Three Endo-friendly Meal Formulas
Jessica has endometriosis and is an endometriosis health coach, and Chris is her partner. Jessica and Chris have been using diet to manage Jess’ endometriosis symptoms for years – here they outline some of the types of go-to meals they eat and why they are beneficial:
Chris: For breakfast we’ll always have a smoothie. As well as being a quick option that requires very little prep time, it’s a great way of getting a balanced breakfast that includes several portions of fruits and vegetables, fat, and protein. We normally combine 2-3 types of frozen berries or vegetables. These can include kale, spinach, sweet potato, blackberries, blueberries and zucchini (I add banana too). We then add a scoop of pea protein powder, and flavour with raw cacao and nut butter, and spices such as cinnamon.
Jess: As Chris mentioned, a smoothie is a great way to get in fibre, complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. This is important and this combination helps to keep our blood sugar levels stable, and unstable blood sugar leads to issues like estrogen dominance, fatigue and anxiety. I often see many of my client’s symptoms start to resolve once they address their blood sugar, which is a foundational piece of managing healthy hormones and keeping inflammation at bay.
Chris: We’ve gotten into a good habit of prepping lunches at the beginning of the week, meaning that we can have endo-friendly meals with no cooking time every day. Our lunches tend to include 3-4 portions of vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, broccoli or asparagus. We always eat it with plenty of leafy greens and add protein from legumes. We then make sure to always include fat from a dressing, such as olive oil or tahini.
Jess: Again, this combination of fibre from the veg, protein and carbs from the legumes and fat from the dressing ensures healthy blood sugar levels.
Other benefits of a lunch like this is getting in up to five (legumes count as a serving of veg, though repeated portions of legumes will still only count as one) of our 10 a day of fruit and veg. Yes, over here in the UK the NHS guidance is a minimum of five portions, but the research (and my health training) all points to 8-10 servings for maximum health benefits. Especially when we’re considering endometriosis – colourful fruits and veggies are rich in antioxidants which help lower inflammation, and research has shown that people with endo have higher levels of oxidation (a process which causes inflammation) and that it lowers when participants ate a diet high in fruit and veg.
Another thing we do is ensure we don’t repeat servings – double servings of squash for example, is still only one serving of veg, so we ensure we have different fruits and veggies with each meal.
Chris: We have soup for dinner most week days (except for Fridays!) and like lunch, we prep in advance and freeze it. Our soups always include 2-3 portions of vegetables, with a base of stock, onions and cashews to thicken and add fat. We then add protein by roasting chickpeas to have as croutons. Think butternut squash, spiced parsnip, carrot and coriander, or cheesy broccoli soup.
Jess: Soups, stews, purees and smoothies are great for people who are having trouble digesting foods due to IBS related issues, which often occurs with endo, as it gives the digestion a bit of a break from having to do so much work. Having said that, it’s always important to get to the root cause, rather than just treating the symptoms!
You’ll also notice there’s some kind of nuts or seeds with each meal, and I actually sprinkle seeds on top of my morning smoothies. This is because nuts and seeds like cashews, pumpkin, sesame, brazil nuts and sunflower seeds contain hormone supportive and anti-inflammatory nutrients like zinc, vitamin E and magnesium!
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