My story

Joanna Frankham

I’m your AIP Mentor and coach


AIP Mentor: knowledgeable, trustworthy and unpretentious adviser who keeps things real while providing ongoing support and guidance as you set goals and make sustainable changes that improve your health and happiness.

If you were to place your health on a continuum, your AIP Mentor would be the bridge between your doctor and your path to optimal health.

Hi, I’m Jo. I specialise in helping you to personalise your AIP way of life. We do this by making changes over time to help you really bed down nutrient-dense habits and rituals and routines, and crowd out the stuff that doesn’t serve you.

This health caper is most definitely a marathon rather than a sprint!

For over twenty years, I suffered from an undiagnosed chronic skin condition. I never talked about it because it made me feel ashamed. It was revolting and painful. It prevented me from being an active participant in my life.

It transpires that my issue was autoimmune in nature – and my skin condition that I never talked about had a name. Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS).

Just after my 40th birthday, when a blood test revealed scary-low Vitamin D levels, I reached a personal threshold. I’d had enough of disappointing experiences with doctors who didn’t listen and couldn’t give me answers, especially in response to my skin ‘stuff’.

I decided I needed to take more of a proactive role in my health.

So, after overhauling my medical team and much research and testing, I discovered that my experience of popping antibiotics in my childhood and teenage years did not serve me. I learnt that not only do I have a genetic predisposition to autoimmune issues, but my poor ability to manage stress and my negligent sleep habits <link> were affecting my health just as much as my diet. I had issues with methylation. The cause of my anxiety was a very common affliction known as Pyrrole disorder. Back then; I also had a parasite infection.

And, as a result of all of this ‘stuff’, my gut was in serious disrepair.

That was 10 years ago. Things look very different for me now.

I’ve learnt a lot about health over the past while. You could say I’ve made it my personal mission. And, I’ve knocked my chronic skin condition of over two decades into almost complete remission. I’ve done this by making my health a priority and using the Autoimmune Protocol as a framework. I’ve done this by committing to making consistent diet and lifestyle changes that work for me.

Sure. It hasn’t happened overnight. Nor has it been easy. Those changes mean I have changed my diet for the better. Nutrient density <link> is a central theme for how I approach my food decisions. They also mean I now cook more than I used to.

But, along the way, I learned it wasn’t really about the food.

It was all about making choices that serve me…

Small, incremental changes matter. I know from personal experience that it’s all about finding the right tools for you and creating the best new habits and rituals for you. Ones that fit your lifestyle.

Back when I started my health caper by making all those diet and lifestyle changes, I had no idea where it would lead. No idea that I would give up more than twenty years in corporate human resources to add to my degree in psychology and pursue more study for a change in career direction. No idea that I would work out that my two-plus decades of chronic skin issues would finally be identified as autoimmune. And, most of all, I had no idea it would be the catalyst for mentoring so many wonderful people from around the globe in personalising their diet and lifestyle choices.

In my previous life in strategic human resources, the bits of my role I loved more than anything were when I had the opportunity to make a difference to a person’s life by helping them navigate their world a little more clearly. I think many of us (including me!) are guilty of over-thinking things that go on in our own world.

One of my best things is the ability to work with people like you to unpack some of this confusion and create a clearer path.

Call it my special sauce.

I help you to transform your life by taking a look at what’s working for you now and making it better.

Some of that’s about food. Some of it is about looking at lifestyle factors that may need tweaking. But, most of all, it’s about finding individual solutions for you. Because we’re all different.

I’m passionate about helping you to live your best life – even if you’ve got a chronic disease (or two). I mentor people just like you to create new habits. Ones that fit your lifestyle in a way that serves you. Because you don’t have to navigate this AIP caper alone. Because it is so much easier when you can connect with others who are facing similar challenges.

That’s what inspires me to create programs and resources like these to support you:
  • AIP Reset is my 30-day ‘back to AIP basics’ intensive. It’s a month-long group program and is perfect for when you need to recalibrate your AIP efforts when you’ve strayed. We’ll help you (re)find your AIP groove.
  • AIP Mentorship is my membership group for women who seek the ongoing support and camaraderie of others navigating their own AIP way of life. It’s a #bloodyfabulous community where we connect as we each work on personalising our own health ‘stuff’.
  • One on One Mentorship is for when you need targeted help to personalise your AIP caper. We work together to really integrate healthy diet and lifestyle changes into your life.

I’m a New Zealander living in Sydney. It is fair to say Australians and New Zealanders speak a different kind of English to the rest of the world. We have lots of slang. And we speak quickly. And, since I’m a Kiwi (read: New Zealander) who has lived in Australia for 20 years, that means I double down on my funny speech patterns!

I know that can be a little confusing for you lot up there in the north on occasion.

So I prepared a bit of a dictionary of Jo-isms for you. Words or phrases that I use. A reference point, if you like; for when I say something that has you scratching your head.

