Monday, December 27, 2010

Healthcare and free choice..ruffling some feathers.

I'm up for a little feather ruffling on this fine NYC snow day.  I've already baked everything I can think of so what else is there to do when you are snowed in? 

I'm curious to hear what everything thinks of the "End-of-Life" plan.  For those of you that don't know, you can gather some info here:

In a quick summery, the above New York Times article states: Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment. 

I personally think educating people of their "end of life" options is a good thing.  Why keep this information in the dark?  If you have a terminal illness wouldn't you want to know what your rights are?  You have the right to be fully educated on how you will spend your last days. 

Many (Palin...cough, cough) are scaring the nation into the thought that this is a "death panel" that will convince people to end their lives sooner.  I feel that as an intelligent individual in a free country I have the right to make the decision NOT be hooked up to life support and become a burden on my family and the system if I become a vegetable.  And since when is being fully educated on a topic a bad thing?  That's what the bill is proposing...doctors educating their patients. 

I feel it's a huge injustice to tip toe around the subject of death and the comparison to a death panel infuriates me. 

What's your take?  I want all your juicy, heated comments.  Get mad.  Take a stand.  It means you're a living, breathing individual with free choice and speech.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Giving the gift of experience

Holiday gifting can be a stressful experience.  There is much pressure to find your loved ones a thoughtful gift.  We all know what it feels like to be given something generic.  It makes you question your worth to that individual and you may even get upset if you searched long and hard and DID find them something that was perfectly suited.  (We both know it's a little callous to have these feelings, but we are only human.  Humans get their feelings hurt over silly things.) 

I was talking to a client the other day and she said that she was giving gifts of "experience" this year.  I think it's a great solution to the problem. 

Some suggestions:
Spa certificate, a massage, dance, fitness or yoga class, one-on-one personal training, a round of golf (or putt-putt),  a membership to a museum, season tickets to sporting or performance events, a cooking class, a sushi making class, an acupuncture session, a hot lather shave, wine tasting, bowling, personal shopper or stylist session, home organizing session...the list is endless! 

I found this great site that you can search experiences by region.

Want in on the best gift of all?!! 

How about the gift of health?  Sign someone up for a Nutrition and Health History consultation (for FREE!!!) with Motivated Nutrition, or a one-on-one Pilates or TRX training session.  Come on!  I HAD to plug it, but it's seriously and AWESOME gift! 

Shoot me an email today for a perfect gift certificate for your friends and family!

Happy Gifting!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Home Sweet...Food?

We have another set of new guests staying for a few nights in one of the rooms of our loft.  I have seen so many people in and out of our living space each month that I've begun to reconstruct the meaning of "home" and started to wonder about the psychological effect your living space has on you...and your health. 

Since moving into the 2000 sq ft, 4 bedroom, duplex loft in Brooklyn last September, we've had a turnover of at least 9 roommates from all over the world: Austrailia, Belgium, Canada, Brazil, Palestine, London, Ireland... It's been interesting getting exposed to so many different cultures as well as personality types under the roof that I call home.  It feels like the quintessential NY experience and has been wonderful and many ways.  At the same time, it's also quite stressful and can feel a little unsettling from time to time.  

Living in NYC for the past few years has often left me feeling a bit disjointed and homeless.  I've inhabited 4 different apartments and takes its toll on you psychologically.  At the end of a hard day, it's nice to come home to a safe haven that you can call your own in this chaotic city.  Just recently, I've begun to feel quite safe in our current little hostel of sorts and I've begun to wonder why.  This is maybe the closest I've felt to having a home in many years. 

Food is my answer.  Cooking has become my nesting ritual.  As of this last move, I no longer own any furniture and have gotten rid of 75% of my belongings and yet, I feel pretty settled.  I'm positive it's because I've started cooking on a daily basis.  I know that I have kitchen to go back to every night to prepare a fresh, home cooked meal.  My edible home has created a sense of power, comfort and ritual that I haven't experienced until now.    The transformation of my mental state has been incredible. 

Everyone is so unique, it makes me wonder, what's your grounding or nesting ritual?   Now that I've discovered mine, I realize how powerful and vital it is.  Tell me, what do you do to make your house, loft or hostel(!) feel like a home? 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

MORE Sugar Plums Please

I couldn't let today's news go by without a rant about dancers and the importance of body image. 

