Strawberry fields for Diva!

I enjoy the last half of June for two reasons:

  1. It marks the start of summer and…
  2. It marks the start of strawberry season (for us Divas in the North)!!!

These red, heart-shaped berries are not only sweet and juicy; they are also low in calories and offer many great health benefits.

As a young girl I used to love strawberry picking. I loved seeing how the berries grew, loved finding the double strawberries (legend has it that if you split a double strawberry with someone, you will fall in love with them) and of course sneaking one or two strawberries in between picking.

Strawberry-fieldsThis summer I thought it would be fun to relive this childhood memory and so I headed off to a local farm and picked some strawberries of my own. Within minutes it was confirmed, strawberry picking is awesome no matter what your age. The anticipation of what’s to follow, days and days of strawberry-themed breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes was almost too much to handle… almost.

We came home with buckets full of strawberries and for dinner had gluten free crepes and topped them gelato, whipped cream and of course strawberries!!!

Like everything wonderful, strawberries have a very interesting history.

Prior to its mass distribution, this lovely berry was used as an herbal medicinal remedy, alleviating symptoms of inflammation, fevers and throat infections. For a short while they were also regarded as a poisonous food because of their growth close to the ground. In the 1500s they became a hot commodity, quickly becoming one of summer’s most beloved fruits.

One thing I always wondered was how the strawberry got its name. They certainly don’t look like straw. A few historical tales suggest that the word straw came from the fact that straw would be placed around the plants for protection. Others believe that the name strawberry was given because of the runners that span from the plant, making it look like the berry patch was “strewn” on the ground.

In my fascination with strawberry season, I discovered a few other interesting facts about the strawberry:

  • Heart-shaped and red in color… it’s no wonder the strawberry was a symbol for Venus, the Goddess of Love.
  • There is a museum in Belgium just for strawberries!
  • On average, 200 seeds can be found on a strawberry, making it the only fruit that bears its seeds on the outside.
  • Strawberries are grown in every state in the United States and every province of Canada.Strawberries
  • Lebanon, Oregon’s annual strawberry festival is home to the world’s largest strawberry shortcake.
  • The strawberry is actually a member of the rose family.

What makes the strawberry even more wonderful is all of the health benefits it offers:

  • They contain ellagic acid and flavonoids, which help promote good heart health and aid in lowering cholesterol.
  • Strawberries contain fiber which aid in digestion.
  • They are also a great source of Vitamin C (even more than oranges), which is important for boosting immunity while also helping to protect our eyes from the sun’s rays.
  • They also contain antioxidants which aid in reducing inflammation. This is not only beneficial for your joints, but also your heart!
  • They contain vitamin K, potassium and magnesium which help maintain strong bones and healthy teeth. Potassium also helps to regulate blood pressure.
  • Strawberries also contain folate, a B-vitamin recommended for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive. Folate helps with fetal development in the early stages of pregnancy, particularly with the development of a baby’s brain, spinal cord and skull.
  • Good from the inside out! Strawberries help build strong hair and nails because they contain biotin. They also aid in the reduction of wrinkles as the ellagic acid found in strawberries helps reduce the destruction of collagen.

As strawberry season comes to a close, be sure to visit a local farm and “pick” up some of your own! You can also try your hand at homemade jam, a fruit filled dessert, strawberry popsicles or this great stuffed strawberry cheesecake recipes!

Share your strawberry recipe or story with the Diva Community today!

 

Making Menstruation Matter

Last weekend, Diva International had the privilege of attending the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research (SMCR) Biennial Conference in New York City, NY. This year’s theme was “Making Menstruation Matter” with a call going out to all those working in the field to draw awareness to the importance of menstrual health education, advocacy and media coverage.

SocietySMCR was founded as a non-profit organization in 1979 by a group of woman who were passionate about highlighting the menstrual cycle in research, education and public discussion. Today the society has expanded to include academics, artists, writers, activists and educators.

Diva International had the honor of co-sponsoring the Making Menstruation Matter award presentation for Feminist pioneer, Gloria Steinem which honored her efforts in drawing awareness to women’s health and her 1978 piece, “If Men Could Menstruate”.

The conference was rich in menstrual health knowledge. Every presenter was passionate about their research. Topics ranged from inclusion of menstrual health in public education, reproductive aging, organocholrine in tampons, pros and cons of contraceptives, period talk within the family and the presence of menstrual culture within social media… to name a few. In between presentations, through the hallways and in the hotel lobby, there was much discussion and brainstorming on how we can all work together to “Make Menstruation Matter”! Attendees also got to enjoy and participate in the first ever menstrual poetry slam titled, Red Moon Howl!

SMCR 2013 Attendees

SMCR 2013 Attendees

We got to hear firsthand about the projects organizations like Wash United, Water Aid and Sustainable Health Enterprises are developing. Organizations like these are helping to bring access to clean water and feminine hygiene products for women in developing nations. We also had the opportunity to learn about Menstrual Hygiene Day, a day dedicated to drawing awareness to access and support in the area of feminine hygiene and international development. We hope that all our Diva fans will join us in the months leading up to May 28th, 2014 to spread the word about the need for every woman and girl to have access to period care.

As we reflect on the conference we wanted to share some of the ways The DivaCup is helping to Make Menstruation Matter!

  • We distribute demo DivaCups to health educators and doctors along with resources about sustainable menstrual care.
  • We continue to promote positive period talk with our educational partners Be Prepared Period, Sexpressions and You Are Loved.
  • We donate product and resources to community organizations and events to assist with raising funds for women’s health and the environment.
  • Every day, we provide information about healthy menstruation, women’s health and positive period care through our social media channels and website.
  • We promote healthy menstruation and cycle awareness for women of all ages through our partnership with charting organizations like PinkPad, MyMonthlyCycles and Feby Empowerment.
  • Above all, our team works hard to ensure that our products, The DivaCup and DivaWash are readily available so that women and girls around the world can learn and have access to sustainable menstrual care.

Learn more about the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research by visiting their website, liking their Facebook page or by following them on Twitter. You can also follow their blog re-Cycling which features weekly insights on reproductive health and guest posts by scholars, activists, artists and health educators.

Share with the Diva Community what you are doing to “Make Menstruation Matter” today!