After almost 10 years on birth control pills and a serious health scare, I knew the day I stopped taking them I was doing what was right for my body. Suddenly, synthetic hormones didn’t feel like the right choice to me, so I researched more natural means of birth control and chose another method.
While the female body is incredibly complex, it is also powerfully self-healing and self-regulating if given the chance and nobody knows this better than Alisa Vitti, Founder of Flo Living.
At one time she suffered from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a women’s health problem that results in small ovarian cysts and missed periods which affects nearly five million women in the United States alone.
The causes are unknown and symptoms range from infertility to acne, to depression. Though there is no cure modern medicine often treats with birth control pills, fertility drugs and other invasive means.
Alisa tells her inspiring story here, but I’ll sum it up by saying she knew there was a better way to treat her symptoms. She listened to her intuition and healed her body the natural way. She now specializes in reproductive and hormonal health.
Q1. What is the #1 wellness practice you live by? That thing that you do every day without fail because it revs you up from the inside out.
A. I believe food is the most powerful drug that affects every system of the body. So for me, the best wellness practice I’ve got going on daily is eating – and eating very specific foods that support my body’s systems such as my metabolism, my endocrine system, my digestive system, my elimination system, my immune system – it’s all about the food!
Q2. The premise of the blog is that wherever you are in life, is exactly where you need to be. How did you get to where you are today?
A. I am here because I made a life changing commitment to my body. Twelve years ago, I was suffering from a hormonal imbalance called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS. At my worst, I weighed 200 pounds, I had severe cystic acne, I was deeply depressed, and I had my period only about three times a year. It was quite traumatic.
I didn’t even know what I had for quite awhile. Doctor after doctor suggested that maybe I had a slow thyroid, or an endocrine problem, or a candida infection, but all their tests came back inconclusive. I finally diagnosed myself with PCOS after tremendous research on my own. And that’s when I was hit with even worse news: PCOS is considered incurable by Western medicine.
The one thing my doctors agreed on was that I should start taking oral contraceptives. They all believed that artificially regulating my hormone levels would reduce my unpleasant symptoms—even though they didn’t know what the cause was. The pill never felt like the right option to me. But after saying no, repeatedly, and not getting any other answers, I realized I had to take a scientific, experimental approach to my situation. I had to admit that, having never tried the pill, I didn’t know how it would affect me. So I went ahead and tried it.
Less than two weeks later, I knew my original intuition to say “no” was absolutely right. I was having ocular migraines, which caused me to lose my vision temporarily, in addition to the searing migraine pain, fluctuating body temperature, and heart arrhythmia. I realized that my body was not reacting to the artificial hormones in the pill the same way it would to hormones produced naturally in my body. The simple solution prescribed by all my doctors just wasn’t going to work for me.
In that defining moment, I finally realized that it was up to me to empower my own healing process.
So that’s what I began to do. I started studying everywhere and anywhere I could. I felt that there were answers available outside of Western medicine, so I apprenticed myself to alternative healthcare practitioners. I studied the whole gamut of herbology, naturopathy, homeopathy, acupressure, elimination diets, and tried everything. I used myself as a guinea pig to see what could be done.
During these experiments, I found that I could powerfully impact my own body chemistry with what I ate. When I found the right combination of foods for my body’s condition, I saw tremendous positive changes in my health. I lost 60 pounds, my skin cleared up, and my depression lifted. Best of all, I have had regular menstrual periods for the last 10 years.
Another great outcome of my healing process was that it got me excited about helping other women. First I began reaching out to other women with PCOS to let them know that their condition was not incurable. Then I deepened my understanding of medicinal foods and their capacity for healing hormonal imbalances by becoming a Certified Holistic Health Counselor at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Finally I connected with other health counselors who had had similarly powerful healing experiences and lots of success in helping their women clients.
Since then I have lectured to thousands of people, including gynecologists and infertility specialists, about women’s hormonal health; guided many women through the process of healing their menstrual disturbances, fertility challenges, and low energy and libido issues; and have been building my company FLO Living. I am interviewed for magazines and television and am writing my first book.
Q3. What was your biggest transformation along the way?
A. I continue to be transformed by my work of being in service to women’s reproductive and hormonal health. What transforms me regularly is bearing witness to the power of a woman’s body to heal naturally. Even though I understand the science of it, it still takes my breath away every time and keeps me firmly on my path of getting this information to women everywhere!
Q4. If you could only own five items, what would they be?
A.1: a laptop and smart phone with internet – for connecting with women
2: a little black dress, a great pair of shoes, and mascara – because you can be anywhere in that outfit 😉
3: my tea collection and lavender essential oil – for my daily soothing ritual
4: aloe vera gel – for an all over moisturizer
5: my engagement ring
Q5. What is the theme song for your life right now and why?
A. Hmmm, a few on regular rotation are: Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin”, The Cure’s “Mint Car”, Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” 🙂
About Alisa Vitti
Alisa Vitti, HHC, AADP (Holistic Health Counselor, American Association of Drugless Practitioners) is the Founder of Flo Living. After experiencing the many frustrating health symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and then healing herself through food and lifestyle changes. She received degrees from Johns Hopkins University and the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, where she fine-tuned her unique approach to helping younger women naturally correct hormonal imbalances using medicinal foods.
She specializes in the areas of reproductive and hormonal health and creating real intimacy in relationships. A transformational speaker, she debunks myths around women’s chronic gynecological issues and inspires women to have better health and better sex through her five-step proprietary nutritional and lifestyle protocol. Her protocol is now the subject of a clinical study in conjunction with a research physician from Columbia University. Alisa has spoken at numerous colleges, workshops, corporations, and women’s organizations. Her work has been featured in the Huffington Post, Fox Business News, Life & Style, Vital Juice Daily, and Greenstone Media Radio. She is currently writing her first book due out in spring 2011.