What Have I Accomplished in My Year After Graduating College?

The year after graduating college can be a daunting one. But I’m here to tell you why mine has been the most liberating ever!

accomplishment

Today has been a year since I graduated from Penn State. It seems nuts to me that it’s been a year, but at the same time, so much has happened.

So what have I accomplished in my year after graduating college?

Focused More on My Personal Growth Than My Professional

When I graduated, I felt like I had a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.

I started my B.A when I was 18, and graduated when I was 23. I had spent years trying to get my degree, and now it was over.

What should I do?

I used the year after graduating college to focus much more on my personal self than on my professional one. After all, I’d finished my degree—now it was time to focus on me and my inner goddess.

Got a Full-Time Job—But Quit

So I had a full-time job before I even got my diploma in the mail.

After applying to job after job after job both right before and after I left Penn State, and going on only two interviews, I landed a job at a security firm as a tech writer close to DC. I was terrified that I wasn’t going to get a job but I did, and I was ecstatic to start.

I thought I wanted to do tech writing—turns out, it’s not really my cup of tea. I’m not embarrassed to tell you that I quit that job after only a few days because it went so badly.

I wasn’t happy, and happiness is a priority in my life, especially the year after graduating college.

Got a Part-Time Job

After I quit my first job, I felt lost and confused as to what I wanted.

I was still applying the year after graduating college but had less certainty and confidence as to what I wanted. I knew I wanted to be a writer, but if I couldn’t do tech writing, how could I find a legit writing job?

I applied to the women’s homeless shelter in DC and got the job. It was part-time, but exactly what I needed to figure out what I wanted to do while still making an income the year after graduating college.

Figured Out What I Truly Want To Do

I love my work in DC. It’s been so empowering and it has been a fabulous opportunity to grow and figure out what I want.

I learned that I want to help people and not just homeless people. I wanted to write, too. I just needed to confidence to actually figure out how to start my writing professionally.

Started My Own Business

So walaah! I started my own freelance writing business almost a year after graduating college. It’s going great and I love it, and it feels awesome to get paid doing what I love to do—writing!

Learned Where I Want to Live

Ian was interning in Asheville, North Carolina during the year after graduating college. I drove down there a couple times that summer and spent several weeks with him while I was unemployed (those weeks were some of the most healing of my life, it felt like).

I really loved Asheville and North Carolina. I hope to move there!

Stopped Being so Afraid of Life

When I graduated, I was terrified of so many things. I think more than all these things though, I was afraid of my ability to actually do something worthwhile that people would pay me for.

What would my life mean if I couldn’t do what I loved?

I was so scared of actually living my life and going for my dreams. After this past year after graduating college, I’m still a little scared, but not half as much as I was. And I gained more confidence, too.

Realized How My Misdiagnosis Has Impacted My Life

That crazy illness that I was diagnosed with almost 8 years ago is not the illness I have.

I do not have any illness; my body merely has an autoimmune response to a protein named gluten. I realized that my illness has both made me terrified and less confident.

I’m not sick, and I don’t have to be sick. I choose what’s best for my body. I live the way I want to live. Going through my illness has made me less likely to spend time on things that I don’t want to spend time on. I cherish my time now and what I do with it.

Our lives are so short, so do what makes you happy!

So my year after graduating college didn’t quite go like I thought—but it was a magical one and I’ve come so far personally and professionally!

How to Prevent Colds Naturally

Looking for how to prevent colds naturally? I’ve got a few things that could help you out.

Natural Remedies

Let’s start from the top left and work our way down, shall we? (Oh btw, I’m not an herbalist or nutritionist. So keep this in mind before you go all hog wild on the herbs, k?)

Here are some things that can help you when it comes to how to prevent colds naturally.

Ginger

Fresh ginger is ideal for how to prevent colds naturally, but the capsule form provides an amount that is difficult to get from the root alone.

