Plant-Based Lifestyle, Mental Wellbeing, And Chronic Illness With Gigi Robinson

By Anika Nayak

Gigi Robinson is a content creator, social media strategist, and designer based in New York City. As a child, she was diagnosed with Dysautonomia, Ehlers danlos syndrome (EDS), Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) and Mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), struggling with pain and flare-ups silently. Ever since her diagnosis, she’s been on a mission to build community and magnify the visibility of individuals living with chronic illness around the world. Nowadays, you can find her talking about invisible illnesses, mental health, and a plant-based lifestyle on TikTok @ItsGigiRobinson or Instagram @ItsGigiRobinson to her thousands of followers. 

She hopes by sharing her story, she will empower individuals to feel less alone and be their authentic selves. We caught up with Gigi about her inspiration to be a body confidence advocate, treating food as medicine, and how she’s practicing self-care during this pandemic. We hope her words will encourage you to positively influence others and love yourself unapologetically. 

Healthified Magazine: Thank you for speaking with us today. What inspired you to start building a community online for individuals with chronic illnesses?

Gigi Robinson: I felt like this kind of blossomed from my desire to gain more one-on-one connections with individuals experiencing chronic illness, specifically EDS. I started sharing my story on TikTok and Instagram with a lot of folks and began to get DMs from chronically ill individuals around the world who felt less alone after hearing about my journey. Knowing that I comforted somebody else by putting my story out there has motivated me to continue sharing my experiences. I also frequently mobilize followers on my platform to advocate for the disabled community to increase representation, making sure we feel seen and heard. 

HM: Wonderful, we also love how you share tips and recommendations for individuals newly diagnosed with an invisible illness. Tell us a little bit about your tips. 

Gigi: I would like to first acknowledge that every invisible illness is different, so what may work for one may not work for another. I think one of the most important things I would recommend would be finding a community or support network of people that you can talk to throughout this journey. It can get overwhelming at times, so I also recommend being honest with yourself about how you feel and reaching out to others for help if you need it. 

HM: Let’s talk about diet and a plant-based lifestyle. How have you been eating during this pandemic? 

Gigi: I have been eating mostly plant-based, because I find that it’s a diet that works for me and is nourishing for my body. However, there are occasional days I feel like eating dairy or seafood and that’s okay. I believe in intuitive eating, where I listen to my body and my hunger cravings. A lot of individuals with chronic illnesses have to stick to a specific diet for health reasons and I encourage them to accept the diet but not the diet culture. Instead of focusing on what foods you are restricting with your diet, focus on what you can eat. I would also encourage looking at the positive effects of your diet and for us, that means experiencing less pain and ultimately feeling good overall. Listen to your body and mind to find a balance that works for you and makes you feel satisfied. 

HM: What are some of your favorite plant-based meals?

Gigi: I love making smoothies with tons of fruits, vegetables, powder from dried leafy greens, and honey. 

HM: We love your work in encouraging healthy eating and empowering individuals to feel confident about their body image. What drove you to be a body confidence advocate?

Gigi: I have been doing photography for years –– it will always be a part of my life. During my sessions, I found out that the media industry would perpetuate the myth that models have to be a particular size, height, and weight. Seeing this issue firsthand inspired me to speak out and work towards shifting the narrative. Ultimately my goal is to make people feel more confident in their own skin. I strive to debunk popular myths and serve as an educational resource to spread awareness that anyone can be a model. 

HM: The media, particularly social media, can often provoke a lot of negativity and be emotionally draining, especially during this already tumultuous time. How do you recommend maintaining a healthy relationship with social media? 

Gigi: Establish a set of boundaries with social media, especially how much time you plan to spend each day. Then, identify what excites you and what upsets you. Stop following pages that are toxic and block content that is triggering. Stick to pages that make you happy and align with your personal values. 

HM: What are some things you have been doing during this pandemic to feel good and take care of yourself?

Gigi: I have been engaging in a lot of self-care rituals every day. Some things I really enjoy doing are: going on long walks with my dog, doing my hair and makeup (even for days where I don’t go anywhere), and building community with individuals online. Taking some time each day to do what makes you feel happy will definitely improve your mental health and wellbeing.