Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Diva cup vs. Moldy tampon?

So since I'm on the topic of vaginas.....

I've been meaning for a while to tell you about the Diva cup. I LOVE this little device. It's like the difference in wearing glasses or contacts- but for your period. It's totally changed the monthly period experience for me. I don't plan on ever going back to pads or tampons!

So what is it? The Diva cup is a flexible silicone cup that is inserted in the vagina to collect the menstrual blood. It can be left in for up to 12 hours, and can be sanitized and reused over and over. No need to keep on buying boxes and boxes of tampons! No yucky trash in your bathrooms wastebasket! No waste polluting the landfills! It costs about $30, but if you've been buying disposable products, it'll pay for itself after just a couple of cycles.

diva cup

First time you've heard of the Diva cup? I know what you're thinking. Your brain's probably twitching a little bit. I remember the first time I heard about it- I think I was around 14. It was a pretty awkward time for me, and to say I was uncomfortable with my body would be a huge understatement. It was a pretty brave step for me to ask one of my mom's friends if she used pads or tampons- I thought it would be a "woman to woman" bonding moment. When she said "neither", I was totally confused. What else WAS there? I had no idea there were alternatives to pads or tampons. When she said she used a cup, I had no idea what she was talking about- and I didn't want to know!!! I'm pretty sure I tried to block that memory from my brain for several years. Thankfully I didn't, because now that I've become comfortable with my body (and all things natural living), I absolutely love using a cup!

You definitely do have to be comfortable with your body to use the Diva cup. You'll need to get familiar with how everything works up there. If you haven't become familiar with that part of your body before, I really encourage you to. It's really empowering. Why should there be a part of your body that's unknown to you? It's not weird, emberassing, gross, or awkward- it's just a part of your body! Take a little time and get to know yourself- if you're anything like me you'll be glad you did.

There is a bit of a learning curve when you first start learning to use the cup. Some people have a really hard time with it, but I actually found it pretty easy. There are lots of websites out there that will teach you different folding and insertion methods, and you can try different ones until you find out what works best for you. I honestly didn't have any trouble with it! I can insert it easily on the first try, and it's very comfortable. I've also never had a leak. The great thing is that most of the time I'm able to almost forget that I'm even on my period. You only have to change it every 12 hours(unless you have a really heavy flow), so just twice a day. Amazing!

As if I didn't already love my Diva cup enough, today I came across something that made me more thankful than ever that I've made the switch. Have you heard about the moldy tampon yet??? SO gross!!! I wonder how many women have inserted moldy tampons without even knowing it?!?! I wonder if moldy tampons have contributed to toxic shock syndrome??? I know one thing for sure- I don't ever, ever, ever want to stick something moldy inside of my VAGINA for goodness sake. I think I'm going to be a Diva cup user for life!!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

I did what with a garlic clove?

They say there's a first time for everything, and I definitely had a new experience yesterday. Actually, two new experiences.


***TMI alert***


I've never struggled with yeast infections. Ever! I'd heard all the horror stories, but never had one. Until yesterday- I woke up with the burning, the itching, and everything else that goes along with a yeast infection. It only got worse as the day went on, and I was pretty uncomfortable.


It didn't really seem fair- I've never had a yeast infection in my life, and now that I'm eating healthier than ever I get one??? The way it's been explained to me is that the yeast was always in my body, but I was unhealthy enough that it was comfortable living there. Now that my gut is healing, the yeast isn't comfortable anymore- and also my body has enough resources to be able to focus on getting it out of me. Add all that up, and apparently it equals a yeast infection. Fun stuff.


Someone suggested that I try a garlic clove since garlic has powerful anti-fungal properties. I was nervous that it was going to burn, but she assured me it wouldn't. So I peeled a clove of garlic, and yes, shoved it up my vag. And seriously, in less than an hour, I was feeling better. I left it in for about 12 hours, and by this morning, I was feeling about 90% better! Amazing!!!



Have you ever tried garlic for a yeast infection? Did it work for you?


Thursday, March 22, 2012

When is this going to stop???

Sometime last week I came across a news story about yet another woman who was rudely asked to stop nursing her baby. This time it wasn't in a woman's only gym, or in Target. Nope- this momma was nursing her baby in the waiting room of the Texas Attorney General's office. That's right- she was in a government office and was told harshly that she needed to find another place to nurse.


