The defining moment for me came 12 years ago, when I decided to go on the pill at the age of 20. 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 on my face chest and back, 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 even candida, 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, after finally performing the right diagnostic testing with my guidance, 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. If I had had access to the best medical thinking on these issues, as I was myself planning to be a GYN while studying at Johns Hopkins University, then what were women to do who didn’t have my access for this condition and other GYN castaway conditions?
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 the only thing that worked on powerfully impacting my own body chemistry was food. When I found the right combination of medicinal foods to heal hormonal imbalances, 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 decade. Out of all of this experimentation came an understanding of what the true underlying causes of hormonal imbalances are and the discovery of what has become my 5 step healing protocol and foundation of my company.
After completing my studies in Integrative Medicine and Nutrition, I formalized my protocol and opened up my center Laughing Sage Wellness, now FLO Living – in midtown manhattan. At first I began reaching out to other women with PCOS to let them know that their condition was not incurable. In those early years of my practice, I realized something very critical – the underlying causes of hormonal imbalances are very similar, and my protocol was effective for all the GYN castaway conditions.
Fast forward to today, I have a 10 year old center in Columbus Circle Manhattan, I have worked with many hundreds of women in the US and in four continents to heal naturally from these conditions, I educate ten thousand readers weekly through the LSW Newsletter, I hire and train other health counselors to deliver this protocol, and my company is poised on the precipice of major expansion.
The protocol I designed, which uses the science of food (nutrigenomics) to manipulate a woman’s hormonal biochemistry, is now the study of a year long clinical trial spearheaded by a brilliant reproductive research scientist and physician from Columbia University in conjunction with the Sher Institute for Reproductive Medicine. It should be noted that the lead physician for this study spent 10 years in his lab researching the effects of turmeric on the vascular health of ovaries!
I have been a woman on fire with a mission for a long time and now my vision for revolutionizing the way women’s healthcare is delivered is coming to fruition. FLO Living was founded to treat women with chronic GYN issues such as PCOS, PMS, Fibroids, Cystic Ovaries, Thyroid Issues, Adrenal Fatigue, IBS, Amenorreah, Dysmenorreah, and HPV. If you’ve gone to the GYN and have discovered one of these issues and you’ve heard the following options given to you: drugs, surgery, or we’ll see you in 6mos – then you need to know about what’s possible for you at FLO Living.
Melissa Erin Monahan, M.A., LCAT says
“In that defining moment, I finally realized that it was up to me to empower my own healing process.”
I couldn’t agree with you more, Alisa.
Thanks for being such an inspiring pioneer!
Attended your presentation at the Tampa I Can Do It and look forward to seeing your name a a keynote in a very short time. Excellent seminar… the only thing wrong with it was they did not give you enough time. Thanks for educating us and doing it in an exceptional manner.
Bonnie @BonniesBows says
Amazing! It helps SO much to have a ‘medical professional’ so dedicated to helping PCOS sufferers. Not many care. Thank you!!!
Hi Alisa! I just saw your panel discussion on Ladies Who Launch and read your story here – and think your story and conclusion that food is a drug is very inspirational. I really had not had any health problems myself throughout my life, but started to notice my energy level dip with an increase in mood swings a few years ago. I initially attributed this to changes in my cycle as I approached 40. But after reading about the impact of various super foods, I began to experiment with creating my own nutrition packed smoothies. Because I was basically a carb addict and avoided almost all vegetables, the mental and physical impact of my daily smoothies amazed me. On days when I had a smoothie, I began to notice an incredible shift in my mood, having more energy and a general feeling of happiness. Then on days when I didn’t have a smoothie, I quickly felt my energy level drop and by the afternoon found myself questioning what was wrong with me. I think I actually became addicted to things like broccoli and spinach and realized what a truly powerful drug food is. I continued to experiment and have easily been able to incorporate an array of fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts into my diet that have truly changed my life. I also went through several blenders that could not handle my daily heavy use, which is why I decided to start my own company, Valensware, a new blender manufacturer. The Valens blender is a powerful commercial quality blender engineered to stand-up to the toughest daily use and yet still be affordable for the average consumer. When you see exactly what you put in the pitcher, you can feel good about about what you’re putting into your body…and then you can watch your energy level and feeling of happiness skyrocket.
Hi Alisa, I heard you speak on the WishSummit. You spoke about gynecologists. This made me want to reach out to you are see if you can give me a recommendation about a gunecologist in New York City (Manhattan).
Thank you so much!
Pam Paradis-Sokoloski says
I am 42 will this program still help me (video states women in 20 and 30s). I have had exactly the things you describe and have never been able to correct it. I would love to be able to gain the control of body back and like you prefer the natural way. Please advise
Do you have a Flo center or consultant in the San Francisco Bay area, specifically Marin County?
