Monday, November 8, 2010

Product Review: Gladrags & the Mooncup

Like many people I want to lessen my waste output. So I make a conscious effort to reduce the amount of disposable and one use plastic and paper products and packaging I consume.
Then I heard this:

(from "If you menstruate 340 times in your lifetime, using 20 disposables per period, that amounts to 6800 pads or tampons thrown away. Now consider all the women using disposables in the world. If 500 million women use disposables throughout their lifetime, that's 3.4 trillion pads or tampons thrown away! Not only is landfill space taken up, but these materials cannot be reused and are no longer part of the resources available to us. Then, of course, there's all that packaging, (wrappers, boxes, applicators) that are also thrown away, all the garbage bags used, all the fuel used to truck those products to the stores week in and week out. Using GladRags for even a portion of your cycle makes a difference!"

What? My period is wasteful? Dang. It's so obvious when I think about it.
And then I thought about this:
I want to spend less money. Times are tight. Everyone wants to save a buck. We've cut out some unneccesary stuff but then I realized that at $5 a month for disposables, about one box of tampons and half a box of pads, for 5 years, hm, 12 x 5, carry the 1, that's $60 bucks a year! They say that well cared for Gladrags menstrual pads and the Mooncup can last even longer than 5 years and after seeing and using them, I believe it.
No adhesive. The wings snap securely around the crotch of your undies.

One cup and a couple of pantyliners is all I needed for my whole cycle!

Choosing disposable pad and tampons means a monthly expense of between $5 and $25 for every woman. Over the course of her menstrual life disposables costs the average woman more than $5,000. By comparison, reusable alternatives give years of protection for a fraction of that cost. If you buy a set of 2 GladRags pantyliners and a Mooncup at a cost of $50, that kit (compared to the price of disposables) will pay for it self in 10 months or less and last 5 years or more.

I want to ease the chemical burden that living on this planet causes in my body and the chemical burden my living places on the planet. In our society there is no way to live without producing waste. There is only so much you can eliminate and still function efficiently. Adopting reusable menstrual protection products into your routine is one big way to reduce the amount of toxins you take into your body and reduce the amount of toxins realeased in to our waterways through paper and plastic production and disposal.

My Anecdote:
I entered 2 internet giveaways last month. One for a Mooncup and one for a set of Gladrags pantyliners. I won them both. Yeah, I couldn't believe it either!
Anyway, for my last period I used the Mooncup w GladRags panty-liners to back it up. It took a couple of tries to get the cup placed right but once I got the hang it was amazingly, life-changing-ly wonderful.
I had a heavy flow last month and did leak but only because I forgot about it and it over filled (It's THAT comfortable). Fortunately the panty liner was enough to catch it. It's my recommendation that a cup and two panty-liners (wash-one-wear-one system) is the minimum needed to get through a cycle. I washed the liner by hand every day, even when there wasn't any leakage, I just rinsed it and hung it in the laundry room it dried in less than a day. I usually have a medium-light flow, your experience may vary.

Getting over the ICK Factor
I know that initially when a person hears about reusables the knee-jerk reaction is "ICK! Reusable PADS?!?!? I could never..."
I know, me too! I was apprehensive. I don't have a problem with the washing part, because cloth pads are as easy to wash as your underwear. I didn't know if they would be comfortable, if they would really work and be reliable. How would the practical side play out? It's a risk, it's new territory. It could go horribly wrong and one of our greatest fears as modern women could come true. Disposables have been around all our lives. They were introduced in the 1930s. It hasn't always been that way. Even though most of them didn't talk about it, our great grandmothers used reusable pads because there wasn't anything else. Read more on that here

Not convinced? OK, Let's go over the disposable routine: 
With disposable tampons and pads, you
1 Go to the store about 340 times and spend over $5000 in your menstruating lifetime.
2 Use a product once, then throw it in the landfill or flush it into our water, that works most of the time and smells like death all of the time.
3 Put the used tampons and pads in a bin next to the toilet so they stink up the room. Then take them to the landfill where they will stay for 1000s of years.
4 Get a yeast infection, a rash from the adhesive stuck to your butt, an over-dry irritated vagina and a dose of toxins and a lighter wallet every month.

