Ballerina – Stroke Survivor – Mother

Sarah Abrusley, Touro patient

Too many times one allows herself to be defined by what one does rather than what her spirit holds dear.  I look at the above facets of my life and feel such great accomplishment that I am proud to be identified in such a fashion!

I studied ballet, tap, and jazz dance with Ellen Hardeman for 15 years, and attended New Orleans Center for Creative Arts briefly before my matriculation at Boston University in 1995.  After studying with Boston Ballet and at The Gorny Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia, I graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in Russian and Eastern EuropeanSarah Abrusley, Touro patient, with husband and newborn Studies in 1999.  I returned to New Orleans and began a career in the Hotel and Tourism Industry, as well as a dancer with Loyola Ballet, Komenka Ethnic Dance and Music Ensemble, Ballet Hysell, Lula Elzy Dance Theatre, Jefferson Performing Arts Society, and the New Orleans Opera Association.  I have taught ballet at Boston University, Loyola University, Ellen Hardeman Dance Academy, New Orleans School of Ballet, and The Schramel Conservatory of Dance. I’ve performed all over the world as a dancer, in countries as varied as France (2 tours), Italy, Bulgaria (2 tours), and Poland.

Shortly after returning from touring Italy and Bulgaria with Komenka  Ethnic  Dance and Music Ensemble,  I suffered a massive hemorrhage in the right frontal lobe of my brain due to a cavernous  malformation,  at age 29.  My life was saved by the incredibly skilled hands of West Jefferson Medical Center’s renowned Dr. Frank Culicchia, who performed an emergency craniotomy.

Thankfully, when I suffered my stroke on September 7, 2007, I had already enjoyed a beautiful 26 years of dancing and had achieved so much as a ballerina and international character dancer.  I have translated my talents as a performer into a vocation as an inspirational speaker and spokes model, or as I call myself, “strokes model” for The American Heart and Stroke Association and as the Ambassador for Loyola Ballet, as well as an actor, appearing frequently with Moscow Nights US.

I am incredibly grateful to have suffered my stroke in 2007, as opposed to even 10 years earlier.  As scientists look back at all the discoveries made in the 1990’s, the so-called Decade of the Brain, one finding stands out as the most startling and, for many scientists, the most difficult to accept: people are not necessarily born with all the brain cells they will ever have.

In fact, from birth through late adolescence, the brain appears to add billions of new cells, literally constructing its circuits out of freshly made neurons as children and teenagers interact with their environments. In adulthood, the process of adding new cells slows down but does not stop. Mature circuits appear to be maintained by new cell growth well into old age. For decades, it was axiomatic that people were born with all the brain cells they would ever have. Unlike the bones, the skin, the blood vessels and other body parts, where cells divide throughout life to give rise to new cells, it was believed that the brain did not renew itself.

Although the Congressionally mandated ”Decade” produced many other discoveries, from ways to obtain images of fleeting thoughts inside a person’s head to new drugs for a wide variety of mental disorders, the finding that the brain develops and maintains itself by adding new cells is the most revolutionary.  As such, rehabilitation methods offered to stroke survivors are very different now than in 1997, for example. I work now on forming new connections from my brain to my left arm and leg, as opposed to solely strengthening my right side, which is an example of the old rehab philosophy.

Sarah Abrusley with son AlexiI always imagined that I would one day have children, but life as a performer and now stroke survivor had delayed my plans for a family, as had living in a perfectly located yet small apartment.  I began to feel a strong pull to mother hood in early 2011. At 33 years of age with so much of my stroke recovery achieved, purchasing a house and having a baby became my focus.  Who could expect that my incredible husband’s tendency to over-plan and be overly cautious would get in my way!  Never one to run from a challenge, I finally convinced my husband to buy a house in Lakeview in July 2012.  At the same time, I began to focus my efforts in occupational therapy with the incomparable Francine Bienvenu at Touro, on the essentials of caring for a baby. Working with a doll weighted and sized to simulate a real baby, I learned to change, clothe, feed and carry with one very strong right arm while relying on support from my weaker left arm.  Through these therapy efforts, I proved to Damien that physically, I was prepared to care for a child.

