Go With The Flo: Expressing Your Feminine Energy with Alisa Vitti
Meet your new best friend, functional nutritionist and hormone goddess, Alisa Vitti. As the creator of Flo Living, ‘a virtual hormone health center’, and best selling author of WomanCode, Alisa is dedicated to helping women correct their hormonal imbalances through medicinal foods and connecting them to their true creative Flo energies. We love learning everything Alisa shares and we’re so excited that she will be sharing her wisdom on all things feminine energy, hormone, and food related twice a month for S-Life mag so we wanted you to meet her! Looking to feel energized? Have regular, healthy periods? Get pregnant? Have better sex?! Keep on reading….
Ok, Alisa, we're going to go ahead and jump right in. Coming from the hormone queen, we would love to know what pregnancy and giving birth was like for you. Can you tell us about your experience?
The pregnancy itself was a beautiful, amazing experience. I loved witnessing all of the nuanced
changes within each of the trimester physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. I feel so blessed that I was able to have the opportunity to be pregnant because at 22 I was told I’d never get pregnant naturally. I’ve watched my body heal itself a few times, but each time still feels like a miracle and this was equally amazing. I think that's simply because I spent so much time preparing my body. What was special about it for me was not only was I told I’d never get pregnant naturally, but also that I was at an advanced maternal age. I think so many times we do healthy things and we don't know if they're really going to matter. There’s a healthy se
nse of skepticism about the net effect, “will investing in my health really be worth it?” I think when you are close to 40 and you have your first child, that's a really great litmus test of how the investment in your health is going. (After 35 you're considered to be in an advanced maternal age.)
The other problem that's happening now is that women are prematurely aging because of their hormonal problems, so at even 30 you can have the hormonal profile of a woman who is 45. So that's another reason why I was so happy to have invested the past 17 years into my hormonal health, because I've kept myself hormonally youthful as long as possible, thereby extending my fertile window. Egg freezing is really expensive and not a guarantee, and neither is IVF. What you can do is invest in keeping yourself hormonally balanced and keeping your inflammatory markers low.
Pregnancy and birth are a totally transformative process not only of a woman’s bod
y but of her brain chemistry and of her soul. I found that while I was creating this new person, I was being recast and reborn as well. It also was a true physical experience of expansion and contraction - expanding to have two beings in one body, and then coming back to oneself after the birth - such a meditation and embodiment of the life force energy and the cycles that course through us all.
You say that you’ve spent the past 17 years in hormonal health, but what was your health like before that? How did you make the shift?
The shift was my whole hormonal breakdown. I was at Hopkins planning to become an OBGYN, within about a 6 month period, I had gained 50 pounds. I was then 200 pounds. My skin was covered everywhere with acne, every pore of my face, all over my face, chest, and back. It would take me about half an hour in the morning to cover it all up… I had to use the heavy stuff to just get out of house without being ashamed. That was the shift for me: recognizing, "okay, my body is definitely not working," and nobody had a solution for me. Then I was lucky enough to be at Hopkins where I had access to the medical library and I could do some research. I figured out what was wrong with me, and I got my doctor to confirm.
I had been in the dark for 7 years. My symptoms had been getting progressively worse since puberty, but nobody knew what was happening. Then, I hit a peak point with all the symptoms at 20, and at 21, I had to figure out what was wrong. Of course, there was nothing that the doctors could do to help me. They were like, "okay, you have to go on the pill.” They said I’d then also have to take another medication in order to get pregnant. They said “you’ll never get pregnant naturally, you'll likely get diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Let us medicate you along the way.” Imagine being 21 years old, sitting in that chair hearing that…
That’s so frightening. What did you do?
My body spoke to me so clearly, just very straightforward, "that's not your future”. So I repeated that out loud, not knowing what the hell that meant or how I was going to get better. I thanked the doctor, I said no to the medication, and I walked out. That began my years of research into functional medicine and nutritional genomics and figuring out the protocol that I ultimately used to get better. That’s what’s at the core of my practice. That’s what’s been taking care of women for 14 years now.
Did you begin with diet?
Food is medicine. I know I'm in good company saying that here. Food is the way to go. I started doing radical experiments on myself with food. I apprenticed with a naturopath and an herbalist. I apprenticed with anybody that I could get my hands on. I completely submitted myself to their experiments. There was one naturopath who believed that my issue was candida, and put me on this super restrictive diet, the main focus of it was a carrot juice-spirulina cocktail in the morning - every morning- for months on end. I was still suffering tremendously with all my symptoms - no periods, exhaustion, depression, acne, and being super obese. I was like, "I will do anything. I will try anything," but my skin was turning orange. I was in denial that this was happening of course, because I was desperate to get relief. Eventually I realized not only was I orange, but none of my symptoms got any better. It was interesting for me to recognize that so much of it had to do with the fact that you just can't spot-treat the endocrine system. You can't just say, "oh, vitamin A," or "kale". It’s not that simple. This frustrates me, even to this day, when people ask me, "what's the best food to eat for PMS?" That's the wrong question. I think we get questions like that because Western medicine is really about triage and the right quick strategy to save your life during a surgical procedure. But for addressing an entire system of the body like the endocrine system, there is no quick fix.
So did you begin to focus more on how all systems of the body operate? Is this how Flo Living came to be?
