Confessions from a Former Big Pharma Rep – Vanessa’s Journey from Pill Pusher to Plant-Based Healer

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Vanessa Sardi Drug RepIt’s not everyday you meet an NFL cheerleader, unless you’re a professional football player. It’s even more rare that you meet an NFL cheerleader turned Big Pharma rep, unless maybe you’re a doctor or pharmacist. And it’s almost unheard of that you meet a former NFL cheerleader and Big Pharma rep who gave up the American lifestyle that people only dream of in order to heal patients using plants over pills.

Meet Vanessa Sardi – Former New Orleans Saint’s cheerleader and Big Pharma rep who said goodbye to a cushy, six-figure salary to help those in need end their battle with chronic disease(s). Vanessa does this using a grocery list, NOT a prescription list.

I was fortunate enough to meet Vanessa recently and asked her if she’d be willing to share her life-transforming story from pill pusher to plant-based healer. She graciously accepted, and so follows…

Confessions from a Former Drug Rep

Dustin: Vanessa, your story is amazing if I do say so myself. What was your childhood like? Were you raised on the Standard American Diet?

Vanessa: My childhood was amazing and yet plagued with trauma at the same time. I had two of the best, most loving parents in the world, and still do. I never once doubted their love for me. However, I had an extremely abusive grandmother growing up who completely distorted the meaning of love.

Both of my parents were entrepreneurs so my grandmother babysat me all the time. From the time I was born until 15 years of age, I endured physical, mental and emotional abuse, which would soon have a negative impact on my life going forward, and drastically change the relationship I had with food. In high school, I met a different side of me, the anorexic.

I was raised on the Standard American Diet (SAD). My mom wasn’t able to breast feed me because she developed cysts in each breast which were blocking the milk ducts. This was very painful for my mom and the doctor gave her shots to dry up all her milk. (I can’t help but wonder if those cysts were a result of her predominately animal-based diet.)

Mom tried five different baby formulas and said every one of them caused projectile vomiting. I was unable to digest any of them. Knowing what I know now about dairy, this all makes a ton of sense to me. My tiny body knew right away that stuff didn’t belong in my digestive tract!  Mom ended up putting me on one part condensed milk with 5 parts water. My favorite thing to drink, however, was apple juice.

Growing up, two of my most favorite things to eat were cheese (any kind) and chocolate! I suffered with severe constipation and painful earaches my entire childhood. Looking back now, I only ever got constipated after consumption of chocolate and cheese. My parents thought I was allergic to those two things. It wasn’t that I was allergic to cheese and chocolate, my body couldn’t handle the dairy. Today, we know for a fact that dairy is directly linked to constipation and ear infections in children.


Dustin: Tell us about your career aspirations as a young college student. What type of program did you attend, and what degrees did you graduate with?

Vanessa: I lost my beloved grandfather (my mom’s dad) when I was in the eighth grade. He died of heart disease just after he turned 60. He needed a heart transplant, and could have been put on the list. But Papa kept saying, “This is the heart God gave me when I was born, and this is the heart I am going to die with.” This devastated my mother and I. I was very close to my Papa. He was the most genuine, loving, caring man I knew. He tried so hard to take up for me when my grandmother would abuse me, but his heart was weak. I remember being terrified he’d have another heart attack just from that.

The moment I lost my Papa to heart disease, I vowed to spend the rest of my life helping other people with heart disease. I’ve kept that vow to this very day.

I started out as pre-med in college because I wanted to go to medical school for cardiology. I was so fascinated with the human body and its performance, I also got a degree in Sports Medicine and Exercise Physiology. In graduate school, I did several internships in cardiac rehab and fell in love with it. I got to help people, every day, feel better and enjoy life a little bit more. I got to interact with patients and build beautiful relationships. So I received a Master’s degree in Cardiovascular Physiology and was offered a position as Chief Cardiovascular Physiologist and Program Director at a Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Center in New Orleans (Chalmette specifically). I was so excited about this position, I put medical school on hold and accepted the job. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my entire life.


Vanessa Sardi SaintsationDustin: I see you were a former NFL cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints. What was that experience like, and how did it impact your life?

