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Melissa Mishler
Health Coach, Pharmacist, Home Cook
 Bucks County, PA


Supporting Your Journey to Create a Balanced Lifestyle 
Through Nutrition, Healthy Cooking & Healthy Living


HEALTH IS A  JOURNEY NOT A DESTINATION!

Welcome to Wholistic Melissa!

I'm so glad you are here...

Being here means you are taking a step in a healthier direction.  

Have you often thought about what a HEALTHIER YOU might look or feel like?  Maybe you're sleeping better, eating more nutritious foods, are more energetic and happier in your own body.  

Maybe you have read countless articles on nutrition and wellness and would like someone to help you sift through all of the information.

Have you tried dieting or counting calories without much success or only to "fall off the wagon"? 

Have you wished there was someone that could point you in the direction of wellness?  

What if I told you that by WORKING TOGETHER, we will explore basic improvements and implement gradual changes to improve your overall health.  We WON'T restrict food or count calories, but we WILL discover what foods nourish your body and make you feel your best, inside and out.  

As your health and wellness expert I will help you rewrite your story. Together we will find a healthy lifestyle that is best suited for you.  

If you are ready to take these steps towards your wellness journey, I encourage you to explore everything I have to offer.  I have something for everyone, whether you are just starting out or need to connect all of the nutrition dots you have already discovered.  I invite you to commit to becoming the healthiest version of you!



Wholisitc Melissa
It's rare for anyone to get an hour to explore their wellness goals with a trained professional.  As your Health & Wellness Coach I create a supportive space that enables you to articulate and achieve your goals. 

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Now What? Gut Health

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday with their loved ones! 

The timing of this blog post couldn't be any better. My family and I spent the holiday weekend away with my family in the Poconos. We had a BLAST! We played board games, corn hole, ate, played ping pong, ate some more, had cocktails and wine then ate some more. It was filling on so many levels. 

However, my body was all like, oh no you didn't, by Sunday. 

Do I know what my triggers are? 

Absolutely. 

Did I pay FULL attention to them this weekend.

Absolutely NOT. 

Did I feel like poo by Sunday.

Absolutely! 



Let me rewind a little to refresh your memories. 

I have suffered from gut health issues for a very very long time. 
At their peak of dysfunction, I was bloated, exhausted, arthritic, anxious, depressed and either experiencing constipation or diarrhea

Over the past couple of years I have made it my quest to optimize my health. You've read my journey through hormone health and now I'd like to share with you my journey to optimal gut health. 



Before you log off thinking gut health isn't linked to anything I described above, give me a few minutes of your time (please). 

It's a scientific fact that 70% of our body's serotonin is made in our digestive tract. 

70% folks, 70% (not in your brain but in your G U T)

It's also a fact that an imbalance in serotonin is linked to mood disorders, osteoporosis and digestive disorders. 

Let's not forget that the strength of our immune system is directly proportional to the strength of our digestive system too. 

You see where I'm going with this? 

Everything I described to you about how I was feeling was connected, and the common denominator was my gut health. 

Not only was I suffering from leaky gut, where my food was being absorbed improperly, causing immune/mood issues, I also had an imabalnce of serotonin, causing further immune/mood issues. 

Wow...no wonder I wanted to curl into a ball and sleep most days. 



So what's a girl, with a messy digestive system, to do? 

First, I researched and read and read some more.

If you want the quick and dirty:

Phase 1: eliminate all trigger foods & beverages

Phase2: repair and rebuild your digestive system

The story...

F O O D

If you recall, I was in my hormone health discovery phase at the same time. So, I was already eliminating foods from my diet that were hormone disrupting (gluten, dairy and sugar). As it turns out, these are also common triggers for people with IBS or sensitive digestive systems (as are legumes, coffee and alcohol). 