You can make ginger, honey, and lemon tea, which is very simple: grate up some fresh ginger in a teacup, squeeze a quarter or up to a half of fresh lemon juice in the cup, fill with boiling water, drop in a teaspoon of honey and wallah! Your throat is happy 🙂

Anyway, I always choose vegetarian capsules and ideally an organic herb. Make sure you read the label before you start popping pills. Not all capsules are created equal.

Ginger is amazing for arthritis, headaches, joint and muscle pain, tummy troubles, and how to prevent colds naturally. It helps to keep you feeling warm and relaxed. Take one capsule (depending on the label again…) a day and supplement with fresh ginger root.

Garlic

Ah, the magic that is garlic.

Garlic is amazing for how to prevent colds naturally. It contains some wonderful properties that help your immune system big time.

It’s also been shown that garlic can reduce the frequency and duration of colds. You can cook with it, but again, it’s hard to get that high dosage without swallowing a capsule.

Plus, food is generally more beneficial in its raw state. I usually chop up 6-10 cloves until minced, scoop them up with a tablespoon, and swallow them raw with a glass of coconut milk (it can be painful with water, both with the taste and your stomach afterward). Take one helping of this a day while you’re sick OR if you feel a cold coming. The best treatment is prevention!

If you’re not really into swallowing raw garlic for how to prevent colds naturally (I know few people who are, despite its awesome health benefits), you can also buy garlic “pills”. These are just like the ginger capsules.

Again, read the label. I don’t need to keep telling you guys this right? And I always buy organic garlic. Garlic comes out of the ground; who knows what horrors are lurking in the soil!

Vitamin C

Whether it be via vitamins, oranges, grapefruit, or lime, this vitamin is important when it comes to how to prevent colds naturally.

It doesn’t really matter what your illness is. Vitamin C is a healer and is excellent for your skin, organs, and your cold! You can take a lot, about 5,000 mg a day if you are sick (don’t take it all at one time, though).

You can take 2-3,000 for preventive. I take 1,000 every day regardless of how I’m feeling.

MultiVitamin

I recently started taking a multi, and I’m so glad I did. It covers all those little micronutrients I wouldn’t really pay attention to when eating.

You can take up to two of these a day if you’re sick or for preventive measures. Keep your body running optimally when it comes to how to prevent colds naturally.

Lemons

I had Ian pick me up lemons at the store while I was working this weekend because I was out and I NEEDED them for this potential sickness.

Lemons are great for detoxing; I drink a glass of water with half a lemon squeezed in there every morning before I do anything else. I’d like to attribute this to me not getting sick, but who knows?

Anyway, squeeze some in your water for detoxing and a boost of vitamin C in the morning when you’re thinking how to prevent colds naturally. Lemons are also rather (surprisingly) alkaline, so this will help with keeping your body in balance from too much acidity. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to search an acidic/alkaline food chart and educate your wonderful brain. This is important.

Keep these things on hand in case you feel like you’re getting sick! How to prevent colds naturally starts with the right tools, aka foods.

Vinegar is also an excellent natural disinfectant for when you’re trying to clean your home from sick people who may have visited or otherwise live there. Wipe down those surfaces! And for the love of God, stay away from that nasty Clorox bleach. Talk about making people sick. Sheesh.

Great Gluten-Free Books

Ahh ok so here it is, some of my top picks for educating yourself about your body and the world you are living in, especially when it comes to eating gluten-free. You won’t look at food the same after reading this stuff.

1. In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan

In Defense of Food

I would suggest this book for a beginner when it comes to great health books.

Michael Pollan also has another book that is suitable for legit beginners, meaning you think Mickey D’s is cool because it tastes good. This book is called Food Rules and is relatively short and easy to read.

This book, however, In Defense of Food, is a pretty intense account of how modern society has lost the true meaning of food and how we can get it back. Michael Pollan suggests that we eat food, not too much, and mostly plants.

