Monday, 12 March 2018

The importance of a healthy lifestyle with endometriosis


I've always been into a healthy lifestyle, I've never been one to eat junk food or sweets, but I did have my vices I was addicted to coffee and liked the occasional glass of wine or should I say daily glass of wine. 
Sure that doesn't sound too bad but on top of that I've always had an unhealthy relationship with food struggling with eating disorders for the majority of my life I was constantly restricting or feeling guilty about eating, under eating in itself can be just as bad as overeating. 

It wasn't until I was diagnosed with endometriosis that I become serious about my health I switched my vegetarian diet to a vegan & gluten free one and I got help for my eating disorder and started to actually nourish my body and eat enough food. 
I cut back on the caffeine because it's to too hard for me to cut out completely due to my chronic fatigue, and I completely cut out any alcohol apart from the occasional drink because it really has no benefits. 

When you live with endometriosis or any chronic illness it's extremely important to change your diet and lifestyle in general, having an illness is a wake up call that something is wrong whether you have a bad diet, a stressful lifestyle or your holding on to emotional baggage it's time to take care of it. 
You can't expect to feel any better if you keep on doing the same things. 

I know it feels unfair because you see others going about their life eating crap, smoking, drinking never exercising and thinking '"why are they perfectly fine and I'm sick?" 
You almost feel why should I have to change my lifestyle just because of this illness? 
Well the answer is for you! You can't cure your illness but you can take care of your body and make your illness more manageable and feel somewhat better, so if you have to make some major changes to get some sort of relief why wouldn't you do it? 

I was still in the mindset of not wanting to change my lifestyle for sometime I thought why me? I've never smoked not a big drinker I eat vegan & gluten free for christ's sake why should I be sick? 
What more can I really do? 
Well there was things I could do I could cut out the excessive amount of coffee and I could stop drinking wine whenever I felt sad or depressed because that wasn't going to change anything even if I felt better for a couple of hours after that it would be back to reality. 
Why would you want to poison in your body just for a moment of emotional relief? 
It was only hurting me in the long run because afterwards I would feel depressed and guilty that I drank too much wine and probably ate a bit too much after that.

I thought I would share with you some of the things that have helped me in my endometriosis journey and the types of food and drink to avoid and which ones to include regularly. 


Be kind to yourself 
For the majority if my life I was so mean to myself because that's all I'd ever known I grew up in an abusive home so didn't know what love or kindness was. 
After been diagnosed with endo that only made my negative self talk worse I felt inadequate like a failure and a burden. 
I finally realised this wasn't making me any better and that this illness wasn't my fault and I needed to be kinder to myself. 
It takes a lot of time and practice but it's worth it because only you can truly love yourself! 

Cut Back on the caffeine
I know its amazing, i love coffee and its always been a huge part of my life, going out for a cup of coffee was something i cherished.
Although coffee does have some health benefits, when it comes to endometriosis, it can be problematic, studies have shown that women were twice as likely to develop Endometriosis if they drank more than 2 cups of coffee per day.
Coffee is an immflamatory so can cause many digestive problems such as diarrhoea, constipation, bloating which are already a problem for most women with endometriosis.
Coffee also contains phytoestrogens which mimic your own bodies natural oestrogen production since women with endometriosis already produce too much oestrogen it is best advised to stay away from and 'phytoestogens' (oestrogen boosting)
When trying to cut out coffee start small reduce yourself to one cup then try making your coffee half regular half decaf.
You don't have to cut out coffee completely just cut back depending on how it affects you personally.
And if you still want the taste opt for a decaf option at starbucks, or try out healthier coffee alternatives such as superfood lattes like matcha and turmeric lattes and even beetroot lattes which can be just as delicious, i have a recipe for a beetroot latte here. (i know it sounds strange but trust me its a lot nicer than you'd think!)

Quit the alcohol
We all know it really has no health benefits anyway, i know some may argue this, but alcohol is very damaging to the liver, and since women with endometriosis already have a compromised liver drinking alcohol makes it even harder for your liver to detoxify.
Many women with endometriosis are also on very strong painkillers which is another burden on our liver.
Alcohol is an immflamatory substance so it can lead to more pain, even if pain is gone temporarily under the influence of alcohol it can make pain worse in the long run, and not to mention it is a depressant so if you struggle with your mental health like many spoonies do it can exasterbate the problem.
I know many say red wine is 'healthy' however the majority of wines contain sulphites which can cause a lot of digestive problems.
I'm not saying you can't enjoy the occasional tipple i just wouldn't recommend it daily or in large quantities.
If you are going to drink, 'wine' is usually better as it does have some health benefits like antioxidants however opt for a 'sulphite free' organic wine which you can pick up from health stores or online.

Cut back on the stress
I know this can be very hard! especially if your just a naturally highly strung person like myself, but there are things you can do.
For starters changing your mindset and the way you think about situations, using meditation or therapy can be very useful in relieving your stress levels, taking time out for yourself and doing things that make you happy.
Another area of life that can cause a lot of stress is work, of course we all have to work but if its possible try to cut out as much stress in this area of your life, for example if you don't like your job change it, or if you can cut back on your hours, let your boss know if you cannot handle the work load they should make exceptions for your condition.
And lastly cut out toxic people, life's too short to deal with others negative energy if someone doesn't treat you with respect then their not worth your time even if their family members just because their blood doesn't mean they have your best interests at heart.

Eat Clean
Eating clean is extremely important when it comes to endometriosis or just for anyone in general it can make a huge difference in your health and energy levels.
You may have come across the diet for Endometriosis which basically requires you cut out a lot of food groups including meat, dairy, soy, gluten & wheat, processed corn, high caffeine products and alcohol, and any other processed foods.
I have cut all of these foods out and it definitely makes a significant improvement in pain levels and digestion.
Focus on a diet rich in plants fresh fruits vegetables, nuts & seeds etc.
I will go more in depth into the endometriosis diet if you like, let me know if you would want a post on that?

Exercise
Exercise can be a struggle with endometriosis because if your in pain and exhausted all the time, your not really going to feel like exercise, but doing nothing isn't going to help it either if your not moving then everything will become stagnant and could make pain worse.
Of course you will have to make moderations when it comes to exercise i love strength training and HiiT however this can be quit taxing on the body with endometriosis, so its best to stick to lower impact exercises like yoga, pilates, walking, swimming.
Yoga and pilates can be very healing when it comes to any chronic illness or pain, and can even break up adhesions through stretching.
It may even be helpful for you to hire a trainer who is well versed in dealing with endometriosis and chronic pain patients.
Bare in mind that it is necessary to take rest with endometriosis so don't push yourself too hard with exercise and never work out in severe pain or if you feel dizzy or unwell.
Always speak with your doctor before taking up any new exercise regime.



Hope you liked this post and found it helpful?
let me know if you have any other suggestions you may like to add when dealing with endometriosis?

Have a great day!



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