Vanessa: I was a “Saintsation” (Saints NFL Cheerleader) for six years. Those were some of the best times of my life. I became a cheerleader shortly after accepting the position as Chief Cardiopulmonary Physiologist in New Orleans. One of my favorite things about being a cheerleader in the NFL was sharing the experience with my patients. They got the biggest kick out of telling people their ‘cardiac therapist’ (as they lovingly called me) was an NFL Cheerleader. And what made them smile made me smile. John, one of my heart patients, used to carry around a wallet-sized picture of me in my Saints uniform and tell everyone I was his girlfriend. Those people were my heart!

During my time dancing in the NFL, I switched careers. Medicare changed reimbursement policies around cardiopulmonary rehab and the doctors that owned the clinic where I was working were forced to shut it down because they were losing money. This absolutely broke my heart because I couldn’t imagine a day without my patients, and soon, I was going to have to.

I always say there is no such thing as coincidences in this world. It was during lunch one day in March 2004 that I was told the doctors were closing the clinic. Later that same day, at 4:30 pm, I received a phone call from the District Manager of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world requesting a phone interview. Apparently a position opened up in New Orleans, and a friend of mine who was already working in pharma recommended me for the job. Long story short, after four interviews and a trip to Dallas to meet the Regional Vice President, I was offered the job.

I was determined to keep my two jobs, Saintsations and Pharma rep, completely separate. I didn’t want the two to mix. I never told any of the doctors I called on I was an NFL Cheerleader. I was so afraid of how they would perceive me…would they see me as a credible source of information, would they still treat me professionally? All these questions ran through my mind, and I decided to keep quiet about it. 

Vanessa Sardi New Orleans Saints CheerleaderThat didn’t last for very long because many doctors attend Saints games in the Superdome. And the news spread like wildfire because at the time, I was the only Saints Cheerleader who was also a pharmaceutical rep. Doctors who never talked to me before all of a sudden came running down the hallway towards the sample closet where I’d be stocking their shelves with drugs. I went from being just another pharma rep to local celebrity status over night. You may be thinking this was advantageous to my business, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. While it got me into most any office, getting the doctors to discuss medicine during football season was not an easy feat! Furthermore, I had to work that much harder to be viewed as a reputable source of information for my products. My number one priority when I got the position in pharmaceutical sales was to be seen as someone who provided value to all my customers; not just a pretty face. I did establish credibility and rapport, but it took a good year of going above and beyond to do so.

As rewarding and fun as it was being a Saintsation, it was also extremely stressful. Every year I had to audition all over again. And…once you make the team, the stress doesn’t end there! We had to audition for every game, praying we didn’t get cut. The year I was Line Captain, I was the one responsible for making cuts every game. Had I known that I would have to cut my friends from games, I would have never taken that position. But all in all, they were some of the best years of my life!


Dustin: You suffered from anorexia and bulimia before adopting a plant-based diet. How has your perception of food changed from that point in your life to now?

Vanessa: From 1990 – 2006, I suffered predominately with anorexia and exercise bulimia with bouts of binging and purging. I had the worst relationship with food. Food was the enemy! And if I succumbed to food, I either had to get rid of it, or do another hour of cardio at the gym.

I was an absolute SLAVE to calorie counting. I remember I used to have this notebook that was nothing but the addition and subtraction of calories on a daily basis. I would constantly add my intake of calories and subtract what I burned in the gym, on paper, at least a hundred times a day. And when I wasn’t writing it down, I was thinking about it in my head. I didn’t allow myself to go to bed unless I was in the negative. Once the final calorie count was made, I couldn’t eat anything. If I did, I had to go back to the gym to burn it off, or run up and down the outside stairwell if the gym was closed so people wouldn’t think I was crazy. It was sheer torture. With this disease also came perfectionism. Only A’s were acceptable. Getting a B on a test or exam was no different than failing in my mind. Somehow I managed to constantly add and subtract calories in my head, while studying enough to be a straight A student. I drove myself crazy. I was also on the dance team in college, so there was pressure to maintain a certain weight to stay on the team.