Why? Guess you’ll have to read it and find out, foodies.

2.  The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan

The Omnivore's Dilemma

This one of many great health books takes you on a crazy journey of Michael Pollan’s attempt to eat three very different meals: modern human’s meal, a meal that is bought from organic and local grocery stores, and finally, a meal that he solely creates himself (including getting his own salt from the ocean himself… seriously).

His journey is incredibly detailed and somewhat heartbreaking (mainly to see how far our modern diet has fallen from our ideal diet, and consequently, how far our health has fallen).

This book was a little tough for me to get through; it was just hard to hold my interest after about 2/3 of the way through. But definitely worth the read, I can’t believe Michael Pollan did so much research and work for this account.

3. The Gluten Connection, Shari Lieberman

Gluten Connection

This book changed my life, although I realize it won’t seem nearly as awesome to people who either don’t have a problem with gluten or people who don’t realize they have a problem with gluten.

This is the book that made me realize that gluten was truly making me sick. It’s a pretty fascinating book among the many great health books that talks about why gluten makes people sick, how it makes people sick, and it provides details and other accounts of many people and illnesses that the gluten-free diet helps.

It also talks about why dogs shouldn’t eat gluten and also provides some beginner gluten-free recipes. I would really recommend this book, even if you have no problems whatsoever with gluten, just because it’s fascinating and heartbreaking to see just how much food affects our health.

4. The Optimum Nutrition Bible, Patrick Holford

Optimum Nutrition

This book is among the great health books as good for knowing, or at least trying to know, what your optimum nutrition should be, including vitamin and mineral intake, which is essential for proper health.

It also talks about why gluten is potentially bad for everyone, advocates for you to stop smoking, and digs its heels in on the importance of vitamin C.

His research and advice have been great assets to my personal health journey; hopefully, you’ll find this book simultaneously overwhelming and helpful (sorry, but it is a little overwhelming).

5. Gluten is My Bitch, April Peveteaux

Gluten is my Bitch

I had a lot of mixed feelings about this book, but I’m putting it on here for the recipes and fun of it.

I have mixed feelings about it because for someone who going gluten-free saved (meaning me), this book is from the perspective of someone who perceives that going gluten-free is an ailment and has ruined her life.

She only appears to be gluten-free because she absolutely had to be or she’ll experience terrible symptoms as she has celiac disease. But, I did love the recipes (especially the nacho one, which I made with dairy-free cheese, of course, and has been a staple in my house for years now) and her humor is great and the writing was entertaining. Worth a read!

6. Delight Gluten-Free Magazine

Delight

I really enjoy this magazine, although technically not categorized among the great health books.

I find the articles helpful and the recipes are amazing (albeit complicated on occasion…) It’s great for people who have limited diets and experience symptoms of food intolerances, as its fancy recipes make you feel like you are special and its articles assist with things like what could be causing your migraines (gluten, duh) and how to get kids to eat gluten-free without making it too healthy (is there such a thing?).

Anyway, these are just a few books that have shaped my journey into natural health and are worth the read if you’re gluten-free and wondering how best to take care of your body!

10 Reasons to Exercise (Or, Why I Got an $80 Ticket for Canoeing)

Like you needed more reasons to exercise.

But no really, you do. How many of you exercise on the reg? I can’t even raise my hand for that one! Exercise is so important to our health but so few of us do it.

Get your motivation on! Here are ten reasons to exercise.

1. It Makes You Feel Great

Physically, emotionally, spiritually. Go out there and burn off some steam! Long distance running is my passion because I can go as fast or as slow as I like, any time of year, and can meditate or listen to music while I do it. Enjoying some great scenery can be another of the great reasons to exercise.

2. It Makes You Look Great

It tones so many parts of your body, and I love waking up to sore calves from a five-mile run or sore arms from a weight workout. It reminds me that I am alive, healthy, and strong.