NYC Ballet Principal, Jenifer Ringer, made headlines today because of dance critic, Alastair Macauly's response to her "Sugar Plum(p)" appearance.  He wrote, "Jenifer Ringer, as the Sugar Plum Fairy, looked as if she’d eaten one sugar plum too many;"  She was featured on the Today Show and for all of you who saw, she's at a healthy body weight.  Underweight in fact, when compared to the general population, as most dancers are. 

Dancers bodies are under constant scrutiny and many professionals suffer from eating disorders, especially in the ballet world.  Jenifer herself admitted to suffering from one when she first started at the NYC Ballet.  This is indeed great publicity for the ballet and empowering for non-dancer women everywhere.  My concern is that it's only going to make the eating disorders in the dance world more prevalent.  I hope I'm wrong, but I'm a dancer and I understand the mindset.  We stare at ourselves everyday in the mirror and strive for perfection in our movement, lines and body.  I myself have obsessed and cried over choreographers comments on my body, knowing that there is nothing wrong with it.  Unfortunately, when your body is your profession and you put it on stage and light it up, the world can be a brutal place.  I hope dancers everywhere are able to see past this terrible review and fully embrace their bodies for the beautiful machines that we've trained so hard to turn them into. 

Dancers, take a stand and eat another sugar plum!  Just be sure to wash it downs with some leafy green vegetables!  ;)  (I may be a dancer but I'm also still a health coach!) 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Feeding your superhero first thing in the AM

What do you get if you cross a good night's rest with a dose of morning sunshine and a heaping plate of kale? I'm pretty sure it's going to make you invincible for the rest of the day. Or at least until lunchtime.

I had a performance last evening so I went to bed with that warm, fuzzy dancer's high and slept like a rock. I actually got in a full 8 hours, woke up to a morning kiss from a handsome face :) and a room drenched in sunshine.

I wasn't about to feed this invincible body a bowl of sugary cereal...or worse yet, skip breakfast all together! I sauteed up a few handfuls of kale, tossed in an egg (organic, cage free of course) and threw some fresh dill on top.

In case you didn't know, or have forgotten, kale is a superfood. It's packed with
calcium, vitamin A, folic acid, vitamin C and vitamin B6. It's also full of antioxidants and carotenoids that help protect the body from chronic diseases such as heart disease. When you start your day with a superfood, you are fueling your superhero with high octane nutrition for very few calories. High octane converts to LOTS of energy, lots of fiber so you feel fuller longer and a happy body! :)

Do mornings get any better than this?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Laughing and Learning with Abe

I teach dance every other Thursday morning at a senior center in Queens. It's truly the highlight of my day to spend the morning with a group of young at heart movers ages 60-100. Every week, half of my class gets anxious to leave at 10:20 to prepare for their 10:30 meeting, entitled "Laughing and Learning with Abe". Abe is one of the daily regulars and a ring leader of sorts. There have been many weeks that I'll walk in and happily go up to each table in hopes of signing up dancers only to receive an array of excuses and ailments. All I have to do is hunt down Abe and he convinces them to join my class. He'll even throw in the suggested $1 donation for his extra special lady friends!

I've had the opportunity to spend some time chatting with Abe and found out what makes him so intriguing. He's well into his 80's and has one of the most youthful, positive and energetic spirits I've ever encountered. He spends hours preparing a booklet of jokes, stories and inspirational quotes to share with his group each week. Today, I was told, they were discussing priorities and what you decide is most important to you when you get out of bed in the morning. To myself, I arrogantly thought, what in the world I have to prioritize at that age? I immediately felt guilty for never taking the time to realize that it doesn't matter what age you are, what job or responsibilities you have, you will always have priorities. And that's a good thing! It's what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning. It's knowing that there is going to be a part of your day that is important to you and that's what makes life worth living.

We all spend so many of our days frantically running around and going through the required motions. Have you ever stopped to think what part of that rat race is most important to you? It could be anything from rolling over to share a monster breath kiss with your loved one in the morning to going to your job knowing that someone there needs and appreciates you.

If you can't think of something that holds superior ranking in your life, perhaps its a sign you should take a deep breath, slow down and take a lesson in laughing and learning with Abe!

So what's your priority today?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Watching the Weight

Weight Watchers has finally done an overhaul of their points system! For years, thousands have been counting up the points from every snack and meal in order to stay within the boundaries of Weight Watchers guidelines. As it turns out, there's been a simpler way to loose weight all along. Welcome to the world of fruits and vegetables my friends! Weight Watchers has revamped the system and a calorie just doesn't count as a calorie any more. (We knew that. Thanks for catching up with the program) They finally studied the science on how your body processes certain types of calories and found that your body isn't going to register that 100 calorie snack pack quite the same way it's going to process an apple.

