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Let me guess…
You’re always in pain. Your body is tired. You pain is still very excruciating.
You have horrific nights….your period comes…it’s so bad. You are struggling to breath. Your belly is bloated, and noisy. Your legs numbs. You’re crying and shouting cos of the pain.
You are scared. You are worried. You feel sorry for yourself.
You know you should do something, but…
You can’t do this anymore. Your normal life is gone.
You’re not just angry and furious with your body. This is far worse. Endometriosis has ruined your life.
You try different pain-killers.. You take The Pill. You try to rest, but your symptoms are still getting worse.
Keep fighting, but how? Can you ease your endometriosis symptoms?
The truth: You need to change something.
Not resting more. Not taking more vitamins and supplements. Not exercising more often. All of that is fine and good if you are healthy, but you are not. You have endometriosis.
You need to make a big change.
A great place to start is with your next meal.
What you put on your plate causes your symptoms. You need to change your diet. Start the endometriosis diet. You need to kick out your bad eating habits. You need to go a little crazy. But you deserve it.
In this post, I’m going to walk you through the endometriosis diet, step-by-step, with all the tips and details you need to know. Let’s jump in!
Why It’s Time to Rewrite the Endometriosis Diet Definition
What is the endometriosis diet? Actually, there is no such thing as an endometriosis diet.
No one diet’s for every woman. ‘Best diet for endometriosis’ doesn’t exist.
Certain foods may worsen your symptoms, but some would make you feel better.
Sounds pretty easy, right?
Lots of diets are out there. Doctors and nutritionists have spent years debating the best diet for overall health.
Finding a single theory that everyone can agree on is hard.
When talking about the endometriosis diet, you should understand that you can eat whatever you want. But if inflammatory foods make your symptoms worse, it might be worth making some changes.
A lot of people with endometriosis experience a significant decrease in their pain and symptoms by ditching inflammatory foods and adopting a whole food plant-based diet.
The key component when starting the endometriosis diet is to understand what foods to eat and what your triggers are.
Trying to Make Your Endometriosis Diet Too Healthy
So, you’ve just started the endometriosis diet, now what?
Eating super healthy isn’t the solution. Your body needs much more.
If that sounds like a good idea, ask yourself this: “How I will feel if I don’t provide enough energy and good nutrients for my body?”
Chances are, you won’t feel good at all. Try different foods. Then, create a food diary and take notes – what is worsening your symptoms, and what makes you feel better.
Even if you don’t feel much better in the first weeks, give your body time and focus on what foods to avoid with endometriosis. If you do that, you will make huge progress.
3 Endometriosis Diet Rules You Can Ignore When You’re a Beginner
Now, try googling ‘endometriosis diet’. What do you see first?
Eggs are bad!
Dairy is bad!
You need to go gluten-free!
Sounds pretty scary, right? How you will survive without those tasty foods?
Are Eggs Bad for Endometriosis?
Eggs contain oestrogen and for those of you who need to balance your oestrogen leaving out eggs will help. Same if you may be oestrogen dominant.
If you want to keep the eggs into your diet, you should be really carefull.
Eggs act as a binder in many cooking and baking processes. Eating too many eggs could ‘bind you up’ inside and cause constipation (if you eat them too often).
One egg per week won’t hurt you at all! Eggs are a useful source of vitamin D. Eggs are great source of inexpensive, high-quality protein.
So, for those of you who wish to continue eating eggs, the levels of oestrogen obtained from one egg when used in a typical baking recipe, will be fine.
But you must ensure you use only organically reared, free-range eggs. Commercially reared hens will consume hormones and chemicals in their feed which will be passed on to you.
Does Dairy Make Endometriosis Worse?
“Milk is for calves”, say many vegetarians. Maybe they are right. Actually, the only milk we should be ingesting is human milk as babies.