Here is the reusable routine
With a Mooncup and GladRags you
1 Make a one time investment of $50 for 5 or more years of menstruating
2 Reuse your menstrual cup and pads which are worry free so you only have to attend to them once or twice a day, is so clean you almost don't ever see any blood, EVER except when you are dumping it in the toilet and has virtually no odor.
3 Simply rinse your cup (or wipe it out if you're in a public restroom) after dumping in the toilet and reinsert. Give it a good cleaning at the end of your cycle and it waits for you in it's pretty bag (included) until next month. To clean your pads: Soak in cold water (if you need to) then rinse and wash in your machine with warm or cold water (never hot, it sets the stains) with the regular wash, no extra load, nothing goes to waste. Hang or tumble to dry with the rest of your laundry. A whole cycles worth of pads, even if you don't use the cup, isn't any bigger than a large bath towel.
4 Reduce irritation and discomfort. You can't feel the cup AT ALL when it's placed right. The cup collects the flow rather than absorbing it, so the vaginal tissues aren't dried out as they can be with disposable tampons. When you wear cloth menstrual pads you feel nothing but dry, soft, fuzzy, comfy flannel and take in no toxins at all. Your Gladrags are made from organic cotton and the Mooncup is medical grade silicone, no leaching or off-gassing what-so-ever. You absorb nothing.

Save money, time and lessen your waste output with reusable menstrual products.

Now you know. I hope I've given you something to think about or perhaps knocked you over the fence if you've been thinking about it already. It's a very small thing to do only a couple of days a month and it really, really can make a big difference.

Would you like to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals such as dioxin in your life? Remove concerns about yeast infections, irritating fibers, possibly cancer causing agents and other skin irritants?
Would you like to reduce your contribution to "disposable" wastes which can take many years to break down, if they break down at all?
Would you like to support small businesses rather than multi-national conglomerate corporations?
Would you like to save hundreds of dollars a year by walking past the "Feminine Products" aisle in the grocery store and never even have to stop? Imagine never running out of pads or tampons again. Imagine never having to make a late night or early morning run to the store to buy over priced, toxic product.
Would you like to discover that cloth pads made from natural fibers have none of the odor associated with paper products and are as easy to clean as washing your underwear?
Would you like to insert a cup in the morning and not have to think about it again until evening?
Would you like to live your ethics by making an easy, healthy lifestyle choice that will significantly lessen your contribution of disposable plastic to landfills?
You can accomplish all of these things and more by switching from disposable pads and tampons to reusable cloth pads and a menstrual cup.

Take my advice: Buy a reusable pads and cup kit like the one I use. They are available for purchase from Gladrags here: Moon Cup and GladRags Kit

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The Philosophy of Animal Rights by Tom Regan

The other animals humans eat, use in science, hunt, trap, and exploit in a variety of ways, have a life of their own that is of importance to them apart from their utility to us. They are not only in the world, they are aware of it. What happens to them matters to them. Each has a life that fares better or worse for the one whose life it is.

That life includes a variety of biological, individual, and social needs. The satisfaction of these needs is a source of pleasure, their frustration or abuse, a source of pain. In these fundamental ways, the nonhuman animals in labs and on farms, for example, are the same as human beings. And so it is that the ethics of our dealings with them, and with one another, must acknowledge the same fundamental moral principles.

At its deepest level, human ethics is based on the independent value of the individual: The moral worth of any one human being is not to be measured by how useful that person is in advancing the interest of other human beings. To treat human beings in ways that do not honor their independent value is to violate that most basic of human rights: the right of each person to be treated with respect.

The philosophy of animal rights demands only that logic be respected. For any argument that plausibly explains the independent value of human beings implies that other animals have this same value, and have it equally. And any argument that plausibly explains the right of humans to be treated with respect, also implies that these other animals have this same right, and have it equally, too.

It is true, therefore, that women do not exist to serve men, blacks to serve whites, the poor to serve the rich, or the weak to serve the strong. The philosophy of animal rights not only accepts these truths, it insists upon and justifies them.

But this philosophy goes further. By insisting upon and justifying the independent value and rights of other animals, it gives scientifically informed and morally impartial reasons for denying that these animals exist to serve us.

Once this truth is acknowledged, it is easy to understand why the philosophy of animal rights is uncompromising in its response to each and every injustice other animals are made to suffer.

It is not larger, cleaner cages that justice demands in the case of animals used in science, for example, but empty cages: not "traditional" animal agriculture, but a complete end to all commerce in the flesh of dead animals; not "more humane" hunting and trapping, but the total eradication of these barbarous practices.

For when an injustice is absolute, one must oppose it absolutely. It was not "reformed" slavery that justice demanded, not "reformed" child labor, not "reformed" subjugation of women. In each of these cases, abolition was the only moral answer. Merely to reform injustice is to prolong injustice.

