What is Wellness with Jessica Murnane of Know Your Endo

By Nicolle Mackinnon | November 15, 2021 1:22:01 PM PST

I “met” Jessica Murnane when I first devoured her One Part Podcast in 2014. Since then, I’ve actually met her in person instead of just stalking her online, interviewed her for articles and asked her to join the roster of speakers at wellness conferences. In all that time, I’ve learned an enormous amount from her, because the way she talks about wellness and chronic illness is relatable, inspiring and acknowledges that she still has more to learn, too.

Murnane gained a significant following by advocating that people consider eating one plant-based meal a day (hence “one part plant”), all without anxiety-inducing restrictions or crazy deprivation that leaves you feeling worse, not better.

That whole philosophy stems from Murnane's personal struggle with endometriosis, which left her depressed and desperate for help . From her experience and armed with the knowledge of what worked for her, she founded Know Your Endo, an organization that offers support tools for those recently diagnosed with endometriosis.

know your endo

Endometriosis is a painful and chronic condition that impacts 176 million people across the globe. It takes an average of 10 years and eight doctors to be diagnosed, which is partially why Murnane knew better resources needed to be available. So, she wrote them herself in Know Your Endo, a book that includes tools and strategies to gain a deeper understanding of your body and manage chronic pain through diet, movement, stress management, and more.

I got to chat with her about how endo impacts her life, what she wishes she would have known sooner—and what she means by “friendo.” Here’s how she heals.

What is endo?
Endometriosis is a disorder where the tissue similar to the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus grows on the outside. It usually involves the ovaries, bowel, or the tissue lining your pelvis, though sometimes it can spread beyond the pelvic region.

How did you discover you had it?
Oh man! That’s a big question. Sadly, I wasn’t even searching for an endo diagnosis. I thought my debilitating periods, GI and urinary issues, and fatigue were completely “normal”...it took multiple trips to the ER for ruptured cysts until someone suggested I see a doctor about my pain and symptoms. Pain and symptoms I had experienced since my first periods as a teenager. It was a long time coming and even after being diagnosed with endometriosis, I still felt in the dark about it all until many years later, when I decided to go after answers.

What are the most important things (modalities, diet, practices, etc) you have done/continue to do to help manage it?
While changing my diet to a low-inflammatory and plant-heavy one was the first tool that helped me (and one I wrote my first book about!)—my movement and stress-management tools have been crucial these last two years, more than ever.

The biggest misconception is that endometriosis is just painful periods. It’s not. It’s a full-body condition that can create significant mental health issues and impact our relationships, career, and self-worth. –Jessica Murnane

What's most misunderstood about this disease? Most frustrating?
I think the biggest misconception is that endometriosis is just painful periods. It’s not. It’s a full-body condition that can create significant mental health issues and impact our relationships, career, and self-worth. Not to mention, not everyone with endo has painful periods! So many people with endo were never told the full scope of this condition or all of its symptoms, which can result in a lot of self-blame and feelings of being alone. 

Other frustrations I have are the misinformation surrounding treatments (pregnancy is not a treatment!), cost of care, and simply finding a specialist/skilled surgeon who is truly educated on the condition (there are some great endo doctors out there, but we need way more). 

With all the misconceptions and frustrations I have (there are many), I see things changing! I have hope. Patients are becoming better educated, more awareness is being created, and the endo community is out there helping one another get the care we deserve.

Jessica-Murnane3

What has been the emotional toll of having a chronic disease?
It really comes in waves. I’m at a point now that I feel l have more good days than bad, but sometimes I still have rough ones. It’s hard when you realize your “good” days would be someone else’s worst day ever. On those days, I really try to focus on my endo wins—things that I can still do and have accomplished despite my endo. I really tap into my self-compassion tools (a game changer for me).

And most importantly, I remember how far I’ve come. Before creating my management tools, I couldn’t get out of bed some days; now I am capable of so much more. And I am so proud and grateful for that.

What do you wish had known before you started your healing journey?
That the mental health issues that can come with endo are very real. That birth control is not for all bodies. That there is not one endo diet or management plan that works for everyone—it’s finding the one for your body (and that might change over time). That it’s not your fault if you do everything “right” and still have bad days. That there is hope and asking for help is ok. 

Non-negotiable wellness rituals in your day or life?
Foam rolling! It’s something I wished I knew about sooner. A reader of Know Your Endo messaged me about her new love for foam rolling and said “it’s like a vacation for your body.” I totally agree! The foam roller exercises I included in the book (created by a pelvic floor therapist) are ones I use almost daily. 

Taking time for myself without guilt or judgement. This could mean eating dinner in bed and watching TV, asking to be alone and/or saying no to things, and scheduling work/social things around my period. I used to feel a lot of guilt making myself a priority and it feels so liberating to not have that guilt anymore. 

What's one thing anyone could do TODAY if they are struggling with endo?
Find a friendo (friend with endo) who inspires you, is a good listener, and who gets it. There are some great online groups that offer support, like Chronicon, and you can check to see if your city has endo meetup groups, as well. I swear feeling less alone in this is half the battle and my friendos are everything to me.

This article mentions: chronic illness, Endometriosis, Jessica Murnane

About the Author:

Nicolle Mackinnon

Nicolle Mackinnon has worked for nearly a decade with wellness and beauty brands that are creating change in their industries. Along the way, she’s become a trusted voice in the self-care category, all while learning to trust herself, too. She lives in Minneapolis with her 70-pound rescue poodle Sam.

Read more articles by Nicolle Mackinnon

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