Monday, April 6, 2009

Baby Control

What does safe sex really mean? "Engaging in sexual activity using measures such as latex condoms to avoid contracting a sexually transmitted disease such as AIDS." Considering measures mean birth control as well, how do we trust that birth control is really safe for our bodies? Does the definition of safe sex stop at avoiding STD's and pregnancy? What about US? What about OUR bodies?

Recently, I took away the very last part of me that attached myself to Western Medicine. Seeing as this does actually work and the fear that's drilled behind it, I had a hard time stopping. This above all else, would be birth control.

When I typed in, "How to prevent pregnancy, the natural way", I had a bit of a laugh to myself. Unfortunately, the issue of birth isn't something that can be stopped without a patch, shot, pill or ring and by ring I mean the Nuva ring of course. I can't tell you birth control won't help you to be baby-free until your ready but I can tell you the repercussions of taking the birth control pill. Condoms are a good replacement and although they can be annoying, if it means not sacrificing your body and avoiding having hormones released into your system, it remains a good thing.

What I experienced in my first few years of using birth control was minor hormonal changes, weight gain(but only in my breasts), combined with the annoyance of having to take it every day at a certain time and the thought of not being able to have kids in the future. Now, I'm 19 and for most people....knowing whether you want to have a kid might not be clear right now but why cut your ends short? Most people (excluding our parents) tell us this is just a hoax, and how are you supposed to know that these cases of women realistically, could have never been able to get pregnant to begin with. The truth is, there happens to be no evidence proving that birth control will cause infertility...but do we really want to risk it?

I encourage all of you to read carefully through the lovely leaflet that explains your birth control choice. After trying to avoid taking a pill each day I tried the Nuva Ring...after the Nuva Ring decided to suck....I stopped. Below are some of the things we aren't told about birth control...

Did you know that certain drugs may make your birth control become ineffective? This includes antibiotics, St. John's Wort, anti hypertensive drugs, drugs for diabetes, antacids and wait...Vitamin E?! It's funny that you can go to a doctor about these things and they won't tell you ANY of this. I remember going on antibiotics at least 3 times in high school and I've been on the pill since grade ten....not ONE person told me this.

That is why we must READ THE FINE PRINT people, there are things we should be aware of!
BE aware of breast cancer, circulatory disorders, gall bladder disease and liver tumours. Scared yet? Read around, there are stories of people almost loosing their life, stories of women who couldn't become fertile after birth control and this all happens more than we think.

Consider continuing birth control.
Read the side effects.
Consider the facts.

Safe sex,
Amber

Friday, April 3, 2009

Where's your HEAD at?

Yoga has been used for thousands of years to solve problems of blood pressure, stress, coordination, flexibility, concentration, sleep and digestion. Going into exams, sleep might not be an option and your blood pressure might be kicking and because we are probably all legally drunk due to zero sleep...you might ignore this post but I highly suggest to give it a try. I still drink coffee to help with exams but sometimes after after 4 cups of coffee, I have a hard time concentrating. I think it's mainly the stress of studying and remembering EVERYTHING.

I think it's good to be in a place of your own to study. A stress-free environment that you feel comfortable in. This is why I skip out on the Leddy. The Leddy is filled with crazy stress and silence that in my eyes, can seriously drive a person crazy. Also, you can't just get on the dirty ground and de-stress with yoga, or you could turn into the crazy one. If you have a house full of roommates like current classmate Nicole, or live with your parents/siblings that don't know how to be quiet, try improvising.

We all have a bedroom of our own or a room we really enjoy in our houses...so, download some nice music, with almost zero lyrics to avoid any more distractions. Put a towel by your door to try your best to allow no noise to come into your room. BLARE that music. Get on the ground(avoid a lot of padding) and follow this amazing video. If you want to go out to buy a book or video, Chapters has a variety of different yoga books and videos. I try to do yoga everyday and I notice the benefits each and every time. If you can really take yourself away from everything for even 10-20 minutes a day you will notice a difference in your stress levels, concentration, blood pressure and sleep during the hard, stressful exam times we're about to take on. We all need that time to ourselves and our bodies...this is why yoga is so wonderful and practiced all over the world!