You'd think, of all people, that those in public office or working for the government would be aware of the laws protecting breastfeeding moms. You'd think that government offices would be a safe place to exercise your legal rights without harassment. But apparently not, at least not in Julie Helmke's case.


Obviously I'm mad that yet another mom has been humiliated and harassed for nursing her baby. But you know what else makes me mad? The utter lack of support in this society for moms, especially new moms. Julie's baby was only 6 weeks old. I don't know Julie, so I'm not trying to make assumptions about her specifically, but for the vast majority of women, 6 weeks postpartum is a very trying time, both physically and emotionally. When Julie was harassed, she was in the child support waiting room of the attorney general's office. She was waiting to speak to her case worker, presumably about child support. (Again, I'm not trying to make personal assumptions about Julie, but why else would she be there?) If a woman is to be receiving child support, that can only mean one thing- that her relationship with the child's father is no longer intact. Add that to the fact that she was 6 weeks postpartum, and that's a lot of stress for one new momma to handle. She deserves society's support. She does not deserve to be harassed and humiliated for FEEDING HER BABY.


When is this going to stop? When will we finally realize that nursing is normal? When will we finally start to realize the value and importance of mothers, and give them the respect and support that they deserve?


Why is it culturally acceptable for Christina Aguilara to wear this on national tv, but it's not culturally acceptable for a mom to nurse her baby in public? The hypocrisy astounds me.

Monday, March 12, 2012


I'm frustrated with life right now. I feel tied down, trapped, stifled. I don't get out much. I don't get away from the kids much. I don't feel like I get to use my brain much.

138/365 Frustrated.

We're a one car family right now. My husband is a pastor- a pastor of a freshly planted church. It takes a lot of time and hard work to plant a church. He's very busy and works very hard, which means that he's gone a lot. Don't get me wrong- I'm very thankful that he works so hard. I'm thankful that the church is growing, and I'm especially thankful that my husband is finally getting to do something that he loves and is passionate about.


But honestly? It kindof sucks for me right now. Most days, I'm stuck at home without a car. (I say most days because I don't like to exaggerate, but it's really more like every day.)My husband works all hours of the day and night- every day. I do all of the childcare, all of the cooking, all of the housework, and all of the laundry. Every meal. Every snack. Every trip to the park. Every fight broken up. Every diaper changed and bottom wiped. Every meal cooked, dishes washed, and floor swept. Every bathtime and every bedtime.


My brain feels like it's slowly wasting away from disuse. Maybe I'm just not creative enough, but I haven't figured out a way to do anything mentally stimulating while the kids are awake, and once they're asleep I'm usually too tired from everything else to do much besides surf the net and watch tv.


There's so much I want to do. I want to be a doula. I want to help mothers and babies. I want to do something in the world of natural birth/breastfeeding/parenting. I want to put all the passion in my heart and the potential in my head to good use. But it's just not possible right now. Even beyond something like that, I'd like to even just have time to read a good book and write out some of my thoughts. But I can't even find the time to do that. This blog is my only real creative outlet right now, and obviously I don't even post much. I want to build relationships with people and have actual friendships- it's a long story, but that's a real area of weakness for me, plus I'm an introvert so that makes it even harder. I know now that relationships are important. I know that we all need friends. It's something I really want to work on- but how can I cultivate friendships when I hardly ever get to leave the house?


I'm sure there's a solution out there somewhere for me. But honestly? I'm just so tired of looking for it. I'm tired of having to fight so freaking hard just for some productive time to myself. I'm so worn out by the effort it takes just to survive right now, that I don't have much energy left to try out another solution that's probably going to fail. I want to be able to enjoy these precious moments with my babies, but most days I just feel so trapped by the monotony of all the same chores and nothing interesting for my brain to engage in that it's hard for me to look past that and enjoy the fun moments with my kids. I know I could be a better mom and a better person if I had time to recharge, to keep myself mentally and emotionally healthy. But right now I feel like I'm just treading water, and just barely keeping myself afloat. And I'm not sure what to do about that.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Sugar: The wonder drug


Did you know that sugar is addictive? Yes? No? Kinda-sorta? I always knew in the back of my head that sugar was bad for me, and I'd heard that it was addictive. But I didn't really think about it that much or feel like I needed to make any real changes with regard to my levels of sugar consumption. But all that has changed...


On January 1st, I joined a 6 week long weight loss contest with several other local moms. There was a cash prize, so I decided to really put some effort into trying to win! (Sadly, I didn't win, but I did get second place! Not too shabby.) One of my weight loss strategies was to cut out sugar. I went cold turkey- no sugar at all, except for fruit and honey.