I think coffee was the hardest for me (I still crave it sometimes). It powered me through my days (eh hem...adrenal fatigue) but it was doing a number on my stomach. I weaned myself off slowly, going black first then decreasing the amount each week until I was drinking 1/4 cup in the morning. 

The food part was messy at first too, I had no idea gluten came in so many forms and had to read every stinkin' label. I also fell into the gluten free trap. You know, the one where you think because it says gluten free on the package means it's good for you. I eventually weaved my way through millions of products to find those that work for ME. 

I now live grain free (no gluten free grains either), dairy free and refined sugar free (honey, coconut sugar and maple syrup are my sweeteners of choice), 90% of the time. I still enjoy gluten free oats once or twice a week. 



R E B U I L D & R E P A I R

Our digestive system is also full of healthy bacteria (and bad bacteria).

We have more bacteria in our body than we do cells!

When we talk about rebuilding our gut health, it has a lot to do with regaining a healthy balance of bacteria in our gut so that the good out number the bad

We can achieve an optimal balance through food and supplements. Always food first.

Fermented foods are a powerhouse of good bacteria, and adding a small amount to your daily diet can shift your gut bacteria back into balance over time. 

Foods like: 
-sauerkraut
-kimchi
-kombucha
-pickled veggies
-kefir
-tempeh 
-natto
-raw cheese
-cultured yogurt (dairy & non-dairy)

I have also gotten on the bone broth band wagon! As soon as I read about the benefits and how simple it is to make I was hooked. Bone broth is basically stock, cooked for a much longer period of time. I like chicken broth the best and cook mine for 24 hours. Here's my recipe. Bone broth has two main components that help to heal your gut. L-glutamine and collagen. Both are leeched out of the bone as it cooks down, so make sure you are cooking with organic or pasture raised/grass fed bones. I save  bones from whole chickens we cook and am even using the turkey bones from Thanksgiving. I also purchase chicken feet from my local organic market, they provide a much higher collagen output. Squeamish about the feet? No worries, just use regualr bones and you'll achieve the same effect. Whole Foods now has organic frozen bones to purchase too! You can also check with your local organic farms. 

Probiotics greatly increase your success in healing your gut. I went through quite a few before I found a brand that works with my body. You'll want to look for one that has a variety of strains of bacteria, has 15-30 CFUs and is from a reputable brand (Renew Life, Garden of Life, ect.). If you experience any side effects (gas, bloating) either try a lower CFU or switch brands. If it's not your thing to supplement then you can simply add one of the fermented foods into your diet on a daily basis to gain the same benefits. 

The latest and greatest trend in the world of gut health is powdered collagen and gelatin. Collagen not only works to heal your gut lining, it is found throughout our body in our hair, skin, nails and bones. I like to supplement with collagen peptides, I use them in my smoothies, oats and morning hot elixirs. My go-to brand is Vital Proteins. I like that they use high quality ingredients and source their collagen from grass fed animals. They have a great blog article about how to use collagen and gelatin for better gut health. 

I've partnered with Vital Proteins, to get collagen and beef gelatin into one of my reader's hands. If you hop on over to my Instagram page you can enter my giveaway to win a box of peptide sticks and a canister of beef gelatin. You'll be rolling in gut health soon!!!

Curious about ALL of the benefits of collagen? Check out this article  I wrote! 

Like anything else, you are looking to maintain a balance. You don't have to do ALL of these things EVERY day, but incorporating these gut healthy solutions into your life will help you in your quest to heal your gut and achieve overall optimal health. 

Oh and speaking of balance! How do you manage stress? If you're laughing or thinking of your nightly glass of wine, then you're probably not managing it optimally!

Stress increases our cortisol levels which can also contribute to poor gut health. SO...get your stress levels down with anything that brings you joy or peace. That might be a walk in the park, a warm epsom salt bath, the smell of essential oils, meditating, exercising (but not too much), date nights or even a night on the couch watching a movie with the fam. 

Slow down. Give yourself a time out and listen to what your body is telling you. 



