I met Tia in the online AIP community on Instagram. Give her IG account @refined.health a follow! As well, check out her website Refined Health. Here you will find gorgeous, decadent (but healthy!), allergen-free treats, many of which are AIP compliant!
Now let's learn a little about her...
To start, tell us a bit about yourself.
-Hi, my name is Tia. I'm 27 and from South Wales in the UK. I am a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Advisor by trade, and funnily my hobbies are exercise and cooking. I am very passionate about health and fitness, even before I started my gut healing journey. I am outgoing and confident, but quiet and reserved at the same time. I like my own space and enjoy relaxing by myself, but nothing beats a catch up with a good friend.
How long have you been following the Autoimmune Protocol, and what prompted you to try it?
-I started gut healing March 2016 by cutting out main gut irritants. Then I tried the GAPS intro diet for 4 weeks. Which made me realize I couldn't tolerate fermented foods, bone broth or ghee. This left me with meat and vegetables. I continued to research gut healing protocols and came across AIP. After reading the protocol, I realised I was already doing it but in a much more limited way. I started to introduce more foods and was feeling great! However, a bout of stress set me back and I had to cut some foods out again. I made a detour with my diet and ate raw vegan for 5 weeks. I became even more unwell. I was feeling very down that I couldn't find what worked best for me. After chatting with a friend who is also following AIP, I supplemented with digestive enzymes and found a lot of my gut issues disappeared and I was able to get back to AIP. I have never felt better about my diet and in control of my symptoms.
The reason I started gut healing this year was that I have been dealing with ill health most of my life. Without diagnosis or help to get better. I have been diagnosed with IBS, depression, the onset of arthritis, and H.pylori. I have been called a hypochondriac by many doctors which is very sad when dealing with so many symptoms. (Such as: Rosacea, dizziness, blurred vision, tinnitus, pressure headaches, nausea, acid reflux, chest pain, abdominal pains & bloating, diarehhea, constipation, excessive thirst & urination, numbness & tingling in hands, feet & face, joint & muscle pain, stress, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, multiple food intolerances, gluten sensitivity, cold hands and & feet, sensitivity to chemicals & temperature, and insomnia.)
What have you found most challenging about following the Autoimmune Protocol? What helped you to overcome the challenge?
-The most challenging aspect would be watching other people eat any food they like wherever they like. AIP requires a lot of thought and preparation in advance. I don't feel so bad about it now. I just remind myself of how I used to feel and how much better I feel now. Also, AIP is not forever; only while I heal my body.
Other than food, what aspect of AIP living have you found to have the biggest impact on your health?
-Incorporating ways to reduce stress and self care. I have always been a person to work hard non-stop with no rest or relaxation time. I didn't realize how important it is to have time out from life and relax the body. I notice symptoms start to appear if I haven't been managing my stress or relaxation.
Share 1 thing you wish you had known when you started the Autoimmune Protocol.
-I wish I had known about all the great AIP bloggers as there are sooooo many recipes out there. I feel less restricted with food now than I did before I started.
What rewarding results have you seen from following AIP?
-My health has dramatically improved. I have hardly any symptoms left. I have also been able to introduce many foods that I have been intolerant to for years.
Do you have a favourite AIP resource?
-Instagram! I have met so many lovely people there who have given me support and recipe ideas. It has helped me so much!
Share one of your favourite recipes with us.
What are your top 3 AIP pantry items?
-Coconut butter (I love it!), Himalayan salt (great to season everything), and cold pressed extra virgin olive oil (tastes amazing on veg or salad).
Now's your chance, share one AIP related pet-peeve with us.
-Eeek! Just one? Haha! There's many. Number 1 would be being looked at like a crazy person when you try to describe AIP and why you are doing it, with a response of 'its just a fad'. The problem is most of our symptoms are invisible. Meaning that everyone that knows me thinks I am a fit and healthy personal trainer; I am far from that at the moment.
Do you have any advice for eating out while following the Autoimmune Protocol?
-I still struggle with this myself, as I don't have confidence about being taken seriously by staff or chef, and about them not following my requirements 100%. However, I have eaten out a few times. I ordered a grass fed steak or fresh caught white fish and asked for only veg with nothing added. Yes, it's a bit boring but at least I got to eat in a restaurant. If I'm honest, it was quite similar when I was only gluten and dairy free.
Stress management is key to seeing healing while following the Autoimmune Protocol. What methods do you use to de-stress?
-I make sure I get 8-9 hours sleep each night. I take regular Epsom salt and essential oil baths. I practice yoga and meditation. I go for beach walks when the feeling of stress is creeping in. I listen to classical music, as I have always loved the calm it brings, and I take time out from life in my pj's with a herbal tea often
Thank you, Tia! What a refreshing and positive look at using the Autoimmune Protocol!
Thank you all for learning a bit about, and from, this lovely lady with me! Please scroll down to leave your comments!
Stay tuned, more AIP Spotlight interviews will be hitting the blog shortly.
Other articles in this series:
The Emancipated Epicure, Bethany. I'm a Foodie & Autoimmune Warrior who loves to cook. Working at healing with the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol.
Looking for something? All recipes & articles are categorized in the Index.