The fanny pack is back! When I brought this fanny pack home from one of my thrifting outings & showed it to my parents, I thought it was quite funny when my dad said “Hey, that is exactly like the one I used to have!”
I wish I would have had a stylish fanny pack for when I went to Norway, it would have made things so much easier! Today I am sporting a microfibre-free outfit by wearing all natural materials! I thrifted these white pants, originally they were huge flare bellbottom jeans and to make them more modern I cut and sewed them to look like jeans that are more in style today – it was ridiculously easy!
This year, I am slowly transitioning to a more sustainable mouth care regime! First however, I am using up what I have already until it is all gone and I will replace those items with more sustainable options or DIY solutions! I made the switch to bamboo toothbrushes over a year ago, as well as a more natural toothpaste. I also incorporate other steps into my routine – read on to learn more!
bamboo is easily sustainably harvested
bamboo is naturally antimicrobial
bamboo handles are completely biodegradable & you can recycle the bristles (you can compost the handle & it will decompose naturally)
bamboo grows quickly & is easy to renew
there is no recycling program for plastic toothbrushes
Plastic products end up devastating the environment, human & animal health (as seen here)
there are so many DIY toothpaste recipes on Pinterest
for example: 1/2 cup coconut oil, 3 tbsp baking soda, 1 tbsp xylitol, 10 drops of food grade essential oil (usually peppermint, orange, etc).
regular toothpaste is usually full of harmful ingredients
natural toothpastes have natural sweeteners, while regular toothpastes have artificial sweeteners
natural toothpaste does not contain fluoride
regular toothpaste is tested on animals, natural toothpaste is not
natural toothpaste can clean your teeth just as well as regular toothpaste
Activated charcoal is usually found in natural mouth care products for numerous reasons:
activated charcoal whitens teeth naturally by removing stains
activated charcoal changes pH balance in the mouth & results in better oral health
activated charcoal helps to prevent cavities, gum disease and bad breath
however, activated charcoal is MESSY – usually requires clean up after use or some will only brush with activated charcoal in the shower
There are multiple companies now that provide kits that include products with activated charcoal that is safe to use. I was sent a Carbon Coco kit – which is focused around the activated charcoal ingredient. Their products are 100% safe to use and provide a natural and healthy way to remove stains from your teeth – no harmful chemicals! I dip a wet toothbrush into the charcoal powder and brush for my teeth for 3 minutes – I am sure to be gentle & not scrub my teeth. I spit out the charcoal, which always requires cleanup afterward, then finish with brushing my teeth with the activated charcoal toothpaste for 3 minutes. My teeth feel so clean afterward! After oil pulling in the mornings and using these products at night, my teeth definitely are whiter after only 2 weeks! The Carbon Coco products are great, as they offer a natural whitening solution – however I would personally love to see them switch to more sustainable packaging and bamboo toothbrushes.
use 1-2tbs of organic extra virgin coconut oil in the morning and swish it around for 20 minutes (I do this while in the shower or while doing my makeup)
Make sure not to swallow the oil, also make sure to spit the oil out in the garbage afterward as coconut oil will clog drains
I have been seeing personalized jewelry on models and in street style so frequently that I decided I should join the fun. I love personalized jewelry because it offers so many layering options. I love layering necklaces as they bring so much interest to an outfit. Personalized jewelry is special because, in my opinion, it is a timeless piece that you can keep wearing throughout your life – which makes it a great statement piece instead of a fast-fad – just ensure that you make a high-quality investment that will last and keep looking good throughout the years.
Here I am wearing my personalized necklaces with an outfit that consists of completely natural materials – cotton & leather – in my efforts to reduce my own personal microfibre pollution. Natural sure does look better, on myself and on the planet!
I chose to get “Tiara” & “Grace” on my personalized necklaces because those are my first and middle names. I layered them with other necklaces I have, that happen to be vintage pieces, the options are endless! It is so fun to search for vintage pieces to incorporate into your wardrobe – make it an outing with friends & hit up some local thrift shops!
Thank you Kim from Chel Photo for the studio photography & oNecklace for the personalized jewelry!
personalized necklaces were received from oNecklace, all thoughts & opinions are my own
Hello everyone! In this update on my favourite sustainable skincare products, I am adding in some amazing products that I have added to my collection and that I hope you consider adding to yours (previous favourites can be found here, here & here)! These products are created, formulated and packaged with the environment in mind, and in case you forgot, we ourselves are a part of the environment as well. What we do to the environment, we do to ourselves.
I use this product either as a facial oil or after washing and steaming my face, I will apply this product and use it as a deep cleansing oil. This oil makes my skin glow, packed with goodies such as seabuckthorn, lavender & grapefruit, this is the perfect pick-me-up for your skin!
