This week is National Women’s Health Week, a week set aside as a reminder for women to make their health a priority and build positive health habits for life. The week encourages women to visit their doctors for a well-woman visit and preventive screenings, to get active, eat healthy, take care of their mental health and make positive health choices overall.
The theme this year is What I Wish I’d Known. I believe everything happens for a reason, and even the “challenges” we face have a purpose and help shape you. No regrets, right? Honestly though, there are some things I’d wish I’d known that could have prevented a lot of unnecessary “challenges”. Things like being kind to myself, asking for help and putting my health first. I wish I understood my body and my menstrual cycle more as a teenager. While we can learn from every experience, we can also learn from others and their insights.
When my mom and I started Diva in 2001, we were on a major mission. Nothing could stop us and we were unstoppable. I would work every day of the week and work late into the night. Who needs sleep? Over time, this leads to adrenal fatigue and other health issues. Especially when my focus was 100% on work and not making time for healthy eating, exercise and sleep!
Caring for your period doesn’t need to be uncomfortable or wasteful. I had a really difficult relationship with my cycle. Thankfully, I discovered a better way early on. For those of you who know the Diva story, you know that by the age of 14, I was already using a menstrual cup. But, even still, while I had found menstrual care that was better for me and actually worked, like most teenage girls, the dynamics of my cycle changed with every cycle. My period took a few years to stabilize. Your cycle is supposed to change as you age. Your first period will not be the same as a period you experience in your 30s or 40s. Our bodies change so much every few years, and with this, so too does our cycles. Add to this, having children, and your cycle experience is taken to a whole new level (we’re talking heavier and possibly more cramps for the first few postnatal periods).
Being healthy takes work. Today, we can go into a grocery store and leave with a fully cooked meal or enough frozen/packaged items to create a super tasty meal in minutes. But, convenience doesn’t always translate into healthy, wholesome foods.
It’s okay to “cheat” sometimes, I love my dark chocolate! I do my best to eat a whole foods diet. I find avoiding sugar, wheat and dairy makes me feel better, and reduces a number of symptoms related to my cycle. But, if I’m being honest, eating healthy takes time and is a lot of work. Meal prep is awesome, if you have the time to prep. Eating local and organic is the ideal, but not always accessible to everyone. With two young kids and a business to run, some nights, we end up ordering take out.
I don’t mind working out, but it’s not a passion of mine. I enjoy being on the move and staying active with my kids, but heading to a cycle class at 5 am is a real struggle for me. The most successful tip for me has been to find activities that I enjoy and can incorporate into my lifestyle. I love practicing yoga and it’s helped me to be kinder to myself and slow things down, even if it’s only for a short time.
Above all, take time to rest and reflect at the end of each day. Be sure to also test your health IQ, get health tips, and find out more about National Women’s Health Week at www.womenshealth.gov/nwhw. You also can follow HHS OWH on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
You may be asking; What is B Corp and why is it important?
As the category leader in the menstrual care industry, Diva International Inc., makers of the DivaCup, are doing something revolutionary. Becoming a certified B Corporation was the next step for a company that is viewed as one that challenges the status quo by redefining the experience of menstruation, with comfort, health and sustainability in mind. B Corp certification is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk.
B Corp is important for DivaCup because as a leader in the menstrual cup category and key player in the menstrual movement, we have a responsibility to you (our community) and the planet to be the absolute best. B Corp gives us the platform to be transparent and accountable. We have been doing the right things for a while, but now we have the ability to demonstrate it and something keeping us accountable to ensure we keep doing the good work we are doing.
Who is Diva as a B Corp?:
With over 2400 B Corps, spanning across 50 countries and 140 industries, B Corps meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. As a B Corp, Diva International Inc. is more than a business. We are part of a global movement of like-minded people who are using business as a force for good™. Being a B Corp is not only about being the best in the world, but also the Best for the World®. We encourage and mobilize change from within our organizational walls.
“Being part of a global movement of purpose-driven companies that are changing the world, is our vision for Diva. This is why we voice environmental sustainability through both our product and our own company standards.”