Damien remained fearful that he would shoulder much of the burden of caring for a baby until he and I spoke in early 2013 to an occupational therapy class devoted to parenting with physical challenges at LSU Health Sciences Center. The incredible stories of perseverance as parents that the other speakers shared finally convinced Damien that we were ready to become parents.    But now I was preparing to perform the role of the Fairy Godmother in Moscow Nights’ production of “Zolushka”, the Russian version of Cinderella with Moscow Nights US.  The show closed on April 9, 2013 and I became pregnant on May 6.

Damien and I were invited to speak on the same panel at LSU Health Sciences for the third time on January 21, 2014. In an extraordinary twist of fate, we could not appear because I was delivering Alexei, our son during the class!  We are going to speak again in September and will introduce the newest, handsomest member of “Team Abrusley” to a whole new class of Occupational Therapy Students!

This incredible journey from world-traveling dancer to half-paralyzed stroke survivor, to mother has been a stunning triumph.  It would not have been possible without my incredible support system as well as my own refusal to be limited in any fashion from living the life that I choose.  I promise to instill these values into my son Alexei Lanaux Abrusley.  He will learn from me, his mother, to always be a survivor and never a victim!  A great hope of mine is that Alexei will one day write an essay about me.

I am constantly amazed that caring for Alexei is much easier than I anticipated, even as my physical challenges continue to improve.  I compare these constant adjustments and transitions to weathering a winter in the Northeast.  As a Boston University alumna (College of Arts and Sciences ’99), I speak from experience when I say that it’s much easier to transition from chilly fall temperatures into a frigid winter because it happens so gradually.  I compare this to being the mother of a 1 year old baby.  He has grown so beautifully and naturally that caring for Alexei has been much easier than I ever could have imagined!  Thankfully, I’m very creative and thoughtful about my way of moving.  I use the right side of my body, particularly my hip more to support Alexei.  I am now able to hold my 23-ish lbs. 31-inch baby with both arms, thanks to the incredible efforts of Dr. Laborde of Orthopaedic Associates, and, of course my ongoing work at Touro’s Neuro Rehab Center.  Because I just turned 37, I hope to get pregnant again in May.  My husband Damien is also on board for a second child, although he remains true to his cautious nature and would like to wait a few months longer.  I know that we’ll find the way that is best for our family, and I look forward to my continuing adventure!

Homemade Ginger Ale

Julie Fortenberry, RD, LDN/LD

Ginger is almost a guarantee to help stop nausea in its tracks – try this delicious recipe for Homemade Ginger Ale! It’s delicious any time, but a perfect remedy when you (and your stomach) need a pick-me-up.

Homemade Ginger Ale

ginger aleIngredients:
4 cups water
2 cups sliced fresh ginger root (not necessary to peel)
2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp. honey
Sparkling mineral water or club soda

In a medium saucepan, combine water and ginger over high heat. Once boiling, lower heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for one hour. Remove lid and continue to simmer 30 more minutes. Take off heat and strain mixture to remove ginger. Stir in lemon and honey. Cool completely. This is your ginger syrup and can be saved for later use.

To make ginger ale, put a handful of ice into a glass. Add ¼ cup ginger syrup, and fill the rest of the glass with sparkling water. Enjoy!

Fortenberry, JulieJulie Fortenberry, RD, LDN/LD is a registered dietitian at Touro Infirmary. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Southern Mississippi. Julie believes that lifestyle changes and wholesome nutrition are obtainable, and brings real-life understanding to wellness and nutritional counseling.

Baby Food Basics!

Julie Fortenberry, RD, LDN

From the first newborn days to walking, there are many exciting milestones during a baby’s first year, including the introduction of food. Until a baby’s first birthday, breast milk or formula is baby’s primary source of nutrition. The introduction of solid foods lets babies explore new tastes, textures and temperatures, practice eating skills and learn to baby with spoonenjoy the social aspects of mealtime.

