March of 2021 I was officially diagnosed with endometriosis after years of suffering for debilitating period cramps with no answers. As someone who has been raised in a household that values well-being and health, having an actual disease that is said to be incurable was something that shook me to my core. Not to say I’m excluded from contracting any disease, but I felt that I treated my body well enough through food to maintain a healthy life. During the years of me suffering from pain month after month, my intuition told me the process to me feeling better was more than just my diet. For years I tried just about everything to alleviate my pain but I always wondered: Why do I have this feeling in my body in the first place?
To know me is to know I am very passionate about many things that fall under the lifestyle umbrella, but I can talk and question you to death about wellness I think I will be forever curious about this topic. Lots of what I know was learned from self-help books I’ve read over the years, magazines, videos, health class (during HS and college specifically), experts, family, you name it. I realized that the wellness recipe I curated and lived by for years needed some major adjustments after learning that I for sure I have endometriosis. I needed to do bit of a lifestyle change; I had to go deeper. In March 2021, after my surgerry, I decided that I’m going to embark on a holistic healing journey, one that is designed specifically for me and my diagnosis. When I say holistic, don’t be confused with just holistic remedies and potions. Look at it this way: Everything in your life is connected. Everything.
I had to take a step back and break down how I’m going to apply this new journey to my life bit by bit. Though I am fairly a healthy eater, I know I needed to alter my eating habits even further (specifically reducing dairy even more and eating more whole foods), reduce endocrine disruptors to balance my hormones, identify things that drain me, quality of life and relationships, address fears and limiting beliefs I have created in my head, and release myself from my comfort zone. These all play a role in our overall health, and for me, these areas, where they didn’t benefit me, triggered my endometriosis because they create a stress response that increases inflammation in my body (endometriosis is after all an inflammatory disease).
July of 2021, I decided to take it even a step further to heal myself and to learn more about the body. I enrolled in nutrition school to take my healing into my own hands and to help other women who need guidance on their wellness journeys. This has opened up some more opportunities that go beyond just my very own journey and I find it so rewarding to be in a position to help other women just like me, including those that have other wellness and lifestyle goals that they want to achieve.
Here’s what I’ve done so far to help me on this endometriosis healing journey:
- Reduced dairy consumption even more. For those of you that have been following me for quite some time on Instagram or know me personally, you already know that I have cut down on dairy for years. Based on experience, ripping the band-aid off or just simply going cold turkey wasn’t the best approach. Instead, over time, I found alternatives that replaced some of my favorite foods (especially cheese, ugh) that contain dairy. I can talk about my approach to this in another post but in a nutshell, majority of my food is home-cooked and does not contain dairy. If I go out with friends or during travel, I am a bit more lenient with dairy since I know I don’t consume enough to cause me a lot of harm.
- Introduced non-toxic cleaning products. I love a Clorox wipe just like the next person (and still do 🥴) however, I have successfully replaced other household cleaning products with non-toxic options, and DIY cleaning tips that I’ve learned from my family over the years that work just as well and don’t contribute to hormone imbalance. In a nutshell: To date, I’ve made a number of swaps that works for my lifestyle and hormonal balance but the journey continues.
- Therapy. Here’s what I know for sure for myself: Though very helpful and informative, no amount of self-help books can replace 1:1 sessions with an actual therapist. I got my first therapist end of 2021 and I am so proud of myself for making that investment.
- Began inner-healing. Began this part of my journey in 2022 and talked about it a bit over on Instagram. This was a very challenging choice to make because this requires me to be alone. I moved into my first solo apartment in February so I can use my sacred space to focus on me and really learn who Alyssa is. For years, I have been wrapped up in who I thought I was (though I was still able to achieve many of my life goals during this time) and have been curious to understand who I am really destined to be. During this time, I am focused on inner work, addressing past traumas, screaming and crying out loud when needed, having therapy sessions and doing shadow work. I can really say, this is something that I needed for a very, very long time.
- Mindset shifts. This right here, along with inner work is really crucial. We all experience negative self talk but do we all know how much its really impacting our health overall? I’ve been doing many mind exercises (Joe Dispenza is my guy!) to help me retrain my brain along with trying my best to getting to 20 minutes of unguided meditation. (I do guided meditations via Spotify or the Breethe app but I’m challenging myself to meditate longer without any guidance).
- Eating more whole foods. My friends have always liked to joke that I eat “too healthy”. To be honest, this is really how my brother and I were raised. However, there were still adjustments that I had to make in this area (and still am) to align with my diagnosis. For example: Oat Milk is my jam (Planet Oat was my fave to be exact), but for me personally, deciding not to consume plant-based milks that contain added oils has been beneficial to the overall reduction of inflammation in my body which triggers my endo. I have tried many different brands for the past year and I finally found what works for me.
- Daily movement. I used to post about fitness a lot especially during 2019, but then I stopped. Reason? Eh? None really to be honest. Lately, I have been more focused on getting in some type of daily movement vs. hard core exercising. While I have enjoyed HIIT with the help of a trainer, I am truly a yoga, cycling, hiking kind of gal and I’ve added pilates into my routine as well. Up next on my list: Boxing. Can’t wait! Also very important to note: Since I have endometriosis, not all exercises are good for me so I have to be mindful of that as well.
- Reduced the use of NSAIDs/ OTC pain killers. The amount of OTC and prescription medications that I’ve had to use over the years is quite insane. I’ve used pain killers so much I was getting ulcers in my gut lining.
- Removed coffee from my diet. I am a tea girl, but I do like the taste of coffee and I’ve used coffee as a way to help me fight fatigue during my cycle. As of November 2021 I completely removed it from my diet because it was not supporting the health of my gut. I’ve since fell in love with Teeccino (tastes like coffee but its made from chicory root and healthier for your gut) and stick to my other tea favorites as well as matcha.
- Inviting more ease into daily living. One thing 2021 showed me for sure (amongst many other things), I was not living in ease. Day in and day out I was on a hamster wheel trying to do it all and let me tell you, no 5AM morning routine can fix this. To elaborate: My morning time is just one chunk of my day to pour back into myself, but I found myself spending the rest of my day unconsciously pouring way too much into others, as well as tasks and projects that didn’t really serve me.
*Note: There are many other things I’ve done and am doing but the list above are some of the most important.
As with any type of healing, it is a journey. Nothing happens overnight. I try my very best to have patience with myself and I listen to my body. I’m so happy that I embarked on this holistic healing journey. I am more self aware, I’m becoming the version of me I’ve dreamed of and though I still have my rough months, my period pain has decreased significantly.
Thank you for reading! Are you on a similar journey? Any questions for me? Share below!