BIRTHFIT Podcast Episode 78 featuring Melissa Henig aka Raw Paleo Melissa
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Hello, BIRTHFIT community. This is Dr. Lindsey Mathews, your BIRTHFIT founder, and we have an awesome little podcast for you this week with a special guest, Raw Paleo Melissa. If you've been to Paleo f(x) or any of the fermentation events in Santa Barbara, you might have had the opportunity to see her and/or hear her speak. Or if you're in the Paleo community, you might have her book, Raw Paleo.
But before we get started, a few announcements. For those of you that may have been living under a rock, our BIRTHFIT Professional Seminar is sold out for 2017, you missed it there, but you can get in 2018. We will be putting up those dates just as soon as we confirm locations, so stay tuned. The seminars, just a reminder, the seminars are listed on our website under the Education tab.
We also have BIRTHFIT Coach seminars happening, and every single one of these has sold out in 2017. That's the year we're in, 2017. We have New Jersey coming up, and I think there may be two or three spots left. That's at the end of September. Then we have Chicago towards the end of October, and there are about six to eight spots left in there. So if you want to or if you're thinking about doing a seminar, I would strongly encourage you to sign up and get your spot because all of our seminars have sold out for 2017. So do that now.
Also, if you are applying to be a BIRTHFIT Professional or a BIRTHFIT Coach, you have 30 days after the seminar that you take, you have 30 days after that to submit all your information. You can go on our website under the Referrals tab and click on the tab that says, "Coaches," or the tab that says, "Professionals," and there you will find information about recommended requirements, what you need to do, how you need to submit your application. All that information is there.
Now, if you are applying to be a regional director, we've already got a ton of applications, and we're starting to go through some of them. But the official time we go through them will be in November through the first weeks, first two weeks of December. So if you're thinking about becoming a regional director, those applications are due by December 1st. Any late application, so if you submit your application on December 2nd, we will hold that until the 2019 calendar year. So don't do that. Submit it on time.
Also, BIRTHFIT Shop, this is up. Yes, we have apparel, for those of you that have been wondering and asking. We have BIRTHFIT sweatpants. We have BIRTHFIT tank tops, and a generic BIRTHFIT tank top with the logo across it. There's a black tank and a gray tank and black sweatpants that are STR/KE MVMNT apparel collaborated with BIRTHFIT. These are awesome, and they're super duper comfortable.
We also have BIRTHFIT mala beads. So many of you have been asking about the mala beads, and we finally got some new ones. These are made by Claire Sommers Buck, handmade by a lovely lady in Austin, Texas. We love supporting women, and this is one of these women we love to support. Go online, birthfit.com, find the shop and then you can order anything from there. We usually get it shipped out within the week.
I think those are our major announcements. Last thing I would probably say is if you have not checked out the Education tab on birthfit.com, do so. Not only are the seminars listed there, but there are also consultations. So if you are having an issue maybe with urinary incontinence or diastasis rectis abdominus, set up a consultation with Dr. Erica Boland. She's the pelvic floor and core health genius. Yeah, just do that.
There is also, if you are interested in joining the BIRTHFIT tribe and you have some questions about applications, the process, whether you're a coach, professional or a regional director; set up a practitioner's support consult with Dr. Lindsay Mumma. She will get you going on the right path.
Also, if you are thinking about conceiving, thinking about linking the body and the mind, nourishing, all that together, then set up a consult with Melissa Hemphill. She is our mindset queen. You can go the same spot and you will find her there and you can set up a consult there.
Also, basic nutrition info, maybe you're having trouble conceiving. You can set up a consult with Dr. Gina Sirchio. That's in the same spot. I want to introduce you to this area on the website especially if you have not seen it before because we're going to have many more consultations coming so stay tuned for that. Also, if you're like, oh, shit, I'm pregnant; now what? You can always set up a BIRTHFIT basics consultation with me. That's the fun one.
So go check out the website birthfit.com, sign up for a seminar if you're thinking about it, and now onto the podcast. Today we have Raw Paleo Melissa. She's 36 weeks pregnant, and she shares about her diet and why she lives the lifestyle she does. So I'll let you dive into that. Enjoy.
Welcome to the BIRTHFIT podcast.
Melissa: Thank you.
Lindsey: We'll jump right in. Yeah. I want to find out all about your story, everything, so if you could give the audience that will be listening in the future, give them a little two-minute elevator speech about who you are in this world.
Melissa: You're ready now.
Lindsey: Yeah. Ready, go.
