Episode 046: Gray-Area Drinking and Sobriety with Melinda Mrachek Staehling

Gray-Area Drinking and Sobriety with Melinda Mrachek Staehling

In this episode, I'm joined by returning guest, Melinda Mrachek Staehling, who previously appeared in Episode 041. This time, you’ll hear us discuss:

  • What compelled her to embark on sobriety, especially given her successful career in the wine industry
  • What’s “gray-area” drinking?
  • What resources she found and relied on to help her on this journey

As a non-drinker, I found this conversation so insightful and educational for me, and I hope you do too!


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Naomi: You're listening to the Live FAB Life Podcast, Episode 046.

In this episode, I'm joined by returning guest Melinda Mrachek Staehling. Melinda was recently on the show back on Episode 041, where she shared her best tips that she's picked up over the past 18 years, on how to start a meditation practice, but today we are talking about a totally different topic.

A couple of months ago, Melinda and I were on a Beautycounter business trip together, where she shared with me that she had recently given up drinking alcohol. I was super surprised to hear this because Melinda has built up an established, very successful career in the wine industry. As you can imagine, and as you probably are too, I was so intrigued by her decision to do this.

After hearing her tell me why, I asked her to come on the show and share her back story on how she came to this decision because:

  1. As a 21-day Sugar Detox Coach, I know that alcohol is one of the biggest things that so many of our detoxers struggle with.
  2. I personally don't drink alcohol at all and I never have, so this is not a topic that I have any first hand experience in. Anytime that I can find a real person who does have first hand experience in something that I don't, I want them to come on the show, if they're willing to, and share their story with you.
  3. Whether you are attempting a 21-day sugar detox or not, I think that this is a worthwhile conversation to have.

So, if you haven't listened to Melinda's first episode on the show yet, let me do a brief introduction to her. Melinda is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) in training and she recently aced her midterm exams.

Now, her background is in visual arts and cinematography, but like I said, she has established a very successful career in the restaurant and wine industry. She's been practicing yoga and meditation for the past 18 years and she lives in Las Vegas with her husband Tim and their puppy girl Mary. She is one pretty cool chick to know.

In our conversation, you're going to hear us discuss:

  • What compelled her to come to this decision to stop drinking alcohol all together, especially given her profession.
  • What gray area drinking is, because I didn't know what it was and I didn't know it was a thing.
  • The resources that she found and that she relied on to help her on this journey.

As a non-drinker, I found this conversation so insightful and educational and I hope you find the same as well. So, let's get to the show.

Hey Melinda, welcome back to the show.

Melinda: Thanks Naomi.

Naomi: You are one of my few two-timers.

Melinda: Yeah. I'm less nervous this time than I was.

Naomi: Yeah, you're an old pro. It's just talking to me.

Melinda: I know and I feel like this topic ... This is what I should be nervous about instead of talking about meditation, which I was way nervous about, but now I'm not.

Naomi: So, let's set the stage for everyone.

You and I had planned to record an episode on meditation, quite a few months ago, and it was a matter of us syncing up our calendars just to be able to make it happen, but before that happened, we were together in Minneapolis.

We were roommates at the Beautycounter Leadership Summit and we had a lot of one-on-one time. You had shared with me that you had recently given up drinking alcohol and I totally found that fascinating. Not in just the fact that you had stopped drinking alcohol, but that your professional career is in wine sales.

I thought, you know what, I know a lot of people struggle with this, especially those who are going through the 21-Day Sugar Detox. For a lot of people, that is the most difficult thing that they struggle with. I don't drink alcohol, so it's really hard for me, not necessarily to relate to it, 'cause I think we all have things we have difficulty giving up or changing, but with this particular topic, I thought it would be really beneficial to have a conversation about it. When you shared your experience and your endeavors in doing this I thought, "Gosh, we have to have a conversation about it."

I would love for you to set the stage as to what led you to this decision and how it is impacting your professional career in a very, very, unique way?

