Ditch it: Goal pants and fat pants

In May 2011, I participated in a 5K race.  I finished next to last and spent most of it walking when I was recovering from my little walk-jog (I do not purport to be in peak physical condition), but I finished it!  All participants got a free tee shirt, but they were out of anything bigger than a large and, true to my pre-minimalist tendencies to take the free thingy, I took a size large and decided it would be my goal shirt.

You know where this is going, right?

I never did anything to fit into that shirt.  It just took up space in my closet, shouting things like “Hey!  You can’t wear me!”

That shirt was a real jerk.

It was donated, or sold at a yard sale, or something.  If I ever do get to a size large, I’ll get a shirt that I actually like instead of a freebie one-off shirt.  It’s not like you’re going to never buy clothing again so you need to stock up on whatever you can find that’s smaller than you are, for the purposes of goal setting.  I don’t have any goal pants or goal clothes, because my goal is just to get healthier.  Weight loss will happen as a result, but I am not focused on a pants size or a tee shirt to get there.  My motivation comes from within me, from a desire to be healthier so that I can enjoy life and activity, and so that I can be a good role model for my friends and my family.  That motivation does so much more than a pair of pants could.

On the other hand, what about keeping your old, too-big clothes when you’ve lost weight?

I have reached the point where my two pairs of jeans no longer fit me.  They poofed out in the thighs like MC Hammer’s pants and could barely stay on at the waist.  Time for new pants.  (I raided my sister’s closet… no shame).  But since I have no intention of gaining the weight back (since this is a lifestyle change and not a yo-yo diet), these pants are now useless to me.  I am still tempted to keep a pair to compare old pants to new pants as I lose weight, because seeing the difference is really exciting and motivating, but I will probably just list them on ebay since they are still in really good shape.

Reasons why I have no second thoughts about ditching clothes that don’t fit…

  • I’m a minimalist and I don’t want clothes I can’t even use taking up valuable space
  • I can get bigger or smaller clothing inexpensively because I shop at thrift stores, yard sales, and ebay
  • I mostly dig dresses, which are a very forgiving clothing item if you gain or lose a few pounds
  • I no longer have to worry about replacing expensive bras, since I stopped wearing them

What are your thoughts on goal clothes and fat clothes?

 

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Ditching my debt

I’m ditching my debt.

I signed up for a debt management course called Financial Peace University.  I realize the irony in spending a hundred dollars to be told how to get out of debt, but I have a personal guarantee from a friend who recommended the program that it would be the best hundred I ever spent and that if I didn’t get any benefit she would personally refund my money.  Sounds good to me.  Plus, I can take the class as many times as I want for the rest of my life.

My mom and friends have expressed skepticism, saying that they’re sure I can just find this information online and do it myself.  Well yeah.  Obviously I know things about budgeting and debt.  I’m staying afloat.  The problem is that I have no one watching me and keeping me accountable, and that’s something I personally need when it comes to money.  I need a buddy.  This class is going to help me.

The local class starts September 16 but I am not wasting any time trying to get my finances under control.  I crunched some numbers and found that my biggest pitfall – no surprise – is food purchases.  I spend entirely too much on groceries and I eat out more than I can really afford to do so.  I know that the program uses a cash system, using cash instead of cards because people spend less when they have to buy with cash!  So, to start September off on this idea of using cash instead of cards, I will be taking $150 CASH out of the bank for two weeks in the end of August, to give me the entirety of September’s grocery budget.  My other biggest pitfall is not planning my money carefully.  All of my bills come due in the first 15 days of the month.  Naturally, those first two weeks are pretty tight.  When low on cash, I’ll transfer money out of savings (bad!) and then forget to put it back in (worse!), enabling me to spend more money LATER on crap I don’t need (Chipotle!).  So my savings is super low and disappoints me every time I look at my account balance.  NO MORE.

I’m paying future-me NOW (like it’s a bill that MUST be paid) so she can buy some groceries LATER.  I am very optimistic about this system. I think the cash will help a lot.  In college, I budgeted my cash using envelopes, and I was able to save up $1200 in a short amount of time.  Working 8 hours per week.  I can totally rock this!

