I'm going to start the recipe section with the basics that I use everyday, so it's easier to begin making simpler changes. Smoothies were the first steps of my endo diet journey and made a massive difference in my energy levels - it's now incredibly rare for me to have anything else for breakfast and I feel the difference if I don't!
- One small beetroot
- One frozen banana
- One big cup of frozen cherries
- Big pinch of vanilla powder/teaspoon of good quality and sugar/sweetener free vanilla essence
- Heaped teaspoon cinnamon
- Small teaspoon of raw cacao powder
- Small handful of walnuts
- Small handful of dried coconut chips
- 500ml of almond milk
The simplest was to do this is to throw all the ingredients in and blend! However, if you have digestion problems and 'endobloat', you may want to soak the walnuts overnight to break down the outer coating which we find hard to process - make sure you rinse them in the morning! I've also found roasted beetroot is less overpowering in a smoothie, so you could roast a batch (no oil) at the beginning of the week and store in an air tight container to use for the week.
Smoothies are a great way to easily hit a few of your 7 a day, whilst adding in the essentials you need to support a body fighting endo. This particular recipe's main power sources are the beetroot, walnuts and almond milk. Beetroot plays a big part in aiding liver function - the liver helps regulate hormones and removes excess oestrogen, so it's essential we keep it functioning optimally. Walnuts and almonds have essential fatty acids which help reduce inflammation, and as a result pain levels. Both vanilla and cinnamon are linked to mood enhancement, which if you're suffering from anxiety and depression with your endo, could be of real benefit - I personally started feeling a lot lighter when I started using vanilla powder everyday, but I didn't make the connection until I looked into it and read up on the studies. Cinnamon is also used to aid digestion and has been linked to treating internal candida, which again could be useful as both of these are issues in women with endometriosis (do have a read into these areas if you're interested, this is only from the research I have done so far). I've also seen that cinnamon can damage the liver in very high doses, so perhaps choose to have it only a few times a week to be safe. Additionally, cacao powder contains magnesium and iron - magnesium helps reduce cramping and most women with endo are low on iron, which then effects energy levels (we could all do with more of that). The vitamin C in the cherries helps our body to absorb the iron in the cacao and they also work really well with the taste of the beetroot! I added coconut chips because they really enhance the flavour, but coconut oil is useful for soothing the stomach, so you may want to swap chips for oil depending on how you're feeling (I find the oil doesn't fully break down though).
I find smoothies easy on my digestion and help avoid the endo bloat which is so common with sufferers. Before I began this habit, I was having oats every morning, laden with honey, nuts, berries, cacao nibs, bee pollen and dairy milk, I thought I was doing a great job but I felt full and sluggish. Since then, I have learnt about the problems with digesting milk and how diary can heighten inflammation and I have also come to notice that I find it hard to process nuts and seeds whole, so prefer them as butters, in a smoothie or soaked. I also liked to think that it didn't matter how much honey I had as it was natural and raw, but the truth is, the sugar still causes my pain levels to heighten, so I need to take it easier these days. I do love porridge as a snack or a slow breakfast (or a lazy dinner), but now I use gluten free oats, cook them for much longer so they really soften and have swapped dairy milk for nut or hemp milk.