–Carinne Chambers-Saini CEO and Co-Founder Diva International Inc.
What is a B Corp?:
Think of it this way. Being B Corp Certified is like receiving a Fair Trade certification but for the whole business, not just a bag of coffee. B Corps must adhere to higher standards of how business is done. Performance is measured through a comprehensive auditing process that evaluates a company’s impact on all its stakeholders (e.g. workers, suppliers, community, customers and the environment). Unlike traditional corporations, Certified B Corporations are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions not only on their shareholders, but also on their stakeholders. The B Impact Assessment looks at Governance, Workers, Customers, Community and Environment.
When does B Corp accountability take a rest?:
Easy answer: it doesn’t. As a Certified B Corporation, the accountability and practice of certification never takes a break. It is not a sometimes, or quarterly initiative, it is an everyday thing. Considering the impact of our decisions and how they will influence everyone, and everything, is top of mind.
Where are these ‘B Corps’?:
B Corps are all around us, in over 50 countries around the world. They represent a variety of industries (over 140) who together are leading a global movement and call to action for businesses to be the best they can for the world. Chances are you have a B Corp near you or that some of brands you love (like the DivaCup) are a Certified B Corporation. Since B Corps keep “good” company with other B Corps, the change we seek® can be seen everywhere.
Certified B Corporations are committed to ensuring that everything we do meets the highest standards of verified performance, transparency, and accountability. We are not in this alone, over 2,400 like-minded businesses are doing the same thing and helping to keep each other accountable. It is about a collective impact doing good, helping to make everything better for everyone involved.
Why did Diva want this certification?:
We became a Certified B Corporation because we’re doing something revolutionary. If you’re a DivaCup user, you’re no stranger to the fact that we are challenging the status quo and have found a better way to care for your period. Not only are we a leader within the category, but we feel a sense of responsibility to take that further. And more importantly, this translates into empowerment for society, the environment, individuals within our organization and of course, all who experience a period.
How does B Corp come into play?:
Diva International Inc. was certified by the non-profit B Lab which helps businesses meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. B Lab is a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good™. Its vision is that one day all companies compete not only to be the best in the world, but the Best for the World® and as a result society will enjoy a more shared and durable prosperity.
To become a Certified B Corporation an organization needs to complete the B Impact Assessment and earn a minimum score of 80 out of 200. If a score of 80 or higher is achieved, an organization is then required to undergo an audit of the assessment. This comprehensive audit evaluates impact in terms of governance, workers, consumer, community and environment. The measure of impact was developed by an independent, third-party Standards Advisory Council. After the audit, an organization must sign the B Corp Declaration of Independence and Term Sheet. While this may seem as the last step in the certification process, it is really just the beginning of the B Corp journey. B Corps must continue to practice out this commitment to be better in everything they do, every day.
It’s hard to believe that an acronym as small as PCOS can have such a big effect on a person’s life. PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is an endocrine disorder that effects up to 15% of people who menstruate. There is currently no cure for PCOS and no clear understanding of what causes PCOS to develop in the first place. Many people are left confused and scared both by the myriad of symptoms, but also about their future ability to lead fulfilled and healthy lives. So let’s get into the nitty-gritty of all things PCOS.
Most Common Symptoms
PCOS effects many systems in the body and a person can experience a large number of seemingly unconnected symptoms. Below are four of the most common, but there are many more than just on this list.
- Cystsers Unite!: One of the classic, tell-tale signs of PCOS are multiple cysts on the ovaries. These cysts develop in the follicle where the egg would normally be released. This can disrupt normal menstruation cycles as well as impact fertility due to lower instances of ovulation. Many people have no symptoms of these cysts, but they can be very painful, especially if they rupture.
- Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: That’s right one of the best diagnostic tools is your hair. Because of the raised levels of male androgens in the blood many people with PCOS experience male-pattern baldness as well as excessive growth of hair on faces, stomachs, and chests. This can of course be very unsettling but there are a number temporary and permanent options available for dealing with unwanted hair including shaving, waxing, and electrolysis.