My grocery budget is $300 a month, which is more than average but we all know I am very persnickety when it comes to food.  I have allotted $100 for meat and eggs (assuming 8 dozen eggs, 2 steaks, 2 pounds of ground beef, 3 pounds of bacon, and two whole chickens).  Another $100 for fruit and vegetables.  The third $100 for nuts, fats, grains, and “other” or overflow spending (like if I want to get salmon, which isn’t in the standard meat budget).  My goal is to spend not a penny over $300 for the month’s groceries ($75-80 per week).  My hope is to spend around only $200 (about $50 a week), by using coupons and strategic meal planning. (And probably buying less meat than that, I just estimated big).  I will be paying close attention to the grocery budget for September to see what I can realistically budget.  I know that $300 is a very liberal budget for a single person (with a cat).  It should also be noted that the grocery budget includes cat food, cat litter, and non-food things like toilet paper.

I also figured that if I do six hours per week freelancing and apply that income to debt repayment, I can afford to pay off my smallest student loan (which is loan B, if you’ve been following along since I paid off the first smallest loan in my “snowball” plan) in ONE YEAR. One year! Not four! ONE!

The average family participating in Financial Peace University pays off $5,300 in debt and saves $2,700…

in the first ninety days of the program.

Being single and not a “family” I am sure those numbers will be different for me, but I am very optimistic about this program’s ability to help me wade through the chaos of debt management.

I’ll be updating weekly about the classes once they start.  I hope you’re ready to learn a lot about money. I know I am, and I hope to impart wisdom to my readers experiencing the same things!

Have you ever used FPU, read Dave Ramsey’s books, or done another debt program?  Tell me all about it, I want to know everything!

Ditch it: Medication

Update, May 2019: Antidepressant medication 100% saved my whole life, and I’m now on birth control again to address extremely painful and heavy periods. I still hate Tylenol though. Moral of the story: Do what you need to do to feel better – yes, many times, natural remedies and dietary changes can help address things, but sometimes it’s okay to use medication.

A few readers were curious about my life without medications and pharmaceuticals, so I’m devoting this week’s post to how I managed to ditch the meds.  Granted, I was not on very many.  As far as prescriptions go, I was only on the birth control pill.  I took occasional heartburn pills and antacids.  Sometimes I took painkillers for headaches or menstrual cramps.  I used to treat a cold with a regimen of DayQuil and NyQuil.  I wasn’t ever on a lot of medications though.  An easy thing to ditch once I committed to it.  In fact, the last medication I took (besides birth control) was a round of antibiotics for a double ear infection last summer – and had I known better, I would have tried to self treat that before going to the doctor!

Pain medication

Your major pain meds are Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Midol), Acetaminophen (Tylenol), and Naproxen (Aleve).  There’s also good ole’ fashioned aspirin.  Painkillers work by slowing or stopping the production of prostaglandin by your nerve cells.  Prostaglandin is produced when cells are injured or damaged, and then the nervous system transmits the information (“ouch, something is wrong”) to the brain, interpreted as pain where the damage is located.  So a pain medication isn’t actually helping anything get better, it is just dulling the communication of your cells to the brain so that your brain isn’t interpreting the pain.

Why don’t I take pain meds? I am not comfortable routinely taking something that interrupts the natural order of my body.  This is not to say that I would never take a pain medication (for instance, if I needed surgery or was seriously injured), but I don’t use it for day to day aches and pains like headaches, joint pain, backaches, etc.

Also, Tylenol/Acetaminophen damages the liver and depletes glutathione.  Glutathione is the miracle molecule that your own body produces just for you, and  it helps protect against chronic illness.  Glutathione deficiencies are found in patients with fatigue, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, autism, autoimmune disorders, Parkinson’s, arthritis, asthma, liver disease, and more.  It’s important.  And it’s easily messed with; poor diet, medications (like Tylenol), stress, trauma, toxins (from food and pollution), and radiation all deplete glutathione from your body, leaving you more at risk of developing chronic illness.  Glutathione also protects your nerve cells from mercury and other heavy metal toxicity.

