Ep. 185 – Heal your Gut and Hormonal Imbalances with Bone Broth with Melissa Bolona

Your trusted source for nutrition, wellness, and mindset for thriving health.

I am excited to have Melissa Boloña joining me today! Melissa used to be an actress and a model. She is now the founder and CEO of a Bone Broth concentrate company called Beauty & the Broth.

As an actress, people were constantly judging Melissa for how she looked. She tried everything, including Botox and laser treatments, to keep looking young and beautiful on camera. When she tried bone broth for some digestive issues, she could not believe how much her looks improved! The bone broth made the lines on her skin disappear, and her hair became super thick!

Bone broth has amazing properties and is very easy to incorporate into your lifestyle. It is great for improving your immune system, and it can be profoundly healing. In this episode, Melissa explains what bone broth is, and what you need to look out for when buying it as a pre-made product. She talks about how she discovered the benefits of bone broth, how her career as an actress prepared her for marketing her brand of bone broth, and the importance of gut health. She also explains how much our gut health affects our bodies and minds, and talks about some new fun products she and her team are creating, including a pea vegan bone broth option. Stay tuned for more!

“The more solid components in the bone broth, the more potent it is.”

Melissa Boloña

IN THIS EPISODE YOU WILL LEARN:

  • Melissa’s acting career prepared her for creating her brand of bone broth.
  • Melissa describes what high-quality bone broth is, what it contains, and what you need to look for in a pre-made product.
  • Bone broths bought from supermarkets are often diluted, so you will not benefit much from them.
  • The potency of a bone broth depends on the number of solid components it has in it.
  • Melissa explains why the quality of her bone broth is far superior to the bone broth you would find in a store or supermarket.
  • There are components of bone broth, other than bone, that are intrinsically beneficial to our health.
  • Why should you only buy reputably-sourced bone broth?
  • Why is bone broth not your average drink?
  • Fecal implants with mice have shown us how gut health impacts personality.
  • How bone broth supports the immune system
  • Melissa talks about the health issues she struggled with when she was in high school.
  • Melissa discusses her exciting new product lines.
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Connect with Melissa Boloña

On her website (This is where you can purchase her products)

Purchase Melissa’s products on this Instagram, or connect with her personally on this Instagram.

Connect with Cynthia Thurlow

About Everyday Wellness Podcast

Welcome to the Everyday Wellness podcast with Cynthia Thurlow! Cynthia is a mom of 2 boys, wife, nurse practitioner, and intermittent fasting and nutrition expert. She has over 20 years experience in emergency medicine and cardiology, but pivoted to focus on food as medicine. She loves to share science-backed practical information to improve your overall well being and is grateful to be interviewing leaders in the health and wellness field.  Her goal with Everyday Wellness is to help her listeners make simple changes to their everyday lives that will result in improved overall wellness and long term health.

 

TRANSCRIPT

Presenter: This is Everyday Wellness, a podcast dedicated to helping you achieve your health, and wellness goals, and provide practical strategies that you can use in your real life. And now, here’s your host, Nurse Practitioner Cynthia Thurlow.

Cynthia: Today, I had the honor and privilege of connecting with Melissa Bolona. She’s an entrepreneur and bone broth aficionado. We spoke at great length about the importance of bone broth on the gut microbiome as well as overall general health, dove deep into her entrepreneurial journey and her background in the modeling and acting industry, and spoke about some of the new ways that she is looking at the benefits of bone broth, how you can source the best quality bones to make bone broth, and how she’s in the midst of making not only a vegan/vegetarian based bone broth that is nutrient dense, but also is pivoting into the pet industry creating sustainable, healthy options for her pets.

Welcome, Melissa, I’m so excited to have you with me today. As I mentioned, when we had an introductory call, I’m really excited to hear more and have the listeners learn more about your bone broth and your journey. So, let’s start from you know you have a background in the entertainment industry and modeling, and how did you go from that industry into the interest in creating your own bone broth because I think your journey is one that’s I always say be it your pain to purpose or provide the spark or inspiration to begin this journey.

Melissa: It sounds a lot like apples and oranges.

