropriate tests.

If you suffer from any of these health conditions I’d love to hear from you – just leave  a comment below.

 

Yours in health,

Meredith x

 

 

 

BPA and xenoestrogens

Bisphenol A or BPA is a chemical often found in many plastics and used as a lining to coat metals and can be found in cans that are used to store food. BPA can leach into food especially if exposed to high temperatures.

Why is BPA a concern? It is toxic in high doses, but it is also known as a xenoestrogen which is synthetic estrogen and can increase the amount of estrogen in the body. Estrogen is a natural sex hormone, important for reproductive health and regulates the menstrual cycle, the balance of this hormone is regulated by the body, however xenoestrogens can disrupt this delicate balance. Xenoestrogens have been linked to endometriosis, breast cancer, testicular cancer, infertility, asthma to name a few.

BPA is not the only xenoestrogen around, they are found everywhere. Some other examples of xenoestrogens are parabens (a chemical often found in skincare), pesticides (found on fruit and vegetables), but they are also found in building supplies and chlorine products.

To make things more confusing and disheartening, there is new research which shows that even BPA free plastic containers may also be toxic and leach synthetic estrogen.

So what to do? These chemicals can’t be avoided completely but you can make a difference.

  • Avoid using plastic containers, if you do use them buy a BPA free container and place the food on a plate or bowl before heating in the microwave.
  • Buy organic food where possible.
  • Go for BPA free tinned food, usually organic tinned food is BPA free but check the label. My local IGA stocks these products in the health food section, but organic grocery stores have them as well (an example of BPA free coconut milk pictured below).
  • Buy natural, organic personal care products such as Sukin, Alterna haircare products and the Endota organic skincare range.
  • Go to a hairdresser that uses natural, chemical free colour and hair products.
  • Use natural, chemical free cleaning products at home, these products can be found in organic grocery stores.

BPA free organic coconut milk

Yours in health,

Meredith x

The endometriosis diet

Through my blog the healing yogi I will be sharing the diet that works for me, it reduces pain, I feel less bloated and clearer mentally. From my nutrition studies I have learned that variety in the diet is key to optimal health, when you remove something from your diet (for example, dairy or wheat) you need to replace it with something else that’s going to provide the nutrients your body needs to thrive. From experience I have learned to listen to my body, if something doesn’t agree, then I remove it.

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The endometriosis diet usually consists of eliminating the following:

Processed food

  • Packaged meals and snacks.
  • Food and drinks with added chemicals, additives or sweeteners.
  • Refined flour, grains and sugar.
  • Smoked or processed meats.
  • All the above should be eliminated as it is difficult to breakdown, lacking in nutrients and inflammatory.

Soy

  • Tofu should be the number one soy product to avoid, as raw, unfermented soy is difficult for the body to break down. Soy is often genetically modified and heavily sprayed with pesticides.
  • It is best to avoid soy products in all forms as it contains isoflavones which can increase estrogen levels.

Alcohol and caffeine

  • Health wise, there is nothing good about alcohol, it is difficult for your body to process and highly inflammatory. Eliminate completely or indulge on special occasions only. Caffeine is inflammatory and triggers pain or ‘flare-ups’, I have removed it from my diet and feel much better for it.

Red meat

  • Red meat is difficult to digest, high in saturated fat and it can be inflammatory due to the level of Omega 6 fatty acids vs. Omega 3 fatty acids, however it does depend on the animals diet. If you choose to occasionally indulge, stick to organic grass fed red meat and choose a small palm sized portion. Personally I abstain, I feel better health wise and ethically I believe it’s the right decision.

 Dairy

  • Similar story to red meat, dairy can be high in Omega 6 fatty acids, contain hormones and can be difficult to digest, however, yoghurt is an exceptional source of protein, calcium and good bacteria which is great for digestive health. If you feel okay after eating yoghurt I would suggest keeping it in your diet, I stick to organic, unsweetened yoghurt or kefir yoghurt.

 Gluten

  •  Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye, bulgur, farro, spelt and oats. Gluten is difficult to digest and most women with endometriosis are sensitive to wheat or gluten. Personally I can tolerate small amounts of these if they are wholegrains (unprocessed) and organic, but again, find out what works for you, try eliminating from your diet then slowly re-introducing them to see how your body reacts.

Vegetable oil

  • Oils such as canola, sunflower, safflower and corn should be avoided. Products containing trans-fatty acids should be completely eliminated as they are highly inflammatory and linked to heart disease and cancer.

So what should you include in your diet? I always try to buy organic and reduce the chemicals going into my body. Below is a list of what to include in the endometriosis diet:

Vegetables

  • Eat the rainbow! Different vegetables contain different vitamins and minerals. Aim for at least 5 serves a day.

Fruit

  • Can be high in sugar but an essential part of a healthy diet, aim for 2 serves a day.

Wholegrains

  • Brown rice, quinoa and buckwheat are my staples. Nutrient and fibre rich they are a perfect accompaniment to a curry or stir fry.

Eggs

  • Always organic, free-range. Eggs that aren’t organic can contain hormones and pesticides, that’s the last thing your body needs! Eggs are one of the best sources of protein along with other essential nutrients. Organic, pasture fed chickens produce eggs that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory.

Fish

  • Aim for oily fish that is high in Omega 3 such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. Tinned salmon is a great option but choose a BPA free tin. I try to eat organic fish that hasn’t been farmed. I also try to avoid eating fish that is high in mercury (large predator fish such as swordfish, shark and blue fin tuna).

Poultry

  • If you choose to include poultry in your diet, go for organic chicken and only eat a palm size portion. Chicken from factory farms can be loaded with nasty hormones and chemicals.

Nuts and seeds

  • Nuts and seeds are an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Walnuts, cashews and sesame seeds are some of my favourites.

Healthy oils and spreads

  • Cold pressed olive oil, has a low smoke point so use for low heat cooking or as a salad dressing.
  • Avocado oil, and avocado as a spread alternative to margarine.
  • Rice bran oil which has a high smoke point.
  • Coconut oil, has a high smoke point, but is high in saturated fat so only use in small amounts.
  • Nut butters are a healthy spread alternative.
  • Of course there are more than this, but this is a good starting point.

Water

  • Try to drink 1.5-2 litres a day, it helps with digestion and helps to flush out toxins. Herbal teas such as spearmint, peppermint and chamomile are hydrating and fantastic for digestive health.

Try not to feel overwhelmed with all the information, the best advice I can offer is to keep it simple and stick to eating things that resemble their original form, so exclude processed food and stick to healthy wholefoods. If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you.

Yours in health,

Meredith x