Getting back to last week...

I enjoyed myself over Thanksgiving break. 

I had wine or a cocktail each night. 

I had stuffing made with GF brown rice bread. 

I ate apple and pumpkin pie (not GF).

I stayed up late and snacked late. 

By Sunday...

I was exhausted, achy and my face looked like it was going through puberty. 

I'm sharing this because I think it's important to understand that while there are eating trends that seem to pervade social media, there are also real reasons that people post about or write about particular ways they live. I eat and live the way that I do so that I DON'T feel like I did on Sunday all the time. 

I also believe that by sharing my story, I am paying it forward. Hopefully the me two years ago is reading this and finding hope.

Our health is vitaly important. If you aren't feeling well or feeling quite like yourself, take the time to figure out why. 

You are worth it.



Be Well,
Melissa

 

What Now? Hormones

If your like me, you've researched and read and read some more, and thought, ok, now what?

Not only does it feel daunting, but...

What do you do first?

What will make the most impact?

Is what I'm doing right?

How long before you know what to do next?



When I began my personal journey after reading Woman Code, I dove in head first. I drove my family crazy! 

I cycle synced my food.

I did a round of Whole30.

I went dairy free for a week then broke down and ate yogurt and got so sick!

I went on a rampage about our cleaning products and skin and hair care products.

I literally tried to do everything ALL AT ONCE.

This was not a good plan, because it was difficult to sustain and and I failed, A LOT. 



estrogen

Most often when we think of hormone imbalance we think of an estrogen dominant state. There are several hormones in our body that play a vital role in hormonal homeostasis, but estrogen dysfunction seems to play a large part in issues so many women face today. However, as you can see, symptoms of estrogen dominance definitely mimick other imblances in our bodies, making it even trickier to parse out. 

But, I will just focus on hormones for now. 

When it comes to our hormones there are numerous factors that affect our ability to maintain a healthy balance. 

-genetics
-stress
-sleep
-diet
-lifestyle
-environment
-beauty products
-household products
-alcohol
-caffeine
-adrenal function
-exercise

Imagine taking this list one day and deciding it's all going to change. Don't get me wrong...I LOVE THAT OPTIMISM, especially if you have some not so healthy habits holding you back. However, like I said before, it's not going to be sustainable for you if you feel like you are in a tidal wave of change. 

For me, it was easiest and most effective to work on what I put into my body. Looking back on it, I defeinitely had an intoxicated approach, weaving back and forth trying to get it right

What helped me the most was figuring out how food affected me.

I began cutting out big things like gluten, dairy and sugar (the three biggest hormone disruptors). I was so naieve that I had to read EVERY SINGLE LABEL, EVERY SINGLE TIME I purchased something new. I quickly learned that processed foods (the stuff in a package) were not for me. The more whole food I consumed, the easier it was and the better I felt. I realized that I wasn't the 'cleanse' or elmination type of person either. I needed to eat, otherwise I would leave the cleanse and binge on whatever I could find. 

Removing foods and food products from your lifestyle that are harming your body on a hormonal and cellular level every day, will not only help you stave off chronic diseases, it will also help you FEEL BETTER

For me, this also meant taking a hard look at how much alcohol and caffeine I consumed. Both of these substances were key in gaining control over all three areas I was struggling with (hormones, IBS and adrenal fatigue)

Alcohol has an insane effect on our hormones, including insulin, and the effects in women last twice as long as in men. Meaning, when we overdo it, we are left reaping the negative effects (blood sugar disregulation, cravings, fatigue, bloating) for days. 

Caffeine, just like alcohol, can disrupt our hormone balance by blocking the absorption of key nutrients that help make our hormones and it can also cause cysts to form in our breasts and ovaries. And, just like alcohol, women metabolize caffeine slower than men, so it's effects are sustained for longer periods of time. 

I don't know about you, but when I read all of this, I took a sharp turn towards detox town. Was it easy, hell no. Was it worth it, hell yes. 