Melinda: First of all, I was so happy to hear that you didn't drink, when I was going on that trip to Minneapolis because I had no idea. We didn't really know each other that well. We'd only seen each other once in person, at all, so that made me feel really, really comfortable. I know this is a podcast about me and not about you, but why don't you drink Naomi? I have no idea.

Naomi: My family never drank. My grandparents didn't, my parents didn't. On both sides of the family it's just not something that my family does. My cousins don't ... Not all of my cousins, but the cousins that I spend the most time with, who live in the Bay Area, alcohol is not something that's a part of our lives and none of us have ever felt pressured by other people to make that a part of our social settings.

I have people who pressure me all the time and I'm not one of those people who caves to peer pressure. In fact, I'm one of those people who people are like ... Try to pressure me into something, is going to make me say even more, "No." So, I have never had a problem telling people. No, I've never felt pressured to drink alcohol and it's just not something I really enjoy.

Melinda: That is amazing. I cannot say I have the same story. I have a very long drinking history, but what you just said about the 21-Day Sugar Detox really resonated with me because I remember the first time I ever did a Whole 30, which I think was in 2013.

Part of the Whole 30, as with 21-Day Sugar Detox, is to not drink during the program and that more than any of the food part terrified me. At no point in my adult like, had I ever given up drinking for that stretch of time. That was really a big deal, so that was in 2013.

I've done more Whole 30's since then and each time it's gotten much easier and easier. I know it's only 30 days and I can definitely do this and sometimes even during the Whole 30 I'm like, "Oh my God, it's so nice to feel this way. I just wish I could feel this way all the time." Then when that thought of, "Oh, does this mean I'm giving up drinking" comes in, then it's like, "Oh, no that's not something I would do or I could do. Just because it's so normalized and it has been in my life.

I've been in the wine business for almost 20 years, so it's really the only career I've had is in restaurants. Selling wine in a restaurant as a sommelier. Now I work for a distributor and I sell wine, so alcohol, booze is everywhere in my life.

Naomi: That's why I thought it was so interesting when you told me that you went sober, because you do this professionally and I was just so curious and intrigued as to how were you able to do this. I'm sure ... I don't want to jump ahead, but I'm sure you'll get to this part, but how are you able to do this while still maintaining your professional career because as you said it's something that's such a normalized part of your life? You don't have to answer that now, continue with what your train of thought was, but that was just something that immediately came to mind for me when you shared your decision with me.

Melinda: Yeah. I think, for me, so much of it has been a big part of my healthy journey which has been going on for the last eight years or so. I found with alcohol, and especially going through this thing with histamine intolerance for the last three or four years or so, I can't manage drinking and my health at the same time. It really, really affects me.

Naomi: Okay, let's back up a little bit and kind of dive ... Not a whole lot 'cause I'm sure there's so much there, about histamine intolerance. Kind of give us your back story on what that is and how you discovered it and then how you connected it to drinking?

Melinda: In 2011, I was having problems with gluten and I was getting symptoms of gluten ataxia and not being able to walk straight when I ate gluten. Having a lot of problems with my balance and my coordination, so I went gluten-free and after that I did the whole Paleo route and cleaned up my diet.

At some point, I just started having a lot of issues with migraine headache, nausea, sometimes panic attacks. Those were the big ones and just could not figure out what was going on and it just kept happening. Even when I was doing a Whole 30, this is when I pinpointed what was happening, I was still getting super sick. All of that stuff that I just talked about. Bad symptoms.

Finally, I put together all of these high histamine foods. I think that I was really trying to Paleo, Paleo so hard and eat all the fermented foods and all the bone broth and even at this point on a Whole 30 I wasn't drinking, but alcohol is super high in histamine.

Fermented anything, but when you think about wine that's been aged for a long time and fermented champagne, beer, all of that stuff.

I was definitely enjoying all of that in my profession and I just kept drinking less and less and less, but it was still affecting me. I just started to think about what a life without drinking would look like.

For a long time that was really scary. I first started thinking about it, probably summer, fall of last year, of 2017 and it took me a while to make a decision.

