Alumni Highlight: Amy Hardesty |

Apr 8, 2020 12:30:00 PM | CAM Alumni Highlight: Amy Hardesty |

ACHS CAM Alumni Amy Hardesty helps people to become healthier at her wellness practice.

Amy Hardesty blog header

Amy Hardesty graduated from ACHS with an AAS in CAM in 2017 and now owns her own wellness practice called Hustle and Chow. Amy came across ACHS when trying to research ways to help her son with his health issues. “We researched programs to learn more about health and nutrition and how to take care of him,” she says. “I came across ACHS and it piqued my interest and so I jumped in full force.” She originally wanted to focus on families whose child has a celiac disease diagnosis, but since then her goals have broadened.

Amy says that she struggled with her weight her whole life. During her time studying with ACHS, Amy lost over 50 pounds. Her personal experience shifted her career focus. “My focus shifted more towards creating a program that could help people understand that they can lose weight without marketing products. They can just eat real whole food and heal their bodies from the inside out.”

Stellar Health and Wellness

After graduating from ACHS, Amy began to work with Dr. Della Parker, a naturopathic physician at Stellar Health and Wellness in Clackamas, Oregon, as an independent contractor.  She created her program there from the ground up. She explains, “What I do is I see patients once a month. At their first appointment, I do an intake with them. I get to know them and what their goals are, and what has worked in the past and what hasn’t. Then I make a pretty comprehensive meal plan for them for that month. I also create a recipe for each of the meals as well as a grocery list. We do body composition analysis. We do that each month.”

“My heart is geared towards people who think that they’re never going to be able to succeed because that’s how I felt so many times in my life. It was this mountain I couldn’t climb, so realizing that I didn’t have to lose 40 pounds in 12 weeks but could instead lose half a pound a week and still have that be healthy and sustainable,” Amy says.

Image copyright:  JillWellington

Hustle and Chow

After working as an independent contractor at Stellar Health and Wellness, Amy decided to open her own wellness practice. Hustle and Chow is a wellness business owned by Amy Hardesty and Suzy Braker. Both Amy and Suzy coach clients on health and nutrition.

Here is how Amy helps her clients: She starts by doing an intake call with new clients where they go over health, history, lifestyle and goals. Amy then works with her clients to create a meal plan that includes daily meals, recipes, and grocery lists. She also does a follow-up call with clients to check progress, review food logs, look at current measurements, review weight, and develop a progress plan.

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Patient stories

Amy reflects on some of her favorite patients during her time working at Stellar Health and Wellness:

I’ll tell you about one of my favorite patients. She’s lost 25 pounds over the course of a year which is a little slower than we would like to see, but she is no longer prediabetic. What we’re doing, while it might not be shrinking her body very fast, her labs are healthier than they’ve ever been. That’s going to create quality of life.”

“I have a patient right now who has Down syndrome. She lost 40 pounds and she’s 40 years old. Working with her and her mom and seeing her commitment and her desire to learn about nutrition, and not just to lose weight, has been amazing to see and inspires me.”

“We have patients who come in because their family members had strokes and they don’t want to be the next person, we have patients who have lost over 100 pounds. I have a guy who started out at 480 and has lost over 100 pounds.”

“Things like that just fuel my soul. People come in downhearted and don’t think they can do it, and then I just see them thrive,” Amy says.

“I try to share my story with patients because I think it’s important for them to know that I get it. I can do hard things.”

Advice to graduating students

Advice to students who are graduating: ”Talk to people! Find some people in the community that you want to work with. Have an idea of what it is that you want to do and talk to the people in that field and understand what they’re doing. Get connected with people who know more than you do.”

Experience at ACHS

Amy talks about her positive experience with ACHS: “ACHS turned my world upside down. When I started there I didn’t have any clue where I would go, and I can’t imagine doing anything different than what I’m doing now. It’s providing me with flexibility, knowledge of things that I didn’t even know existed. Being able to encourage people to make a change in an area of their life where they think they can’t is such a blessing. They are awesome people.”

Even though some of her classes were difficult, Amy enjoyed the overall experience. She says, “I loved a lot of the classes I took. I struggled with the aromatherapy ones because they were complicated. That blew my mind. I always felt supported and encouraged and I got help faster than I needed it most of the time. It was a totally different experience than I expected, and it was exactly what I didn’t know I needed.”

Are you interested in being interviewed for the blog?

We would love to highlight more ACHS students and graduates. An article on our blog is a great way to share your holistic health story, show off what you've accomplished, or spread the news about your new wellness practice. Please fill out this form and our Social Media Coordinator, Gillian Wilson, will be in touch with you to schedule a phone interview. 

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the social media coordinator for the American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own. This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine. 

About American College of Healthcare Sciences

American College founded in 1978, is a fully online accredited institute of higher education specializing in holistic health. Based in Portland, OR; our goal is to make research-driven and science-based holistic health education taught by industry-leading experts accessible to anyone anywhere while still giving students a hands-on experiential learning experience like a traditional college and a strong sense of community, school pride and student bond.

This commitment to our students and graduates reflects in our current survey results that reflect 98% of our students would recommend ACHS to a friend or family member.

We believe education is the most powerful tool for changing an individual and the world around us. 

When a person enrolls as ACHS, it is vitally important that they graduate with tools they need to forge their own holistic and sustainable missions, build up their communities confidently and changing the face of healthcare with knowledge.

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Gillian Turner

Written By: Gillian Turner

Gillian joined ACHS after graduating from Linfield College with a BA in Mass Communication and a minor in visual studies. She grew up off the grid in rural southern Oregon and spent time exploring the forest surrounding her house and teaching gardening classes to other children in her garden. While at Linfield, Gillian gained valuable experience in public relations, social media management, and digital art. She was awarded a strategic communication scholarship and inducted into Kappa Tau Alpha, a national college honor society “that recognizes academic excellence and promotes scholarship in journalism and mass communication.” When not at work, Gillian can most often be found making art, enjoying nature or drinking coffee with her husband, Preston. Her interests include sustainability, mental wellness, and trying to stay connected to nature while living in the city. She studied abroad at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and has traveled to over ten different countries. Her favorite place that she has visited is the Scottish Highlands, and she hopes to visit many more countries in the future.