Sunday, October 27, 2013

For The Endo Girls : Is the Endo Diet Worth It?

Prior to meeting with a naturopathic doctor, and even prior to my official diagnosis, I did a lot of research on the Endo Diet.

I looked through a variety of sources and found that for the most part, supporters of the diet suggest eliminating the following :

gluten. red meat. dairy. sugar. coffee. caffeine. soy. 
chocolate. eggs. fried foods. alcohol. saturated fats and oils.
and others recommended getting rid of all processed foods.

Obviously, what I share here is just my opinion and personal experience. I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. But in spite of the success some women experience with it, this version of the diet didn't work for me and may not be working for other women for a similar reason.

Here's what I mean...

I started the Endo Diet by eliminating gluten 3 months before my surgery. Then I eliminated red meat. I eliminated dairy. One at a time I started getting rid of the things I wasn't "supposed" to be eating and started eating LOTS of strawberries, grapes, bananas, quinoa with vegetables, garlic and onions, organic peanut butter by the spoonful, and replacing most gluten contaminated foods with corn or potato products.

When I went to meet with my naturopath, the first thing he wanted to do was an allergy test. I had never had an allergy test because I have always known I'm not allergic to anything! I've never broken out in hives, never had my tongue swell up.. Why bother? Clearly, I'm good as gold.

If you read this blog regularly, you know that I was very wrong. There were a number of foods that I was sensitive to that I had been eating enormous amounts of, because it was recommended for me on the Endo Diet. Strawberries, bananas, apples, grapes - all foods I have a high sensitivity to. Peanuts, onions, garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, corn... All allergies. The list went on and on.

The thing about allergies is that they don't always reveal themselves through hives or swelling. Your body can have a negative reaction to foods in a variety of ways and the reaction may not happen for days after you've eaten it, which makes it nearly impossible to figure out exactly what it is that makes you feel differently in any way.

All of this was news to me.

I started telling my doctor about the Endo Diet and he agreed that those are probably good guidelines for any person to follow, but I was filling myself up with things that were supposed to help me, like the fruits and garlic etc., when they were actually the things preventing me from getting any better.

Here's another way to explain what I'm saying:

The same day I met my new doctor, I had been fighting a cold that wouldn't go away. I had been taking copious amounts of Vitamin C for weeks, like everyone suggested, went through a Z pack, had been to urgent care for a breathing treatment, and nothing was making it budge. It was getting worse by the day and by the end of the week had even turned into bronchitis! I was so frustrated that I was doing exactly what I was supposed to do and only getting worse.

It finally clicked when my allergy test revealed that I'm allergic to Vitamin C supplements. Not the amount of Vitamin C you can get from food, but the condensed amount that is in a pill. So I stopped taking Vitamin C and was better within days. It had been the thing preventing my body from fighting the illness. This is the same thing the food was doing to stunt my progress with endo treatments.

The thing to remember is that every woman is different.

This is why everyone's skincare regimen can't be the same! Some people have oily skin, others dry, or combination. If everyone used the same products for their skin and washed their face the same number of times, they would all get different results. Some would break out all over the place while others would look marvelous!

I think our diets work the same way. There isn't just one diet that relieves everyone of endometriosis pain. It's important to figure out what your particular body needs and modify your diet to accommodate it.

I consider what I'm doing to be the Endo Diet. It's my Endo Diet. I avoid what I need to avoid for my personal well being and in spite of it's challenges, it seems to be helping.

Regardless of the rules you follow, it certainly doesn't hurt to watch what you eat and live a healthier lifestyle, just be aware of your body and how it responds to things. We don't need anything else getting in the way of our progress! :)

What have your experiences with the Endo Diet been like?
Has it helped you? Were you able to stick to it?

Keep fighting!