Packaged in sustainable packaging that is reusable
This is a lovely facial mask that I will put on my face & neck for up to 20 minutes. This mask calms my skin down and evens my complexion – leaving my skin glowing and soft! I massage it off with a hot, wet face cloth and then apply lotion or facial oil.
Packaged in a reusable glass jar (that can be returned to a retailer so the company can reuse it)!
Clean & cruelty-free
Made in Canada
This loose powder can easily be applied to the eyelid (or anywhere else) with a brush or finger tip. I have the shade Fairy and it is a peachy-coloured shimmer that sparkles so beautifully. You can put on one layer, or build the product up to create a higher intensity. A lot of eyeshadows bother my sensitive eyes, however this eyeshadow does not give me any issues!
Elate’s Brow Balm is the world’s first sustainable, vegan non-toxic and cruelty-free brow product!!! I apply this product with an angled brush and comb over it with a clear gel and my eyebrows look amazing all day long! I have the shade Raven.
Packaged in seed paper and fits in the reusable bamboo palettes
Clean, vegan & cruelty-free ingredients
Oh.My.God. This product is a MUST BUY!!! I am obsessed with this dewy highlighter and I get so many compliments on my skin because I use it. I apply it last and set it with a setting spray and it lasts all day and makes me look like I have the most healthy, glowing and bright complexion all while maintaining a rather natural look unlike most highlighters. I have never loved a product as much as I love this product.
These products came packaged in a reusable wooden box and are handmade with ingredients like coconut oil and beeswax. The solid perfume scents are to die for – so relaxing and delicious-smelling. I swear by the lip and salve products for my skin in the winter. The only issue is some of these products themselves are not packaged sustainably as they are in plastic – I hope this company grows and is able to switch over to tin containers for all their products!
Ash & Thorn Sh!t for Menstrual Pain & Flow Regulation
Only uses medicinal plants that were personally grown, ethically wild harvested or purchased from small organic farms
100% handmade products
So, in my struggle with Endometriosis, I have been trying to find ways of coping with the disease without so many synthetics or chemicals. I came across this product, which contains natural ingredients which have been known to restore normal period cycles, suppress spasms, reduce muscular tension and cramping & relieve depression. This product can also be used for IBS, fibromyalgia and anxiety – all of which are usually parts of Endometriosis as well. I use this at night and I rub it into my scars that resulted from my Endometriosis surgery.
Pacifica French Lilac Spray Perfume
Purchased from Pacifica (can be found at Dad’s Organic Market)
100% Vegan and Cruelty-free
Formulated without SLS, sulfates, parabens and petroleum
Proprietary perfume blends with natural and essential oils, and natural plant based alcohol
I think my two favourite scents in the whole world are lavender and lilac. When I smelt this perfume, I could not believe how similar smells like the actual flower. I have gone through 5 bottles of this dreamy liquid.
On Thursday November 2nd, 2017 I went into surgery to have a Laparoscopy to remove multiple cysts, endometriomas (chocolate cysts) and scar tissue which resulted from severe stage 5 Endometriosis. This has been a difficult time in my life. I decided to write about my disease, with the hope that I can provide an informative read for those who might also have the same disease or know someone with it. I hope that it can help others to feel more informed about the procedure so they can mentally prepare more than I was able to. Part one can be found here.
THE WEEK BEFORE SURGERY
The week before my surgery date, I went to my doctor to fill out a pre-op form. There was no prep for this surgery, except I was suppose to stop eating and drinking at midnight before my surgery. I also had to make sure not to take any ibuprofen or supplements with willow/salix a week before surgery, as they are blood thinners. I had no idea what to expect or how to mentally prepare for this procedure.
HOW TO PREP FOR SURGERY
remove all nail polish.
remove all jewelry and piercings.
go makeup free to the hospital
wear loose and baggy clothing to the hospital, ensure no high-waisted items are worn (very low-rise underwear and sweat pants).
buy cough candies (as your throat will hurt and get dry after surgery due to the tube they insert down your throat and the last thing you want is to have to cough after surgery).
ensure that you have lots of pads on hand (you cannot use tampons for a month afterward – nor will you want to. I recommend Natracare).
buy a laxative, as the medication and surgery will make it really difficult to go to the bathroom after, I recommend RestoraLAX as it is really gentle.
have lots of food around that is gentle on your stomach and high in liquids (soup, applesauce, smoothies, etc).
practice with the person who will be taking care of you how to help you in and out of bed – they should put their arm behind your back to lower you slowly with all your weight on their arm and then they should put their arm out when you want to get up so you can use your arm strength only to pull yourself up and then they will have to help you lift and lower your legs – basically find something that works for the both of you that requires no abdomen muscles. (If the surgery is just a searching procedure you probably will not need this level of help, however after having an invasive surgery I definitely needed someone to help me in and out of bed for 2 weeks after surgery).
have a bag full of stuff you’ll need, like a phone charger, soup, etc. ready for the day of surgery.
