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Cholesterol: Types, Symptoms and Foods

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LDL can cause health complications


Cholesterol is an organic compound that our body produces to help build cell membranes and produce hormones such as testosterone and estrogen. Most of the cholesterol required for our bodily processes are naturally produced by our liver. The rest is obtained from dairy products, meat, eggs, fish, poultry and other such dietary sources.

The liver regulates our body cholesterol. After we consume it as part of our diet, our small intestines absorb and metabolize it and then stores it in the liver. The liver secretes this as and when required by the body. An excess of cholesterol is harmful for our body, as it collects in deposits along the interior walls of our arteries and causes them to narrow. When our arteries narrow, the blood flow in our body decreases. In the case that this plaque ruptures, a blood clot may form that will stem blood flow completely. The clot so formed, can be the reason you suffer a myocardial infarction or heart attack if it happens to occur in any of the coronary arteries of the heart. Doctors and dietitians encourage us to consume a low cholesterol diet for this very reason.

Table of Contents

Types of cholesterol

You may have heard of the “good” kind and the “bad” kind – but what exactly makes cholesterol good or bad? Let’s learn below. Cholesterol is predominantly of two kinds.

LDL

LDL or Low-Density Lipoprotein is what is known as “bad” cholesterol. Excessive LDL can be extremely detrimental for your body as it predisposes you to health complications such as a stroke or heart disease. Cholesterol that contains protein levels which are even lesser than LDLs are called VLDLs or Very Low-Density Lipoproteins.

HDL

HDL or High-Density Lipoprotein, functions to remove cholesterol from our bloodstream. If you test high for cholesterol, but it’s because your HDL level is high, you have little reason to worry about your health. High HDL in your body is a safeguard against heart/arterial diseases and strokes.

Triglycerides are another fat component type in our blood that we should be careful for. When we eat more calories than our body needs, these calories get converted to triglycerides. Triglycerides can add to plaque buildup along our arteries if we possess more LDL in our blood than we do HDL. Eating a low cholesterol diet can help control our cholesterol levels by lowering LDL and triglyceride content and improving HDL ratio in our blood.

Cholesterol range

Your cholesterol level can determine your risk of developing heart disease. These levels cannot be measured uniformly, as it differs across age, gender and weight. As we grow older, our body produces more cholesterol. It is generally measured to yield individual results for the amount of total cholesterol content, LDL and HDL content. We should aim to keep both our total cholesterol and LDL content low. A high HDL level, on the other hand, as already discussed, is effective in preventing heart diseases at bay.

Kids are usually not at risk of having high cholesterol, but it is essential to monitor and keep it low all the same. A sustained period of unmanaged cholesterol can be incredibly challenging to treat. It has been noticed that men tend to have higher cholesterol levels. Women, however, tend to experience high levels of cholesterol during their menopause.

Cholesterol Levels for Children

  • Children should ideally have a total cholesterol level below 170mg/dL. A reading of 170 to 199mg/dL is considered borderline and upwards of 200 is thought to put them at serious health risk.
  • LDL levels in children should not exceed 110mg/dL. A reading of 110-129mg/dL is considered borderline. LDL amounting to above 130mg/dL is considered high.Cholesterol levels in children

Cholesterol level for adults

  • A healthy adult would have a total cholesterol level below 200mg/dL. Total cholesterol content between 200-239 mg/dL is considered borderline high, and a measurement exceeding 240mg/dL is considered high and a cause for concern.
  • The LDL content in an adult should be within 100mg/dL. A reading up to 129mg/dL is considered alright for individuals with no predisposal to heart conditions. When the LDL measurement falls between 129mg/dL and 159mg/dL, you are considered to have borderline high LDL content. 160-189mg/dL is thought to be high, and reading beyond 190mg/dL is believed to be very high LDL blood cholesterol concentration.
  • Adults should aim to keep their HDL content at a minimum of 40mg/dL. Any lesser is thought to contribute to a risk of developing heart disease. An HDL reading of 41-59 mg/dL is considered borderline low in adults. Ideally, as an adult, you should have HDL content around 60mg/dL or higher.