Introduction of solid foods is recommended around 6 months of age, and no earlier than 4 months. Follow your baby’s cues to know when he or she is ready:

  • Able to sit up well without assistance
  • Able to turn head to refuse the food your are offering
  • Develops a patterns of being hungry after the usual breast milk/formula feeding
  • Stares at you when you eat / grabs at your food
  • Can swallow pureed food, rather than spitting it out (“extrusion” reflex)

When your baby is showing signs of being ready for solids, consider making your own first foods. There are many benefits to making your own baby food; and with a little preparation – it’s easy, will save you money and doesn’t take much time!

Consider these benefits:

  • You know exactly what goes into the food you make / no preservatives or fillers
  • It’s more versatile:
  • Dilute with breast milk, formula or cooking liquid, thicken and leave more texture as baby ages
  • You can make your own combinations of a variety of foods.
  • There are no limitations when you make your own baby food.
  • By cooking batches and freezing food, you can make homemade baby food nearly as convenient and packaged foods

You’ll want to start with simple small amounts of fruit, vegetable or rice purees, introducing new flavors and combinations as baby grows. In the beginning, practice a gradual approach to introducing foods (no more than one new food every three days). This makes it easier to identify problem foods such as allergens or food intolerances.

A few homemade recipes to try once baby has mastered his/her first foods:

  • Pureed sweet potato and banana with cinnamon
  • Whipped cauliflower with (grass-fed) butter
  • Edamame and Yogurt Puree
  • Seasoned meets with herbs/spices, puree

Join Touro for Baby Food Making Class!
To learn more about when and how to introduce solids and making your own baby foods join Touro for Baby Food Making Class. Go to to register or call (504) 897-7319.

Get a Life (Style)!

Liz Cabrera, R.D., C.N.S.P.

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) which includes heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. Research shows that about 46% of CVD risk factors can be attributed to poor adherence to a healthy lifestyle. The American Heart Association ( and the CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, ( recommend:

  • heart health with nutrition and activitiesWorking with your healthcare team: Get a yearly checkup to identify conditions that put you at risk for CVD, such as diabetes and high blood pressure – conditions that can go unnoticed for too long
  • Maintaining a healthy weight to determine if your weight is in a healthy range, calculate your BMI
  • Increasing your activity to at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise. Individuals who are physically active have a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression and some cancers. As you grow older, staying active can help both your physical and mental health.
  • Eating healthy: You do not need to start with big changes in the way you and your family eats. Studies show that a meal plan rich in beneficial foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, low fat dairy and whole grains is associated with nearly 20% lower risk of CVD versus those who practiced none of these healthy eating behaviors.
  • Choosing a healthy eating plan that is right for you is key to a healthy lifestyle

Daily Ways to Eat for a Healthy Heart
Keeping tabs on the amount of food you eat can go long way-Use everyday objects as a guide when dishing up food.
A portion of lean protein = a deck of cards
A serving of nuts = a golf ball
A serving of whole grains =baseball

Divide your plate:
1/2 Fresh fruits and veggies
1/4 Lean protein
1/4 Whole grains

The top Heart Healthy Meal Plans include the following:

  • DASH ( Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)
  • TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Change)
  • American Heart Association
  • Mediterranean –Style

For more information on these meal plans, visit and

>>  Click here for hundreds of heart healthy recipes from Touro’s online health library.

Cabrera, LizLiz Cabrera, R.D., C.N.S.P., is the Lead Clinical Dietician for Touro Infirmary with over 25 years experience. Liz has advanced education and extensive experience in nutrition for a broad range of health conditions for which she provides nutrition support. Liz provides comprehensive nutrition care for inpatient and outpatient departments at Touro. In addition, Liz leads monthly healthy lifestyles community seminars and a nutrition after cancer cooking class.

Women and Heart Health

Viviana Falco, M.D.

Did you know that cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart attack take the life of one American woman every minute? That is almost 400,000 women per year, and kills more women each year than all forms of cancers combined. In fact, heart disease is the number one killer in Louisiana and America.