THE DAY OF SURGERY
The day of my surgery, I had to be at admitting at 8:00am. I was given my own bed in a room with someone else awaiting surgery that day as well. I was given a dress and a robe to change into – no bra or underwear allowed. Ask the nurse assigned to your room to provide you with a container or a bag to place items that need to be with you up until the surgery if needed (like eyeglasses). I had blood-work taken, then I laid in bed until 11:45am, when I was finally called for my surgery. I was so tired and hungry that this wait passed slowly, I recommend bringing a book or some form of entertainment. I was walked into a room right outside of the operation room where I had multiple professionals come and talk to me and ask if I had any questions. The whole time I was trying to suppress my emotions and rising anxiety as they explained the procedure and the risks associated with it. I had to sign some forms then I was walked into the operating room.
At this point, they removed my glasses so everything gets a little foggy (literally). I had about 8 people in the operating room to assist the surgeon with the procedure. I had an IV inserted then an oxygen mask placed over my nose and mouth. Everyone was very friendly and helped to make me feel as comfortable as I could possibly feel. They covered me in a heated blanket and then I was out.
For this next part, I am summarizing the operative procedure report that I received after surgery – just a warning, it gets pretty graphic.
After I was given a general anesthetic, I was positioned properly, sanitized and compression stockings were put on my legs. A catheter was inserted into my bladder and a speculum was placed into the vagina as the cervix was grasped with a tenaculum, then the cervix was dilated. A uterine manipulator was then inserted through the cervix and into the uterus. Then they inflated my uterus and lower abdomen with gas. 4 incisions were made, one in my bellybutton, 2 on my left side and one on my right side. The smaller incisions were about 5mm large, and the bellybutton incision was about an inch long. From here the surgeon inserted a camera and the tools they needed to manipulate the organs and remove the disease.
First the surgeon mobilized my bowels out of my pelvis, which helped to examine the organs. Here it was noticed that I had bilateral endometriomas and extensive adhesions tethering my ovaries to my pelvic sidewalls. My ovaries were observed to each be bigger than my uterus due to the endometriosis wrapped around them. My ovaries were mobilized and drained large amounts of endometriosis fluid which they suctioned out. Two ovarian cystectomies were performed. My cysts (that ranged from 6cm in size and smaller) were pierced and excised. The surgeon continued to cut out all of the endometriosis that tethered my organs to each other and my pelvic wall. Then very thick and nodular endometriosis was removed off of my bladder and ureters by blunt and sharp dissection. The surgeon then removed lots of endometriosis off of ligaments, internal cavities and made multiple other dissections to try and access and remove everywhere that the disease had spread. The surgeon had to use coagulation and Interceed in many areas due to the extensive amount of material that was removed. There is about 2 more pages detailing the rest of the procedures that were performed, however this is because I had a very severe case of endometriosis – so I will skip them. Then, the surgeon found a 2cm nodular cyst on my right bowel that she had to leave because it will require another surgery and a diverting colostomy, however she was able to remove the rest of my disease. Normal surgeries are 1 hour long, however mine was about 3 hours.
I remember waking up in recovery and getting asked how much pain I felt, on a scale from 1 to 10. It was definitely 10 but I said “6 or 7” because I knew that the amount of medication that they would give me would only make me feel worse later (more nauseous and groggy). I was in and out of it for a while. The next thing I remember is waking up back in the room, with the nurse giving me a cup of water. It was 4pm. My surgeon had left a handwritten note for me to read, which I greatly appreciated during that time. I slowly drank some water then fell asleep again. I woke up about an hour later and the nurse wanted me to try to pee. I cannot imagine what my face looked like as I looked up at her but I was horrified at the thought of having to move. I also knew I wasn’t going to be able to pee, however she was persistent. She put out her arm and I used my ARMS ONLY to get into a sitting position, which then she let me sit and told me to do some deep breathing. After 30 seconds, she helped me stand and I shuffled over to the toilet. I could not sit down due to the extreme pain so she had to lower me onto the toilet (at this point a burp just burst forth and she laughed and said that was normal and a good sign that my body was trying to expel the gas that was pumped into me). I could not pee, however there was a lot of blood. She gave me a pair of hospital underwear and a pad and helped me back to my bed.