Cynthia: [laughs]

Melissa: But in a way it is so interconnected and I swear my whole acting career has sincerely prepared me for this. One with acting, I’m the asset. So, right now in my life, the asset is the broth, okay? So, in acting, I was being judged and with being judged for your talents, the way you look, etc., you care a lot about how you look. I tried facials, lasers, Botox, every cream, you know, always trying to keep up with the Joneses to figure out how to just stay young and look best on camera. At the same time developing a super thick skin like I was my product, I would have to go around door to door and try to open doors for myself or book jobs, and I was constantly being judged, and it just makes you have thick skin. Sometimes, you just stop hearing the word, no. So, with the bone broth, I couldn’t believe like when I tried bone broth for different reasons for digestive issues, I couldn’t believe what it did to my skin. I cannot believe a beverage made lines in my skin go away, made my hair super thick. So, I was completely sold on it which is why I created this product. But also, I saw a big need in the market for it.

My whole career in acting and the rejection and I hearing the word, no, it’s the same thing with the bone broth, and I’m not going to say, it’s easier, it’s just different because I won’t get a reply three times from an account, I really, really want. I’ll hit them a fourth time to shameless. It’s like the same thing like acting, so you just keep plugging away except it’s less personal. It’s not about you, it’s about this.

Cynthia: One can imagine that persistence that probably you’re getting that thicker skin, you understand that you can’t take those things personally. I think as an entrepreneur or whether people realize this or not, you really have to just blindly remain very focused and not pay attention to the noise, because it’s very, very easy, especially, in the beginning to take things so personally. I remind people like as a clinician became an entrepreneur that developed a business, I didn’t have those skills. So, I just stayed laser focused when I was making that pivot, so that I would recognize that energetically when there was a no, there was a reason. It may not have made sense at that time but somehow, I was energetically being protected or being pushed in a different direction. And I’m sure you probably have found that to be the case yourself that it’s almost a blessing, when something doesn’t end up working out the way you want it to.

Melissa: Oh, it’s so true and I really think it’s part of the journey. Like even the way our business model is now, it took a journey to get there and it took different routes of things working out and not working out, and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. And also, doing things like this, podcast interview or doing our commercials or shoots, my whole acting career has prepared me for this.

Cynthia: Oh, I bet. So, let’s unpack what are some of the components of high-quality bone broth? Because I truly believe that there’re inherently amazing properties to bone broth. But the food industry has gotten very savvy. They recognize that they can capitalize on calling something bone broth when in essence it isn’t. So, let’s unpack with what high-quality bone broth is, what are the components, what do people need to look for when they’re trying to purchase a premade product versus making their own? And I’ll be completely transparent and say, “I will buy high-quality beef bone broth because beef bone broth at home stinks at my kitchen, whereas chicken bone broth is very easy to make” I think, much easier to make. But I will happily be a bone broth store purchaser because I don’t like the stink in my kitchen.

Melissa: Yeah, and it gets really inconvenient too, when you go fridge-freezer-freezer-fridge. So, for a good quality bone broth, there’s a bunch of things that go into it. One, I would right away look at the ingredients. That should be the first thing because in my opinion, the front of a bone broth box or pouch, whatever it is, it’s a lot of marketing. All the things like, gluten free, the organic, this and the other, this is what I do every time I’m in the supermarket. I run to the bone broth aisle and I take a look, and it’s really, really misleading the front of the box. So, you just have to turn it around, and you need to see the ingredients. You’ll be surprised to what you could find. Some of them even have sugar in it. I found one with sugar in it that was at a reputable supermarket with all the bells, and whistles, buzzwords on the front. So, that’s number one. Make sure the ingredients are clean.

