meet the team
Amber Gourley, CEO & Registered Dietitian
Amber is our CEO and Founder. She has always had a strong passion for family, helping people, and food! After pursuing a Master’s Degree in Nutrition, Amber started working right away in a local clinic, where she noticed two things:
- Most of the other clinicians didn’t listen to their patients.
- Each patient was squeezed through the exact same protocol, which didn’t make any sense at all. (People are different!)
Amber’s commitment to help every single person who walked through the clinic door kept her up late at night researching. Where other clinicians saw a “difficult” patient, she saw major breakthroughs with simple changes to nutrition and lifestyle.
This was the beginning of her exposure to functional and integrative nutrition. Her intrigue by this approach got even stronger when she left that clinic and took a job at the VA.
At that particular VA, patients took classes like Yoga and Tai Chi which had remarkable effects on chronic pain and severe depression.
Taking note of what did and did not work from both experiences, Amber started her own online practice “The Disobedient Dietitian.” She helped thousands of people decrease their symptoms from anxiety, depression, autoimmune diseases, chronic pain, lack of energy and much more. Through her extensive nutritional expertise, her attitude of fierce compassion, and her understanding of each person as unique, Amber helps her clients discover their own path to wellness.
Meredith Pellegrini, Registered Dietitian & Eating Disorder Specialist
Meredith was born and raised in Eastern Tennessee and spent many of her clinical years at the Betty Ford Clinic and the Eisenhower Medical Clinic in California. As a Registered Dietitian, she’s most passionate about her work with Eating Disorders and Addictions.
Meredith believes that anyone has the potential to heal their lives, and that the past does not define what’s possible in their future. She is willing to go many extra miles when someone is truly ready for change.
One of the proudest moments in her career is when a former patient reached out years after their work together to tell her “Meredith, you’re the one person who made the most impact on me!” This young woman struggled with an eating disorder since childhood. After 6 months of working with Meredith she recovered. Today she’s happily married and enjoying motherhood.
When Meredith isn’t helping Heal U clients you’ll most likely find her watching the Dallas Cowboys, unless of course, it’s not football season! Then you’ll find her watching baseball, playing sports, or off chasing a waterfall in the beautiful mountains of East Tennessee.
Mary Jane Shepard, Registered Dietitian & Pediatrics Specialist
Mary Jane hails from Oak Ridge, TN and we’re ecstatic to have her on board as the Heal U Pediatrics Dietitian. She’s best known for her work with kids who’ve got food sensitivities, autoimmune issues, and a wide range of behavioral issues that often stem from them. Mary Jane is passionate about helping kids and parents navigate the tricky relationship between food and health.
When Mary Jane was younger she struggled with digestive issues. After years without answers she was finally diagnosed with Congenital Isomaltase Deficiency. A Dietitian completely turned her health and life around, which inspired her to pursue this healing path. She loves providing that same life changing guidance that was given to her and watching clients feel better after years of struggle.
When she’s not gracing our Heal U Wellness Center with her warm personality, you might just find her cooking, at spin class, biking outside or reading a book.
Alfred Gourley, Business & Strategic Partnerships Manager
Al is Amber’s husband! He’s helped turn her “Disobedient Dietitian” virtual business into a global phenomenon that’s helped thousands of people recover their health, vitality and zest for life.
Al has a Masters in Public Health and spent over 20 years in Environmental Safety & Leadership. When Amber got a Coaching Certification, Al did too!
His inspiration for Heal U’s mission is partly due to his own struggle with heartburn medication for 20 years. Before Al met Amber, he’s been misdiagnosed with GERD for 20 years. His doctors put him on heartburn medication and kept filling the prescription year after year telling him “That’s as good as it’s going to get for you!”
Amber helped him figure out the root cause of what actually turned out to be a rare disease called eosinophilic esophagitis for which the doctors told him don’t bother finding the trigger, you’ll never be able to figure it out! Together Amber and Al traced his symptoms back to his many years of work at a flour plant! Together they found a way back to wellness that worked for him, and today he feels WAY better and is no longer at the mercy of his meds.
Al completed an Ironman with Amber and is a skillful Martial Artist. He understands the body mind connection, and what our bodies are truly capable of. Amber says he’s a fantastic husband, a great father to his son and daughter, and their two kitties and puppy!
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