Let’s be real, there is so much confusion out there when it comes to “the endometriosis diet.”
The truth is that there isn’t just ONE perfect diet for endometriosis. It is all about bio-individuality and uncovering what works best for your unique body.
So many of us get stuck listening to everyone else’s advice based on what worked well for THEM! Time to cut the noise and determine what works best for YOU!
Join me in today’s episode as I guide you through this process. We will be going over the basic framework for building an endo-friendly diet with so many tips along the way to help you customize it for you.
Much love! Enjoy!
Work with Alyssa Chavez:
About Alyssa Chavez:
Alyssa is an endo and infertility warrior turned Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and Restorative Wellness Practitioner. She helps women through her Thrive With Endo 1:1 coaching program to get to the root cause of their endo symptoms or infertility by healing from the inside out and is so passionate about helping women to be able to live their life to its fullest and truly be able to achieve their dreams.
Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode and leave a review so more people can find this podcast and receive the guidance in their health that they need!
Disclaimer: This podcast is for educational purposes only. This may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. Always check with your own physician or medical professional before trying or implementing any information read here.
Full episode transcription:
All right, welcome back my friend. We have a very fun episode planned for you guys today all about what the best diet is for endometriosis. Okay, now spoiler alert, there isn’t one. I know, I know, I just catfished you into this episode called what is the best diet for endometriosis and the first thing that I’m gonna tell you is that there isn’t one.
Okay, but there’s a good reason for that and I promise you’re still gonna get all kinds of value from today’s episode. The reason for that is that everybody is unique, right? We all are individuals. We all are different. We all have different unique needs, even though we all have endometriosis. We all have similar imbalance happening in your body.
But, the good news is that there are certain principles that we all can follow. There are certain frameworks and guidelines we all can follow. And that’s really what we’re going to dig into today more than anything else. So I’m not going to sit here and just tell you exactly what to eat at all times, because I know that you are a smart and capable individual and that you can, in fact, figure that out.
But I am going to go over some. Nice basic principles and framework that you can use as a wonderful jumping off point to get you started on your journey and really figuring out what foods are actually best for your body. So I will plan on having a future episode where we’re going to go over the pros and cons of some of the specific diets like paleo and keto, vegan, vegetarian.
Carnivore, Mediterranean, all those different options that are thrown around out there and recommended. We’re going to dive in the future into some of the specifics of pros and cons of those diets, but today we’re going to go through my recommendations for creating the best diet for you. So, again, just to reiterate, there is no one size fits all answer, and the main reason behind that is a term called bioindividuality.
which really is one of the central principles of my practice. I work one on one with clients and I help them to really get to the root of what’s going on. We use functional testing and nutrition and all kinds of different tools to help them feel their best. But one of the key things that is kind of my, one of my guiding principles behind that work is bioindividuality.
And really what that means is that each one of us has unique genes, unique history, a unique environment that we live in, a unique lifestyle, unique thoughts and mindset, and all of that comes together to create who you are as a person. And all of that matters when you’re figuring out your nutrition.
amongst other things. And that’s actually one of the common mistakes that I see people make, right? Just following everybody else’s advice. The important thing is that you figure out what works for you. If anybody tells you otherwise, that, hey, this is the diet for everyone who has endometriosis, I encourage you to just run the opposite direction as fast as you can.
I would rather give you the truth, even though it’s a little bit. more open to your interpretation, rather than give you a quick fix answer, because that is going to help you much more in the long term. It’s interesting because we hear so many success stories from so and so, and from Instagram, and from Facebook groups, and all these different places, and forums, and things.
Success story about… So and so tried a certain diet and had incredible results, and it’s so easy to hear those stories and think, wow, I think I’ll try that too. And who knows, maybe you’ll be lucky. Maybe you’ll try it out and have amazing results yourself, or maybe not. Maybe you’ll end up just feeling worse.
Why? Well, because you are not them. Now, even your friendly neighborhood nutritional therapy practitioner over here doesn’t have a cookie cutter, one size fits all protocol for each client. I have a framework, like I said, and like we’re going to talk about today, I don’t have an exact. Protocol that everybody follows and I never will.