Naomi: So, what made you finally say that you're going to do this?

Melinda: I just started drinking less and less. I would have a glass of wine here and I would feel it. I'd just be like, "Oh my God, am I just going to spend all day Sunday on the couch and not getting anything done, just because I had one glass of wine?" It wasn't really worth it.

There's a history of that too, of thinking about time passing and I definitely have drank way too much in my life. There's definitely times my husband and I drink, my family and I drink, it's just all around so I was sort of in this spot where what if I removed this one thing and saw what happened.

The actual moment ... It wasn't a planned thing. It was Saint Patrick's Day and I was working with one of my practice clients for my nutritional therapy program. I was just think ahead to the future and I was like, "How the hell am I going to work with clients, if I'm so hungover from one glass of wine." That's not really fair to them or to me.

Then we went out ... I live in Las Vegas and we went out to lunch on the strip and everybody was just wasted on Saint Patrick's Day.

Naomi: I was going to say, that is quite the day to make that decision.

Melinda: I know and I was just like, "Oh God, this is not my life." Then we came home and my husband and I were having dinner and he was having a glass of wine. It got to be eight or nine o'clock and he asked me if I wanted some wine. I was like, "Oh, sure. I'll have some." So, he poured me half a glass of wine, 'cause at that point I wasn't drinking a lot at all and I was just looking at this tiny little glass of wine and I was just like, "This is so pathetic. I'm so nervous about what's going to happen to me tomorrow if i have this little bit of wine. Why am I causing so much stress for myself." I just blew it all up and said, "I'm not drinking any more."

Naomi: Back it up a little bit. How did you come to pinpoint that it was the wine. I can see somebody listening to this saying, "Well, it could have been a number of things causing you to feel crappy. How do you know it wasn't something else?" How did you get to a point of realizing that wine was such a trigger in the symptoms that you feel?

Melinda: Histamine intolerance is kind of confusing. You're not intolerant to histamine, it's like your body ... You're producing too much of it and you're not able to break it down. You're lacking the enzymes to break it down. It's like a bucket effect and that's when you start having symptoms.

When your bucket overflows, so if you're adding wine and you're adding fermented foods and you're adding bone broth and you're adding all these things and that's the point where I start having symptoms.

I realize alcohol, for me, it was one of those things that I could remove and then I could add in so many other foods. I could eat aged cheese. I could eat prosciutto. If I didn't drink I could eat so ... I could drink Kombucha, which is a big deal. It was kind of a choice between, do I want to eat a full diet of foods that I think are actually quite good for me or do I want to just keep having this one thing.

Naomi: So, it took a lot of close, playing attention to how your body reacts to all these things to be able to pin point. It's not something these general statements or general assumptions you made, about yourself.

Melinda: Yeah, it was months of diaries, emotional diary. I know that you like to do a lot of diaries when you work with your clients. Not only food journaling, but how am I feeling today? What did I eat? What did I eat yesterday? It took a lot of that kind of work.

Naomi: I think that's where it ties in. A lot of the emotional struggles or challenges people have with food and drink to the symptoms and what we're actually eating and drinking versus what we think we are and then marrying those things together to come to a very ...

I don't want to say clinical, but almost that sort of analysis of ... You know what it is these things that's causing me problems and for me that wasn't on the same scale as alcohol, but I love sushi. I really, really love sushi. I've loved it since I was a kid growing up, I'm half Japanese.

I remember driving home from dinner, a sushi dinner with my family one night, and just feeling so awful. Doubled over in pain, could barely drive because my stomach hurt so bad and the only thing I had to eat for dinner was sushi. That's when I was like, "Oh my gosh, something about sushi causing you problems." It does scare you 'cause you think, can I never have this again?

Melinda: Yeah.

Naomi: I still have sushi, but not as frequently as I used to, but it took a lot to just emotionally get to that point.

Melinda: Yeah. I think that you know that even when we were together in Minneapolis, after a few days of traveling and not eating ideal foods, I definitely had way more Kombucha and avocado and we were eating all that smoked salmon-

Naomi: On the floor of the hotel room.

