For the 176 million women worldwide who have endometriosis, pain during their periods can be so unbearable that they can't even make it out of bed—let alone to work. One of those women is Tia Mowry. Here, the TV star shares her struggle—and the diet that helped her heal.
I experienced endometriosis way before I even knew what it was. Getting my period was so painful that I had my doctor on speed dial. She'd tell me to take a hot bath. Take a cold bath. Stop working out.... On and on. At times, the pain was so excruciating that I wanted to call an ambulance.
Out of desperation, I sought out another doctor, who happened to be the obstetrician who delivered Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's kids. I told her my symptoms, she did an ultrasound, and then told me, "You have endometriosis." I looked at her blankly. Endo-what?
She explained to me that endometriosis can be caused by "inflammation" in the body—a word I'd never even heard before. I was in college and up until this point, my whole diet had basically been processed foods, bread, and dairy—all things I considered completely normal. Could my diet have been causing all my pain?
My doctor told me to nix all processed food, sugar, and dairy, the biggest culprits of inflammation. I went ahead and got the surgery—laparoscopy to remove the scarring inside my uterus—but put off changing my diet. It just felt too overwhelming. So maybe I shouldn't have been surprised when my endometriosis came back and I needed a second surgery. That's when I decided to get serious and entirely revamped the way I ate, ditching dairy, refined sugar, and processed food for good.
Up until this point, my whole diet had basically been processed foods, bread, and dairy—all things I considered completely normal. Could my diet have been causing all my pain?
I became a mad scientists in the kitchen. Instagram, Pinterest, and healthy food blogs became my research tools for finding ways to re-create my favorite comfort foods whenever a craving hit. Who knew you could make delicious chocolate ice cream by blending and freezing bananas, coconut milk, vanilla extract, and cocoa powder? And if you ask me, the Spiralizer is genius. I love making zucchini noodles topped with turkey and tomato sauce.
One big lesson I learned through all this is that whatever you're going through, someone else is going through it too. There's a community out there—you just have to find it. It's a big reason why I've chosen to be open about having endometriosis, letting myself be vulnerable and sharing my story and everything I've learned in my new book, Whole New You.
I didn't know until I was in college that you could buy green beans that weren't in a can. Now, I have literally healed myself with food.
Here's the thing: This generation is so lucky. Thanks to the Internet, we have our eyes open about what food does to the body and how to truly nourish ourselves. I didn't know until I was in college that you could buy green beans that weren't in a can. Now, I have literally healed myself with food.
It's been years since I changed my food habits and—guess what?—my endometriosis hasn't come back, and I haven't been in pain. The surgery was a short-term solution. But ridding my diet of anti-inflammatory foods is what changed my life for good.
Even if you don't have endometriosis, you can benefit from this ultimate anti-inflammatory meal plan. And here's how to make your own turmeric cooking oil, helping you fight it from the get-go.
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