What do I do instead of pain meds? There are natural pain relievers out there!

  • Antioxidant rich foods destroy free radicals that cause digestive inflammation – so they can help relieve or prevent pain in the digestive organs
  • Bromelain is an extract from the pineapple and reduces cramping and inflammation due to increased circulation – you can get benefits from eating pineapple or taking a bromelain supplement
  • Magnesium helps relieve and prevent cramps
  • Garlic can be used for many pain relief needs, including joint pain, tooth pain, and back pain
  • Clove oil will relieve pain from toothaches
  • Arnica, in a liniment or ointment, reduces swelling and pain from strains and bruises
  • Curcumin, from the turmeric root, is medicinally used to reduce inflammation
  • Staying hydrated helps to avoid cramps and headaches
  • Switching to a menstrual cup took away 99.99% of my menstrual cramps
  • Exercise helps relieve pain as well (yay endorphins!)

What about a fever?

This may surprise you, but fevers are generally a GOOD SIGN.  A fever means your body is fighting an infection.  Fever is a natural immune response, and by suppressing it with fever reducers you can actually prolong illness because your body isn’t able to do its job properly.

As long as you or your child is acting normally, staying hydrated, urinating regularly, and relatively comfortable, a fever is fine to be left on its own.

You should seek medical attention if a child has a fever of over 104.  I’m not a doctor, so definitely trust your gut if it seems like something is really wrong.

If you do feel the need to slow a fever, try a cool bath or the “wet sock” treatment.  After a warm bath or foot soak for at least ten minutes, put on a pair of thin, cotton socks that have been soaked in cold water and wrung out.  Cover the cold, wet socks with warm, wool socks and then rest, either sleeping or just resting and reading or watching TV, etc. I haven’t personally tried this treatment but apparently it works for migraines, ear infections, strep throat, and all things upper respiratory.

Digestive medication

I used to get bad heartburn.  Like, really bad.  It was so bad, it radiated into my face and felt like something was tearing through the hollows of my cheeks.  I have no idea why or how heartburn can do that, but it did.  Fried food, especially when followed by dairy products, caused it to flare up.  Not every fried food, but any fried food.  Now, cutting dairy and most fried foods from my diet has helped a lot.  In fact, I’ve gotten heartburn maybe once or twice in the past six months to a year.  So I tossed my bottle of antacid liquid and the off-brand Zantac pills, since I no longer need the medication.

Instead of heartburn medication, try…

  • Apple cider vinegar – one tablespoon in water before a meal or as needed for heartburn symptoms.  A lot of the time, heartburn and acid reflux is caused by too little stomach acid, not too much.  Raw ACV (with the mother, check out Bragg’s brand) mimics the acidity of stomach acid and helps break down the food
  • Avoiding trigger foods – for me, cutting dairy and avoiding fried foods has gone a long way toward saying farewell to heartburn
  • Papaya enzymes are a natural alternative to antacids like Tums

Cold medications

Ah, the cold and cough aisle of the pharmacy, how I do not miss you.  Guess what’s in DayQuil and NyQuil? Yep, acetaminophen.  They are basically Tylenol + some cough suppressant and decongestants.  Instead of treating with pills or syrups, try the following:

  • Master tonic – this stuff will cure what ails you, cough, cold, flu, whatever.  I haven’t been sick in a year because I take it at the first sign of a tickle in my throat.  Chop by hand or in a food processor garlic, onions, horseradish root, ginger root, and hot peppers.  Put it all in a jar.  Fill it with raw apple cider vinegar.  Put a lid on.  Keep it in a cool, dark place (cabinet is good), shake daily, and strain the liquid after two weeks.  Keep this “magic garlic juice” in the fridge.  You can also eat the veggies but I have stuck to just downing a tablespoon of the tonic as needed, twice daily when I feel like something’s coming on.  You can take it as a daily preventive but I just take it when I think sickness is trying to get in.  I am telling you, garlic is amazing.
  • Raw honey for a cough (or boil a lemon cut into halves, squeeze the juice out, add glycerin in a 1:1 ratio with the lemon juice, and then add raw honey to make a cough syrup)
  • Sniff peppermint essential oil to relieve a stuffy nose
  • Elderberry syrup is another miracle cure that super boosts the immune system and will help you kick a cold, flu, or cough fast.  You can make your own or buy it pre-made.