My perception of food today couldn’t be more polar opposite than it was when I was sick. I have an amazing relationship with food. I know it is nourishment for my body, mind and soul. My body is strong and healthy today thanks to a whole food, plant-based lifestyle. I know of no better medicine than that of whole, plant-based foods. I don’t even look at calories today because I trust my body to let me know when it’s hungry and when it’s full. Furthermore, I tell my clients not to even worry about calories. I don’t want them to stress over something that really has zero scientific meaning. Our body’s needs change on a minute to minute basis. And ultimately, your body gets the final say-so as to how many calories it needs at any given moment in time. To say we can possibly know what that number is, on a minute to minute basis, is absolutely ludicrous. How fortunate are we, that we don’t even have to worry about counting calories, especially when consuming the “right” calories!

Now that I’m fueling my body with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes, I’m operating a much more efficient machine. I’m learning to trust my body’s cues. I never thought in a million years I’d be able to do that. To understand hunger and fullness after starving myself for so many years is truly a blessing. Hunger was the enemy, and I would do anything I could to repress it. Today, I embrace it, without fear. And that, to me, is nothing short of a miracle.

Something else interesting happened when I switched to a whole food, plant-based lifestyle. What many people might not realize is, even if you’ve been in recovery for anorexia for ten years, you never fully stop having “anorexic thoughts”, or “fat thoughts.” For example, “Do you really want to eat that pizza Vanessa? You’re looking a little chunky today.” Or, “I can’t believe you ate that piece of pie. Good luck getting into your jeans tomorrow.” The thoughts do become less and less frequent, and the volume does get lower and lower, but they never fully go away. You just learn how to not identify with them anymore. We are not our thoughts, we are not our mind. We’re so much more, we are energy. 

After switching to a whole food, plant-based lifestyle, I noticed I stopped hearing the eating disorder thoughts! I’m not sure exactly when it happened, I just remember one day realizing it had been a while since I heard her (the anorexic). There really are no words to describe how peaceful it’s been not having to deal with those thoughts anymore! I won’t say they’re 100% gone, but pretty darn close. While I’m extremely science oriented, I really can’t explain this from a scientific standpoint. All I know is I’m truly grateful I discovered whole food, plant-based living!


Dustin: You worked as a drug rep for 9 years. Did you believe that pills were once the only answer to everyone’s medical problems?

Vanessa: As a drug rep, I whole-heartedly believed pills were the answer to medical problems. I had absolutely no idea just how important nutrition was and how big of a role it played in disease. The connection between diet and disease is a powerful one! I now realize that food is our best medicine, and that we can literally eat our way into or out of disease. I realize that the answer isn’t more pills, it’s less pills. I realize now that I was a part of the healthcare problem, not the solution. And that was unacceptable to me.

I sold medication for just about every disease state you can think of, I was in the industry so long. I spent a lot of time in internal medicine, urology, cardiology and endocrinology. I sold meds for conditions like high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, type 2 diabetes, benign prostatic hyperplasia (just a fancy name for enlarged prostate), erectile dysfunction, impetigo (a bacterial skin infection common in kids), overactive bladder, genital herpes, an antibiotic for adults and pediatrics, and the list goes on. Most of these conditions can be fixed by consuming a whole food plant-based diet rather than pills that ALWAYS come with side effects. (I hesitate to use the word “side effect” because it really isn’t a side effect of the medication….it IS THE EFFECT OF THE MEDICATION.)

Did the meds work?? Well, they did lower surrogate markers like HbA1C, PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen), blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. (A surrogate marker is an event or a laboratory value that researchers hope can serve as a reliable substitute for an actual disease. Blood cholesterol levels are surrogates, or substitutes, for heart disease.) But the question you always have to ask is, does this lowering of my numbers equate to better health outcomes? Is lowering my cholesterol going to reduce my heart attack rate directly? In other words, will this statin not only reduce my cholesterol, but will that lead to a reduction in fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular events? That’s the entire purpose of taking meds. It’s not to have pretty lab work, unless that pretty lab work means you’ve also improved your health outcomes and reduced your risk of having a major event. We must be mindful how easy it is to exaggerate their [surrogate markers] conclusions beyond the data. For more information on the deception of surrogate markers, please click the following link:

I’ve seen people with beautiful blood work drop dead of a heart attack! Why? Because an improvement in surrogate markers (cholesterol, blood pressure, etc…) via drugs does not equate to improved outcomes. Drugs artificially lower numbers, but most do little to reduce your risk of having a heart attack, or dying from a heart attack. One of the many problems today is the FDA approves drugs simply on surrogate markers, not whether or not they actually lead to better health outcomes. That’s a major flaw in the system!