The pain I felt after moving for the first time I will never forget. I have been through multiple surgeries in my life, and had to deal with severe endometriosis pain for 5 years, but never have I felt pain like that. I couldn’t help but cry out in pain after. It felt like someone was mixing my abdomen up with a knife then repeatedly stabbing it. This is the part I wish I could have mentally prepared for – I would suggest sitting down with yourself in front of a mirror a week or so before the surgery and just saying “I will be in extreme pain, but I will get through it, I will heal” or something… because that was hell. I laid still for some time and tried to eat some soup. Make sure that you only eat VERY LIGHT FOOD for the first 2-3 days after surgery. Lots of liquids and soup. This will ensure that you do not vomit and also will help to get your bowels moving again as well. At 8pm the nurse woke me up again and helped me to pee. I was finally able to pee, so I was sent home. The first few times you pee, you will feel a terrible burn – this is due to the catheter that was stuck up into the bladder. The drive home was painful (if you are the driver try to drive slow and avoid bumps). If you are helping someone who just had this surgery, please be gentle with them and be patient… I am going to say it again… patience is greatly appreciated during this time.
I got all set up in my bed, I had about 6 or 7 stacked pillows so I could lay like I could in the hospital bed (you’re going to want to do this, as lying flat is not recommended for about 1-2 weeks after surgery). At 9pm I just laid there with tears falling down my face – I was having such a hard time processing everything, all the pain, all the fear and how much I felt like I couldn’t get through this. I stayed like that for about 3 hours, I think I was in shock and it was my body’s way of trying to cope.
Make sure while you are in a good state of mind that you (or someone else) writes down and organizes all of the times you need to take medication and the pain killers and set alarms ahead of time because you do not want to fall behind on taking them.
WEEK 1 AFTER SURGERY
Let me tell you, the entire week after my surgery was hell. It seemed like there was no improvements whatsoever as each day progressed. I want to reinstate the fact that I had a severe case and a lot of work done, so not everyone’s experience will be this bad. However, the take home points are:
do not sit up or lay down yourself, get someone to help you.
do not use your abs whatsoever, only use your arms to get you up and down.
When sitting up, or sitting in general, do not lean forward or crunch your stomach or hunch over in any way.
for the first week I only wore a nightgown and hospital underwear, so ensure that you have baggy t-shirts or a loose dress with loose underwear that you can wear for maximum comfort.
you will bleed for about a week after surgery, due to the uterine manipulator being inserted during surgery. As long as it is not very heavy, you do not need to worry (if you are filling a pad/hour go to your local emergency room).
While I slept, I would lay on my back and tuck my hands under my bum – just so there was no chance that while sleeping I would roll or that my arms would hit my incisions.
your body will try to get rid of all of the gas that was pumped into it, however it is way too painful to expel gas, so the only way you can help yourself is in-between napping, walk around for 5 minutes (I paced my living room) then I would sleep for a few hours and repeat. It helped to get the gas moving and it was easier to deal with when standing/walking.
speaking of gas, you will experience pain in your shoulders and shoulder blades, as that is trapped gas. Again, walking around very slowly is about all you should do during the first week – it will help.
take your medications on time.
Do not feel guilty about resting. Sleep as often and as much as you can. Lay around – as boring as it is. Do not push yourself – I got bored during week 2 after surgery and started to do things I should not have been doing and I herniated my bellybutton incision – a painful experience that I don’t want to happen to anyone.
WEEK 2 AFTER SURGERY
After 10 or 11 days I ran out of morphine to take, and my body went through a withdrawal period for 3 days afterward. I was really scared that I had gotten an infection, however I monitored my actual temperature and it stayed at 36.8ºC. I felt very cold then very hot, very nauseous, had bad headaches and got very angry and short tempered – it took 3 days for that to wear off.
Two weeks after surgery is when I came off a lot of my medication and I felt a little more raw. The pain and the emotions were more noticeable. I started to feel very sad, abandoned and lonely. The friends and family I thought would reach out to me didn’t, and I felt utterly and completely forgotten. I would just lay in bed in pain and wish someone would talk to me – I was so miserable. I think that maybe some people did not realize what I was going through, so they did not understand – however if you know someone who is going through this surgery – please reach out to them and ask if you can get them anything, or hang out with them, or even call them. It will be greatly appreciated as this time is a very emotionally draining experience.
WEEK 3 AFTER SURGERY
Standing for long periods of time was very difficult and walking was a slow procedure. I tried going to class for the first time and I found sitting very difficult and uncomfortable – I would come home and lay in bed for the rest of the day as I was so exhausted from that minimal activity. I still felt pain and was still a little bloated/swollen. I was so exhausted during this period that I was not myself during the times I had to be out or in class – I was grumpy and irritable and had little patience. I was so uncomfortable and tired and had no motivation to be involved with anything at this point.
