My IUD Experience

Hello! Today I'd like to share my experience with two different types of IUDs (intrauterine devices).

This is what it looks like...

This is what it looks like...

My motivation for trying the IUD for the first time two years ago was the fact that I am personally not a fan of taking a medication every day, and I am definitely not a fan of hormonal birth control.  I am sensitive to hormones and have found this out over a long time of trial and error from daily pills to rings that are left in all month and then removed and thrown away.

What has personally worked best for me has been condoms, however there have been occasions where I have had to go through the unpleasant experience of taking the morning after pill...more hormones.

So I decided to try out the IUD, which has been shown to be 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.  I actually did try out the hormonal one first because, quite frankly, I was terrified of the stories I read online and heard from a friend about heavy, painful periods brought on by the copper, non-hormonal IUD.  Plus, the staff at my gyno's office assured me that the hormones were so limited and concentrated that I shouldn't feel any effect.  At any rate, I could always have it taken out (which I eventually did) so I gave it a whirl.

I was surprised to find that it actually bothered me that my periods were almost non-existent and I couldn't ever tell when they were coming.  It made me feel depressed that I didn't understand what my body was doing, like I was disconnected from myself somehow.  My boyfriend observed that while I was on it I was "flat" and not my usual self.  I also did not have the same interest in sex that I had previously.

So that wasn't working for me and I had it taken out at my next annual.  Since then I created habits of taking much better care of my body with regular exercise and healthier nutritional choices.  Along with losing about 20 pounds of excess weight, I noticed that my periods were nearly painless and were only lasting about 3-4 days.  My PMS symptoms had all but disappeared.

Copper IUD

Feeling good about my overall health as well as reproductive health, I started thinking about trying the IUD again after a couple of scares and subsequent morning after pill experiences.  I wondered if the copper IUD would really be such a traumatic experience if my cycle was as healthy as it is now.  I decided to go for it, I made my appointment at Planned Parenthood and had my new copper IUD placed earlier this week.  It was an uncomfortable procedure but I kept sending love and positive energy to the new inhabitant of my uterus and to my whole reproductive system and breathed through it.

 

I have to say, this experience has far exceeded my expectations.  I did have some pretty intense cramping from the time of my appointment until the next morning, but I treated myself to a glass of wine, heat packs and turning in early and when I woke up I felt almost completely back to normal.

As it turns out, my period started a little early and, aside from about 3 pretty intense cramps, there was NO difference between my period this week and my regular periods.  No excess bleeding, no intense pain.  I'm so glad that I did this for myself, there will be no more taking the morning after pill for me and I will keep sending love to my body and to the little copper blessing that is helping me take good care of myself.

Has anyone else had a positive experience like this? Not-so-positive experience? 

I invite any comments, stories or questions on the IUD or birth control in general.  I think that this is an incredibly important topic for all people, and especially women since the responsibility generally falls on us.  All are welcome to contribute and share! Good health to all :)

Gluten Free Banana Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

The recipe is a title that is almost as much of a delicious mouthful as these muffins!

I like to add my own "flavor" to interesting recipes I come across, and today I did just that.  I was looking for a yummy way to incorporate the spiralized zucchini I had left over from dinner last night.  With this recipe I have thus combined my love for the two kitchen tools I find myself using more and more: my Vaggetti Pro (vegetable spiralizer) and the amazing Blendtec.

And away we go!

Dry Ingredients

1 3/4 cups rolled oats (uncooked)

1/2 cup almond flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Wet Ingredients

2 ripened, brown bananas

1 small zucchini (about 1 1/2 cup once spiralized)

1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 1/2 tbs white vinegar

Steps

Wash zucchini and cut off ends.  Use the smallest blade on the Veggetti spiralizer to spiralize the zucchini and discard the leftover end.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin tin with virgin unprocessed coconut oil.  Place oats and flours into Blendtec.  Pulse 5-7 times until the oats have been pulverized into flour and the flours are thoroughly mixed.  Add all dry ingredients except for the chocolate chips into large mixing bowl and stir well with wooden spoon.

Mash ripe bananas in medium mixing bowl and add in zucchini spirals.  Stir together until well mixed-zucchini should be completely wet with the mashed banana.  Add the rest of the wet ingredients and stir until well mixed.  Fold in dry ingredients with the wet.  Once mixed together fold in chocolate chips.  Mix well and pour the mixture into the muffin cups, they will each be about 3/4 full.

Bake for 25 minutes, then turn the oven off and leave muffins in for another 10-15 minutes.  Allow to cool briefly before serving with brunch or for dessert!