The philosophy of animal rights demands this same answer - abolition - in response to the unjust exploitation of other animals. It is not the details of unjust exploitation that must be changed. It is the unjust exploitation itself that must be ended, whether on the farm, in the lab, or among the wild, for example. The philosophy of animal rights asks for nothing more, but neither will it be satisfied with anything less.

Haiku Disclaimer

This works for me now
Find your own path and never
Take advice from fools

Insprirational Vegan Quotes

1. Animals that live in the wild kill other animals in order to eat. If I also lived in the wild would it still be inhumane to kill an animal to eat?? What about if I raised chickens in my backyard and cultivated their eggs for my breakfast omelet, is this inhumane?
A: Because animal flesh and products are not needed for human nutrition killing and eating them is inhumane in any circumstances. No kind of slavery is humane no matter how well the slave is treated. You can't respect someone and then exploit her for her eggs/milk/honey.

2. Do animal rights moralists take into consideration the domestication of animals i.e. history of farming, farming as the back bone to the establishment of the first civilizations. There’s not much literature about the reasons animals have become a central part of human life?
A: History is no excuse to continue to exploit non humans. Animals are not needed for human nutrition. That is a myth perpetuated by industries which make money exploiting non human animals.

3. Is domestication against animals rights? If so, does that make having a dog or cat or horse inhumane?
A: At this time there are a lot of domesticated animals that need tending. Most domesticated animals are just that. They would not exist as we know them if not for domestication. Breeding animals for pets or for food is unnecessary and inhumane. Adopt animals, have them spayed or neutered. Give them a comfortable home where they can live out their lives without being exploited. With time the numbers of "non-food" and "food" animals will go down and eventually there will be no more domesticated food animals or pets.

Ethical veganism results in a profound revolution within the individual; a complete rejection of the paradigm of oppression and violence that she has been taught from childhood to accept as the natural order. It changes her life and the lives of those with whom she shares this vision of nonviolence. Ethical veganism is anything but passive; on the contrary, it is the active refusal to cooperate with injustice. ~Gary L. Francione

Merely by ceasing to eat meat

Merely by practicing restraint
We have the power to end a painful industry

We do not have to bear arms to end this evil
We do not have to contribute money
We do not have to sit in jail or go to
meetings or demonstrations or
engage in acts of civil disobedience
Most often, the act of repairing the world,
of healing mortal wounds,
is left to heroes and tzaddikim (holy people)
Saints and people of unusual discipline
But here is an action every mortal can
perform--surely it is not too difficult! ~Roberta Kalechofsky of Jews for Animal Rights

The ten commandments of Mother Earth

1. Thou shall love and honor the Earth for it blesses thy life and governs thy survival.
2. Thou shall keep each day sacred to the Earth and celebrate the turning of its seasons.
3. Thou shall not hold thyself above other living things nor drive them to extinction.
4. Thou shall give thanks for thy food, to the creatures and plants that nourish thee.
5. Thou shall educate thy offspring for multitudes of people are a blessing unto the Earth when we live in harmony.
6. Thou shall not kill, nor waste Earth's riches upon weapons of war.
7. Thou shall not pursue profit at the Earth's expense but strive to restore its damaged majesty.
8. Thou shall not hide from thyself or others the consequences of thy actions upon the Earth.
9. Thou shall not steal from future generations by impoverishing or poisoning the Earth.
10. Thou shall consume material goods in moderation so all may share the Earth's bounty. ~Ernest Callenbach

"This is what passes for "food" in America today: A collection of nutritionally-obliterated, hormonally-enhanced, chemically-adulterated shapes of refined whatever, all hyped up to make them seem like real food when in fact they're just agricultural byproducts devoid of any real nutrition." ~Mike Adams

"I like not eating animals. Animals are our friends and we shouldn't eat them. Animals need us to take care of them and save them. My mom cooks us vegetables and pretend hamburgers and hotdogs and chicken nuggets and they are healthy for you and taste good! I told all my friends 'you should NOT eat animals!' I hit my friend Levi because he was eating a ham sandwich and wouldn't stop. Then mom said that Levi is an animal too and we have to be nice to all animals even if they eat other animals. I said sorry to Levi, but I wish he would not eat animals anymore. I also like not eating animals because my mom says it helps the earth, like recycling." ~Jacob, 6 yrs old

You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.~Anthony Robbins

It only takes a spark
~Daniel Andreas San Diego

Some people are still going to want to eat meat. We do agree though that vegetarianism is a healthier diet.
~David Stroud (of the American Meat Institute)

For that which befalls the sons of men befalls beasts ;

even one thing befall them: as the one dies, so dies the other. They have all one breath; so that a man has no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knows that the spirit of man goes upward, and the spirit of the beast goes downward to the earth? ~Ecclesiastes iii., 19, 20, 21.

