The days following my myomectomy in 2009 where doctors removed 8 fibroids the size of a 4 month old fetus from my uterus, I put a sign on my refrigerator that said: STOP FEEDING YOUR FIBROIDS! It was my daily reminder to stop feeding my body food that was making me sick.
Training myself to stop eating bad foods is something I struggle with even today. The difference is that now I know how good quality food makes me feel vs food that has zero nutritional quality. Even when I think I am cheating, my body lets me know I am not fooling anyone but the little voice in my head that told me it was okay to eat those things. My body feels the effects the next morning when I am quietly cussing at the sun for rising too soon.
I wanted to share with you some of items I have crossed off my list of foods women with fibroids should avoid for improved health and well-being.
HORMONE INDUCED ANIMAL PRODUCTS
I am not a vegan or vegetarian; I just enjoy a diet full of raw fruits, vegetables, and grains. I actually think meat is acceptable in EXTREMELY LIMITED QUANTITIES — meaning meat does not need to be present in every meal of your life. Where your meat comes from makes a huge difference. The meat most of us buy in conventional grocery stores or in fast food restaurants is filled with a number of natural and synthetic growth hormones. These hormones produce heavier flesh, making a bigger profit for food production corporations. However when we eat the meat, we also ingest those same growth hormones, which can cause extreme weight gain, hormone imbalance, problems with the reproductive system, cancers, and other diseases. The growth hormones can also cause fibroids to quickly grow larger. So unless you are raising cows and chickens in your backyard and you are able to give them organic feed, you can never really be sure that the meat is produced without hormones.
If you read some websites, some health professionals will tell you that lack of dairy in the black woman’s diet is part of what causes fibroids. Many people of color are lactose intolerant and tend to stay away from dairy products. As a result many of us have a vitamin D deficiency — which some believe has a direct link to the growth of fibroids. However, gorging your body with cow’s milk is not the answer to the fibroid problem. To put it plainly, dairy products have no nutritional use for the human body. A woman’s body produces milk for her babies so that their organs will grow and function at their optimum level, the immune system will get stronger, the bones, nervous system, and connective tissue will develop at a normal rate. These vital functions need the nutritional support of mother’s milk in the first 5 years of life. This time period represents the greatest amount of growth the human body will experience during a normal life span.
Cow’s milk is produced for similar reasons as human milk is produced — to support the nutritional needs of their young. However, there is a major difference between a calf and a human baby: the calf weighs about 70 to 100 pounds at birth compared to human babies weighing in at 8 to 10 pounds. The calf drinks it’s mother’s milk so that it can grow to about 500 pounds in its first few months of life! Unless you want a 70 pound toddler running around (and that may not be so far off if we keep feeding our children the way we do…), it clearly is not necessary to give a human child cow’s milk. I DO, however, believe there is a connection between vitamin D and fibroids — we just don’t need milk to get it. I will expound upon this topic further in this blog series.
Tofu, or soy products, are a popular meat replacement in many vegetarian items at the grocery store and restaurants. When I first began eating more vegan options, I turned towards tofu to recreate the meaty texture and that “full” feeling I was seeking in my meals. Since I have been experimenting with other foods, I now avoid tofu as much as possible. Why? Soy contains loads of estrogen — a hormone that feeds uterine fibroids. Since learning that piece of information, I have replaced tofu with fresh mushrooms. I no longer buy soy milk and instead choose to make my own almond milk — a very easy, tasty, and protein filled drink that is much healthier for you.
Before my surgery, I had horrible menstrual cycles where every Thursday I could count on bleeding through my clothes. I would rush to get home by 6pm because that was usually around the time when it would happen. That way I could at least bleed in privacy of my own home. The heavy bleeding zapped all my energy, making me disinterested in cooking my own food or many other things I normally enjoyed. During these low energy days and weeks, I would reach for a cheeseburger as my body was looking for beef to rebuild my iron supply. It seemed to work for the first few months, but then I noticed that my bleeding got worse when eating the processed burger meat. While I have no proof of my findings outside of my own logical guesses, I think it was the preservatives and hormones (and who knows what else is in there…) in the meat that made my bleeding worse. So now I strongly believe it is best to avoid any fast food in any form as most places utilize very poor quality meat overloaded with hormones that have no business being in food in the first place.
Halona Black, M.Ed., is a Writer, Personal Chef, and Health Coach. She offers food and health workshops for those who want to learn how to eat and live a happier life. If you would like to book her for your event, email email@example.com.