These are things that we all know instinctively but when you are told by a multimillion dollar industry that the cookies and the apple are exactly the same, why would we opt for the later?

I find it a huge relief that Weight Watchers has finally gotten their facts straight and will now be promoting a healthier diet. Yes, it's true that thousands have lost weight doing it the easy way, but it's because they were eating less calories and watching their weight (hence the name). The process is the same. The support groups are the same. But now people will be losing weight in a healthier way and will be much more likely to keep the weight off.

The companies tag is "Don't eat less, eat smarter"

Thank you. It's about time.

Friday, October 15, 2010

"100% Recycled" or is it?

Yesterday, I ventured into Staples to buy printer paper and faced my biggest moral dilemma of the day. Perhaps even of the week. I was greeted by an entire wall of multipurpose paper of 3 major varieties: Regular paper, 50% Recycled and 100% Recycled. I'm environmentally conscious so it's a no brainer- I reached for the 100% recycled. Looking at the prices is where the dilemma stepped in.

Regular paper was 1/2 the price of the 100% recycled!

I stood there for 10 min trying to decide what to do. I live in NYC. Things are expensive. I have rent to pay and my an expensive, organic, whole food loving bottomless pit to feed! Can I really justify paying $11 for a ream of printer paper just because it's 100% recycled?

My wrinkled forehead must have been projecting some "help me" energy because a salesperson came over to ask if I was OK. (Note: not to ask if I needed help- if I was OK.) I wanted to scream "I'm not OK! This is what's wrong with our world. This is the same reason my organic, locally grown apples are are so much more expensive than the ones with the waxy covering and 1,500 food miles!"

I couldn't bring myself purchase anything but the 100% recycled and spent $11 on a ream of paper. When I got home, I found some disappointing research. It turns out that the marketing industry knows exactly how to dupe earth loving consumers like me. That lovable 100% recycled logo falls under the realm of free domain, meaning virtually anything can wear that logo. Here comes my broken record shpeal: you have to READ THE LABEL!

Here's what I found. Check out the percentage of post consumer fiber in the paper- the higher, the better.

You also need to take into consideration how it was bleached. Is it TCF: Total Chlorine Free- no chlorine, but it also means it's not recycled paper, ECF: Elemental Chlorine Free-no chlorine gas but other elements containing chlorine or PCF: Process Chlorine Free-non chlorine alternatives are used and it meets the EPA's 30% minimum requirement for recycled/post consumer waste content. (the best of the 3 options)

Upon inspection I found that my purchase yesterday was 100%% post consumer waste and ECF. Not great, but at least it's 100% post consumer waste.

Looooong story short. Being a "green consumer" means that you have to be conscious of ALL your daily choices. Learn to be skeptical of everything you see in bold print, and in reference yesterdays rant, read between the lines. Sometimes that means going one more day without paper so you can do a little research before making a decision.

In earth loving health,


Joanie Johnson, HC

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Read between the lines, or at least the back of the box!

Are you a sucker for buying a product because of the health benefits listed on the front of the package? Healthy catch words like whole grain, fiber, and vitamins are all over the front of our cereal boxes, pastas, canned goods, even chips and other junk foods! Every time we fall for it, we are being the good consumers that the food industry hopes we are.

The Institute of Medicine released a report on Wed stating that food companies should focus on labeling the nutrients most responsible for obesity and chronic disease on the front of their packages. These of course are already listed on the back of the package or side nutrition bar, but who wants to actually read what they are eating? It's much better to put our full trust in the food industry that they won't feed us something bad for our health. (Insert sarcasm here)

Will you find yourself picking up that same package of "healthy" chips if it is blaring terms like calories and saturated fat? Hmmm.

The Institute of Medicine is working with congress and the FDA to standardize labeling on food products. I'm going to be optimistic that a change will be made soon. In the meantime, don't be blind to the nutrients that you are putting into you body...or not putting in! Take an extra 30 seconds, turn the package over and find out what's in there!

You can find a recent New York Times article on the topic here: Group Seeks Food Label That Highlights Harmful Nutrients

and the Institute of Medicine report here: Report at a Glance

In Health,


Joanie Johnson, HC

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Shake your Hipsters! Register now!

For Kids!