There is no such thing as cruelty free slaughter or humane killing.
No slave is happy no matter what the owner tells you.
Go Vegan NOW!
Do it for the cows that have their babies taken away again and again for milk production.
Do it for the chickens who are de-beaked for egg production.
Do it for the pigs who have to nurse their babies on concrete floors.
Do it for the millions of humans who don't know any better.
Do it for the planet.
Do it for your health.

Do it because there is NO SUCH THING as humane slaughter.~
Judith Barnes

Auschwitz begins whenever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they're only animals.

~Theodor Adorno

If only I could so live and so serve the world that after me there should never again be birds in cages.
~Isak Dinesen (pen name of Karen Blixen), author (1885-1962)

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
~Anne Frank

If "rights" exist at all— and both feeling and usage indubitably prove that they do exist —they cannot be consistency awarded to men and denied to animals, since the same sense of justice and compassion apply in both cases.
~Henry Salt, 1892

You ask people why they have deer heads on the wall. They always say, Because it's such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother's attractive, but I have photographs of her.
~Ellen DeGeneres

A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.
~Leo Tolstoy

Raw foods create living bodies, and cooked foods create dying bodies
~Sabrina Aird, Grass Root co-owner

You say it’s my personal choice, it’s not a personal choice when you’re ruining my planet and you’re eating my friends
~ Dave Warwak

The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites, or women created for men.
~ Alice Walker

Thou Shalt Not Kill
~ The Christian Bible

If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy; if the world were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I wake up each morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world. This makes it very hard to plan the day.
~E. B. White

Don’t want to ruin the oceans? Go vegan.
Don’t like the environmental problems of the soy industry? Go vegan.
Don’t like monoculture? Go vegan.
Don’t like the environmental problems of the petroleum industry? Go vegan.
Don’t like greenhouse gas emission? Go vegan.
Don’t like animal exploitation and cruelty? Go vegan.
Want environmental sustainability? Go vegan.
Want to feed the hungry? Go vegan.
Want to save water? Go vegan.
Want to cut air and water pollution? Go vegan.
Want to slow global warming? Go vegan.
Want to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, obesity, and cancer? Go vegan.
There is no absolutely single personal change that the average person can make that has a better impact on the environment than going vegan.
~Dan Cudahy

Honey is not vegan. It is an animal product, it came from the inside of an animal that produced it, not for you to sweeten your tea, but for a baby bee to live and grow on. Using honey or products made with beeswax are not on the vegan menu.

What is it that should trace the insuperable line? ...The question is not, Can they reason? nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?

~Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)

Can you really ask what reason Pythagoras had for abstaining from flesh? For my part I rather wonder both by what accident and in what state of soul or mind the first man did so, touched his mouth to gore and brought his lips to the flesh of a dead creature, he who set forth tables of dead, stale bodies and ventured to call food and nourishment the parts that had a little before bellowed and cried, moved and lived.

How could his eyes endure the slaughter when throats were slit and hides flayed and limbs torn from limb? How could his nose endure the stench? How was it that the pollution did not turn away his taste, which made contact with the sores of others and sucked juices and serums from mortal wounds?

It is certainly not lions and wolves that we eat out of self-defense; on the contrary, we ignore these and slaughter harmless,tame creatures without stings or teeth to harm us, creatures that, I swear, Nature appears to have produced for the sake of their beauty and grace.

But nothing abashed us, not the flower-like like tinting of the flesh, not the persuasiveness of the harmonious voice, not the cleanliness of their habits or the unusual intelligence that may be found in the poor wretches.

No, for the sake of a little flesh we deprive them of sun, of light, of the duration of life to which they are entitled by birth and being.~Plutarch

I abhor vivisection. It should at least be curbed. Better, it should be abolished. I know of no achievement through vivisection, no scientific discovery, that could not have been obtained without such barbarism and cruelty. The whole thing is evil.~Charles Mayo (founder of the Mayo Clinic)

Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds them. We live by the death of others. We are burial places.~Leonardo Da Vinci