Then, I’d go to the nutrition facts and look at the proteins. A lot of the bone broth on the market are very, very, very diluted and you’re not getting much benefit. If you find that whole big box of bone broth you buy is like five grams of protein, like cool. So, definitely look out for that. A huge issue with bone broth is, it’s very high in sodium. So, take a look at the sodium count. So, all these things were really important to me when we were doing ours, and bone broth is measured in bricks, which is the percentage of solids. The more solid components in the bone broth, the more potent it is, the more benefit you get. So, an average cup of bone broth you could get from a store or at the supermarket, it tends to be about three bricks. When you take a pouch of ours, it’s 25 bricks. So, you’re getting compact quality, and then you are responsible for diluting it with water. So, you have the control and also, you have the control of salt as well, because we don’t use salt as one of our ingredients.

Cynthia: I think that’s really interesting. When I’m talking to patients about the quality of their meat and where it’s sourced from, I would imagine the quality of the bones if you’re making your own or even if you’re purchasing premade is really critically important. So, when we’re talking about bone broth, what are the components that actually of the bone that are so intrinsically beneficial to our health?

Melissa: I firmly believe you are what you eat. To me, initially, sourcing when I was just a wee baby learning about bone broth sourcing to me was about the animals, because I love animals, and I want them to be reputedly sourced, which is definitely a component of it, but it’s so much more. The same when you are what you eat. The bones need to be from a very good high-quality source, because you’re not going to get a whole lot of benefit from a stressed-out animal. The reason why their bones are so nutrient dense and have collagen it’s because they’re ethically raised, and they become strong when they grow, and they live a healthy life. So, you definitely want to make sure it’s a free-range grass fed and that there’re no antibiotics or hormones going in because that directly reflects on what you’re eating and consuming. If they have inflammation and you’re just eating, that sounds kind of weird. But you’re pretty much digesting something’s inflammation. So, you want to make sure it’s very reputedly sourced.

Cynthia: Well, even talking to people about feedlot meat, where you have a lot of animal’s close quarters, they’re given quite a bit of antibiotics because they’re in such close quarters that they get sick. Thinking about the hormones, a lot of these animals are given to fatten them up the fact that they’re very often given grains to fatten them prior to slaughter, and that the omega-3 to omega-6 profile of the meat is very, very different than what you would get with an animal that’s pasture raised or grass-fed, grass-finished. I think as people as there’s growing awareness about the differences between these meats, and obviously, the bones and how the animals are stressed or less stressed, I always say, there was a wonderful pig farmer that we had in our last city and we got to know him very well, and we got to see his very happy pigs. I used to say, they lived a really, really good life. I do believe that we are designed to eat animal products, and consume meat and fish and things like that in terms of an ideal kind of ancestral health perspective. But I agree with you that sourcing properly is really critically important. Do you have particular places that you like to source your bones from? Is that something that’s proprietary, obviously, I was out of utter curiosity, if there are other parts of the country that you will source from?

Melissa: Sure. For the chicken, I’m really, really proud to say that most of the time we source from Mary’s Organic Chicken. That’s like restaurant quality food where they have their whole name on the menu in the restaurants. So, I’m really proud of that sourcing. We sourced from farms in America. Then, we have two farms in the Midwest for the beef, and it’s grass-fed, grass-finished, and we are technically eligible for animal GAP Welfare rate at 4, which is the highest rating you could be. It means that the animal has a complete free range, and they get to walk around, and live a nice and happy fulfilling life.

Cynthia: Well and that’s certainly really important. There are a couple of books I read over the last year, the name of which one in particular, but it was kind of an exposé on what goes on in traditional farming. This is not a criticism. It was just really eye opening as someone that’s been with the exception of when I lived in Baltimore, lived in the suburbs my entire life, I haven’t lived in rural parts of the United States. I really had no sense of how hard it is to raise animals. Really giving these farmers that are opting to raise pastured grass-fed, it does make things a little more complicated. It also translates into slightly more expensive opportunities to purchase. But I always say, you have to decide for yourself what you’re most comfortable with. It may be that you’re eating less meat, but you’re eating higher quality meat that ultimately exposes you less pesticides, less antibiotics, etc.

Now, when we think about the broad categorization of the benefits of bone broth, let’s talk about some of them that you’ve mentioned. You have some of the skin benefits, hair benefits, I mean, those things are certainly hugely influential. But what are some of the other benefits that you and your customers have been able to see?

