Jan. 25, 2023

Healing Trauma Through Food: An Interview with Allison Melody on the Power of Nutrition

Are you struggling with the lingering effects of trauma? In this episode, we sit down with nutrition expert Allison Melody to discuss how food can play a powerful role in healing...
See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/healing-trauma-through-food-an-interview-with-allison-melody-on-the-power-of-nutrition/#show-notes


Are you struggling with the lingering effects of trauma?

In this episode, we sit down with nutrition expert Allison Melody to discuss how food can play a powerful role in healing. From understanding the connection between gut health and mental well-being to learning which foods to incorporate into your diet, this interview is a must-listen for anyone looking to take control of their healing journey. Tune in now to learn more about the power of nutrition in trauma recovery.

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Transcript

Michael: Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation! Hope that you're doing well wherever you are in the world today. Very excited to be back with you with another episode with my guest and friend, Allison Melody, who is the author of Food Heals. Allison, my friend, what is happening in your world today?

Allison: Oh my gosh, Michael. Well, first, I'm just in gratitude to be with you and I love that the Unbroken Nation is here for our conversation today. I also call my tribe Food Heals Nation, and I know we have so much in common. So, what's going on in my world today is just a lot of gratitude to have these amazing conversations.

Michael: Yes, I'm very, very excited. You know what's funny cuz there's a lot of research, more research now than ever coming out about the impact of just gratitude and your general mental health and stability and was thanking myself the other day, it was like so many people struggle in finding gratitude because like fucking life sucks sometimes. And you're like, this is a pain in the ass, none of us signed up for this shit. Like, I don't know about you, but I don't remember ever being in the womb and I'm like, yeah, gimme the worst pairs of all time like checking off all the boxes and then you're out here in real life and you're like, Fuck, man, this is really, really hard. But if you can find that space for a little bit of gratitude, it's incredible, what it does for yo? And we'll talk about Food Heals, we'll go down that path in your story and your journey and all that stuff. But because you brought it up, and I'm curious, like what role does gratitude play in your life right now?

Allison: Yes. I think it's an attainable goal, but I don't live in gratitude in every moment of my life. I'm not a monk on a mountain meditating in gratitude, so, you know, it's finding those moments when you can't get to gratitude of how can I get to appreciation or how can I learn a lesson right now? So, a perfect example, the other day I busted my tire coming back from the lake and I found myself in a parking lot with a flat tire and I couldn't get home and I could not open the device that gets to the flat tire to even try to change it. And I was like, where can I find gratitude in this moment right now? And all of these people I'm in Tennessee, came up and saw me and said, how can I help you? And you know, I had a bunch of people taking off the tire, putting on the tire and what the lesson was for me in that moment was be gratitude for the kindness of strangers, be in gratitude for that. And also, fucking learn how to change a tire.

Michael: Yeah, totally, it's called YouTube. You know, it's funny cuz so over here in the studio, around the corner, they're doing construction, they're building a whole bunch of stuff and in one week I got two flat tires. And so, I was thinking to myself, I was like, what is the lesson in this? And I was like, well, motherfucker, maybe don't park by the construction site.

Allison: Totally. Exactly.

Michael: So, your background's fascinating obviously we know each other and so for those who don't know, I want you to introduce yourself, tell us a little about your backstory and how you got to where you are today.

Allison: Absolutely. And so, I'll try to keep it brief and then you're welcome to ask me questions if you'd like me to expand, ‘cuz like your story, it is a long and involved story to get to where we are today, of course, to become the entrepreneurs that are helping other people heal their own trauma. But my story essentially began from three traumas that happened to me kind of in a row over a couple of years. And so essentially, first I lost my mother to cancer, then I lost my father to cancer, and then I lost my entire inheritance in the estate and I found myself at 25 years old with no living family ‘cause I was an only child and they had been only children as well, grandparents had passed on and I was alone and I had no money. And I had to decide, Alli, are you going to end up homeless on the street or are you going to make something out of your life? And so, I had to figure out life as a young adult and I was a very young and sheltered 25-year-old.

So, the girl right now that doesn't know how to change a tire, she was way worse back then, she didn't know how to do a lot of things. And so, I got my first client when I was negative in the bank and I just climbed up from there to create my own family. So now friends are family to heal my own trauma finding freedom in food and realizing, well, the body has the ability to heal itself when given the tools that it needed to do so. And so, giving myself all of those tools, mind, body, and spirit, and then going on my own personal mission of helping people heal from chronic degenerative disease. So, what happened to my parents did not happen to happen to anyone else their disease was completely chronic and unavoidable. These were diseases that could have been healed with food, with alternative medicine. And instead, I watched them suffer and shrivel away and die slowly and painfully in front of my eyes. And if anyone's ever lost someone to cancer slowly, you know how painful it is to watch them, these beautiful humans, you just debilitate in front of your eyes and it's very painful for them, it's very painful for you. And my mission is to help other people realize the body's ability to heal itself. And so that's why I do what I do.

