Eat for your hormones! Most diet and fitness recommendations are based on research done on men. If it’s not factoring in your hormones, it’s not for you — period. (pun intended). The cornerstone of hormonal healing is food — both what you eat and when during your cycle you eat it. Other strategies are hugely important (like taking targeted, hormone-supportive supplements), but food should always come first.
Alisa Vitti is a women’s hormone and functional nutrition expert and pioneer in female biohacking. She is the best selling author of WomanCode, and creator of the Cycle Syncing Method® — a female centric diet and lifestyle program that leverages hormonal patterns for optimal health, fitness and productivity. As the founder of FLOLiving.com, she has built the world’s first menstrual healthcare platform that helps women around the world put their period issues like PCOS, Fibroids, Endometriosis, and PMS into remission naturally using her highly effective FLO Protocol and the FLO Balance Supplements. Finally, Alisa is also the creator the MyFLO period app — the first and only functional medicine period tracker designed to help users eliminate symptoms and schedule their lives according to their cycles. It is consistently ranked in the top 10 of paid apps in the health and fitness category on iTunes. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Alisa has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, Lifetime, and has been a regular contributor for Cosmo, Harper’s Bazaar, and Women’s Health. She has served on the wellness council for Yahoo Health, MindBodyGreen and Well & Good. She was selected as PureWow 100 Women to Watch in 2018 and Thrive Global 12 Women Entreprenuer’s Changing the World in 2019. She is also an advisor to several health tech startups. She has presented at SXSW, TEDx, [email protected], Summit Series Outside, Cycles&Sex, WIE Symposium, and SHE Summit and regularly trains women in the workplace on how to use her Cycle Syncing Method® for greater creativity, productivity, and wellbeing at work. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter,Pinterest, and Instagram.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Alisa! What is your “backstory”?
I went through my own hormonal issues in my late teens and early twenties. I had doctors dismiss me and misdiagnose me, even as my symptoms got worse. I was over 200 lbs, covered in cystic acne, and didn’t get a period more than 5 times in the decade from 12 to 22 yrs of age. Eventually, through a tremendous amount of research, I diagnosed myself with PCOS (doctor confirmed) and created a protocol to reverse my symptoms. That experience opened my eyes to the struggle women go through to get the kind of support they need to deal with period problems effectively.
Can you share your top three “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing?
1 — Eat for your hormones! Most diet and fitness recommendations are based on research done on men. If it’s not factoring in your hormones, it’s not for you — period. (pun intended). The cornerstone of hormonal healing is food — both what you eat and when during your cycle you eat it. Other strategies are hugely important (like taking targeted, hormone-supportive supplements), but food should always come first.
2 — Avoid endocrine disruptors. Everyday toxins, like the chemicals found in conventional herbicides and the synthetic fragrances added to laundry detergents and other cleaning products, are hard on our health in more ways than one. But they are uniquely harmful for our hormones.
3 — Have more orgasms. Not only do orgasms feel great, they have enormous health benefits — especially for hormones. I encourage all women with hormone issues (and all women generally!) to take orgasm seriously and develop a solo play practice that is vibrator free so you can maximize the production of oxytocin and nitric oxide that is produced prior to climax.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
It’s hard to pick one. Helping a woman become a mother is so rewarding, especially when she’s given up hope of ever getting pregnant. Getting asked to speak at SXSW as the first female biohacker was an incredible honor. I love in session or at talks being able to connect the dots for women about why they are having the symptoms they are having, it’s a joy to be able to turn the lights on for someone who has been struggling in the dark.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I make mistakes regularly and it’s absolutely responsible for my growth as an entrepreneur. I am constantly doing things on the business side of things that I have never done before, so I simply do the best I can with the information I have, and take to heart all the lessons learned from all of these experiences to prepare me for the next crest on the trail.
When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
Women deserve so much more with their healthcare. It’s important that a company exists that is focused on modernizing menstrual healthcare and that is what FLO Living does. Women should know that there is a place to go in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s as they deal with period issues, fertility challenges, and perimenopause, where they can get safe, natural, and effective support.
I hope my work helps to break down the gender bias in wellness. Most medical, diet, and fitness research is done on men and that leads to a culture where women are treated as if they are just small versions of men. We’re not! There’s also a long history of women’s health concerns being treated as psychological, or women simply not being believed when they share their hormonal experiences. One of my top priorities at FLO Living is to validate women’s stories and, ultimately, share science-based strategies that target women’s unique physiology and improve their health and their lives.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I have been helped by so many women! My mother backed me up when I wanted to go into this field. A few key women helped me raise my angel round. Dr. Northrup offered to write the forward to my first book after encouraging me to write it. Michele Promulayko give me a column in Yahoo Health. Claudia Chan had me come speak at SHE Summit. My friend KC Baker invited me to give my first TEDx talk. Melisse Gelula from Well+Good has been a believer in my work from the beginning. JJ Virgin has been a business mentor and cheerleader — and so many more. Honestly, women have been my guiding light. Each woman has helped me reach higher, and helped me evolve. The support of these women has meant so much to me.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I have actually started a movement: The Cycle Syncing Method™ movement. Women have been trying to squeeze themselves into the 24 hour male hormonal paradigm when they operate on a totally different biological rhythm. Women are breaking up with dieting, working out less and getting more fit, going beyond the 24 hour clock and becoming more productive with less stress. Most of all by doing this, they are healing on a profound level from the effects of the patriarchy. When women adopt The Cycle Syncing Method™, it fundamentally improves their hormone health and their lives. Period symptoms decrease, quality of life increases, and women are able to bring more of themselves to their life, work, and relationships…and the whole world benefits. You can learn more about it at www.cyclesyncingmembership.com.
And you can get a taste of it with the MyFLO app. www.myflotracker.com
What is your “3 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
1 — When you’re blazing a trail, it takes a long time to see the clear path.
2 — There’s plenty of time.
3 — Learn every role on your team before you hire out.
Do you have a “girl-crush” in this industry? If you could take one person to brunch, who would it be? (Let another “woman in wellness” know that you respect her as a teacher and guide! )
I’m so lucky to know so many amazing women to crush on continuously. I wish we all had more time to spend together brunching! Some new women I would love to sit down with are Dr. Mosconi and Dr Alexandra Sacks — their respective work on breaking down gender bias in Alzheimer’s research and on the changes to the maternal brain is so important.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Environmental issues are of the most concern to me. I’m deeply concerned about what we are doing to this planet and the burden we are placing on future generations to restore the ecosystem. It’s a lot like the concern I have for women’s hormones and fertility — mother earth and women’s bodies are macro and microcosms of each other. We need a more sustainable way to care for both.
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