Alexa Federico is the founder of GirlinHealing.com, a recipe and wellness site for the autoimmune community and the author of The Complete Guide to Crohn’s Disease & Ulcerative Colitis: A Road Map to Long-Term Healing. She is a Nutritional Therapy Consultant and AIP Certified Coach. She works with individuals 1:1 either remotely or in person who have autoimmune disease and other chronic illnesses, using a real foods lifestyle to help individuals improve their symptoms.When not working with her nutrition clients or cooking up new recipes, Alexa loves a good book, watching The Office, and spending hours in a coffee shop.
I caught up with Alexa and asked her a few questions that I thought you’d love to read!
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Alexa, please share a little about your personal health journey and the role that the autoimmune protocol has played.
When I was 12 years old, I started experiencing several different symptoms over the course of a few months. From GI symptoms, to joint pain, mouth sores, night sweats, fatigue, and more. I was underweight, malnourished, and very sick by the time I was diagnosed with moderate-to-severe Crohn’s disease.
I continued eating my regular diet, which was largely the Standard American Diet, because my doctors claimed food was not a factor. Although my parents always suspected we should be altering my diet, they didn’t know where to begin. After that first year I began a radically different protocol working with an unconventional doctor. The protocol was similar to AIP with some differences tailored to my needs. It has been 13 years since I was diagnosed and my diet and lifestyle continues to change as I change. However, I have been able to reintroduce a lot of foods because of the healing that has occurred.
What made you want to be a health coach?
It was disappointing and discouraging that the hospital caring for me gave little-to-no credit to diet in disease management. I had made a complete turnaround weeks after starting my new diet changes, and yet my doctor didn’t believe that this caused the improvement!
I knew that there were other people being diagnosed with IBD every day that were not being told the whole story. I grew more passionate for true healing as I kept discovering nuggets of unconventional wisdom. The pull to become a health coach was undeniable.
What certifications do you have and why did you choose that program?
I am a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) certified through the Nutritional Therapy Association. I started the program in 2017; one year after I had graduated college. I decided on the NTA because their stance on nutrition was closely aligned with the same principles that keep me healthy. With more research I learned that the NTA material was rooted in true science, not trend-based diets or a building a lean physique.
Towards the end of earning my NTP certification I enrolled in the Autoimmune Paleo coach program. When I heard that this new coaching program was created, I didn’t hesitate to sign up! This was a perfect program for me because I knew I wanted to work closely with clients who have autoimmune diseases, mostly IBD like myself. I wanted to learn more of the “why” behind the food eliminations so I could inform my clients better. I find people are more likely to stick to changes when they understand why they are doing it. Belonging to a niched group of health coaches who have a special interest in autoimmune health was a bonus.
Share a little more about your practice. How can my readers contact you to work with you?
Currently my practice is 100% online. My clients usually have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis and are interested in learning about how food affects how they feel. I work with people one-on-one and open enrollment for my group program, The IBD Healing Method several times a year. If anyone is interested in chatting about working together, they can email me at [email protected] or go to my website here.
What is your #1 tip that you give all of your clients?
My #1 tip for my clients is to move slowly and take small steps toward a healthier lifestyle if it seems overwhelming. Moving forward slowly is much better than not moving forward at all.
If you are a healthcare professional interested in this high-value certification, join my Healthcare Professionals e-mail list by clicking here (make sure to select the Healthcare Professional list and any other lists you’re interested in!). I will e-mail you with more information on how to become an AIP Certified Coach.