Melissa: Well I live for health and nutrition. It's my passion. I'm constantly researching, experimenting, trying new things on my own body. That's my number one way of finding science and knowledge is through personal experience every day. So I feel good. I have tons of energy. I am 36 weeks pregnant. I want to share the mission. My mission is to share information so people can feel good and vibrant every single day.
Lindsey: I love it. And you're also an author, huh?
Melissa: Yeah. I have a book. It's called "Raw Paleo."
Melissa: Yeah. I started a raw vegan diet, and the raw Paleo diet is the polar opposite of it because I'm eating raw meats and raw eggs and raw milk and everything is still in its raw form. The book goes through that. It goes through a lot of information in the beginning on the health benefits and why I do this diet, and then I have 100 recipes as well.
Lindsey: Oh, that's pretty awesome. So let's back it up. I want to find out how you got started down this path of, let's start with the raw vegan path. How did you go down that path?
Melissa: I went down raw vegan, I started in Chicago actually. Years ago I lived in Chicago, and there was just a sign at Whole Foods, and it was a raw food class. I randomly took it. I woke up the next day, and I bought the Vitamix, the food processor and the dehydrator, and I was a raw vegan overnight. It was a raw vegan class. It was super inspiring. These women had all this energy and they were glowing.
So I did it. I did it for a year, and I felt really good, and then I didn't feel as good anymore. I just started having some deficiencies. My hair was thinner. I was losing muscle mass. I just didn't feel as solid. I was always starving, eating mounds of kale and dates and nuts and seeds, and I just couldn't get satiated. I was always bloated and gassy. It was good. It wasn't sustainable.
Lindsey: Yeah. So what made you switch? Or I guess who introduced you to Paleo?
Melissa: The switch came when I was living in Venice Beach, California. We had a little store called "Rawsome." At Rawsome, they served a lot of raw meat and raw milk and raw cheeses and things. I would still go all the time as a raw vegan and then finally the folks, each week, kept saying, "You might want to try this. You may be missing zinc and iron and cholesterol." As they're telling me this, I'm seeing, I'm feeling the deficiencies, so that introduced me to it. One day I tried the steak tartare that one of the chefs there made, and I was like, I'm never going back! I felt so good. I ate the whole thing so fast and it was like my body was just so in need of these nutrients.
Lindsey: Yeah, that's wild. It's funny, I moved to Venice the year before Rawsome closed. Weren't they raided or the cops closed them down or something lame like that?
Melissa: Yeah, Rawsome was raided. I don't remember the exact year. The FDA came in, full SWAT team and pillaged all the shelves, they were fully armed. It was so crazy.
Lindsey: That's nuts.
Melissa: I know. The food is so healing that it would take away from pharmaceuticals. It's a whole money thing, so it's too bad.
Lindsey: Yeah. So let's talk about what exactly do you mean when you say Raw Paleo? What does that look like to you, that diet?
Melissa: Raw Paleo, to me, includes about 50% raw animal fats, and those are animal fats like, so the raw milk, raw cheese, raw butter, raw kefir. I know that technically that's not Paleo, and I explain in the book why I bring the animal fats in. Because we're really not living in a Paleolithic era. We have so many toxins and pollutions. So many things have changed that I bring in all that raw dairy for the fat-soluble vitamins, the A, D and the K2. That's a big part of it. Then also raw meat, green juice is a big part of it, fermented vegetables and herbs and just a lot of raw foods. Most people even do about 75%. No one has to be 100% any label.
Lindsey: Yeah. I know in your website you work with people. If somebody wanted to transition into this diet, what would that look like or how would you coach them up through that?
Melissa: It's so different because it depends on where they're coming from. If they're coming from the standard American diet, I would ease them into it because just like all raw foods, it's very detoxifying. Raw meats and raw milk and raw dairy, they have so many enzymes and natural probiotics, beneficial probiotics that are detoxifiers that are going to eat waste. So somebody is in an unhealthy state, I would ease them in, one meal a day, a couple table spoons of raw milk. It wouldn't be the sudden change because I wouldn't want them to go into some crazy detox.
Lindsey: Right, that makes sense.
Lindsey: So you mentioned that you were 36 weeks pregnant.
Lindsey: How's that going?
Melissa: So far, so good. I'm getting uncomfortable sleeping. That's my only complaint. It's so much of having a healthy pregnancy without complications is the diet, nutrition, moving the body, and I'm just living the testament of it because I'm doing great for 36 weeks here. I eat a lot of protein and fat, and walk.
Lindsey: First of all, let me back up. Are you going with an OB-GYN or a midwife, and how do they feel about their diet, and what have you communicated with them?