Birth control

This is the big one.  I went on the pill in 2006.  During my first experience trying to de-toxify the food I was eating, I switched to natural and hormone-free meats and felt like maybe I should also stop pumping more artificial hormones into my body.  So I stopped the pill for a few months in 2010.  However, my cycles were irregular and I got tired of freaking out that I was pregnant every month so I went back on for the convenience of it.  The next time I decided to go off, the decision stuck.  Here are some reasons I stopped taking hormonal birth control:

  • It’s artificial hormones, which disrupt your natural hormone balance
  • They come with a chance of blood clot, embolism, stroke, cardiac issues, and other high-risk side effects
  • They affect the gut, upsetting the balance of gut flora and potentially leading to leaky gut syndrome
  • Cervical cancer risk increases while on oral contraceptives and decreases when contraceptives are stopped
  • The pill comes with an increased risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer
  • On and on and on… there is a lot of info about the risks that come with hormonal contraceptives, including the pill, the shot, the ring, and anything else I missed

So what’s a girl to do when she doesn’t want to get pregnant?

First of all, there’s condoms.  Latex or non-latex, but you want one without spermicide because the spermicide Nonoxynol 9 has actually been shown to increase rates of transmission of certain STIs.  Seems counter-intuitive to me.  There are also diaphragms and sponges and other stuff I don’t know much about because I haven’t used them.

My preferred method of birth control is the Fertility Awareness Method.  FAM requires charting your fertility signs, including basal body temperature (BBT – your body temperature upon waking), cervical position (that sucker moves around!), and cervical fluid (ranging from a sticky paste-like consistency to a stretchy egg-white consistency).  The simple fact is that there’s a very small window in your menstrual cycle during which you can conceive and become pregnant.  Fertility Awareness allows you to identify that time window and either avoid pregnancy (by abstaining or using a barrier method) or achieve pregnancy.  I recommend the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility if you are interested in this method.

If you are coming off the pill, it’s good to take a couple months to allow your cycles to regulate before you rely on FAM for birth control.  I took advantage of a change in relationship status several months ago to devote some me-time to getting to know my body.  Remember when irregular cycles freaked me out, back when I first tried going off the pill? That’s because I don’t ovulate until around day 24, and my luteal phase is only 10 days, making a 34 day cycle.  On the pill, I had a forced 28 day cycle.  That’s almost an extra week of me thinking my period was late every cycle… had I only known then what I know now!  Whenever it matters again in the future, I’ll be able to avoid pregnancy naturally without medication, which makes me a very happy lady.

It just feels better to trust my body on this stuff, instead of pumping it full of pharmaceuticals because I don’t know how to make it work naturally.  The more we understand our bodies, in my opinion, the better we do to take care of them.

Questions?  Any questions about what I’ve written here, or is there anything I’ve missed?  Oh, allergies… eat raw LOCAL honey.

The Ditch List

Recently I have been writing about the things I have “ditched” in my minimalist lifestyle.  The list of things I have ditched includes:

  • Chemical cleaning supplies
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Wearing a bra
  • Shaving my legs
  • Makeup
  • Hair products
  • Medication/pharmaceuticals
  • The microwave oven
  • Processed food (not 100% ditched but very close)
  • Toothpaste
  • Teflon (phasing out my remaining two pots)
  • Tampons and disposable pads

My question for you all is: what have YOU ditched?  What’s easy to ditch, and what’s hard?  I have not written about all the things on this list, is there one you would like to read about?

Ditch it: Tampons

Let’s get this out of the way: I’m going to say “vagina” a lot in this post.  Also “cervix” and “menstrual cycle” and “period.”  Prepare yourselves!

In a natural healing group on Facebook, the question was posed: What’s a crunchy thing you do that gets the strongest reaction from people?  I thought about a lot of things… I barely go to the doctor, I don’t wear a bra, I don’t shave my legs, I don’t use shampoo… AHA! I’ve got it!