Michael: Yeah, I always think about this concept and idea that really kind of ruminates all aspects of my life and it's transforming your trauma into triumph. And we're faced every single day with this space if it's like, okay, I can let this thing defeat me, or I can actually use it to change my life, change the world, change my lineage in the cycle, whatever that cycle might be. And what's really difficult about it is when you first step in, but at least in my experience is like, you don't what the fuck you're doing, like you don't really know what you're doing and you're trying to figure it out. And all of us, regardless of I think your background or what you come from, like we all have that thing of like, oh my God, I don't know how to change a tire. Right. And that could be balancing a checkbook, that could be making a dentist appointment, that could be like literal stuff that you like to me a huge part of it. And we won't go on this rabbit hole, but I wanna say this is the indoctrination of the school system that we grow with, and that doesn't actually teach you how to be a fucking human being. Right. And to me it was not uncommon as a kid to like constantly be malnourished. My story and the audience knows, so I won't go deeply into it, but I was the chubby kid. My clothes came from the fucking boys husky section at Walmart. So, context, right. We were malnourished and so it was always canned food, boxed food, church food, government food. I literally, no bullshit. Did not have a salad for the first time that I was 20 years old. And by the time I was 26, I was 350. You know, my favorite breakfast food is? Chocolate cake. And so, you don't learn this thing until the time comes in, which you must, for lack of a better term, have this reckoning slash come to Jesus’ moment where it's like, okay, hold on. This terrible thing has occurred. What am I gonna do about it? And so, for you, you're in this situation, you're in this predicament life has done what life does and shows you reality, right? Baseball bat to the face. Why did you make the decisions that you made that have led you to where you are?

Allison: Yeah, that's a great question. I think it's more just going and I know you've faced this multiple times in your life as well, Michael. When you face the fact that your next couple of decisions are live or die decisions, you have to decide what you're going to do just to get to the next step of survival and that's where I was. And then the next step was, how do I make some money to get some food on the table and pay for a living situation? And so, thank goodness for my college degree, which is a film production background, I was able to get some clients in the film and photography industry. One of my first clients was a woman who essentially, I was taking her pregnancy photos and we were driving to Malibu, which is a farther drive from Los Angeles and she shared with me the story of how she had had stage four cancer and the surgery that the doctors were going to give her would've most likely left her Barron because it was ovarian cancer, and she had decided to take her health back into her own hands and heal herself – mind, body's, spirit. So, she got rid of all the toxic junk food she was eating, she completely changed her diet. She started green juicing and eating a plant-based whole foods, plant-based diet. And she got out of a toxic relationship that was destroying her. And through those tools alone, in four months, she was cancer free. And so, when I was hired to do her pregnancy photos, I realized there are more stories like this out there that I need to share. And so, I figured out how can I make this my career to help others understand the body's ability to heal itself and get paid to do so, so that I don't a – end up on the street, or b – get cancer myself, because at that time, I still was of the belief that, well, if cancer runs in my family, what is the most anti-cancer lifestyle that I can lead? Right. And so the decision was, it came in in phases, but essentially it was how do I survive? And then how do I survive and thrive and help others at the same time? And thank God I was able to meet and that was just example one.

After that, it was like the universe kept showing me more and more people. I met Joe Cross from the movie Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, who had reversed chronic urticaria, which is an autoimmune condition, which my mom also had an autoimmune condition of multiple sclerosis, and he had done the same thing through green juicing and adopting a whole foods plant-based diet finding a belief in something bigger than himself spirituality, healing himself mentally, healing himself emotionally. So, all of these people I were meet was meeting, were healing their trauma and eating better food, and thus were able to reverse chronic degenerative disease. And I was like, all right, I'm on this train. I'm sold, like how do I do more with this in my life?

Michael: Yeah. There's signs, right? It's like, are you fucking paying attention? Are you like looking at this thing we're putting in front of you? And you know, I think about so often how you look at people and it's like, dude, do you not see this thing in front of you? It's like right here. And you need to recognize that unless you acknowledge it, nothing about your life is gonna be different. And I think it's really easy to be in that place of like, I want to change the world, but I also don't want to ask for money. I want to change the world, but I don't want to put in the fucking hundred-hour weeks. I wanna change the world, but this or that. And I believe this to be very, very true. There's something that you have to have innately and deeply inside of you in which you have to push yourself to, I hate to say the brink, but in some capacity, it's true. You have to find out what you're made of if you actually want to change something. I think we overly coddle ourselves, we overly put ourselves in this position of taking it too easy. I always think to myself like, am I taking care of myself or am I taking easy on myself ‘because those are two very different things. And there's something about that push where you discover who you are and I'm gonna put words in your mouth, so please tell me if I'm wrong. But I will assume that where you are today is through those moments of pushing.

