Menstrual Cups

Guys (MEN), I’m telling you to look away right now.

The following post is about periods. So, seriously.

Go away.

If you’re still here, you’re reading at your own discretion.

Ladies: if you’re squeamish, turn away now. This post requires a bit of maturity.

Well, ladies, let’s talk about it. I can’t say there’s any one of us that loves our period.

As someone who suffers from menorrhagia, I completely empathize with all of you. Of course, I turned to tampons when I got old enough to wear them. Who didn’t? They’re so much easier, comfortable, and convenient to use. And no one wants to wear those icky pads. Walk around with blood hanging out in your pants all day? Yeah, it sucks.

Did you know that companies bleach tampons? Yeah, they do. Imagine that going in your.. you know what. Kinda gross, right?

I thought this was hilarious..

It’s also kind of gross that we continue to use these things. Because, let’s face it, what’s really happening when you use one is that it’s plugging you up. But seriously, you’re literally using it like a plug! How can this be healthy?

Short answer: it isn’t.

No one wants to go back to using the dreaded pads, and I wouldn’t recommend that you do. They’re terrible. What do I recommend instead?

I recommend using a cup.

A sampling of some of the menstrual cups offered

GASP! WHAT’S A CUP?! What is this thing?! There’s another option?

Yes, there is another option: a menstrual cup. And it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a flexible cup that can bend to your body’s unique shape.

I really do talk to all of my friends about my cup because I love it. It has literally changed my life, and I can’t imagine my life without one now.

Does it work? I have been using the cup for almost a year and it has never failed me unless I put it in wrong. That is, it’s my own fault that it doesn’t work.

Will it hold all my.. stuff? Yes, it will hold a significant amount of blood. I used to use 3 super plus tampons per day, and I can go all day without changing my cup.

Is it easy to use? It is once you get the hang of it. I won’t lie, when you first get the cup, there is a huge learning curve. You have to be comfortable touching yourself. You have to be patient. You have to learn not to freak out when it won’t come out (but don’t worry; it will come out!). Instead of worrying about my period all day, I simply change and wash it every morning in the shower and right before I go to bed – super simple. PS: you can wash it with a very common wash.

I’m intrigued. Where can I get one? Well, let’s talk about this question for a second. There are many, many menstrual cup companies out there to try. Of course, none of them are advertised on TV because the cup can last up to 10 years with proper care. The cost upfront is a bit steep; but if you think about it, you’ll be getting your money’s worth back within a few months.

Yes, you CAN save HUNDRED of dollars a year

Alright, now that that’s out of the way: let’s talk about a few aspects of the cup you need to consider:

Have you had a child? YES! This is a HUGE question to be asking yourself. The vaginal walls of a woman who has had a child are way different than those of one who hasn’t.

What kind of pliability do you need or want? Some of the cups are more “flexible,” while some are more “stiff.”

How do you want to pull your cup out? Some are built with a stem in, while others have a “knob” on the bottom. This is a preference, really. You’ll use whatever is on the bottom to pull it out.

What color do you want? No, seriously, this is a real question. There are some amazing colors out there.

There are many, many websites that can help you choose a cup. Here is one of them.

A nifty chart to help you pick a good cup

I was really lucky. I bought a Lunette and was in love from the moment I used it. I can only offer some advice if you decide to get one:

  • If you get one with a stem and don’t like the length, cut it.
  • You’ll find a position (and fold) of insertion that is most comfortable for you. I prefer the C-fold in a squat position. There are endless amounts of folds you can use to insert your menstrual cup comfortably. Here is a video of 9 of them.
  • To get the cup to pop open (you WILL hear it “POP”), twist it. The easiest way to do this is butt in the air, head to the floor – trust me. You have the greatest width (in the you know what) this way.
  • Don’t freak out if the cup doesn’t come out. It’s NOT going anywhere. You probably just need a better grip on it (and you need to relax). If you don’t relax, you’re guaranteed to be tensing the vaginal muscles that are holding it in place. Just pull it until you can grab the bottom of where the stem is. This gets better with practice, I promise.
  • Take the cup out when you’re in the shower or when you’re sitting on the toilet. I’ve never dropped my cup, but you’ll want to have a place to pour it out immediately.
  • If you need to rinse in a public bathroom, use a bottle of water.
  • Don’t wash the cup in warm water – use cold water ONLY! It will stain in warm water.
  • If you do get stains, don’t fret. Your cup isn’t ruined. Soak it in a 3% hydrogen-peroxide solution for 8 hours.

Menstrual cups are awesome. They really are. It freaked me out when I thought of the chemicals the tampon companies might be putting on their products. It’s evident that they are, though, since some companies advertise that they’re selling unbleached tampons. The best thing about menstrual cups, though, is that they’re environmentally friendly. Yup, no more wasting paper and cotton in the trash.