Melinda: Yes.

Naomi: 'Cause we didn't have proper utensils and plates.

Melinda: Yeah. By the end of that trip even, I was starting to show symptoms and I had a really bad headache and I was just like, "Dammit."

It was nothing like it would have been if alcohol would have been involved. It was over by the next morning. My husband met me there and we had a nice full weekend together and previously it would have just involved me taking Benadryl and laying in bed for a day to recover from that kind of thing. Bouncing back quickly is a big part of this for me.

Naomi: You talked about how your husband and family, you all drink, enjoy wine together, so when you made the decision what was their reaction to it?

Melinda: Their reaction was very positive. I feel like I'm super lucky and they were really supportive. It was more about me and the months leading up to eat and all of those thoughts and emotions like, is my husband still going to love me if I don't drink? Fast forward, he still does thankfully.

We met a million years ago in a restaurant that we were both working at. He was a bartender, I was the wine assistant. We met around alcohol. All of our trips are planned going to wine bars and that sort of things. I've always had drinks with my parents, that's always been a big thing with my family, so it was more of leading up to it and that kind of anxiety and fear of what is this going to mean for our relationship.

It's definitely been a little weird and I know it's been a little weird for Tim and I know it's been a little weird for my parents too. My mom and I just went on a vacation together for the first time and she was like, "Am I going to drink alone?" I'm like, "I guess you are."

Naomi: How many days has it been?

Melinda: Oh my gosh, I don't know. I haven't app, let me check. It's been over 100.

Naomi: I was going to say, that's awesome that you don't know.

Melinda: Let's see here, 105.

Naomi: Congratulations.

Melinda: Thank you.

Naomi: What has been your biggest resources or things of support to help you get to 105 days?

Melinda: I feel really fortunate that I found some awesome resources right away. The morning that I decided ... Day after Saint Patrick's Day, I got online and I think I Googled something like sobriety and yoga because yoga's always been a thing for me and I was like what ... That's sort of where my mind turned. I was like, okay I'm going to kick up the yoga because that seems like that would make sense.

I found this online program called Hip Sobriety and it's a blog by Holly Whitaker and she has a sobriety school. I basically sat at home and wrote off everything that I was going to do that Sunday and read her entire blog. Years and years of posts.

Wrote them an email, I was like, "When is this class? Sign me up, I want to do this thing." I ended up doing that. I was lucky, the next sobriety school started a couple weeks after I quit drinking so I had all of her podcasts and blog posts to read. She seems like the kind of person ... She did not really go the AA route. She just sort of quit drinking on her own and just created a really holistic path to her sobriety which I thought was super awesome.

Naomi: This might be a totally naïve question, but what would compel someone to go this route versus an AA route? I don't think you've done AA, so what would be the difference as you know?

Melinda: I went to an AA meeting on Friday for the first time. We'll talk about that in a minute. I don't feel like I identify as an alcoholic and I feel like, for me personally ... This 100% a personal decision, but I don't feel like I identify that way and I also am just one of those people that's on a spectrum. Maybe in that gray area and I just thought there was another way to do this.

I found Hip Sobriety and I found role models for people that were using things like meditation and yoga, the online community and books and all of that stuff, to find their path this way.

Naomi: Okay, I was just curious because I didn't think you identified as an alcoholic so I just wanted to get your thoughts on that.

Melinda: I feel like I had a pretty ... My quit was pretty ... I'm sure there's tons more stories like my own, but when I quit I was drinking less than I had, ever. I have a great job in the wine business. It's one of the best paying jobs I've ever had. It wasn't even I was being a high functioning alcoholic. I just wasn't even drinking that much and I wasn't really interested in drinking that much. I can't say that about myself in the past. I definitely worked in restaurants and had my boozy nights for sure, but this last year or so it's been just more of a choice of me wanting to feel my best and live my best life.

Naomi: I have to ask, because I need to tie the last episode that we did together with this one. What role did meditation play in all of this?