Allison: Yeah, I would absolutely agree. I think, it's all about what drives you, right? So maybe at first, I was driven by fear and then I was driven by a little bit of guilt because why didn't I save my parents? Why didn't I know this sooner? And then you start to be driven by the results. So, you're like, oh my gosh, I shared this story and it helps someone, and now I can help more and more people. And so, it's just finding those moments that shape the path that then you go on to get to where you are, not that we're done, we're just on another step on this journey. But yeah, I found myself driven by multiple different factors throughout my life and now they probably all drive me to continue this mission to help people get healthy and to help people take their health back into their own hands, to help people stop outsourcing their health to other people in their lives to doctors, to other people only we know what's best for us and if we can get in touch with that innately. And then find someone to set us on the right path, such as a functional medicine doctor, or it could be a trauma healer or a coach or someone like you. Find that person that's your partner in helping you get healthy, that's my mission. And now I forgot the question, sorry if I went on a tangent.

Michael: No, yeah. You're all good. I was just talking about pushing, like when it's hard, when it's difficult because I'm sure you've watched people lives change because of the decisions that you've made. And I do think you're spot on, it's like you can reverse so much of this. I remember when I was 29 and so I just really kind of got deeper into the health journey. And when I say deeper, I mean I'd stop eating like frozen pizza and McDonald's every fucking day, right? I lost a little bit of weight, but that was just from like working out all the time, doing a lot of hot yoga and not drinking every day, right? And then I started having sciatica, right? Then I started having chronic pain and then at one point I was having like five panic attacks a day, it was crazy. And it hit me like, oh my God, it's probably ‘cuz you're drinking Red Bull every day and you have all this unresolved shit you still need to deal with and I step deeper and deeper, deeper into it. And then I discover guys like, Dr. Amen, like Mark Sisson, like Ben Greenfield, and I really started learning about food and nutrition. And now fast forward almost 10 years from that, it's like I'm still going through the healing, still healing, but the body's so incredible like, I look at where I'm at now, and it's very, very different from adopting, I'm more paleo, so paleo dietary lifestyle choices, staying away from sugar, staying away from processed food, saying the fuck away from McDonald's they're gonna sue me one day, McDonald's. But like doing this about and living a lifestyle that is attainable. And most people do not believe that health is attainable. We're so used to chronically being sick, we're so used to not feeling good, we're so used to always being in pain, but you know that's not true. So, let's demystify and dispel, whatever that word is, a bit of this, and go a little bit deeper into it. What is it that people need to start doing right now to take control of their health?

Allison: Absolutely. Great question and I'll preface this with saying I'm not a doctor nor a nutritionist, but I love interviewing people way smarter than me to answer questions like this. So, I would say step one is to have a really, pure understanding and belief in your body's ability to heal itself because when you believe that you cannot fail, right? And then it's reaching out to people in your community or if you find someone online, if you listen to a great podcast, you can find a functional medicine doctor or a functional medicine practitioner who can get a comprehensive look at your health because Michael, your paleo, I'm plant based what's best for me is not what's best for you. We are all different. We have different blood types. We live in different areas. We have different DNA, we have different ancestry. There's different minerals in my soil where the vegetables that I eat than there are in yours.

And so, it's all about finding the perfect diet for your body, that's how you take your health back. And so, a functional medicine practitioner, they'll test you like your hair, your spit, your stool, your blood, everything. And they'll get a comprehensive look at where you are right now. So, they'll say, oh my gosh, Allie, you are completely deficient in vitamin D, but your vitamin C levels are through the root, so let's decrease the C and increase the D, you know, whatever it might be. And then there's like hormones, so maybe I found out at one point that my body had stopped making testosterone. Now you think of that as a male hormone, but women, we need it as well to all be balanced. So, I had to take a bioidentical cream in order to get my hormones back in the balance and once you do that, the body is like, thank you, now we can regulate ourself and I was able to get my body back into balance. And then you also find out what are my food allergies? And also, what are my food allergies and what foods do I need to get rid of for a while so that my body can heal? And what are my food sensitivities that I should only have once a week not every single day, and it can be an avocado, I'm eating salad all day. I'm being healthy, but you're eating something that's inflammatory to your own body. So, I truly recommend to take your health back into your own hands, just first having a belief that you can cause you absolutely can. I got 380 something episodes to prove it, and then secondly would be essentially finding a functional medicine doctor or practitioner in your area, those tests, and then changing your diet accordingly. And in 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, you'll be a whole new person and you'll be like, what else can I do?

Michael: Yeah. It's so true. And I will speak to the functional medicine doctor thing as well like if you can find one and if you can be able to go and invest in that, it's a game changer. Cause you know, I traveled the world quite extensively and I found out I had a freaking parasite. And I was like, this is probably why I'm sick all the time and he is like, yeah, dude, probably. And so, we had to start this whole protocol and rebuild the gut and kill the parasite and all those things and so that's tremendously important. Let's talk about the element and the role that food plays in all this. Right. And I wanna go deep in this, it’s funny the serendipity of the universe never ceases us to amaze me, cuz one of my clients today was like, Hey, I have this massive food trauma. I'm trying to deal with it. I pointed it to a solo episode I had done years and years ago talking about my journey and my relationship with food. But I wanna go into this deep with you cuz this is your area of expertise, obviously, and anything with the title, like Food Heals, like, okay, cool, there's something there. So, let's talk about that just, I'm gonna ask you a very general question and I want you to just run with it for context. What does Food Heal?