Date: August 16-20
Time: 9AM-12pm
Location: Triskelion Arts
118 N 11th St, Brooklyn
Who: Boys and Girls 3-6yrs
How much: $250

Don’t let your tiny “hipster” miss out on what’s going to be the healthiest dance camp of the summer. Registration for “Shake your Hipsters” is now open to movers and shakers ages 3-6yrs . The camp will run from 9am-12:00pm, Mon-Fri, Aug 16-20. Your child will explore creative movement and generate their own choreography, while simultaneously learning the importance of healthy eating and exercise. There will be an informal showing at the end of the camp on Friday so you can see what kind of shakin’ your child has been up to!

To register or for more information, email:
Or call Joanie at 814-442-5311

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Energy Booster

I agree that dates aren't nature's most beautiful looking fruit. To me, they closely resemble a NYC cockroach. For those of you who can get past their less then divine appearance, they make a great pre, during, or post workout energy booster. They are sometimes referred to as "nature's fuel."

They are high in glucose and our bodies rapidly convert them in to glycogen in the liver. Maintaining a steady supply of glycogen in the muscles and liver during a workout will help sustain energy.

I sliced them open and added a little bit of natural almond butter for a pre workout boost. Almonds are packed full of B2 (an energy vitamin), fiber, antioxidants and are easily digestible. That means your body won't have to take too much energy away from your workout to aid in digestion.

In Health,


Joanie Johnson, HC

Friday, July 23, 2010

Breakfast of Champians

I LOVE cereal. All cereal. I grew up eating it every morning before school. I have fond memories of soggy marshmallows peacefully swimming in their pool of synthetic rainbow colors while plopped down in front of my Saturday morning cartoon favorites. I can lovingly recall the taste of Count Chocula every time I think of the Care Bears.

Like most people, it was the staple of my diet in college and was always readily available in those fun plastic lever bins at the dining hall. It never let me down when they were serving an unidentifiable meat. Oh the magical sound of if singing as it dropped into the plastic bowl.

You can say, I've had a bit of an obsessive love affair with cereal. I can benchmark meaningful events in my life with just about every brand on the market. Fruit Loops-my first day of Preschool, Lucky Charms-my first dance recital, Captn'Crunch-my first kiss, Frosted Corn Flakes-my college graduation, Cheerios-my first day in NYC, Kashi-my first paid dance my defense, they did get healthier over time.

I realized that these comfort foods were something that I had to let go of once I fell into the health field. There are some horrific hidden studies of protein mutation when grains go through processing. The more wholesome the grain, the more toxic the protein. The more toxic the protein, the more damage to our brains. According to some experts, you are better off eating the nutrient stripped sugar loaded brands over anything with a "whole grain" health claim.

Then there is the controversy around the health claims that end up on sugar loaded kids cereals. The Kellogg Co. recently got reprimanded for their claims that Rice Krispies will improve childrens health and Frosted Mini-Wheats will improve alertness.

The point of this trip down memory lane isn't to scare you out of your own cereal comforts. Although if that happens in the process, it's not a bad thing. For the last 2 years, I've made the switch to steal oats, eggs, spinach, AM smoothies but nothing has been able to compare to the comfort of cereal...until now. I should have known that turning to my favorite super grain would be the answer to my demise.

QUINOA- cold, leftover from dinner, swimming in milk (rice, almond, coconut, soy whatever you desire), topped with fruit, sliced almonds and a tiny splash of maple syrup.

A recipe for success. My heart and taste-buds could not be happier. :) Don't knock it til you've tried it. If this sugary cereal addict can find peace with it, I'm sure you can as well.

Cheers to a happier, healthier start to your day,


Joanie Johnson, HC

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Coffee- Tree- Huggers

I, myself have been known to hang my head and frequent a Starbucks on occasion (the free Wi-Fi gets me every time!) and am shocked at what Ashley Brown, a Motivated Nutrition pal has discovered! Being the spunky, green loving creature that she is, ( that's her in her natural habitat to the right!) Ashley isn't about to let disposable cups pile up in her neighborhood. Read below to see how she is making a difference and get in on the action!

