Category Archives: Nutrition

Why I Will Never Go Back To Using Hormonal Birth Control + 6 Negative Effects of Birth Control Pills

Before I talk about the negative effects of birth control pills, I want to state that I’m not against birth control in general. However, I do think women need to be educated and informed about the side effects of going on any kind of contraceptive thoroughly before making a decision, which isn’t the case many times. Please consult with your doctor or medical professional before making any changes to your health regime or medication.

Negative Effects of Birth Control Pills

If you are a woman reading this, have you ever been on any kind of hormonal birth control? You are probably nodding yes. After all, more than 99% of women aged 15–44 who have ever had sexual intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method. That’s a crazy high number.

It’s not surprising, especially since more than half of pill users (58%), rely on the method at least in part for purposes other than pregnancy, such as menstrual pain or regulation, acne, and other hormonal issues.

It’s also ridiculously easy to gain access to birth control pills, patches, or rings. You go to your doctor and say that you are interested in some kind of birth control, and they write a script on the spot after a few questions and you are good to go for at almost 0 cost these days. Well, maybe except for the cost of your health.

Some people take the pill without any side effects hormonally, but many others, like me, are not so lucky.

I lost my period for over 2 years after I stopped taking the pill.

I took the pill for about 7 years. I first started it in college because I was having horrible menstrual cramps so I figured the pill would help. It did. Later on, I continued to use it to also prevent pregnancy once I became sexually active.

There was a 6 month break during those years when I decided to stop taking the pill because I felt that I didn’t need it anymore. During the entire 6 months, I didn’t get my period. I freaked out and to get my period back, I decided to go back on the pill. I know this might seem like lopsided logic but in my young, reckless mind, it made sense to me.

Around 2011, I started learning more about holistic nutrition, and began to hear stories about how much hormonal birth control can mess up your hormones and can even make women permanently infertile. That’s when I decided to quit the pill for good.

Throughout the 7 years that I was taking the pill was when my digestive issues were at its worst and I developed severe food sensitivities.

Once I was quit the pill, I didn’t get my period for over a year. I went to a gynecologist, who told me this happens sometimes, it’s not a big deal, and told me to wait it out. Say what you want about losing your period, but I now know that it’s a SERIOUS ISSUE that shouldn’t be ignored. It’s a sign that your hormones are completely out of whack and the root cause of why this happens needs to be addressed.

When I finally got my period back, it was about 14 months later and it was the most painful menstrual cycle I have ever had. The next period came after 10 months, and then 8 months, then the intervals kept reducing until my cycle started to normalize. After almost 2 years of this, I now have regular cycles every 28 days without missing a beat. Hallelujah.

The entire period of me getting my cycle back happened in conjunction with me doing a complete overhaul of my diet: cutting out gluten, dairy, and processed foods, and replacing them with real, whole food nutrients. I really do believe that part of the reason why my period was able to normalize was because I started reducing inflammatory foods in my diet and really worked on healing my gut. Even now, the better I manage my stress and cleaner I eat, my PMS symptoms are far reduced during my period.

I still have hormonal issues like being extremely sensitive to stress, occasional painful cycle, and digestive issues that easily arise from what I eat and my emotions. After what I put through my body with the pill and what I know about the pill now, I’m not surprised at all. Some may have had positive experiences with the pill but I am not one of them. And I don’t ever want to go back to taking hormonal birth control again.

These are some of the negative side effects of taking any kind of hormonal birth control, and what it does to your body.

What may happen to your body on the pill

Negative Effects of Birth Control Pills

1. Nutrient deficiency. Just like any medication, the pill passes through the liver to metabolize. In order for this to happen, the liver uses extra nutrients like B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and folate. When women go on the pill for years, which is the case many times, these nutrients are increasingly depleted in the body and that’s why many women, including myself, lose their period once they decide to go off the pill. It can take months to years to get the body back in balance after this. If you are on the pill, I highly recommend you follow a nutrient-dense, whole food diet to replenish your body with the necessary vitamins and minerals.

2. Reduces chance of pregnancy. When women want to get pregnant, it is absolutely crucial for them to have enough folic acid, or folate, in their diet. Since folate is one of the key nutrients that gets depleted while on the pill, it’s no surprise that women have a more difficult time getting pregnant after going off the pill. Also, the pill has been shown to thicken the cervical mucus, which makes it difficult for the sperm to reach the egg.

3. Digestive issues and yeast overgrowth due to estrogen dominance. It’s common for women who have been on hormonal birth control to have estrogen dominance, a condition which contributes to a host of hormonal symptoms, autoimmune diseases, allergies, and even cancer. Another common effect of estrogen dominance is yeast infections and candida overgrowth. Because of this, women who have been on the pill for a long time may suffer from more yeast infections than those who haven’t. I personally have been suffering from candida overgrowth, which started while I was on the pill and I’m still working on this health issue currently.

