Here I go talking about vaginas again…
But I love my vagina.
It's one of the ways I feel tapped into my feminine power as a woman and I appreciate it for what it is able to do and what it is made to do. However, for most of my adult life, I've struggled with maintaining the overall health of my vagina, beginning with bouts of bacterial vaginosis, or BV, that would occur roughly twice a year. I'd be prescribed antibiotics for seven days, followed by a 24-hour tablet to treat the yeast infection that followed because of the harsh antibiotic regimen, and I'd be healthy for about six months and then it would start all over again.
I always heard from my doctor at the time that BV was very common among sexually active women--and it is. Prevalence of BV cases amongst women between the ages of 15 and 49 is said to be around 21.2 million per year. What exactly is BV? Bacterial vaginosis is an infection that can be a result of sexual activity but is not sexually transmitted. In fact, this form of infection is often caused by the naturally occurring bacteria in the vagina becoming unbalanced in some sort of way, creating symptoms like abnormal odor, itching, burning, or discharge. About 84% of women experience no symptoms at all.
Within the last year or so, I realized that my recurring BV was becoming even more common, and I could not for the life of me understand why I had to lie on the examination table with my legs up, patiently awaiting that speculum over and over again. It seemed like everything disrupted my pH balance: soap, sex, periods – everything. It was embarrassing and it made my excitement for sex dampen just a little. In its last appearance, I decided to get a second opinion, because I felt that pumping my body full of antibiotics and depleting my vagina of its good and bad bacteria to the point of a yeast infection was not a good move and would be an even worse move if I developed a resistance towards the medication.
I decided to look up a holistic gynecologist center in Atlanta and see if they had any opinions on the matter. My doctor there had one: cut the sugar. It surprised me that I had never heard that suggestion before by my previous doctor, especially after the initial visit stemmed into several visits intended to clear up my recurring infections. Sugar was the culprit.
It promoted bad bacteria while disabling my body's ability to ward off bacteria from entering my vagina. This is also why my pH balance was always out of whack and whenever it would become unbalanced, my body could not work to stabilize it. Thus, hello disruption of my normal flora and hello bacterial vaginosis.
My doctor gave me a list of suggested foods to help bring my vagina back to a state of happiness.
Here is an example of the low to no sugar grocery list I try to abide by when stocking up every couple of weeks:
Some of these items are mainstays and are always in my pantry or in my freezer to have on hand, but when I grocery shop for myself, I typically go with the two protein/veggies/fruit, eggs, Greek yogurt, and granola rule. It's a great way to keep my budget in check and I can mix, match and add variety to what I keep on hand to cook at home.
In addition to eliminating sugar, I was told to add a probiotic to my daily supplement intake (kind of pricey, but so awesome). I had to say goodbye to sugar and as someone who is pretty addicted to the addictive substance, it was hard, but what is helping me is getting rid of it slowly. I have a pretty toxic relationship with sodas, but I do my best to get my sweet tooth fix in other ways, for example with fruit. When you're used to living a life on the go and grabbing whatever's easiest to eat, on top of drinking caffeine as a means to counteract your lack of sleep, a difference in diet can be a soft shock. However, I'm loving the more awake I feel throughout the day and how healthy and happy my vagina has been these past few months. No harsh meds necessary.
Keeping that grocery list in mind, below are some easy, simple dishes that are quick, healthy, and most of all: low on sugar.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner for beginners, you ain't even know…
Yogurt Breakfast Bowl
One of my favorite ways to start the day is with a filling breakfast and I've found that one of the best ways to do that is with a yogurt bowl. I love yogurt bowls because the added ingredients counteract the tartness of Greek yogurt. And yes, in order to get the full breadth of its benefits, you must go with Greek - plain Greek to be exact. It might be very tempting to gravitate towards Chobani brands of yogurt where the fruit and its syrup is already in the container or the Yoplait fruit flavored varieties, but those psuedo healthy options are chock full of added sugar, diminishing much of the health benefits of eating yogurt. So if you're going to start your day off with yogurt, do it right and go plain Greek. Get your sweetness from the fruits you decide to add.
Avocado & Strawberry Arugula Salad w/ Poppyseed Dressing
Salad dressing is typically a very unhealthy way to consume a very healthy eating alternative. It usually has a lot of fat and sugar and for that reason, I typically stray away from the ones on the aisles and either do a balsamic vinegar or a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. For a recipe like this, however, poppyseed dressing is usually my dressing of choice. Most poppyseed dressings can contain as much as 1/3 cup of sugar, if not more. So I tend to go this route when dressing my fruit salad. If being a mixtress in the kitchen with your dressing isn't your thing, find a dressing at your market and compare labels to pick the lesser sugar demon.
After a long day at work, I'm hardly the person who wants to cook an elaborate meal. Spaghetti carbonara is one of my go-to meals because it's quick and easy. White pasta has more sugar than whole wheat pasta due to its refinement process, so if you're trying to get even more health points, reach for whole wheat in the pasta aisle for this recipe.