Allison: Everything. Food Heals the body, and food also kills. So, let's be clear about that. When I say food heals, I mean healthy organic food heals, healthy food that you're not allergic to, healthy food that comes from the ground. Not processed junk food, not McDonald's. I'm so sorry everyone. McDonald's does not heal and I'm not gonna get on an anti-rant. If it comes from the ground, if it comes from a plant, you can better believe that it's gonna heal your body. And if it doesn't, you should check it out before you consume it. And I'm not perfect, and I'm not saying, oh my God, I have to change everything. No, but if you make a few small changes, you'll start to feel better. And then you go, well, what else can I change? So, take it step by step. I'm not saying overhaul your life. But if you're eating McDonald's every day, try cutting back to once a week. If you're not eating vegetables, try adding in a smoothie or a salad every day and you start to see these changes and you start to feel better. So yes, food heals, but also food kills. I believe that food is something that is, slowly killing us every single day with the standard American diet. And so, getting off the standard American diet, eating local, eating seasonally, eating a mass array of color. So, the more colors on your plate, the more nutrients you're getting because everything that comes from the ground and not essentially, I'm talking about and hangs from a tree, like fruits and veggies, are healing tools. And so, find out when those are and start adding them to your diet and you're gonna start feeling the effects of and understanding what it means Food Heal.

Michael: Yeah. Here's what's fascinating. One of the things when you go, look, I'm googling this in real time ‘cuz I remember seeing this recently and the standard American diet is so absolutely incredibly insane right now. Seed oils are on it. And processed oils and things that are literally found to be studied and found to be poisonous and you can stop me if you don't want to go here, but I think it's important. So my background, when I was in my early twenties, I worked for a Fortune 10 company, they are an insurance company. I won't say which one, but I worked for them extensively, made a lot of money working for them. And insurance is the sick industry, it is not the wall industry, it is not the wellness industry, it's not at the care industry, it is get sick so we can fucking make money, and the lobbyists in the American healthcare system, when you go look at most of their reports from the FDA those are sponsored by insurance companies. And so, I think there's a tremendous amount of misinformation that is being passed out through the media, through television, through education, even in our school. Go look at a kid's mill in like middle. Right. What are we doing? And so, what I love in this little bit of space, if you're willing to go into it with me, like I wanna debunk some of this. I wanna talk about like the foods that people have been lied to about and what they should be on the lookout for?

Allison: Anything that you see on the nightly news is probably a big no-no. So, think about it like this, Michael, and I know you this but it's called programming for a reason. They're programming our minds to be a certain way because a healthy patient does not pay into this big system of whatever you wanna call it, there's big pharma and there's big ag agri, there's big insurance, there's big hospital, right? Whatever you wanna call it. And so, if I don't have to take a pill for the rest of my life, no one's making any money. And so, they want us taking those pills and so the things that are going to be advertised, all of the news channels essentially are sponsored and they have all the commercials that you see in between are gonna show you, oh, your leg hurts. You must have this, and you need to be on this pill for the rest of your life. Right? Whatever it might be. And so, you buy into that because you're just watching and you're like, well, they wouldn't lie to me, that's what I used to think, I think the TV wouldn't lie to me. And unfortunately, that’s simply not true, is all I'm gonna say. And so, you have to remember that everything that you're paying attention to, even when you're scrolling on your phone, is sponsored and so follow the money. So, go, well, these people are paying to be in front of me for a reason and what is their reason? And so, when you look at it like that, you can kind of see through the veil and go, well, what do I really need? And I personally don't believe that most people need to be on a pill for the rest of their lives. And instead, I would like them to be on a vegetable for the rest of their life. I would like them to be on a supplement, maybe not for the rest of their life, but to heal what is a problem at the time. You know, vitamin D can be as simple as getting sunlight, and sometimes you need to also take a supplement as well, but something like Vitamin D is going to heal you and something like a pill is going to keep a symptom at bay, but it's never going to heal and it's probably going to cause more issues in the future, the longer that you take it because when you watch those commercials, side effects of this drug may include and you just ignore them and it's like death is on the list. And you're like, why are we? But they put pretty people running boats and running in the grass and picking up their kids, and you go, obviously I need this beautiful drug that makes your life so beautiful, that's programming, that's marketing, but that's not true health. And so, look at where your information is coming from. Is that study sponsored? Is that commercial sponsored? Yes. Every commercial is sponsored, so follow the money and then you'll get to the truth. And of course, you know, I don't want my health to be dictated by the media. I want my health to be dictated by my own, innate sense of knowing, oh, this doesn't feel good, something doesn't feel right. So, what can I do to take my health back into my own hands? And I would say, I take a lot of supplements. I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, and that gives me room if I wanted to have McDonald's or have alcohol or have something that doesn't fit onto the, you know, let's call it the Food Heals Diet. I don't actually have a Food Heals diet, but that doesn't fit into the Heal Yourself diet that gives me room to have those vices once in a while so I can live a full life and not feel like I'm missing out. The last thing I wanna do is scare people and go, well, Allie, if I eat like you, I'm gonna be missing out on life. No, I eat a plethora of delicious foods. I love food, you guys. I love food so much. I love a good cocktail. Don't get me wrong. I'm not in deprivation and you don't have to be either, it's just making a lot of swaps and unlearning a lot of the things that you've learned because again, another thing is like, to your point, Michael, about McDonald's, well, there's addictive chemicals in those food to keep you addicted to them. So, we gotta get unaddicted so start slow, get yourself unaddicted, and then healthy food starts to taste really, really good.

