Nutrition, Birth Control and Dog Food

Hi Steph,
I’ve always been a big fan of yours, there is nothing more inspiring than strong female climbers showing us that the seemingly impossible is possible! Through curiosity on improving my health and becoming an even better athlete I’ve recently decided to follow a whole foods plant based diet. I’ve begun reading a lot of materials: Whole, The China Study, Thrive, and am really excited about it.

All that being said, this research has peaked my interest on a few other topics.

1) I was curious if you have an opinion on birth control. One of the things I’ve come to like about a whole foods plant based lifestyle is the purity of interactions your body will have with those foods. And I’m hoping that it will bring hormonal balance to my body naturally. Then I remembered i take birth control, which also interferes with hormonal balance in the body. I don’t really want to rely on condoms, and I’m definitely not ready to leave having a child up to chance at this point. So I was wondering what your opinion was. I know you aren’t a medical professional, but since you’ve been vegan much longer than I have, maybe you’ve come about some discussion on that topic.

2) I have a small Italian greyhound. He has to take medication for what we think are genetic seizures. These medications aren’t good for the liver and he has to be checked yearly. I heard rumor from an Italian greyhound foundation that some of their dogs with seizures stopped having them when switched to a “raw foods” diet… But I believe these diets still have meat in them. I’m not looking for an answer about my dogs seizures but mostly was curious about what kind of food you feed your dog. Does your dog eat normal dog food? Does he eat vegan? Can dogs even eat vegan or do they have to eat meat? I’d be interesting in trying a new food for him because maybe, like in humans, food can help him with his problems.

Thanks for being such an inspiration!

Hi Allison,
Thanks for getting in touch, and congrats on making thoughtful decisions about your lifestyle choices–your questions are great, because they are two things I’ve had to put a lot of thought into as well. Like you, I want to nourish and protect my body as much as possible, and I realize that everything I put into my body has an effect on it. For the same reason, I have never wanted to use birth control options that alter my hormones. I have a Paragard IUD, and have had it for 10 years now. When I got it, I was strongly encouraged to get the Mirena, which is an IUD that contains a progestin hormone called levonorgestrel. I actually had to argue strongly that I wanted the copper IUD, which does not have any hormones in it, and finally was able to get that one. I was told that getting the non-hormone IUD might cause heavy bleeding, while the Mirena would actually reduce it. I was also told that IUDs aren’t recommended for people who haven’t had a child, because they can be harder to get in, but I still was able to get one. I did have slightly heavier periods for a few months, and then it was back to normal. It took some determination to get it, and some stubbornness to insist on the copper one, and I’ll be honest, having it put in hurt quite a bit! But dealing with all that once every 10 years is pretty acceptable, compared to all the other birth control options out there, in my opinion. I think the copper IUD is absolutely the way to go.

I’m sorry to hear about your little greyhound! Foodwise, I don’t think it’s healthy for dogs to be fully vegan–they’re different from humans in their nutritional needs. Aside from health, my biggest goal in being vegan is to get my dollars out of factory farming, because I think it’s terrible and I want it to end. So for Cajun, I buy Open Farm Catch of the Day Whitefish and Green Lentil food because they use sustainably caught ocean fish. They also collect the food bags for recycling, if you bring the empty bag back to the store you bought it from. She loves the food and she’s very healthy–she’s never eaten anything else since I’ve had her (she seemed to have mostly eaten cow manure when she was an abandoned pup).

I’ve looked into dog seizures too because my good dog friend Slack is having them. Two things that keep coming up are coconut oil and hemp extract, based on people trying it with their dogs and seeing improvements. Cajun doesn’t get seizures, but she can be really anxious. She’s been taking CW hemp extract every day for the last month and it seems to be helping her feel more relaxed. So if you’re looking for some other options for your pup, I would probably try the coconut oil and hemp extract, to see if it helps with his seizures. I hope he gets better!!

6 responses to “Nutrition, Birth Control and Dog Food”

  1. Elizabeth Sias says:

    I also have the copper IUD and love it. I got it in 2013 and didn’t have to argue or convince them to give me one (I was 25 and have never had children). I think the myths of IUDs — especially the copper one — being only for post-childbirth women have been dispelled over the last decade. IUDs in teens and 20-somethings is becoming more popular and common. I also chose the copper one to avoid hormones, plus I like that it lasts 10+ years.

  2. Christina says:

    My friend’s Australian Shepherd had epilepsy and they were able to successfully control the seizures by putting her on a raw food diet. This was all raw meat, purchased at a pet store.

  3. steph davis says:

    it’s great how perceptions and available information are improving!

  4. steph davis says:

    that’s good to hear she’s better 🙂

  5. Elizabeth Sias says:

    Exactly! Still a ways to go, but it’s progress.

  6. Natalie says:

    I tried the Paraguard and had it in for a year before switching to the Mirena. The length and heaviness of my periods never leveled out and got to a point where I just couldn’t bear it any longer (they would last for 2 weeks or more!). I’m glad to hear that it does work for some women though! I would love to be hormone free. Mirena seems to be a pretty good alternative though. It uses far less hormones that other forms of birth control and I haven’t experienced any of the other side effects that I have in the past with other forms of BC (I’ve pretty much tried them all).


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