- When It Rains, It Pours: Another of the most common symptoms of PCOS are irregular (or absent), painful, and heavy periods. Some people experience periods that can last for weeks or even months, while others don’t have one at all. This of course can affect your quality of life due to the discomfort and unpredictability of your monthly flow, but also can have implications for fertility.
- Gains & Losses: The metabolic symptoms of PCOS are also a common component of diagnosis. PCOS can cause a person to put on excess weight easily, while also making it extremely difficult to lose. This can also lead to insulin resistance and for many diabetes.
Tips For Sur-Thriving With PCOS
With all of the doom and gloom around PCOS symptoms it is hard to imagine a life that is happy, healthy, and fulfilling but fear not cysters below are some tips to help you live your best life.
- Extra! Extra! Read All About It: Getting educated and staying informed about this condition is critical. PCOS has begun to receive attention from the medical community with new research being produced and new treatment protocols being offered. Staying current on your condition helps you to make informed decisions and take a holistic approach to your health.
- The Balancing Act: A healthy diet is one way to see immediate improvement in many PCOS symptoms. Visit Soul Cysters for delicious PCOS-friendly recipes. Because of the metabolic component of PCOS there are certain dietary considerations to keep in mind when planning meals.
- One such consideration is avoiding sugar as much as possible. It not only helps to sensitize your cells to insulin again and restore them to normal functioning, but also helps to reduce many of the inflammatory symptoms such as joint pain.
- Eating whole foods and good fats are also critical to maintaining your health. These food groups can help to control cholesterol, blood sugar and pressure, as well as improve body composition and mange weight.
- Get Into The Groove: Movement is important for everyone to stay healthy, but especially for people who have PCOS. Finding movement that helps bring you joy and vitality will not only help treat some of your current PCOS symptoms but will also help to prevent some potential future health complications. Try something fun like belly dancing, swim aerobics, or taking a walk in nature, your mind, body, and soul will thank you!
- Treat Yo-self: Self-care is an important part of thriving with PCOS. Focusing on ‘you-time’ helps with stress management, improves sleep, and lifts your mood which this condition can all effect. Try incorporating things such as mindfulness meditation, at-home spa days, or even a few extra minutes in a hot shower. The Hormone Diva has a list of self-care activities that are solely focused on PCOS wellness. Anything that leaves you feeling relaxed and centered will go a long way.
So now that you have a better understanding about what PCOS is and how live well after diagnosis what else can be done about PCOS? The medical community is now starting to focus time and resources on answering that question. One very important step is focusing studies on the lived experiences of people who deal with PCOS on a daily basis. DivaCup has partnered with the OM Health Study to help gather this important data. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with PCOS please consider being a part of this study as it will provide critical insights into this condition.
If you asked Diva International’s CEO, Carinne Chambers-Saini, if she imagined a day when she would be talking on an all female panel about product innovation at Yale University, at an event exclusively about menstruation (PeriodCon), she would probably say… “Actually yes. I not only imagined this day, I’ve been working towards it my entire life.”
For as long as she can remember, the business of bleeding and menstrual cups has been a part of her life. Her mother, Francine, pioneered the modern menstrual cup industry in the 1990s, and with Carinne’s support, the mother-daughter duo launched DivaCup in 2003. DivaCup is changing the way women experience their cycles and creating new opportunities for conversations around menstrual care.
On February 9, 2018, Carinne will join leading experts and innovators in the menstrual hygiene industry at Yale School of Management’s first-ever conference on periods, PeriodCon.
The conference will bring together industry leaders, policy makers, product innovators, community advocates and practitioners to learn about and discuss common challenges and emerging innovations that address menstrual hygiene globally. PeriodCon envisions a future where everyone has the information, confidence and ability to access safe, innovative solutions for menstruation.
Carinne is excited to lend her voice and passion to empower women everywhere to co-create a new menstrual culture where the experience is anything but embarrassing or shameful.
