Meet Our Team at Healthful Life MD

Dr. Abby Bleistein
Owner, Healthful Life MD

Dr. Abby Bleistein

I am a physician, board-certified in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Obesity Medicine. I am a Colorado native and a graduate of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

I practiced primary care for 14 years, treating patients of all ages to improve their health. I learned that I helped people most when I had more time to understand their unique challenges. That’s why I started my own practice – to give me more time to partner with my patients to formulate individual solutions that work for them, and to surround them with a team to support their long-term goals.

What makes Healthful Life MD different?

It starts with knowing how hard our patients work to make the changes they desire to see. We feel your pain and the heartache of not being able to do what you love. We understand the need to lose weight to improve your diabetes, cholesterol, or blood pressure. And we know you want to make real, sustainable changes in your lifestyle that improve how you feel, move, and see yourself.

I truly believe our approach at Healthful Life MD can help change your life forever.

Our weight loss program is like nothing you’ve tried before. We see you as a person, not just a patient, and work with you to create a personalized nutrition plan, exercise program, and medical support plan for you. Our culinary educational classes can teach you to enjoy cooking as you create easy, healthful, and delicious meals to support your weight loss and metabolic wellness.

I believe the causes of weight gain and obesity are unique and personal to each of us. There are many factors that contribute to every patient’s situation. By working together we can help you understand and conquer the challenges you face to change your life for good.

Liz Daeninck
MS, RD – Registered Dietitian

Liz Daeninck

Liz Daeninck has over 15 years experience as a registered dietitian working with both individuals and groups to help facilitate lifestyle changes to benefit health. She has helped clients manage chronic health conditions such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, obesity, polycystic ovary syndrome, high cholesterol, hypertension and cancer.  She most recently has worked with patients prior to and following bariatric surgery–weight loss surgery including gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and laparoscopic band surgeries–to improve nutritional status and outcomes.

In addition, Liz specializes in the interpretation of food sensitivity testing and counsels clients about food elimination plans based on the test results. Her philosophy is to meet clients where they are, partnering with them to make gradual, sustainable changes to reach their nutritional, functional, and health goals.

Michael Gjenvick
MS, RD – Registered Dietitian

Michael Gjenvick

A classically-trained chef, avid gardener, and nutritionist, Michael has been searching to understand the relationship between the food we grow, cook, eat, and how it contributes to our health. He has 15 years of experience cooking in Michelin-starred restaurants and catering for professional athletes, musicians, families, and private events of varied sizes. He has worked on organic farms, understanding the relationship between healthy soil, healthy plants and animals and a healthy body. 

To complete his journey of appreciating our food system in relation to our health, he completed his Master’s degree in Nutrition and Integrative Physiology and dietetic internship to become a registered dietitian. He has honed his skills in different clinical and community settings, fine tuning his knowledge of nutrition. Michael uses his different experiences in the workplace and classroom, along with evidence-based practices, to guide individuals to quality, long-term health and enhance their lives. He uses a nonjudgmental, whole person approach to working with patients, and encourages stress management, sleep quality, exercise and individualized nutrition into his practice. Michael loves to teach others about the powers of cooking for yourself and that eating healthy can be delicious as well. 

 

Erica Haag
MNT – Master Nutritional Therapist

Erica Haag

Erica Haag is a Master Nutrition Therapist who can help with a variety of nutritional challenges, ranging from weight loss up to symptom relief from chronic health conditions. She graduated Cum Laude from Kansas State University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. After working in the corporate environment for 11 years, Erica returned to school to pursue her passion for helping others through nutrition. She graduated from the Nutrition Therapy Institute in Denver in 2013 and is Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals. She is also a Certified Gluten Practitioner, specializing in helping those with Celiac disease and non-Celiac gluten sensitivities.

 

Originally from Kansas, Erica moved to Colorado in 2000 to be in the mountains. She loves being outdoors to hike, run, and ski. She also loves cooking for her husband and daughter. In addition to being a nutrition therapist, Erica has been a Doula since 1999 and is able to offer assistance to those pregnant women looking for support during pregnancy and labor/delivery.  

 

Amy Robinson Ikelheimer, Ph.D.
Health Psychologist, Behavioral Health Specialist

Dr. Amy Robinson Ikelheimer

Dr. Amy Robinson Ikelheimer received her Bachelor of Science at the University of Wisconsin and her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Mississippi. Amy began to specialize in Health Psychology during her Clinical Psychology Internship at Indian University School of Medicine. She completed a 2-year post-doctoral program in Behavioral Medicine/Pain Management at Dartmouth Medical School where she stayed on as faculty.