What do you think, ladies? Would you get a cup? Is there anyone out there who has one?

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Natural Deodorant AKA Smell-All-the-Time Deodorant

Back when I got my DNA test, I tested ridiculously high for zirconium. We’re talking off-the-charts high. The doctor told me I needed to fix this immediately. For some reason, my body was hoarding zirconium. Well, what’s it in? It’s in antiperspirant.

So here I am, for the second year in a row, trying to switch to natural deodorant. Why do I always do this when the weather gets warmer? Of course, I sweat more when it gets warmer, and it smells gross. But, I had no choice. So, I went on a natural deodorant spree.

Kris Carr has an excellent post on natural deodorants. Kris explains all of the chemicals you find in antiperspirants, why they’re bad, why you sweat, how sweating works, etc. Basically, it’s everything you’d ever want to know about, well, your pits.

The problem with natural deodorant is that you have to find something that works with you. And, yeah, it’s really difficult. And expensive. But mainly difficult. Oh, and did I mention how expensive it is?

I must come from ancestors who didn’t sweat. Maybe they lived in Antarctica. When I sweat, it smells bad. This is coming from someone who eats a whole foods based diet. I don’t eat processed foods. I use soaps with minimal ingredients. I just have really, really smelly sebaceous glands (stinky sweat glands). Of course, maybe I also have some kind of overload of bacteria (check our Kris’ post if you have no idea what in the world I’m talking about).

It goes something like this: Brittany forgets to put on deodorant in the morning. Twenty minutes after leaving the house, Brittany realizes her mistake when she raises her arm to do something. Brittany panics. Now she can’t lift her arms FOR THE ENTIRE DAY!

Before taking on the oh-so-awesome world of natural deodorants, I used Degree’s Clinical Strength antiperspirant. This was the only deodorant that worked for me. YES, THAT IS HOW BAD I SMELL! I had to use clinical strength, people.

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Alright. So, we understand now: I smell bad. Let’s review some products I’ve tried. I’m going to give some ratings on a 1-10 scale (10 is best or AMAZING, 1 is worst or SUCKY).

Crystal

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I have no idea what the big deal is about this stuff. Everyone is so hyped on it. Frankly, it sucks, and it’s really, really annoying to put on. Because it’s like a dry roll-on, you have to have a wet surface to put it onto, or it doesn’t do anything. They also make a spray, but trust me, it’s just as bad. In fact, I think I ended up with more deodorant spray on my feet (because it drips after it has been sprayed) than on my pits. And, I smelled after about 30 minutes.

Ease of use: 1/10
Smell: 5/10
Time lasted: 1/10

Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting

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More like not-lasting deodorant. While this actually smells pretty good, it hardly did anything for me. I had to reapply about 50 times throughout the day, and it just wasn’t worth it. Every time I sweated, the product seemed to go away, and I would have to reapply. Of course, it’s a stick, so it’s easy to use.

Ease of use: 10/10
Smell: 9/10
Time lasted: 1/10

Kiss My Face Active Life

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Out of all the deodorants, I hated this one the most. Why? It gave me rashes under my arms. My skin was literally peeling like a sunburn! It’s a shame because it smells relatively good. Not that it lasted a long time, anyway. And, it’s a stick, so it was easy to use. Seriously, though, I’d avoid this deodorant.

Ease of use: 10/10
Smell: 9/10
Time lasted: 1/10

Alba Botanica Clear Enzyme

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I really wanted to like this deodorant. Alba Botanica is a great company, in my opinion, and they always make their labels friendly to read. But, the deodorant just didn’t last. It’s purely unscented, which is good, but it can’t beat how long it didn’t last. Too bad. It was so easy to apply.

Ease of use: 10/10
Smell: 10/10
Time lasted: 1/10

Herban Cowboy Blossom

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This deodorant smells AMAZING! I was so excited when I first took the cap off to smell it. It smells.. clean. Blossomy. Fresh. Like a regular deodorant stick. Super easy to use because it is a deodorant stick. Not long-lasting, though. I had to reapply several times throughout the day.

Ease of use: 10/10
Smell: 10/10
Time lasted: 4/10

Lavanila Grapefruit

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A friend on Facebook recommended I try Lavanila after I whined about my stinky woes. I was skeptical. It’s $14 on Amazon, but I figured what the heck, I’ve already spent about $75 trying other deodorants. When my package came in the mail, I didn’t know what to expect. I opened the box and took the container out. Can I just say I love the container? It’s weird. It’s round, different, and fun. But when I took that top off, my god. I was in heaven. It has an oddly alluring musky fruity smell. The smell itself is actually addicting. A week later, I still take the cap off to smell it. Yeah, that’s weird, sorry. Imagine my surprise when the deodorant lasted all day. ALL. DAY. All day people. I couldn’t believe it. The trick with this deodorant is to apply about 20 strokes to each arm.