Okay. But we will dive into the basic framework that all of us can follow. This is like your jumping off point. You do all of this first, and then from there we can kind of fine tune along the way. Okay. So let’s dive in. Number one is eating whole foods. What are whole foods? And I’m not talking about the store Whole Foods, although I do like that store.
What I mean by whole foods are foods that are found in nature. Real, whole foods. If your food has a label with a list of ingredients, it is not a whole food. That’s considered processed food. Now, some food, of course, is processed more than others. If you’re looking at the list of ingredients, and they are all whole food ingredients that you recognize, that’s going to be, of course, a much better bet than a ingredients list that is full of a bunch of chemicals and frankenfoods that you have never actually heard of and you have no idea what that is or where it came from.
So there is a range when it comes to processed foods. And I would say do your best to minimize processed foods, and if you are going to eat any, look for the ones that have those lovely whole food ingredients. But ideally, focus your time, energy, and effort, more than anything else, on actually eating whole foods.
So that’s going to be your fruits and your vegetables and your meat, like, the things where you can actually tell where it came from. Does it look like how it would be found in nature? Okay? If it still has dirt on it, bonus. I mean, please wash the dirt off before you eat it. But, like, when I go to my local farmer’s market, which I love to go to every Saturday, in my local community here, It’s not uncommon that I’ll buy produce and it still has some fresh dirt on it because it actually came right from the farm.
I take it home and give it a good washing and good to go, but it shows me that it really is coming right from nature. So that’s principle number one. Eat whole foods. Now, if you are currently in the camp of eating a whole bunch of processed foods and takeout and different things that are not in that whole food category, What I really encourage you to do, and this is really true of all the things that we’re going to talk about today, is to really take it one step at a time.
Some people do okay with just from one day to the next. Taking out all of the foods they were eating and completely replacing them with new ones. If that works for you, by all means, have a great time. But if you’re not in that camp and if that doesn’t sound doable to you and it sounds very intimidating to make all these changes, do it a little bit at a time.
And even in the long term, our goal isn’t perfection. It’s, it’s more about consistency. So find little things that you can do. If you currently don’t eat any vegetables, can you get one vegetable a day? And start there. Start at a place that feels manageable for you. Because that’s going to be really important for making sustainable changes for the long term.
Another tool that I use a lot with my clients in my one on one practice is crowding out. So, you’re currently eating for lunch maybe a sandwich and chips. Okay. That was your go to. So now maybe we’re going to, you can still eat the sandwich and chips, okay, but you’re going to add in some fresh strawberries and maybe some cucumber or carrots on the side, some, some kind of vegetable, or maybe a little side salad.
Maybe even focus on eating that stuff first so that there’s not enough, as much room for the more processed pieces of your meal. So you’re kind of just slowly crowding things out. Now, along with the whole foods, Next principle is eating as high quality food as you are able. So again, the goal here isn’t perfection.
It doesn’t mean you have to blow your entire budget on food. Unless that’s something that you’re able to do right away, that’s great. Again, it’s about doing your best. So if you’re eating whole foods of any kind, even if they’re the conventionally raised foods that aren’t necessarily the best quality, it’s still going to be a step above the processed foods.
Okay, however, your best bet, if you’re able to, is looking for the sourcing of those foods because this is going to be important for getting as many nutrients as you can and avoiding toxins as much as you can. So that’s going to be looking at when you’re buying produce. Organic. Same thing even with meat and eggs and things like that.
Organic is always going to be best because that means there’s going to be a lot less use of pesticides and herbicides and things like that that can disrupt your hormones and have other impacts on your body. When it comes to your protein that you’re consuming, looking for grass fed meat, pasture raised poultry and pasture raised eggs, wild caught seafood, those are going to be your best bet, your ideal things to eat.
Those type of foods are definitely going to be much higher in nutrients than the conventionally raised food, which is going to be very, very beneficial. for your endo health. In the last episode, episode one, we were talking all about why nutrition is important, why you need nutrients, how nutrients are depleted in your body.