✭ Let me give you a concrete example, here is an excerpt from the FDA approved PI (Package Insert) for Lipitor (a cholesterol lowering medication):

LIPITOR significantly reduced the rate of coronary events [either fatal coronary heart disease (46 events in the placebo group vs. 40 events in the LIPITOR group) or non-fatal MI (108 events in the placebo group vs. 60 events in the LIPITOR group)] with a relative risk reduction of 36% [(based on incidences of 1.9% for LIPITOR vs. 3.0% for placebo), p=0.0005 (see Figure 1)]. The risk reduction was consistent regardless of age, smoking status, obesity, or presence of renal dysfunction. The effect of LIPITOR was seen regardless of baseline LDL levels. Due to the small number of events, results for women were inconclusive.


  • The first sentence states that Lipitor significantly reduced the rate of FATAL coronary heart disease…46 people in the placebo group died and 40 people in the lipitor group died. A better number but truly how significant?
  • It goes on to say…with a relative risk reduction of 36%. Relative risk reduction? Does this mean anything to you? No! You want to know the absolute risk reduction, that number means something! To get this number, you simply take 3.0% – 1.9% = 1.1%
  • The absolute risk reduction for having a coronary event based on the data above is 1.1%! That’s it! So, this multibillion dollar medication causes severe liver damage and the side effects listed below, all for a 1.1% risk reduction of dying from a coronary event: (and this isn’t even a comprehensive list of side effects)
    • unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness;
    • confusion, memory problems;
    • fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine;
    • swelling, weight gain, urinating less than usual or not at all;
    • increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss;
    • nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
    • mild muscle pain
    • diarrhea; or
    • mild nausea.
  • Pharmaceutical companies will often report findings in relative terms if the absolute findings were less than significant. It makes it look like the drug is performing better than it really is.
    • Let’s use the example above…there was a 1.9% incidence rate in the lipitor group and a 3.0% incidence rate in the placebo group. 3.0% – 1.9% = 1.1%. How many doctors would prescribe a medication with so many side effects to only get a 1.1% risk reduction for a fatal cardiovascular event? Furthermore, would Lipitor have been the biggest blockbuster drug in the history of pharmaceuticals based on this data? I think not!!
  • Pharma manipulates the data and reports their findings in relative terms. How do they get this number? Simple:
    • 3.0% – 1.9% = 1.1%, 1.1% ➗ 3.0% = 0.36 …move the decimal to the right two times, and bam! You get a relative risk reduction of 36%! Looks a lot better than an absolute risk reduction of only 1.1% doesn’t it?!

One has to ask themselves, is it really worth it? Do the risks outweigh the benefits?
⇒ Disclaimer – in no way, shape or form am I suggesting you stop taking any of your medications. Always talk to your doctor first before discontinuing any medication or adjusting the dose of your medication.

The point of me showing you this is to make you aware of some of big pharma’s tactics, and to demonstrate how pharmaceutical companies brainwash reps into thinking the drugs are really helping people. Our glossy sales aids only reflect the relative risk reduction because it looks a lot better. I believed what they said. I do remember questioning them one time about this. They did a really good job convincing me the absolute terms didn’t matter. I’m grateful to know better now.


Dustin: What was it like to work for such a powerful industry? How did your feelings about this change over time?

Vanessa: I’ll never forget the day I was hired after enduring three very stressful interviews at home. Then, I was flown to Dallas to interview with the Regional Vice President of Sales (RVP). It was pretty intimidating. So you have an understanding of how the company was structured, in the United States, every division (HIV, Vaccines, Cardiovascular/Metabolic/Urology, Respiratory, etc…) of the organization was divided into Regions. Each region comprised anywhere from three to five, or even six states. Within each state in the regions were “districts” (multiple districts existed in every major city for every division of the company). Each district had a “district manager” who reported to the Regional Vice President (RVP).