  1. There's a popular Crohn's diet called the Simple Carbohydrate diet that is really strict and has helped a lot of people. I tried it for a little while before my first surgery, but it was too expensive to keep up with and I wasn't really seeing results. Now, though, my Crohn's is mostly under control with medication, but I still avoid things with a lot of fiber, nuts, seeds, sugar, or fat. Besides it sometimes aggravating my Crohn's, I just don't feel good in general when I eat those things. I'm glad your diet is working for you, though. :) You really deserve to be feeling better!

  2. I don't know how you and Wes do it but good for you! And if it is helping then I'm happy for you! I've heard of a chocolate you can make that's dairy free, gluten free, and sugar free. Wonder if you could eat it.

  3. I am a fellow blogger who is trying to find a way to fight my endo. I am 28 and have had the symptoms since I was 16. I had surgery 6 years ago but am trying to look at ways I can improve my situation. I found your blog through Pinterest and am so glad. Thank you for sharing your stories and experience with changing diet.

  4. Thank you so much for blogging about all of this... I had felt so alone! I tried a good week of the endo diet- figuring that it wouldn't be hard because I LOVE Fruit and veggies... well, the first few days I had awful bloating and finally figured out bananas and strawberries cause the bloating and pain! Once I get an official diagnosis (see a specialist on wed and hopefully get to schedule a lap) I plan to see about getting allergy tests! I'm so miserable!

  5. For me the diet has been an absolute god-send and it's the difference between pain-free and agony! It hasn't been easy and my partner and I have had to go through a complete lifestyle change, but when I look back and remember all the pain I was in before it's definitely been worth it. Not to mention through the laps (I had 2 last year - diagnosis and partial-removal) and diet I managed to lose 2 stone! :)

    I'm sorry to hear it wasn't so good for you, I completely agree that we all need to find the right diet for our bodies. So many people ignore negative symptoms or just think they're normal when it's actually the body trying to say something isn't right!

  6. For me (and only me), the endo diet just doesn't work long-term. For me, eliminating dairy was a total disaster--at 21 days dairy-free, I found myself curled in the fetal position on the floor, unable to move, looking up at my husband and moaning "this isn't working too well, is it?" My nutritionist (I was doing the elims supervised) put me back on dairy immediately. My body loves and *needs* dairy products.

    But I have found that I do best when I'm eating homemade foods, organics or homegrowns, and high-quality dairy and meats.

    Find what's right for YOU and do that--always good advice. :)

  7. I took a class on food in undergrad and when we were researching diets and their effectiveness I read that raw food diets (what the "endo diet" mainly consists of) can lead to women going into dismennorhea which is likely why its helpful for some women. But there was no way I could follow the endo diet and still be a healthy person, there are a lot of things I don't like that fit into that diet and my main goal is to get as healthy as possible. So I took it as a guideline as to what to avoid and limit in my diet, I found that eliminating red meat and soy and drastically reducing my caffeine intake helped to greatly diminish my pain. Dairy is a tricky thing to avoid if you're not willing to go totally vegan since its used as a binding agent in a lot of cooking and I love all kinds of bread so even though its recommended to avoid I don't go out of my way to not eat it. I also take endo recommended vitamins like pycnogenol and black currant oil and when I'm taking them regularly I feel great.
    These are what work for me, if it helps others then great but find what works best for you.

  8. What kind of tests do they do to figure out your food allergies? I was just diagnosed after going through awful pain for 9 years. Recovering from the laparoscopy has been one of the hardest things I have ever done. The painkillers aren't helping with the pain at all. I hope slowly changing my diet will help in the long run! I just need to figure out what my body is sensitive to!

  9. Thank you so much for this valuable information! <3 You are very strong and helping so many endo sisters in the process. Could you please let us know exactly what group of food and drug allergens you tested? After my latest blood work, I saw that my eosinophils count has gone from 6 to 11 (and the normal values are 1-3). And instead of 1 cyst of 2cm, I now have 3 cyst of 2cms each. I discovered a cobalt + nickel allergy after I had been given vitamin B12 to fight my anemia. :(