Melissa: I'm going with a midwife that's not licensed. She's not ruled by the government at all. It's basically an unassisted birth where she's not going to deliver the baby with her hands and be all in there with rubber gloves. There's nothing medical about it. She's going to be here for support, and she has delivered hundreds and hundreds of babies. She used to be licensed in case of, I mean, she'll be here. She's super cutting-edge, I would say. She doesn't care that I'm eating raw meat or raw dairy. She just totally trusts me, trusts my body. She's pretty cool about it all.
I do still eat my diet but not 100% at this point. I have to get so many calories in to grow a baby. I realized in the beginning, I had to actually do a food journal because I was actually eating about 1700 calories. I had no idea, but I was like, why am I not gaining any weight? Because my normal diet of some raw cheese and some raw meat and a smoothie is so satiating, it doesn't end up being many calories. So in order to grow a baby here, definitely, I'm eating more cooked foods and eating some rice that doesn't have arsenic in it, but I'm having to bring more things in because of the pregnant body.
Lindsey: Have you always been in tune with your body? Because it sounds like that's your feedback. For some people, they'll go to the doctor, they'll get a blood work, but it sounds like you just go by what your body tells you. Have you always been that way?
Melissa: Yeah, I grew up in a pretty health-conscious home. We were drinking a lot of carrot juice and the salad, low-fat, at the time.
Melissa: Well now it's not.
Lindsey: Yeah, but they were aware of it then.
Melissa: Yeah, my mom was always really healthy, so I would say I would be more in tune because I did grow up with a healthy lifestyle. The cleaner your body is, the more in tune you are. Any little thing that I eat, I'm really against eating canola oil. If I do end up in a restaurant and it's somehow, even though I ask all these questions, I will just start itching, my arms itch, my legs. So when you become really clean, you are definitely more in tuned to things in the food and the diet.
Lindsey: Yeah, that's so interesting.
Lindsey: So a lot of, I want to say, the old wives' tales about pregnancy and cooking meat fully especially in the first trimester, or your vegetables fully in the first trimester, what is your take on those old wives' tales there?
Melissa: Well I actually do cook vegetables. That's one thing. That's funny, all raw. I drink a lot of green juice. I'll juice them and I'll ferment them, but raw vegetables actually we're not equipped to digest them. I'm sure you know. A ruminant animal has four stomachs. They are herbivores, so they can digest, that they will swallow the vegetables. I wasn't eating raw vegetables anyways but, yeah, the raw meat, one, I was doing this beforehand. Whatever you're doing beforehand, you could always continue into pregnancy.
Two, I source really clean meat. A lot of the bacteria, the meat-tainted bacteria or the salmonella, people talk about the O157H7; that all comes from really bad farming practices and unclean conditions. That's a man-made bacteria. It wasn't even around before 1982 when they started. So I'm going to the farm, it's local. I see these cows. They're on grass. Just my same reasons for always eating raw meat is I'm sourcing really clean meat and I know that every country has a staple of a raw food dish. We're the only ones in America here that are so afraid of food.
Lindsey: Yeah, what the heck.
Melissa: I know. That's one of my big missions is, I told somebody the other day, raw meat. Her face, the reaction, people get so freaked out when I want to just make it just a normal thing. Oh, great, steak tartare like you would have in France or carpaccio in Italy.
Lindsey: And it's so good.
Melissa: It tastes so good, and it digests so easily. There's a lot of enzymes, and there are good bacteria on the meat as there's bacteria on everything. When it's not mutated because it comes from really clean source, it's actually probiotic. So, yeah, it tastes great and it's filling. You're getting all your protein, and it digests so fast. It's great.
Lindsey: I think somewhere on your website you mentioned that, especially when cooking protein, that you can form some toxins there. I know you probably thought about the risk versus benefits. Would you say definitely that, for you, the benefits outweigh the risk as far as continuing to eat raw meats and stuff like that through your pregnancy or even just prior to pregnancy?
Melissa: There's the word risk, and I don't think of it as a risk. I only think of it as a healing potential far beyond any type of cooked food. To me cooked food has a risk because there are heterocyclic amines, there are a lot of carcinogens. That's when people overcook. I know that Paleo, they're not grilling and burning things, but still there's not that blood enzyme, probiotic factor. It's still dead meat unless, hopefully, people are eating it super rare, barely cooked or something.