Melinda: I think it was so nice to know I already have this thing set up that works really, really, well for me that I can call on, that I know is very calming to me and helps me sort things out. It made me realize when I found out ... That's the number one thing they tell you to do when you get sober, people are like, you gotta learn how to meditate. I was like okay, I'm already set up here. Yes, I definitely kicked up things like the meditation and the yoga.

Naomi: What other things have you done and how do you navigate through social situations now?

Melinda: I went through the Hip Sobriety program. It's eight weeks long and it's so dense with information. She's created a program that has so many reading lists and at one point, I think with everything that's going on with studying for NTP and working full-time, I let that slide. Thankfully you have that content available to you forever, so I can always go back to it.

Naomi: It sounds like an amazing program. You were telling me about it when we were in Minneapolis too and I thought, Wow what a great idea because we both are in this online world of entrepreneurs and there's a lot of programs out there for people to build businesses, for different ... Whole 30, 21-Day Sugar Detox, but I had never heard of one to help people with sobriety so I thought, what a genius idea that somebody put together that can help so many people.

Melinda: It is and it has helped so many people. The cool thing about that program is they will meet you wherever you're at, it doesn't matter. There's an online Facebook, sort of, closed Facebook group support group component to it and if you're into being part of that, you can. If you're still drinking, you can be a part of it. If you have tried to quit drinking 400 times and you're still trying, you can be a part of it. That program is for everybody and her podcast is no longer recording episodes, but I did hear one of the episodes that they did. It's called the Home podcast and it's with Holly Whitaker and her podcast partner is Laura McKowen and they did a podcast with this women named Jolene Park.

Jolene is a functional nutritionist and of course when I heard her on this podcast, I was just like oh my god, she was so inspiring. She came from that whole functional approach and talked about neurotransmitters and all of the stuff you and I would totally like to geek out on. It just so happened that Jolene just started a group as well.

So, she's doing this online community that's specifically for former gray area drinkers. That's what identify as, if I identify as anything. I'm not drinking, I'm on this gray area spectrum and so she's created this online community where she teaches all of that functional approach and she has guest speakers that talk about the somatic approach and getting back in your body. It's just the coolest thing ever.

I just think that people are doing amazing things in this space. It's just crazy to think, three months ago I had no idea that any of this stuff was happening.

Naomi: I just want to say that even though she may not have new episodes of her podcast coming out, if you've never heard of it before and this is an area that you want to explore for yourself, it's going to be new to you. I'm sure she has dozens of episodes out there that you can dive into and that's the beauty of podcast, of videos, of content out there. No matter where you are in your journey, whether someone is still producing new content or not, what they did is still available to you.

Melinda: Yeah. I was introduced to a friend of a friend the other day that recently got sober and she is going the AA route and she asked me if I wanted to go to a meeting. I was so nervous, but I remembered that there are all these podcasts that they did on Home about going to AA and what it was all about. I quickly listened to a few of them and I went to this meeting. It was super interesting. I'm trying to sit with it and decide if I'm going to ... I would definitely go back. I'm not going to say, "Oh, I'm not going to go back." I'm still processing how I feel about the whole thing.

Naomi: I have friends who are active in that community here in San Francisco and there are meetings all over the place. A lot of them have been part of that community for many years and now they are the mentors and they are the speakers. I know they have meetings all over the city because they always tell me, "I'm going to go to this meeting here or I have to peak at this meeting here." Maybe if the one you didn't go to may not 100% resonate with you, there may be one somewhere else, I don't know.

Melinda: I know there's so many. I was just looking up the address of the one where I was going to and I was like, "Holy cow." There's a lot of options and that something ... Whether I pursue that route or not, that's something that is amazing to have that in person connection because right now everything that I've really done, has been online and I know very few people in my real life, day to day, especially being in the hospitality industry. You can imagine, every one I know drinks. It is a little isolating, you know.

Naomi: Let's go there, so how is that effecting you professionally?

