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This week we have a guest blog from the team at Mooncup. The original period cup they share their top tips on how to have a vegan period.
As many of you will have discovered, going vegan stretches far beyond what you put in your belly.
Once you take the leap, veganism becomes a fascinating journey of discovery spanning all sorts of topics that may not have occurred to you before. From the garments in your wardrobe, to the make-up you use- suddenly you’re examining every ingredient in your daily routine. So, have you considered what you put near or inside your vagina? And can a vegan diet have an effect on your period?
Your lifestyle has an influence on your menstrual cycle, your diet included. Any change in how you eat can have an impact on your hormone balance, and can therefore impact your period.
A varied, balanced approach is key to any diet. In order to have an healthy vegan diet, it’s important to make sure you are giving your body all the nutrients and minerals it needs throughout the month. Essential nutrients whose levels can affect the menstrual cycle are: omega 3, Vitamin B12, zinc, iron, and protein, to name but a few.
As its name commonly suggests, iron is an essential nutrient for maintaining strength and good health. It plays a key role in producing red blood cells. During your period you lose blood that is rich in iron. So, around this time, it is important to ensure you are eating plenty of iron-rich foods.
Some plant-based food that are rich in this essential nutrient are:
The body tends not to absorb iron contained in plant-based foods as well as the iron from meat. However, it is possible to ensure you’re eating an iron-rich diet as a vegan.
To maximise your body’s absorption of iron from a plant-based diet, you can for example combine your meals with foods rich in vitamin C and avoid consuming caffeine during meals.
Can the vegan diet impact your menstrual cycle? There hasn’t been a huge amount of research into the subject yet, but some people report that since transitioning to veganism they have experienced lighter periods and reduced period pains, as well as a slight improvement in their PMS symptoms.
Our diet can have an impact on how we feel. Anecdotal evidence states that cutting dairy out of your diet can help to lesson PMS symptoms.
For some, the protein contained in cow’s milk can cause bloating and cramping, and certain inflammatory conditions like acne have been linked back to dairy.
A vegan diet is also usually high in whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and fruit and veg – all of which can help to reduce inflammation.
When transitioning to a vegan diet, it is advised to keep an eye out for any major changes in your menstrual cycle and know when to speak to a medical health professional.
For many, veganism is a way of life, not just a diet. Other than the variety of delicious recipes to experiment with, there’s a plethora of vegan lifestyle swaps that are sometimes overlooked- that includes period products.
You might not think that those “sterile” white contraptions used to catch your menstrual flow could be in any way harmful to animals. Sadly, however, lots of them are.
If we look right back to the start of their production process, a nasty concoction of pesticides and herbicides goes into growing the non-organic cotton used in most tampons and pads. And their white, sterile appearance? You can thank bleach for that…
As you can imagine, putting a chemical-infused product into or up against your intimate area is far from healthy. And conventional cotton production is responsible for one sixth of all global pesticide use- catastrophic for the planet and harmful to insects too.
And then there’s the saddening reality of animal testing. Certain tampons have been tested on animals, specifically on baboons and rabbits. They are inserted either surgically into the animal’s neck or in their vagina, and left for long periods to see the results.
The plastic waste and environmental impact at the end of a product’s usable lifespan is often forgotten about. One of us alone will use approximately 11,000 throwaway menstrual products in a lifetime, which eventually find their way into landfill or the ocean.
And there’s more to it than meets the eye… Beyond the obvious plastics of backing strips, wrappers and applicators, conventional period products can contain up to 90% plastic within their composition too, polluting our seas and harming marine life.
And whether they are are flushed down the toilet or disposed of correctly, they can still wind their way into water courses from landfill, breaking up into tiny microplastic particles that can end up in the stomachs of sea creatures.
There are a variety of solutions out there to make sure that your period too is 100% vegan and cruelty-free. The Mooncup menstrual cup, for example, is vegan, both in its production and its care for nature at the consumer end.
Reusable period products such as period pants, reusable pads, and of course menstrual cups such as the Mooncup®, are taking the plastic and its drastic environmental impact out of periods.
Check the brand’s website for the Vegan Society trademark and cruelty-free certification, as these confirm that they are adhering to all the relevant best production practices. It is also a good idea to look into where the products are manufactured and whether their packaging is plastic free.
Certain brands like Organ(y)c offer throwaway tampons, pads and liners that are made from natural ingredients such as organic cotton or sustainably-sourced wood pulp. Organ(y)c period products are vegan, cruelty-free, compostable and biodegradable.
If you do choose to use organic disposable products, do make sure to dispose of them correctly, in the bin or compost, to enable them to break down properly.
A simple swap to the Mooncup will dramatically reduce your environmental impact and the waste you create. Your only need one Mooncup and it lasts for many years. Thanks to Mooncup users around the world, over 2.6 billion (and counting!) fewer tampons and pads have ended up on our beaches or in landfill since 2002!
Many of the menstrual cups on the market today are made in China and some even come packaged in plastic. The Mooncup is made in the UK, and all the packaging is recyclable and plastic free.
The Mooncup doesn’t come in a range of colours, so as not to use any food colourings or pigments. You won’t catch and unnecessary, wasteful products such as wipes in the Mooncup range either.
The Mooncup menstrual cup has been registered by the Vegan Society since 2010. So you can be sure that the Mooncup is free from animal ingredients and has never been tested on animals. The Vegan Society Trademark follows very strict animal testing standards: only manufacturers who haven’t tested their products or ingredients, or requested their testing, are able to trademark their products.
Mooncup Ltd is an employee owned business and the first sanitary protection manufacturer in the world to be awarded Ethical Business status for both environmental and people practices. Mooncup has also consistently been among The Good Shopping Guide’s top-ranking companies.
It’s important to remember that the menstrual cup is to be worn internally so it’s a good idea to pick a high-quality cup. Made in the UK, Mooncup® is the original silicone menstrual cup and is a brand synonymous with quality.
35% of the liquid absorbed by tampons is your natural vaginal moisture, with period blood making up the other 65%. However, the Mooncup is non-absorbent, so it won’t cause dryness or leave fibres behind like a tampon does. It is hypoallergenic, latex-free, and is free from dyes, perfumes, BPA, phthalates, plastic, bleaches, and toxins.
A sparky, bright pink cup may look pretty in the bathroom cupboard, but adding pigments or dyes may impact the health, ethical and environmental benefits that make menstrual cups so great to begin with!
So, whether you are coming at veganism from an environmental, ethical, or health perspective (or all three), Mooncup is the sustainable period choice.
Find out more about the Mooncup menstrual cup and buy yours here.
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