To me, I don't see a risk. I've done so many interviews and testimonies and people that have tried every single diet there is, and they're like, okay, give me the raw meat, I need to start regenerating tissues, rebuilding muscles. It's raw. It's protein in its raw, non-denatured form so it hasn't been chemically heated. The structure hasn't been changed at all by the heat. It's just the way nature intended, and it's just uploaded straight into your cells in this raw form.
I also, I don't need as much so the diet that I follow, I don't know if you've heard of the Brewer Diet for Pregnancy. He says 80 to 100 grams of protein a day. I don't quite get 100 grams of protein because when I'm eating in the raw form, it's just so much more bio-available and it's quality over quantity. So there's that quality of the grass-fed, grass-finished. It's such good meat and it has so many nutrients that I don't need as much of it which is great. You're not eating mounds of meat either on this diet because it's in its raw form.
Lindsey: Right. I'm hearing you say this and this totally makes sense. I eat organ meats and fats and stuff like that because I believe in eating the whole animal but, yeah, it makes sense. Can you tell the audience a little bit more about the Brewer Diet or the Dr. Brewer Diet?
Melissa: Yeah, Dr. Brewer, he was a doctor in the 1950s. A lot of the pregnant women were having kidney failure and the toxemia, gestational diabetes is what they call it, and they'd never went inside, what are the daily lifestyles, what is the nutrition, what are they doing? They just had all these medications and complications with pregnancy, and he finally was this doctor that dug deeper into the lives of these women and turns out that the nutrition was not there. They were malnourished, and they had nutritional deficiencies. So he started this diet where it's 2700 calories a day, and it's 80 to 100 grams of protein, lots of salt, water, and he just saw the rates drop. No one had toxemia anymore and everything had turned around with that nutrition.
Lindsey: Funny how that works out.
Melissa: I know, I know. It's funny how when you get pregnant, and you start really focusing on your health and nutrition and diet and whole foods, nothing processed. I did anyways, but I wish people would treat themselves like they were pregnant.
Lindsey: Totally, yeah. What has been your experience, I want to say, for most of us, probably yourself and myself, we live in these little isolated bubbles that we set up for ourselves where we can go get the meat from the farmer or know the produce guy, but what has been your exposure or experience to the outside world?
Melissa: You know what, I'm a part of one of the Dr. Brewer's Group on Facebook and the stuff that I see people post, they think they're eating nutritious food. They'll have Jiffy peanut butter as their protein. They have CLIF bars lined up and some type of weird sugary yogurt as their probiotic. It's like, oh, my gosh, I do live in such a bubble.
Lindsey: You're not doing the diet there.
Melissa: Yeah. I'm thinking, oh, my gosh, they don't know about the aflatoxins and the mold in peanuts. You can't even be eating peanuts, let alone claiming that as the protein. I see a lot of more of a mainstream-type diet or mindset in the Facebook groups with the Dr. Brewer Diet. But, I don't know, we can just keep sending our message out there about whole unprocessed foods and what that really means because it says that the whole time through the diet and yet these people are still posting the Jiffy peanut butter. That's not whole food.
Lindsey: Yeah. You're like, you missed the boat there.
Melissa: Right, yeah.
Lindsey: You can answer this or you don't have to, but were you thinking of getting pregnant or was this an accident? Or were you planning it, planning the diet, planning your life, doing everything? Or how did this come about?
Melissa: Well, yeah, it was unplanned, the pregnancy. I'm always planning but my diet was probably, I probably got pregnant because of my diet. Because years ago, I was married about 15, maybe 17 years ago now, and I did try. I remember I went to the doctor, nothing happened. I had really low progesterone levels. This was years ago. Now, I'm eating so many raw eggs and raw butter and raw animal fats for years, not that I was trying to get pregnant, but it did happen. I'm sure the progesterone and everything are completely balanced out from the raw fats. Yes, I'm 39 and technically, at high risk, but I don't believe in that because biologically, we can be so much younger than we are, based on our food and environment.
Lindsey: Totally, totally. Yeah, if you were birthing with a regular OB-GYN in the hospital, you would be labeled high risk just because your age.
Melissa: I know, I know. That's wild. I still have a lot of friends that are in their 40s that want to have a baby and I'm like, great, but you need to make sure you're eating right, you're moving, you're getting sun. There are so many things to get yourself ready.
Lindsey: Totally, totally. For me, it's really baffling that, well it's probably money like you mentioned earlier, but it's really baffling that when a woman comes to their OB-GYN or whoever and they're like, I'm trying to get pregnant and nothing is work, they automatically put them on IVF medication over adjusting diet. That's crazy.