Melissa: A bone broth to me, the benefits are a bit two parts and it works in tandem with the gut. I love bone broth because it’s been around since literally caveman days and it makes sense where they heal themselves and use all of the animal. So, we obviously talked about collagen, it is very high natural occurring collagen, and I like to hit that word, because it’s very hard for your gut to ingest the powder. So, the molecules in bone broth of collagen are smaller than those in face cream. So, not even collagen and face cream could absorb in your skin, but obviously you need to do stuff to the exterior for your skin but what are you doing on the inside. Because your skins and organ, and what are you doing to reinforce from the inside. So, that’s obviously a huge one for me. With collagen that also helps with your joints. I played field hockey growing up and I had Osgood-Schlatter disease in my knee, which is damaged cartilage. Whenever I’d go skiing, it would be a little bit painful and I’d have to wear a brace. I’ve been brace less okay. It’s pretty crazy. So, collagen, collagen, collagen, that’s one of them.

A lot of the other benefit, I think, comes from bone broth and the gut in tandem because when you have bad digestion, and food seeps through your gut and creates these holes and keep expanding within your gut. And then, eventually, the particles seep out of your gut, cells go to fight it, they think it’s an invader, and that causes a serious amount of inflammation, and inflammation can lead to a lot of chronic disease. So, something that completely blows me away about bone broth, it’s not your average drink. It goes into your gut and it fills in the holes. So, bone broth goes in there, creates a lining for food to pass through. So, to me, there’s so much power in that for a lot of reasons. Our gut is our second brain. Our gut has trillions and trillions of microbes in it that go around beating on things and they need to be regulated. So, with that comes too, a lot of the benefit from the skin, not to bring it back to beauty again. But sometimes, when you have really bad skin, you have to look inside what are you eating.

I had a client that had really bad acne and she was like, “You know, Melissa, if I have the bone broth will fix it.” She’s like, “I tried everything for years” and I’m like, “I don’t want to say it will, but it’s definitely worth a shot” because of what I’m telling you now. She tried it, she literally fixed her acne, she could not believe it. And then, with your gut, so, in your gut, that’s where serotonin is produced, and that’s what makes you happy, sad, angry, mad, emotions come from your gut. So, bone broth is regulating your moods, too. I personally saw when I created this company, I had really bad brain fog and I was definitely struggling with a sense of herpes. I swear the bone broth gave me so much clarity and it sounds crazy that the drink is doing that. But I’m telling you, it did. It’s also a great post-workout recovery, because it’s very high in protein with a big array of amino acids. To me bone broth is like everything. People link your gut to anxiety and depression. So, it’s really, really good to refer back to the mood. Some people just completely cleanse their gut, have bone broth, have probiotics, and help their anxiety and stuff that way.

What are some of my other favorite benefits? I feel like I could really, really go on and on here. But now, at one point, me and my sister had to take like a week off from bone broth, because my hair literally got like too thick. It was like, almost I couldn’t do anything with it. But to me, the biggest power of bone broth is healing your gut because of everything that comes from your gut. Sometimes, I think, it’s arguably more important than your brain, all the information on learning. Our guts are linking to our personalities. I don’t know if you know this, but they did a fecal transplant between mice, and it completely alter their personalities into the other mouse.

Cynthia: Wow. It’s interesting in the context of fecal transplants, my experience has been about a specific type of bacterial infection C. diff and the ongoing joke was, “Are people really doing this?” A lot of my friends that were at a big teaching hospital said, “Oh, yeah, absolutely. It really changes the gut microbiome.” But I want to unpack some of what you just talked about and I think, for anyone that’s listening, bone broth can be profoundly healing. I know, when I was hospitalized two years ago for 13 days, when I went home, the only thing I could eat was meat, because that was the only thing that my body could tolerate. No fiber, whatsoever, and it stayed that way for about nine months. I was full carnivore for nine months. I would drink a lot of bone broth because it was nourishing and it didn’t upset my stomach. So, much to Melissa’s point, when we’re really talking about the kind of healing nurturing nature of bone broth and we’re talking about what happens, whether it’s from stress or infections, or antibiotics, I was on antibiotics and antifungals for six weeks leading up to surgery ultimately to remove my ruptured appendix.