4. Masks symptoms and causes hormonal imbalance. While taking hormonal birth control may clear up the skin and reduce PMS symptoms, this is just putting a band aid on deeper issues you body may be going through. Acne, PMS symptoms, irregular periods, and menstrual cramps are signs from our body that something is off hormonally. We need to figure out what the root cause is, instead of temporarily masking the symptoms with the pill. And what’s worse, taking exogenous hormones in any way causes even bigger hormonal imbalances, and it’s common for women to experience low sex drive, mood swings, depression, and bloating.

5. Increase in inflammation. Taking hormonal birth control is known to lower free testosterone levels in women, and this is NOT a good thing. A woman’s health is dependent on her testosterone level, and a drop in testosterone really can cause inflammation in the entire body, affecting sleep, bone health, mood, energy level, and even hair loss.

6. Increases risk of cancer. Studies have shown that the longer a woman is on hormonal birth control, there’s an increased risk of breast and cervical cancer. This risk is even higher for women who start the pill in their teens and for women who regularly consume alcohol. Both the pill and alcohol elevate estrogen levels, and many breast cancers are fueled by excess estrogen in the body.

Our hormones work together in a beautiful symphony, and a little bit of imbalance can throw off the entire system. While stress, poor diet, and toxins play a huge role in this, exogenous hormones and hormonal birth control really interfere and override our body’s delicate hormonal balance, and may cause so many problems that you might not have been aware are related to our hormones. If you feel the need to go on the pill, educate yourself first, and make an informed decision that you feel is the least invasive and the safest for your body.

6 Negative Effects of Birth Control Pills

8 Awesome Benefits of Sea Salt

Learn the benefits of sea salt and why you should incorporate into your diet everyday!

Benefits of Sea Salt

You’ve probably heard of the common health warning, “Stick to a low-sodium diet for better heart health.” While there is some truth to salt causing hypertension, this only applies to refined white table salt that you’ll often see in salt shakers at restaurants. That’s because these salts have been stripped of their beneficial minerals and only have sodium and chloride, which create imbalances and disease in the body.

Real sea salt has been used for thousands of years by our ancestors and have been a precious commodity to season food and boost their health. I’m talking about unrefined, health-promoting salt like Celtic sea salt and Himalayan sea salt that are gray, black, or pink in color. These salts are actually very helpful in balancing the body and providing the body the nutrients it is lacking from our modern diet. And helloooo, it enhances the flavor our food!

So what are some of the amazing benefits of sea salt? You may be surprised that there are many but here are just some of the important ones:

1. Keeps you hydrated

Contrary to popular belief, sea salt is extremely beneficial in keeping us hydrated. The amount of nutrients in sea salt also satisfies our thirst for a longer period of time and keeps us holding on to the fluids for longer.

Table salt, on the other hand, dehydrates us and actually leeches essential minerals from the body. It also makes us crave it more (I used to be a salt addict!) because our bodies is in need of nutrients that it wants in natural sea salt that cannot be satisfied by processed table salt.

2. Reduces fluid retention

Some people think that salty food makes you bloat or retain water, and yes, this happens when you consume white table salt and refined salt used in processed foods. I remember the days I would wake up feeling groggy and bloated after a late night pizza binge with friends.

However, with real sea salt, the opposite happens because of its balanced ratio of minerals, especially potassium and sodium, which help release retained water. Eating real food and salting your own food with sea salt will help eliminate bloat and water retention.

2. A great source of minerals 

Did you know that high-quality sea salt has 84 trace minerals that nourish and strengthen our body? We used to be able to get enough minerals from the food we eat. However, with monocropping and improper farming methods, our soil has been depleted of these essential minerals and doesn’t provide the nutrients to our food like it used to.

However, we can supplement with sea salt and replenish our bodies with these easily absorbable minerals. I even put a pinch of sea salt in my water each day for that extra nutrient profile!

3. Balances electrolytes

Because of its amazing mineral content, sea salt is a great source of electrolytes like magnesium, calcium, potassium, and sodium. These electrolytes are vital for muscle, brain and heart health, because of its critical role in the nervous system. Instead of the typical sugar-filled electrolyte drinks you can find at the supermarket, try adding sea salt to water with a squeeze of lemon juice.

4. Prevents muscle cramps

When your electrolytes are low, you can experience muscle soreness, cramps, charley horse, and even restless leg syndrome. The lack of minerals keeps the muscles from relaxing and cause contractions that are out of your control. This is why epsom salt baths are recommended for any kind for muscle fatigue. The magnesium in epsom salt plays a huge role in loosening and calming the muscles and your entire body.