The RVP in Dallas loved me and my passion for helping people, and I was chosen for the position. Very shortly thereafter, I was told to wait at home for the delivery of my new car! What?? A brand new, free car AND a gas card so I never had to pay for gas again! I was blown away! A couple days later, I received a huge delivery from UPS (I was still processing the free car!) This delivery was a brand new, free computer and printer for my home office, as well as a branded computer bag to carry my laptop and sales material. Holy moly…I’m making more money than I’ve ever made before, plus a free car, free gas, free computer and free printer! 

Then…another delivery came. It was a free mobile phone. The company took ownership of my cell phone number and began paying my phone bills every month! As if this wasn’t enough, I received free health insurance, money every month to put towards things like a gym membership, new tennis shoes, etc…and, any prescription medication I would ever be prescribed during my time as a pharmaceutical rep was FREE! It didn’t matter what the dose was, or how many pills were in the bottle, it was free! I was given a corporate credit card (I’d never owned a credit card before) and, I was told I was expected to spend the the entire budget each quarter or I wouldn’t get any more next quarter. This was a strange concept to me. I was able to sell just as much product as the other reps, if not more, while spending less company money, yet this was frowned upon. 

A few days later, if you guessed that I received another package in the mail, gold star for you! I’m now on a first name basis with the UPS guy! This time the delivery was a huge box, a little bit bigger than what a printer would come in. I felt bad for the UPS guy, I lived on the third floor of an apartment complex! He definitely got his workouts just on my deliveries! When I opened the box, it was full of text books, binders, and cassette tapes (yes, I’m telling my age now!).  There was a syllabus included which provided me with the daily expectations of the material I had to get through. Now, I am a school nerd. I LOVE school, and I was a straight A student in Grad school, however the amount of material that I had to read and study on any given day was hardly possible. I woke up at 6 am every day, began my studies, had my mom or friends bring lunch and dinner to me because I couldn’t spare the time to go pick it up for myself. I studied till 2 am, went to bed, and started the process all over again the next day. This went on for four weeks. At the end of each week, I was flown to Dallas where I was tested on all the material I had studied the previous week. You couldn’t score any lower than an 85 on any test or you were fired on the spot…don’t pass go, don’t collect $200. Terminated. As you can probably imagine, this was very nerve-racking!  This went on for four weeks and four trips to Dallas. Somewhere in the middle of these four weeks, I had a mental and emotional breakdown on the floor of my living room buried in books and covered in my notes. I realized that I had to pick and choose the material I thought would be most relevant and included on the test because it simply wasn’t possible to get through all the material in a given day. So that’s what I did. I prayed the entire way to Dallas that I picked the right information to commit to memory.

I made it past the four weeks of “home-study”! I know what you’re thinking…I must be so relieved now that it was over. Not so much. When I returned to New Orleans from my last trip to Dallas, there was a letter in my mailbox from the company telling me I literally had two days to pack a bag with enough clothes for four weeks, because I was heading to Philadelphia for “in-house” training. Two days to pack?? Away from home for four weeks?? Holy moly, this train ride was just getting started! Thankfully, I was still riding the high from making 100’s on all my tests during home-study. That gave me just enough energy to prepare for the next phase.

Two days later, I was on a plane headed to Philly for the next four weeks of my life. I was told we weren’t allowed to go home, and truth be told, there was NO WAY I could’ve gone home and still passed all my exams. I literally studied every spare moment I had, after class, in between classes, in the bathroom (sorry, too much information probably) and on weekends. I had no life. My life was pharma.  The same rules that applied to home-study regarding grades also applied to in-house training. If you made anything less than an 85 on an exam, you were fired on the spot. Only this time, you were escorted out of the headquarters building by security. I remember some mornings, on my walk to the elevator, I’d look down in the cold lobby (as I did every morning) and see four or five of my classmates standing on the pristine, white marble floor, next to all their luggage waiting to be escorted out by security. I felt really sad for my classmates. Now they were out of a job after surviving four weeks of home-study and however long in Philly all because they made an 83 on their exam. 