Michael: Yeah. I'll never forget the first time I was like, oh my God, I really just want a sweet potato. I was like, what the fuck is happening right now? You know, and so it does, it starts with education, it really truly does. And when you educate yourself, you are the one in control. You have the power. I am proclaimed, I will say it till the day I die. Gummy bear addict 150%, it is my go-to food when I'm like, the worlds on fire and I need salvation, that's alright. And I can count on one hand the number times I've had gummy bears on the last five years. I know what's in them. Educating yourself. Looking at it. The fact that sugar is arguably as dangerous and deadly as cocaine is like something you really have to take into consideration. And look, I'm with you, it's like you gotta live a little bit. My birthday was a few weeks ago. You better believe I ate like a whole vegan gluten-free cake like the cake. And I'm not vegan, but I don't do dairy cuz I know that dairy's not good for my body. I know that certain things don't make me feel good. I know that if I drink a Red Bull, I'm probably gonna have a panic attack. What I'm wondering is people who, maybe they're just starting this journey or they're in this place even where they even torture themselves with foods. Right. They know every time they eat that thing they feel terrible but they do it anyway. How can we help those people? Like what is it that they need to be paying attention to or considering its journey to let food be a friend and not an enemy?

Allison: Yes, I'm all about figuring out how to find food freedom. So, ask yourself, does this food bring me freedom or not?

Michael: What does freedom mean?

Allison: Food freedom. Freedom from the addiction, freedom from the reason that you think that you need it. So, I'm all about food journaling. So let's say you're craving a food and you're like, I know this isn't good, but I'm craving it. So instead of having it go and sit down and write in the journal what's going on with me right now? ‘Cuz very often we have these responses that you probably are aware of Michael from the work that you do. But it's like an emotional attachment to food because maybe it's something that brought us comfort when we were growing up, maybe it's, oh, I have Ben and Jerry's after a breakup, that's what I do, that's what I did for years. It was like everyone just come over and you break up and you eat and cry and hear Ben and Jerry's and I'm like, there's nothing wrong with that. It is what it is, but knowing what it is and then deciding whether or not to do it is very different from doing it without that knowledge and awareness of what you're doing. And so, with knowledge and awareness then comes that power and that freedom in the food. And so, breaking food addiction, breaking unhealthy eating patterns, breaking unhealthy non eating patterns, if that's something a lot of people use, not eating as a form of control. And so going, why do I need control right now? What's really going on? What's the issue and doing the deeper work and the deeper work is okay, going back to the journal. So I go in journal, why am I craving this terrible, I don't know, let's say cookie, like dairy filled, chocolate filled cookie, which sounds delicious. So, I know why do I need that food? Why do I need that phone? And going, oh my gosh, it's because, you know, so my girlfriend was meeting me. My boyfriend said this, blah, blah, blah. Why does that trigger me? Oh my God, because my dad said that to me or the coach said that to me on the field when I was a kid. And then you go, oh my God, that's a moment of trauma in my life that I haven't dealt with. Then you're like, oh my gosh, let me honor that person that I had that trauma. Let me go to that little girl, that little guy who was suffering because that's who's eating the food, that's not adult Allie eating the food, that's little Allie who was made fun of on the playground and is now associating that comfort from that hurt that just happened in my life right now to that time and then that's how you find food freedom. You start making the triggers and then after you journal, you're like, do I still need that food? And if you do, go have it. And if you don't or go have a bite, but like if you don't, then you go, what's a healthier choice that I can make right now? Because obviously, sometimes the craving completely goes away. When you start doing the work regularly, the craving goes away, fucking magic Michael. But sometimes it doesn't, it's a process, it's a practice like yoga, it's a practice, right? But the more often you do it, the more you're gonna be able to find food freedom. So, we all have attachments and addictions, and these are all solvable and healable if you can't do it on your own, that's okay, find someone amazing to work with. I'm sure you, you know, Michael, you probably know people or you probably help people yourself with this type of thing, but we can all be free of our food addictions and we can all have food freedom, a hundred percent.