FIRST PERIOD AFTER SURGERY
The first time I got my period after surgery, I was so upset because for the first time I was starting to feel a tiny bit better – then my period knocked me out for a week. Expect a very heavy flow with lots of clots (TMI I know…but apparently it is normal). It was very painful, and the pain actually spread into my hips, thighs, abdomen and chest. The first 2 days I actually could not go to school. It lasted 9 days and I spent most of it lying in bed with a hot pack and extra-strength Tylenol.
3 MONTHS AFTER SURGERY
Here I am, writing this three months after my surgery. I am still insanely exhausted and my immune system is very low. My surgeon told me to expect waiting 5-6 months after surgery to get my energy levels back. I am finally able to move around more and wear jeans. I have started physical therapy twice a week because the surgeon and physical therapist discovered that after my surgery, my body went into shock and my organs went still and all of my surrounding muscles freaked out as well. I see two physical therapists each week, one who specializes in working with my uterus and pelvic floor health and another one who helps me with everything else (correcting my posture that I had adapted to feel less pain, learning how to properly use my muscles in the surrounding areas, and ensuring safe movement with my hernia). Physical therapy is a HUGE help – highly recommended (but expensive – so save up before surgery).
Every night I put some oil on my incisions and gently rub them – this is to make the scar tissue more malleable. I do the gentle exercises my physical therapists have told me to do each day and I try to sleep as much as I can. I still sometimes feel pain or an uncomfortable feeling in my abdomen, which is to be expected. School is difficult as my energy levels are still quite low, but I am managing. Each week I heal more, and each day I realize how proud I am of myself for getting through the most difficult thing I have gone through in my life.
The current “treatment” I am on is to take CYCLEN every single day until I reach menopausal age. Taking this pill every single day is suppose to stop me from getting periods ever again – however, instead I have been spotting every single day for the past month and a half. I also think this is the worst kind of “treatment” because women with Endometriosis have too much estrogen in their bodies and there is nothing being done too deal with this excess amount of estrogen. I am worried about this treatment – it troubles me daily. I will make sure to write up updated post if/when my treatment changes.
Here is the end of this very lengthy post – if you have made it to the end, thank you for taking your time to read this. It is my hope that awareness is spread about this disease and that a better treatment is found. Part one of this post can be found here.
On Thursday November 2nd, 2017 I went into surgery to have a Laparoscopy to remove multiple cysts, endometriomas (chocolate cysts) and scar tissue which resulted from severe stage 5 Endometriosis. This has been a difficult time in my life. I decided to write about my disease and experience, with the hope that I can provide an informative read for those who might also have the same disease or know someone with it.
WHAT IS ENDOMETRIOSIS
Endometriosis is a disease of the endocrine and immune systems that is under-researched, not well-known, and misunderstood. It is a chronic disease which causes unbearable pain, due to similar tissue to the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus, growing on the outside of the uterus. The misplaced tissue grows and attaches onto other organs and the pelvic cavity. With each period, all of the tissue outside of the uterus fills with blood, however the blood and tissue in the endometrial growths have no way of draining. Instead, internal bleeding, inflammation and scar tissue develop and cause severe pain, infertility, bowel issues, adhesions and other side-effects, including chronic fatigue, immune disorders and allergies. The only way to determine if endometriosis is present is by a laparoscopy, which normally includes a camera being inserted through a small incision to allow the surgeon to look around the internal cavity.
ROAD TO DIAGNOSIS
2012: My symptoms started to begin. I kept getting sick or getting infections that I could not fight off and I would need multiple treatments of antibiotics. Several other symptoms blossomed. I went through a point where I would make a doctor’s appointment every month and I would sit there and explain all of my symptoms, begging to be listened to. I was told I had an anxiety disorder that caused me to develop “health anxiety” or “illness anxiety disorder” and that I had painful periods, like any other woman, and that I should take more Advil. My doctor told me that my health anxiety would cause me to believe that the symptoms “in my head” were real and that I actually did not have anything wrong with me.
2013: I started to experience a great deal of pain and other disturbances within my intestines and lower abdomen.
2014: In my first year of university, I had to leave class because I had fainted due to the extreme pain. I went into ER only to have a doctor tell me that I probably had a cyst rupture and that all women have cysts that rupture – that it was a natural process. I was told to take an extra-strength Advil.
2015: I experienced even more extremely painful periods and for the first time I was experiencing pain in-between my periods as well. My periods lasted for 8 to 9 days and were very heavy. I started to experience extreme fatigue even though I was sleeping 8 hours a night. My hormone blood-work was getting unusual flags, which resulted in getting an MRI of my brain to see if I had any tumors that were impacting my pituitary gland. Nothing was found, so I was told that it was a mystery as to why my hormones were so out of whack.