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is one of the ancient healing arts developed thousands of years ago in the ancient Chinese civilization.  As one of the pillars of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture is an effective therapy that is currently gaining a wider acceptance in Western Medicine to treat and lessen symptoms of conditions such as headaches, labor pain, fibromyalgia, chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting and menstrual cramps, to name a few (Mayo Clinic, 2016).  The World Health Organization has also recognized 40 conditions for which acupuncture treatment is effective (UCSF, 2012).

Treating the heart

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognizes acupuncture's ability to manage chronic pain efforts, although it maintains the politically correct skepticism and inconclusive statements; I personally wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that it is much more cost effective than prescribing drugs to manage pain...

Treating back misalignment (I was a stubborn, headstrong child-wait, I still am!-and decided to march baritone saxophone in marching band for a season-yeesh!)

As for me-as you can see-I am a believer! I was introduced to acupuncture by a dear friend (you can check out her website at www.AuriannaJoy.com) who sought healing in Eastern Medicine after discovering shortcomings of Western Medicine to simply manage the symptoms rather than treat and heal the cause of disease.  She found truth and healing in acupuncture and shared that with me.

I have now been experiencing the healing effects of acupuncture for the past 6 years and am grateful to the healing benefits it offers.  I can always feel my qi (that's the TCM term for energy) flowing during treatment sessions and leave feeling either refreshed or relieved, as if weight is lifted from my shoulders.  For me, the mental and emotional aspect of healing that acupuncture provides is just as, if not more valuable than the physical healing it assists.  Anxiety, depression, pent-up emotions from many years in the past, these are just a few of the conditions that are released with the use of acupuncture.

Treating the third eye-anxiety & insomnia relief

Feel free to learn more using the Western and Eastern Medicine links posted below, and leave a comment or ask a question if you like.  Cheers!

 

Eastern

http://acupuncture.com/newsletters/m_nov16/res.htm

http://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/wellness-therapies/traditional-chinese-medicine/

Western

http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/acupuncture/basics/definition/prc-20020778

http://www.osher.ucsf.edu/patient-care/treatments-services/acupuncture-and-traditional-chinese-medicine/

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/whatiscam/chinesemed.htm

Turkey Sloppy Joe with Crisp Fresh Green Cucumber Salad

Lately I've been enjoying experimenting with SATH (stuff around the house) recipes.  I got really wild with it this past Saturday when I made homemade Black Bean Burgers in honor of the first Gator game of the season (go Gators!!!).  In addition to the burgers I made gluten free, vegan pumpkin brownies (yum!).  Then yesterday I made Asian fusion fish tacos with orange cauliflower rice.  

Needless to say, I've been having fun cooking up a storm, so I figured, why not start sharing these SATH ideas with people that I love? Now we're cooking with gas!

**Note: I didn't measure a single thing, so the amounts are estimates ;)

Sloppy turkey joe & crisp cucumber salad

Sloppy Joe Ingredients:

One package raw ground turkey, hormone & additive free ("the good sh*t" as Trent says)

3 tbsp Avocado Oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 shallot, sliced

3 tbsp ground cumin

2 tsp Habañero hot sauce

3 tbsp Corn Syrup Free BBQ Sauce

2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar (aka liquid magic)

 

Cucumber Salad Ingredients:

1/2 Large Cucumber, thin sliced into rounds

1/2 Green Pepper, diced

1/2" Slice from a large Red Onion, diced

1/2 tsp Ground Pepper

1/4 tsp Sea Salt

1/2 tsp Dried Basil

1 tsp Dried Oregano

2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

 

Instructions:

Heat avocado oil in large pan on the stove set to medium-high.  Sauté shallot & garlic in the oil until fragrant and golden.  Add in cumin and stir until dissolved and bubbling.  Add in turkey and use wooden spoon to break up pieces and stir to evenly coat with yummy goodness.  Stir frequently for about 2 minutes, then add habañero sauce, BBQ sauce and apple cider vinegar.  Stir all together and allow to simmer for approximately 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, over medium-low heat.

While turkey is simmering and developing its flavor, slice and dice fresh salad ingredients.  Place in a medium-sized bowl and douse with olive oil, apple cider vinegar and dried spices.  Stir together and allow flavors to marry for about 5 minutes.  (If you have leftover salad like I did-iceberg lettuce, tomato, cilantro-you can add this to the plate and then top it with the fresh cucumber salad!)

Stir turkey and taste, adding whatever you wish to complete the flavor profile before turning off the heat. Plate and serve-enjoy!

 

Passion Flower.

Passion flower has a beautiful, calming and comforting property when ingested.  It has been used for many years to treat conditions such as insomnia and anxiety.

Passion flower blooming in my backyard!

Passion flower blooming in my backyard!

If you're trying to wind down for bed, try a nice warm cup of passion flower tea for relaxation.  If you live in a warmer climate, they are also very fun to grow-their unique purple flowers provide a delightful surprise splash of color when they bloom.