Melinda: You know, I think that ... You and I have talked about this before. Just because of my health I feel like I'm very protective of not going out all the time and I try not to eat out in restaurants every day. I try to cook my own food and I feel best when I'm not having to rely on that kind of thing. I'm used to not going out and being the most social person in my profession.

I have to get my business done the way that I do it and I feel like I already had a background that way. I'll taste wine and spit it out with my customers, which that's sort of how we roll during the work day. Very few wine professionals are going to drive around with a bag full of wine in their car and drink their samples. That's not what you're supposed to do. If you taste and spit wine people are fine with that. Really these more formal wine, dinner situations, that sort of thing is where it gets a little awkward. Thankfully it's been fine, yeah. So far, it's been fine.

Naomi: That's cool. I know the work situations are when I have felt the most pressured even though I don't really feel pressured because I just tell people no. I know other people have felt the most pressured in work situations.

Melinda: I hear that a lot and I see that a lot. I see that in these online communities and I see how much pressure people feel, but you know Naomi, I think people like you and I, who have had to defend our food choices for so long, are so used to that. No, this is the way it has to be for me to feel my best, you know and I think when you come to a situation like a dinner or a client meeting with that kind of attitude. You don't make a big deal about it and you order your Pellegrino and that's that, then I think those situations go much more smoothly. It's when you make excuses and when you need to explain, that's when things start to get uncomfortable for other people.

Naomi: Yes and I found that if someone is just really pressuring and just not letting it go ... Most people are like, "Oh Cool, whatever." You're always going to encounter that one person who just will not let it go and I finally have come to the point where I just say, "Why do you care?" Then that usually just shuts them down and everyone else gets awkward but I'm like, "I didn't start making things awkward, that person did." Just by asking, "Why do you care?" Usually just stops it.

Melinda: Don't cross Naomi.

Naomi: Well, it's just, honestly, why do you care so much, why does it matter to you whether I have this drink or not? It shouldn't and on that note ... If someone is just listening to this and they have been thinking about it for a long time and they may be having a lot of the same fears that you had. What are some of your best advice that you could give to someone, in hind sight of what you just went through?

Melinda: I think it just involves sitting with yourself and really sitting with your feelings, which isn't something that I'm always the best at. Deciding how do you want to live your life? What's going to make you feel your best? Are you doing things for other people instead of for yourself? Just knowing that there are all of these resources and a ton of support out there, should you choose to go in that direction.

There's nothing to say that you can't be sober curious. Maybe you just are somebody that only drinks on special occasions or you want to just make more space between your drinking days, that kind of thing. I think there is a lot of people out there that are choosing that way. Let's face it, alcohol is not good for you. We can make all the excuses in the world, but at the end of the day, it's not good for you.

Naomi: As you're saying that I'm thinking about the same parallels with sugar.

Melinda: Yeah.

Naomi: I have had some people, some past clients, some family members, some friends ask me, "So, do you just not eat sugar at all anymore?" I say, "No, I eat sugar." I don't eat a lot of the more traditional things people eat when they think of sugar. I 100%, as much as possible, always stay gluten-free just because I know how my body reacts to gluten and it is not good. I think I might have had some twice last week inadvertently in social situations ... Felt awful, could barely drive home, was laying on the couch for hours after that. You kind of have to make a choice. Am I going to give power to this one thing. Is it worth it for me to feel crappy because this one thing has so much power over me.

So, I think there's a lot of parallel between what you said and having sugar. I talk about sugar because I'm a 21-Day Sugar Detox Coach, but no I have sugar. I will have the occasional Paleo treat. I have my Pressed Juicery Freezes, which are not added sugar, they're fruit. They're dates and they're mango and other fruits that are frozen, but they don't have added sugar. I will have chocolate, but I will have mostly dark chocolate and actually don't like milk chocolate. I do things a lot more mindfully and I do things by choice, not because they are ... Not having my same things every day just because it's out of a habit. It's more of a choice and it's a mindful choice.

