This one is for the ladies. I usually write a lot of blogs on raw recipes and raw nutrition, but I'm going to depart from that for a moment.
I'm going to write about something that most people don't write about too often, or talk about at length, but they should. This should be discussed openly, women should feel comfortable speaking about it, and men should be knowledgeable about it as well.
Birth Control. Contraception. Pills. or...No pills? Periods? What? Yes. That is why there is a photo of a woman leaping over a field, because anytime pharmaceuticals or fertility is discussed on tv, I see images of women leaping in fields....but I never understood that...until now. :)
I am speaking now just from personal experience, but it's information that I would like to share because if it can benefit another person, that would be fantastic!
I've been on "the pill" since age 18. No, not because I was having sex or "sleeping around", but mostly because my period was SO irregular and my cramps were crazy painful. I was tired of not knowing when I was going to "get it" and I was tired of being in so much pain from cramps that I literally could not get out of bed. If you were my roommate in college, you know what I am talking about.
At one point, my general doctor prescribed some version of a liquid codine for me to take because the pain was so awful. I changed birth control pill brands about 4 times until I finally found one that alleviated those issues. Cramps were down to just one day and only mild discomfort... and I was on time like clockwork! That was the best part. I knew down to the hour of the day that I would get my period...Which is fabulous because I never had any surprises and was always prepared! I also had the freedom of not having to worry about getting pregnant, should I be in a relationship and having lots of incredible sex. haha!
The pill. Taking it became like brushing my teeth. Habit. I never forgot. It was just something I did. Get up, shower, brush teeth, swallow pill, get dressed, etc etc etc. I did that from age 18 until 3 months ago.
After transitioning over to a high raw foods lifestyle, I stopped taking Tylenol for headaches. I stopped using perfumes full of chemicals and alcohol. I stopped using soaps and shampoos full of chemicals (because, what we put on our skin goes right INTO our bloodstream! Don't believe me? How do you think those nicotine patches work?! For a fun test of this - stand barefoot on a clove of fresh garlic. After about 15 minutes you should be able to taste the garlic in your mouth) So yes, after going high raw, I didn't want to pollute my body with toxic chemicals from lotions, perfumes, soaps...no more aspirin for a headache...no more antibiotics when I was sick...I wanted to get my body back to nature. FULLY. I wanted to let my body work on it's own, like it was meant to...without as much outside pollution or interference as possible.
But for some crazy reason, I was still taking that pill every morning. I don't have a boyfriend...and I do not have sex outside of a serious relationship, so honestly, other than the "to regulate" factor, there was no reason for me to keep taking it. But it was a habit I was scared to break. What if I suddenly was in a relationship? What if I suddenly was irregular again? What if crazy cramps came back?
Then my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I accompanied her to one of her pre-surgery appointments early on, and her doctor, who is an amazing doctor and man, said, to my mom;, "you aren't taking any birth control right? because birth control creates a very warm happy environment in which cancer grows."
My jaw hit the ground. What? What did he just say? Did he just say that birth control causes cancer? That birth control can create a rich environment for the growth of cancer? I'm sorry... no one has EVER said that to me. No one, not one doctor, from when I was 18 and got my first prescription for it, to now, had ever uttered those words. But this doctor, an expert and specialist in his field, a man who is on a committee out of just 100 doctors throughout the country who are working to find new treatment methods and a cure, this man, who has worked at all the top hospitals on the east coast and published paper after paper on breast cancer, THIS man, tells me birth control encourages cancer growth.
This, as I am sitting next to my mother, who is receiving news that she has breast cancer. It was like getting slapped in the face twice. First, for my mother, and then, for me. What have I possibly done to myself, I thought. What on earth?!
I stopped taking the pill immediately. For three months I was off of it, and for three months, I never got my period, and I never had any cramps and I never had...anything. Nothing.
I got nervous. What if I never get it?! Aren't you supposed to get it? Did I make the right decision? Am I stupid for stopping? Isn't it unhealthy if you don't get it every month? Isn't that how a woman's body is supposed to work?
In a rash panic, I decided to go back on it. This past Sunday. Between Sunday and Wednesday of this week, my skin broke out like it has never broken out in my entire life (I've always been lucky where my complexion was concerned), my breasts hurt, I was sore all over, I was moody and I was completely deflated and exhausted for no reason at all. Falling asleep exhausted for no reason.
I emailed a couple people in the health field that I know and as well as some female friends. After about an hour of emailing, I took the pills out of my purse and threw them in the trash.
I will never, ever ever again take birth control pills. After being off of them for 3 months, and eating a super clean diet as much as possible, I think they had finally gotten out of my system. I went back on them for 4 days and my body basically rejected them. I felt so awful.
I emailed Ani Phyo a few months back because she posted information on her facebook page about her cycle (which I found to be very inspiring) and she emailed me back immediately and told me how important it was to get off of all pharmaceuticals, birth control included. She was so right.
So what's a non-birth control taking girl to do? Several things:
For one, I was recommended the book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility. I ordered it from Amazon today and cannot wait to get it. It basically describes ways to get in tune with your body so that you can notice certain signs and be able to read yourself better and understand your cycle better.
where you can track your cycle online, and it will tell you exactly when you are fertile (basically when NOT to have sex if you do not want to get pregnant) and it will tell you to the day, when your period will arrive.
There is also a fantastic device called Lady Comp, which looks like a little disc alarm clock, and it tells you electronically the same exact information. It has over a 99% accuracy rate. Lady Comp
All these things I never knew existed, exist.
There is a way to be completely 100 percent natural in your lifestyle, right down to contraception and knowing your body's cycle, and these women that I emailed have lived their entire lives using these methods and have never had any issues!
I wish my doctor had told me about those options when I was 18. I wish any doctor had mentioned it. But those options aren't drugs, so they don't get mentioned.
Nothing gets mentioned until someone tells you that you have cancer, and lists popping birth control as a possible cause. That is just too late in my opinion.
So if you are a lady out there who would like to get a handle on her birth control, her fertility, her cycle... feel free to check out that book and those sites/products. I am sure there are many more, but those all came very highly recommended.
I don't know when I will get my period again. Everything I've read says that it could take a year, on average, for me to even get it again after stopping birth control pills. But that is okay, I have faith in my body's natural abilities to recover, rid itself of toxins, and heal. I know with a natural, high raw diet, exercise, etc, that my body runs very well....so it's just a matter of time and it will eventually kick in again...and once it does, I'll be using CyclesPage online to chart it, and I also plan on purchasing the Lady Comp. I think I will have more peace of mind that way until I get used to it. But I am back to feeling like my normal energetic self, and that is all that matters!
There is massive freedom in no longer taking a pill for anything. There is massive freedom in gaining control of my body in every single way...and freedom is a beautiful thing. So beautiful, in fact, that I might just go leap through a field.