Cholesterol symptoms

High cholesterol symptoms can often not be very apparent. As a result, you could have high cholesterol and not even know it. A body high in it stores the excess cholesterol in the arteries. These arteries are responsible for carrying blood from our heart to the rest of our body. Cholesterol buildup in our bodies is called plaque. As time passes, these plaques become hardened, pressing down on our arteries. If your body accumulates large deposits of these plaques, your arteries could get blocked.

Additionally, these plaques could sometimes split open and form a blood clot that stops the standard passage of blood. Artery blockage, in the case of arteries that supply blood to your heart muscles, could spur on a heart attack. If the same happens for an artery that supplies blood to your brain, you could end up suffering from a stroke. The tricky part about having high cholesterol is that you might not even suspect you have it unless you are subject to any of these near-fatal events. The symptoms indicating it are subtle and evade detection, making excessive body cholesterol content difficult to diagnose.

Diet to reduce cholesterol

Making a few changes to the diet you follow on a daily basis can reduce cholesterol levels to a great extent. Why resort to drug therapy, when you can achieve the same results by going on a TLC diet instead? A TLC or Therapeutic Lifestyle Change Diet is a diet low in trans and saturated fats and high in soluble fibres and proteins. The TLC diet is an effective way to reduce cholesterol levels. If you get on this diet, you are supposed to consume less than 7% of your total calorie requirement from saturated fats and intake dietary cholesterol below 200 milligrams. You are encouraged to up your fruit, whole grain, vegetable, poultry, fish, lean meat and low-fat dairy product intake as part of the TLC diet.

Individuals on the TLC diet are advised to only consume as many calories as they require, to avoid unnecessary weight gain. You are asked to maintain a healthy weight on this diet. Soluble fibers, which have LDL-lowering capabilities are advised for consumption as part of the diet.

If you or your loved one are at risk of high cholesterol, you should take proactive steps to reduce itsl levels in your body. You could do so by limiting the total fat intake in your diet to less than 25-35% of your overall daily calorie requirement and eating cholesterol-reducing foods. Try to restrict trans fat intake to less than 1% of the same measurement. Eating healthy fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, found in oily fish, unsalted nuts, vegetable oils and seeds are encouraged.

Cholesterol reducing foods such as high fibre food, I.e. bran, oatmeal, olive oil, pear, apples and food with plant sterol additives are healthy food items that you should include in your daily diet to keep the problem at bay. Ideally, one must follow a balanced diet to ensure no unnecessary weight gain so that you can keep your cholesterol levels down. Learn more about the ideal diet plan for you here.

Cholesterol diet foods

Heart disease kills millions of people around the world every year. Eating cholesterol-reducing foods is a must for good heart health. High LDL levels increase your risk of heart disease. In order to maintain a balanced range, you must make a habit of eating the following foods.Almonds and walnuts help reduce cholesterol

1. Almonds and Walnuts

Nuts such as almonds and walnuts are high in monounsaturated fats. Walnuts also possess a high Omega-3 fatty acid content, which is a polyunsaturated fat that is beneficial for our heart health. Nuts also tend to contain phytosterols which prevent cholesterol absorption in our intestines. Research has found that eating as little as 2-3 servings of nuts every day lowers LDL cholesterol in our body by approximately 10.2mg/dL.

2. Avocados

Avocados are rich in fibres and monounsaturated fats, which help increase HDL and lower LDL, respectively. Clinical studies conducted to verify this claim have found it to be true. Avocados do indeed, lower bad cholesterol in your body.

3. Pulses

Pulses or legumes, meaning, plant food like peas, beans and lentils are also effective cholesterol diet foods. They are high in protein, mineral and fibre content and can significantly reduce your LDL levels.