After a lot of blood, sweat and tears (okay, maybe not so much the blood part), I graduated from in-house training. In my brain were scripts I memorized verbatim, about the products I was selling. These were the selling messages the company expected you to deliver to doctors, exactly how they wrote it in the scripture.  There were also scripts I memorized to overcome any objection a doctor could possibly throw at me as to why he wouldn’t prescribe my product for his patients.  I had glossy sales aids to show doctors and they triggered my memory of the scripts imprinted on my brain.

I was told, and I don’t know how accurate this number is, but it sounds about right…by the time they finished training just one rep, they had already spent $300,000 (this was back in 2004)!  So, needless to say and at least in my mind, I was onto something BIG!  I was about to make a HUGE difference in the world and do something really important. Why else would they be spending so much money on me, plus the free car, free gas, free phone, free healthcare, and the list goes on.  I, Vanessa, was one of the chosen ones…after eight weeks of studying, 4 in home study and 4 at headquarters, and a ton of stress, I got to go out and change lives for the better.  People were going to live longer, more vibrant lives because of the work I did every day.  At least that’s what was drilled into my brain over those eight weeks of training. I came to believe it!  And because I care about people and want nothing more than to help people, I was good at what I did.  REALLY good! 

We would have Regional Meetings once or twice a year. They usually lasted for three days, and we spent those days sharpening our selling skills and product knowledge. On the last day, the entire region would gather in one large room, and they’d bring four or five people onto the stage. Each person was purportedly taking one of the drugs we promoted. They each took turns giving testimonies that were profound, touching and nothing short of inspiring. One had more energy to play with her grandchildren, a father was able to walk his daughter down the aisle, another one was able to attend their kid’s baseball games without having to worry about running to the bathroom every 5 minutes, and so on and so on. By the time they were done, I was amped up to get back home and sell as much of my product as possible because I wanted EVERYONE to feel just like the people on the stage felt!! To this day, I wonder if they were real patients, or just people paid by pharma to pull at our heart-strings. I suppose I’ll never know.

Plants versus PillsPharma had it down to a fine science. They spent a lot of money researching the best system in which to convince us we were doing the right thing by people. Most reps today truly, whole-heartedly believe that they are changing lives by what they do every day, for the better. In my mind, and in the minds of many other reps, we were only there to do good by people via delivering samples and being a valuable resource of information for doctors. So the next time you see a rep in your doctor’s office, be angry at the industry rather than their pawns because most of those pawns have been completely brainwashed.

The thought of food as medicine never once crossed my mind until I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives. We live in a pill society where taking pills has become the norm, whether that be pharmaceuticals, supplements or nutraceuticals. It was certainly the norm in my mind. I used to see patients in waiting rooms at doctors offices with shoe boxes loaded with medication. I cringe at that thought today because it’s a shoe box of poison, slowly killing them, mentally, physically and emotionally.

I became very angry at the entire industry once I woke up from my unconscious state, because I realized how many lies were told to me by pharma, and thus how many lies I ended up telling my costumers. (Of course, I didn’t know they were lies at the time.) People were not getting better or reversing their disease from all the pills they were taking. In fact, in many instances, they were getting worse. We know today that medical error is the number three killer, just behind heart disease and cancer! Medical error comprises drug to drug interactions, drugs not dosed correctly, hospital acquired infections and procedures that did not go as planned. But the bulk of that is drug related. We live in a disease-care system, not a healthcare system. If drugs were meant to reverse disease, I wouldn’t have been making big bonus checks every quarter. My bonus checks were based on prescription refills. As long as people were refilling their prescriptions, I was making money.

Today, my number one goal is to help people reverse their disease via whole food, plant-based nutrition and discontinue their meds, many of which I convinced doctors to put them on in the first place!


Dustin: After watching Forks Over Knives you vowed to not only change your own life by adopting a plant-based diet, but also to help others do the same. How do you do this today?

Vanessa: I just recently rented my own space located in Thrive! Chiropractic & Wellness 6705-B 38th Ave North, St. Petersburg, FL where I can see clients and teach health and wellness classes. I also have clients all over the U.S. that I see virtually.