I don’t use tampons.  Or disposable maxi pads.

tumblr_m5y7apLjOC1rqfhi2o1_250Tampons and pads…

  • are expensive (~$3,000 over your lifetime, more if you buy organic)
  • are bad for the environment (lots of waste and lots of pollution from manufacturing)
  • are produced with harsh chemicals
  • can cause infections in your lady parts
  • (tampons) deplete the vagina’s natural fluids and bacteria
  • (tampons) can contain mold (link)

Overall, disposable menstrual products are a drag.  In my experience, tampons are uncomfortable and make everything dry.  Pads feel like you’re wearing a diaper, and sometimes they flip around and you’ve got adhesive and plastic sticking to places you’d rather it not be sticking.  Plus, the ones that are more plastic just make you all sweaty and gross.

What can you use instead?

I personally use a menstrual cup (Lunette) and washable organic cotton pads (Party In My Pants).

I use these for many reasons…

  • Less waste (one cup will last years, and when you’re ready to discard you can simply burn it without producing any harmful chemicals or gases; pads are made from biodegradable cloth)
  • Better periods (sounds crazy but it’s true; I don’t get menstrual cramps anymore since switching, and my periods are over quicker)
  • Less money (after an initial investment, I have no monthly costs associated with my period – I’m paid up for at least FIVE YEARS)
  • Safer (no drying out of the vaginal fluids, no chemicals in sensitive areas, no stupid fragrances)
  • Easier (I really believe this is easier than fussing with packaging, wrapping, discreetly tossing, etc.)
  • Less space (cup in the medicine cabinet, five pads in my underwear drawer, TA DAAAAAAAAA)

WTF is a menstrual cup?

A menstrual cup is a silicone cup that you insert into the vagina, which catches the blood.  You can wear it for extended periods of time, I usually change mine twice per day on average days and maybe three on heavy days.  No risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome from leaving it in for 12 hours (a risk from tampons).  There are a variety of ways you can fold and insert, and there are YouTube videos and diagrams all over the internet about it.  To remove, simply pinch the bottom, pull it out, dump, rinse (or wipe with tissue if in a public restroom), and reinsert.  One of the biggest complaints I see about women who don’t want to try this is that they wouldn’t be able to change it in a public restroom.  I swear, you can change it in the morning and when you’re home in the evening and never need to worry about it in the middle of the day (unless you have a very heavy flow, in which case you can wipe with a tissue until you can get to rinse it again).

It’s not as gross as it sounds, I swear.

Women also worry that it would be a crazy mess to deal with.  Not true.  There’s a learning curve and your first couple cycles might be a little messy while you figure out your particular groove for insertion and removal, but once you’ve got it, you’ll never look back.  I have never had a nasty spill while changing it, ever.

One thing I need to warn you about is that your cervix (the little opening at the bottom of your uterus that opens up when you have a baby, and through which your menstrual blood travels) MOVES AROUND. A LOT.  So you’ll need to get familiar with your anatomy to make sure the cup is positioned correctly in relation to the cervix.  It does no good to put the cup up high when the cervix is being sneaky down low.  There is a whole world to discover in there. It is CRAZY.  This will not be the last post where I talk about how much the cervix does the cha-cha through your lady parts.  I will not apologize.

Reusable pads?

Yup, reusable pads.  I own five organic cotton liners from Party in my Pants (one of which I got for free – check out the website for your own free liner!)

The things I hear about when people are questioning washable pads is usually around the gross-factor of throwing something with blood on it into the laundry.  Do you wash them in a special load? No. Do you pre-soak them? You can, but I don’t.  Are they smelly? No. I promise.

The way I look at it is: If you get blood on your underwear, do you throw them away or do you wash them? Wash ’em.  I seriously throw my pads in with the rest of the laundry and that’s the end of it.  Granted, I don’t usually have a lot going on with them since they are just there as a backup for the cup, but even if I had a heavy flow on the pads I would just wash them with everything else.  They even fold up for easy carrying!  You could do an initial soak with vinegar water to pre-wash them but it’s not necessary.  You can learn more on the PIMP page linked above!