I didn't think I'd have too hard of a time with it. I knew I could stand to cut back a little bit, but I didn't think my level of sugar consumption was all that bad. I'd have a couple of gluten free cookies here, a piece of chocolate there. I did go a little crazy with sweets over the holidays, but doesn't everyone? And I did have baked oatmeal with sugar in it almost every single morning- but that was in oatmeal! Didn't count. Needless to say, I was in a bit of denial.


The first couple of days were not fun. Big cravings, which I expected. But what I didn't expect was the total downer! I felt like I was seriously down in the dumps. Depressed even. I remember at one point my mind was just racing with all the reasons that I was a horrible failure at life. I was just miserable. No other reason for it, except that my body was having sugar withdrawals. I was a bit shocked that just cutting out sugar could have that much of an effect on me.


Around day 4, I cut open a pear and ate a slice. It tasted AMAZING. I couldn't remember the last time that a piece of fruit had tasted that sweet! My taste buds were starting to re-adjust! It took about 5 or 6 days for the feelings of depression to subside. The cravings went away too. I have no problem now looking at cookies, cake, or ice cream and not eating any. I honestly don't have any desire for them anymore- and I had a huge sweet tooth before.


You'd think that experience with withdrawal would have been enough to convince me of the dangers and addictive powers of sugar. But it wasn't. I was still off of sugar, because of the weight loss contest and because I had also started the GAPS diet, but it still hadn't sunk in to me just how serious it was until I ate some sugar again.


My aunt and uncle were in town visiting, and at kindof the last minute, we had to leave the kids with them and go somewhere for a couple of hours. Normally I would have had food pre-prepared, but since it was a last minute thing, I showed my aunt where the ingredients were and explained how to make the dish- a simple chicken green curry stir fry. When we got home that night, I walked in the door and scooped myself out a bowl. I was about halfway through eating it when I remembered that since I have a food allergy, it would be a good idea to double check that she didn't add anything extra in there. When I asked, she admitted that she had added a little of the sugar that I had on hand. (Let me just interject here that this was a "natural" sugar! It wasn't even the super bad for you granulated white stuff.) Now again, I didn't think it was going to be a huge deal! I knew that sugar wasn't allowed on GAPS, but I didn't want to hurt my aunt's feelings, so I finished my bowl. I thought the sugar might set me back a little bit, but I didn't think it would matter much.


I was sooo wrong. Within about 15 minutes my heart started racing. I started feeling hot. My arms started feeling tingly. I felt like I needed to throw it all back up. Not only was my body affected, but my mind was as well. I felt like I needed to just curl up into a ball and cry, and yet at the same time, I wanted to go into a rage. I'm a little embarassed to admit it, but I yelled at both my husband and the kids. I couldn't hold it together!!! I was totally flabbergasted at the affect that just a little bit of sugar had on both my body and my mind. How could I have let myself eat this stuff every day, sometimes multiple times a day???


The next morning I woke up with diharreah. Fun stuff. I continued on with GAPS as well as I could, hoping to bounce back quickly. I avoided sugar for the day, but that next evening I wanted a snack, so I made myself a couple of celery stalks with almond butter and raisins on top. I ate half a celery stick, which had maybe 10-15 raisins on it, and I started to feel the symptoms coming on again. My heart started beating faster. My left arm started tingling. I was in tune enough to notice it before it got too bad, and I didn't even finish my snack. I was so frustrated- I had been tolerating fruit and honey just fine for weeks, and just one slip up with sugar had set back my gut healing process so much that I couldn't even tolerate a handful of raisins?!? No wonder my gut is so messed up when I've been throwing tons of sugar at it for so long!!!


That crazy experience only strengthened my resolve to stay on GAPS and continue to heal my gut, and to stay off sugar for the rest of my life. Nothing good can come of it! It really is addictive- some say it can be just as hard of a habit to break as cigarettes or even some drugs. That experience also lit a fire under me to get my kids off of sugar- I know that Hayden's addicted too, and that's my fault! I know it will be a crazy couple of days when I first pull her off of it, but the rewards for her long term health will be totally worth it. And by the way, after another day or so of gut healing, I'm now able to tolerate fruit and honey again just fine- thank goodness!


Have you ever cut out sugar? Ever thought about doing it? What's holding you back?