Michael: Yeah. That it definitely comes up, especially when we're coaching. We definitely see that all the time and I think people, one of the things they can relate to with me is like I was morbidly obese, like I got the photos, I put 'em on the internet sometimes, and I'm like, it's interesting, I had two thoughts. One, like while you were talking, I was like, why the fuck do doctors give children suckers after getting shots? That was the thought I just had in real time; we don't need to go down that route but something to think about. And then the other thing is like when I share that kind of content, I've literally had people say, you're fat shaming. I'm like, you can't fat shame. I don't regret that thing. You can't do that. And I share that because I think there's something really unhealed, and this was my journey. I'm not saying it's your journey because you should love yourself as you are, and ultimately that is the fucking goal. But when I was at my heaviest, I loved myself the least. Right. Period. There was no question. I was constantly poisoning myself constantly fast food 20, 25 times a week, alcohol every single day, chocolate cake from shout out to Portillo’s in Chicago, the best chocolate cake on planet Earth like I would just consume all of this all the time because what I realized, and this is where you get really fucked up if you're paying attention. What I realized is I was abusing myself in a different way to feel the same pain that I felt when I was a child. And when you recognize that and when you are willing to sit in that massively uncomfortable truth, massively. It's like when you're in a toxic relationship and you realize you're dating your father, right? It's that coming to recognition moment. You have to make a decision. Am I going to start loving myself even if I haven't before this moment? Am I willing, and you used the word decide, which is my favorite word on planet Earth. You said, are you gonna decide, are you going to make a decision to do the thing that you know that you need to do? And for those who are making this decision, and they're like, okay, I get this. I'm gonna be more cognizant. I'm gonna journal. I'm gonna start adding vegetables. I'm not gonna beat myself up about when I do fall off the wagon, or whatever the fuck you want to call it. How do you create consistency? Because I think you would agree with me. Again, I'll put words in your mouth, but I truly believe that consistency, accountability, and accountability for self, let's be very clear about that, is the framework for healing here.

Allison: Yeah, that's a good point. And I do think it's different for everyone because some people, they are schedulers and they schedule everything throughout their day, including their meditation and meal blocks. And then other people are like, I'll get to it when I get to it, I know it's gonna happen, blah, blah, blah. And wherever you are, think about how you schedule your meals, think about how you schedule your exercise. And if you don't, that's okay, think about how you don't schedule them and then go, well, how can I make this a part of the daily routine? So, if it's, I have a Calendly where everything goes and it goes into my Eye Cal, then go and put it in there and go, I know this is a problem for me I need to journal every day. Go put it in there. And if you're not like that, then make a promise to yourself. Make a commitment to yourself. When I feel the craving or whatever it is, when I feel the trigger, whatever it is. I know that I now need to go and journal. So, you have to frame it for yourself, cuz I don't wanna tell you to do something and then you're like, that doesn't fit into my life bcause some people are planners and some people aren't. So, it's either put it in your planner if you are a planner, because then you're gonna do it because we make commitments to ourselves and then when it's in writing or when it's on the phone screen, we do it. I know a lot of people of us are like that and then others of us are not. So, then you have to go, I have to decide when the trigger hits, that's when I do the journal or whatever it is I've decided to do, that's when I do the meditation, that's when I do the practice, whatever the practice may be. And so, I hope that answers your question. I would love to address the fat shaming comment that you made as well, if you don't mind.

Michael: Go for it. Yeah.

Allison: So, I think this is a conversation that is very important in today's society, and I truly want to say this with so much love and I truly hope not to offend anyone, but I think this is really important to talk about.

Whatever body shape size you are at any time in your life absolutely find a way to love yourself in that moment and not body shame anyone at any time, but I think something has happened in society that is very important to address. The pendulum when I was growing up, you know, nineties was if you are anorexic thin, you are trash, you are fat, blah, blah, blah. And so now the pendulum swings back, which is great because people like me are like, okay, we don't have to be stick skinny to be valued. Right. And no, that was ridiculous back then. But now it's gone so far that we are celebrating the bodies of someone who's morbid obese. And I want you to love yourself wherever you are, but I also want you to recognize that that's not a healthy, loving state of being. So, if you're able to love yourself at that place, the most loving thing that you can do for yourself is to eat well and honor your trauma and figure that out and then what'll happen is the weight will shed naturally. And so, I wanna say celebrate yourself on every stage of your journey, but also know that we've gone, it's like society has gone so far this body positivity movement, which I am for, but it doesn't mean that we can be okay for the health perspective of being obese because that is not truly loving and honoring ourselves and our body. So, it's like almost like a fake celebration in a fake love, so I wanna make sure that we're doing it in such a way that serves those who are in that place. And I hope that makes sense and I hope I'm not offending anyone.