If you know you’ll be doing a strenuous activity, make sure to add sea salt to your water before and after to replenish your body with the minerals that it loses during the exercise.

Benefits of Sea Salt

5. Great for skin health

Because of its potent mineral content, sea salt has anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial for skin health. There are many beauty products that use sea salt, because it has the power to detoxify the skin, while exfoliating, increasing circulation, and providing the skin with nutrients. Sea salt has been shown to be especially beneficial for acne, psoriasis, eczema, and anti-aging.

6. Improves digestion

Sea salt is necessary in the role of digestion, and it starts in the mouth. The salivary amylase, an enzyme which helps break down carbohydrates in the saliva, is activated by the flavor of salt.

Also, salt plays a huge role in the making of hydrochloric acid, which is secreted in the stomach for the breakdown of food, especially protein. Most people are insufficient in hydrochloric acid, and this can cause numerous digestive issues like bloating, gas, heartburn, indigestion, and can eventually lead to leaky gut and chronic disease.

7. Nourishes the adrenal glands

Adrenal fatigue of varying degrees is extremely common today, resulting from stress and poor diet. With adrenal insufficiency, one of the main symptoms is salt cravings. This is because the body is craving the nutrients it needs from sea salt.

Among their numerous demanding functions, our adrenal glands release hormones that regulate sodium and potassium in the body. So in order to make this particular job easier, the adrenals need a balance of these minerals through high quality sea salt. This is especially important when they are already tired from the stress we put through them everyday.

8. Regulates blood pressure

Yes, high quality sea salt is greatly beneficial for regulating blood pressure. The rise in blood pressure is the result of inflammation in the body, which is primarily caused by a high sugar, processed food diet, which also includes white table salt that’s devoid of most nutrients.

Real sea salt actually reduces inflammation by bringing in the necessary minerals that the body uses to boost its immunity. By providing the body with enough water and potassium, it actually helps prevent heart disease and improve cardiovascular health. ‘

To receive all the healing and health-boosting benefits of sea salt, make sure to purchase quality brand like this Celtic sea salt and this Himalayan sea salt. Always reach for salt that has color. It shouldn’t be white, because that means it has been refined and stripped of all its beneficial minerals.

Don’t be afraid to incorporate sea salt into your diet everyday, because it truly is a nourishing and healing superfood!

What Great Grandma Ate / Jean Choi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Regarding other affiliate links and affiliate relationships: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.

8 Awesome Benefits of Sea Salt

9 Ways to Use Sauerkraut Juice

How to Use Sauerkraut Juice

Do you throw out sauerkraut juice after finishing your sauerkraut? If you do, you are throwing out a nutrient-dense and health-promoting (and delicious!) liquid that you could be using in so many different ways! Before going into all the various uses, let’s talk a bit more about sauerkraut, and how to get the best quality.

If you are a fermented food lover like me, you probably know the amazing health benefits of a properly made sauerkraut. Not only is it chock full of vitamin and nutrients, it has a high dose of fiber and probiotics to feed your healthy gut bacteria to improve your immune and digestive system. I love what a huge difference incorporating sauerkraut into my diet has made in my digestion and overall health, and I highly recommend you try it out. It has actually been the best remedy for my candida symptoms because it doesn’t contain sugar like kombucha or yogurt that can feed the yeast.

I always prefer making my own sauerkraut because it’s so cheap and easy, and contains way more gut healing nutrients and probiotic strains than the store-bought kind. However, if you do decide to purchase it, always buy it from the refrigerated section and make sure it has the words “fermented” and/or “live cultures” on the label. The ingredients should also be pretty simple, usually just cabbage, salt, and water, without sugar or vinegar. Bubbies is one of my favorite brands that makes quality fermented products.

If you regularly enjoy sauerkraut, you are probably left with a varying amount of sauerkraut juice or brine, and you may not know what to do with all of it. Don’t let it go to waste! These are 9 of my favorite ways to enjoy sauerkraut juice:

1. Drink it straight as a gut shot

Have you ever walked around a health food store and come across “gut shot” products by Farmhouse Culture? That’s just sauerkraut juice that’s been bottled up!

If you don’t mind the sour tangy taste of the sauerkraut juice, this is one of the ways to get a healthy dose of probiotics very quickly. Since the juice contains just as much beneficial nutrients as sauerkraut, but in a more concentrated form, drinking it straight can be a really healthy supplement to your diet. I love taking a “gut shot” first thing in the morning and before going to bed, instead of taking probiotic supplements. Remember: probiotics in food form is much more absorbable by your body  (and cheaper!) than trying to get it from a pill.

How to Use Sauerkraut Juice

2. Use it in salad dressing and other sauces

I love using sauerkraut juice to make dressings and various sauces. Almost all dressings and sauces need some kind of acid to make them tangy and more flavorful, like lemon juice or some kind of vinegar, and you can just substitute those ingredients with the same amount of sauerkraut juice. Not only does it give it a delicious flavor, it’s also way healthier!

3. Splash over cooked vegetables and meat

One of my favorite cooking tricks is, when you taste your food and you think it needs more salt, try adding vinegar instead. It’s an instant flavor boost, and your veggies and meat just taste so much better with a bit of acidity. Using sauerkraut juice as a vinegar substitute is a delicious and probiotic-rich way to elevate almost any savory dish and I do this for almost every one of my meals.

4. Make the next batch of sauerkraut or pickled veggies

Normally, you use cabbage, salt, the water “sweat out” from the cabbage, and/or a bit more water to make a new batch of sauerkraut at home (you can see the detailed instructions here). However, you can also use a bit of sauerkraut juice to mix into the new batch to give the new batch a boost with an active culture starter.

This helps the sauerkraut ferment faster, and helps ensure success if you ever failed at making sauerkraut in the past.

5. Add it to your favorite dip recipes

Another favorite method of mine! I love a good dip and they are usually so addicting because they have a delicious balance of salty and tangy. If you love salt and vinegar potato chips, you know what I’m talking about.

The next time you make a yummy dip like Caramelized Onion Bacon Dip, Paleo Pumpkin Hummus, or Dairy Free Salmon Cream “Cheese,” use sauerkraut juice instead of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice for a fun, healthy twist!

caramelized onion bacon dip

paleo pumpkin hummus

Dairy-Free Salmon Cream Cheese

5. Give it to your pet

The probiotics and the nutrients in sauerkraut juice are just as beneficial for our pets as they are for humans! Just like us, we commonly administer medications and antibiotics for out pets starting at a young age, which compromise their digestion. Also, a typical store-bought kibble is quite dehydrating and deficient in necessary nutrients that are necessary for their optimal health. Supplementing with sauerkraut juice gives our pets enzymes and healthy nutrition, while repairing and restoring their gut, especially if they suffer from food allergies.

You can start by starting out with a teaspoon of sauerkraut juice splashed over your pets food (or even less if they are especially small) and increase the amount as necessary. My dogs looked a bit confused when they first tasted it, but they now enjoy it regularly without a problem.

6. Use it as a pickleback or in a cocktail

If you don’t know what a pickleback is, it’s when you take a shot of liquor and chase it with a shot of pickle brine. I know, I know… This isn’t necessarily the healthiest way to use sauerkraut juice, but hey, if I’m going to enjoy a drink now and then, might as well keep my health in check by replenishing my body with nourishing and healing nutrients. Am I right, friends?

You can also add sauerkraut juice to a refreshing, savory cocktail like a Bloody Mary or a Michelada. Again, if you are going to indulge in an unhealthy habit, this is the to do it in the healthiest way possible!

7. Marinate meat with it

You’ll commonly find some kind of acid (vinegar, wine, citrus juice, or tomatoes) in a meat marinade recipe because it tenderizes the meat faster and cuts down on cooking time by breaking down the protein bonds. Try using sauerkraut juice instead next time and you’ll find that it brings out a delicious flavor to the meat. I especially love using sauerkraut juice when cooking pork as they complement each other really well.

One quick note about using sauerkraut juice as a marinade: you won’t get the same healthy benefits after heating up sauerkraut juice so this is for the flavor purpose only. For its full benefits, enjoy it in its raw form.

9. Use it as a facial toner

How to Use Sauerkraut Juice

You are probably thinking, ” What the f—??” But, it’s true! Sauerkraut juice makes a really great toner because of its acidity level, along with it beneficial nutrients.

The main purpose of a toner is to restore the pH level of the skin, which can be disrupted because of poor diet, stress, environmental toxins, and conventional skin products. Our skin should be on a slightly acidic side, but typically becomes more alkaline because of these disruptive factors. Using toners that are more acidic than our skin normalizes the pH level of our skin to where it should be.

Typical store-bought toners are filled with toxins and hormone disruptors that do more harm than good. By using naturally acidic sauerkraut juice, which is also filled with beneficial enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, it gently exfoliates the skin and can be quite helpful for skin conditions like acne and eczema.

I suggest you start out diluting 1 part sauerkraut juice with 4 parts water and building it up to 1:1 ratio depending on the sensitivity of your skin. Store this DIY potion in the refrigerator.

As you can see, there are so many different ways to use sauerkraut juice! The next time you have some leftover, I hope you save it to use in 1 or more ways listed above. It’s a delicious and health-promoting nutritional powerhouse! 

9 Ways to Use Probiotic-Rich Sauerkraut Juice