Lucky for us, so many amazing companies have emerged over the past couple of years that make it easier (albiet more expensive) to choose better foods and food products. 

Some of my favorites are:
Primal Kitchen
Vital Proteins
Tessemae's
Steve's Paleo Goods
Applegate
Amy's 
Purely Elizabeth
Sir Kensington's
Chosen Foods
Jovial Foods
Woodstock Foods
Organic Valley
Califia Farms
Vital Farms
Siete Foods
CoYo Yogurt
RxBar
Epic

You can also begin by looking for this symbol when you shop:

non-gmo-project
When you see this symbol on a product, you know it's also organic per the labeling requirements. So it's a double win!

Remember, the way food is grown, raised and fed has just as much effect on OUR bodies as it does the plant or animal's bodies and our environment!

If you're really interested in learning more, check out this article I wrote. It breaks down the whole organic, non-GMO thing for you!



The next big thing I tackled was changing my household and beauty products, because what we spray in our house and put on our skin is JUST as important as what we put into our bodies. 

Environmentally speaking, we are exposed to thousands of hormone disrupting (estrogen mimicking) chemicals every day. 

These chemicals wreak havoc on adult bodies and are even more disruptive to developing children's bodies. Numerous studies and statistics show a definitive connection between these hazardous substances and asthma, diabetes, obesity, autism, arthritis, menthal health, digestive and skin disorders, allergies (food and environmental), and even cancer. 

The importance of changing the way we view these products isn't just for the sake of our environment's health, it's for the sake of our health and our family's health. 

Seriously Melissa? 

I know, I'm sorry to be such a bummer, but if you think about it, every one of you knows a child (or has a child) that has one of the issues I mentioned above. 

SO! Start small like I did and change the products you use most; your detergent, dryer sheets, surface cleaners.

I personally like to use the EWGs Healthy Living App or the Think Dirty App. These allow me to search the products I use to determine their safety.

Eventually you can tackle your beauty products. From soap to shampoo to face cream, it all matters. 

Today I shared my favorite deodorant, Nfuse, via IG and FB (don't forget to hop onto INSTAGRAM for the giveaway!). I have a drawer full of products as proof of my never ending search for the one that works for me! So, when I'm ready to share, it's because it's been road tested and researched! 

*The lovely women at Nfuse, Ann & Emily, are offering my readers 10% off of their online purchases through January 1st by using the code, 'wholistic10' at checkout. PLUS, you'll get free shipping when you order two or more bottles!*

If you think about the positive impact on your hormone balance by changing something you literally do EVERY DAY, like applying deodorant, it seems to be so simple. 

And, that's because it is.

It's simple because when you make small changes, eventually the sum will be greater than the parts and you will be feeling better on so many levels. 



The very last pieces of my hormonal puzzle were found at my holisitc practioners office. I wanted to be able to turn to someone who wasn't me for some final answers. 

Supplements have been a key part of this journey as well. Lab work and conversations have allowed us to tailor an approach that is right for my body. 

And, if you have been following my Instagram story this week, you'll know that I finally embarked on my meditation journey too. I can eat kale alllll day every day, but find it so hard to intentionally disconnect and go to my happy place (other than sleeping). 

If you've been thinking about adding meditation to your life, join me this week! I'll be checking in on my IG story daily. Maybe we can even keep it going through the holidays!



One final thought for you as we head into the CRAZIEST (and most wonderful) time of the year. 

We need to find OUR balance. 

I know I post all about health and wellness and what healthy things I'm cooking or eating, but there's a reality that exists beyond social media.

We are not here for perfection, but for progress. 

Be kind and be true. 

Be you.

Until next time, (which might be after Thanksgiving).

Be Well,
Melissa

P.S.

I can work with you to help you find your balance.

Email me. 

Let's get the conversation started. 

wholisticmelissa@verizon.net

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