Any questions?

I am by no means an expert on reusable menstrual gear but I would be happy to answer your questions or help you find the answers you seek!

Fuzzy Legs

I started shaving my legs when I was nine.  Mom did it, and I wanted to do it, because it’s something girls do.  So I began shaving.  Poorly.  At one point, my dad had to continue my education on how to shave my legs (I am pretty sure I was running the plastic edge of the razor over my legs and wondering why the hair was still there).  In sixth grade, I pressed so hard with my razor that I tore off a chunk of skin on my knee.  Constant nicks and cuts were painful and annoying.

Shaving is hard work.

Eventually, I got the hang of it and then had to deal with the necessity of buying razors and shaving cream.  Even then, I didn’t really shave very often, once a week tops.  I shaved when I wore skirts and shorts.  I did not shave in the winter (because pants, and warmth!)

My ex-husband was grossed out by it, but the way I saw it, they were my legs and not his and why should I decorate myself for anyone else’s benefit if I didn’t like doing it? I’ve had an ex-boyfriend (and even an ex-girlfriend) who didn’t mind when I had fuzzy legs.  My cat doesn’t mind.  I don’t mind.

My sister calls them my “hairy man legs.”  And so do I, sometimes, but I am trying to get away from that… because they aren’t hairy man legs.  They’re hairy woman legs.  Hair is not an inherently masculine bodily feature, and we shouldn’t make it that way.  Having body hair does not make me less of a woman.

The horror! Human legs with hair on them!

The horror! Human legs with hair on them!

I still feel (mentally) uncomfortable sometimes, because the expectation in society is that women should be soft, hairless, touchable creatures.  There is an immense pressure on women to have a perfect body, and the images streamed into our brains tell us that perfect is slim and smooth (with large, perky breasts).  I reject that notion of perfect for the idea that maybe, just maybe, our bodies are inherently perfect and we don’t need to spend the majority of our lives changing them to make them perfect.  Humans are mammals.  Mammals have hair.  The only reason we feel compelled to shave our bodies is because someone told us it looked prettier that way.

This is not an indictment of shaving.  If you want to shave your legs because you like how it feels or looks, then by all means shave! Sometimes I, too, enjoy the feeling of silky hairless skin on clean sheets in the summer time.  I also appreciate the razor because it gives me the gift of well groomed facial hair on men.

downey

LOOK AT IT.

I don’t think we should all just throw away our razors, though I do think we should all reconsider the reusable razor with changeable metal blades instead of those plastic monstrosities.  But I do think we should really think about why we shave.  If I remove my body hair, it’s because I want to.  I don’t do it for anyone else.  Plus, now I don’t have to buy razors and shaving cream!

 

legs

Let’s also just take a moment to think about how ridiculous commercials for razors and shaving cream are.  Women shaving already-smooth legs?  As read on  Dear Blank, Please Blank, “if you want to impress us, shave a gorilla.”

Who, me?  (I took this photo!)

Who, me? (I took this photo!)

Do you shave?

Ditch it: The bra

I’m an information sponge and I read a lot about health and wellness knowledge that comes from outside the realm of modern medicine.  Up until now, I thought that a good bra was necessary for breast health, but I’ve come upon some conflicting information that has me second guessing that belief.

The history of the bra

Many ancient civilizations’ artwork depicts women wearing some type of bra or breast-supporting garment.  These cultures include India, Greece, Rome, and China.  Ancient Egyptians did not wear bras, preferring to go bare breasted or wear tunic-style garments without undergarments for the chest.

Beginning in the 16th century, women wore corsets, which pushed their breasts upward.  It also looked pretty hard to breathe in, in my opinion.  In the late 19th century, clothing manufacturers split the corset into pieces – a girdle for the lower torso, and a breast-containing bit, the ancestor of the modern bra. Commercial production of bras began around the 1930s.  Only eighty years ago.

There is a lot more to the history of the bra but I want to get to the stuff that tells you that you don’t need to wear one.

