Welcome to The Herbivore Kitchen where I, Erin, cook up endo-friendly-plant-based dishes which are also free of gluten and soy.
By early 2010, I was forced to move back home becoming a fixture on my parent’s suburban couch. My twenty-six-year-old reflection had become twisted, weathered and exhausted from the pain. I watched life continue around me, without me, while the doctors scrambled to find a cause for my illness. Something which had been overlooked and misdiagnosed for years. I was referred to multiple specialists, my body subjected to invasive tests, elimination diets and a plethora of medications for close to a year. Finally, after laparoscopic exploratory surgery, I was diagnosed with stage two endometriosis. At the time, I was armed only with the definition of “a condition resulting from the appearance of endometrial tissue outside the uterus and causing pelvic pain.” Dissatisfied, I decided to learn as much as I possibly could about this seemingly unknown disease, even though it strikes an estimated 1 in 10 women. Through research, online forums and my own trials and errors, I began to see a trend in reducing the pain and my ever-growing painful bloating known as endo-belly through diet.
Meat and dairy* were the first to go, quickly followed by gluten and soy. At first it was quite an adjustment, not due to the elimination of meat and dairy but due to the lack of vegan protein options which did not contain gluten or soy. This challenge awoke my culinary passion to create healthy endo-friendly-plant-based meals while taking into consideration my friends/family who do not share the same intolerance. So, I began to incorporate different kinds of organic meat, fish and dairy into my endo-friendly meals which were coined – Meat on the Side. And while I cannot taste the outcome, I have been assured by my food guinea pigs, the dishes are indeed delicious!
As endometriosis continues to cause me debilitating pain, cooking has not only been my creative outlet, it also has become my sanctuary. Since being diagnosed I have undergone three excision surgeries, with the most recent being in January 2018 along with uterine re-suspension. Unfortunately, due to complications as my uterus shifts positions, I will be having a hysterectomy at the end of July 2018. When I am beached on the couch, I spend the hours watching a variety of cooking shows, browsing through my cookbook library and the interwebs looking for new recipe inspirations. Endo-friendly-plant-based dishes does not mean the sacrifice flavour and creativity for health. As I navigate through the pain, I find myself reminiscing of rich, creamy dishes I used to devour. I take inspiration from my taste-buds memories while trying to recreate the same comforting feeling using different ingredients.
I currently live in Vancouver, BC along with my other half Ciarán, our two cats, Ozzie and Boris. Any products, brands, restaurants etc mentioned in my blog are mentioned purely out of the love for them and without sponsorship.
*Confession: I did miss cheese for a good while. Luckily, thanks to Chef Karen McAthy and her amazing book The Art of Plant-Based Cheesemaking – I no longer long for cheese as I culture my own creamy plant-based cheese!
Photo by: Sambajoy