Most women think that painful periods, PMS, excess weight and low energy are apart of the slew of hormonal issues that accompany our monthly experience. It's just the way it has to be, there is no solution. There are only pain pills, birth control and heating pads. Apparently 90 percent of people who have a period experience some type of pain, while only 15 percent seek any sort of professional help.
However, a woman's nutritionist says that this doesn't have to be the case. When I asked Alisa Vitti, holistic health counselor, nutritionist and founder of the FLO Living Hormone Center, if it's possible to have a pain free and easy period, she said that it's “absolutely possible" and that “problematic periods are the result of hormonal imbalances that can all be corrected with diet and supplements."
As we should all know, menstruation is important. Beyond being a part of our lives, it can also indicate what is going on in our bodies. Even the color of your period blood can let you in on some go-to key information about your body. Nutritional deficiencies, low estrogen levels, imbalances, STI's and infection are among the various ways your cycle can communicate information about your overarching health. Hormonal imbalance can be revealed in the duration and appearance of your period blood.
MyFLO is a phone application that tracks symptoms and learns the users body.
After Alisa's own negative experiences with hormones, where she weighed 200 pounds, was covered in painful cystic acne and only had her period once a year, she decided to dedicate her work to helping women with their hormonal imbalances without medication while simultaneously eradicating the myth of painful periods.
After her gynecologist diagnosed her with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and no real cure or alleviation, Alisa decided it was time to figure it out by herself. As a result, she founded the FLO Living Hormone Center, wrote a book called WomanCode and created the MyFLO Period application.
For Alisa, she says that "food is the best medicine" to overcome PMS symptoms like fatigue and moodiness.
FLO Living is the first of its kind. It's a virtual menstrual healthcare platform that works with thousands of women who suffer from PCOS, fibroids, endometriosis and PMS on a path to natural recovery. FLO Living adjusts diet and supports thousands of women towards their interest in controlling their hormones and enhancing their feminine energy. In short, periods don't have to equate to pain. FLO Living is here to tell you all about it.
A change in diet should come as no surprise, especially with a new study thats findings concluded that drinking alcohol might make premenstrual syndrome symptoms worse. And what is the link between alcohol and PMS symptoms? Altering levels of hormones.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists says that a woman's period is the fifth vital sign of health along with blood pressure, temperature, pulse rate and respiration rate. In short, your period is important. Any debilitating pain or physical restrictions are not normal and should be accurately accessed.
Alisa explains that since hormonal imbalances can trigger acne, bloating, weight gain and severe PMS, her program can “help women make those strategic shifts with food and supplements" with the FLOLiving Protocol, MyFLO period app and the FLO Balance Period Supplements.
MyFLO is a phone application that tracks symptoms and learns the users body. Once the information is gathered, supplements and foods are the next area to tackle. “For example, you can use the app to help you decide whether to stay in or go out, do yoga or boot camp, eat raw foods or cooked, or give a presentation at work versus doing brainstorming and research."
For Alisa, she says that “food is the best medicine" to overcome PMS symptoms like fatigue and moodiness. She particularly advocates for avocados, as they boost magnesium and improve fertility. The main focus for diet when trying to improve hormones are “several key nutrients, including B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin C and other liver supportive nutrients, and omega-3 fatty acids." Think: dark leafy greens, lamb, organic chicken, sweet potato, oily fish, green beans, flaxseed, eggs and lentils.
Another component of FLO Living is the MonthlyFLO Balance Supplement Kit which offers nutritional support to put the worst of your symptoms into “remission." The supplements are offered in five groups: Replenish, Energize, Gutsy, Detox and Harmonize. All of the supplements are non GMO, gluten free and have no synthetics.
How are women dealing with their period pain? Alisa says that, “We just assume there's nothing we can do except take synthetic birth control. This makes things worse and doesn't fix what's really wrong with your hormones." For Alisa, and for all of us, change begins within your body and what you're putting inside of it. Responses such as acne, bloating and pain are physical responses and shouldn't be accepted as a part of our menstrual cycle fate.
Alisa's goal for FLO Living is to give women a space to turn to for information and products. Since much of the medical field ignores symptoms, or simply disregards any helpful type of prevention, women are choosing to live with this evidence of imbalance. “FLO Living is the only place where you can test, track, treat and talk through your period issues in an easily accessible and affordable way that actually works. We take care of tens of thousands of women worldwide and have been for the past 5 years," explains Alisa.