I remind people that antibiotics do a lot of beneficial things. They also can create this leaky gut where we literally have the small intestine hyperpermeability. So, you’ll open up these small junctions in the small intestine, you’ll leak food particles into your bloodstream, you’ll set up this inflammatory cascade, and then, you go from seemingly benign foods suddenly evoking an immune response and inflammatory response in the body. So, really important and we know for anyone that has an autoimmune issue, if you have Hashimoto, psoriasis, alopecia, goodness knows, I’ve had a couple of autoimmune issues myself, and the list goes on and on, rheumatoid arthritis, there are a lot of things, celiac. You’ve had an autoimmune issue, you’ve had this leaky gut, and so, proactively consuming foods that can help nourish and heal the gut is super helpful. Unfortunately, I think, for a lot of people, we think first about supplements like how can this supplement heal my gut? I always say let’s start with food first. And certainly, I like the idea of prescribing, if you will, bone broth, because it’s such an easy thing to do and it’s so nourishing.

 

Now, technically, close to winter here on the East Coast and you can see I’m in a sweater. It is definitely chilly. I think, it was like 27 degrees and we were walking our dogs this morning definitely felt like winter. But that and also talking about other benefits. We know the bulk of our neurotransmitters are produced in the gut microbiome. So, if you have healthy gut, you’re going to have healthy regulation of your mood as you’re alluded to serotonin levels. We think about drugs like Paxil, Prozac, etc., they act on the brain. So, they act on serotonin receptors in the brain, but the bulk of our neurotransmitters are actually produced in the gut along with our immune system. So, really thinking proactively given the global pandemic that we still seem to be waiting through doing things that can improve cognition, immune function, healing and sealing that gut, because that is so, so important.

Unfortunately, I’m both allopathic trained and functionally trained. So, my traditional thought processes everything’s in a bucket. You have a symptom, it’s in a bucket, and now, that functional training you think broadly, and so, really thinking about starting from a place of food to help heal your body or to even just capitalize on some of the things you talked about. Like I have super strong nails. In fact, every time I get a manicure, they have to cut them because I have to cut my nails otherwise, they don’t break. Even coming back from that hospitalization and I lost about a third of my hair because my body dealt with 15-pound weight loss and I was the hospital for a while. I credit a lot of the bone broth that I was consuming also like nutrient dense foods. But I think for many listeners that will really resonate that this is something that you could incorporate into your lifestyle very easily and it doesn’t hurt that it’s now heading into winter time in northern part of the America’s, and as the weather’s getting cooler, drinking warmer drinks is something that can be part of your day-to-day systems.

Melissa: Totally. I thank you for touching upon immunity because that’s another big one. I think, it’s about 85% of your immunity is in your gut. I think, COVID has been a big reflectional to people what they are putting in their bodies, how do they keep their immunity up, and I think, people are starting to go back to ancient remedies again, and just wanting to be off medications because medications do do a lot of damage to your gut microbiome. So, it’s so important to, especially, if you were on antibiotics to go back in and kind of heal some of the damage that might have been done going through a period of being sick or what have you.

Cynthia: It’s interesting. My older son had his wisdom teeth removed. So, minor dental surgery and he had to be on three days of antibiotics. In between, it’s interesting, when I had my wisdom teeth out, hundred years ago, you ate a very soft diet for weeks and we weren’t allowed to use straws. Now, things have gotten much more advanced. So, they encourage them to eat right away and you better believe, he was getting bone broth, and prebiotics, and probiotics. It’s just to kind of ensure his gut microbiome wasn’t taking a terrible hit because that’s actually what happens. Sometimes, you have to be on antibiotics, and there’s no judgement of that. But there are things we can do to beneficially support the gut microbiome in the absence of eradicating all the beneficial bacteria.

I know you mentioned that fecal transplant with mice impacting their personalities, which I find fascinating, but fecal transplants are actually a real thing. They do occur and oftentimes in the context of someone’s got a chronic infection that they’re trying to put some– there’s no other way to put it, put healthy stool from a healthy gut microbiome into your body, so that your body can then heal from that place.