The industry of bras

The sale of bras is a multi-billion dollar industry. In my opinion, a lot of this money probably comes from the fact that bras are only “good” for six months before you “need” to replace them.  I have a bra from 2009 in my dresser.  Whoops.

Bras are marketed to women from the onset of puberty until death.  Bras have special features to push your breasts up, make them look bigger, make them look smaller, make them someone’s version of ideal.

Holy crap, they’re breasts.  They didn’t need artificial support when we were cave-dwellers or natives and they don’t need artificial support now.

Don’t you need a bra?

Bras support the breasts, right? Wrong.  Bras actually cause drooping, sagging breasts.  What happens when you have to wear a cast or a sling for several weeks, and you can’t use an arm or a leg? Muscle atrophy. The same thing is happening to breasts when we stuff them into bras for years.  The muscle around the breast loses tone, thereby creating a “need” for breast support.  Those training bras are training girls’ breasts to require artificial support.  Bras don’t make healthy breasts, they make lifetime customers!

There is a study that found a positive correlation between length of time a bra is worn and incidence of breast cancer.  “The longer and tighter a woman wore a bra, the higher her chances of developing breast cancer.”  Bra-free women have a similar incidence of breast cancer to that of men.

Bra Free, a site run by Dr. Elizabeth Vaughan, outlines another risk of frequent bra wearing: the potential for toxins to build up in our bodies.  She says:

Follow me through this, step by step…it’s not complicated:

  • We live in a world that is increasingly polluted; many of these environmental toxins are in our bodies.
  • Many of these toxins have estrogenic effects.
  • Most of these toxins are stored in our body fat.
  • Breasts are primarily made of fat. It surrounds our breast tissue.
  • Each of us has a different capacity to clear these toxins out of our fat and our bodies. Studies suggest that some individual women’s bodies can detoxify these substances and get rid of them 500 times more efficiently than others. Quite a range.
  • Toxins are carried out of the breasts by the lymphatic system. Breasts are loaded with lymphatic tissue. The lymphatic system doesn’t have a “pump” like the heart. Movement and massage help move toxins along our lymphatic system.
  • Anything that slows down the clearing of these toxins will increase an individual’s risk of developing symptoms and/or disease.
  • Bras which restrict movement of the breasts, appear to increase congestion in the breasts, and slow down clearance of toxins from the breasts will increase the rate that women develop breast diseases. Why? Because the toxins remain concentrated in otherwise healthy tissue for much longer.
  • I’m convinced that the longer women wear tight restrictive garments, the faster the damage will progress.

So go bra free. Or wear a less restrictive bra. Let your breasts move and jiggle. Let your breasts detoxify themselves more freely.

What will people think?

I recently went on vacation to Florida.  While I was there, I didn’t wear a bra.  I didn’t care.  The people weren’t going to see me ever again.  When I got back to Ohio and returned to work, I wanted to continue the experiment.  I went without a bra for a week, and no one appeared to notice.  No one said anything, at least.  There were no leering man creeps eyeing my chest.  I wore a bra for four hours to volunteer on the weekend, but then when volunteering the next day I went without.  Still, no one said anything.

The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter what people think.  If your breasts flop around in your top a little bit, that’s not anyone else’s problem.  I get a little self conscious, still, so I tend to wear a camisole under a top just for a little extra layering and comfort.  Especially in my polyester volunteer shirt, sheesh.

Other reasons to ditch it

Can you imagine the money savings from not having to buy any more bras? If you never buy a bra in your life, you could save thousands of dollars.  Estimating 60 years of bra-wearing, replacing every six months, and spending $30 per bra (this is just assuming you buy one at a time, instead of a white one, a black one, a “nude” one, a strapless one, and a sexy one), that’s over $3,500 on bras in a lifetime.  What have I been doing with my life?

You’ll also save space in your dresser or closet used to store bras, you won’t have to hand wash and hang dry bras, and you won’t have to agonize in dressing rooms trying on new bras after getting measured by a stranger to make sure you have the right cup size.  You won’t have to deal with twisted straps, pinching clasps, and the red marks left imprinted into your skin after a long day in a tight bra.  Ditch it.