February is American Heart Month and it is important for women to understand that heart disease does not only impact men. Since heart disease is often silent and not easy togo red for women detect, it is essential to recognize key warning signs to reduce your risk and keep your heart healthy. Remember, it is never too late to change your habits.


  • Pain or discomfort in the center of the chest.
  • Vomiting, nausea and abdominal pain.
  • A sensation of fullness or squeezing.
  • Feeling unusually fatigued or weak.
  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath.
  • Pain, discomfort of numbness through the jaw, neck, back or arms.


  • Stop smoking.
  • Eat a heart healthy diet, low in saturated fats and salts, and high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Know and monitor your numbers: Blood pressure, cholesterol (total, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides) and blood sugar levels.
  • Get a restful sleep.
  • Manage chronic stress.


First and foremost, do not wait to get help! Women who experience one or more symptoms are urged to call 911 immediately and it is advised to chew an aspirin to help prevent further clotting.


No, heart disease can sneak up at any age. Women need to pay careful attention to heart disease risk factors at any age, and especially those with a family history of heart disease.

According to the American Heart Association, more than one in three women live with cardiovascular disease. The bright side is that the Go Red for women campaign is fighting to change that number. Learn more about prevention and how to live a heart healthy life at

Falco Head Shot 2 (2)Dr. Viviana Falco is a cardiologist with Touro’s Crescent City Cardiovascular Associates located on Prytania Street in Uptown New Orleans. Dr. Falco completed her undergraduate degree at the University of New Orleans and her medical degree at Louisiana State University Medical School. She is board certified in a number of imaging methods, including echocardiography, nuclear cardiology, and cardiac computed tomography (CT). In addition, she obtained level 2 certification in Cardiac Magnetic Resonance (CMR) Imaging from Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis. These imaging methods use a computer to create images of the heart as it is beating, allowing her to take a closer look at the heart and major blood vessels with little risk to her patients. Dr. Falco is also a member of the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography and the New Orleans Chapter of the Louisiana State Medical Society.

>> Click here for details on Dr. Falco’s practice.

Start Moving and Stay Moving with Arthritis

Monique Serpas, PT, DPT, OCS

As a physical therapist, I see a fair amount of people with arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a condition in which the healthy space in a joint diminishes. The cartilage, a natural shock absorber, has torn or thinned, and the joint becomes stiff and achy. Most people with arthritis have a hard time moving because of this stiffness and pain, and although people with arthritis tend to avoid moving due to the pain, movement is exactly what their achy joints need!

joggersInactivity is a risk factor for developing arthritis. Why is inactivity so bad for arthritis? Doesn’t less movement mean less “wear and tear?” In reality, inactivity causes cartilage to get thin and weak, increasing its risk of tearing and reducing its ability to be a natural shock absorber. Cartilage actually gets its nutrition from the pressure caused by weight-bearing activities. Arthritis causes movement to hurt, but movement is what actually will restore motion to the joint and help to prevent further deterioration to the joint’s cartilage. Movement is like the oil can for the tin man. It gets our joints’ natural lubricants moving and circulating. It helps to keep our cartilage healthy. Also, staying active keeps our muscles stronger so that they are supporting and stabilizing our joints as they should and helping to absorb shock so that our cartilage doesn’t take a beating. Objects at rest, tend to stay at rest. Bodies in motion tend to stay in motion. If you’re a physics geek, you’d know that Newton described this in his first law of motion, and I think it applies to arthritis as well. People who have arthritis and are inactive, tend to stay inactive. If you want to get moving and stay moving, start moving!

There are some simple things you can do to prevent and manage arthritis. Move the joints and stretch periodically during the day. Exercise. It doesn’t have to be anything too crazy or complicated. Simply, just start walking more. You can get a pedometer to keep track of how many steps you take in a day. If you’re healthy, shoot for 10,000 steps a day, however, research suggests that as little as 6,000 steps a day can reduce disability related to knee arthritis.1 This amounts to about an hour of walking, though it varies depending on your height and step length.2 The walking doesn’t have to be continuous either. It can be spread out over the course of the day. With a little extra walking here and there, you’ll be at 6,000 steps before you know it.

