Stiana is a functional medicine nutritionist and she specialises in helping women improve their thyroid, digestive and immune function so that they can start living their lives with renewed vitality. After a personal journey with Hashimoto’s, it has given her a unique insight into the challenges that women with hypothyroidism have to face on a day to day basis. She can help people get to the root causes of their ongoing and unresolved symptoms so that they can be improved naturally.
So, without further ado, lets hand over to Stiana who answered some fun nutritional questions for us!
Over ten years ago, shortly after the birth of our second child, my life literally changed overnight. I went from being fairly healthy to being housebound and eventually needing a wheelchair for outings. It took a long time for the doctors to establish the cause of my chronic symptoms and despite finally receiving a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, I felt helpless and completely unsure how to get my health back. I had dreamt of being a mum and was blessed with two beautiful children, but sadly I was riddled with pain and severe fatigue, which resulted in me having to spend hours in bed each day. I felt completely robbed of this precious time with my kids and family, but I knew deep inside there had to be a way to get better.
I tried various different approaches but found that by working with an osteopath and focussing on nutrition were the single biggest factors that initially supported me. Whilst my health improved significantly, I was still nowhere near where I wanted to be and I knew the only option for me was to go and study the science of food and its application as medicine. I spent three years studying with the College of Naturopathic Medicine, but I still felt I wanted to learn more. I have since completed the Applied Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice with the Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM) and continue to study to become board certified with the IFM.
It was through studying that I realised that a significant part of my health jigsaw had been missed and that the diagnosis I received wasn’t completely accurate. It turned out that I had Hashimoto’s Disease all along (an autoimmune disease affecting the thyroid) and whilst the Fibromyalgia was definitely present, it wasn’t the only battle I was fighting. Fortunately, the knowledge I have gained along the way has enabled me to get my health back so that I can again enjoy life and fulfil my dreams. There really isn’t a day where I am not grateful for this amazing journey that now enables me to empower women from all around the world to use nutrition and functional medicine to transform their health and lives.
There are so many amazing parts of my job, but I think the ultimate highlight is to be part of another amazing human being’s journey and to watch them transform from being ill and unhappy to being healthy, happy and thriving. It is a blessing and one I never take for granted. I get to work with the most amazing human beings who are committed to get results and to transform their lives, which I find incredibly inspiring.
I also really love the fact that I get to work with so many different individuals, which can actually make my job quite challenging at times, but at the same time is testament that there is definitely no one-size fits all treatment when it comes to our bodies and health. I love to learn, which is a good thing as nutritional science is a pretty new field of science, which means that we are constantly learning something new about the gut and especially the microbiome, immune system, gut-brain axis, hormones, thyroid, mitochondria and more. I have had to take a few U-turns over the years as science unfolded new information, but fortunately we are starting to gain a deeper understanding of the power of food and the connection that this has with the body and the mind.
Gosh, this is a tricky question. Eat 5-7 portions of vegetables each day!
Over and above this, I think it is REALLY important that people stay away from fad diets and find the diet that is right for them. Each of us require different food to create optimal functioning. Some might require higher carbohydrates, other higher fat and other higher protein. The key is to listen to your body! You know your body better than anyone else and the signs and symptoms you get from your body never lies. When something doesn’t agree with you, don’t eat it or drink it.
If you feel tired, don’t push through and over exercise and always prioritise your sleep (it’s the time your body heals). You have one body, treat it with respect, nourish it with wholesome food that’s right for you and engage in healthy thoughts. After all this is your vehicle for life, don’t be afraid to invest in your health, it is the biggest and best investment you can make for optimal mental and physical wellbeing.
I am a little competitive! But at least I get it out of my system once a week on the netball court. In the same breath I also like to get crafty with my crochet hook and macrame.
That fat is bad for you. We all need good levels of healthy fat in our diet, especially women. Hormones are made from fat and we have seen so many hormone problems emerge since women have been encouraged to go on a low-fat diet. I see such transformation in women when they start to include good quality healthy fats, such as full fat natural yoghurt, oily fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil and coconut oil back into their diets. Don’t fall for it! Instead, cut the processed foods, sugar and artificial sweeteners, but don’t skimp on good quality fats.
Seriously? I love them all!
If I had to choose one juice, I would say, King Kale as it is a powerful alkalising blend of super greens that supports both phase 1 and phase 2 of the detoxification pathways in the liver and can therefore help the body to eliminate toxins, something we all need to be doing much more of on a daily basis. I also love that it can help target inflammation, whilst protecting and energising my body.
A huge thank you to Stiana for taking the time to answer these questions, and welcome to Team B.fresh! Read more about Stiana and her work as a nutritionist here. I’m sure you will be seeing a lot more from Stiana on our blog and social media so watch this space…
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