Exactly. That was really what started moving me in the right direction for my research. When we're talking about the systems of the body, there isn’t a 1 to 1. All systems are interconnected and have various parts that break down along the way. One of the great things that came out of the Human Genome Project was the discovery of epigenetics. A highlight of that discovery being that food and lifestyle affect which genes get switched on and off to create health or disease states in the body. It seemed obvious if food determines which genes get switched on and off, and if it determines the performance of those genes, then of course food can be used to manipulate glands and organs within the endocrine system. That's when I started applying a cumulative, sequential approach to manipulating the endocrine system, which is the basis of the protocol at Flo Living. That’s why we get the results that we get. It's not complicated. There’s just a specific order that you have to do it in. It’s the doing it that works. It’s a lifestyle. I've been living in the FLO, as I say, for these past 17 years and that's why I’ve been able to have easy PMS free, medication free cycles, maintain a 50 pound weightloss for 15 years, and why I was able to get pregnant on the third try, naturally.
You’re a living testament to the Flo Living way of life.
Fundamentally, I think the other thing that I came to, after figuring out the protocol is that you, as a woman, are a cyclical, rhythmic, creative creature. You are not linear, you are not the same everyday, so you need a diet that fluctuates with you each week of your cycle, and that’s what's unique about Flo. The protocol has two parts - the first half of the protocol is the cleanup - getting your endocrine system to do the things it's supposed to do hormonally. Then the second half is really about living a life and eating a diet that functions within an operating system that is fully feminine and cyclical.
Do you eat specifically for your monthly cycle?
If you want to be a creative force of nature in your life, you have to learn to tap into what is most fertile within you, whether or not you want to have a baby. That of course is your cyclical nature. It's the most powerful technology we have on the planet. We have our own pattern that we need to organize ourselves around. We need a diet that supports that, so that's what the maintenance part is. You’re eating specific foods to support your follicular phase, your ovulatory phase, your luteal phase, and your menses phase. You have different ratios of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone at different times through the month. You have different micro-nutrient needs and different detoxification needs. You have different needs for your energy and your mood and your sex drive. You have to use food to help optimize all of that. When you eat that way, you get to access the optimal balanced brain chemistry for your maximum creativity. within each cycle due to her hormonal changes.FYI, a woman’s brain changes 25%
If you’re trying to manage yourself in a very linear, masculine way every day, you’re obviously going to bump up against the fact that your body doesn’t like adhering to that strict plan. Your feminine, fertile nature wants you to shift more frequently what you’re focusing on or even how you’re engaging in an activity, but if you try to push yourself to accomplish the same sets of things and do self care the same way day in and day out, you soon feel like something is very wrong with you because you just can’t stick to it. But let me tell you, nothing is wrong with you. Throw out that planner and put yourself in the right - cyclical feminine operating system. Once you do that, then you get to tap into what I call the creation matrix, which is how you bring anything into the world.
What do you tell women that aren’t flowing regularly?
If you're not regular, it means your hormones aren’t happy and you need to prioritize balancing this. Most of us think it’s normal to feel bad most of the month, so we mainly ignore these symptoms. You want to address that immediately. You cannot access the gifts of this creation matrix, or tap into your optimal brain chemistry and creativity if your hormones aren’t in balance. If you're not regular or if you're on the pill, you do not have access to all of this. The pill puts you in a state of pseudo-pregnancy, which creates a very different brain chemistry. Trust me on this, I’ve just been in pregnancy brain land recently - very different. Ideally, if you want to have a healthy cycle, then you need to be off the pill. That is step number one. You can’t get to the good stuff in manifesting unless you have the right physical foundation for it. Women create through the vessel of their bodies. That container must be healthy and whole.
Women today don’t really know how to use this though. They don’t realize how powerful their hormones are. How do you approach this?
I know! I think that some of it has a lot to do with the fact that the word hormone is associated with menopause. So we don’t think it applies to us. As a result, we operate a bit in the dark. The whole hormonal, menstrual thing is so mysterious. We are hormonal beings! I actually find that really oppressive, because we can't really, fully be powerful if we don't know these things! I think women today really want to reach that edge of their potential. If you really want to tap back into your optimal self, access your birthright divinity, and be all that you can be, then you really do need to clean up the home front and take care of those hormones.
What I love about Sakara is when you, let's say, do a couple of weeks on the program, you really do start to notice, "oh, I feel good!” You get some insight on the ways your body is still not running smoothly during your cycle, and that’s such a huge opportunity. Lean into the food, and then do more. Feminine energy is a both/and conversation, not an either/or. You have this one life, this one body. Make it your sanctuary!
When you eat clean and whole, you begin shifting your vibration, and give yourself the opportunity to align with your creative feminine nature.
You’ve already made such an impact on women’s lives, including ours, so we have to ask about what you imagine your legacy to be. What you want to leave behind.
I want Flo Living to be a place where women all over the world can come to fix their periods, get off the pill without getting their nasty symptoms back, get their bodies prepped for pregnancy, and sail through their 40’s with their sex drive, weight, and moods in tact. Right now, we take care of women in 216 countries, but, I'd love to see a future where my daughter and my nieces grow up taking for granted that they just know that they’re supposed to organize their self care, their work, their relationships based on their cyclical feminine operating systems. I’d love to see a future of women knowing their systems better, and not trying to fit into a system that perpetuates them not feeling their best.
From there, who knows, but that's a foundational place that I think we all deserve to be starting from, and not discovering in midlife. Can you imagine if you'd been empowered with this information as part of your training from childhood? I want young girls to know from the start that because of their hormones and because they are female, that they are creative, powerful creatures. It’s about so much more than periods and hormones, it’s about referencing our bodies as the source of our strength. That's what I'd love to imagine. Oh yeah, and a world where nobody jokes about PMS being normal over cocktails.
Everyone you know is hormonal. If you need more support with your Periods, Fertility, or Sex Drive, check out these free gifts from FLO Living to help you get back in your FLO: Alisa's 4-Day-Detox and The One Missing Micronutrient to Get Your Sexy Back