Oats and Barley
Wholegrains such as oats and barley lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Unlike refined grains, whole grains keep every part of the grain intact and are able to provide more fibers, vitamins, plant compounds and minerals. Oats and barley are especially beneficial in reducing LDL as they are both rich in beta-glucan, a type of soluble fibre that helps bring down your body’s bad cholesterol level.

4. Fruits

Fruits also contain LDL-reducing soluble fiber, which inhibits your liver from producing this compound any further. Pectin, a type of soluble fiber, can lower it by 10%. Pectin is found in citrus fruits, grapes, strawberries and apples. Berries and grapes, especially, are rich in plant compounds which can balance cholesterol levels by increasing HDL content and decreasing LDL concentration in our body.

5. Fatty Fish

Salmon, mackerel and other fatty fish contain long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids boost good cholesterol, lowering inflammation and risk of stroke in the process. Fatty fish protein also contains peptides, which are beneficial for our heart health.

6. Cocoa

Cocoa is another dependable name in the list of cholesterol diet foods. Dark chocolate and other cocoa-rich food products effectively function to reduce LDL and aid in the production of HDL. Cocoa prevents the bad cholesterol in our body from oxidizing, which is what generally leads to heart disease.Reduce cholesterol by consuming cocoa products

7. Soy foods

Soy foods reduce total cholesterol and LDL levels in people with high cholesterol and also increases HDL levels.

8. Garlic

Allicin and other such plant compounds in garlic brings down our LDL cholesterol level and works to reduce heart health risks.

9. Tea

Tea lowers overall cholesterol and LDL content in our body. Research has been unable to determine yet if tea can also improve HDL conclusively. Compounds found in tea, however, does regulate blood pressure and blood vessel function.

10. Vegetables

Vegetables like okra, carrots, potatoes and eggplants too contain Pectin, the same soluble fiber found in berries and grapes which lowers body cholesterol.

11. Olive oil

Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, olive oil helps increase HDL and lower LDL content within the body.

12. Dark leafy vegetables

Dark leafy green vegetables are beneficial in lowering body cholesterol content. It binds to bile acids and encourages its excretion. They also contain carotenoids such as lutein, which reduces oxidized LDL concentration around artery walls. In essence, kale, spinach and other leafy greens are incredibly beneficial for our heart.

These cholesterol diet foods help regulate cholesterol levels in our body, keeping our heart safe and healthy in the process. Make a habit of consuming them, and you will never have to worry about heart disease again!

Summary

It is important to understand the difference between High-Density Lipoprotein, and Low-Density Lipoprotein in order to keep your cholesterol levels in check. They symptoms of the condition are such that it is not easy to detect right away. That said, one must focus on the kind of food they eat in a bid to keep their heart healthy, and reduce cholesterol levels in the body.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Q. How can I lower my cholesterol naturally?

A: 1. Limit your intake of foods that are rich in saturated fats, trans fats, and dietary cholesterol. Consume foods with a lot of saturated fat such as butter, fatty flesh like red meat, dairy products, and palm oil.
2. Eat a lot more fiber-rich foods (especially soluble fiber from foods like beans, oats, barley, fruits, and vegetables).
3. Choose protein-rich plant foods (such as legumes or beans, nuts, and seeds) over meat.
4. Lose as much excess weight as possible.

Q. Do eggs raise cholesterol?

A: Chicken eggs are high in cholesterol, but the effect of egg consumption on blood cholesterol is minimal when compared to the effect of trans fats and saturated fats.
Dietary Guidelines recommends eating only 100 to 300 milligrams of it a day depending on your caloric level. One large egg has about 186 mg of cholesterol, all of which is found in the yolk.
If you like eggs but don’t want the extra cholesterol, eat only the egg whites. Egg whites contain none of it. You may also use cholesterol-free egg substitutes, which are made with egg whites.