3. It Can Boost Reproductive and Sexual Health

Regular exercise can do wonders for your monthly cramps in addition to your libido. Check your diet and vitamin intake to ensure that you are getting all the nutrients that your body needs also. If you need any more reasons for exercising—men, it keeps things exciting down there!

4. It Keeps You Healthy

Regular exercise can add years on to your life, keep your blood pressure normal, your metabolism up, and keep your joints and bones healthy. Also, sweating out those toxins is great for your skin. It keeps your heart strong (because your heart is a muscle, but you smart cookies already knew that).

5. It Helps You De-Stress

No doubt about it—one of the best reasons to exercise can be the ultimate stress reliever. Whatever I’m worried about before the run fades after the first mile and is definitely gone by the fourth. I feel so much better afterward.

6. It Gives You Time to Connect With Yourself

Being in the moment and experiencing your body, the way it moves, the way you breathe, the sensations you feel like the wind on your face or the crispness of the air, all of these things ground you: one of the best reasons to exercise. You’re here. You’re a person. Be here.

7. It Gives You An Opportunity To Connect With Other People

So, if you’d prefer to be a recluse, that’s cool. But I will say, after living in a cabin in the woods for two years, that you need people interaction.

No matter how much you dislike people, being stuck on an island like Cast Away is just not appealing after a certain amount of time. And as we’ve all seen, Wilson will float away.

So get out there and wave to people and say hello. These simple interactions mean a lot. For you and them.

8. It Makes You Want to Eat Better

You go for a run, and then, to Arby’s. Wait, WHAT? No no no no no no NO! I had an ex who did this. He claimed that it didn’t matter what calories you ate, you just needed calories. This is a huge lie!

One of the great reasons for exercising is that it motivates and inspires me to feel even better by eating great food. Quinoa, local eggs, organic blueberries and almonds, organic spinach, these are all great foods for runners.

Pamper your body; it’s doing so much for you!

9. It Helps Relationships

You can get that time to yourself if you need it, or, go with your significant other if you guys need more time together.

It also helps with relationship conflicts. It helps to clear your mind and soul, and when you can clearly see, you can clearly make decisions. Keeps you stress-free and feeling great, so less time and energy for fighting!

10. It Sets Great Future Habits

 Hey, I could very well be dead tomorrow. Which would be fine, but, in the event that I live to be like 80 or something, it’s nice to know and be reassured that I am doing good things for my body now, therefore good things will come later.

Also, my schedule allows time for exercising now. It may not at certain points in the future. It’s good to have the exercising habit already established so that you don’t have to “start” again. You merely have to continue.

Cautions About Exercising

Exercising is not without its risks!

Beware of What’s Going on Around You

It’s fine if you want to listen to music, headbang, daydream, punch the air, or whatever else you want to do while you are exercising, but please be aware of your surroundings.

Don’t let a tree branch take you out during kayaking. Don’t let a creepy perv come up on you in a white van and pick you up while you are running (it HAPPENS, people!). Don’t let some old woman accidentally slip a fart out with her butt in your face during yoga.

Pay attention to what is going on.

Be Safe

This is a big one to incorporate when you’re considering reasons to exercise.

I personally never leave the house unarmed when I go running, no matter what time it is. I always have a knife or a taser on me. (Sometimes I take pepper spray, it depends on how I’m feeling that day. Usually I feel like cutting some bitches.)

But it’s not always about being armed, it’s about paying attention to things and being prepared for the worst.

Adhere to Regulations

Ok, so I know very well that I can swim in four feet of water.

I also know very well that I can stand in four feet of water.

But this did not stop me from getting an $80 ticket from a river cop for canoeing without a life vest in a four-foot section of a river in Pennsylvania (those PA cops, man. They do their job).

Make sure that whatever you’re doing, it’s cool with the local authorities when considering reasons to exercise.

This is me in that same canoe on that same river on a different day hoping I don’t get pulled over again, ha. Does that orange thing count as a life vest?