Avoid Tylenol, 5 hour energy death bottles, speed, energy drinks to save yourself this exam season. Instead, become in tune with your body. I promise satisfaction!

Stay stress-free & goodluck with hell the next few weeks,
Amber

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Allergy Craze!

With Spring cheer, comes the unwanted sneezing, itching and runny nose that only pollens, grass and airborne fungi can be responsible for. But because the sun is so wonderful and we all want to enjoy it, before it really hits you and keeps you inside....consider alternative medicine!

Some of the herbs I have talked about before are helpful all year long through colds, the flu AND allergies.

Garlic, garlic, garlic. I just recently found out through research that dried or powdered garlic tablets are actually better for you than just eating raw garlic and including it in your diet. Although this does help and has several health benefits for you, most of the time the enzyme in raw garlic that is necessary to help your immune system is destroyed in the stomach before it can benefit you. So pick up some tablets folks!

Echinacea is a wonderful sidekick to enhance your immune system. I want to avoid ever being sick again so I'm going to begin taking 10 drops of Echinacea before every meal. This as I have read, and as I have experienced with getting over my sickness previously, really helps.

If you keep these two herbs in your diet every day, the chances of your allergies attacking you are slim. ALSO I would highly suggest keeping a natural sea-water decongestant by your side as it clears out everything in your nose without pills and allows you to breathe. I went outside to play with my cats one sunny day and their hair was falling out like crazy. I could barely breathe and my eyes were so itchy. But with the assistance of some water in my eyes and a little hyrdaSense up my nose....things were back to normal. I usually use hydraSense at least once a day.

An interesting note, that you should consider if you have serious allergies is to have a VEGAN DIET. Arachidonic acid is a fatty acid found in animal products. This releases an agent that can restrict bronchial tubes up to 1,000 times! If you suffer from serious allergies and want to get outside this summer, consider this diet. Nicole Markham has a great blog called Ego-Veg Footprint, that will assist you with a vegan-friendly diet and many other links and topics to consider.

Some other herbs that I have read about that will keep you breathing throughout the spring/summer seasons are: stringing nettle, ephedra and butterbur. All of these products work differently to reduce mucus and clear your nasal passages. Check another website for more natural remedies for the allergy season.

Get outside!
Amber

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The answer to your weekend issues...

Got a hangover? Need a cure?

Most of us assume that the only thing our body needs after a long night of drinking is a gallon of water and some serious sleep. Some of my friends drink Gatorade, this works. Some people take Tylenol and I'm sure that works too. But if you really want to feel good, you should know what your body NEEDS after a serious drinking binge. A hangover is caused by more than just dehydration but a lack of Vitamin A, B and C caused by a chemical action from alcohol in your system. Check out the linked website for a deeper look into what types of alcohol affects you more and why. If you wake up having a dry mouth, nausea, fatigue, dizziness and a headache, I've tested the ultimate hangover cure for you :)

Before you start drinking take a B vitamin so that the alcohol in your body is taking from something that IS there. I know most people don't enjoy drinking water while binging, so I would suggest taking away some of the sugar intake during your evening so decrease the headache in the morning. Before you go home make sure you stop somewhere to fill your stomach before you lay your head in a hangover MESS. Something greasy, cheesey, filled with carbs and salt. This might not be the most healthy thing in the world, but it always works. Most of the time, I get a veggie pita with lots of cheese and this fills my stomach every time! Try to drink a bottle of water in substitute for pop before you tap out as well. When you wake up, take another B vitamin right away, drink a bottle of water or some orange juice. I usually follow this routine every time I drink and it works like a charm. If I'm feeling a little more dizzy, I usually have a cup of ginger tea and it eases the nausea. A banana works for this as well.