For Carinne, “Menstrual equity, the challenge of access to affordable and safe menstrual solutions, is a key concern. We are responding to a growing need for industry innovation, to solve the menstrual equity problem. Through product donations and the support of menstrual hygiene organizations worldwide, we are able to empower women to make informed decisions about their menstrual needs.”
Carinne will join other industry leaders on a panel titled: Product Development and Innovation. Being a disruptor in an industry surrounded by silence and stigma has given Carinne and the team at Diva International Inc the opportunity to redefine what menstruation means for every woman, with comfort, health and sustainability in mind.
“It’s been a dream come true and such an achievement to create a product that is changing lives all around the world. What we are seeing is a menstrual movement that’s all about creating a future where everyone has the information, confidence, and ability to access safe, innovative solutions for menstruation.”
‘Tis the season of giving and Suzanne Lively is giving back in a big way.
Suzanne Lively is the owner of Lively Friends, a 12-month program dedicated to building a community of women that are learning to put happiness first. First came Lively Friends and from that Suzanne created Friendly Divas.
Friendly Divas is a fundraising campaign centered around helping 500 low income women in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) by supplying them with The DivaCup. The goal is to raise $15K by December 31, which is enough money to purchase 500 DivaCups from a local retailer in the HRM area. Once the goal is achieved, the cups will be distributed to 500 women by several organizations in HRM. Friendly Divas currently has enough funds for 120 DivaCups and is excited to see that number grow.
Why start Friendly Divas?
Suzanne recognized that period poverty is a common issue that affects low income women each month when they have to choose between buying food or menstrual care products. Needless to say, food and rent are put higher on the list of priorities.
The Friendly Divas campaign hopes to remove this monthly expense for low income women by providing them with The DivaCup. The average woman spends $85-$225 a year on disposable menstrual care products. Providing women in HRM with The DivaCup will make a significant difference to their monthly expenses. The DivaCup is a $40 annual purchase, which removes the monthly expense of buying disposables.
Suzanne’s hope is that the Friendly Divas campaign will encourage people all across Canada to start the same initiative to help address the issue of period poverty.
For every $30 given to Friendly Divas, one low income woman will have her period taken care of for 12 months. For every dollar and cup that is donated, we get one step closer to removing the harsh reality of period poverty.
Give the gift of period confidence this holiday season to someone in need. Visit the Friendly Divas campaign page to find out how you can make a DivaCup donation to Friendly Divas.
The Diva Team loves talking about periods, so let’s start.
Fact: Half the population experiences a period each month and unfortunately, many do not have access to period care.
Solution: PERIOD: The Menstrual Movement. PERIOD is the largest youth-run NGO in the menstrual health category. PERIOD was founded by Nadya Okamoto, a dynamic young woman with a desire to change the conversation around periods. PERIOD’s mission is to celebrate periods and provide products to those in need.
On November 18th in New York City, PERIOD is hosting the world’s first youth-run activism conference surrounding menstruation: PERIOD Con 2017. Diva International is proud to be supporting the event as the Diamond-Level Sponsor and even more thrilled that our CEO, Carinne Chambers-Saini will be the event’s keynote speaker.
It’s a beautiful thing when two inspiring and driven women come together with the same mission in mind- to provide a better period experience. Both Nadya and Carinne recognize that access to period care is a necessity, not a privilege.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to interact with young leaders who are making positive changes in their own communities. All in all, we’re beyond excited to be at PERIOD Con in just a few weeks,” Carinne Chambers-Saini.
The conference is an opportunity for each PERIOD Chapter Leader to learn how they can further the Menstrual Movement in their own communities. Each Chapter Leader is working towards raising awareness about PERIOD by hosting fundraisers and distributing period products to those in need.
Carinne was encouraged to learn that PERIOD’s high school and university chapters are led by inspiring young activists making positive change in their own neighborhoods. As a thank you to these leaders, Carinne wanted to provide each Chapter Leader with the opportunity to win 1 of 25 PERIOD Con entry tickets. Applicants were asked to fill out an online application and the winners were chosen by Diva. Carinne, along with the Diva Team cannot wait to meet the applicants at PERIOD Con!