But we have become so used to having milk in our diets. Carolyn Levett gives interesting examples in her book “Recipes & Diet Advice for Endometriosis”:
- Dairy products are pro-inflammatory – again caused by series 2 prostaglandins
- Dairy products are not easy to digest and can interrupt the take up of other nutrients
- Can be the cause of food intolerance’s which can show up as illnesses like asthma, eczema, and arthritis
- Can cause lactose intolerance
- Dairy produce is a trigger for constipation
While dairy is cherished by health organizations as essential for your bones, some people argue that it’s harmful and should be avoided.
Of course, not all dairy products are the same.
They vary greatly in quality and health effects depending on how the milk-giving animals were raised and how the dairy was processed.
Once per week you can eat a small piece of goat or sheep cheese.
The healthiest dairy products come from goats/sheep that are grass-fed and/or raised on pasture.
Fermented dairy products like yogurt and kefir may be even better. They contain probiotic bacteria that can have numerous health benefits.
Does Cutting Out Gluten Help Endometriosis?
It appears many women with endometriosis are wheat intolerant or totally gluten intolerant. Coeliac disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome are also on the increase especially among women with endometriosis, and what’s causing these digestive problems is not really known by doctors.
When wheat has been eliminated from women’s diet, in 80% of suffers, the pain of endometriosis has subsided and when all gluten is eliminated nearly all pain is stopped.
I think there may be hormones in the wheat, or the phytic acid is locking up some of the minerals, but certainly, there seems to be some modality with wheat and endometriosis. It’s almost as though something within wheat that is exacerbating the implant”, Dian Mills, the author of “Endometriosis – Healing through Diet and Nutrition”
The wheat that is produced today is far removed from the original crop that used to be grown many years ago. It has been altered to produce high yield crops and it is sprayed many times during the growth period.
We have all seen the huge, sterile, blank expanses of modern crop fields grown today which bear no resemblance to the way crops were growing before mass, intensive farming was developed.
Therefore, as a food substance it is difficult for the human digestive system to assimilate this altered crop, as well as cope with toxic contamination caused by spraying”, says Carolyn Levett in her book “ Recipes & Advice for Endometriosis”
Don’t cut out gluten from your diet if it doesn’t worsen your endometriosis symptoms.
Gluten may act as a prebiotic, feeding the “good” bacteria in our bodies. Arabinoxylan oligosaccharide is a prebiotic carbohydrate derived from wheat bran that has been shown to stimulate the activity of bifidobacteria in the colon.
These bacteria are normally found in a healthy human gut. Changes in their amount or activity have been associated with gastrointestinal diseases including inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal cancer, and irritable bowel syndrome.
What Should I Avoid If I Have Endo?
Cleaning up your diet can markedly improve endometriosis symptoms and risks, like pain and infertility.
1. Avoid Trans Fats
Trans fats are types of fats that are usually present in products from ruminant animals such as sheep and cows and are also made synthetically by adding hydrogen to unsaturated vegetable oils, making oil that is normally liquid at room temperature solid.
Trans fats are present in high amounts in processed foods such as:
- biscuits cakes
- baked goods
- coffee creamer
Trans fats have also been shown to have a negative impact on period pain for endometriosis sufferers.
2. Cut Down Red Meat
Red meat is excluded from the endometriosis diet for a variety of reasons. The main one being that red meat will increase the production of the bad prostaglandins in the body that are responsible for the production of pain messengers in the body. Another interesting example from Carolyn Levett’s book:
- the fats in meat can contain the highest levels of dioxin in foods (dioxins convert into xeno-estrogens – chemicals based oestrogens – in the body and are stored in body fat)
- animal meat increases the intake of fatty acids that stimulate the production of the prostaglandin F 2a (series 2 prostaglandins) in the body. These are partly responsible for muscle cramping, uterine cramping, pain signals and inflammation
- animal proteins produce an acid which is an inflammatory agent
- unless you eat organic meat it will be full of hormones, antibiotics and unwanted chemicals picked up through the food chain
3. Limit Caffeine & Alcohol
Caffeine is found in coffee beans, tea leaves, and cacao beans.
Coffee. Tea. Chocolate.
- caffeine intake increases estrogen levels, which may increase the chance of developing Endometriosis or worsening the symptoms.
