So, we’ve all heard that a glass of wine can be good for you. Healthy, actually. Then we’ve all heard that it can be harmful. Throw in the mix that some of us suffer from Endometriosis…and that many people try to cut alcohol out of their lifestyle to prevent flare-ups and symptoms. Alcohol is not only harmful to our bodies and livers, but contains a lot of sugar, as well as wreaks havoc on our system. But I like me some vino!
Cutting out alcohol all together is likely your safest bet if you’re wanting to live cleaner and healthier. The liver filters out toxins, as well as estrogen, from the body. As you may have read elsewhere, Endometriosis is an estrogen-fed and reliant disease. If our livers cannot properly filter out estrogen, we are simply empowering our illness. Alcohol is also high in sugar…and we’ve previously discussed how sugar may increase your Endometriosis pain and flare-ups. Studies have shown that alcohol may also increase estrogen levels due to phytoestrogens in alcohol…plant estrogens that mimic human estrogen (…wait…I didn’t know that. Crap.)
Here we go again, inspired to write due to a dietary “restriction.” I’ve read that as an Endo Sufferer, I should avoid (or drastically cut back from) soy and soy-based products. I’ve read soy mimics and increases estrogen levels, which we’ve come to understand can affect our Endometriosis growth and symptoms. So today, I want to do my own research.
Soy products are the “richest sources of isoflavones” that humans can eat. What the heck is an isoflavone? It’s a “plant-based compound with estrogenic activity” English, Lisa, ENGLISH! It means it’s a plant-based compound that mimics estrogen. So, soy has a very rich, or high levels, of a property, a compound, a thing…that acts like, or mimics, estrogen. The isoflavones can attach themselves to estrogen receptors throughout the body, and either mimic or block certain estrogen effects in tissues.
Why is that bad? Well, it’s not, for everyone. Estrogen may help prevent certain forms of cancer (breast, uterine, or prostrate), stimulate bone growth, or help women suffering with post-menopausal symptoms. But for those of us who suffer from what very-well may be an estrogen-driven disease, it can be very bad.
I had read that chewing your food thoroughly helps with the digestive process, makes you feel fuller, and triggers healthy enzymes and hormones. Chewing at least 40 times before swallowing ensured *something*…but I forgot what. I had also recently undergone a 7-day colon cleanse, and without going into the gory details saw a lot of things that surprised me.
So I think I’m going to try to make an effort to chew my food more thoroughly. Maybe not 40 times per mouthful, but definitely more than the half-chew-swallow routine I’ve become accustomed to. But before I blindly decide to chomp more, I’d like to look into why it may be beneficial. And, of course, that means I’d like to share my findings with you.
What does any of this have to do with Endometriosis? Meh, probably nothing. BUT…if it can help my body become an optimal working machine, well-greased, and healthy: you bet I’ll try chewing better!
One of my reader’s posed a question after reading yesterday’s blog: what’s the difference between natural and processed sugar? My response: “Let me dig!” So here we are again, with a blog spurned by curiosities!! And after reading all about how sugar is processed, it’s reignited my desire to see if I could take a tour of the Spreckels Sugar plant out in Brawley, CA…
What IS Sugar?
Sugar is a byproduct of photosynthesis and is found in all plants. It is commonly referred to in three categories: sucrose, fructose, and glucose.
You ever notice on the food label that “Sugar” falls under “Carbohydrates?” So, sugars are a form of carbs. Carbs break down into glucose (aka blood sugar) and provide fuel to the body, gives us energy. It’s what we need. However, unused energy gets stored in the form of fat.
Today we’ll be talking more about the “Endo Diet,” particularly why we’ve been told to cut out as much processed sugars as possible. I’ve read that sugar may cause or aggravate inflammation, but it’s time to dig deeper and find the scientific backing to these claims.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation, when needed, fights bacteria and infections, repairs damaged tissue, and helps our bodies heal faster from injury or illness. Cells and proteins whiz to the injury or infection site and begin to surround, protect, and heal. However, like the old saying goes: all things in moderation. Too much or excess inflammation can actually damage our bodies. Chronic inflammation may overwhelm or body rendering it unable to maintain a healthy balance and may lead to clogged arteries, stroke, heart disease, asthma, lupus, or a multitude of chronic illnesses.
I’ve read a lot of books and webpages that say women with Endometriosis should avoid dairy. I’ve taken that step as best I can. I miss my cheese. I miss bagels with cream cheese. I miss sour cream. But, I do feel better! Very little bloating, cramping, or gas (but that may be a combination of the changes in my diet…).
But now I’m curious as to why “no dairy” and why I feel better for not having it…
So, I’ve read time and time again that people with Endometriosis should avoid red meat. I’ve altered my diet to avoid it as much as possible. And have even written about it in small quantities in previous blogs.
But today I want to delve deeper into why: why no read meat? What does it do? And I want proof; not just theories! Let the research begin!
Some studies suggest that frequent consumption of red meat and ham increases the risk of developing Endometriosis. An Italian study published in 2003 found that there may be a link between diet and Endometriosis. It also found that women who ate red meat seven or more times per week increased their risk of Endometriosis by 80-100%. Women who ate ham three or more times per week were 80% more likely to have Endometriosis than women who ate less. In comparison, women who ate vegetables and fish were 40% less likely of having Endometriosis. This study was actually the combined data of two separate studies conducted on 504 women, and it reviewed their eating habits, lifestyles, and separated the women into two groups: who did or did not have Endometriosis.
Tonight I’m cooking one of my favorite meals : roasted artichokes! I’d never cooked one before last year. Had NO clue how to do it, and boy was I intimidated. But with eating healthier for my Endo, I started shopping at my local farmer’s market (living in California, they’re readily available year-round), and hit the wonders of the internet : I have since learned! And it’s EASY, delicious, and oh-so-good for you!
Which got me curious : why are they so good for you? I figure they’ll be roasting in the oven for the next hour, so : Internet, here I come!
Before I altered my diet to be more Endo-friendly, I was drinking 3-5 cups of coffee per day. Toss in a Coke, Barq’s Root Beer, or Dr. Pepper for lunch. And maybe another during dinner. After my diagnosis, I read that caffeine is bad for my Endo…but why? I kicked it right away. Cold turkey (only had withdrawal headaches for one week…). Haven’t looked back since.
Caffeine is found naturally in coffee beans, tea leaves, and the cacao bean. Coffee. Tea. Chocolate. All of the deliciousness!
Caffeine May Increases Chances of Endometriosis
Scientists do not know why caffeine effects the possibility of developing Endometriosis; however, studies have shown that it does. Many believe that caffeine intake increases estrogen levels, which may increase the chance of developing Endometriosis, or worsening our symptoms.