So you can go back to that episode. I’ll link to that in the show notes if you’d like to go back and listen. And it also can help to reduce the impact of toxins in your body. Toxins are another thing that have enormous impact on your health in so many ways. But definitely when it comes to your hormones and when it comes to Endometriosis continuing to progress and all of that good stuff.
Or not so good stuff, shall I say. Reducing your toxin exposure is really important, and your food is definitely an important way to do that, because, of course, you’re ingesting your food. It’s going directly into your body. So if we can ingest food that has little to no toxins, that is always going to be your best bet.
Okay. Next principle that we want to follow in this framework is cooking your own food. And this doesn’t have to be 100 percent of the time if going out to eat with your friends is your absolute favorite thing to do. Of course, your mental health matters too, because just restricting yourself from everything that you love is never going to be the best thing for your health.
But that being said, it’s important to note too that a vast majority of restaurants out there do cook with vegetable oils. They tend to use few or no high quality ingredients. They’re, most places are not going to use any organic produce or the high quality meats because, well, they’re a business. Their goal is to make money.
I mean, yes, they wanna feed you and cook good food and make you happy, but at the end of the day, they’re a business and the other. stuff, the vegetable oils and the lower quality food, it’s less expensive. So, if you’re cooking more of your food at home, it allows you much more control over all of that. It allows you to control what oils you’re using, and we’re going to talk more about the fats and oils in a little bit here.
It allows you to control what ingredients you’re buying, what exactly is going into your food. If you’re dealing with food sensitivities, which we also talked about in episode one and we’re going to talk about a lot more in coming episodes, it allows you to make sure that you don’t have any of those foods that you’re sensitive to in your meal.
And that’s an important part too when we’re trying to reduce inflammation. Now, cooking does not need to be complicated. I know when I first started cooking, I thought it had to be this big, extravagant meal, and, well, quite frankly, I ruined all of those big, extravagant meals. Start small and simple. Don’t overwhelm yourself.
Cook some scrambled eggs first, if you’re not big in the kitchen. If you already love to cook and you’re a big chef, great. Already have a head start on that. I remember when I first started cooking, Because I grew up with a lot of home cooked meals. My dad is a world class chef. Okay, he’s not really, but to me he is.
He makes the best food. So I grew up with that. I grew up with wonderful, beautiful food, and later on, and moved out, and… Became an adult. I still wanted that. Right. And unfortunately, my then boyfriend, now husband is not into cooking, still isn’t really into cooking. And so I said, well, I guess I’m just gonna have to learn.
And so I did. Very slowly but surely. I remember there was one night I was cooking just some pasta. This is before the days when I became gluten free. I was cooking some raviolis, like pre packaged raviolis. How do you mess that up? And I managed to burn them so badly that I think I just forgot about it and all the water boiled out and so they just turned into crispy charcoal in the bottom of the pan.
And I had to end up calling my then boyfriend and say, Hey, can you bring home dinner? Cause I messed ours up. So that’s where my cooking journey started. I remember also calling my dad and saying, Hey, how in the world do you cook rice without burning it? Because I can’t seem to manage that. It was bad. And I love cooking now.
took my own advice on that for a change. I started slowly, I learned just to make some very simple meals at first, and I went from there. And now, fast forward, a lot of years later, I suppose, at this point, I actually enjoy cooking, which is something I honestly never thought I would say. But I really love the way it feels when I have a meal that I I prepared myself and I know what’s in it and I know that it’s good for me and nourishing.
It feels so wonderful. So if that’s something that you struggle with or don’t do a whole lot of right now, play around with it a little bit. Just have fun with it and make it a fun adventure for yourself. Go take a cooking class with a friend or find somebody on YouTube who teaches cooking skills who you really love and enjoy.
Maybe learn to cook with a spouse or a friend or a family member, somebody who you can. Have fun with. Okay, next up on the list, eating a balanced meal. So we’ve got our whole foods going on. We’re working on how we’re sourcing the whole foods. We’re cooking your foods. As you’re creating your plate, as you’re planning out the meal.