Having never been a Starbucks customer before moving to rural MD, I was going along living my life in ignorance of Starbucks' environmental irresponsibility, and frequenting wonderful (more-conscientious) mom-and-pop operations. Now that I live in a town that, like so much of rural America, is the definition of suburban strip-mall retail planning, I hang my head and reluctantly march across the sizzling, sprawling blacktop whenever I want to study at the coffee shop or grab a special treat to go. I wish Starbucks hadn't replaced so many of America's great locally owned, independent and unique coffee shops, but since they did, I feel it is their responsibility to set the standard for environmental practices. I was shocked to find that in most Starbucks stores, recycling is not available! They also offer reusable cup incentives that are far too weak, and hardly ever offer to-stay cups, even to their regular loiterers, like me! This is so appalling to me that I have been doing some research to find out their plan to get started. Despite significant customer demands for recycling, Starbucks continues to take its time developing a comprehensive plan to go green - their target date isn't until the end of 2015! Please join me in putting pressure on the coffee monster and write to them at this website:

I also called customer service at (800) 235-2883 and received my local district manager's contact info and am in discussions with him to help join forces with neighboring shops and local chamber of commerce to provide "front-of-store" recycling options as well as customer and employee incentives for conscientious environmental practices.

Please help Starbucks get its act together!


Thanks Ashley!

Here's what I submitted under the Corporate Social Responsibility tab. If it makes you more likely to take action, feel free to steal it!

As a company that seems to be setting coffee standards in America, Starbucks needs to pick up the pace on the development of their comprehensive plan to go green. I recently found out that not all store locations offer recycling and that the target date for a "green" plan isn't until 2015! As an earth loving coffee drinker I'm asking you to please expedite your plan on helping to save our planet.

Now go get em!

In health,


Joanie Johnson, HC

Monday, July 19, 2010

There's an app for that

Dear friends,

I'm apologizing in advance for the rant that this one is going to turn into.

The New York Times recently published an article (here) describing the new smart phone apps that have been created to help with weight loss. The app is described as a "nutritionist in your pocket". You plug your food and exercise into the application and it keeps track of your caloric intake to burned ratio.

This supposedly simplifies dieting?

Our country is obsessed with weight loss, counting calories and getting more exercise. We're also obsessed with finding a simple solution and the latest gadget that is going to make it easier. I constantly find myself wandering how the $60 Billion weight loss industry survives if it continues to produce little to no long term results. The bottom line is that dieting and counting calories is not a sustainable way to live. Are you really going to use your new smartphone app and count calories for the rest of your life? At the end of the day, has it taught you how to make healthier choices?

Why is it so hard for us to understand that becoming educated on living a healthy lifestyle is the simplest and most sustainable way to lose weight and be healthy? It's because we're a fast fix society and no one is willing to put the time or effort into making choices that take a little more thought and action. Why would you when you can down a Diet Coke and then punch it into your iPhone? We get the permission to eat bad and let a computer figure it out. Then we're stuck eating carrot sticks for dinner to make up for it.

In the article, Dr. James A. Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic says, “We really haven’t come up with one good weight-loss solution, if we had, everyone would be using it.”

You may not have figured it out yet Dr. Levine, but there are plenty of people in the preventative health care industry that have. Nothing in this country is going to change until doctors are required to take more than one class on nutrition in medical school. The health care industry is playing into our instant gratification society by prescribing pills to fix all of our ailments because it a money maker and it's what we as consumers require. If you went to your doctor and he told you to change your diet instead of prescribing a pill for whatever ailed you, you'd probably seek a second opinion. Our cultural approach to health care is ass backwards.

Oh wait, you're going to tell me that your mad about our health care system and can't afford to see the doctor or get the pills? It's ok. I'm sure they make an app for that.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bleeding H2O

It's uncomfortably hot and humid right now in NYC. It's the type of hot that makes you walk at a slow pace with your arms held slightly away from your body in fear of breaking a clothes drenching sweat.

I arrived home the other day to find a block party had broken out on my street and all of the neighborhood kids were cooling off in the fully open fire hydrant. There were gallons of water flooding down the street as far as 6 blocks away.

Everyone was having a great time. Music was blasting, kids were laughing, and adults were lazily conversing in the shade. I can't default them for enjoying a miserably hot afternoon.

I was however horrified at the 12ft high rupture of water freely spewing from the hydrant at 1000 gallons of water/min (I did the research). And I know for a fact that it was open for at least 12 hrs because it didn't get shut off until I called 311 to report it at 11pm. That's 720,000 gallons of wasted water! That day, I saw at least 6 other hydrants open in Brooklyn alone bringing my neighborhood total to at LEAST 4,320,000 gallons of wasted water.

This is one of the most disturbing things that I have ever witnessed. It amazes me that people can be so disrespectful towards nature. The National Geographic website has some great interactive features and quizzes on water. Get informed and you'll be less likely to make wasteful choices.

If you see an open hydrant in NYC, give 311 a call. You're probably going to be on hold for 20 min but think of all the gallons of water you'll be saving.

