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Eating for Endo as a Couple – Part 2

Read Part 1 here.

Jessica has endometriosis, and Chris is her partner. Together, they find ways to manage the condition and support each other through its challenges. Here they answer questions about eating to manage endometriosis symptoms, and how they navigate this diet together.

What have been some positives about eating for endometriosis and making some of these changes together?

From Jess:
Well, eating an anti-inflammatory diet is a healthy choice for most everyone. We know that chronic inflammation can cause so many health issues – and has even been linked now with mental health issues, such as depression. The same goes for blood sugar imbalances. Continuous unstable blood sugar can cause issues like diabetes and hormone conditions in women, so I think eating this way is better for both of our health. Chris has some a genetic predisposition to get certain conditions, such as diabetes and a specific heart issue, so it’s reassuring to know we’re taking steps to reduce those chances.

We give ourselves treats and breaks, especially at the weekend and really, nothing is restrictive. We love food and enjoy our own cooking. We also have a lot of fun making plant-based and gluten-free versions of old favorites. We made some incredible donuts last break!

From Chris:
Agreed – the biggest positive is improved health and longevity. Agree or not with the dietary choices we make, these are changes I feel in myself so I am happy with them. Second to that is definitely experimentation with food.

I’ve become a way better cook since we’ve been taking this more mindful approach to what we put inside ourselves, and have discovered a bunch of new foods, recipes, restaurants, and people that we probably never would have been exposed to had we stayed with the diets inherited from our parents.

How does it affect you eating out and socializing as a couple?

From Jess:
I don’t think it does really, especially these days. There are SO many plant-based cafés and restaurants that also cater for gluten-free diets, that the issue is having the time and money to try them all! Sometimes it’s a bit frustrating when I just want a good decaf coffee with a nice oat milk and we can’t find a coffee shop that does it, but really, I think that’s our biggest complaint.

If we’re going to our parents, they either tweak the dish a bit for me, or I bring something along I can eat. And that’s usually the same if we’re eating with friends, though we don’t do that too often.

Other things like weddings, etc are pretty easy. Places are so flexible now, that I just sent in my dietary requirements and it’s catered for, and Chris of course, doesn’t have to eat what I eat. I do always bring a snack, though, because often, I end up with salad!

From Chris:
From my side, it definitely does have some impact on eating out. There are plenty of plant-based places to eat now, but there’s many more places that I’d love to eat at that I simply don’t suggest to Jess and may go to with someone else, because they don’t offer food that Jess can eat. Jess will almost definitely agree to go, saying that she’ll find something, but I don’t want us to go out and eat and her only be able to have a leafy salad, soup or selection of starters – I’d prefer to just go somewhere we can both eat.

What tips can you offer to other couples who are trying to find a diet that suits them both?

From Jess:
Well, I admit we’re lucky. Chris and I have similar (not completely) viewpoints on food. We like to be as sustainable and ethical as we can, hence both being vegetarian. So going vegan wasn’t much of an issue for us and a new challenge we could face together. But for others, I understand that there can be a conflict.

I would first actually look at the number of meals you share together. Often, it’s only dinner and so many dinners can be tweaked. One person can have a meal with meat or cheese, and the other without. Also, the developments in gluten-free food are fantastic, so things like pasta aren’t really noticeable (rice pasta is the best replacement).  There are also now some incredible vegan foods out there, especially meat replacements, like Beyond Meat.

I think it’s about trying to make it fun and a bit like an adventure. Get into foodie blogs and recipe books that offer new and exciting ways to eat, try out new restaurants together, etc. Finally, if it is coming between you – I think it always come back to communication.

From Chris:
Be flexible and understanding, and put your partners needs before your own. What I mean by that is if you’re upset that you can’t go to a burger restaurant because your partner is eating a plant-based diet, and eating a plant-based meal will have no negative impact on your own health, then think of it from the perspective of your partner’s health, and do what’s right for them. You can eat the foods your partner can’t some other time, with some other people.

Also, be creative when you cook. There’s a lot to be done with fresh ingredients, an infinite amount of combinations, a lifetime’s worth of experimentation – so don’t feel restricted by dietary choices and instead see them as a structure to cook from.

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