Melissa: I know. I'm not even really exposed too much to that world but, yeah, even the raw eggs, the cholesterol at the root of all the hormones, so balancing that and manufacturing them. I have a lot of clients that they weren't even getting menstrual periods because they were, say, vegan or just malnourished. Two weeks on raw eggs and things started coming back and balancing.
Lindsey: Wow. So, do you put the raw egg in a shake or do you just eat it? I'm going to try this.
Melissa: Well I've done both. I do both. Rocky style is where you just put it in a glass and just shoot it. Because he ate all those raw eggs to build the muscle. It has so many good fats and proteins and 18 amino acids, and it's all bio-available. It's just this raw form going in. Now, on a day-to-day basis, I would just throw things in smoothies. I'll throw the raw eggs in the smoothies. You can't taste it at all. I do make sure that they're pasteurized and organic. Those are the two words to look for.
Sometimes if I have a huge recipe going and I'm making the raw banana crème butter pie and I don't want to ruin the whole thing if there was a bad egg, I will crack them into a glass, separate, and smell them and then put them in the blender because I'll have whole raw butter in there and everything. One time I cracked in a bad egg, after all these years.
Lindsey: How important would you say, eating from somebody or someplace where you know the source, like grass-fed produce, things like that? We do that, but some people may say it's too expensive or that's not where they want to spend their money. Can you share a little bit about why you would spend your money there?
Melissa: The nutritional profile is just going to be so much higher even the organic and grass-fed. To me, I'm not taking supplements. I don't take a prenatal. I don't take vitamins and anything. I just spend the money on the grass-fed, grass-finished organic foods. So for me, I'd rather get everything in its whole natural state from the food, not from supplements or pills or I don't know what people spend their money on, but I definitely make, it's whatever our priority is. That's a huge priority to me because I feel good, I feel strong, I feel good, so you want to keep doing what's working.
Lindsey: Yeah, totally, I get that. I loved your article or your blog the other day. I think you wrote this right after I asked you about vitamin D.
Melissa: Oh, right.
Lindsey: Which is funny because I had some people reach out to me and they're like, there are people out there that want some hard science for things.
Melissa: I know.
Lindsey: I really appreciated your blog on, it was titled, "Did Our Ancestors Need Science?" Yeah, could you talk about that a little bit?
Melissa: I get frustrated because people need so much science and are so reliant on it when it's just ever-changing. You could Google whatever you want and find what you're looking for. You could Google that raw vegan is the best diet on the planet or Paleo diet. That's something with science is it changes. They manipulate it. Who is funding it? I always ask, who is funding, what big company is behind the science on this and what are they trying to market to us? It's just really questioning where that's coming from, and it always comes back to the firsthand experience, for me, is the science, being my own scientist, trying things. This doesn't feel better. This feels good. This is healing. Also, testimonies, a lot of people that have gone before me and eaten raw meat or raw eggs and I hear. To me, that's science, the truth behind things that are, people that are actually experiencing it in their lives. It's not in a test tube at the lab. It's just firsthand experience.
Lindsey: Yeah. Did you have any Raw Paleo mentors that helped you out or that you looked up to?
Melissa: Yeah, there were a few. I have a coauthor in my book, Alfredo Urso, and he has been eating the Raw Paleo diet. Actually it's called Raw Primal. We switched it to Raw Paleo because that's more of a common word that people can recognize, the Paleolithic ancestors. So he has been on the Raw Primal diet, 18 years, and he has helped so many people and clients heal from different diseases. Another mentor that, he actually passed away, but Aajonus Vonderplanitz, and he wrote a book, The Primal Diet. He healed himself of blood and bone cancer. He had everything wrong with him, and he had tried everything, every diet there was and decided to eat raw meat to kill himself. He was like, I'm done, I'm going to eat this, I'm going to die, and then he never felt so good the next three days. He had more energy than he had had in years. That's where the whole thing started. That was about 35 years ago.
Lindsey: Wow, wow.
Melissa: Yeah, his book is really good so that has been really inspiring.
Lindsey: This is random and not pregnancy-related at all, but if you were diagnosed with cancer, anything; full force, stay full force raw Paleo, huh?
Melissa: Oh, that depends. Cancer is different. I believe in the Gerson Therapy and all the coffee enemas and tons of juicing and fasting and that kind of stuff. Raw animal fats actually are really detoxifying as well. Cancer, to me, is every detox pathway is clogged and you can't detox. Clumps start forming in the body. They had no way out. So it's the biggest detox you'll ever go through in your life. So, to me, I will definitely include Raw Paleo foods and juicing and all kinds of detoxification methods.