Stay cool! (just don't open a hydrant)

In health,


Joanie Johnson, HC

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What's that floating around your head?

Have you ever taken the time to glance around and take notice of how many electronic devices are close by? According to a recent (slightly scary) study, our bodies are subject to a high amount of electromagnetic radiation and it's leading to many widespread diseases like heart conditions, cancers, tumors and what they are now calling type 3 Diabetes. If you have a chance to check out the article, it's worth the read.

Even if you don't agree with all of it, I hope it will at least make you think about what you are exposing your body to.

Some of the common culprits :cell phones, Wifi, hair dyers, wireless routers, computers, TV's, basically anything with an electric current. The article stated a statistic from a study in 2008 saying that people who start using cell phones before age 20 increase their chances of a brain tumor by 500%!

There is no doubt in my mind that all the EMF pollution floating around our heads is bound to have some type of effect on the body. I'll be plugging my cell phone in to charge across the room at night in the very least.

Just something for you to ponder....

In health,


Joanie Johnson, HC

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Childhood obesity has become a national epidemic. More than 12 million kids are obese, over 23 million are overweight and these figures are increasing at an alarming rate.

One out of every 3 kids born today will develop diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes used to be considered an adult illness and is now commonly found in children. We've also reached a new low with cardiovascular disease occurring in teenagers.

All of this has happened in the last 30 years with (if you ask me) the help of our food industry, the corrupt, industry influenced USDA, and the "convenience" of fast and packaged foods.

I can remember getting home from school and not even taking the time to drop my backback before running off to fall out of a tree or permanently grass stain my school clothes! I had to be dragged into the house kicking and screaming to eat dinner. Snacking or sitting in front of the TV was never an issue. If the weather wasn't nice, I was sent to the playroom to rip and tear. I realize that I was probably a bit of an overactive child, I tend to a bit of an overactive adult, but I feel that our culture is becoming more stationary and it effects every age group.

I currently teach dance and movement to over 200 kids across NYC each week. I have children who become concerned when they begin to sweat and are winded after a 10 min warm up. Some times they are exhausted to the point of having to sit down and rest. I even had a little girl tell me she was having a heart attack the other day because she could feel her heart beating!

All of this saddens me deeply.

I love the new "Let's Move" initiative that Michelle Obama has started nation wide. I'm currently doing some research because I'm inspired to find a way to get involved. Here's the link. Check it out! Give me a "holla" if you want to brainstorm with me on how to jump in!

In health,


Joanie Johnson, HC

Monday, May 24, 2010

Quinoa Score!

I scored a yummy quinoa recipe on the back of the Trader Joe's box yesterday. If you haven't yet added this nutritional powerhouse into your diet, it's time. Quinoa is close to one of the most complete foods that you can find in nature. It's contains amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. It's also a complete protein for all my veggie loving friends out there. It contains all 9 essential amino acids that are required by the body.

Here's a delicious and easy way to give it a try.

Garlic Tofu Stir Fry with Quinoa, Peppers and Basil

1 C Quinoa prepared with 2C Veggie Stock
1 Package of Firm Tofu
4 TBS of Olive Oil
1 Small Onion
2 Peppers (any color)
5 cloves of thinly sliced garlic
20 leaves of fresh sweet basil
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Cut Tofu into 1 inch pieces. Heat oil in a Large skillet. Add tofu and saute until golden brown on all sides.
Add onions, peppers and saute for 1-2 min; add garlic and saute an additional 1-2 min; season with salt and pepper
Remove pan from heat; add basil and quinoa. Toss until basil wilts; garnish with Parmesan Cheese.

Be sure to let us know if you have any great quinoa recipes to share!

In health,


Joanie Johnson, HC

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"Diet Soda is the cure for Kidney Stones!"

A study was published by the Journal of Urology and claims that drinking diet soda may reduce your risk of developing kidney stones.

Here's the link.

Here's the summary

-Kidney stones are formed when urine contains high levels of calcium, uric acid and a compound called oxalate.
-A compound called citrate is known to inhibite the formation of kidney stones.
-Diet citrus flavored sodas contain citrate

The study says that it is still unknown if these diet sodas will help prevent kidney stones, just that they contain high levels of citrate. They are not advocating the consumption of soda. What DOES upset me is that the doctor from the study says that patients need to be drinking 2-3 litters of water or other fluids a day and that if soda helps reach that goal, it's a good thing!

