05/13/2011 09:09 am ET Updated Jul 10, 2011

Empowering Women To Take Control Of Reproductive Health

Girls are reaching puberty at significantly younger ages than ever before, even as young as 7 and 8. If you haven't seen the stats, take a look at this recent piece from the Los Angeles Times: "U.S. girls starting puberty earlier, but doctors aren't sure why."

It's hard to be a girl when you're a toxic girl. The fact is, most young women in our culture are suffering from symptoms of moderate to extreme toxicity -- physically, mentally and reproductively. This is apparent enough in symptoms such as severe acne, migraines and depression, but what many girls don't know is that their levels of toxicity are also evident in their menstruation.

The average female body takes in countless toxins on a daily basis through food and drink, alcohol and other recreational drugs, chemical pollution, radiation, and environmental estrogens. These substances may be breeding harmful bacteria, carbonic gas and yeasts that build up in the body, creating all kinds of obstructions and wreaking havoc on the body's natural cycles. But early-onset menarche is far from synonymous with reproductive health, let alone a guarantee of future fertility.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to gain social acceptance and attract potential mates, we engage in self-care regimens that actually may render us less fertile. The modern woman, starting from a very young age, has become a corporate commodity. She is a stupendously good consumer -- falling into line with all the modern myths of feminine beauty, in the service of countless products, fashion trends and medical procedures. But the very products that we typically use today to enhance our appearance and well-being are undermining our beauty and rapidly deteriorating our health from the inside and out.

In short, I believe we women are moving further and further away from the true meaning of health and beauty. More to the point, we are moving further and further away from what it means to be women.

On the Road to Nowhere

Just consider the rising rates of infertility, a widespread affliction of modern society. Granted, many women are waiting until later in life to have children, but this explanation only goes so far. A healthy woman should be able to procreate for about 30 years -- yet a profusion of reproductive health issues are occurring earlier and earlier in life, such as breast cancer, amenorrhea, uterine cysts and thyroid imbalances. I feel that the cycles of the female body are breaking down under the heavy burdens of modern toxicity.

Over the course of human history, we women have been by turns worshipped, vilified, loved and feared for our femininity. This is largely because women are endowed with the power to procreate. Whether you consider yourself an old-fashioned girl or a die-hard social feminist, the fact remains that the hallmark of our gender is fertility. Even if you have no interest in having babies right now, you still want to be radiant and healthy, right? Well, you cannot separate your overall health from your reproductive health. Yet the way most women live today, our fertility is slipping through our hands like sand through an hourglass!

The average girl who has just begun to menstruate is not taught to draw any connection between her body and her spirit. At most, her mother might take her shopping for mainstream feminine products and women's magazines. The girl knows nothing about honoring her body, her womb or her sacred sexuality. Her intuition is prematurely cut off, and she is offered no life-generating sense of direction when it comes to caring for herself. She is left wide open to chemical toxins, insecurity and harmful behavior patterns -- all the messages that I believe will cause her a lifetime of physical and emotional suffering.

Is it any wonder that so many young women suffer on account of their bodies, and end up struggling with infertility by the time they reach their 20s, 30s and 40s? Sure, we might be able to trick the body with science in the short term, but what are the ramifications in the long term? As a society and a species, we are on a nonviable trajectory.

What's a modern girl to do?

• Take charge of your self-care regimen, questioning everything you've ever been told by your elders, your peers and the media. Surviving womanhood today with your beauty and health intact means braving a whole new frontier. The mainstream lifestyle is a recipe for a lifetime of unnecessary pain and disappointment. I'm calling for a paradigm shift -- from the model you inherited to one that harks back to your feminine roots and honors fertility.

• Understand that anything that carries toxins into your body may contaminate your blood and organs.

• Recognize the direct connection between your menstrual cycles and symptoms and your future fertility. For example, excessively painful, premature, heavy, malodorous or otherwise troublesome periods are cause for concern. (Sadly, acute PMS cramps, headaches, and acne breakouts are all considered normal and treated with over-the-counter drugs. Heavy bleeding is merely seen as bad luck. Rather than questioning what is causing all this mayhem, oral contraceptives are typically doled out to young women as an easy solution -- often just leading to other imbalances and serious long-term risks.)

• Develop a health and beauty regimen for yourself that is distinctly life-generating -- one that improves your blood chemistry and the vitality of your organs. I believe this means cleansing the body and adopting a largely organic, vegetable-based diet with minimal acidic substances in your food and environment.

Our Bodies, Our Future

How much longer will mothers pass down to their daughters the conventional "wisdom" of their toxic lifestyles? How much longer will medical prescriptions and procedures masquerade as answers to deeper problems before we heed nature's warnings? We don't even have to scratch the surface to see that we are poisoning ourselves. Consider the noxious odors that emanate from the armpits, groin, mouth and sweat of the average body, despite all the products used to cover them up. Notice the pimply, dull or prematurely aging skin. Count the numbers of pills popped and sick days taken on account of painful cramps and heavy bleeding.

Women of wisdom, where have you gone? You know the answer is not in the drugstore aisles or at fancy fundraisers. This calls for a profound paradigm shift, a literal return to our bodies and what they are so desperately trying to tell us! Above all, we must protect our blood chemistry from any further onslaught of environmental and chemical toxins, and we must teach our daughters the language of their bodies and reproductive systems.

It is never too soon to do this. For instance, my 10-year-old daughter goes to a top-notch school, and I suspect she will choose to go to college one day. However, I would not consider her well educated if (a) she did not know how to care for her body, or (b) she were not highly literate in the language of Mother Nature. I owe it to her to give her all the knowledge she needs not only to survive in the modern world, but to thrive in her body throughout her lifetime. Now is the time to lay a strong and healthy foundation.

Women today are far from liberated, at least not when it comes to our bodies. If we want to reclaim our health, we must reclaim our reproductive health. If we want a brighter future for ourselves, and for our children and our children's children, we have to make the world -- and our bodies -- a viable place for all of us to thrive. Every woman has a right to rejoice in the full power of her femininity!

This article originally appeared in the latest edition of "Get Fresh!" magazine.