Michael: Yeah. And I agree with you and it is a really, really, really difficult topic to step into because, you know, we live in cancel culture and the truth is people don't want to hear the truth. Right? And I think about this a lot, I wish to God somebody would've been like, dude, you need to get control of yourself. Look at you. You're size four, almost five XL, 44 pants, drinking every single day, smoking two packs, eating poison. Yo, I don't think I've ever said this on the show before. We had a motherfucking nacho cheese machine in my house. Literally, and like we would put it on everything. And the weight would come on and come on and come on and come on and come on. And I remember, and a lot of people I coached, this holds true for them. When I was a child, I was the fat kid, everyone made fun of me, everyone picked on me that was a thing that was not my fault. As a child, you don't get any say about the food that you get to consume, you're just, for me, I was like, fuck, we even get food, praise God, like hallelujah. Right. Thank you Batman, whoever brought this to me, thank you. Right. And but it was always that, luckily, I found sports. When I found sports, I think just because of the amount of movement, the weight came off. When I was probably 10, MTV used to have that spring break TV show in the nineties, aging myself and all these super fit people would be like hanging out, dancing on the beach at the pool party at the club. Britney Spears is in great shape. You got Nellie with his eight pack like it's, and that's what we're seeing and like I'm this chubby little kid. And I remember like as a kid, starving myself to not eat because I was like, if I don't eat, then I'll get skinny. And then when I get skinny, people will like me. Right? Nobody fucking likes you whether you're skinny or fat, that is not for them to decide, it is for you to decide. And when you go through the healing journey, for some people it's even putting weight on. Changing the relationship with food in a positive way across the spectrum, it's about the willingness to acknowledge that somewhere in your lineage going back to your point, in your background, in your journey, your story, there has been a moment of trauma, of abuse, of hurt or suffering that has forever changed your relationship with food. And what happens is because if you're not cognizant of it and paying attention and working through it, the thing that I figured when I actually was able to reverse it and be like, how did I get this big? Was, oh, I'm doing the thing that I let other people do to me as a kid, and I learn to be okay with tolerating the hurt. When we talk about societally, this concept and idea about fat shaming, look at Adele for instance. She lost all that weight. People fucking destroyed her. Right? What are we doing? And everyone's journey is different, and I wanna be clear about that. We're not shaming anyone, what I'm saying, you can speak for yourself. What I am saying is simply have acknowledgement of the truth. Don't run from it, don't hide from it, and step into it with compassion and love, but also perseverance. And know that if you want to create change in your life, you can, but you're the only one who's gonna do it.

Allison: Right, exactly. I agree with you. And eating healthy foods is an act of self-love. So, when you do that, you automatically either, if you need to gain the weight, you gain the weight. If you need to lose the weight, you lose the weight. But eating shit food is not an act of self-love, it is an act of self-hate, it is an act of holding onto the trauma addiction, and I'm not shaming in any way, but you just have to look at yourself and go, am I acting in self-love or am I acting in self-loathing? And then once you start to act with self-love, the weight will shift to where it's supposed to be. It's not about the weight. It's about the self-love and then your body encompasses what it's natural set points some are bigger than others, but no one's is anorexic thin or morbidly obese. And that I think is the point and we should celebrate everyone on their journeys wherever they are, absolutely.

Michael: Yeah. Exactly. How do you celebrate yourself in your journey? Because I think that's one of the missing pieces that does not get talked about enough in this conversation is that people don't celebrate the fact man, you're doing it, you're showing up, you're living. How do you celebrate this journey for yourself?

Allison: Gosh, that's a good question. I feel super unprepared. I don't know. I buy cute clothes. I don't know. I know you want something deeper than that, but I'm like, when I'm feeling good, then I'll let myself splurge on something nice for myself. And so, you know, celebrating is just, I would say, being in a place where you're feeling good, you're feeling comfortable, you're feeling confident, that reminds you of how far you've come. And so, I think it's just remembering not going judging yourself by how far it is that you have to go, but remembering, look how far she's come from last time, you know, she started doing this journey of whatever, wherever you are on your health and wellness journey, and then celebrating that and remembering, because otherwise we're always gonna be in the not enoughness, and I'm not there yet in this, and I don't want anyone to be in that, I want you to be fully in the self-love and the presence of where you are. And I think I got so much farther to go in this life and I can't wait. So, I want you to be excited about, I can't wait to see how much farther I'm gonna go on this journey in my life rather than, oh my gosh, I haven't been that. I haven't done that much. I have so much farther to go instead go. I can't wait to see what else I can do in this life.

Michael: Somebody asked me the other day to define success and I've been thinking about that deeply and I stand by my answer and it's this. Success is doing what you said you were gonna do every single day. That's it. It's not all the other things, it's like, look, I'm 6’4, 220. I'm never gonna have six pack abs unless I fucking starve myself. I'm not gonna do it. I refuse it cuz I know that's not healthy. I've had it before. I know the work that it takes to get there. Massive calorie deficit, unbelievable number of hours in the gym and working out when I was like traveling the world, living in Bali, living in Asia, doing all these things like I was ripped, I was ripped. But I was in such a calorie deficit all the time cuz I was like, oh, let's be very, very, very clear about this, this was my choice and my decision cuz I wanted it, I'd never had it before. And I was like, these people can do it, I can do it too. And then I realized like, I got it. I accomplished it. It did not fulfill me in the way that I thought it did. It lacks the importance that I believe that most people put the precedent on. I think something like literally 2% of people actually have abs, visible abs, like it's crazy small. And so, I'm with you, it's like, what do you want? Who do you want to be? How do you want to nourish yourself? Make the decisions for you and hold yourself to it. Be okay with the fact that a big part of the healing journey and what we'll call reparenting yourself is healthy food, is healthy food. And giving yourself what you need when you need it, because you need it, not because Alison says so definitely not because Michael says so ‘cause I'm not a fucking doctor. But like looking at your life and going, this is for me. And I think that when you do that, you see transformation.