Minimize Exercising on Busy Roads

This isn’t just a safety thing, it’s a lung health thing too.

Think about it—you’re running or biking, you’re breathing hard, and you’re passing hundreds of vehicles that are pumping out free radicals in your face.

You do not want to be breathing the exhaust of all those cars.

It’s basically chemicals going into your lungs. Diesel exhaust is carcinogenic, people. Don’t demean the good thing you are trying to do for your body with a bad thing like breathing free radicals.

Minimize or eliminate this practice.

Try Not to Go In the Dark

Exercising in the dark is dangerous. There is more of a chance that cars will hit you, deer will hit you (happened to a friend of mine), and huge bugs will fly into your eyes (this happened to me on a run at the end of summer; my eye was jacked up for the next two days).

I’m sure you amazing people already have really healthy exercising habits, right? Not to mention tons of reasons to exercise. Remember not to push yourself too hard. Be gentle with yourself and your body. Know yourself and your limits. But get outside and do something fun (and safe)!

10 Foods You Should Never Eat (Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You)

Let’s have a conversation about foods you should never eat.

Everyone is talking about food these days, it seems. Do this diet, avoid this food. Bash Gwyneth Paltrow for saying she’d rather die than feed her children Cup-A-Noodles.

You agree with her, right?

Besides examining Cup-A-Noodles, let’s look at a few foods that I will, with good reason, advise you to avoid. Here are 10 foods you should never eat.

1. Artificial Sweeteners

Splenda. Equal. Sweet’N Low. Truvia.

Think these are natural? Read the ingredients.

Then look those ingredients up, because you won’t know what they are.

Basically, just avoid anything that says “Sugar-Free”, “Low-Fat”, “Light”, or “Diet”. These products remove sugar or fat but then bulk up on sodium or artificial sweeteners to replace the flavor.

Artificial sweeteners have been linked to cancer and are definitely among the top foods you should never eat. Want something without added sugar? Eat an apple.

2. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

Ah, the fun that is GMOs.

This food could be anything from Tostitos (corn and soy are the biggest producers of GMO crops) to cheese.

Why cheese?

Because the cows that you get your milk from are getting GMOs too (they are unnaturally fed corn, which is why they are sick and on antibiotics, which is why YOU will get sick and end up on antibiotics).

GMOs are in almost everything, which makes it hard to put on the list for foods you should never eat.

Genetically modified food is huge in the United States, but don’t let that be your reason to buy it. The DNA of the food is artificially altered and it’s going into your body. Your body has been processing normal, real food for thousands and thousands of years.

Genetically modified food may look like real food, but the fakeness of it will corrupt your body’s health and end up in your baby’s bloodstream.

3. Non-Organic Produce

I do love organic food but don’t quite consider it to be as luscious as the food you grow yourself.

I view it as the lesser of two evils because they’re still using pesticides on it, they just aren’t the same pesticides that they’re using on non-organic food.

Plus, I hate the way non-organic apples look shiny, like some poor girl’s lips in a Cover Girl commercial (can you say animal testing? Someone please tell Taylor Swift that she’s advocating for animal suffering). That’s not natural.

Organic food also tastes better—bananas, apples, spinach, blueberries—and current regulations prohibit GMOs if it’s organic. It’ll spoil sooner, but it tastes like food is supposed to taste and FYI, rotting food is completely natural. You shouldn’t be putting anything into your body that won’t eventually rot.

4. High Fructose Corn Syrup

But you love it! Right?

It’s in sodas, candies, ice cream, sweet tea, and bread. And there’s more where that came from.

Not only is this GMO (corn, people!) but it’s also a revamped way of making sugar. Manufacturers can use less high fructose corn syrup than sugar and achieve even more sweetness.

The problem? It’s totally screwing with the way your body processes insulin. Hello, diabetes.