It is true that I am a lover of words. I like playing with them. And, I also live with someone who enjoys playing with language. But I freely acknowledge that using words that you may not understand might be considered unhelpful, or even rude.

This is an introduction on how to speak Jo (if you are challenged by my turn of phrase)…

  • Bach – Short for bachelor pad, “baches” (pronounced batches) are an iconic part of New Zealand and refer to family holiday homes. They are usually small and humble dwellings near beaches or lakes. My parents have a bach a wee way out of Auckland. I can often be found spending the holidays there.
  • Bless your cotton socks – Used to express your affection for somebody because of something they have said or done. A phrase I use often on social media when I am touched by something someone has said.
  • Bloody fabulous (aka #bloodyfabulous) – An extreme degree of fabulousness. Apparently I use this expression with alarming frequency (hence the hashtag)
  • Box of fluffies (aka box of fluffy ducks) – From ‘a box of birds’; Used to express that everything is good. This is a particularly Kiwi expression.
  • Brain fart – A temporary mental lapse or failure to reason correctly. Especially common when suffering from brain fog. For me, brain farts typically occur when I am searching for an appropriate word.
  • Bugger! – A phrase used when something/anything goes wrong. A very common word in my neck of the woods.
  • Caper – Literally, to skip or dance about in a lively or playful way. In the context of AIP Mentor-speak, an alternative to the word ‘journey’ when referring to the wider AIP experience. I’m not a fan of ‘journey’ and try not to use it! e.g. “This AIP caper is a big beastie.
  • Chief beaks – A spoonerism of beef cheeks (one of our favourite ways to eat beef at my place).
  • Chicken – Literally, a play on the term ‘check-in’. When a New Zealander says, “check-in” it can sound suspiciously like they are saying, “chicken”! Most Friday mornings, you will catch me live on my Joanna Frankham Coaching Facebook page for a Friday Sunrise ‘Chicken’. It’s an opportunity to connect with AIPers from around the world, watch the sunrise by the beach here in Sydney, and chat about different aspects of the Autoimmune Protocol. I’d love you to join us!
  • GREASE – Grease is a portmanteau of the words GRACE and EASE. I like to set a daily intention. It helps me get my head in the right space for the day ahead. GREASE has become a favourite. You might even say #greaseistheword.
  • Idiot-proof – Literally, extremely easy to use. One of my ongoing goals is to share tools and strategies to help you idiot-proof your Autoimmune Protocol so that it is more easily integrated into your daily life.
  • J.A.F.A. – I hail from Auckland in New Zealand. As does about one-third of the population. That makes me just another Effing Aucklander.
  • Mooch – Loiter in a bored or listless manner; without purpose. e.g. “I have no plans for the weekend. I’m just going to mooch.”
  • Muppet – Incompetent idiot. No more words required!
  • No worries (also; no wuckers) An expression of forgiveness or reassurance. Synonym: No problem; forget about it; I can do it; Count me in
  • O for OARsome – A lot like awesome, but better! First coined when New Zealand boxer, David Tua, appeared on the television show ‘Celebrity Wheel of Fortune’ and asked for a vowel: “I’d like an O for oarsome.” One of my favourites.
  • Possum (not to be confused with Opossum) – A term of endearment. And, if you didn’t already know: possums and opossums are different animals. Opossums live in North America, while possums live in Australia and were introduced into New Zealand. Both animals are marsupials, but possums are more closely related to kangaroos. In Australia, they are a protected species. In New Zealand, they are considered vermin.
  • Shizzle – Used as a euphemism for ‘sh*t’ in various senses and phrases. Because I can’t say “sh*t in polite company. Or on the internet. Shizzle happens.
  • Shizzle Shoveller – A term coined by my friend and former business partner (the lovely Emma) for the tractor that often features in my Friday Sunrise ‘Chickens’ as it rakes the sand on the beach.
  • Smidge – A small amount of something.
  • ‘Stuff’ – An unspecified aggregate of matter; A matter to be considered; A group or scattering of miscellaneous things. In the context of AIP Mentor-speak, your health ‘stuff’ is all of the physical, psychological, and emotional symptoms you carry.
  • Sparrow’s fart – A time very early in the day; dawn.
  • That will rip your nightie! – In response to something unpleasant or bad happening.
  • Tiki tour – To go on a journey with no destination in mind, or to take the long way to reach a destination.
  • Wop-wops (In Australia, Woop Woop) – Known elsewhere as the backblocks or the boonies, it refers to a place in the middle of nowhere. For example, “He lives in the wop wops”.
Hey, thanks for sticking with me!

If you’d like more ‘Jo-factor’ in your life, why not come and join me on my weekly Facebook LIVE Friday morning sunrise ‘chickens’. It’s a chance to chew the fat on things health related while we watch a Sydney sunrise together. I’d love to see you!