Is it a balanced meal? And what that means is that basically you have all of your macronutrients on your plate. That’s going to be your protein, your fat, and your carbs. Now, protein and fat can come largely from the same sources. So if you’re focusing on protein, you’re going to be getting some fat as well.
Unless you’re actively trying to avoid it, which I… Definitely do not recommend. So, again, this is coming back to the earlier conversation, we’re looking at your grass fed meat, your pasture raised eggs and poultry, your wild caught seafood. Those are going to be your best sources of protein that are going to be most bioavailable for your body.
Yes, there are plant sources of protein also and fat, and we will certainly utilize those as well, and they can be beneficial, but I have found that focusing in on the animal sources of protein and fat give you the most benefit, especially when you’re in your childbearing years, you’re cycling, you’re cycling.
body is trying to produce hormones, you need that protein and that fat. You can also get fat from the oils and fats that you use for cooking. So we’ll have a conversation about fats and cooking oils and things like that in a future episode, but for today, just kind of a quick overview, you want to really focus in on using ghee.
Coconut oil, avocado oil, and olive oil for lower temperatures or, or cold, like if you’re using it to make a salad dressing. You don’t want to use olive oil at higher temperatures because it has a lower smoke point, but it is a really beneficial oil at lower temperatures. And then you also want to include carbs, right?
I know carbs get a bad rap. I’m not saying sit there and eat a loaf of bread with every meal. When I’m saying carbs, I’m actually talking more than anything about your fruits and your vegetables. I don’t recommend a vegetarian or a vegan diet for endometriosis, but I do recommend a very vegetable heavy diet.
Get lots of vegetables on your plate. And a lot of that, this actually comes to our next principle, but I’m just going to tie this one in at the same time, is focusing on nutrient density. Because a lot of that nutrient density comes from the produce that we eat, the fruits and the vegetables. When you look at your fruits and vegetables, there’s a lot of different colors.
You’ve got your reds, your oranges, your greens, your yellows, your purples, your blues. I mean, you name it. And the produce out there comes in so, so many different colors. So I like to remind my clients and everybody I come in contact with, eat the rainbow. And no, I don’t mean Skittles. I mean, eat the rainbow as far as your fruits and vegetables.
Challenge yourself to get as many different colors on your plate as you can each day. Because the more colors that you get, the more nutrients that you’re getting. Because we can get really specific and detailed about exactly what nutrients you should be eating, how many of that nutrient, or I should say how much of that nutrient you should be eating.
But, honestly, that gets a little nitpicky, and it can get a little overwhelming to try to think that way. Like, oh my gosh, I have to eat a carrot because it has X, Y, and Z in it, and I have to eat a bell pepper because it has this, this, and this in it. Instead, just focus on eating a wide variety. Try to buy some fruits and vegetables that you don’t normally don’t.
Branch out a little bit. Try something new and different. Check out your local farmer’s market or your local CSA and see if you can find some produce that you normally don’t buy and be a little adventurous with it. Because that’s going to help you to get the most nutrient density on your plate. And even when it comes to the types of protein and fat that you’re eating, the more that you’re kind of changing those out and swapping them every so often, you’re going to get a lot more variety of nutrients in your body, and that’s what you want.
Eating the same exact foods day after day, even if it’s the most healthy foods in the world, is not going to be of the most benefit because you end up with nutrient deficiencies since you’re just not eating enough variety of nutrients, okay? So nutrient density in your diet, super important, along with that beautiful balanced meal.
Alright, next principle here in our framework is hydration. Now, I know hydration, we don’t typically think of that as part of our diet because we think of our diet as what we eat, but I think of your diet as anything that you are consuming. So when it comes to water, that is obviously something that you want to be consuming on a regular basis, and I know that this sounds super obvious.
You’ve all heard drink your water, stay hydrated, probably since you were a child. But the truth is that most of us walk around at least mildly dehydrated. All the time, because your goal for everybody is to aim for half of your body weight in ounces each day, meaning if you weigh, say, 140 pounds, your goal would be to get 70 ounces of water each day.