Melissa: Yeah, it’s modern-day medicine and everything we’re learning. I think that the topic of the gut is one that is just heating up. We’re learning so much about and there’s so much we don’t know. So, the fact that we’ve established that were effectively all galaxies with trillions of microbes that speaks volumes and how we need to aid them because this is like our machinery, right?

Cynthia: Absolutely. So, there are other things that you like to consider when we’re talking about supporting immunity, supporting the gut microbiome. I always love to touch on like stress, and sleep, and physical activity, which I’m sure are things that you are wildly knowledgeable about because you take such good care of yourself.

Melissa: Yeah. So, with me, I wasn’t always this healthy person which is also I give a lot of credit to bone broth. I was a girl that stayed thin just from genetics and getting by on chicken parmesan.

Cynthia: [laughs]

Melissa: That’s my digestive issues. So, to me, bone broth and also, I like to do outdoor activities like bike ride and go swimming. But bone broth, to me, it changed my mindset of it. When I tell you really cleared my brain fog, I like to call it a gateway drug where I feel like bone broth made me healthy. It just created a mindset, it curbed a lot of cravings for me. So, then once I started having it, I wanted more for myself like I wanted to work out. I wanted to, “Hey, I have like the upper hand here or I was just so hungry. I had this bone broth, my guts being healed. I’m not as hungry as I was. Let’s make a healthy choice here in the kitchen today.” So, and it all feeds upon itself. Even if I have like a really stressed out day, I will show what I’m doing and I will go work out like or if I’m sad, I will go workout because that’s what will release endorphins and we’ll just change my mindset and it’s so, so important. Everyone’s different to do what’s right for you to maintain the state of mind of happiness and to create as less stress as possible for yourself, because stress does your body a lot of damage even if it is temporary and fleeting, it still does damage. So, it’s great to maintain it through working out and healthy habits like bone broth and healthy eating.

Cynthia: Well, I love that you recognize that one change kind of begat more beneficial changes for your health and wellness that once you were using bone broth and consuming and feeling better, it encouraged you to continue making good choices. I think, for anyone that’s listening, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that you’re running a marathon or you’re eating paleo might be one small change that you make in your lifestyle, which has a huge net impact. Now, you alluded to, it sounds like maybe in the past, you’d had some health or digestive issues. Can we touch on that because I think for so many listeners, they love to identify if they have experienced something similar to one of the podcast guests so if you could share a little bit more about your background? I know, we grew up in the same area in New Jersey, which was kind of a serendipitous discovery prior to recording. But I would love for you to share a little bit about your background, so listeners will be able to make those connections.

Melissa: Love Jersey girls.

Cynthia: [laughs]

Melissa: So, whilst growing up in New Jersey, when I was at end of middle school going into high school, where I missed so much school or as in and out of the doctors, and this is actually, I’ll get more deep into this. I actually never have before, I almost got held back, which I will say that because I missed so much school, but the story goes deeper, where they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. At first, they put me on stuff which was like actually really messed up and I found out later was like antidepressants, and I wasn’t depressed. They just couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, why was like so sick and so inflamed, I’m missing school. Then, when I figured out what it was, I stopped taking it because I’m like, “That’s ridiculous. I’m not depressed.” Then, after the 10th time around going to a different doctor, they did an x ray of my stomach, and they found my stomach was so backed up with stool, like it was insane.

Literally, what they did is they then prescribed over-the-counter laxatives. It’s because I was a kid, I was very, very stressed out, I had quite the upbringing of highs and lows. So, I was stressed out, you would never know it, and I think that ate into a stressed gut where I couldn’t move or pass stool. I think, I had early stages of diverticulitis. It was a really, really bad period of my life where they just couldn’t figure out what’s wrong with me in it. It followed me into adulthood, but in a less meaningful way, because I figured out what was wrong and realized, “Hey, you need to use the bathroom” and it wasn’t until food started changing my life when I started seeing, “Hey, as much as you like things like chicken parm, I think, health is kind of more important.” Health used to be about how I looked in the mirror, not how I felt. Finally, my last cry for help was when I just started to feel really, really bad, and gross, and inflamed, and that’s when my sister told me about bone broth, and that’s when I initially wouldn’t try it because I was like, “That’s so weird. I’m not trying this thing called bone broth.” And finally, I’m like, “Okay, let me try it,” and here we are.