Ease of use: 10/10
Smell: 2,000/10
Time lasted: 10/10

While everyone is different, no other natural deodorant has as many positive reviews as Lavanila. If you’re going to give a natural deodorant a try, try Lavanila.

Forgive my sweats people, but I’ve found a natural deodorant I love.

If you’d like to try any of these deodorants, just click the “via” beneath the image. It will take you to the Amazon page for the product!

Positive Body Image

Preface: I do not think weight is an indication of health.

It’s important to talk about weight, though. But, it’s not in the way that you think. Someone, one of my friends, actually, questioned my weight last week.

“Why aren’t you thin like one of those cave people, then?” he asked.

I shrugged at him, but I knew the answer.

I LOVE FRUITI should have shouted. I should have said something, anything, to put this person in his place. Why is it his business how much I weigh, anyway? And, secondly, what am I, then? More importantly, why was my first thought an explanation? I don’t have to explain anything to this jerk.

And here, my friends, lies a problem. You see, I’m a huge advocate for positive self-image (particularly body image) for girls and women. I say it all the time: women should not be defined by their appearance or their weight. Unfortunately, my friends, I’m also a huge hypocrite.

This picture really does speak volumes. via Simply Psychology

This picture really does speak volumes.
via Simply Psychology

I have never had positive body image. I was always “overweight,” starting in elementary school. We were very poor, and my parents had no idea what nutrition was. Typical dinners included huge, fatty steaks (because they’re the cheapest), and large bowls of pasta salad (because boxes of pasta are cheap). Dessert was generally an every night thing because boxed chocolate cake was easy to make (and cheap).

Of course, it wasn’t all my parents fault. For several years, all I ate was granny smith apples and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Yes, I was a very picky eater. In fact, I used to eat 10 granny smith apples a day (I’m NOT exaggerating, it REALLY was that much).

Kids are cruel. And mean. And vicious. Appearance and weight is certainly a hot topic for people so young. It’s kinda ridiculous. Anyway, I was teased a lot. So, I’ve never had much positive self-image. Whenever I would go to the doctor’s, the doctor would say, “My goodness, you’re just as healthy as a horse!” and then lecture me on needing to lose weight. Sure, weight has negative aspects, but how is it that I’m so “healthy” and apparently “not healthy” at the same time? It’s all very confusing.

Now that I’m almost 26, things look different. I care and don’t care at the same time. Having the approval of my peers in terms of my weight and appearance doesn’t really matter because they’re not the ones deciding my grades or hiring me.

And, I don’t care because I’m healthy. I’m figuring out and feeding my body what it needs to be a successful member of society. Because, isn’t that the point? That I do something with my life, and not end up depressed because people don’t approve of my weight, of all things? Yes, I think that’s a good reason to stop caring what people think of my weight.

The only way to face my fears is head on, right? Since I’m nutritionally sound, who cares about my weight? So, here you go world: here is my scale this morning, after I ate breakfast (yes, I ate and then weighed!):

scaleBAM! TAKE THAT, WEIGHT HATERS!

As Tryion says, “Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.”

A Vlog Update — DNA Testing

I decided to try a vlog for an update. Let me tell you people, this was incredibly difficult. Maybe it looks like I did this in one take (probably not), but it was actually like the 200th take before I was OK with it.

Also, I realize that magnesium and manganese are a MINERAL deficiency, not a vitamin. I have no idea what possessed me to say “vitamin.” In order to up my intake of manganese and magnesium, I added pumpkin seeds to my diet because they are very nutrient dense.

Some things that didn’t get mentioned (even though I had notes up on my screen), I am deficient in vitamin B6 and the amino acid methionine, both of which I am supplementing for.

I’ve actually been asked a lot: where did I get this test done? I ordered this test through a site called PNC Science. Doctor Tefft, who (from my understanding) does not do the test but interprets the results, is amazing. He spent an hour on the phone with me going over the comparison tests and what each test meant for me. The test is a little pricey at about $250, but it is worth every penny. Of course, you’re supposed to retest 3-4 months after the initial test, which is about $100, but I believe that’s completely optional.

The adrenal fatigue supplement by Gaia Herbs has helped me overcome some of my fatigue (I think — it feels like it, anyway). The adrenal glands are important because they regulate stress. In turn, they control hormones in the body. So, if the adrenals are out of wack, you’re most likely experiencing side effects such as fatigue. (More about adrenal fatigue here.)

The vlog was quite a learning experience. It’s difficult to talk about things on the spot, but I actually had a lot of fun doing it. It made me realize how much I don’t want to be a newscaster. Those people do things on the fly are amazing! Hope you enjoy the update (whoever’s actually reading!)