5. Sick Animals

Eating sick animals is as simple as picking up a package of hamburger meat at your local supermarket. So put this on your list of foods to never eat.

Where did it come from?

What kind of life did it live?

Was it sick; was it on drugs or hormones?

And even more importantly, what did it eat?

Because you are what you eat. If you’re picking up meat at the grocery store, even if you’re purchasing organic meat or grass-fed meat, consider what it ate, how it lived and died, and what part you play in it.

Local meat is way better.  But be sure to find out just how local it is before buying.

6. Farmed Fish

Again, this just isn’t natural. This is like a children’s book of “Which One Doesn’t Belong?” Imagine a series of farm animals and your child points to the fish and says, “That one! The fish doesn’t live on a farm!”

Well, now it does, Junior.

Farmed fish is unhealthy. They typically live in small areas with lots of other fish, therefore being prone to disease and bacteria. They are also fed… guess what, GMOs.

In what world did fish ever eat corn?

The world in which fish became one of the things on your list for foods you should never eat. Go fishing and do the dirty work yourself, or, if you don’t have time and are still trying to pack in that omega-3, buy wild fish at the store or market.

7. Sugar

Wow, you’re surprised to find this on here, right?

You’re saying, “But you said to avoid artificial sweeteners, not real sweeteners!”

Relax, my friends. I will introduce you to some alternatives that will be your buddies until you put added sugar on your list of foods to never eat for good.

Refined sugar is in cakes, candies, bread, salad dressings, meats, soups, and countless other things.

Try these other options that are less taxing on your body and health:

  • Agave nectar (sweeter than sugar with a lower glycemic index!)
  • Honey
  • Unrefined sugars like coconut nectar or raw organic sugar
  • Maple syrup (REAL maple syrup, NOT Aunt Jemima! She steered you wrong, girl)

Many people argue that sugar and sugar and our bodies process it the same. I would disagree with this, as apples contain fiber that helps your body absorb it over a period of time. This differs from candy where your body gets an instant sugar high.

Swap out refined sugars for more natural ones until you’re ready to kick added sugar and all its toxic effects for good.

8. Artificial Colors, Flavors, and Preservatives

Your body never ate these in the millions of years since humans have been here, so it has no idea what to do with them.

So these are in the foods-you-should-never-eat pile. Just don’t eat them and save yourself a trip to the toilet.

Examples include vanillin (in Hershey’s chocolate), aspartame (in Light Yoplait Yogurt—I told you about the “light”, people!), and BHT (also used in lighter fluid, and, in your frozen chicken nuggets).

9. Hydrogenated and Partially-Hydrogenated Oils (And Refined Oils)

These oils have been heated up to extreme temperatures so that they resemble a material akin to plastic.

Classic example: the hydrogenated oil in Jif peanut butter.

These oils are not naturally occurring at these temperatures and are not healthy when heated to this point. Stick to natural peanut butter and check your other snacks and processed foods for hydrogenated oils.

Other refined oils such as canola oil are often made from GMO crops as well, something we want to avoid.

They can thicken the blood and do other nasty things to your body. Foods you should never eat, meet Jif!

10. Processed Foods

You totally knew this was coming. If it comes in a box, it’s probably not ok, so these are among the foods you should never eat.

If it won’t rot at some point in the near future, it’s probably not benefitting your health. Stick to the produce section of your grocery store, and if you want to splurge, go for organic fresh fruit or organic dark chocolate.

Or, if you really must, eat healthy 90% of the time and then have your damn Cup-A-Noodles on the side.

Eating healthy is not that hard. Yes, of course, it’s an adjustment. However, it’s an adjustment that’s a huge investment to your health and will make you feel better. You’ll also be supporting a healthier planet and world by not buying toxic substances and then putting them into your body. Happy eating! 🙂

Your Introduction to the Menstrual Cup

Welcome to your introduction to the menstrual cup. It’s about to get real.