“It feels like a dream to work with The DivaCup in this capacity,” says PERIOD Founder and Executive Director, Nadya Okamoto. “I, personally, have used The DivaCup since my second menstrual cycle when I was fourteen years old, and dreamed of partnering with The DivaCup. It’s quite a statement for such a company to so heavily be investing in both the leadership potential in the next generation, and the Menstrual Movement overall.”
PERIOD Con is based around the three pillars of PERIOD’s mission, which are Service, Education and Advocacy. Diva’s mission is to provide solutions for menstruatoras with an emphasis on excellence in menstrual care, environmental care, production and sustainability. The opportunity to align these goals with PERIOD’s mission is a privilege in of itself for Diva.
If hearing about PERIOD has sparked your interest, it’s not too late to get involved. Whether that means telling someone you know about the work they’re doing or applying to start a chapter in your community- anything helps.
Spread the word and let’s continue to talk about periods!
-The Diva Team
1. Good bye high chafing!
As the warm summer months roll around, bare legs plus the heat of the day can result in the inevitable: the dreaded chafing. The solution, deodorant, yes that’s right, deodorant! Simply roll deodorant on your inner thighs in the morning and presto, chafing gone. Try making this all natural DIY deodorant this summer.
2. Dry shampoo it up!
Another summer must have, dry shampoo. This product can be a life saver, no matter the time of year, but with the summer heat and sweat, it’s a must have necessity.
3. Too much sun? Aloe ice cubes to the rescue!
Missed a few spots with your sunscreen and feeling the burn? A great solution is to pour aloe into an ice cube tray, freeze it and use them to soothe your skin.
4. Keep it colorful!
Sun, salt water, and chlorine can seriously damage your hair, especially your hair color. Keep your locks healthy and vibrant with just a spritz of apple cider vinegar prior to sun exposure.
5. Frizz be gone!
Two words, coconut oil! It’s a wondrous solution for so many beauty needs including keeping your frizz under control. Just mix up equal parts coconut and avocado oil together and spritz into the ends of your hair. Another great option is to use coconut oil as a hair mask to add extra moisture before washing it out in the shower.
6. Baby powder sand repellant.
It often feels like you trek the whole beach home in your bathing suit, honestly, where does it all come from?! Leave the sand at the beach with one simple product, baby powder. Sprinkle powder on your feet, legs, and body and you’ll be able to wipe all the sand off immediately.
7. DIY overnight sunburn remedy.
Make this all-natural sunburn remedy with apple cider vinegar and coconut oil to give your skin some much needed TLC. Leave it on overnight and your skin will feel good as new.
8. Beachy Waves.
You gotta love that beach wave summer look. You can sport the look yourself with just a simple headband. Give this trick a try by following just a few effortless steps.
9. Get the “cool” nail look!
Trying to get a cute manicure in this summer heat? Try first storing your polish in the fridge, The cold polish will go on more smoothly. And if you’re in a rush, dunk your freshly painted fingers in some cold water for three minutes to make sure everything is set.
10. Go string free with The DivaCup this summer!
With all these fun beauty hacks out there, how could we not include The DivaCup in the mix! Lose those uncomfortable pads and tampons this summer and embrace a comfortable alternative that you can wear for every summer activity.
Burned through your summer event calendar and have #NoNewPlans? Let’s see if you’ve marked these fun ideas off your list yet.
Weekend Trip to A Neighboring Town
Go explore! You never know what cute little boutiques or walking trails could be just a short drive away.
Because why not!
Summer Camping Trip
I know, so original, but why not do it glamping style and make it a fun girls weekend?!
Guided Tour of Your Own City
You could find chocolate, beer and wine and food tours all close to home.
Theme Park Day
It’s roller coaster and junk food time!
Hot Air Balloon Ride
You’ll get some amazing Instagram-worthy pics.
Relax and just appreciate.
Whatever your choice berry, summer has them all. You might end up eating more there than you take home.
Double feature with all the popcorn you want!