Lindsey: Yeah, that makes sense. That's good. I like that.
Melissa: Yeah. So plants are really cleansing, and the animals are really building and repairing.
Lindsey: That makes sense. So if you were to share about, let's say, your lifestyle for a week, what would a typical life in your world, in Melissa's world look like, typical day?
Melissa: It changes because now I'm pregnant, so I'm a little limited with my mountain biking and hiking. It's not the same, the non-pregnant body and the pregnant body. As far as food, I still do daily smoothies with raw eggs and raw kefir and raw milk as my base. It's so satiating. It's raw animal fats and proteins, lots of enzymes and good bacteria. So that's always a staple every day. I do throw in superfoods as far as bee pollen and some chlorella and spirulina and things that are just whole food-based type supplement.
That's a staple, pregnant or non-pregnant, every day just a huge smoothie and then I do, I get the sunshine every day before 9 am, 10 am. I go outside and get the blue light in my eyes. That has always been a staple. Then movement, now I'm definitely not running or hiking, but I'm still walking. I have a little bit of a waddle only because the hips, the pelvic floor actually does widen. Everything is loosening and widening. It's [0:41:30] [Indiscernible].
Lindsey: Yeah, you can totally feel it now.
Melissa: Yeah, now I'm feeling it. Yeah, so, sunshine, I drink spring water, that's a big part of my lifestyle before and during pregnancy, yeah, just all the factors of a healthy lifestyle, the holistic form because I don't want to just solely focus on food even though that is the foundation, that's a huge part but then there's the sunshine, the water and the movement, and emotionally and spiritually being well. There are so many factors.
Lindsey: Totally. Where do you find time to work in there?
Melissa: I do work. I have my online coaching business. I'm actually creating an online course right now which is great because I put out a survey so I know exactly what people, the questions they have, and it's so much easier to be able to answer those questions. Then, yeah, I do work at a restaurant a couple of days a week because I just moved to Arizona to have the baby because my family is here, and it's just a super healthy place. There's no gluten, there's no canola oil, and I've met really cool people. So, yeah, in between all these lifestyle things and I'm still health coaching and working.
Lindsey: Yeah, that's crazy. What is this online program going to, who is it going to be for and what are they going to get?
Melissa: Well I had noticed, for my list and people that are interested that answered the survey and stuff, they actually are already eating the diet. But it doesn't have to be. It can be for someone that's Paleo but interested in this raw version, just integrating some raw animal products. Or it can be for the recovering raw vegan but they still want that raw aspect. It's going to be just five classes going over the health benefits and the main fear, the main fear is the safety of it, that's on my number one question is over all the safety; daily meal plans and answering all the questions.
Lindsey: So what would be some of your top reasons for the safety of it or maybe you would tell somebody in that course or somebody came up to you at the restaurant, they're like, "Oh, my God, why are you doing that?"
Melissa: I know one of the main safety things is just about the sourcing.
Lindsey: Got it.
Melissa: It comes down to being really on top of, clean animals produce clean food and sick animals produce sick food. It's just so simple, but it's so true that even the different salmonellas and bacteria didn't come around until they started mutating with the bad farming practices. If you go back to the original, the natural, animals aren't supposed to eat grain. They're supposed to be eating grass and soaking up sunlight. They don't have the bacteria and the parasites people are so afraid of. Life wouldn't even be possible without bacteria. That's what I always tell people that there's so much fear around it but it's almost like fearing yourself because we are made of 90% bacteria. We're just walking bacteria anyways.
Lindsey: Yeah, you can't be scared of yourself.
Lindsey: I totally forgot to ask this earlier, but what if somebody says they have an allergy to dairy? Do you see any hope for them, consuming raw dairy on a daily basis?
Melissa: Yeah, most people have an allergy to pasteurization. 98% of those people can do raw dairy but they can't do pasteurized dairy. I always say, "You're not dairy-intolerant. You're pasteurization-intolerant," because it's just not even the same form. A lot of people aren't even aware of the raw form of milk. Pasteurized dairy is totally poison in the body. It can't even recognize it at all. It has been heated and denatured, and it's processed food. It's a processed food.
In its raw form, it has 60 raw enzymes to help digest and stimulate, and it has protein and good natural bacteria, so most people can do it. There are two types of milk too, this depends on a person's body and the experimenting, but there's A1 and A2 raw milk. The proteins that are in the A2 are going to be a lot easier to digest. They're from Old World cows. It's not this domesticated Holstein cow. It also depends on the type of milk if people are really sensitive.
Lindsey: Do you ever recommend goat's milk, raw goat's milk too?