Did you know that feminine care product brands such as Playtex, Kotex, and Tampax test on animals?

I know what you’re thinking—how the hell do they test tampons on animals???

Actually, they test the amount of bleach on animals. What, you didn’t think those white tampons and pads were actually natural, did you? That they came from trees all nice and white? No, sorry. Those mothers were bleached. And you are shoving them up your vag.

I know, right?

Tampons also contain a known carcinogen byproduct, increase your risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and your risk for Toxic Shock Syndrome, a serious illness which a model recently lost a leg to.

Get rid of those chemicals! There are natural brands of tampons and pads that you can buy if you really want to, including organic cotton ones.

But I don’t use tampons and pads anymore, not since I found out about the menstrual cup.

What Exactly Is the Menstrual Cup?

Some of you may already know what a menstrual cup is. I had no idea what it was until I started looking up alternatives to conventional pads and tampons.

The deal is, it’s a small cup that you insert into your vagina that catches your flow rather than absorbing it. Some say this helps to ease cramps. The cup, when inserted properly, should not leak at all.

Fascinating, right? My first menstrual cup was The Keeper, which is made of natural rubber latex.

It Fits Better Than Tampons

Menstrual cups come in different sizes. You may think this looks large, but it’s actually quite small and not difficult to insert after a couple tries (you fold before insertion).

Sizes vary by age, whether or not you have given birth, and personal preference. This menstrual cup is the smaller size for women who have not given birth vaginally. Unfortunately, this cup didn’t work for me. I could not get it to stop leaking and the stem was really long. Some women trim the stems depending on how long they need them to be.

The position of the menstrual cup will be slightly different in every woman’s body. When I was first looking at menstrual cups, I thought, “I’m going to be the most natural hippie ever and not shove silicone into my body, so I’m getting the natural rubber.”

I used this menstrual cup for almost six months and just never got the hang of it. They say that it takes women an average of three periods to master the menstrual cup. For some women, it only takes one. For some, it could take longer (ahem, me).

The menstrual cup requires you to become familiar with your female anatomy. This was great for me because I had no clue what was really up down there. It’s great to be knowledgeable about your body so that you can better care for it.

You Can Pick the Material You Want

After finding out that the natural rubber latex just wasn’t working, I got my second menstrual cup, which was the LadyCup.

The LadyCup is made of medical grade silicone. These cups are much more comfortable to insert and get in and out of your body in my experience. They come in cute colors and the stems are shorter and have grips on the stem, which helps a lot when removing.

As you can see, they have air holes to create the seal. There needs to be a seal created in order for the menstrual cup to work.

For the LadyCup, I got the bigger size because it’s based on age. The menstrual cup needs to be inserted in a specific way and there are a ton of tips and folds that you can do to get it to work properly.

Whether you choose to go totally natural or get a silicone cup, it’s for sure healthier than tampons. I actually went through two more menstrual cups (a smaller LadyCup and finally the Lunette) before finding my perfect fit.

It Takes Time to Get Used To

I’ve been on my adventure with the menstrual cup for several months now and it’s been a fascinating, albeit frustrating, one.

It takes time to get the hang of this but when it works, it’s like magic. Here are just a few benefits of using the menstrual cup:

  • You insert it and you’re good to go for 12 hours
  • You can run, swim, pee, poo, do whatever you need to do with it in
  • When it’s in properly, you don’t feel a thing.
  • It’s more eco-friendly
  • No more trips to the store for tampons!

Didn’t tampons and pads take time to get used to? The menstrual cup will too. You will love it once it works and you’ll definitely love not exposing your vagina to carcinogenic substances.

How to Clean Your Cup

When your cup is full or if it’s leaking, it’s time to take it out and reinsert it.

But let me stop you before you do this.

First, you need to wash your hands. I like using a castile soap like Dr. Bronner’s. If you don’t wash your hands, you’re putting yourself at risk for a UTI (yes, I got a UTI from not washing my menstrual cup my first summer using it).