- studies show that women who drink coffee have up to 70% higher estrogen levels than women who do not and the American Journal of Epidemiology found that caffeine may increase the production of estrogen in a 1996 study.
- caffeine also inhibits the liver’s ability to reduce our estrogen levels. It prevents our liver from doing its job. So the oestrogen levels, which are already increased by the caffeine intake, are unable to be reduced by our body’s natural functions.
- caffeine has been shown to aggravate and increase inflammation.
Alcohol – Optimum liver function is essential for clearing out excess oestrogens which in turn helps to control endometriosis, as well as help your immune system firing on all cylinders.
- Over-consumption of alcohol is best know causing liver damage where the liver swells with acute intoxication, sometimes painfully, and will show fatty infiltration and enlargement.
- Alcohol ingestion also interferes with vitamin B12 absorption.
- The process of eliminating alcohol from the body stresses the liver and this hinders it from expelling other toxic such as excessive oestrogen.
4. Cut Down on Processed Foods
Minimizing your intake of processed foods is a good idea for almost anyone, and doing so may also help with the management of endometriosis.
Why processed foods are terrible?
- They are high in unhealthy fats and sugar
- Low in essential nutrients and fiber
- May promote pain and inflammation
5. A Warning about Soy
Some endometriosis diets recommend eliminating soy from your diet. This is because soy contains phytoestrogens, which are plant compounds that can mimic oestrogen.
It’s known that yeast causes intolerance in many people and candida is implicated as relating to yeast intolerance.
Yeast related foods include:
- yeast extract
- citric acid
- stock cubes
- dried fruit
- soy sauce
What Foods Help Heal Endometriosis
To fight inflammation and pain caused by endometriosis, it’s best to consume a nutrient-dense, well-balanced diet that’s primarily plant-based and full of vitamins and minerals. Foods to eat with endometriosis:
- fibrous foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains
- iron-rich foods, such as dark leafy greens, broccoli, beans, fortified grains, nuts, and seeds
- foods rich in essential fatty acids, such as salmon, sardines, herring, trout, walnuts, chia, and flax seeds
- antioxidant-rich foods found in colorful fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, berries, dark chocolate, spinach, and beets
Snacks are recommended between meal times. Some good snacks include:
- A handful of nuts or seeds
- A piece of fruit
- Carrots or baby carrots
- Berries or grapes
- Peas, beans, and pulses
- Sprouted seeds
- Vegetables and salads
- Fruit – raw, lightly cooked, pureed for puddings and smoothies
- Coconut oil and coconut milk
- Drink green tea to help eliminate toxins and protect your system
- Live yogurt (contain beta-carotene)
- Red/purple berries
- Chilli beans, peas, lentils
Endometriosis Meal Plan That’ll Make Your Tastebuds Cry for Joy
What you put on your plate will make a difference.
Reading about foods that can heighten inflammation or help support your liver is good, but what about when it comes to implementing these changes in your diet?
You are feeling totally overwhelmed by the task in front of you. You enjoyed the food, you enjoyed the cooking and the creativity, but it feel like a lot of work and you aren’t yet sure of what to do with the new foods you are beginning to explore.
I put together a basic seven day endometriosis diet meal plan to make it easy for you!
This is my own personal choice, and it’s tailored to my own sensitivities, food triggers, and preferences.
In the meal plan are recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Perhaps more than any other factor, all those terrible endometriosis symptoms steal your life. When faced with a complex issue, it seems like the pain has power over you, not the other way around.
You know you should start eating for endometriosis. But…
What foods to avoid with endometriosis?
What foods to eat with endometriosis?
That isn’t fair. You deserve to feel better. You deserve to have a normal life and more happy days without pain.
* “Recipes & Diet Advice for Endometriosis”, Carolyn Levett
* “Endometriosis – Healing through Diet and Nutrition”, by Dian Mills & Michael Vernon – 2002
* “The Body Ecology Diet: Recovering Your Health and Rebuilding Your Immunity” by Donna Gates