WHO I AM :
I am a 41 year old Cardiovascular Physiologist, and Certified Health, Life & Nutrition Coach, who was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. As a former cheerleader for the NFL Saints, you might say I'm a 'Who Dat' fan! I love to travel, dance, read, spend time with my dogs, play the piano, and I LOVE the beach. I've been a certified Zumba instructor for five years and an Acroyoga instructor for two years. I am a recovering anorexic and bulimic; November 2018 will mark 12 years in recovery! Needless to say, I had an extremely unhealthy relationship with food for most of my life. Now, food is my friend, it is the nourishment for my mind, body, and soul. And when I'm sick (which I can't remember the last time I was), it's my "go-to" medicine.
I am at my absolute happiest when I am helping others; whether that's helping them to change their lifestyle, lose unwanted weight, reverse their disease, offering hope to those still suffering in the grips of addiction, or encouraging those who are on their journey to becoming the healthiest version of themselves. I had such a blast cheering in the NFL, and now I want to be YOUR biggest cheerleader!
MY COMMITMENT TO YOU:
To deliver ONLY unbiased, scientifically proven, evidence-based data. Everything I say and recommend comes from evidence based research. I approach all studies under the assumption that they are wrong until proven right. Some of the things I look for are:
- how well the study was designed
- the clinical relevance of the primary and secondary outcomes
- statistical analysis
- was the study conducted over a long enough period of time to derive clinically meaningful results
- were the results reported in absolute terms vs relative terms; this is a tactic used by industries when their study results are not nearly as attractive as they were hoping for. They will report results in relative terms vs absolute terms. The only results relevant to us are the absolute terms!
- who funded the study, does this create bias
- are the researchers financially driven by industry. In other words…were they being paid by the industry whose product they set out to prove superior to others.
I have an undying PASSION to educate the public about:
- How to regain your health without the misery of willpower - that doesn't work!
- How to live a life you fall in love with every day!
- How to achieve a body you are proud of when you look in the mirror.
- How powerful the right foods can be in halting and reversing chronic/lifestyle diseases.
- Farm over Pharma - it is absolutely possible for you to reduce your medications or stop taking them altogether. (Disclaimer - never discontinue any medications without first consulting with your Licensed Healthcare Provider).
- How to prevent and reverse diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, lupus, Crohn's disease, psoriasis, and many more.
- What the government, pharmaceutical and medical device industries, and big food corporations DON'T want you to know.
MY STORY :
I spent the first 5 years of my career out of graduate school working as the Chief Cardiopulmonary Physiologist and Program Director at St. Bernard Cardiopulmonary Rehab Center. You might ask, what the heck does that mean? I designed exercise rehabilitation programs for heart and lung disease patients. I worked predominately with senior citizens who soon became my second family. I absolutely adored my patients, every single one of them! They were so incredibly special to me and there’s nothing I wouldn’t have done for them. I am the person I am today because of the life lessons I learned from these very wise people. They will always have a special place in my heart.
I was devastated when I learned the physicians who owned the Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation center were being forced to close the clinic due to changes in Medicare reimbursement. They were losing money and therefore had to make the very difficult decision to shut down. My first thought was, ‘what were my patients going to do?’ ‘who was going to take care of them like I did?’ Then it dawned on me, in 2 weeks, I was going to be out of a job!
It was nothing short of a blessing (so I believed) when I was offered a position as a sales representative for one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. During my 9 years as a rep, I sold multiple medications to almost every type of specialist in multiple disease markets…men’s health, women’s health, ENT’s, pediatrics, internal medicine, endocrinology, and cardiology to name a few. Throughout my career as a rep, I believed WHOLE-HEARTEDLY that I was doing the right thing for patients. I couldn’t have promoted products I didn’t believe in because a salesman I was NOT. What I didn’t realize at the time was, I was being brainwashed by pharma. They did an EXCELLENT job convincing their reps we were “saving patient’s lives” by the work we did every day. It nauseates me to even think about it now. Let’s just say, I ONCE WAS BLIND, BUT NOW I SEE!
When I left big pharma, I went to work for a small, private company that specializes in cardiovascular genomics, specifically gene expression. My call points were primary care physicians and cardiologists. Again, I WHOLE-HEARTEDLY believed I was doing the right thing for patients by educating physicians on better ways to diagnose heart disease that didn’t involve exposing the patient to harmful radiation or unnecessary invasive procedures. Indeed this was much more in alignment with my morals both as a professional and as a human being. Then one day, I watched a DOCUMENTARY on Netflix that would change my life forever…'FORKS OVER KNIVES.' This led me to multiple nutrition conferences all over the U.S., including our capitol, Washington DC where I got to meet and speak with the President of the American College of Cardiology. I met Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Cleveland Clinic, T. Collin Campbell, PhD, Cornell University, Dr. Dean Ornish, who helped Clinton adopt a healthy diet after his bypass surgery, Dr. Neal Barnard, President of the Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine, and Pam Popper, PhD, CEO of The Wellness Forum. I became obsessed with researching and learning as much as I possibly could about nutrition and its role in disease reversal and disease prevention. Before I knew it, I was back in school to become a Certified Health Educator by The Wellness Forum, a Certified Health and Nutrition Coach by Health Coach Institute and eCornell University Center for Nutrition Studies.
Now that I knew beyond any shadow of a doubt, a proper diet could reverse coronary artery disease, I began asking cardiologists what they were doing to help patients change their lifestyle. I was flabbergasted when 99% of them told me they were doing NOTHING! I could have gotten angry, however I knew doctors received zero nutrition training in medical school, and in todays disease-care system, they don't have the time nor do they get reimbursed for educating patients on the importance of nutrition. What angered me most was that none of them believed in their patients’ ability to make lifestyle changes. They would tell me, “Vanessa, they aren’t going to change the way they eat so why even bother?” I EVEN HAD ONE CARDIOLOGIST TELL ME, “Seeing patients in clinic is boring, I’d much rather take people to the cath lab to do angiograms. Those are way more exciting.” In other words, people were having unnecessary, invasive procedures that didn’t come without risk and discomfort, as well as a 1% mortality rate! THIS WAS UNACCEPTABLE TO ME!!
The driving force behind what I do is to help people halt and reverse their chronic diseases so they can discontinue some, if not all of their meds, and have the quality life they deserve. I offer proven, scientifically-based health coaching programs, group and individual, to help people adopt new behaviors that are in alignment with their goals, and ultimately turn those behaviors into new, healthy habits that last a lifetime. I'm not talking about dieting, I'm talking about a complete lifestyle makeover! My passion, and my goal, is to help people lose weight and regain their health without diet pills, calorie counting or calorie restriction; to help people PREVENT AND REVERSE DISEASE using FOOD AS OUR MEDICINE. I do not sell supplements, magic potions, pills or powders because I believe your money is better spent at the farmers market or in the produce section of the supermarket. I want you to fall absolutely in love with every aspect of your life after working with me!