It Changed My Life: How a Plant-Based Diet Eased My Endometriosis - It Changed My Life

It Changed My Life: How a Plant-Based Diet Eased My Endometriosis - It Changed My Life
From The Kitchn - October 17, 2017

For the last five years, I have built my career around food. Specifically, talking about the benefits of a plant-based diet. I have a cookbook and podcast, and give talks around the country about the power of eating more plants. I talk about food a lot. I mean, a lot.

But talking about a plant-based diet is not just a career. A plant-based diet gave me my life back.

What Is a Plant-Based Diet?

A plant-based diet, in case you are not familiar, is composed of minimally processed (or not processed at all) vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds, and legumes. It means eating whole foods that are as close to the original source as possible.

For example, if you are looking for a bottle of maple syrup, the ingredients on the back of the bottle would just be "maple syrup," instead of a bunch of other weird oils and coloring. A typical plant-based meal would be something similar that you are used to, but made with plants. For instance, creamy mushroom lasagna made with cashew cream instead of dairy cheese. Pretty straightforward, right?

Read more: What Exactly Is a Plant-Based Diet?

How a Plant-Based Diet Changed My Life

Before coming over to the green side, I could not make it out of bed most days because of my Stage IV endometriosis (an often painful reproductive disorder that affects one in 10 women). Back then, I suffered from every endo symptom a woman can have (I have always been an overachiever, even when it comes to my diseases!).

During this time, I was also severely depressed from living with my chronic pain. I had this running fantasy of magically being able to sleep and only be awake if I was not in pain. I did not want to be awake most days.

But then an angel friend intervened. She emailed me a link to a website that explained how a plant-based diet could help with endometriosis. I thought she was nuts for thinking I'd try it. For starters, I did not cook. So how was I going to now cook all this "healthy food"? Second (and more importantly), cheese, candy, and steak frites were not on the "approved" list of foods I could eat. This was going to be a pain in the ass to stick to. But I had nothing to lose, so I said I'd try it for three weeks.

Within weeks, my pain started to fade. Within months, the fog of my depression started to lift and many of my symptoms disappeared. After trying everything under the sun to feel better (surgery, legal drugs, not-so-legal drugs, and therapy), I had finally found my medicine: a plant-based diet. There was no turning back. I taught myself to cook and learned everything I could to help other people change their diets too. My passion for plants turned into my career.

But then this summer, everything was put to the test.

After a pretty intense workout session, I started experiencing pelvic pain that was so severe that I landed in bed for two days. I knew there was something terribly wrong and after getting a pelvic ultrasound, I learned I had a 10-centimeter ovarian cyst.

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