Q. What reduces cholesterol quickly?

A: These 5 key lifestyle-change tactics helps in significant lowering of cholesterol levels, particularly LDL:
1. Focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans
2. Be mindful of fat intake
3. Eat more plant sources of protein
4. Eat fewer refined grains, such as white flour
5. Higher physical activity levels

Q. What foods cause high cholesterol?

A: The following foods can cause one’s cholesterol levels to rise up:
1. Butter
2. Ghee
3. Hard margarines
4. Lard, animal fat
5. Fatty meat and meat products such as sausages, bacon
6. Full fat cheese, milk, cream and yogurt
7. Coconut and palm oils and coconut cream

Q. How to control cholesterol in an Indian diet?

A: Indian foods can also allow you to lower your cholesterol levels. Methi seeds are rich in a compound called saponins that help reduce its absorption from food. Garlic contains allicin which helps lower LDL and triglycerides. 

Furthermore, onions are rich in antioxidants. These help increase HDL while lowering LDL levels in the body. You can also include flax seeds in your diet. They’re packed with omega 3 fatty acids and fiber which binds to cholesterol and decreases their absorption from foods. They also contribute to increasing HDL levels.





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Millets: Types, Benefits and Recipes

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More and more people around the world are waking up to the uses of millets and consuming a diet rich in them. Speak to any fitness enthusiast, and they will vouch for the miraculous benefits of eating millets. They boost your health and improve weight loss, besides being gluten-free.

Eating healthy can seem like a task with the easy availability of junk food all around us. However, consumption of junk food on a long-term basis, as we are all aware is incredibly harmful to our health. A good way to get on the path to good health is to replace your unhealthy eating habits with healthier options. Millets are available in a variety of types, with each having its own health benefits. You can walk into a supermarket at any time of the year and still be able to find whole grain millets in stock. Why? They are cultivated across seasons.

Consuming millets as part of your daily diet is not a new concept. In fact, the population of central and southern India would consume millets almost regularly as a staple food until the Green Revolution made rice and wheat more accessible. They became sidelined as a staple food grain in India due to the government’s lack of recognition. The government proactively pushed rice and wheat in the subsidised public distribution system, deincentivising farmers from cultivating millets.

However, ditching rice or wheat bread completely for millets would not be healthy for your body. Practice grain diversity in your diet for wholesome nutrition.

Table of Contents

What are millets?

Millets are coarse grains which have been traditionally grown and eaten in the Indian subcontinent for the last 5000 years. They contain high nutritional value and are rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals and fibres. Unlike other cereals, millets require little water and ground fertility. They have long enjoyed the tag of “poor man’s food grain” due to its sheer affordability. However, of late, it has come into the notice of fitness-centric youngsters who are learning the wellness potential of this humble food.

Millets are generally divided into two broad categories –

Naked grains

Naked grains refer to the three popular millet types which are devoid of the hard, indigestible husk that some millets have. Namely, Ragi, Jowar and Bajra. These millets don’t require processing after harvest; they can simply be used after being cleaned. These are the major millet types which are largely cultivated and quite popular because of this ease of use.

Husked grains

Foxtail millets, Little millets and Kodo millets belong to this second type. These millet types consist of an indigestible seed coat. The husk on them needs to be removed before they are fit for human consumption. Once done by hand, these millets soon fell out of favour since the processing of these grains was never mechanised the way it was done for rice and other types of cereals.

Millets contain a host of micronutrients such as iron, calcium and phosphorus. Also, they take time to digest, which don’t cause the blood sugar spike associated with easily digestible food. Introducing millet into your diet can help you control diabetes for the same reason.

Millets are not only good for us but the environment too, as they are largely rain-fed crops and do not put pressure on our already diminishing water resources. Additionally, these grain crops do not attract pests and so, can grow perfectly well without the use of pesticides.

Types of Millets

Millets come in different shapes and sizes. The two broad categories of millets discussed above contain numerous kinds of millets. We will take a look at some of these different types of millets below –

Foxtail millet

Foxtail millet, or as it is indigenously called, kakum/kangni is commonly available as semolina or rice flour. Foxtail millet contains blood-sugar balancing healthy carbohydrates. Its iron and calcium content also helps strengthen immunity. What more? It helps regulate your blood cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol levels in your body.