Cynthia: Well, but I think so many people that are listening really understand and appreciate the place that you are coming from. So, we speak quite a bit about the autonomic nervous system and sympathetic is fight or flight, and if you’re stressed and feeling overwhelmed, your body’s literally not in the right mindset to be able to poop, or digest your food, or relax, or have sex, or do any of those things. So, until you got to a point where your body felt safe, and you could allow your body to support detoxification, and go to the bathroom, and I think, it’s so, so common with not only just children and young adults, but even with adults that they think it’s normal to just not go. In fact, I was an ER nurse in my past life and we would put x-rays up, we would be bringing the patient back, put the x-rays up for the docs to read, and the nurses all of us could tell when someone needs to put F.O.S so, it’s full of poop. F.O.S was a little different.

But the point being, it’s so, so common that we don’t talk about it. So, your body had to be in the right frame of mind, literally, to be able to recognize that you needed to be going to the bathroom more often. I would imagine if you’re eating, you mentioned chicken parm, which is like a mainstay of life at the Jersey Shore. But when you think about the average standard American diet, it is not conducive, because it’s so highly processed. It’s not conducive to your body wanting to go to the bathroom every day. When you start eating a more nutrient dense diet, more fibrous vegetables, etc., your body will need to go more regularly. Did you find that to be the case that once you started changing your diet and started with bone broth, it was probably a domino effect that that became a much more easy process?

Melissa: Yeah, it definitely became a much more easy process and I feel like I need more fiber than anyone I know. You’re right. It’s something that’s not talked about and it really should be, because I know so many people that I love talking about it.

Cynthia: [laughs]

Melissa: [crosstalk] Everyone poops, okay?

Cynthia: Yeah.

Melissa: And I have some friends with same situation where they’re very, very regular and when the stool backs up, that can lead to chronic illness as well. Think about it, your guts not getting rid of the waste your body has produced. So, it’s so important to feel comfortable talking about it, and get as much fiber as you can, and really make yourself regular really look into what’s going on because in all the stool, it’s all those microbes we talked about earlier, and you need to shed and detoxify yourself. So, it’s a hot topic.

Cynthia: No, it’s interesting. Obviously, as an NP and nurse, talking about poop is no big deal. In fact, my boys are always embarrassed because they think it’s so abnormal. So, it should be no different than talking about the fact that we breathe, and that we sweat, and everything else. But unfortunately, people don’t want to talk about it. In fact, I have women that are clients they think it’s normal to poop twice a week, and I’m like, “All right, first of all timeout. Before we do anything else, we have to make sure that you’re hydrated, that you’re relaxed.” I don’t care if you have to set a timer and get up 30 minutes before your kids so that you are relaxed, and you can go to the bathroom, making sure you’ve got adequate water intake. There are some people who really do need quite a bit of fiber to go regularly. I’m not referring to Metamucil. I’m referring to fiber in your food, which is really critically important, although, there are forms of resistant starch that can be beneficial for that. That’s all a separate topic.

So, I love that you’re touching on that because it seems to be so taboo and yet it should not be. We should all feel comfortable talking about normal bodily processes. However, I know that I grew up amongst a lot of medical professionals. So, we were very comfortable talking about these things. It embarrasses my husband sometimes when around his family, because he’s like, “Why are we talking about this?” I was like, “It’s completely normal. We need to destigmatize talking about these types of topics,” because it makes it worse. There are so many women that get constipation right before their menstrual cycle or they get diarrhea, and yet, they don’t want to talk about it because they get too embarrassed. I’m like, “There should be no embarrassment.”