If my routine doesn't work for you, I've read about a few other things that you could try. Feverfew capsules are apparently good for headaches. Apparently, sauerkraut is a perfect balance of acid/nutrition that some people swear by but I refuse to put that junk in my mouth. But if you are risKAY enough to try it, let me know!

Well... happy hangovers all,

Amber

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Seesaw of Sickness

Finally, through all the weather changing, sickness changing, head spinning B/S I've beat the stealthy bastard on the other side of the ridiculous seesaw of sickness. I was able to finally give enough umph to send it flying to where it hopefully never screws me over again.
I understand with the stress and everything, that vertigo would come my way. This was easily solved though. The minute I felt dizzy, I'd start drinking up to 2 L of water until I didn't feel dizzy anymore. If it had already got to the point of no return, I'd just lay down for a few hours.
The thing with being sick is you really need to stop doing whatever you are. School, work, life....just STOP. Stay at home in your bed and just make yourself feel better. Your body wants you to slow down and get better or, like I learnt it will only keep you feeling like 500 pounds on the ground, instead of in the air...where everyone evidently wants to be.

Here are some things that helped me in my 1 1/2 days at home, getting better. Aside from tea and soups...here are some of the ACTIVE ingredients I used to stop feeling sick.

COUGH DROPS. I love candy, but what I love more are things that resemble candy but have no sugar in them and also have nothing but natural goods packed into it. The natural way to go with cough drops would be something called "HEBRON". They taste great, they are Canadian and come in a few different flavours. I got lemon honey and wild cherry. The wonderful ingredients are as follows for the wild cherry kind: elderberry, wild cherry bark, licorice root, linden flower and the wonderful echinacea root. For the lemon honey kind (that does have sugar in it) : echinacea root, menthol stem and leaf, linden flower, thyme oil, honey and lemon balm. They both work the same for me but it all depends on your tastebuds.

This brings me to my next wonderful ingredient that unfortunately cost me $16 but was totally worth it!!! Echinacea is a wonderful ingredient that comes in vitamins or in an extract. I purchased the extract which is more expensive, but works like a charm. 12 drops on your tongue before every meal will bring you back to being healthy and it will keep you healthy. You can also mix it with a tad bit of water...but I like it straight from the bottle.

hydraSense is an amazing, amazing, amazing nasal spray this is 100% natural sea water that makes you breathe like never before. I always have problems with my breathing and nasal cavities that makes me have to blow my nose a billion times a day especially in the summer. My parents blame it on my nose ring, I blame it on the pollution and allergies. You turn your head to the right, spray stream into the left side and it will clear you out entirely. You then repeat on the other side. I got an 135 mL bottle on sale for $13, which again is so worth it.

Mentholatum's product called natural menthol rub is a great way of opening up any congestion by rubbing the ointment on your chest and neck. I put some underneath of my nose as well which really helps me to breathe right. This was $8 but also on sale. Apparently Shoppers knows when to impress you with sales during season changes. If you don't want to buy the menthol rub, you can make it yourself. The instructions are easy enough and it will probably save you a couple extra dollars.
So, there are my suggestions to getting better if you feel a cold coming along. Remember to use garlic in your all meals if you feel like preventing sickness. Sometimes, the natural way out can be a little more expensive but it's the best way to go in my opinion.
Stay healthy. Now, the only problem I have is 3 papers due next week....so I'll catch you all later friends,

Amber

Monday, March 9, 2009

Dizzy much?

Well, I'm going to take a break from talking about sore throats for a post due to the setback I had last night at a wicked concert. When I am 100% I'll report back with some great cures.

As for now, I'd like to explain the most off-balance weekend I've ever had. I woke up on Friday with a nice vertigo spell...eeeee. This is so fun to wake up to, you just feel so great! Not. I think the only reason I get this is because sometimes I forget to sit down, or wind down. My cable has been out for a week apparently, I didn't catch on. You get the point...