Being a woman doesn't have to mean living in pain. Being a woman means being in charge of your own body.
In 2016, I finally found my voice. I always thought I had one, especially as a business owner and mother of two vocal toddlers, but I had been wrong.
For more than 30 years, I had been struggling with the fear of being my true self and speaking my truth. Then the repressed memories of my childhood sexual abuse unraveled before me while raising my 3-year-old daughter, and my life has not been the same since.
Believe it or not, I am happy about that.
The journey for a survivor like me to feel even slightly comfortable sharing these words, without fear of being shamed or looked down upon, is a long and often lonely one. For all of the people out there in the shadows who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse, I dedicate this to you. You might never come out to talk about it and that's okay, but I am going to do so here and I hope that in doing so, I will open people's eyes to the long-term effects of abuse. As a survivor who is now fully conscious of her abuse, I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, quite frankly, it may never go away.
It took me some time to accept that and I refuse to let it stop me from thriving in life; therefore, I strive to manage it (as do many others with PTSD) through various strategies I've learned and continue to learn through personal and group therapy. Over the years, various things have triggered my repressed memories and emotions of my abuse--from going to birthday parties and attending preschool tours to the Kavanaugh hearing and most recently, the"Leaving Neverland" documentary (I did not watch the latter, but read commentary about it).
These triggers often cause panic attacks. I was angry when I read Barbara Streisand's comments about the men who accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them, as detailed in the documentary. She was quoted as saying, "They both married and they both have children, so it didn't kill them." She later apologized for her comments. I was frustrated when one of the senators questioning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford (during the Kavanaugh hearing) responded snidely that Dr. Ford was still able to get her Ph.D. after her alleged assault--as if to imply she must be lying because she gained success in life.We survivors are screaming to the world, "You just don't get it!" So let me explain: It takes a great amount of resilience and fortitude to walk out into society every day knowing that at any moment an image, a sound, a color, a smell, or a child crying could ignite fear in us that brings us back to that moment of abuse, causing a chemical reaction that results in a panic attack.
So yes, despite enduring and repressing those awful moments in my early life during which I didn't understand what was happening to me or why, decades later I did get married; I did become a parent; I did start a business that I continue to run today; and I am still learning to navigate this "new normal." These milestones do not erase the trauma that I experienced. Society needs to open their eyes and realize that any triumph after something as ghastly as childhood abuse should be celebrated, not looked upon as evidence that perhaps the trauma "never happened" or "wasn't that bad. "When a survivor is speaking out about what happened to them, they are asking the world to join them on their journey to heal. We need love, we need to feel safe and we need society to learn the signs of abuse and how to prevent it so that we can protect the 1 out of 10 children who are being abused by the age of 18. When I state this statistic at events or in large groups, I often have at least one person come up to me after and confide that they too are a survivor and have kept it a secret. My vehicle for speaking out was through the novella The Survivors Club, which is the inspiration behind a TV pilot that my co-creator and I are pitching as a supernatural, mind-bending TV series. Acknowledging my abuse has empowered me to speak up on behalf of innocent children who do not have a voice and the adult survivors who are silent.
Remembering has helped me further understand my young adult challenges,past risky relationships, anger issues, buried fears, and my anxieties. I am determined to thrive and not hide behind these negative things as they have molded me into the strong person I am today.Here is my advice to those who wonder how to best support survivors of sexual abuse:Ask how we need support: Many survivors have a tough exterior, which means the people around them assume they never need help--we tend to be the caregivers for our friends and families. Learning to be vulnerable was new for me, so I realized I needed a check-off list of what loved ones should ask me afterI had a panic attack.
The list had questions like: "Do you need a hug," "How are you feeling," "Do you need time alone."Be patient with our PTSD". Family and close ones tend to ask when will the PTSD go away. It isn't a cold or a disease that requires a finite amount of drugs or treatment. There's no pill to make it miraculously disappear, but therapy helps manage it and some therapies have been known to help it go away. Mental Health America has a wealth of information on PTSD that can help you and survivors understand it better. Have compassion: When I was with friends at a preschool tour to learn more about its summer camp, I almost fainted because I couldn't stop worrying about my kids being around new teenagers and staff that might watch them go the bathroom or put on their bathing suit. After the tour, my friends said,"Nubia, you don't have to put your kids in this camp. They will be happy doing other things this summer."
In that moment, I realized how lucky I was to have friends who understood what I was going through and supported me. They showed me love and compassion, which made me feel safe and not judged.