I don’t sell supplements, nutraceuticals, or any kind of pills for that matter. I believe people’s paychecks are much better spent in the produce section of the supermarket or at their local Farmer’s Market. There are a lot of gimmicks out there and if you ask me, the supplement industry is behaving no differently than the pharmaceutical industry, only they are far less regulated. They can claim their product will give you wings to fly because they’re not monitored by the FDA. I can understand the desire for a magic pill to fix all our ailments. Who wouldn’t want that? But there is no such thing. The magic pill is a whole food, plant-based lifestyle.Nutriception

I’m a certified Health and Nutrition Coach, so what I offer my clients is much more than just nutritional counseling. Here’s what Nutriception®, my health coaching business, is all about:

  • It’s the difference between falling off the wagon and FINALLY getting the results you want!
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  • Part cheerleader, part tough love coach.
  • A master of HABIT CHANGE and a student of life.
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  • Help you find what’s right for your unique body.
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  • Slow you down to the speed of life.
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  • The best GIFT you could ever give your mind, body & soul.
  • Solve your problems by loosening their grip.
  • Willing to say to you what MOST people won’t.
  • Cause you to see LIFE through fresh eyes.
  • Supports you to have the body you want & the HEALTHY LIFESTYLE that supports it.
  • Makes it easy to FOLOW-THROUGH with what you already know you should be doing.
  • Helps you BUILD healthy HABITS that align with how you want to feel every day.
  • Revolutionary LEADER who grows and procreates WELL-BEING.

Currently I offer a:

Total Transformation Discovery Session

To discover more about you, the challenges you’re experiencing, what’s stopping you, slowing you down or preventing you from everything you want!  At the end of the conversation, you’ll know if I’m the right fit for you and I’ll know if you’re the right fit for me so we’ll be able to make a decision about whether or not working together is the next best step.

90 Day Intensive – Total Health Transformation program

  • 12 one-hour sessions with me
  • Email and text access Monday – Friday 9 am – 7 pm
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  • The right support, the right system and the right accountability.
  • Food journal analysis
  • Blood work analysis
  • Meal planning
  • Kitchen and pantry reset
  • Grocery shopping / Creating grocery lists
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  • Includes 10 days of whole food plant-based meals (total = 20) delivered right to your home

21 Day Jumpstart Your Health and Weight loss

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  • Email and text access Monday – Friday 9 am – 7 pm
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5 Week Diabetic Program

  • This Program is specifically designed to help you reverse your type 2 diabetes and come off your meds in 5 weeks! There’s no guarantee you will reverse your disease.
  • 5 one-hour sessions with me
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  • Text and email access Monday – Friday 9 am – 7 pm
  • Blood work analysis, before and after
  • 10 days of plant-based meals delivered right to your door

I meet people where they’re at and help them create steps to inevitable success! I love what I do!  Since I’ve been in practice, I’ve watched clients reverse the following diseases:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Lupus
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Coronary artery disease
  • IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Psoriasis
  • Restless leg syndrome

The name of my company, Nutriception®, is derived from joining two words: Nutrition and Perception. The reason being, at Nutriception®, we shift perception about nutrition to one that puts people’s health as the top priority, not profit margins like big industry!

Please join me, Dr. Kelley and Michael in celebrating the Ribbon Cutting for Nutriception and the Grand Opening for Thrive! Chiropractic & Wellness! There will be lots of delicious food catered by Nourish Thy Temple, great company, a surprise for all attendees, and positive energy!

I am finally making my dream come true and following my passion, and I want YOU there to celebrate with me!

Date: Wednesday, January 11th, 2017
Time: 5:30pm-7:30pm
Where: Thrive! Chiropractic and Wellness
               6705-B 38th Ave North
              St. Petersburg, FL 33710


Dustin: What kind of additional training or certifications do you have in nutrition and/or health coaching?

