In this blog we are chatting to Jessica Duffin, author of ‘This EndoLife, It Starts with Breakfast’: A nutrition guide and cookbook for living and thriving with endometriosis.

 

Jess is an EndoWarrior who since being diagnosed has dedicated her time to finding a way to live and thrive with endometriosis and help others to do the same, through holistic lifestyle and diet changes. She has healed her own endometriosis symptoms and built a strong community of women through the ‘This EndoLife’ digital platform, podcast, bookclub and series of events. She is now seeking to do the same with her new cookbook.

It was important to me for people to feel empowered by this book like they had choices and options – and hope.

 

What inspired you to write the book?

 
I’ve literally wanted to write this book since the moment I even thought up This EndoLife and started my blog, over four years ago. It’s much better these days, but it used to be so hard to find anything on managing endometriosis that wasn’t centred around medication or surgery. Whatever I did find was in pieces and scattered across the internet. Conventional treatment has a role in endometriosis for sure, but personally I needed other tools that would help me to feel better with endometriosis on a day-to-day basis and without side effects.

When I began managing my endo with nutrition, the results were so shocking – I went from a level 10 on the pain scale to almost no pain at all in the first month. I was so angry that it had been so hard to find this info. It made me angry that others out there were losing their jobs, relationships, quality of life, etc. and were being told that the only options were repeated surgery and hormones – and if those didn’t work, well there wasn’t anything else for them.

I wanted to create a book that pulled together all the evidence and guidance for nutrition medicine for endo and make it accessible and practical to implement. I wanted to provide delicious and easy recipes that made these changes possible to do. It was important to me for people to feel empowered by this book like they had choices and options – and hope.

I really believe this book has the power to change lives, and that is worth all the hard work.

 

Writing a book is a big deal! How did you find the process?

 
OMG. It has been the hardest thing I have ever done! And yet the best. I thought that self-publishing would ease me into being an author but being entirely alone without an agent or publisher to get feedback/advice from was incredibly hard. It’s taken seven months of writing at my desk alone, a year of planning and lots of tears to create this baby. But every minute has been worth it. I have grown this year tremendously and have overcome so many hurdles and achieved things I didn’t think I could achieve.

I really believe this book has the power to change lives, and that is worth all the hard work.

 

Who will really benefit from reading the book?

 
Honestly? Anyone living with endometriosis.

Even if someone reads this book and decides that nutrition and lifestyle changes aren’t for them, this book is so full of research on endometriosis that I think it’s an empowering and informative read for any endo warriors.

I think it’ll be especially powerful for anyone who’s really wanting to make a change with endometriosis and is open to exploring new options for that, as well as anyone who has found medication or hormonal options not to work as well for them, or perhaps wants to add more options alongside their conventional treatments.

 

How can this book benefit somebody who menstruates but does not have Endometriosis?

 
Well, this is an exciting question. This book has so much research on nutrition that helps reduce cramping and inflammation in the body, as well as guidance on how to have healthy hormones and easier periods.

The recipes are all about creating meals that reduce inflammation, balance blood sugar and support our hormones. This means that these recipes aid in reducing pain and cramping, stabilise energy levels and balance hormones, so that hormonal problems such as PMS, bloating, headaches, etc. reduce or resolve completely.

 

If you had to use one word to describe the book, what would that be and why?

 
Empowering. Rachel Hollis says ‘knowledge isn’t power, applied knowledge is power’. This book is about giving the power back to the endo community. I think for so long we’ve been told there’s nothing we can personally do to feel better with endo – well this book is here to say there IS so much you can do. Perhaps not every method will work for you, but the whole book is dedicated to helping warriors discover their own unique path that helps them manage endo. I provide the info and resources, and the recipes and practical tips I give are there to help them apply that info to their lives. It’s not about me telling people what to do, it’s about them taking this info and discovering what works for them.

 

The book shares nutritional insights and recipes, why is diet so important for anybody living with Endometriosis?

 
Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease, and pain is triggered by inflammation. Many of us with endometriosis have heightened levels of inflammation because endo itself triggers further inflammation. People with endo also tend to have gut health conditions and these can often cause the immune system to react and creates even further inflammation. All this excess inflammation is causing more pain and causing other negative effects on our health, like brain fog for example. By reducing inflammation through an anti-inflammatory diet, we can start reducing those reactions and begin calming down the body and reducing pain.

We also know that oestrogen can be a driver of endometriosis. Many people with endometriosis have something called ‘excess oestrogen’ or ‘oestrogen dominance’. Research has also shown that people with endo have more trouble eliminating old and excess oestrogen. Changing our diets can help with that and prevent a buildup of oestrogen.

Nutrition is also important in helping us to combat fatigue and stabilise our energy levels. Fatigue is such a big contributor to brain fog, and so eating a nutritious, blood-sugar balancing diet can help counteract those two debilitating symptoms of endo.

There are so many other reasons! But I’ve been talking long enough already!

 

If a friend or family member has Endometriosis, how can you best support them?

 
I know people often feel helpless when it comes to having a loved one with endo, but there’s so much that they can do. Firstly, listen to them, believe them and don’t judge them. Even if you know someone else with endo who seems to have loads of energy, that doesn’t mean the loved one in your life with endo will – endo is different for everybody and the symptoms manifest in various ways.

Secondly – find out what you can do to make their lives not only easier, but more enjoyable. Maybe you can do the bulk of the cooking so they can spend some time working on that project they only have limited energy for. Or maybe you could agree to go to bed an hour earlier with them each night so they can feel a bit more rested in the morning. Do things together that they can do and enjoy. So many endo warriors get left out because they can’t go out raving and drinking all night – what other social things are they interested in that’s not going to cost them their health? Maybe it’s going to secret cinema events, pop up supper clubs, book clubs, yoga, country walks when they feel good. It could be the craziest thing or the simplest, whatever it is, enjoy it with them.

 

You share some delicious smoothie recipes, if you had a pick your all-time favourite, which would you choose?

 
Ah, the Hazelnut Red Velvet Smoothie! It’s full of minerals and vitamins to help replenish our bodies after our period, and it’s chocolatey, so that’s an obvious bonus!

 

And last (but not least), where can we buy the book?

 
The book is available on my website here.

You can buy all formats through this page, but you can also buy it for Kindle devices on Amazon and in print on Blurb. If you do buy a print copy, make sure you’re logged into your country’s version of the site so you’re not paying for it to be shipped from the UK! It’ll shortly also be available on iBooks, Kobo and I hope to get a print copy onto Amazon too!

 
Thank you SO much to Jess for this insightful blog and for her continuous commitment to helping and empowering others. Follow us on socials to join in with the #PeriodPowerful conversations.