Melissa: Yeah, raw goat's milk is great. It's always going to be the A2 casein as well. It's digestible for a lot of people. It doesn't quite have the same fat content. I love the thick cream that rises to the top of the cow's milk because that's where all those vitamins are. The vitamin A, the D, the K2, they're all in that cream and that fat and that's what's nourishing the brain and the nervous system and just the whole body which is, ourselves contain fat, animal fats. The goat milk doesn't quite have the same amount of fat, but it's good to mix them in. Drink both if you can.
Lindsey: I think, on a regular basis, we can get raw goat's milk here but ever since the Rawsome place closed, I feel like we're literally having to go underground to get raw milk. We'll get it at the Farmers' Market or at the Rainbow Acres or our neighbor will pick it up from somebody that they know. It's funny.
Melissa: I know. It is like an underground. I'm actually going to pick up milk behind some store next week. You're, like, meeting at alleys. It's funny.
Lindsey: That's hilarious.
Melissa: I know.
Lindsey: Do you have any postpartum nutrition plans in mind, or are you going to wait to see how that goes?
Melissa: I just ordered five pounds of raw butter, five pounds of raw cottage cheese. I'm just always stocking up on my raw dairy for afterwards because it's so easily digestible for me when I'm eating raw butter. It's a lubrication. It's lubricating my cells and my digestion. So I'm stocking up on that.
I do drink bone broth. I'm not 100% raw. I definitely believe in the GAPS diet and healing the gut with bone broth and collagen and gelatin, so I'm going to freeze some broth, just really easily digestible things for the postpartum because my body is going to need as much energy as it can to rest and recover and repair and so I don't want to spend a lot of time using my energy to digest food.
Lindsey: Yeah. Do you have any other postpartum plans? Are you taking off work, not doing anything, enrolling the family?
Melissa: I'm two weeks. I don't plan on doing anything for the first two weeks, so I'm having everybody do everything for me. Yeah, I have a list of clean towels, clean sheets, toilet paper, everything ahead of time. I'm trying to be as prepared as possible for that time when I'm not going to be doing a lot. I don't know how much time, just probably a couple of months off work. They call it the fourth trimester. It's the three months after the baby. I love working and doing things and seeing people. I can't imagine me being in the house too long.
Lindsey: How many events or, because I know you went to Paleo f(x), but do you go to events like that often?
Melissa: I do. Last year, I spoke at the Fermentation Festival, the one that's in Santa Barbara. I couldn't do it this year because it's literally, right now, I'm just too pregnant. I was doing a presentation with Mark McAfee. He has the Organic Pastures. We were out there making raw butter pudding. That's the recipe in the book. It's so good. So, yeah, just different speaking events, a lot with Western A. Price and local chapters. I go around speaking wherever. I was living in California, I did a couple of classes with them and whenever anyone reaches out. I love spreading the message.
Lindsey: This may be random and you may not have even thought about this yet, but do you plan on introducing the raw diet or parts of the raw diet to your little one eventually?
Melissa: Well I would say, yeah, of course, 100% raw liver and egg yolks will be their first food. But I was just on the news in Germany that I'm endangering my child, and it was all in German, my unborn child.
Lindsey: Wait, they had a picture of you?
Melissa: A ton of pictures, it was a whole news thing with all these comments. It was this huge thing. Then I thought, no, maybe this shouldn't be, again, it's okay now because I have free choice to eat what I want, but it might be different with putting that out there in the public on what I'm feeding my child. I don't know the legalities of that because people are afraid of raw animal food.
Lindsey: Yeah, and you never know what people are going to do or call somebody.
Melissa: I know.
Lindsey: That's scary.
Melissa: Yeah, and when you're out there on social media and in the public eye, everyone can see what you're doing but you still want to spread the message. I'm just going to be careful about that.
Lindsey: Yeah, smart, smart. Wow, that's craziness that Germany is freaking out.
Melissa: I know. I had to go in and decode all the German language to be able to comment. Translate, I translated, and most everyone was on my side. They have a raw meat dish in Germany. They eat raw dairy everything. Most people are like, it's her body, she can do what she wants, and there's nothing wrong with that food. Most people were on my side. It was just, wow, they used me for a news story, come on.
Lindsey: So how many years now have you been practicing this diet?
Melissa: Raw food altogether, for seven, and I was raw vegan for one, so about six years now on this. Definitely eating more cooked right this moment because I'm not in a box. I think people should bring as much raw foods in as they can because the enzymes and the probiotic factor and the energy you get, but it doesn't have to be 100% any label.
