Alison Tierney, MS RDN CD CSO
Founder/proprietor of Wholesome LLC practice focused on prevention and management of chronic diseases
Adjunct Graduate Professor and developer of course "Evidence Based Practice, Oncology Nutrition", Mount Mary University, Milwaukee
Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition, Commission on Dietetic Registration, with years of clinical experience as outpatient oncology dietitian
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Wisconsin Certified Dietitian since 2014
Specialist on counseling women about the effects of nutrition and lifestyle choices upon risks of breast cancer, polycystic ovary syndrome and fertility difficulties
Alison Tierney, MS RDN CD CSO became a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Wisconsin Certified Dietitian in 2014, after completing a Summa Cum Laude Bachelor of Science degree with a Coordinated Program in Dietetics program at Mount Mary University, Milwaukee. Having played ice hockey since age five, she was the only girl on her high school's boys' hockey team, and her college achievements in athletics had initially generated a strong interest in sports nutrition. She went on to earn a Master of Science degree in Nutrition and Fitness there, submitting a graduate thesis on Effects of Physical Activity on Fatigue in Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Radiation and/or Chemotherapy Treatment, and she has held the Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition credential from the Commission on Dietetic Registration since 2016. She served as an Outpatient Oncology Dietitian at two locations from 2014 to 2018, and since 2019 has been a Graduate Professor Adjunct at Mount Mary University, developing and teaching the course DTS 765, Evidence Based Practice, Oncology Nutrition.
Alison has long described herself as an extreme nutrition nerd and multipassionate in nutrition, very much rooted in the famous Hippocrates quote “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” and deeply motivated about preventing, managing and (in some cases) reversing chronic disease. She founded Wholesome LLC in 2015 in the context of society's dizzying array of marketing messages like “superfood”, “low carb”, "low fat” and “high protein”, to help empower people about deciding what foods they should best eat, and how they can easily incorporate them into their daily (busy) lives. This initiative certainly was related to her starting to shift her oncology practice approach more toward plant-based nutrition as she delved ever more into the encouraging relevant cancer research literature, but she was also still struggling personally, after years, with infertility and PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). Then, after a list-ditch experiment of addressing these conditions through a 100% plant-based diet, she became pregnant and gave birth to a healthy baby girl, so thereby a PCOS and infertility warrior, and devout all-around women's health educator/advocate, was also born.
Alison's early choice to shift focus from sports dietetics to oncology was heavily influenced by tragic family history: her maternal grandmother's lung cancer death, her maternal grandfather's liver cancer death, and battles with breast cancer by her mother, paternal grandmother and godmother. She couldn’t avoid wondering how enlightened supportive nutrition could have helped prevent disease, impacted treatment, and to this day prevented recurrence in those who became cancer survivors, and she was determined to offer future patients and clients a better chance. After bearing and breastfeeding two daughters, and six years after launching Wholesome LLC, she confronted the stunning news that she herself had been diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer, and carried a surely-implicated rare carcinogenesis-favoring genetic mutation. The next day she stood onstage educating a conference audience of health professionals about breast cancer and nutrition as she navigated her own blazing emotions about joining a club no one wants to join.
Alison knows that the way she has been living her life has strengthened her mind and body for her diligent journey ahead as a cancer thriver, and she has been fully determined to use that journey to make her a finer, more credible, more insightful oncology dietitian, healthcare practitioner and patient advocate.
"I realized that all the things I did right were going to be what was going to help me thrive through surgery, chemotherapy and immunotherapy. And if I let it, cancer could be my teacher.
I went back to all the strategies I've taught hundreds of cancer patients over the years -- the things that are within our control. Nutrition, lifestyle, mindset.
It started with knowledge, that led to empowerment, and ultimately...
Being fully present.
Loosening cancer's grip.
Living my best healthiest life."
Alison through Wholesome LLC continues vigorously to educate about how omnivores, vegetarians and vegans alike can all benefit from a simple, plant-based and wholesome diet, and to promote women's health in multi-faceted ways while supporting cancer thrivers with inspirational and evidence-based guidance. Her presentation topics at the P-POD Conference have spanned both reduction of breast cancer risk/recurrence through nutrition, and women's health empowerment, in May 2022, and again for the conference scheduled for September-October 2023. What gets her excited about what she does, is hearing individuals tell her about how they are able to live entirely differently from how they had before -- creating newly healthy relationships with food, or having the energy to play with their kids or grandkids, or finding the ability to be more present in the beautiful lives they have before them. Asked about who inspires her to be better, she replied: "My kids! I am keenly aware of how much they watch me and how what I do is a model for them. I always want to do better and be better for them."