Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Foods I Eat and Foods I Avoid

Although there are lots of foods I avoid, I can still make and enjoy darn good sushi!
Last week I did a post about how to avoid problem foods--basically, how to strengthen one's "health-diet-resolve". It was a fun post to do because for friends it explained some of my weird eating habits/preparation and, for those with endometriosis or inflammatory bowel disease, it gave (perhaps) valuable information. However, I got so many questions asking what these specific problem foods are,  I decided to do a whole post on certain foods and why I avoid them.

My disclosure before this post is this: Although I study biology/medicine/psychology, I am NOT a doctor. Do not treat my advice like doctor's advice. If you would like to try some of these diets, do so under the supervision of a licensed doctor. Thank you.

Here we go: (note: Today I'm very busy, so I don't have time, but at a later date this week I will post links to various research journal articles that helped inspire my unique dietary advice)
  1. I try to take certain supplements for helping with endometriosis. I've read before that endometriosis affects the efficiency of one's digestive system, and poor nutrition enhances the perception of pain. Proper supplementation of the diet can reduce pain. It can help relax the muscles and treat implants. Extra nutritional elements can also help reduce the pain.
    1. A B Vitamin Complex. This can help the body better break down excess estrogen (B vitamins are an ingredient of the break down process). Additionally, when taken in the correct combination, they help act as an analgesic (pain reliever).
    2.  Vitamins C and E both help to reduce the histamine release in the body, dampening the inflammatory responses of certain immune diseases (like Endometriosis or IBD). Vitamin C is a necessary ingredient for the immune system's proper function (or better functioning). Vitamin E has been shown to reduce cramping. 
    3. Magnesium helps relax muscles by reducing the spontaneous firing of neurons. It's like a natural chill pill. They can help one sleep at night (I suffer from sleep walking and magnesium helps with that even). They help relax the spasms and spontaneous pain signaling of endometriosis. 
    4. Fish oil and Flaxseed Oil: quality, well structured fats can help reduce inflammation and increase the integrity of existing cells in the body. These oils can help 'smooth the walls' of our insides because they are interlocking and not kinked (like trans fats). Smoother insides make it more difficult for endometrial implants to attach and stay locked. 
    5. Echinacea: this is a great herb for helping the immune system properly function. I take it in tea form, though I've heard good things about some pill forms.
    6. Red Raspberry Leaf: again, in tea form. I drink this because it is rumored to help with balancing hormone levels, reducing cramping, combating anemia... etc. etc.. It also has a whole wagon of vitamins and minerals, making it an excellent, natural, multi-vitamin.'
    7. Plenty of water: helps increase distribution of nutrition (vitamins, minerals, etc.)
  2. There are also certain foods I try my absolute best to avoid. Usually these are after reading articles in research journals, and I try two months avoiding each. Some help more than others, and I still have pain, but avoiding the following has certainly helped:
    1. Gluten: any wheat/rye products are completely eliminated from my diet. It is by far the biggest complication and difficulty of my health diet. In America, EVERYTHING has wheat in it. Not just pasta and bread and crackers. Hardly anything is gluten free, even things like soy sauce, gnocchi, pot stickers, some yogurt snacks (pretty much any mainstream snack) has SOME gluten in it. And gluten does a number of bad things. It aids the inflammatory response (making my insides 'angrier' than they already are) and is suspected of actually exacerbating endometrial implants. The exact nature of the effect of gluten is unclear, but various studies have shown 50-70% of women experience lesser symptoms when on gluten free diets. 
    2. Hormone Foods: certain foods contain estrogen or estrogen mimickers (xenoestrogens). These hormones in the foods aggravate my symptoms. Often these are injected into animals to increase food/meat production (yuck!). My general rule is that these foods are okay when organic (no additive hormones) but really bad if non-organic (because of the additive hormones). Foods like: meats (chicken, beef, etc.), dairy (cheeses, milk, etc.), and soy products (soy contains estrogen). These must always be organic if I wish to consume them. 
    3. Red Meat: I cannot remember the exact reasoning for this, I apologize. I read in several research articles that cutting red meat out of the diet helps to improve symptoms but I cannot remember why. This will be homework for me. For now, just accept that by cutting out red meat, I help reduce the growth and force of my symptoms. 
  3. And specifically for IBD (which, surprisingly, is less affected by diet than Endometriosis: 
    1. Fibrous Vegetables: when I am in a flare or starting one, I have to cut out all fibrous, uncooked vegetables. It's unfortunate, because my body constantly craves these, but these vegetables are hard to break down uncooked and the fibers can further irritate one's bowels. So, when sick to my stomach or getting any 'runs', I shut down my intake of fibrous vegetables. 
    2. PLENTY of water: my absorption of water is compromised by IBD and my flow needs more water to help prevent symptoms. By drinking my weight of water in ounces everyday (I weigh 110, I drink 110 ozs) I help reduce symptoms.
So remember, if any of the above dietary restrictions/additions seem like they could be worth a shot, try them for a couple of months and see if symptoms improve. But do so only after asking a DOCTOR. Use a food journal to track your intake and symptoms. If unsure whether or not something helped, try reintroducing the food (or take away the supplement) and see if symptoms worsen. It's a lengthy process, but trust me--finding out which foods do or do not agitate my unique body has been immensely helpful for me. It's the new year now--maybe a special diet can be a new year's resolution.

Hope this weeks entry has been helpful. Helped individuals with my diseases get ideas for dietary treatment, and helped those without (my friends/family) understand why I have such difficult dietary needs. I hate being 'that person' who is difficult to feed. I cry about being such a needy person, sad as that sounds. I wish I had no special food requirements. But I do, and the reasons above are why.

What are your special food requirements? What diet do you follow? What could you maybe change?
Happy New Year to all, thank you and much love for reading!

*NOTE: I wanted to add something that I found important to add, and hopefully will be capable of doing a formal post on. Every women with endometriosis has certain foods that act as her triggers. For example, for some women, the estrogen in eggs is detrimental. Thus, I need to state that my particular diet is not the PRIME example of what foods are good/bad. It's a basic guideline. Sometime in the future, I would love to do an entry on all the different foods that can potentially interact with endometriosis. However, for now, please take this entry with a grain of salt!


  1. Just curious-- with IBD can you juice vegetables, and how does it make you feel?

    1. Yes, but it completely depends on the vegetable in question and the state I am in. During flares, the only raw veges I can tolerate are some salads and starchy veges (e.g., corn). One that I can rarely handle is chard, though I really like it for vege smoothies with pineapple(unfortunately it just hurts too much). I think it depends on the person and what state you are in. It also depends on what type of IBD you have. My most recent diagnosis is that I am a 'special case' that is neither Crohn's nor Colitis, but similar to both. So I just have to kind of figure out what I can or can't have.

      Not very helpful, but it's the truth!


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About The BedRiddenHead

I want to be happy. And this site is about that chance. How to strive to thrive in the body I've got and maybe turn my experiences into something worthwhile.

This site aims to help educate and reach out to people all over that struggle with pain or illness. To try and make something helpful. I work as a medical research writer, my background is in neuropsychology and biology, and I want to share what I learn in a way that is easy to understand. I am not a doctor. I'm definitely not your doctor. I am just some lady who wants to make someone's (anyone's) life a little bit better. Whether you have endometriosis, a chronic injury, a struggling friend, or just want to learn something new, I hope to make a place that has what you are looking for.

Thank you for stopping by, I wish you strength in your health and happiness.