In her latest post, our Guest Author, women's health coach and founder of This EndoLife podcast and blog, Jessica Duffin shares some of her favourite recipes from 'This EndoLife, It Starts with Breakfast', her nutrition guide and cookbook for living and thriving with endometriosis.
Hazelnut Red Velvet Smoothie
This smoothie is perfect as a decadent but healthy breakfast towards the end of your period. The flavour is earthy yet rich and luxurious. Period expert Alisa Vitti recommends beetroot, cacao and blackberries during the menstrual phase to replenish antioxidant and mineral levels, whilst Shannon Lerparski suggests upping our intake of hazelnuts during this time.
Because I’m so sensitive to sugar, I can’t drink this any earlier than day four of my period as there are naturally occurring sugars in blackberries and beetroot (though, there’s not a very high quantity in this smoothie), but see what feels like a good time for you.
If you’re really needing an energy boost during your period, try adding some cordyceps. You could also top with whipped coconut cream and enjoy as a healthy milkshake!
300ml/1¼ cups hazelnut milk
150ml/⅔ cup water
About ¾ cup frozen blackberries (roughly 80g/2¾ oz raw weight)
¼ beetroot (I prefer to freeze mine)
30g/1 oz hemp seeds or a scoop of unsweetened protein powder
2-3 tablespoon raw cacao powder
1 tablespoon hazelnut butter
Optional: Your preferred serving size of cordyceps
Toppings: Cacao nibs
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth, adding the water until your smoothie reaches desired thickness.
Sprinkle cacao nibs on top. Make sure you chew before you sip!
Chocolate Cashew/Hazelnut Teff Pudding
This Chocolate Teff pudding is one of my favourite recipes in the book, mainly because I love dessert and this doubles up as a delicious sweet treat to cosy up with on a Friday night!
I love cacao. Cacao is rich in magnesium, which helps to reduce muscle cramping, has been shown to ease period pain and aids with oestrogen elimination and constipation; all of which can play a part with endo. Cacao is also high in iron, which many of us with heavy periods may be low in. Low iron levels can add to the fatigue we already experience and cause problems with concentration, energy and mood. Finally, cacao is also a wonderful source of antioxidants, which help to reduce inflammation and support our immune health. Because we want to preserve these nutrients, I add the cacao at the end to ensure the heating process doesn’t destroy or lessen their potency.
One thing to note with cacao is that for anyone with painful bladder syndrome (interstitial cystitis), cacao and any chocolate products can be a trigger, so do be mindful of that. It doesn’t mean you have to rule out cacao completely or forever, but you might find an elimination diet helpful in working out how much of a trigger cacao actually is, and then you can make adjustments appropriately.
Teff is a prebiotic and is also high in nutrients like iron, magnesium, protein, amino acids, calcium and B-vitamins. Many of us with endometriosis have gut health issues, and eating enough prebiotics and probiotics is essential to maintaining good gut health and ensuring proper elimination of toxins and old/excess hormones, like oestrogen. We also know that zinc, B-vitamins like B6, iron and magnesium are all essential to helping our hormones to stay in balance, so teff is a lovely addition to a hormone supporting diet.
This recipe is also endlessly versatile. I’ve used cashew butter and milk because they’re subtly sweet and creamy, but I’ve also included hazelnut as an option because obviously hazelnut and cacao together are just a match made in heaven.
The nutty flavour of the grain doesn’t really require any sweetener, so I’ve added in just a tiny bit of Troo inulin syrup to give a hint of sweetness and some extra fibre to help stabilise blood sugar levels. If you can’t find inulin syrup, protein powder can also help sweeten it. A vanilla or chocolate flavoured protein powder, sweetened with a natural sugar-free sweetener like stevia, is perfect. You don’t have to use protein powder, but I do recommend adding some source of extra protein such as hemp seeds, extra nut butter or seeds.
100g/3½ oz teff
2 tablespoons cashew butter or hazelnut butter
475-500ml/2-2¼ cups cashew or hazelnut milk
2½-3 tablespoons raw cacao
2 teaspoons Troo syrup
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ scoop protein powder
Optional toppings: Low sugar fruits such as raspberries; cacao nibs, nut butter, nuts, seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, etc.
Whisk all the ingredients - apart from the protein powder and cacao - together in a small saucepan; bring to boil over medium high heat.
Reduce to a low simmer and cover for 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes to ensure the teff doesn’t stick to the bottom. Add more milk if necessary.
Once the teff has reached a creamy thickness (it should be like porridge), add to a food processor with the cacao and protein powder, adding more milk if necessary. Blitz until the teff is creamy and smooth – it should still have some grains in, but the texture will be much more pudding like. Taste to check sweetness and richness of cacao, adding more if desired.
Alternatively, you could use a stick blender here if that’s easier and less messy for you, or if you’re happy with the texture and are short on time, you could just leave it as it is! You could always make ahead of time so you have some pots of delicious teff pudding ready to go!
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