Although walking is a good start, in order to have a complete plan for preventing or managing arthritis, you should also incorporate strengthening and stretching. It’s a good rule to strengthen all of the muscles surrounding a joint to keep it supported and protected. When stretching, follow this same rule, or for a good whole body stretch, try yoga.

If you have arthritis or think you have arthritis, ask your doctor about physical therapy. A physical therapist will be able to give you a customized exercise plan to address a loss of strength, flexibility, or joint range of motion. Physical therapists also utilize hands-on techniques to improve the glide of the joint, to loosen the muscles around the joint, and to help manage the pain. Physical therapy can help you preserve your ability to function independently and to continue doing the things you love, all with less pain.

Monique Serpas, PT, DPT, OCS. is a physical therapist and board-certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist practicing at Touro Infirmary in New Orleans, LA. Monique realizes how difficult it can be to overcome an injury or manage a chronic condition and is focused on helping her clients achieve wellness through a physically active lifestyle. Monique treats orthopaedic, balance, and vestibular disorders using a combination of hands-on manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, and education. This enables patients to assist in their own recovery and injury prevention. Monique holds a Doctor of Physical Therapy from Concordia University Wisconsin (2008) and a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Louisiana State University (2004). She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), Louisiana Physical Therapy Association (LPTA), and the Orthopaedic and Neurology sections of the APTA.

1 Daniel K. White, Catrine Tudor-Locke, Yuqing Zhang, Roger Fielding, Michael LaValley, David T. Felson, K. Douglas Gross, Michael C. Nevitt, Cora E. Lewis, James Torner, Tuhina Neogi. Daily walking and the risk of incident functional limitation in knee OA: An observational study. Arthritis Care & Research, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/acr.22362
2 Tudor-Locke C, Craig CL, Aoyagi Y, et al. How many steps/day are enough? For older adults and special populations. The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2011;8:80. doi:10.1186/1479-5868-8-80.

Cervical Cancer: What You Need to Know

Joan Cheng, M.D.

What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. In the past, cervical cancer was considered one of the most serious cancers among women, but now there are ways to detect cervical pre-cancers and cancers early on thanks to effective screening tests (Pap and HPV test) and receiving a vaccine (Gardasil or Cervarix) that protects against the human cervical cancer awarenesspapillomavirus (HPV) infection.

Screening & Prevention:
A Pap test has been the traditional method to detect cervical abnormalities and allow for treatment before it develops into cancer. There is a newer test for women 30 years of age or older called the HPV test that finds the virus and helps determine if you are at higher risk for cervical cancer. The two vaccines that protect against most common strains of HPV include Gardasil and Cervarix. The vaccine is recommended for females starting at 11 – 12 years of age and up to 26 years old. Although the vaccine is expected to decrease cervical cancer rates, it is still important to get screened regularly.

Warning Signs and Symptoms:
Since most women do not experience any symptoms until the cancer has advanced, it is important to be aware of cervical cancer signs including excessive vaginal discharge, pelvic pain or bleeding during or after intercourse, after menopause or at unexpected points in the menstrual cycle. In most cases if caught early enough, treatment may only entail removing the cancer through a biopsy or surgery. However, in more extreme cases, women may need to have a hysterectomy to remove the entire uterus.

The good news is that cervical cancer is usually slow growing over the course of many years, deaths continue to decline by 2% a year and most of the more than 12,000 Americans diagnosed annually can be cured.

Cheng, JoanJoan Cheng, M.D. is a Gynecologic Oncologist with Crescent City Physicians, Inc., a subsidiary of Touro infirmary. Dr. Cheng attended Tulane Medical School and completed her residency at University of New York at Stony Brook. She then served her fellowship at University of Southern California. Dr. Cheng chose the specialty of Gynecologic Oncology because it represents a subspecialty in medicine that has the perfect blend of complex surgery and medical oncology, both of which SHE find fascinating and gratifying. And as a mother, wife, daughter and sister, Dr. Cheng connects well with the women she cares for.