After emptying the cup, you need to wash the cup. I don’t care if you just put that thing in, wash it again. Be sure to thoroughly rinse off any soap residue. Then, just reinsert. It’s that easy.

It’s really important that your hands are clean before you have any contact with your menstrual cup, so don’t neglect this step!

Not Liking the Cup?

Ok, I get it. Putting a tiny cup in your vagina is just not for everyone. Here are some alternatives to the menstrual cup:

Get reusable cloth pads. You can wash and reuse these. I ordered cloth pads as a backup on days when I don’t feel like messing with the cup or when my flow is lighter. Flannel is actually a great material to use as it’s absorbent or you can go for organic cotton or bamboo.

Try natural tampons and pads. These would include unbleached fibers. They’re easier to deal with if you’re not invested in the menstrual cup, but wasteful for long-term use, as the average woman has her period for something like 40 years and will use nearly 12,000 tampons.

Check out sea sponge tampons. These are pretty cool. I myself haven’t tried them, but Bree (this really cool girl on YouTube who is something like a menstrual cup guru) has and did a video on them, click on the link to check it out.

Don’t Give Up Too Soon!

If you’re having problems getting your cup not to leak, I would encourage you to check out my guide for getting your menstrual cup to stop leaking. Bree also did a video on that which is super neat and helpful if you want the short (or a more visual) version.

Don’t give up on your menstrual cup! You can do this. Contact the company that made your cup—after going through four menstrual cups, Lunette finally helped me find my perfect fit. You might have to do some experimenting to find what works for you.

Trust me, all this effort will totally be worth it in the end!

The Verdict

I really love menstrual cups even though they can be frustrating when getting used to them. They give me a way to avoid animal testing, be more in touch with my body, and be friendly to the earth.

So ladies… happy menstrual cup shopping. There are so many different brands to consider! I do hope you’ll give this a try, as it’s safer for your body, there is no known risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, and it’s so much more convenient for you and the planet.

Cost wise, the cups run anywhere from $20-$40 and last for 10 years. Can you buy boxes and boxes of tampons and pads for $40 in ten years? DOUBT IT.

Embrace your womanhood and check out the menstrual cup; you can pick your favorite color, have it shipped to your door, and get familiar with your body all in the privacy of your own home. What have you got to lose?

Welcome to The Green Writing Desk!

Welcome to The Green Writing Desk!

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I hope to share with my lovely clients a bit about me through these entires and the things that are important to me. Natural health is my passion and focus at The Green Writing Desk.

I came to natural health eight years ago when I was sixteen—I was diagnosed with a “rare and incurable” autoimmune disease that put me in a wheelchair and on chemotherapy. Four years later at the age of 21, I was told by a doctor that I would be on chemo for the rest of my life. I then sought the help of a herbalist, who suggested that gluten was causing my illness. I went gluten-free and a week later all of my symptoms disappeared.

Cultivating knowledge of ourselves, our earth, and our bodies is vital to becoming well. Toxins, stress, sickness, and genetically engineered food and pharmaceutical drugs are not making us well. Through The Green Writing Desk, I hope to educate others about natural health while doing what I love—helping great businesses produce great content.

Writing has been a lifelong passion of mine and I was able to explore and refine that passion at Penn State University. I worked with some phenomenal teachers there to become the seasoned writer I am today. My writing experiences have been across all mediums including blog writing, technical writing, science/medical writing, creative writing, and more. Of course, all these categories are not mutually exclusive 🙂

Today, four years after finding out the truth about my illness, I remain drug-free and of course, still gluten-free. I feel amazing. My journey hasn’t been easy, but it’s certainly been worthwhile.

I hope you enjoy this blog as an extended part of The Green Writing Desk and what it has to offer. I look forward to working with you and your business to create amazing content.

Thanks for visiting!