Today I want to share my friend Melanie Angelis’ new book The Grecian Garden: A Natural Path to Wellness. Melanie’s book is both her own personal story and a guide to natural healing. She shares the strategies that have worked for her and her clients. Melanie is a holistic health and integrative and functional nutrition therapy practitioner. In simpler terms, that means she focuses on what we take into our bodies—water and food, primarily—and how we treat our bodies through exercise, and more.
How I Met Melanie
Melanie and I met almost 6 years ago through our blogs. She left a sweet comment in which she confessed that she’d been reading gfe for a while. I was happy to meet another gluten-free, real food advocate. I loved seeing her posts sharing her real food meals and her delicious, but simple recipes. I also appreciated her positive approach to life and her common sense regarding eating healthy whole foods and living well.
Not too long after her first comment, she left another comment telling me that she had made my Best Ever Pumpkin Pie substituting delicata squash puree for the pumpkin puree and using coconut sugar as the sweetener. She made my day when she shared that the results were “fabulous”!
Later she made another recipe featured it on gfe for her grandmother’s 85th birthday, Gluten-Free Homemaker’s Angel Food Cake. She commented that everyone loved Linda’s cake and that they simply couldn’t believe that it was gluten free. She said that folks had actually been raving over it for days. There’s nothing like that kind of feedback from gluten-full folks, so I really appreciated Melanie sharing it and was thrilled that a recipe featured on gfe had made Melanie’s family celebration all the more special.
One of the very best gifts of blogging is meeting fabulous folks like Melanie and sharing a love of good food and recipes! Note that while I’d love to also share some of Melanie’s recipes, they’re not yet available on her new website.
About The Grecian Garden: A Natural Path to Wellness and Melanie’s Story
I was excited when Melanie announced that she was working on a book and was thrilled to receive a complimentary copy from her. I’ve read Melanie’s book twice now. I first read it while camping earlier this summer. It was a quick read—enjoyable and educational. Then I read it one more time before writing this review. I’ve actually “dog eared” over a dozen pages in my copy.
If you’re a longtime gfe reader, you know how I feel about the power of personal stories. They hold power in that they often help up recognize our own symptoms of medical issues, particularly when we’re talking about celiac/non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). Such stories also show us that we’re not alone and that there can be a diagnosis (or several) and, most importantly, healing.
From the beginning, I was captivated by Melanie’s personal story—both by the seriousness of the health issues that she faced and healed and by her subsequent commitment to helping others heal.
When Melanie was a senior in college, she was diagnosed with a heart condition. I don’t want to share any more of her story as that’s for her to tell and she does that in her book. Her recovery story is fascinating and eye opening.
I appreciate the honesty and common sense that Melanie demonstrates in her book. There’s one section where she talks about “miracle cures.” She says:
“I’m not saying it’s wrong to use prescription drugs, have surgery, or try acupuncture, but every point on the continuum could be compromised by quackery. Get suspicious when it just seems too good to be true. Depending on the situation, I find myself between lab work and alternative medicine, taking what’s best from both sides.”
Melanie makes such an important point. Let’s face it, traditional medicine and physicians (also known as allopathic medicine and physicians) have let many of us down. I’m talking about the fact that most of us with celiac/non-celiac gluten sensitivity went years before we received the correct medical diagnosis. In some cases, we gave up on finding answers through the traditional channels and diagnosed ourselves as celiac/non-celiac gluten sensitive and embarked on a gluten-free diet on our own. Some of us have experienced the same when it came to other associated illnesses, such as thyroid conditions.
Because of our negative experiences, we might have a tendency to abandon traditional medicine altogether and go completely alternative or functional medicine. However, as Melanie emphasizes we always need to do our research and listen to our bodies. In fact, I’d say that after sharing her own story and various methods of healing, that’s Melanie’s most important message in her book. She says:
“We must learn our own bodies.”
Learning our own bodies can seem like a very nebulous concept at best when we are at the beginning of our health journeys. For most of us, our bodies are “screaming” at us when we start our journeys and we are incredibly overwhelmed. As Melanie states in her book, “When I was sick, it was a real struggle to even make a decision of where to turn next.” But as we peel the layers of the onion, so to speak, and see our past symptoms and health issues reduced or even eliminated as we start healing, we can become much more attuned to our bodies and what does and doesn’t work for us.
The Grecian Garden also addresses the emotional and spiritual parts of healing. Of course, many consider those aspects and any alternative therapies in general to fit the “woo-woo medicine” category. However, I think that most of us will agree that such healing journeys can be very emotional, and turning to our spiritual side can definitely provide much-needed support.
Melanie’s book is such a compelling personal story of healing, but it’s also an excellent reference book for the holistic and alternative therapies available—some of which are just plain common sense approaches to wellness.
Check Out Melanie’s Book and Follow Her Online
Take a look at The Grecian Garden: A Path to Wellness. If you want to get more of a feel for Melanie’s book, be sure to use Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature, which you can access by clicking on the image of Melanie’s book.
Melanie co-hosts The Nourishing Podcast with Emily of The Nourishing Mama. I was honored to be a guest on their podcast last year. You can find all the podcasts on Melanie’s website under the Podcasts tab.
Originally published October 28, 2016; updated December 14, 2020.