Finger millet

Finger millet, i.e. Ragi, is used as a healthier cereal substitute for rice and wheat. The millet variant is gluten-free and rich in protein and amino acids. Finger millet is supposed to aid brain development in growing children.

Pearl millet

Pearl millet or bajra is incredibly nutrient-dense. It contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium, protein, fibre and iron. Practising daily consumption of pearl millet can be very beneficial for your health, such as helping you fight against Type II Diabetes.

Buckwheat

Buckwheat is the millet type you should consume if you want to lose weight. It makes for a healthy food option for diabetics, helps lower blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health. Buckwheat also fights against diseases such as gallstones, childhood asthma and breast cancer.buckwheat is a type of millet

Little millet

Little millet is also a great millet option for those looking to lose weight. You can eat it as a rice replacement. It is high in fibre and filled with numerous minerals such as potassium, zinc, iron and calcium. It is also packed with the health benefits of vitamin B and works as an antioxidant for your body, once consumed.

Millet benefits

Millets are rich in several beneficial nutrients such as phosphorus, magnesium, copper, manganese, and so on. Incorporating millet into your diet can help because of the following millet benefits –

Aids weight loss

The calorie content of millets is incredibly low, and so, they are a great food product for weight loss hopefuls. Not just those looking to lose weight, millet benefits people who are conscious of their fitness too. It helps them maintain their energy level throughout the day without having to keep eating constantly to refuel themselves.

Millets also keep you satiated for longer than other carbohydrates which are digested within a couple of hours of being consumed. When you consume millets, you feel fuller for longer as they take some time to get digested and absorbed into your body. You don’t have to reach out for unhealthy snacks, as a result.weight loss

Keeps your blood sugar levels low

Consuming millets can pre-empt people from developing diabetes, because of its low glycemic index.

It boosts your immunity

Our body’s immunity is built on the protein we consume. Millets provide a great source of protein and can help build and strengthen our immunity. The stronger our immunity, the less disease-prone we will be.

Reduces cardiovascular risks

Millets contain essential fats, which provide our bodies with natural fat. It also helps excess fat from being deposited over our muscles, which then effectively lower our risk of high cholesterol, strokes and other heart complaints. The potassium content in millets regulates your blood pressure and optimise your circulatory system.

Prevents asthma

The magnesium contained in millets can reduce how frequently you experience migraines and bring down the severity of your asthma complaints. Unlike wheat, millets don’t contain the allergens which lead to asthma and wheezing.millets help prevent asthma

Helps your digestion

Millets are a rich fibre source which can benefit digestion by helping alleviate bloating, gas, cramping and constipation. Good digestion keeps digestive complaints like gastric/colon cancer and kidney/liver complaints away.

Acts as an antioxidant

Millets can help your body detox because of its antioxidant properties such as quercetin, curcumin, ellagic acid and other useful catechins which help flush out toxins from your body and neutralise the enzymatic actions of your organs.

Millet recipes

The uses of millets are diverse. You can cook millets for breakfast, as lunch serving or for dinner. You can use millet rice instead of white rice in your recipes, and your food preparations will be significantly healthier. Below we share a rice-substitute millet preparation recipe. Hope you like it!

Vegan Millet Sushi with Roasted Root Vegetables and Broccoli Cream

Serving Size – 5 sushi rolls
Preparation Time – 45-50 minutes

Ingredients

For the Roasted Root Vegetables

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 100g each of carrot, turnip, root celery and beet strips

For the Broccoli Cream

  • 50 g each of peeled sunflower seeds and broccoli florets
  • 180 ml cold water
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

For the millet

  • 250 g uncooked millet
  • 1.2 l water
  • ½ tsp salt

You will also need 5 nori sheets and tamari sauce for serving.

Instructions

  1. You will have to bake the vegetables first. Preheat the oven to 400F and then put your vegetable strips onto a covered baking tray with a sprinkling of oil. Sprinkle some salt over the vegetables and bake the vegetables in the oven for 35 minutes or until lightly browned. Take the tray out of the oven and allow the baked vegetables to cool.
  2. Now, prepare the millet by mixing the millet with water and salt and bringing it to a boil. Boil this mixture on medium heat for about 15 minutes. Once the millet has softened, keep it aside and let it cool down.
  3. Boil the broccoli florets and sunflower seeds in water for 15 minutes and then drain and rinse these boiled vegetables with cold water. Add this boiled broccoli and sunflower seeds to a blender along with cold water, soy sauce and vinegar. Blend for a handful of minutes until you obtain a smooth mixture and set aside.
  4. Take a rolling mat and your nori sheets and prepare to make your sushi! Add about a tablespoon of millet and spread it out, then add some roasted veggies and a little of that broccoli cream. Moisten the top of the nori sheet with some water and then, roll it into a tight sushi roll. Repeat it five times. Use a sharp wet knife to cut the sushi into pieces. Serve this sushi with leftover broccoli cream and tamari sauce. Enjoy your millet rice sushi and don’t forget to pass on the recipe!

Summary

Millets are a coarse grain, cultivated in the Indian subcontinent, for ages now. Yet, it always flew under the radar with the presence of more popular cereals like rice and wheat. Suddenly, health and fitness aficionados from across the world have sat up and taken notice of the immense health benefits that this humble food grain offers.

Millets, once a staple in India, fell out of favour as the government popularised the cultivation of other cereal grains. Unlike wheat and rice, millet cultivation is incredibly sustainable. Millets can grow in any climate; they are mainly rain-fed and are not prone to pests. So, millets can be grown in areas where water resources are not easily available too. They are not expensive to farm as they do not require expenditure on pesticides.

The world has recently realised the wealth of nutrients that millets contain. It is being hailed as a superfood, even called as a miraculous food product. Why? Millet benefits our bodies by strengthening our immunity, keeping diseases in check and also aiding weight loss. Unlike other cereals, millets take longer to break down in the body and so, keep us satiated for longer.

Millets are available in a range of options. Each type of millet carries its own health benefits. Largely, all millet types promote good health and wellness. They contain antioxidants, micronutrients, protein and a host of other beneficiary vitamins for our body.

If you are planning to introduce millets into your daily diet, you don’t need to worry about how. You can use millets as a cereal substitute, prepare lunch out of it, make porridge, infuse it into your cupcake – the uses of millets in cuisine can be endless.

Don’t be taken in by health fads. If you’ve spent money on Quinoa, know that millets will provide you with much the same health benefits for a much lesser price. Also, millets are far more versatile and can adapt itself to more dishes than quinoa. Why wait, include millets into your everyday diet and notice the little positive changes it brings to your life.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Q. Is millet carbohydrate or protein?

A: Millet are carbohydrates, not protein.

Q. Which is better oats or millet?

A: Both of them are high fiber grains. However, rolled oats being processed may take the second place compared to whole millets as they are not processed.

Q. Is Millet bad for thyroid?

A: Millet are goitrogenic, that means it might interfere in the iodine absorption in the body. Hence it is necessary to limit millet in people suffering from Hypothyroidism condition.

Q. Which is the best millet?

A: All varieties of millet have their own positives. Consuming them in the right amounts can only help improve your overall health.





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Endometriosis Support Online | POPSUGAR Fitness UK

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Image Source: Unsplash

After my endometriosis diagnosis, I honestly didn’t know where to start when it came to alternative treatment options. I’d already had surgery, which did help my symptoms, but I was by no means cured. I found myself needing more than what doctors were offering. There was very little information given to me, and after being told by a specialist to just return when my pain got “bad enough for another surgery,” I realised I was going to have to do some research for myself and figure out how to minimise my symptoms in other ways.

If you’re unfamiliar, endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women, but despite being a common condition, it’s under-researched and very often misdiagnosed — so much so, the average diagnosis time is a staggering 7.5 years.

I’ve had multiple appointments with doctors about my endometriosis, and although I couldn’t survive without the NHS and absolutely appreciate it, after asking my consultant what dietary changes I could make to ease inflammation, I was told “there is no scientific evidence to prove diet makes a difference, so that won’t help.” FYI, a specific endometriosis diet exists, and this book helped me. I knew I had to take matters into my own hands. But it wasn’t private healthcare or specialists I turned to, it was strangers on the internet.

I found support groups, personal blogs, and Twitter accounts dedicated to supporting women with endometriosis and sharing experiences. I followed these accounts, read up on their stories, and realised that I wasn’t alone in my unpredictable symptoms. I got in touch with women while researching ways to cope day-to-day with the condition and ended up communicating with many on them on a semi-regular basis.

Their conditions vary, some also have adenomyosis, some are unable to continue working, and some are sadly sharing their experiences with infertility. These women share their struggles, their triumphs, and their experiences with different treatments. This offers support that you probably won’t find in a doctor’s office. Fortunately, I am still able to work and my endometriosis isn’t as severe as a lot of these women, but they still offer support in a way that others many not understand. I am still trying to figure out how to adapt my life to not “overdo it,” this means finding exercises that don’t aggravate my pain, but still allow me to be active. One of these ladies suggested yoga and now it’s an integral part of my routine to keep my pain minimal.

The online community is a also great way to communicate with other women about their experiences with treatments that aren’t yet widely researched. I asked a few women what their experiences were with zoladex infections, as this is a treatment I was offered. I came to the conclusion that, actually, despite what doctors were suggesting, it wasn’t a path I was ready to go down yet. Thanks to first hand advice from women really going through it, I was able to make an informed decision.

So here’s to all the women on the internet who literally help each other to get through a day at a time, despite the difficulties and pain that get in the way. The internet offers a support system that wasn’t available to the generation before us and I’m so grateful to have it. I’ve included some blogs below that may help you if you’re looking for first hand experiences, advice, or just want to read up on the condition.





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Vans and CoppaFeel! Create Breast Cancer Collection

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In honour of breast cancer awareness month, which kicked off on Oct. 1, Vans partnered with UK-based breast cancer-awareness charity, CoppaFeel! to create a supercute collection that we need in our wardrobes immediately. The line includes clothing and footwear, and each piece is decorated with one of four breast-themed illustrations, or the positive affirmation, “You’ve Got This,” which is a subtle nod to the the charity’s message that stresses the importance of self-examinations.

CoppaFeel! is dedicated to educating people on the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, promoting early detection, and encouraging young people to get to know their bodies. The charity was founded in 2009 by Kristin Hallenga and her twin sister Maren, after Kris was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 23. At the time, she was unaware that the disease even affected people in their twenties. This campaign with Vans will help them spread their message further.

Every piece in the line, which includes Vans’ classic slip-on shoe, lace-up shoe, a cap, and denim jacket, feature one of four breast-themed illustrations — all hand-drawn — showing women of all shapes, colours, and sizes. “The illustration style uses simple shapes and minimal line work to highlight the bold use of colour and the unity of interlocking figures,” says Vans footwear designer, Diandre Fuentes. “Breast Cancer is a disease that affects everyone regardless of their race or status, and we wanted the women in the illustrations to reflect this reality.”

One of the designs is a literal blueprint, showing people how to check their own breasts at home, tying in with CoppaFeel!’s early detection ethos. “This partnership will allow us to tell more people why checking their boobs is so important, and in return, save lives,” says Kris Hallenga. “CoppaFeel! exists to stamp out the late detection of breast cancer by educating everyone — girls, boys, and non-binary pals about their boobs and encourage them to get anything abnormal checked out.”

The collection goes on sale in Vans stores and their website from today, and will raise over $200,000 USD for CoppaFeel! If you’re based in London, you can also support CoppaFeel! this breast cancer awareness month by purchasing a ticket to their annual Festifeel (get it?) on Saturday Oct. 12. There’ll be live performances (from James Bay, for one), and comedians throughout the afternoon, and it’s all for a good cause.





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