2016: I complained about pelvic pain so often that a urine test was always ordered. There was blood in every urine sample I gave, however since my kidney blood-work was fine, I was told that might be “my normal” to have blood in my urine. I started to realize that I was not able to hold my bladder for longer than 30 minutes and it started to be a huge inconvenience.
I hit my low in the end of 2016. I was so depressed that I would curl up in bed and cry for hours at a time. Horrific thoughts and feelings followed me everywhere. My hair was falling out, my skin was peeling, I had no energy whatsoever, my abdomen would bloat so severely that I had a walk-in doctor think I was 8-months pregnant, I was getting sick all the time, my stomach and intestines constantly hurt and I truly believed that I was going to die. I was told that all of these symptoms were a result from my depression. However, I knew something was wrong with me. I knew that something was causing my anxiety and depression, and not the other way around. I have never felt so lost and scared as I did during those months. I decided to go off the pill, which helped with my depression (and it was not helping at all with my growing cysts anyway). I decided that as a last resort I was going to pay to see a naturopath. I brought a 2-inch thick binder full of all of my previous tests and blood-work and in a very short time my naturopath had put the entire puzzle together. She sent me for a detailed blood allergy test – it came back saying I was highly allergic to dairy, gluten (both of which I knew already) but also nuts, seeds, all grains, legumes, eggs, soy, potatoes and corn. She told me that these were the allergies that she would normally see in someone with an autoimmune disease, (Autoimmune Paleo AIP diet) and she thought that with all my other symptoms that I might have Endometriosis. I quit eating all of those foods cold turkey – I felt a difference the next day. However, I was still not feeling 100%, so she told me to set up an appointment with a gynecologist, and so I did.
2017: I had such immense pain almost all of the time in my abdomen and lower back. I had developed an unusual lump on the left side of my abdomen that had a burning sensation. I went for an ultrasound and I was told that I had a hernia. 5 months later I saw a physician specializing in hernias. She told me that she didn’t think it was a hernia and to try hot compresses because it was probably a strained muscle. I had to be very firm with her and I finally convinced her that she should refer me for an MRI. I was put on the end of a long waiting list and months later I had an MRI. A week later the hernia surgeon called me and said “Well, there is no evidence of a hernia, however I think I know what was causing the hernia sensation. There is a significant cyst in that area, as well as several others in your abdomen. You need to make an appointment with another specialist to get this removed as soon as possible, this is a severe case and I believe it is Endometriosis.” There was that word again. Luckily, my gynecologist appointment I had made nearly a year ago was a few days later. I told my gynecologist all of my symptoms and she said she was confident that I had endometriosis and she gave me a form to sign for the Laparoscopic surgery. I was then put on another waiting list, however once the MRI was sent to her, I had a surgery date set up within two months.
Pre-Operation Form: a week before my surgery, I went to my doctor to get a pre-op form completed. She told me that I would probably need one singular day off of school (for my case, this was very incorrect). There was no preparation for this surgery except I had to start fasting at 12AM.
November 2, 2017: 5 years later, at 22 years of age, I was finally going for surgery to remove the disease that had been negatively impacting my quality of life for so long. The surgery and recovery is the most difficult and painful thing I have ever gone through in my life. This disease needs to be taken more seriously and recognized quicker by physicians. [pre and post-surgery details will be discussed in part two].
WHAT CAUSES ENDOMETRIOSIS
There are multiple theories on what causes Endometriosis. The body is a very complex system and difficult to understand. However research has shown that exposure to dioxins, found in synthetic chemicals, is directly related to causing endometriosis to develop. These toxins are commonly found in pesticides, herbicides, all plastics, paint, fire retardants and some industrial oils. These chemicals are widely and continually distributed in the environment – and with the increased use of these chemicals, there has been an increase in the amount and severity of Endometriosis. it is clear, now more than ever, that they have negative impacts on the environment, humans and animals and the use of them must be limited or discontinued completely.
Unfortunately, in the world we live in today, humans are creating their own destruction however, they have the mindset that whatever is man-made must be a miracle. There seems to be no way to escape dioxins, as they are readily created, sold and companies even try to manipulate and lie to consumers about the hidden health concerns their products have. Dioxins are also very persistent. However, there are some ways to decrease dioxin absorption:
Since dioxins bioaccumulate, they are able to concentrate in the food chain. Limiting the amount of meat, fish and dairy products you consume and replacing them with organically grown plant products will limit the amount of dioxins our intestines absorb. If your budget does not include the purchasing of organic produce, there are proper ways of cleaning and removing the outside layers of fruits and vegetables to lower the amount of herbicides and pesticides ingested.