Perhaps if we pushed whole foods and drinking water (instead of soda) these ailments wouldn't develop in the first place. I see studies published everyday, in mainstream media, offering new, quick, convenient fixes for all of our maladies. These doctors and studies aren't necessarily advocating these fixes, but the media is presenting them in a way that is making it unclear to the consumer. How many of you would have read this article and then said, "Diet soda is the cure for kidney stones!"? That's the kind of excuse that most Americans are looking for. We all want "facts" and "science" to support our unhealthy habits.

In this society, people aren't willing to read all of the information and are only catching highlights and blurbs. It's vital that you learn to read thoroughly and always be skeptical of what's being "fed" to you.

Happy Researching!

In health,


Joanie Johnson, HC

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Food Funnies

If you've been receiving the Motivated Nutrition newsletter, you've read a few of my childhood food stories. I'm curious to hear a few of your own and use them in the June issue. Dig deep to remember any funny food experience from your life and email it to me at

I'll notify you if you are chosen and you'll be featured (anonymously or not) in next month's newsletter.

If you aren't signed up for the newsletter yet, what are you waiting for?

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon
Sign up for our Email Newsletter

In health,


Joanie Johnson, HC

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Anchor enhancing/washboard Ab class!

Hi all!

Motivated Nutrition is going to be holding it's first fitness event on Sunday, May 23 from 12:30-1:30 in Chinatown. Clink above for more details and to register!

Hope to see you there!

In health,


Joanie Johnson, HC

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

To mEat or not to mEat?

As many of you know, I am a strong advocate of vegetarianism. It started because I had a food allergy that I couldn't diagnose and when I started cutting meat from my diet, I made healthier choices. Thus correcting the issue. (The allergy happens to be anything fried or processed.) I'm also a strong supporter of eliminating meat to lower my carbon footprint. Being a veg reduces the same emissions as 8,000 miles driven per year. An added bonus to all of this is that my diet is full of whole, healthy foods.

For the last week, my body has had strong cravings for meat. I tried upping my protein intake, but to no avail. Last night, I finally broke down and gave in to my craving. I had a great dinner of baked rosemary chicken, spinach and sweet potatoes. (I can't take any of the credit, BF played chef). Today the craving is gone and I'm back to my normal diet.

There are a couple of theories on meat cravings. One is that it's a very grounding food. I have been making a lot of changes to my schedule lately and been trying to ground and center myself. That's legitimate.

Another is that meat cravings come from excessive muscle breakdown when your body wants protein to repair it. I sustained an injury last week, just came off a dance tour and have another show this upcoming weekend.


Our body intelligence continues to amaze me. Since eliminating processed, unhealthy foods, I have become more in tune with what my body needs and when. It never fails.

Try skipping all the center shopping aisles this week and stock up on whole, healthy foods. See if your body starts to tell you what it needs once it has some time to cleanse itself. The results will amaze you!

In health,


Joanie Johnson, HC

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Today is the 40th celebration of Earth Day and there are events going on all over NYC, not to mention the rest of the country. New York has started an entire marketing campaign to support the event. Posters and bulletins have been everywhere lately. The marketing is nice but I wonder how many people are actually going to take an action to make some changes? I recently read a book by Colin Beavan called No Impact Man (Check out his blog at It inspired me to make some changes in my everyday life, more than just switching light bulbs. You're going to have to do more than that, I'm sorry.

Here are a few of the changes I've made. Maybe they will inspire you to make your own impact.

*Stop buying bottled water. Start carrying a stainless steel/ BPA Free bottle instead
*Ride a Bike
*Eat more veggies and less meat or ALL VEGGIES and no meat!
*Take the stairs instead of the elevator
*Cut out the plastic and carry your own shopping bags- not just for groceries, for EVERYTHING you purchase.
*Make less new purchases. Shop your local thrift store.
*Switch to hankies instead of tissues! (I get a lot of stares for this one and proudly feel like a little old man. I'm starting a statement here...just wait!)
*Use public transportation, it's so much cooler.
*Be inspired by No Impact Man, Eating Animals, Tapped, Food Inc.
*Shop your local farmers market and eat locally. It's fun to get to know where your food is coming from!
*Join a Food Share. I'm now a proud supporter of Free Bird Farm
*Take shorter showers (I happen to hate water so this is easy for me)
*Tell people they have dropped something when you see them litter! They will either be embarrassed, pick it up and say thank you or mutter a disgruntle comment. When this happens, pick it up for them and happily say "That's ok, I got that for you". Kill em with kindness.

