Managing An Endo Diet When You're Away From Home
Two years ago, I decided to follow an endometriosis diet. An "endo diet" is one that mainly avoids - or seeks to reduce- inflammatory foods like red meat, wheat (and gluten in general), coffee, and dairy amongst other ingredients. A few months later, I took it a step further and began eating mostly plant-based.
Managing my endo through diet
Changing my diet has had a massive impact on my health. My flare-ups are less common, and I feel more energized. When on my period, avoiding food that could contribute to bloating does wonders for my comfort levels, and reduces the amount of pain I experience. The IBS-like symptoms - something many women with endometriosis live with - have also become less sporadic.
Eating consciously to manage my endometriosis is easy to do at home. I have become quite adept at preparing gluten-free alternatives of my favorite meals - hello vegan pizza! - and buy boxes of seasonal vegetables to keep costs down. The problem arises when it’s time to eat out. When I have no control over the ingredients, or I'm with a bunch of people who don’t follow a particular diet. Situations like these are not only tricky, they can be a source of stress.
So, what can one do to manage their endo-diet, when out and about?
Be the one who suggests the plan
Check out restaurant menus in advance and find one that caters for you and your friends. Most of my friends enjoy eating differently, so the idea of trying out a new place tends to please everyone.
Bring your own culinary creations
If you are been invited to a BBQ or a dinner party, make something at home and bring it along. Like this, there’s always something that you can happily eat should there be no options that suit your diet.
Be open about your dietary restrictions
Especially if someone invites you to a dinner party, let them know what you can or cannot eat. There is nothing more awkward that turning up to an event and having to refuse plates of food. It happened to me recently at a friend’s wedding, and not only did I feel unnecessarily embarrassed, I felt bad for my friend. It’s not about being picky, it’s about making your host’s life easier.
Compromise, just don’t go hungry
When I travel to see my family in Spain, it’s tough to go completely gluten-free, let alone vegan. I may have to eat some bread, or have some tuna in a salad. Currently, I am traveling through the USA, and I am tweaking my diet every day. Eating “your way” is easy within the confines of your home, but you can’t expect that level of control on the outside world. It's OK to sometimes give in to the circumstances.
Whatever your dietary restrictions, remember that food is something to be enjoyed. Don’t let it dictate your life or limit your social interactions. At the same time, be mindful of what you can eat and what can make your endometriosis worse. It’s a balancing act, but one that is completely doable.
Does your endometriosis limit your ability to travel?
Do you know what your endometriosis phenotype is?