Sunday 11 December 2016
To celebrate Endometriosis awareness month today I have an interview with the lovely Katie from Katie in the Kitchen - the creator of the delicious smoothie pictured above. I met Katie back in 2010 when I was studying at Massey University in Palmerston North. As we both suffered from endometriosis we had lots in common and plenty to talk about. Since completing her Bachelor of Communication Katie has gone on and studied to be a midwife. In her spare time she enjoys creating new recipes, which she adds to both her online blog, Facebook and Instagram.
Katie is going to talk to us about how being diagnosed with Endometriosis has affected her lifestyle and her journey to living life to the fullest.
Tell me a little bit about yourself…
I have just finished studying to become a midwife – something I have been passionate about for a long time. I am really interested in women’s health, pregnancy and birth. A woman’s body is amazing and I believe that all women have the strength to give birth normally and I feel that it is a midwife’s job to encourage and support physiological and natural birth. Prior to doing this, I did a degree in Media Studies and PR but knew my true passion was in midwifery. I am a keen foodie, with a large following on Instagram and Facebook. I am also a regular contributor to Healthy Food Guide’s Online Women’s Health blog and enjoy creating and sharing anti-inflammatory, mostly plant based recipes. I don’t follow a strict vegan diet, but enjoy creating food without using animal products as that is so often the cause of inflammation in our bodies.
When people ask you what endometriosis is what do you tell them?
I tell them that endo is a common disease and they need to be aware of when thing aren’t normal. I want all women to know that it is not ‘part of being a woman’ to suffer debilitating period pain, and there is a number of treatment options that can help this. I have spent so many years coping with this disease and I do anything I can to make sure people know that they need not suffer it out without seeking help. I also tell people about the ‘silent’ nature of this disease, you cannot tell who has it by looking at them – you cannot begin to imagine what it is like to live with this disease unless you do it yourself, please don’t brush it off as a normal part of life. It isn’t. It’s not ok, and it is often really hard to deal with whilst trying to lead a normal life. Support those around you that have this disease, don’t sweep it under the rug.
Tell me about your journey to living a healthy lifestyle… Including your health issues (if you don’t mind)
I have suffered from fairly severe symptoms of endometriosis since I got my first period 12 years ago. I have seen multiple doctors, been on multiple medications, has multiple surgeries – some of these things have helped, some haven’t – there are lulls and there are flare ups. My journey to living a healthy lifestyle came from an absolute physiological desire to lead a normal life. I was so sick of being in constant pain, having awful, debilitating periods and feeling revolting all of the time. Whilst a lot of this is out of my control, I can control parts of it – and that include the foods I put in to my body and the importance I place on a healthy lifestyle. I believe my body is a temple, it needs the best care and if any aspect of my health is in my control, I must use that control and make things better. Knowing what I eat and what makes my body perform best is important, so my journey towards knowledge of food started with a personal desire to feel well. I am not going to lie and say that I manage without medical treatment, I don’t. But I do feel so much better than I did, say, 5 years ago – this is mainly in regards to my weight, my energy and my general wellbeing.
How have your health issues affected your ability to lead a healthy lifestyle?
When I am struggling with my endometriosis, it makes it difficult to stay motivated. Being in pain affects what I feel like eating, whether I sleep, whether I can exercise – so that is how it affects my healthy lifestyle. In saying that as far as eating goes, it is very rare and certainly infrequent that I will eat unhealthy foods.
You have some beautiful recipes on your blog, would you care to share one of your favourites with us?
My absolute favourite recipe is for my black forest smoothie – it can be found on my blog. Not that tasting healthy is a bad thing, but sometimes you just feel like something decadent – so this one certainly doesn’t taste “healthy”, it’s gorgeous and chocolatey, like eating cake!
1 cup of cashew milk
2/3 cup of frozen cherries
2 scoops of chocolate nicecream
1 tbsp cacao
1 tsp agave nectar or honey
It can be distressing to live with a chronic condition like endometriosis. What is your number one tip for those living with it?
Seek help. Don’t be fobbed off. One of the worst parts of this disease is that so many people (including health professionals) just don’t understand. Being made to feel like a hypochondriac is probably the worst feeling ever – especially when all you want is to feel well. If this happens, seek a second opinion, then a third, then a fourth – don’t stop! There are people out there that understand. I have fabulous, amazing and understanding doctors and it certainly took me awhile to get there.
What are your favourite healthy living blogs/websites or tools?
I absolutely love Healthy Food Guide (who I blog for also), I love raw/vegan/paleo foodies on IG. IG would be my best or most favourite tool, it’s so inspiring to see other people’s amazing journeys and foods. Also, if you post regularly it helps maintain accountability for what you eat plus gives you a bit of a boost as you get a little following and they give you support. It’s really nice.
How has endometriosis made you the person you are today?
It has hardened me to the harsh realities of the world, that no matter how hard you try, sometimes things aren’t going to change easily and you have to work very hard to get where you want to go. It has given me the ability to empathise, it has given me a high threshold to pain, it has inspired me to not only care about women’s healthy but to speak out about it. It has given me a sense of shamelessness – I will be that voice for someone who feels they haven’t quite got their own yet. It has also made me own my problems, if you don’t take care of yourself and don’t be an advocate for yourself, nobody will fill that void.
Why do you think endometriosis awareness month is so important?
Because it is still widely unknown – at least in the capacity it should be known. People just don’t understand the debilitating effect that this disease can have on a woman’s (and her family and friends) entire life. Sometimes it is all consuming, and people need to know that. Enough with the “oh that is just part of being a woman” crap. No, that is part of having endometriosis. Sometimes. Also, it’s really important the women/girls no that there is help out there.
What is your long term health/fitness goal?
At the moment I’m actually quite unfit. Truth be told, I actually can’t stand exercising and usually do anything I can to avoid it. So my long term goal is to get fitter – so for me, realistically, that is to exercise lightly 3-4 times a week i.e. walk, yoga, gym class etc.
Any last words?
Follow me! Katieinthekitchen on IG and Katie In the Kitchen on FB =)
Thanks so much for sharing your story with us Katie! If you aren’t already I highly recommend following Katie through her channels:
Instagram - https://instagram.com/katieinthekitchen
Blog – http://katiehawkey.wix.com/katieinthekitchen
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/katieinthekiitchen
Check out Katie’s recent blog post on food and endometriosis on Healthy Food Magazine’s website - http://www.healthyfood.co.nz/blogs/katie-hawkey/2015/february/04/endometriosis-can-food-make-a-difference