Rebels & Relative Wellness
You might recognize Melissa Sagemiller from the movies (Get Over It, The Clearing, The Guardian and most recently, The Reckoning: Hollywood’s Worst Kept Secret) or TV (Sleeper Cell, Law & Order, Chicago Fire, Raising the Bar, to name a few…) but I met her before all of that, when we had the good fortune of interning together in NYC one summer long, long ago.
Melissa is originally from D.C. and I’m originally from northern Ontario. It still seems surreal to me that after only two months in New York back in 1996 we have managed to keep in touch and stay connected throughout the last two decades: I flew to New York to surprise her for her 30th birthday, she made the trek (more than once!) to my summer cottage WAY up north; we attended each other’s weddings and her first son and my daughter are about six weeks apart. We spent my 40th together in LA. I consider her one of my closest friends, despite the distance. She is smart and strong and driven, kind, generous and beautiful inside and out. Plus I usually can’t stop laughing when we’re together. She’s really funny.
So I was super excited to learn that the stars have aligned and we now have an excuse to work together! Melissa and her sister have started Relative Wellness – sharing all sorts of amazing information and advice regarding hormonal and gut health. And since we all know that what you put on your body is as important as what you put in your body, we couldn’t wait to collab!
What motivated you to enter the wellness / coaching sector?
I’ve always been fascinated by holistic health, supplements and self healing, and because of that I want to share what I know with everyone I know. I’ve been on a healing journey since my mid 20’s because my general doctors were not helping me feel better.
Once I started on that path, it gave me the best feeling to help others – so that they might be able to avoid the pain and frustration that I experienced in trying to feel better.
Can you explain (for the layperson) what integrative health is?
Integrative or holistic health is a full body and mind approach to balancing, maintaining, and optimizing your health.
Unlike the more traditional western approach of treat the symptom, Integrative doctors, and health coaches look at the underlying causes of a health issue. Health coaches - which is what I am - focus on the nutrition and lifestyle (stress, spirituality, relationships, for example) of our clients to help them achieve their desired health goals. You could eat all the kale in the world, but if you are a total stress ball, your health will suffer.
What are some tricks / routines / recipes / supplements you can’t live without or advice that you could share for someone who is looking to change some habits?
Triple your intake of dark leafy green veggies. Try and eat 80% plant based if possible. Women need to make sure their Vitamin D and magnesium levels are sufficient. Also treat sleep as precious as the air that you breathe - it is vital for maintaining optimal health and hormonal balance.
Supplements I can’t live without - Pure brand Magnesium Citrate (I take two every night) and Nordic Naturals Omega Woman. It has Omega 3 and primrose oil - an excellent combination to balance hormones, optimize brain function, and decrease inflammation in the body.
As we know, what we put on our body is just as important as what we put in our body. Do you have a beauty routine? Do you have any products that you love and would recommend?
I love my Pai Rosehip Face Oil so much! I put it on day and night and I barely need makeup because it has this glow-y effect once it absorbs - a natural bronzer! I also try and get a facial every two months.
You have two kids. Obviously as mothers our first priority is the health and welfare of our children. But we also know that kids can be ridiculously picky and making sure they have well balanced diet can be frustrating, time consuming and - at times - futile. Any go-to tips or ideas that you can share?
My kids love kale chips. Chop up some kale, spray some olive oil and sea salt and bake at 350 for 15 min. Smoothies and tomato sauce are also a great way to slip in some greens. I also make a coconut yogurt surprise with fruits and my homemade good gut granola. Don't give up on kids having veggies. Keep putting them on their plate! Also get them cooking with you - let them help chop the kale, make the salad dressing, or guacamole. This really empowers and entertains them in the whole healthy eating process.
We are in our forties (gasp!) with big changes happening to our bodies and big changes (hormonal, peri-menopausal, menopausal) around the corner. How do we prepare?
Oh man, this is my call to arms - hormonal balance is so important and can be such a struggle for all women, but it can be particularly challenging in the late 30’s and 40’s. Good eating is key - green veggies, not skipping meals, low to moderate caffeine and alcohol intake, and good sleep can do A LOT to help balance your hormones. Alisa Vitti’s book, Woman Code, was a game changer for me in helping me to understand what the heck is going on with our hormones and body and how we have a lot of the remedies right in our own pantry.
Melissa offers private and group health coaching in Los Angeles and remotely. Her practice focuses on hormonal and gut health. She lives in LA with her husband, two sons and dog, Cali. Follow her @hirelativewellness