What are some of your favorite holistic ways to keep your body in check? And which of these recipes do you want to give a try? Share below!
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The Libra woman and Aries man are the divine feminine and divine masculine, coming together as one. The love compatibility between these two is one for the books. These two are opposite signs, however, their differences tend to complement each other well. This is a dynamic relationship where they know how to have a lot of fun together, but also aren’t afraid to deal with the more serious stuff that comes with a relationship.
The Libra woman is looking for her equal in love, someone who is willing to put in the same effort she is, and the Aries man sees Libra as someone he is willing to do that with.
The Love Compatibility Of A Libra Woman And An Aries Man
What attracts a Libra woman and an Aries man to each other?
There is a magnet of attraction pulling these two together, and things tend to move pretty fast in this relationship. The Libra woman is always open to love and her charming nature rarely has any challenges here. The Aries man fights for his independence and doesn’t sacrifice that unless he is completely enamored with someone.
Once the Aries man catches the eye of the Libra woman, he is typically the one to make the first move and this instantly wins the approval of Libra.
These two feel like they have known each other forever when they meet, and this spark between them doesn’t die down easily.
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What is the relationship like between a Libra woman and an Aries man?
The relationship between the Libra woman and the Aries man is one of balance and excitement. The Aries man tends to take on the more dominant role in this relationship and the Libra woman tends to be the more receptive one. Aries is ruled by masculine Mars, and Libra is ruled by feminine Venus. They understand they are coming from two completely different worlds, yet they also instinctively feel this underlying connection to each other and like they could be something each other needs in their lives.
The Libra woman can rely on the Aries man, and the Aries man never has to ask for the love that Libra already knows he needs.
This is a couple that is often reading each other’s minds and wanting to do a lot of the same things. However, not everything is rainbow in this relationship as well, and there are some major differences they have to overcome to make things work. One argument can lead to an explosion between these two, and addressing things when they come up rather than sweeping them under the rug, will be needed to make this relationship long-term.
What is the sex like between a Libra woman and an Aries man?
The sex between a Libra woman and an Aries man is adventurous. These are two cardinal signs with plenty of energy and stamina to keep things exciting in the bedroom. There tends to be a good give and take in this relationship, and their yin and yang energy benefits them when it comes to their sex life.
There is electricity felt between the two of them in this area of their life, and their power of attraction to each other is strong. These are two people who will want to do a lot of things together, including exploring sexually together.
The Aries man will have to be careful with being overly aggressive, however, as the soft Libra woman may not like this energy- it will completely depend on the two individuals at hand. The Libra woman wants to ease into things, the Aries man wants to get going right away. Learning about each other's bodies, and energy, and reading each other’s cues will help with this.
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What makes a relationship between a Libra woman and an Aries man work?
These two genuinely like each other, and that basis is a key factor for success in any relationship. The Aries man is straight to the point, direct, and inspired. The Libra woman admires these characteristics in others, as she is often herself finding her balance in this type of energy as well. Neither sign is overly emotional in a way that turns them off, and they both require a lot of the same things in a committed relationship. They want honesty, fun, good communication, passion, and to be moving towards a common goal together.
The Libra woman and Aries man don’t have a problem being real with each other and this is something they really value within the relationship. They are both very charming, and there is plenty of flirtation and attraction to keep this relationship going. Aries being the protector they are, Libra finds a sense of safety and ease in this energy, and like they have found their match. Overall, this is a well-balanced relationship and one where they don’t have a problem when it comes to compatibility or chemistry in the relationship.
What may cause a Libra woman and an Aries man to break up?
Libra is the lover, Aries is the fighter, and this energy may be tiring for the both of them after time. The Libra woman can be passive to a fault, and the Aries man who is not evolved, may take advantage of that. She will need to be careful with putting Aries’ needs above her own, creating resentment later down the road. The Aries man loves a challenge, and the Libra woman would be up for that game for a little bit, but if she is not being met in the middle, she will begin to look for other places. These two can have a difficult time keeping the peace in the relationship, and there could be a lot of arguments and disagreements here if they both aren’t willing to put their egos or self-pleasing attitudes to the side.
The Libra woman and Aries man are both more sensitive than they appear or come off as. They are also not necessarily the type to dive deep into their emotions and express them to others, even in their relationships. However, this energy can keep the relationship to a surface level than what is needed to progress and grow the relationship, and a sense of openness is required for this couple to work. Libra needs romance, she wants to be wowed. Aries needs to remember this and to always consider her love language.
Overall, this is a successful pairing. They will have their fair share of challenges in the relationship, but nothing they can’t overcome if they are willing to. The trouble will come in when it comes to the longevity of the relationship, keeping Aries excited and Libra in love. However, all in all, there is more power, attraction, and love to keep this relationship together rather than apart. No relationship is perfect, but this one is a little more blessed than most.
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