Following a gluten and dairy free, organic diet can help endometriosis patients manage their symptoms. I recently had the chance to chat with Aslihan Sabanci, an author and entrepenuer, who has written an excellent cookbook and gluten free guide that is great for endometriosis patients. Her book is called, “Gluten Free Mediterranean Gourmet Cuisine: Invaluable Recommendations for a Healthy Immune System.”
Mrs. Sabanci was delighted to answer questions and give tips on how to start eating gluten free. She started eating gluten free many years ago for her the benefit of her own health and wrote this cookbook out of her need to find tasty and practical recipes. Here is what Mrs. Sabanci had to say:
Q: I read that from the time you were a little girl you were experimenting in the kitchen and using your friends and family as taste testers! You take pride in your recipes. How important is it for you that your food not only be gluten free, but taste good?
A: I think it is very important that my recipes taste great. Great tasting food is the key to eating a well balanced diet. Don't forget, if your healthy food does not taste great, you will always prefer the fried, super fattening and super tasty unhealthy food over the healthy food.
Q: You stress how important it is for your recipe ingredients to be practical and expressed your frustration in many gluten free recipes having bizarre, hard to find ingredients.
A: Today, especially in big cities like New York and Los Angeles, there are more gluten free options to choose from. However, many gluten free ingredients are still hard to find when you are traveling or when you are not living in the cosmopolitan cities. That's why for my book, I wanted to use easy to find ingredients, from any regular grocery store or supermarket.
Q: Dr. Seckin believes there is an immunological component to endometriosis. Some women who are diagnosed with endometriosis also suffer from other autoimmune inflammatory diseases. Women with endometriosis also suffer from chronic fatigue. In your book, you talk about ways to boost your immune system through diet. What is an easy way an endometriosis patient can boost their immune system on a daily basis?
A: To boost the immune system, it is very important to eat a well balanced diet full of whole foods and plenty of antioxidants. I mention all of these valuable antioxidants, their resources and how much they are found in which nutrients in my book, and I worked with an award winning doctor and a dietitian, and a nutritionist to figure out the antioxidant values of each and every recipe in my book. These doctors then formed charts to graphically present these calculated antioxidant values. This way my readers can be informed about the health benefits of my recipes. To help boost the immune system, the most valuable antioxidants to consume are: Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Niacin, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc. The most efficient way to increase antioxidant intake is to increase the daily consumption of fruits, vegetables and legumes. I also dedicated a chapter in my book on these nutrients and their natural resources.
Q: Many women reach for gluten/dairy/sugar filled foods when they are stressed or when they have their period, which can only inflame their endometriosis. It can be a physiological response, just as much as an emotional one. What is your “go to” recipe in your book that can replace any chocolate/salty/fried comfort foods?
A: When I am craving chocolate, it usually works for me to eat a handful of pistacchios to harness the craving. In addition, fruity deserts are an excellent way to stop cravings for the high calorie deserts and in addition, by consuming fruity desserts you will also get plenty of antioxidants as a bonus! For example, Kabak Tatlisi, a savory and sweet pumpkin dessert, has plenty of vitamin C, A,B1, B2 and magnesium in it.
Q: For the woman just diagnosed with endometriosis, what would be staple items from the supermarket you would pick up right away to get started on a gluten free diet?
A: Quinoa flour (to make bread or any other pastries), quinoa pasta or
the actual quinoa, all kinds of rice to make variety of rice dishes, so you do not get bored with cooking only one type of rice (wild rice, basmati rice, risotto rice....) and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Q: When you first started eating gluten free, what was the hardest to give up?
Q: How did eating gluten free change how you feel?
A: I felt less swollen and bloated. I started fitting into my jeans again.
Q: Gluten free eating is hard, although your wonderful book makes it easier! What words of encouragement do you have for people taking on gluten free eating?
A: Do not be scared! Go beyond the books and experiment for yourself. Do not forget to exercise and to get enough good night sleep. Try to make best out of it, and have fun!
Mrs. Sabanci’s cookbook is excellent. You can find simple and delicious recipes that are great for the Endodiet. Within the pages, one can find a multitude of easy, fresh recipes from Guacamole to Sesame Chicken, to delicious desserts and smoothies. Although some of the recipes contain dairy, many of the dairy ingredients are optional or can easily be substituted with almond milk or Earth Balance. You can find Mrs. Sabanci’s cookbook on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Gluten-Free-Mediterranean-Gourmet-Cuisine-Aslihan/dp/6058882613