If you were to think about all the people you've worked with over the years and the transformations that they've had, when it comes to just mindset, I'll use it as a general word, when it comes to mindset, what is the singular commonality that they have that has helped them be successful? For whatever success means for them. Let's be clear.

Allison: Yeah. I love your redefining of success. I think growing up, maybe many of you can relate to this, but it was like, success means a white picket fence house and 2.5 kids and a dog, and multiple cars in the driveway and successfully obese. And that could not be further from my life, but I feel more successful in my own happiness than I would in that situation and not knocking it if you have it, good for you, but you know, that was not what I strive for. And my definition of success is am I smiling more than I'm frowning and then I've had a good day. Right? And I think the commonality for the people that I have shared their amazing healing journeys with me is belief. And it is a belief in themselves that I can do it and it is a belief that the body can heal, because if you don't believe it, it won't be true. Even if you're eating, let's say you go to the functional medicine testing, you go coach with Michael, you're healing your trauma and you're eating all the right foods, but you don't believe that you can heal this way, it will not work for you. My father is the perfect example for of this when he was diagnosed with stage four cancer, I was on a mission at this time. I had learned about the body's ability to heal itself. I had met a doctor in North Carolina who had helped many stages four cancer patients and go on live, fully, functioning wonderful, healthy lives. I went to him and he said, you know, Allie, I can't promise anything, but I can tell you that this is what is worked for people and I'd love to help you on this journey and here's the exact healing protocol. So, we got home, we started protocol. No, Michael, this is garlic, this is my dad drinking all the food he wants to eat. He played with me for a couple of days and he drank my garlic shakes and did what I asked him to do. And then one day, Michael, he sat me down and he said, these were the hardest words I ever heard from him were said, Alli, I don't believe in this. If I don't believe in it, gonna work for me. And the hardest thing I ever had to do was let my father, be my father, let him live his way and let him die his way, which was with the whiskey. And so you ask the question, what is the commonality of the people that have healed themselves? And it is belief. And so you gotta believe it. You gotta believe it to heal it, and that's just it.

Michael: Truth. Powerful. Powerful conversation, my friend. Before I ask you my last question, can you tell everyone who's interested in finding out more about you, where they can do that?

Allison: Absolutely. Well, if you wanna hear about some conversations with people way smarter than me, like doctors and nutritionists and scientists, and also just regular people who have healed themselves of chronic degenerative disease wherever you're listening to the Think Unbroken Podcast, you can also download the Food Heals Podcast. So go ahead and do that, I have the book if you want, if you like to read and you wanna read some healing stories. It's called Food Heals and it's on Amazon and everything is over at foodhealsnation.com

Michael: Brilliant. Of course, put the links in the show notes for the audience. My last question for you, my friend, what does it mean to you to be unbroken?

Allison: I love this question and your guests have given some beautiful answers and you are just the epitome of that. But I think for me personally, to be unbroken was besides discovering food, the other F word in my life was discovering forgiveness, and I truly believe that speaking of food freedom, life freedom, whatever you wanna call it, forgiveness opens the door to freedom. And so, if I want to be unbroken, I have to be in forgiveness; forgiving myself, forgiving others for their perceived wrongs against m ‘cuz if I'm holding something against someone else is just a mirror of something I'm holding against myself, it's not hurting them, it's only hurting me. And so, finding forgiveness for all the things, people, it can be circumstances in your life that is where the freedom lies. Freedom lies on the other side of forgiveness. And so that's how I continue to keep myself from my brokenness and stay unbroken and think unbroken.

Michael: Hmm, brilliantly said my friend. Thank you so much for being here.

Unbroken Nation. Thank you for listening.

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Michael Unbroken

Coach

Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.

Allison MelodyProfile Photo

Allison Melody

Author

Allison Melody is an eco-entrepreneur with a passion for film, fitness, and food. As a Podcast Host, Film Producer, and International Speaker, Allison's mission is to inspire people that the body has the ability to heal itself when given the tools it needs to do so.

Allison is Host of The Food Heals Podcast. Being hailed as "Sex and the City for Food," Food Heals brings together experts in the field of nutrition, health, and healing to teach you the best-kept natural secrets to being a hotter, healthier, happier YOU!

Additionally, as a filmmaker since 2004, Allison has directed and produced documentary films, commercials, music videos, and web videos on the topics of social justice, human rights, animal rights, and public health.

In 2019, her documentary Powered By Plants debuted at The French Riviera Fest in Cannes, France.

With her years of experience in film production, podcasting, speaking, writing, marketing, and coaching, Allison helps successful wellness entrepreneurs build wellness empires.

As a sought-after international speaker, Allison has presented at events and conferences including The Sundance Film Festival, Vaynermedia, Podcast Movement, NAB Show, Growth Now Movement, New Media Summit, The Cannes Film Festival, High Vibe Live, We Are Podcast Australia, Podfest Expo, She Podcasts, Release What Weighs You Down, The Podcast Cruise, Transformed Live, and more.

And now, Allison is the proud author of this heartfelt book Food Heals, with more projects in the works.