So first step on this is maybe just track your water intake. Take a, the next week. Make yourself a little, either a little note in your phone or a journal, I know there are actually apps you can use to track your water intake and your habits and things like that too if you’d like to go that route, but actually track your hydration, track your water intake and see how you’re doing so that you know What you need to do, important thing to note on this too, is that any beverages that you’re drinking like coffee, juice, tea, and soda are all considered diuretics.
And what that means is that those beverages, while they may feel wet on your tongue, are not actually hydrating your body. They are dehydrating your body. So if you are drinking any of those beverages, you will want to actually up the amount of water that you’re drinking even more to kind of compensate for that dehydration that’s happening.
So half of your body weight in ounces per day is kind of the baseline. And then you adjust a little bit. If you’re drinking diuretics, you have a little bit more. If you live in a really hot climate or you sweat a lot, you’ll want to up that even a little more. If you live on a high elevation, you will probably need a little bit more.
And then the other important thing to know when it comes to hydration is that if you’re drinking water, you also need to have electrolytes. Electrolytes help your body to actually absorb the water because just drinking water isn’t enough if your body can’t absorb it. Something I like to say a lot and remind everybody of a lot is it’s not you are what you eat, it’s you are what your body can absorb.
And electrolytes are one of those key things that are going to help your body to absorb the water that you’re drinking. So there’s a few simple ways to do that. You certainly can buy electrolyte water, although… That largely comes in plastic bottles, which we want to avoid because of the toxins found in plastic.
Also a story we will dive into deeper on another day. I really like to use a refillable water bottle, either stainless steel or glass. I actually have one of each, depending on the circumstances. And what I’ll do is fill it up with some filtered water, and I add just a pinch of real sea salt to that water.
I like to use Redmond sea salt. No affiliation. I just like them. It’s an ancient sea salt that contains a lot of minerals, those electrolytes that we want. So typically just using table salt isn’t going to be your best bet. You want to look for an ancient sea salt or even a Celtic sea salt, something that has that mineral.
Balance in it is really what you want. You can also use electrolyte powders. I really like Element. LMNT is my preferred electrolyte company. Again, no affiliation, just a fan. So that can be something to look into too, especially if you’re someone who’s very athletic or sweats a lot. Using something like Element can be really easy.
helpful. Okay, so you’re hydrating. Our next principle, final principle that we want to follow when it comes to your best diet for endometriosis is listening to your own body, your own intuition. Oftentimes when you eat a food, you can observe how it makes you feel. You can get a sense for if that food is really serving you well, or if it’s not.
Oftentimes we ignore those signals, like you keep eating even when your stomach hurts or you go back to a food even though you know it made you feel sick the last time. We’re human, it happens. But you want to do your best to actually listen to your intuition, listen to what your body is telling you when you consume food, because that can be an excellent guide to helping to figure out exactly what…
actually works best for your body. Your very best bet, of course, is to work with a knowledgeable nutrition practitioner who can help you listen to your intuition and guide you along the way and remind you of all the things that you’re working on and why, why you’re doing all of these things. things. You know, what your actual goals are, where you’re trying to get in your life.
I have found it really beneficial myself to work with practitioners, even though I am a practitioner myself, and I know the things, I still like to have somebody to kind of help guide my human brain in making the best decisions for my body. So, um, If that’s a possibility for you, wonderful. If you’re doing it yourself, now you have a nice little guideline to go off of to kind of help you find your way, navigate your way towards what actually works best for your body, creating the best diet for your unique bio individual self.
Wonderful. Okay, so quick recap on that, on our basic framework for eating for endometriosis. Number one, eat whole foods. Number two, eat as high quality food as you are able. Number three, cook your own food. Number four, eat a balanced macronutrients. Number five, focus on nutrients density. Number six, hydrate.
And number seven, listen to your own intuition. You are the expert in your own body. All right, everybody. Well, thank you guys so much for joining me today. I hope you gained something valuable from today’s episode. I would love to hear from you. If you did, DM on Instagram at EndoBellyGirl.
And just let me know what your favorite takeaway was from today’s episode. I always love to hear from you and have little conversations, hear what your favorite takeaways are because, of course, that helps me to create better content for you in the future. So thank you so much. Have a wonderful day. We’ll talk soon.