The Endo Diet: A Case Study

I was diagnosed with endometriosis just over a year ago. I have been living with it unknowingly for at least a few years based on the symptoms I was having. I may have had it for most of my post pubescence life and not known it as I did have many of the symptoms, only less severe. For me, the pain was getting close to an 8/10 when it was bad (which was mainly any time I was off my birth control pill or just starting a new month). The rest of the time, my pain would stay between a 3/10 to 6/10 which was still getting bothersome. I decided something had to change. I checked out the diet information on endosupport.com and thought “what the heck, it can’t hurt to try it”.

I tried the diet change full force starting May 11th. I decided to keep a journal to log the food I was eating and the pain I was having. I logged the time I ate along with what I ate. If I had pain after I logged that as well with the time it occurred, what type of pain, and how severe it was on a scale of 10. I did this for a month. I cut out red meat (beef and pork), soy, dairy (except for eggs), alcohol, and severely reduced my sugar intake. I ate mainly chicken, turkey, and fish for meat or ate vegetarian dishes with beans and/or quinoa for protein. Below are my week by week results/success stories.

Week One (May 10th-May 16th)

I had some pain Monday and Tuesday (no more than 4/10) but it stopped until Sunday. Sunday was the start of menstruation, so I was expecting pain; although, it was not as bad as I was expecting. My pain did get past a 5/10.

My breakfasts mainly consisted of eggs, toast with peanut butter and/or jam, and orange juice with Benefiber added. My lunches were stuffed peppers made with beans and quinoa instead of meat. My dinners were mainly chicken or vegetarian meals. I started feeling less bloated about five days in.

Week Two (May 17th-May 23rd)

I’m not sure why, but my body decided it was time for a menstrual cycle on May 18th even though I still had just over a month of pills left. It might have been the diet change, but I did not have as bad of cramps and the cramps I did have only lasted part of a day. Usually, I get horrible cramps for at least 24 hours.

I had my usual breakfast of eggs, toast with peanut butter and/or jam, and orange juice with Benefiber added. I made chicken wraps for lunch with wheat tortillas, chicken breast, avocado, vegan cheese (which is not that good), and some greens. Pineapple was my sweet snack after lunch if I still needed something to much on. My dinners again were chicken or vegetarian. I have decided I LOVE vegetarian stir fry. It’s so yummy and rice has started to taste more flavorful now that I eat better. I also discovered Chia Bars made by Health Warrior this week. They are amazing and naturally sweetened. I get mine at Whole Foods. They are about $1.40/bar but I get them to replace candy bars.

Week Three (May 24th-May 30th)

I broke down this week and had some dairy. We had free lunch at work twice and it had a lot of butter, cheese, and dairy based dressing. I know I should not have had any, but there were VPs buying it so I felt I had to say yes. I had pain both days I ate this food, although my pain was manageable and did not get above a 4/10. I felt more nauseous than anything. My body seems to hate dairy now but I also do not crave it so it’s not bad.

Again, I had my usual breakfast of eggs, toast with peanut butter and/or jam, and orange juice with Benefiber added. I had chicken meatballs for three weekdays (the catered food the other two) along with a salad topped with Greek vinaigrette. I have noticed that my body is ok with feta cheese. I think I can handle goat cheese but not bovine cheese. My dinners consisted of chicken, fish, or vegetarian meals. I tried a tortilla crusted tilapia fillet and it was delicious. I will definitely be incorporating that into my meals again. I have stopped craving carbs this week and do not even want them some meals.

Week Four (May 31st-June 6th)

The last week of my experimental diet! I am excited yet sad. I don’t know how much I am going to change after this is over since I feel so good. I ate two pieces of frozen pizza on Sunday and was so sick later that night. I barely had any pain, just the nausea. The pizza smelled so good but it wasn’t very satisfying. I did not like how bloated I felt after eating a lot of carbs. I also ate some cheese and drank some wine on Saturday and felt so sick and had pain the next day.

Again, I had my usual breakfast of eggs, toast with peanut butter and/or jam, and orange juice with Benefiber added. I know it’s weird to eat the same thing for breakfast all the time, but I love this combo! I have been eating wraps this week made from tortillas, turkey, avocado, and greens. I have grapes for my sweet after lunch. I also have discovered healthy and naturally sweet truffles (recipe below). My dinners have been mainly chicken and vegetarian this week.

Final Results:

I love the new me! I have less pain, I feel better, and I have even lost some of the weight I have carried in my mid-section. I have been exercising regularly (since that’s part of the endo diet) and have noticed I don’t get as tired when exercising since starting this diet. I have lost a total of 7lbs over the last month but gained muscle as well. I have dropped a pant size (mainly in my waist) and don’t feel bloated. I do miss cheese and have read some articles stating that you can eat cheese as long as it’s from grass-fed cows that have not received hormones or antibiotics. Kerrygold is supposed to meet these requirements so I will be trying that. I have also heard that gluten may be bad for some women struggling with endometriosis although I don’t have any issues. I think trying a diet plan for at least a couple weeks up to a month will help determine what you can and cannot eat. I plan to stick mainly to this diet mainly and try new recipes that are within the restrictions. I don’t even miss some of the foods I have cut out.

~ Case Study provided by Sarah N. ~ Endo Support Member