AIP Certified Coach Spotlight – Amanda Runnels

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Ever since our first cohort of coaches graduated from our AIP Certified Coach Practitioner Training Program, we’ve been watching with pride and excitement as they bring the AIP to the traditional healthcare landscape. Our AIP Certified Coach Spotlight features give you a look at what it means to be an AIP coach, and what you can expect when working with one as part of your healthcare team.

Amanda Runnels is a recent graduate of our AIP Certified Coach Practitioner Training Program and takes a holistic approach to AIP to help her clients make sustainable, long-term health improvements. As a mom, wife, blogger, and business owner, Amanda knows the struggle of integrating AIP into a busy lifestyle so she’s using her knowledge to help other busy folks do the same through approachable online programs. 

How did you become involved in the healthcare field in the beginning?

Like many coaches in the health and wellness space, I came to this field out of a need for more robust solutions to my own health challenges. Having gone decades without a path toward better health, I knew it was time to become an advocate for myself.

I personally struggled with undiagnosed Hashimoto’s, Raynaud’s Syndrome, PCOS and Pernicious Anemia for years (plus the side-issues that go with them, like IBD, Fibromyalgia, inflammatory arthritis and cognitive issues) before getting a handle on what was happening with my body. Symptoms started showing up as early as 7 or 8 years old, then in my early 20’s I suffered multiple miscarriages. It wasn’t until I took a more holistic, whole-food based approach to my health that I was able to feel relief and truly begin functioning at a higher capacity…better late than never!

What prompted you to use your skill set and training to specifically focus on serving the autoimmune disease population?

When I eventually found the right physician and received my own autoimmune diagnoses, it became clear very quickly that changes needed to happen to pursue my best health. While my doctor was able to provide a name for the problem, what he wasn’t able to provide was a real solution.

A friend of mine had recommended a new-at-the-time cookbook by none other than Mickey Trescott called The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook. Being the researcher I am, I took straight to the “interwebs” to find out all I could about this cookbook and the woman behind it. What I found was not just a dietary strategy for taking charge of my health, but a holistic approach that was empowering in all aspects of my life.

I jumped in with both feet, and within the first 6 weeks my doctors were quite literally astonished…and a little bit in disbelief! One of them even remarked “you’ll be back in another 6 weeks for pain meds”. Well I’m happy to report, I still haven’t had to go back for those pain meds some 5 years later!

That experience birthed in me a desire to educate and empower others with autoimmune disease. I enrolled in the NTP program at the Nutritional Therapy Association, then immediately enrolled in the AIP Certified Coach program as soon as it became available. I haven’t looked back since!

You recently became an AIP Certified Coach. Were there aspects of the program that you feel were particularly beneficial?

I’m something of a science mega-geek. Like, in the worst sense. I can rabbit trail down roads of research for hours if I’m not careful! So naturally, the science-backed approach that the AIP Certified Coach program offered really resonated with me. Of-course I was already thrilled with the results of following AIP personally and the “proof” of effectiveness I felt those results gave me, but the “proof is in the pudding” so to speak. For me, that “pudding” is the science.

What kinds of plans do you currently have for your practice? Anything exciting coming up?

Yes! I am currently developing an on-line group-coaching program to help busier-than-busy women integrate AIP into their current lifestyle. As a mom and wife who works a full-time job, operates a nutritional therapy practice, manages a blog and one other side business…I’ve learned a couple of things about keeping it real while keeping consistent. And I want to empower other crazy-busy women to do the same!

Can you share an autoimmune client success story?

I am constantly amazed at the little victories my clients experience. Really, they’re big victories that add up to huge results! I can’t tell you how great it is to have a client suddenly be able to have a bowel-movement on schedule who has struggled with constipation for years. It sounds silly, but that in and of itself is a miracle for some people struggling with autoimmunity!

Or clients whose chronic sinus infections and inflamed sinuses begin to resolve after years of struggling. In particular, one of my first clients is also my most memorable client for that reason; she is a beautiful, talented young opera singer and performer who had recently been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. As you know, where autoimmunity is, we also find inflammation, and one of the ways it presented for her was chronic sinus issues. She had a constant, thick mucous that coated her vocal cords. That, along with extreme fatigue and brain fog, made it impossible for her to sing and perform.

We focused heavily on digestion and gut healing, stress reduction and nutrient density. About 2 months into our working together, she began to see some resolution to those symptoms, and she was able to begin performing and singing again! In my mind, this is huge because I believe a cornerstone of true healing is being able to engage in the things we are most passionate about.

Where can our readers find you or learn about working with you?

My recipes and blogs are at Unrefined Junkie, and of course I like to be social! You can find me on Instagram at @unrefinedjunkie.

About Grace Heerman

Grace Heerman is a writer and website designer based in New York City. Through her business Said with Grace, she helps coaches clarify their message and create authentic websites that actually bring in business. Here at Autoimmune Wellness, Grace writes book reviews, manages blog content, and organizes Facebook publishing. She is an avid traveler and loves spending winters in Asia. You can connect with Grace and learn more about her writing and design work on her website, Said with Grace.


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