>> Click here for details on Dr. Cheng’s practice.

Healthier Pregnancy Leads to Healthier Babies

Louis Paul du Treil, M.D.

Did you know that every 4 ½ minutes a baby is born with a birth defect in the United States? That’s an average of one out of every 33 babies born.  One in five infant deaths is due to birth defects, making birth defects a leading cause of infant mortality. Although not all birth defects can be prevented, steps can be taken to increase a woman’s chance of having a healthy baby. Encourage all pregnant women and those who may become pregnant to:

Reduce Birth DefectsPlan ahead:

  • Get as healthy as possible before becoming pregnant.
  • Get 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.

Avoid harmful substances:

  • Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking.
  • Be careful with harmful exposures at work and home.

Choose a healthy lifestyle:

  • Eat a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, and lean proteins.
  • Be physically active.
  • Work to get medical conditions like diabetes under control.

Talk to your doctor:

  • Get a medical checkup.
  • Discuss all medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
  • Talk about family history.

Learn more about prevention, detection, treatment and living with birth defects at and

Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby: Prenatal Nutrition & Wellness Class

Expecting mothers and partners are invited to Join Touro for our new Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby prenatal nutrition and wellness class to learn healthy lifestyle tips during pregnancy.

Go to to register.

Dutreil, LouisLouis Paul du Treil, M.D. is Director of Maternal and Child Health at Touro Infirmary and a practicing OB/GYN with Crescent City Physicians, Inc. He earned his B.S. from Loyola University and attended the Louisiana State University School of Medicine. Dr. du Treil completed his OB/GYN internship and residency at the University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

>> Click here for details on Dr. du Treil’s practice.

Rethinking Resolutions

Julie Fortenberry, RD, LDN

Do you recall the last five Januarys (or more) that you have resolved to lose 30 pounds, never eat sugar again or exercise 60 minutes each day? Only to experience frustration and defeat when February comes along and you decide thrown in the towel. Perhaps you set healthy mealunrealistic goals, didn’t feel motivated or simply didn’t care enough about your resolution to follow through with it after the “honeymoon phase” of the New Year.

Instead of swearing off certain foods completely or vowing to lose a certain amount of weight, make a promise this year to take better care of yourself in general. This could include a variety of things. Whatever you decide to be your cup of tea, do it for you and your future years not just because it is January 2015.

Try these few easy (and lasting) changes you can make to better yourself – not just on the scale!

Be aware of the foods you consume. Are you eating a variety? How does the food make you feel? When are you eating? Pay attention and see what naturally evolves. This is a step everyone must take before making beneficial changes in their lifestyle.

Eat real food at least once a day. This means fresh food vs. food from a box or package. Try to incorporate more fresh fruits, vegetables and salads into your daily meals.

Don’t underestimate the value of quality sleep, which is as important as eating well and exercising. If you are not sleeping, consult your physician to find out why. Sleep is essential.

exercise• Wellness is more than just exercise and eating healthy. Mental and emotional health are important aspects of our well-being that often get overlooked.

Do something just for you every day. Between work, family and other commitments, the majority of our time is spent taking care of others. Resolve to set aside “recharge” time for yourself every day to exercise, relax, reflect, cook a gourmet dinner, write in a journal, garden, walk your pet or do an activity that you enjoy.• Keep your mind sharp by taking time to learn new things. It’s easy to stay inside our comfort zones and do “the same old, same old.” Read an interesting article, discuss a new approach with a colleague or practice a new language. Opportunities for continual learning are endless!

Take yourself a little less seriously. Play with your children/grandchildren, laugh out loud, tell silly stories, smile at a stranger, enjoy the little moments. Learn to live for right now.

Learn more about making lasting health changes at Touro’s free monthly lING Well Seminars. To view upcoming dates and topics, visit

Fortenberry, JulieJulie Fortenberry is a registered dietitian at Touro Infirmary. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Southern Mississippi. Julie believes that lifestyle changes and wholesome nutrition are obtainable, and brings real-life understanding to wellness and nutritional counseling.