Vanessa: After spending 20 years in the medical industry, 12 of those years in medical sales, I left corporate America to pursue a career in Health and Nutrition Coaching. I attended every Plant-based conference I knew about. I had the opportunity to meet some of my personal heroes…T. Colin Campbell, PhD, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Pam Popper, Dr. Michael Gregor, Dr. Neal Barnard, and many more. I became obsessed with learning all I could learn from these people. I read all of their books, and I researched constantly. The more I learned, the more I realized I just couldn’t get enough.

I enrolled in Dr. Pam Popper’s course titled Food over Medicine. After I graduated from her program, I enrolled in eCornell and T. Colin Campbell’s Center for Nutrition Studies to get my certificate in Plant-based Nutrition. I’m currently in cooking school hosted by Forks Over Knives and Rouxbe Cube. I’m a Certified Health Coach by the Health Coach Institute, and this year I will complete my Holistic MBA Program with Health Coach Institute.

I’ll always take as many courses as time permits because I want to be the best of the best for my clients, and I absolutely love learning! 


Dustin: If you could make one sweeping change to this world to make it a better place, what would it be?

Vanessa: That’s a loaded question! Where do I even begin!

I’d change the face of healthcare so that it would truly be HEALTHcare, not disease-care. Doctors would be focused on treating the underlying causes of disease rather than the symptoms of disease. Food would be our medicine, not pills.

I’d do away with the lobbyists from the meat industry, the dairy industry, the food industry, and the pharmaceutical industry in government who are largely impacting the way this country is run, and it has nothing to do with the health of the public. I’d create a resource-based world rather than complete reliance on the monetary system. Money = debt. Henry Ford once said, “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and money system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”

We have everything we need given to us from our amazing planet. WE are the master minds of technology, not the government. The government needs US, we don’t need them! We don’t need a monetary system in a resource based world where there is abundance for all. I’m a big believer in Jacque Fresco’s Venus Project. Will I ever live to see that materialize? Probably not. But I’ll never stop praying for that type of world.

For more information on The Venus Project, click the link below…



I’d end the suffering and abuse of all animals so that they can experience freedom and peace again. I don’t believe anything was put on this earth “for” us. I don’t believe we have the right to exhaust our planet’s finite resources nor do we have the right to use animals any way we choose. We, humans, are not entitled to anything. We just got lucky enough to be born on such an amazing planet, which is being destroyed every day by our own doing.

I’d replenish our rain forests and redirect the 1.67 billion tons of grain used to raise cattle to feed the hungry so that there would not be another hungry mouth on the planet.

I’d educate the world about the power of whole food, plant-based living so that Westernized diseases would be a thing of the past.


Dustin: Thank you so much Vanessa for sharing your story and being such an amazing inspiration to everyone out there. Your love for humanity and this world shines bright for all to see. Don’t ever stop being the person you are. This movement toward healthier living through a plant-based lifestyle needs your passion and expertise in the worst way.


the empty medicine cabinet

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Check out my book, The Empty Medicine Cabinet, to start your journey towards better health. This step-by-step guide leads you through many of today’s common chronic diseases (heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and more), giving you the facts on food versus medication in treating these medical conditions. The book also contains an easy-to-follow guide on how to adopt a whole foods, plant-based diet as a part of an overall lifestyle change, producing the best possible health outcomes for you and your family. Hurry and get your copy today!

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  1. What a wonderful story. It was truly inspirational and inspiring.Iam a general dentist practicing for 33 years. My goal is also to help people in a slightly different way with an emphasis on health as well. I wish her all the best. with her drive and motivation I know she will be successful.

  2. I found another hero! Vanessa you are an angel and continue to teach us how to fly!


    Glenn Nicholson
    Arise health coach

  3. The question I would ask Dr. Vanessa Sardi, if I could ever meet her, is “You testified, you public ally talked about in this article, how you were brainwashed by the pharmaceutical industry. I would have to ask you, how you know, for a fact, that you have not also been fed a bill of goods by the doctors, however well meaning they are, that you now hold in such high esteem.” Have you looked at both sides of this issue, because that is a key I see in you that you tend to go strongly in one direction and then strongly in another. I understand, I do it myself sometimes, and like you I know what it is like to suffer mental health issues. But I feel this is an important question because low carb and keto advocates are reporting some of the same results as you have. -Unity

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