Lindsey: Right, I like that. And to listen to your body, that's the best thing. So if you were to run into a fellow pregnant woman maybe at the local milk store, raw milk store or the restaurant, and she just found out she was pregnant, do you have three pieces of advice that you would give her?
Melissa: I would tell her, really focus on bringing in the protein and the calories, how important that is to grow the baby, to grow the placenta and we increase our blood volume by 50%. She would need to even do a food journal like I did in the beginning just to really evaluate where you are at. Because sometimes when you're not pregnant, you're not thinking about, how much protein am I bringing in, how many calories?
Yeah, so I'll tell her that and tell her not to be afraid of salt. It's really important. The non-pregnant body is so different than the pregnant body. It's going to keep everything flowing, the blood circulation flowing and not accumulating at certain areas, in the feet and hands, when you keep a high-salt diet. It really helps with leg cramps at night. That's huge. I actually was getting them, twice, and I just needed to increase the salt and hadn't had one since.
Then I would tell her, trust your body. Because at one point I remember saying, "How am I going to do this?" Someone said, "You're not going to do a thing. Your body knows what to do. It's going to do contractions, the baby is going to turn, you're going to work together. You're not alone in this." So just really trusting that the body really knows how to birth the baby. It's not a medical process. It's an everyday, natural thing, event.
Lindsey: I love that. That's great.
Melissa: Yeah, so definitely nutrition does come in there, always priority, number one.
Lindsey: Oh, well done. So where can people find you at, social media and website stuff?
Melissa: My website is rawpaleo.com, and I also have an email list where you can get a guide on how to get started on the diet, so that's nice. My main social media is Instagram. It's rawpaleomelissa. I do have a Facebook page as well, and that's Raw Paleo.
Lindsey: Awesome. Is there anything that maybe I missed or did not ask that you would like to share with the BIRTHFIT community before we get off that maybe came up or you were thinking of before?
Melissa: I don't know, just how important it is to really get the calories in. I know I just had such a hard time eating enough food in the beginning, but we're growing babies. We're growing a baby. It's temporary but definitely getting those calories in, also just researching for a lot of things on your own and not being dependent on, say, what an OB says or something because there are so many things, so many alleys to go down like with vaccine and everything. It's really about just being your own scientist, doing your own research or trusting your body.
Lindsey: Yeah, I love that. That's the big message that we try to get across is we'll give you the information or direct you to places that will have some information or referrals and resources but, yeah, you've got to make the decisions about your body and your family.
Melissa: Yeah, definitely, and researching it, not having the fear come up. That's the latest thing now because any fear at all, the 36 weeks and like, all right, what's coming up here? This is a huge event, birthing a baby. But I just don't let it in. Right away I have to just just push it out. I don't sit with any type of fear. Okay, no. I know I can do this. My mom has done this, all these home births. There's an experimental part too of staying really positive.
Lindsey: Do you do any mindset or spiritual practices right now to help ease the mind?
Melissa: I do. I meditate every morning with my partner. We do 15 minutes every morning so that really quiets the mind and get you off all that traffic and noise and the constant chatter in the mind. That is going to help a lot I'm sure with birth because I'll just know how to go to that quiet space. So I do meditate, yeah, every single morning. It's clearing, it's cleansing. It's the first thing right out of bed. Before checking in with anything, it's like, okay, 15 minutes meditation.
Lindsey: I love it, awesome. Well thank you so much for giving us some of your time and definitely sharing information and your experiences. I've really enjoyed talking to you and learning more about you. I'm going to sign up for your newsletter.
Melissa: Yeah, great, thanks for having me.
Lindsey: Awesome. Let us know if you need anything especially when baby comes or whatever. Yeah, we're happy to help.
Melissa: Okay, great, thank you.
Lindsey: For sure, and we'll be thinking about you.
Melissa: Yes, less than a month.
Lindsey: Oh, my goodness, exciting times.
Melissa: Yes, very.
Lindsey: All right, Melissa, enjoy the rest of your week.
Melissa: Okay, thank you, you too.
Lindsey: All right, bye.
Lindsey: All right, BIRTHFIT, final thought. I certainly enjoyed talking with Melissa. I met her one other time in person and super pleasant, good energy, love what she's about. If there's one final thought I could give you from this interview, and I think she said it as her number three, it's to trust your body, tune into your body. Your body has infinite wisdom. That's so important. So maybe just write that down a few times. I trust my body. I trust my body. I trust my body. Just say that mantra over and over again. Until next time, enjoy your week.
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