I’m sure you know what it feels like when you fully devote yourself to a healthy and sustainable life. Suddenly, everything you do seems in dire need of a makeover.
Microwave dinners? Not anymore. That Starbucks addiction? Kicked to the curb. You might have even swapped your beauty products for something a little less harmful. But what about your birth control? Did you even give this a second thought?
I know I did. I had been taking the pill on and off over the course of a year or two and had never once questioned it. I trusted my doctor and had a good relationship with her, so it was easy to blindly follow her advice.
But as I began to move towards a more holistic way of living, it just made sense to trade out traditional medicine for natural alternatives. I no longer wanted to put weird chemicals in my body and therefore decided to look into other options.
So, what’s so bad about the pill?
Well for starters, it is classified by the World Health Organization as a carcinogen. The combination of estrogen and progestin makes women more susceptible to breast cancer. The pill has also been linked to increased risk of cervical and liver cancer.
It can decrease libido and potentially decrease fertility- especially if used long-term.
Even more shockingly, it can alter what kind of man you are attracted to! Studies have recently shown that women on the pill are more attracted to men who are genetically similar to themselves (meaning that if you were to have children together, they would be genetically inferior).
The environment that the pill creates in your body is just not natural. You are basically tricking your body to think it is pregnant. And we don’t want to partake in trickery now, do we?
Luckily, there are a variety of alternative vegan birth control out there that are much safer and just as effective.
Barrier methods such as condoms are an easy and hormone-free form of contraception. Be sure to look for non latex condoms, though. Latex is composed of casein (a milk protein) and has also been known to cause allergic reactions and yeast infections.
Diaphragm birth control and cervical caps are two more types of barriers that are usually silicone-based and free of hormones. However, they are not very effective unless used in addition to spermicidal lubricant.
Traditional spermicide is no-good. It has been shown to increase one’s risk of STD’S (specifically HPV). Not to mention that it is composed of nonoxyl-9, which can also be found in certain paints and detergent! You don’t want that in your body, do you?
Lucky for us, there is a “vegan spermicide alternative” called ContraGel. It is safe, completely natural and chemical-free.
If you want something more long-term, consider a copper IUD. Unlike hormonal IUD’s, the copper variety do not release progestin. The chemical composition of the copper causes the uterus and fallopian tubes to produce a fluid that is toxic to sperm.
If you are very certain that you do not want any more children, there is always sterilization (for either you or your partner).
Or you could go old school by using FAM (fertility awareness method). Also known as “natural family planning,” FAM is a way of tracking ovulation. By doing so, you will know when you are most fertile and therefore when to avoid intercourse.
There are various ways to go about this, but it is fairly common to either track your cycle on a calendar or use the temperature method. FAM is ideal because it is free and there are no side effects.
By the way… not everyone uses the pill strictly for contraception. There are a growing number of young women (myself included) who initially turned to the pill for hormone stimulation/regulation.
If this is the case for you, I recommend using herbal and nutritional methods to serve this purpose. Chaste Berry has been known to regulate hormones quite well. Maca powder can boost hormone levels and sex drive. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids (such as flax seeds) are also great for women’s health.
Related: 5 Best Hormone Balancing Foods for Women
Also by Quincy: Ahimsa – The Link Between Yoga and Veganism
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