Since moving to Colorado, Amy worked in the Division of Psychosocial Medicine at National Jewish Health where she assessed and treated individuals with various chronic medical conditions. She also devoted much of her time to the Sleep Medicine Department where she treated individuals with insomnia. Amy uses well researched short-term Cognitive-Behavioral interventions to help adults cope with and better manage chronic medical conditions and symptoms. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to, insomnia, chronic pain, headache, GI distress, cardiac, allergy, respiratory issues, coping with side effects of medications, and other symptoms that interfere with daily functioning.

Tonya McFarland
PsyD, CEDS, Certified Eating Disorder Specialist, Psychologist

Dr. Tonya McFarland

Dr. Tonya McFarland is a licensed psychologist and certified eating disorder specialist. She is the owner of Trusted Therapy and has more than 15 years of experience in treating individuals and families struggling with symptoms related to eating disorders. She received her Bachelor’s degree from University of Northern Iowa and her doctorate in psychology from Nova Southeastern University in Florida.

Tonya works with individuals, families, and groups utilizing a variety of therapeutic approaches including; cognitive behavior therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, motivational interviewing, internal family systems, acceptance commitment therapy, and family systems to address symptoms of disordered eating patterns, binge eating, anorexia, bulimia, and avoidant restrictive food intake disorder. She has worked in residential treatment centers, intensive outpatient programs, and outpatient therapy centers. She is also an approved supervisor for International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals Foundation and has supervised many students and professionals over the past 10 years. She practices from a “Health at Every Size” perspective and believes in the importance of accepting our bodies at any size and focusing on nurturing our bodies in order to be healthy.

Priscilla McElveen
Certified Trainer, Exercise Therapist

Priscilla McElveen

Throughout her life, Priscilla McElveen has strived for physical excellence. A native to North Carolina, she has excelled as a Competitive Sprinter, UCA Collegiate Cheerleader, UDA Dancer, Hunter Jumper/Saddle Bred Horse Showman, Marathon/Adventure racer, as well as a CrossFit Athlete and Coach.

After earning degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill and Queens University of Charlotte, and then going on to complete her master’s education at FUA in Florence, Italy, Priscilla decided to utilize her countless years of being a trainee to pursue her passion in helping others maintain a healthy and balanced physical lifestyle.

In 2010, Priscilla earned her CPT, United States of America Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach Certification, and an official recognition as a Specialist in Exercise Therapy, to help aid those with physical and mental ailments.

Priscilla’s philosophy is to use functional methods and strengthening techniques to teach proper exercise form and function allowing all individuals to achieve their best physical self.  Each program is specifically customized to each trainee’s needs and goals as well as prep for all of life’s challenges.

If you’re a novice trainee aiming to begin a physical lifestyle or an avid athlete looking to polish your performance, Priscilla will ensure your achievements and goals with straight forward fitness.

Dee Iraca
Culinary Nutritionist

Dee Iraca

Dee Iraca is a Culinary Nutritionist who’s passionate about healthy food. She’s a “fooditionist”—a foodie at heart with an obsession for making healthy and delicious food. For 16 years, she worked in the corporate world, where she was often challenged to find balance. At times she ate an unhealthy diet because of her busy schedule, and she realized that many others sacrifice eating healthy for the same reasons.

She decided to follow her passion and obtained a B.S. in Culinary Nutrition from Johnson & Wales University in Denver, Colorado. Now she’s able to do what she loves—cooking delicious, nutritious food.

Katherine Sumner
Nutrition Consultant

Katherine Sumner

For over 12 years, Katherine has shared her passion for a well-balanced life and a well prepped kitchen through group classes, national talks, radio interviews, articles and individual counseling. She co-founded Nourish Schools and was co-creator of the Super Food Cards; a comprehensive guide to choosing, prepping and cooking healthy foods. Katherine has a dual certification in holistic health counseling and nutrition, as well as a “Food As Medicine” certificate from the Center for Mind-Body Medicine. She also studied under Dr. Mayurii Sobti, Naturopath learning all the aspects of Ayurveda Medicine. Katherine worked as a nutritional lifestyle coach with the Steinmetz Integrative Medical Practice in Alexandria, Virginia and was involved in several health initiatives with both public and private schools in the Washington, DC metro area.

Katherine’s goal with every client is to awaken their inner knowledge so that they can become their best healers.