Hello Alisa, I saw your name on a book that my nutritionist recommended (women’s bodies, women’s wisdom). Back in 2003 at age 23 I was diagnosed with PCOS and as a relsult the doctor gave me metformin, I took it for 2 months before I realized that was not for me. Then I saw a nutritionist an was able to learn to eat better an lost 50lbs, at that time my period was regular again and until 2008 I kept the weight off working out and eating healthy. In 2008 I began regaining the weight and my exercise regimen changed. a month or so ago I went yo see the obgyn because I has heavy bleeding, she told me that I had to take provera. I’m now working with a naturopath/holistic nutritionist and trying to loose the weigth. I am eating what she tells me but sometimes my cravings for breads and other things get the best of me. Can you recommend me other things to help me in this process?. I also have hair growth in my neck and chin area. I live a busy life being a mental health counselor and lm currenlty separating from my partner of 5years. please help me:-)!. Thank you in advance!!!.:-)
Cyntthia Walker says
Alisa you were absolutely fabulous on the Divine Feminine Entrepreneurs series. Miss you and Congratulations to all of your successful blessings. You are a “Phenomenal Woman” and have impacted my life. Thank you for creating the Laughing Sage Wellness Center and touching so many lives.
The Best is Yet To Come,
Julie Kale says
I was diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 22, then with POF (premature ovarian failure aka early menopause) at age 26. I’ve been on either HRT or birth control pills ever since and I haven’t been happy about it. I’ve had other health issues and was put on 14 different medications in an attempt to “cure” what they couldn’t even diagnosed. When I adopted a holistic lifestyle and changed my diet to a vegan diet, it changed everything for me (with the exception of my “female” issues with POF). I’ve been able to “cure” myself of all my issues through nutrition. Does your program help with POF?
Your writing intrigues me. I am 31 years old and have been diagnosed with PCOS. I’ve been struggling to find something to help me. My body rejects medication. I’m interested in the umdeying causes of hormonal imbalances and the role food plays. Can you direct me to some resources.
I had a cyst removed last year. I tried treating it holistically for 9 month, but it was a stubborn bugger. I wish I would’ve come across this site back then… Great info, thank you very much!
love your mission–but that logo picture is appalling. do you really thing that’s what a real woman should look like? news to you: real women have hips. sometimes tummies. thighs, even. when you claim to help support women w/hormone issues and put forth a (gross) ideal, you devalue yourself and your cause.
Beauty isn’t limited by size or shape…and especially someone with PCOS should be sensitive to that.
Dearest fierce sister,
Amen to celebrating every woman’s shape and size!
As a plus size woman myself, I absolutely appreciate where you are coming from. This image was intended to make absolutely clear that this company is about women and for women. I am sure you will agree that this caricature is very curvy, although it may not represent the variety of curves that women’s bodies manifest.
I however sincerely appreciate you writing in, and you will be happy to know that we are in the process of refreshing our brand and graphic image, and I will keep your passionate email close to my heart as we go through this process.
It means a lot to me that you care enough to take the time to actually write something because I am sure you represent more women’s reactions than those who write in. Thank you, thank you for taking the time and caring so much about the future of women’s health.
Please let me know any other thoughts you may have, I so appreciate your support and help in co-creating something extraordinary with FLO Living. I am grateful in advance for your help as I cannot possibly do this alone!
Much love and gratitude,
This response shows how amazing you are. What an open hearted reply. I will try to remember to respond with grace to those that have a valuable contribution but are harsher than they need be.
Melanie Hoffman says
I am so inspired and encouraged by your story. So many elements of it fit my circumstance. I have felt like a hormonal train wreck for more than half of my life, and I’m only 33.
I am preparing to purchase your program and have high hopes of it’s success. That being said, I want to know if it’s possible to schedule an appointment with you. I live in New Jersey, so going to Manhattan would not be a burden. I’m so excited about being able to take control of my life and my body, and to start to have positive feelings towards it, instead of feeling broken all of the time.
Thank you for your inspiration and life’s wisdom. I truely hope that I will be able to visit with you in person. Oh, also, how much do you charge for appointments?
Kim Matheson Shedrick says
It took courage to share your story, your products are very useful. See what we offer at mySpaShop.com, you can join as an Affiliate or we cold carry your products.
Nice to meet you! I’m Stefanie, part of the FLO Living Team.
So grateful to you for supporting Alisa as she shares her powerful story.
You have a beautiful site with wonderful products – nourishing our bodies and treating them well with massages and other spa treats is something we believe in here at FLO:)
Feel free to connect through the Connect button on the top of the page here to speak more about your thoughts on working together.
Yours in Health,
New on board! Read about you in Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. Actually seeking treatment for 13 yr old daughter with PCOS, pre-diabetic, just over 200 lbs. (5’8″)and doctors said Metformin forever! After getting a kidney stone a mth after starting medicine, we stopped and are looking for a natural approach. She eats very healthy with grass fed beef, free range organic (local) chicken, raw milk, ect. Is she too young for this program? Dr.Northrup’s book is very informative but I’m confused at which way to go…Are there any consultants in the Nashville, TN area?????
Dog Rose Healing says
Your passion and enthusiasm for what you do leaps through the screen at me. Good on you for not accepting the life sentence you were offered and standing up for womens’ choices beyond what we are sold. 🙂
I think it’s wonderful what you’ve made and I value your work a lot. I just have a question, what exactly are your credentials? What did you study and where? Are you a doctor or a registered dietitian?
Thank you very much and kind regards !!