With the high amounts of air pollution that occur today, it is difficult to protect ourselves from air contaminated with dioxins (from pesticides, herbicides, chemical burning & much more). If you know an area has recently been sprayed with any type of chemical it would be best to avoid that area altogether or to use proper safety equipment.
A large part of dioxins are absorbed through water intake. Humans need water to live, and our dependence on plastics has gone too far. Every time plastic is purchased, large portions of it gets deposited in the environment. Plastic sitting in soil or in waterbodies leaches dioxins. Also, every time a man-made fibre is washed (clothes made of polyester and the like), it releases plastic microfibres into our water systems. These plastic microfibres accumulate in our drinking water and the animals and plants that we consume. Then the dioxins are directly absorbed into our bodies. The age of plastic needs to end.
Any type of bleached product exposes us to dioxins. Tampons and pads made from bleached cotton or synthetic fibres contain dioxins. It is recommended that women start to use unbleached alternatives that do not have plastic applicators. When I used to get periods (now I have been artificially induced into menopause) I would purchase Natracare products only.
Treatment options for endometriosis need to be researched and improved. The current excuses for treatment of this disease are causing women more harm than good. I am still in the process of determining a treatment plan that I am comfortable with, as right now my “treatment” is to take the pill every single day until I am 65 (as children are not in the picture). This exposes me to incredible health risks that I am not comfortable with. Women with endometriosis also have a greater risk of developing cancer and autoimmune disorders. It is important to do yearly checkups and to make an appointment with your doctor if you are feeling off.
I am desperately hoping that more posts like this will bring a greater awareness to this disease and the toxic products that cause it. I truly do not want other women to have to suffer through this disease. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, we are natural beings that evolved from the earth, and we will return back into it. That is a natural environmental cycle that does not include synthetics. Let’s start looking out for one another and the environment. Pollution harms so much more than we know.
There is only 4 days until Christmas! I cannot believe it – I was hoping that my winter break would last longer however it is already slipping away too quickly. I have been really struggling lately with all of the Christmas baking smells in the air, so I decided I needed to get to work and play around with a cookie recipe. For a year now, due to an in-depth allergy test and my progressing autoimmune disease, I now adhere to a strict Autoimmune Paleo AIP diet, as well as completely avoiding all gluten, dairy, grains, nuts, seeds, soy, legumes and eggs. This has evidently turned baking into a huge experiment(al disaster) most of the time. However, I am impressed with myself because after a day of baking, I finally have a recipe that works and tastes incredible.
For this recipe, I started by melting down the honey and coconut oil in metal/glass measuring cups on low heat on the stovetop. Once they were liquid, I poured them in with the salt and vanilla. Then I mixed in the baking soda and coconut flour. An important step is to let the batter sit for 10 minutes after it has all been mixed to allow the coconut flour to absorb all the wet ingredients. If you are also following a strict Autoimmune Paleo AIP diet, then you won’t want to consume too many of these a day as they do have honey in them, which should only be an occasional treat. Also this recipe includes pure vanilla extract, however the vanilla should be baked off enough that it shouldn’t bother you. If you choose to add chocolate to this recipe, ensure that it is pure cocoa (dairy & sugar-free)! So, let’s get baking!
¼ cup of raisins OR pure cocoa nubs OR blueberries
Preheat the oven to 325°F (note: my oven runs hot, so you may need to adjust this for yourself).
Line your baking pan with parchment paper.
Mix together the coconut oil, honey, vanilla extract and salt.
Add the baking soda and coconut flour and mix well until combined.
Stir in the ¼ cup of your choice (raisins, pure cocoa nubs OR blueberries).
Let the dough sit for 10 minutes so the coconut flour can absorb the liquid ingredients.
Take some dough into your hand and roll it into a ball then flatten in your palms.
Place the flattened dough onto the cookie sheet and gently flatten a little more with your fingers – they should be about 1 inch across.
Bake for 8 minutes, or until slightly brown. Let the cookies sit on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes after they are taken out of the oven, then transfer them onto a cooling rack to continue cooling.
These cookies are so satisfying and delicious – definitely hit the spot after going a year without cookies. I would recommend eating these with a glass of coconut milk or water as, with any coconut flour recipe, they are drier than most cookies. I wish you all a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!