Melissa: It’s literally our waste management systems. [laughs]

Cynthia: Exactly. Now, I’m curious, what new things you’re doing in your business? Because I heard a rumor that you were working on a vegan-

Melissa: Yes.

Cynthia: -or vegetarian version of bone broth. So, I get asked all the time, we have group programs, I’ve one-on-one programs, and they’re always asking for alternatives for those that really don’t eat any animal products, what can they do instead? More often than not, I’m kind of stuck because I don’t know what to recommend but I understand you’re working on a product right now.

Melissa: The rumors are true. We are launching it in January. At last, I’m so excited about it. I initially wanted to launch with all three, beef, chicken, vegan, but you know things happen and I’m very, very proud of it. It will contain mushrooms, nutritional yeast, pea protein, ginger, and kombu, which is a seaweed. So, you can’t have collagen in a vegan broth. However, a lot of those ingredients will mimic the benefits of having collagen or having a bone broth, and it will be great for, of course, our theme, hair, skin, and nails and will also be really, really helpful with digestive, too. And there’re no allergens in it. To be honest with you, it’s one of my favorite skews. I love the taste. I’m obviously not a vegan, but I’m going to be drinking it as well because it’s very, very good.

Cynthia: Interesting. Nutritional yeast, because I’ve been dairy free for three years, and nutritional yeast has such a like richness on your tongue. Like I’ll sometimes put it on chili or something that I want to eat where I want to have that sensation of cheese, but it doesn’t actually taste like cheese. So, I would imagine that flavor profile must be quite interesting. Interesting, in a good way.

Melissa: Yeah, it tastes a lot I would say that you can see almost like an umami taste. So, it’s very, very good. For those vegetarians out there, believe it or not, it depends what their reasons are. But we do get a lot of vegetarian clients that say, “Hey, this is like an animal byproduct. It’s not actually like consuming meat and then that’s the only thing they’ll have for that kind of source of an animal product.”

Cynthia: Yeah, I think it’s like a gateway. If I can get someone drink bone broth and maybe eggs then, maybe I can get them trying like some fish, and then maybe some chicken, and then we kind of go from there. But I think when people have gone so long without eating animal products, it can be very hard, especially, if they abstain from eating animals for moral ethical reasons. It can be a little bit of a mind teaser for them or can be challenging for them to wrap their heads around.

Melissa: Totally.

Cynthia: So, what else is new for you? What else are you working on, any travel plans for the holidays or the New Year?

Melissa: So, this is exciting. In 2022 Q1 we will be launching a Beauty and the Bark. So, we’ll have a bone broth for your pets as well which I’m very, very, very excited about. We’re also working on what I like to call Beauty Blends. We’ve been business a bit over a year now, and there’s been customers, OG customers that have been on subscriptions since day one. I love the bone broth. I think it tastes amazing with it. Every day for a year, you kind of want to spice it up. So, these Beauty Blends we’re developing will have high integrity ingredients and not only aid with different benefits, but also changes the flavor up a bit of the broth. So, I’m really excited about that.

Then, as far as personally, I have a birthday coming up December 28th. So, I’m actually going to St. Barts for my birthday and New Year’s, but I will be very much there with my laptop. I don’t believe in taking, at least at this stage of my life because I’m excited about Beauty & the Broth, and that really motivates me every day. So, I will be there with my laptop, having fun, working, and relaxing.

Cynthia: Wow, that sounds absolutely wonderful. I look forward to your new products. Let the listeners know how to connect with you, how to purchase your products, how to catch up with you on social media.

Melissa: Sure. So, our products are for sale at thebeautyandthebroth.com as well as our Instagram handle is @thebeautyandthebroth. And if you want to connect with me personally, it’s @melissabolona and I love to say, Bolona, no G.

Cynthia: [laughs] Makes it much easier to just pronounce it properly. It’s been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for your time.

Melissa: Thank you so much, Cynthia. This is great and I hope you have Happy Holidays.

Cynthia: Thank you, You, too.

Presenter: Thanks for listening to Everyday Wellness. If you loved this episode, please leave us a rating, and review, subscribe, and remember, tell a friend. And if you want to connect with us online, visit the link in the show notes.

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