I know there are many of us that fail to SLOOOOOW DOWN when required because with a University or College lifestyle, do we really have the time to? If you end up with mad spins for an entire weekend, I've got some tricks that could assist you in a steady vision.

First off....DRINK lots and lots of liquids. Water especially, this helped me so much in the morning. I got on my feet finally and walked really slow to school and was feeling pretty good until my lab. Then all the different opinions had my head going crazy again. I got to work and realized computers were not a good choice. So, I headed home for the day to get some rest. I laid down until I had the guts to stare at a computer screen looking for natural answers.

Here are some remedies for a site all about Home Remedies:

Tip 1:
Soak 2 tbsp wheat grain, 1 tsp poppy seeds (khus-khus), 8 almonds,8 water melon seeds and make a paste. Heat 1 tsp ghee(Ghee is made by simmering unsalted butter in a large pot until all water has boiled off and protein has settled to the bottom) fry 2 cloves in this add to the paste mix with milk and drink everyday for a week.

*I tried this, but only for a few days...weird, but hey it worked

Tip 2:
Soak 1 tsp of alma (gooseberry) powder along with 1 tsp coriander seeds. Leave over night. Strain and add 1/2 tsp sugar and drink.

*These products can be found at Nutrition House

I hope this helps for anyone who gets the occasional spins because I know it isn't any fun. The main thing I do is train my brain. I know that sounds silly but with the useless pills I was given 8 months ago, I decided the Doctors idea to "train my brain" was better. So I would sit down and move my head super slow and do it over and over again until my head realized we weren't on a rollercoaster.

Native Remedies is another great site to refer to where you can purchase the products right online.

Alright folks, stay still...more coming,

Amber

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ahemmmm...

I've been walking around campus or sitting in class, and all I hear are students and teachers sounding like they're hitting puberty... again. Seeing as this ranks you as practically the class joke, I'm ecstatic about my recent turnover. I think this cold virus or whatever that's going around is a slight combination with my previous weekend. Too many people in one bar can really hurt someones vocal chords. Anyways..

 I woke up this morning feeling like I had two small avocado pits in the back of my throat. I wanted to hop on the bandwagon and hit up Shoppers drug mart for some sore throat medicine or raid my roommates drawers for some Neo-citran but avoided the small print side effects and possible attack of my lovely upstairs buddy. I decided to not be a hypocrite and continue on with my natural path of beating the sickness' (3 months without Tylenol or over the counter drugs and years without antibiotics WOO). Funny that I got sick...but hey, I'm learning too.
 
So, first things first...I started boiling some water, squeezed an entire lemon into a cup and let the hot water and lemon sit for about 5-10 minutes. I drank this in my morning rush hour and had INSTANT results. My throat felt a lot better, a lot more clear and my taste buds were kicking.  

I then packed three tea bags for school including, ginger, honey-green tea and fennel tea. All teas are great for sore throats (or colds) and will assist you in a clear, mucus free throat passage. These really helped me keep my throat feeling good all day. 

The next thing I did to benefit my throat at all was spice up my dinner with some cayenne! I think this really woke up my senses the most. This will be a great way of helping you have the energy to fight off any viruses as it releases the body's production of natural painkillers called endorphins. 

I remember as a kid always going to my Aunt's house when I was sick. She had an individual sauna that would always make me feel amazing. She would put some flower essence in this vaporizer and I would sit and allow the steam and flower essence cleanse my body and I'd leave feeling like a million bucks! I really wish she wasn't across the world right now. But if you're feeling a little under the weather I'd suggest getting to a sauna nearby, in a steamy yoga class or doing anything that would make you sweat buckets. This really helps to release any toxins you may have in your body.

I'm still in the process of fighting off this sore throat/cold but I think it's getting better...I'll report back in a few days.

Until a mucus free day, with love...

Amber