Sustainable fashion – is there such a thing? Luckily within the past few years more and more sustainable brands have been popping up. I was quite impressed when I heard about Viahera. These bags are handmade by women in the Philippines who were victims of the typhoon Haiyan. These women are provided with employee benefits and each purchase of a bag helps to send a child to school. These bags are created with completely natural materials, consisting of pandan leaves, upcycled mahogany, organic cotton and repurposed leather – so every part of these bags will naturally biodegrade when their lifespan is over, leaving no toxic or polluting fibres behind. These one-of-a-kind bags are available for purchase here in Saskatoon, along with many other sustainable products at the Viahera storefront. You’ll be sure to find quite a few other great stores in the area as well!
Sweater: Lord & Taylor / Pants: Vero Moda / Shoes: thrifted vintage / Jacket: thrifted / Jewelry: vintage / Purse: Viahera /
– purse received from Viahera, all thoughts and opinions are my own –
It was the first time I had driven after my surgery for endometriosis, and the first time I had gone out alone after the surgery as well. I decided to pop into Better Off Duds for a peek. I was looking through the band t-shirts, I had reached the large section and something told me to flip one more hanger and THERE IT WAS… a vintage Meat Loaf concert t-shirt. In the 7+ years that I have been actively thrifting I have always wanted to find a vintage Meat Loaf shirt. I could not believe I had finally found one. God bless vintage sizes as well because this shirt was marked as a large, but fits like a small. I think Meat Loaf albums are truly creative masterpieces (artistically and musically) and I don’t think I’ll ever stop being excited about this incredible find. Also, check out this vintage suede skirt I found as well… a match made in heaven.
Christmas is right around the corner, which means you are probably in the process of purchasing gifts. Finding the right gift can be stressful, however supporting local businesses and purchasing sustainably-made products has never been easier. Since what you spend your money on is essentially the type of world that you support, let’s start supporting a healthier planet. It sounds difficult, however it is really simple! Some key points are to avoid plastic items, resist fads and fast fashion and invest in products that are high quality and will have a long lifespan. Remember to bring reusable bags and avoid plastic bags while shopping!
Shopping sustainably can be done easily, even here in Saskatoon. There are multiple stores and local businesses that provide many opportunities to shop smart, buy local and minimize your negative impact on the environment. Buying for a beauty lover? Green Tree Beauty offers sustainably made and natural cosmetics! The Farmer’s Market is a gathering of many local businesses which can help you to invest your money back into the province, rather than into large corporations. Locally owned stores like Hazlewood Vintage, Better Off Duds or 33rd Street Vintage Market, for example, are stores that offer high-quality vintage items for sale. These vintage items are very well made and still have many more years of life left in them – not to mention they are uniquely crafted! Second hand does not mean poorer quality. Most vintage items are made from natural fibres, real wood, glass, or metal, meaning that they will all naturally decompose when thrown away or that they can be safely recycled. Also, by purchasing an item second hand, you are saving a perfectly good item from the landfill, and promoting less wasteful manufacturing of new products.
Another great idea is to purchase your friends or family natural products that will replace every day items that are usually made of plastic. This will not only be healthier for them, but for the planet as well.
Some Christmas gifts do not need to be expensive at all! You can hand make your gifts! If you have some glass jars or little tin containers lying around (and if you don’t, Value Village is a great place to look) and simple ingredients found from the kitchen, DIY body scrubs, lip scrubs, lotions and other natural products are easy to make and give – Pinterest is full of recipes! Another great idea is to sew or knit something! Below, I have a picture of the reusable cotton makeup remover pads that I sewed! A handmade gift shows that the giver put some thoughtful effort into making the gift for the recipient. A promise of spending time with a friend or making special treats for someone is another way to make the season happy and memorable.
Another important aspect about Christmas is the gift packaging. Most wrapping paper and gift bags cannot be recycled. This ends up with an unnecessarily large input going into the landfill. This can be easily avoided by switching to these following methods. Have extra pillowcases, sheets, scarves or tablecloths lying around your home? Wrap your gifts using the “furoshiki” practice. You can knot the fabric, or secure it with a broach! Fabric can be continually reused to wrap presents over and over! Another way to wrap gifts is with newspapers, paper bags, or old road maps – just insure that they are recycled afterward!
Need a stocking stuffer idea? I keep my hands looking holiday ready using natural lotions from Dad’s Organic Market and the Seche Vive Topcoat from Nail Polish Canada! I apply this topcoat initially and then 2-3 days after as well and it is the only top coat I’ve found that keeps the polish on for a week (and on my hands, that is saying something… usually I chip my nail polish in 2 days). This top coat also keeps my nails very shiny and strong! This polish offers a gel nail look without the need of a lamp. Nail Polish Canada also offers nail polishes that are toxin free, found here!
I hope that this article helps you to make this Christmas season more sustainable and inspires you to bring that level of sustainability into all the other aspects of your life. After all, we only have one planet.
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