Melinda: Yeah. I think it's interesting. They're definitely tied together. They're like that ... Sugar and alcohol, they're like the same part of our craving.

Naomi: For some people it's cheese. They just can't give up cheese and I'm the same way. I love cheese too, but dairy upsets my stomach and it makes me break out, so if that happens to you to, have the cheese but understand it's going to cause this so it's an intentional choice.

Melinda: Right. I do think that with alcohol specifically, there are people that are able to moderate and there are people that have tried moderation again and again and again and it hasn't worked for them. To some extent, I do relate to that. Even if I was like, "Oh, I'm only going to have one drink." I would still want to have more. Maybe that's for sugar.

Naomi: Are you an abstainer? You know Gretchen Rubin, Abstainer versus Moderator. I am too.

Melinda: Totally an Abstainer.

Naomi: Obviously, you have been seeing my Instagram stories. I have been totally addicted to Pressed Juicery Freezes.

Melinda: It looks so good.

Naomi: It's like 90 degrees in the Bay Area and that's the equivalent to triple digits everywhere else and that's what I gravitate to. I either am going to habit or not have it at all and this is what happens when I habit.

Melinda: I told my husband that we're driving to the strip just to get this Pressed Juicery thing. We're going to make a date.

Naomi: It's worth it. I drive all the way down to Stanford and Palo Alto, which is like 15-20 minutes away from me, just to get it.

Melinda: Oh my gosh.

Naomi: Alright, anything else you want to add? This has been super insightful and I think-

Melinda: No I think ... Maybe we could just include some of those resources that we talked about, for everybody to check out just because they've been so helpful to me.

Naomi: Yeah, why don't you name them and then I'll include links to them in the show notes if you can send those to me.

Melinda: Okay. Hip Sobriety, which is Holly Whitaker's program, Hip Sobriety school. Then Jolene Park is the functional nutritionist and she started this online community, it's called Nourish Your Cravings, a community for former gray area drinkers. That's just really amazing if you want to look at things from more of a nutrition and somatic approach. I would say definitely check out Kundalini yoga as well as your regular yoga classes. Kundalini is more of a yoga practice that's based in meditation and mantra and these really specific exercises called Kriya's that will help you specifically with things life addiction and cravings.

Naomi: I think Gabby Bernstein talks about Kundalini yoga a lot.

Melinda: Yes, she does. I did Gabby Bernstein's May Cause Miracles right at the beginning of all this and that was really helpful for me. Having a physical tool kit is also something that's also really helpful right at the beginning. An actual bag of tracks.

Naomi: What's in your bag of tricks?

Melinda: My favorite tea and some essential oils and maybe a little journal to write in and some Beautycounter lipstick and hand lotion and all of those things that you can actually ... Like having a security blanket basically, walking around with it, is really, really nice.

Naomi: I love that.

Melinda: Which maybe, we all need. Maybe everyone needs a took kit to go out into the world.

Naomi: That's an idea.

Melinda: Yes. Maybe having a husband that can make you really fancy zero proof cocktails. That's been really helpful for me too.

Naomi: You share all of these things on your Instagram?

Melinda: I do.

Naomi: So, we will ink to that as well.

Melinda: Okay.

Naomi: Thank you so much for being a two-timer.

Melinda: Oh, you're welcome. This was a good conversation. It's the first time I have really talked about all this, so it's good.

Naomi: Well, I hope you continue to talk about it more, wink, wink.

Melinda: Okay, I will.

Naomi: Thank you for just opening up and being vulnerable and sharing your story.

Melinda: Thanks Naomi.


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Naomi Nakamura is a certified Holistic Health Coach who takes a holistic approach through functional nutrition. Through her weekly show, The Live FAB Live Podcast, coaching programs, and safer skincare solutions, she helps people with acne and other chronic skin issues clear up their skin by teaching them where food meets physiology and how food, gut health, stress, and toxins are intricately connected to the health and appearance of our skin. Naomi resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and can often be found romping around the city with her puppy girl, Coco Pop! Connect with Naomi at: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest.