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It’s Not Easy Being Green in Menopause

Chia Chia Sun

Posted on April 04 2017

Chia Chia Sun, CEO, Damiva

4th April, 2017

Being “green” probably means a lot of different things to different people. My green hero is Kermit the Frog and I really relate to him when he sings, “It’s not easy being green.” I remember recycling in Toronto in the 1990s before we had curb-side pick-up programs. I used to drive my compost, plastics and other recycling items to a far-away depot, hoping that they were going to be truly recycled properly. When my children were born in 1998 and 2001, I fed them organic baby foods that I pureed in a food processor. When they were diagnosed with gluten intolerance as toddlers, every week I picked up gluten-free products from the pharmacy at our paediatric hospital, Sick Children’s Hospital, because gluten-free wasn’t a “thing” 18 years ago.

So I guess you could say that green is in my DNA and that it was a natural progression for me and my partner to create “green” products for my own perimenopause and menopause, starting with a vaginal moisturizer and now a labial cream.

You may feel, as I do sometimes, that green is really over-used as a colour for natural and organic products. But I love the colour green for what it represents: earthiness, spring-time, and the association with life. Egyptian green is the colour that we chose for our second product, Cleo, named after Cleopatra. The teal-like tone we chose is a traditional colour (wadj) that connoted the affirmation of life and the association with the Nile, Mediterranean Sea and the earth. The copper ore malachite provided the source of the pigment. We love the warm feeling that our Cleo colours give us and how they evoke ancient Egypt.

And, yes, it’s not easy being green. Sometimes people assume that because we only have a handful of plant ingredients that our products are easy to make. Or that they can just be mixed up in a kitchen. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s actually more difficult to manufacture our natural products because we can’t just pump them full of preservatives to eliminate pathogens and for long-term stability. We have to be very strategic and careful about the ingredients we use and ensure that they are pharmaceutical, not food quality – because food quality ingredients quite often have inconsistencies and pathogen standards that do not meet ours. For example, you may think “organic” is safer but studies show that “organic” foods have a higher level of bacteria and we don’t want those in our products. It’s also important for us to have batch to batch consistency and organic standards don’t meet our criteria.

Manufacturing at Damiva is a very complicated process as we must have extremely high standards for sterile, pathogen-free and consistent products. After all, these are products we are using on our most sensitive body parts! They also need to have a long shelf life so they can sit in the store without expiring. We are also “green” in our materials and packaging. All our ingredients are sustainable – no palm oil for us! – and we use recycled paper for our packaging that is made from paper scraps left over from large-scale industrial paper manufacturing.

While being green for us at Damiva is an ethos, we also believe strongly that it’s a health necessity after age 40 and especially as we progress through perimenopause into menopause. The reason is that as our ovaries decline in hormone production, our adrenal glands start to take over making hormones. Fatigued adrenal glands can lead to increased chemical sensitivity. Many women, myself included, notice that as we age, we become more sensitive to chemicals or that our allergies are worsening. So green is not a nice-to-have, it’s a must. Especially for products that are vaginal moisturizers and are designed for dryness.

This year we are celebrating our third appearance at the Green Living Show in Toronto, Ontario. It’s the largest environmental consumer show in North America that showcases new innovation and products to a crowd of over 25,000. Every year, our company has grown tremendously and in 2017, we are celebrating two key milestones: the launch of our second product, Cleo, into Canadian drugstores and also the launch of our product line into the U.S. market.

Come join us April 7 to 9, in Toronto, Ontario and celebrate being green together. To quote Kermit, “Green – it’s beautiful – it’s what I want to be.”

Green Living Show

References

The Symbolic Use of Color in Ancient Egyptian Art

Organic Food Has “Significantly Higher” Contamination

Chia Chia Sun

Chia Chia Sun

Chia Chia is a women’s health entrepreneur, CEO and taboo abolisher. Her three graduate degrees (master’s in genetics, master’s in bioethics and MBA in corporate finance) culminated in a career spent mostly in the pharmaceutical industry and now as the brains behind Damiva, a women’s health company that makes natural pharmacy products. Trained as a clinician and genetic cancer researcher, she’s an Expert at presenting data and giving risk. Chia Chia has developed expertise and a wealth of knowledge about the importance of hormonal health at every stage of life. She loves to share her knowledge and use it to break down taboos and change the ways in which we make products for women, interact in our daily relationships and portray women in media. As an invited expert to Hollywood, Health & Society -- the organization that consults to Hollywood about portrayal of medical issues -- Chia Chia’s expertise is being disseminated across the entertainment industry.

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