Follow the leader: Nutrition coach Aisling FitzGibbon

Nutrition coach Aisling FitzGibbon turned her health around by changing her eating habits, which started with a detox diet, writes Clodagh Finn.

Follow the leader: Nutrition coach Aisling FitzGibbon

Nutrition coach Aisling FitzGibbon turned her health around by changing her eating habits, which started with a detox diet, writes Clodagh Finn.

EVERYONE knows that its take a brave and foolhardy soul to consult Dr Google with a niggling symptom, but that does not mean the internet and healthcare should never mix.

Information technology has opened the way for a whole range of very worthwhile projects from science-driven medical-advice apps to the Skyping GP, who can now reach patients in areas that don’t have a full-time doctor.

When it comes to technology and healthcare, holistic nutrition coach and occupational therapist Aisling FitzGibbon has been more innovative than most. The 31-year-old conducts online consultations, writes a lively blog, runs a podcast with fiancé Richie Ros, and still finds time to host Aisling’s Holistic Health Show on YouTube.

Now, she is going even further and has just opened membership to an online health school that will offer health advice and encouragement to members.

For a monthly fee of €15.99, members will have access to a monthly masterclass on a chosen topic and be given weekly guidance and support on a private Facebook page. Each week, FitzGibbon will also run a live question-and-answer session.

“We learn so much from other people’s stories,” she tells Feelgood, explaining the benefits of developing a community of people with similar objectives.

She wants to create a space where people can focus on their health and lifestyle goals and achieve them by making slow, steady process.

“I am focusing entirely on the solutions that are there — they are all available and doable,” says the Tralee-based nutrition coach.

FitzGibbon is speaking from personal experience because her own health journey brought her from exhaustion and burnout back to full health with a combination of diet and lifestyle changes.

At 19, her mood plummeted and she felt so exhausted that she couldn’t get out of bed. A doctor said she was suffering from depression and, at first, FitzGibbon was relieved to take anti-depressants which allowed her to complete her BA in early childhood studies at UCC.

While studying for the degree, she discovered occupational therapy and went to Salford University in Manchester to study there. When she finished, aged 23, she felt totally burned out.

“My system was not in a good space. I thought that there must be a root cause and I set out to recover my physical body,” recalls FitzGibbon.

She went to a nutritionist in Devon and, after six months, felt so well that she decided to study nutrition herself to pass on what she had learned to others.

Her own recovery involved a detox diet — she eliminated gluten, dairy, and sugar — and building up her system with a range of vitamins and minerals. She also came off her medication, tapering off the dose.

She recalls the struggle but how, after making many changes, her system started to come back to life. Towards the final stages, she was advised to introduce flaxseed oil. “Within three or four days, it was like everything was back on line. ‘Wow,’ I said. ‘That was amazing.’ I was my own guinea pig. I never believed in any of that stuff. My mum was always touting the benefits of nutrition, but I felt I couldn’t believe in it.”

FitzGibbon own experience, however, proved that she was wrong and she set about studying nutrition (from 2011 to 2015) so that she could help others.

For a time, she actively campaigned against fluoride in water, but changed tack when she began to realise that you can’t impose change.

“You have to inspire people,” she says. Since 2015, she has been attempting to do just that and she hopes the new online school will help others to benefit from what she learned during her own recovery process.

People already come to her with a range of issues, from adrenal fatigue to emotional and physical burnout. “Their lifestyle is a mismatch to their biology,” says FitzGibbon, explaining that she helps them redesign their diet, lifestyle, and self-care routine by suggesting a series of small, achievable steps.

“I’m not a health guru. I just want to be able to pass on tools and techniques so that people can become their own health experts.”

Enrolment to the ‘Energy is your Currency’ online health school is open until February 7.

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