Share with us a few of the Earth Saving things you have been doing! Happy Earth Day!

In health,


Joanie Johnson, HC

Monday, April 12, 2010

Vitamin D

We want to know how you have been enjoying the spring weather and soaking up your Vitamin D! As you can see, my sister and niece are doing it up right!

I have been dying to ride my bike but I have 2 flat tires and no air pump in sight. I'm vowing to get it back into commission this week. If you like adventure and haven't had the (somewhat terrifying) experience of riding your bike through NYC traffic, put it on your list of things to do in life! Helmets are required. My final ride last summer was a 40 mile trip to Far Rockaway and back. I remember how thrilling the last 5 miles were after an exhausting afternoon of pedaling. I can't wait for my stamina to return!

We would love to hear what gives you your springtime kicks. You may motivate someone to take up a new hobby or experience something new. Feel free to post if you are looking for someone to join you. You may make a few new friends!

Happy Spring!


Joanie Johnson, HC

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Too tired to cook

I don't finish up my Thursday nights until 9pm and after a long day of back to back rehearsals and teaching a boot camp class, I'm starving and exhausted. The last thing I want to do is stress over what to eat and then actually take the time to prepare it. I usually spend Thursday evenings catching a sun burn from the light in the fridge with a growling stomach and no brain power to play creative chef. I googled a recipe on my way home tonight and then swung by the market to pick up what I needed. Here's what I came up with. It was fast, easy, healthy, delicious AND I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. You can't beat that. The sauce was really good. My advice is to make more than recommended. Otherwise it's a little bland. It took me about 30 min from start to finish.


* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1/2 onion, sliced
* 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
* 1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
* 8 ounces firm or extra firm tofu, sliced into bite size pieces
* 1/4 cup water
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 1 tablespoon soy sauce
* 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water
* 1 red, yellow or green bell pepper, seeded and cut into slices
* 2 Heads of Broccoli, chopped
* 4 Crimini mushrooms, chopped


Heat oil over medium high heat in a large skillet or wok. Stir in onions and cook for 1 minute. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in tofu and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. In a small sauce pan combine water, honey and soy sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2 minutes and stir in cornstarch mixture. Simmer until sauce thickens. Add bell pepper, broccoli, and mushrooms to the skillet and cook for another 5 minutes. Pour thickened sauce over vegetables and tofu. Serve immediately with brown rice.

Do you have a go-to recipe that you fall back on when you are hungry and tired? If so, please share. I'm going to need another meal next Thursday night!

Be well,


Joanie Johnson, HC

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Clear Heads

Have you ever heard the expression "I just need to clear my head."? Most of us have used this phrase after a strenuous interaction or activity. What do we really mean by saying it and why is it usually accompanied by a walk/venting session around the block?

I recently stumbled across a juicy site on the human brain by the Franklin Institute that satisfied my inner information consuming, research nerd.

I'm sure you know, (but it helps to be reminded from time to time) that walking increases blood circulation, as well as oxygen and glucose that reaches your brain. You don't have to be running, jumping, dancing or hula hooping, walking will suffice! When we say we're going out to "clear our heads", that's exactly what is happening. You are oxygenating your brain. Next time you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed, go for a stroll around the block or at least around your office and clear your brain.

Some other fun facts:

You NEED essential fatty acids (EFA's) to make your 3lb information station function at peak performance. You can get these from foods like fish, green leafy vegetables, olive oil, meat, eggs, walnuts, and almonds, to name a few. Some symptoms that you aren't getting enough EFA's into your diet may include depression, high blood pressure, hyperactivity, allergies, and if deprived long enough can turn into scary conditions like cancer, diabetes, intestinal disorders and Alzheimer's.

Your brain also needs the amino acids that come from the breakdown of protein and the glucose that comes from consuming carbohydrates. For all of you carb fearing dieters out there, you should be informed that if you aren't eating carbs, you are depriving your brain of fuel. If you want to argue with me, sign up for my program and I'll show you how you can enjoy life with carbs and (gasp) still lose weight! The last ingredient for a healthy thinker is micronutrients. This means you have to be eating your fruits and veggies. Preferably fresh and not out of a can.

Bottom Line: Don't be a dead head! You and your fellow compadres will love you even more if you are well fueled and oxygenated.

In Health,


Joanie Johnson, HC

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What's a Health Coach?

"What IS a health coach?" This a question that I have been getting asked a lot lately. It's a term that has recently been creating a lot of buzz in the media so you may begin hearing more about it. I thought it might be good to clear up this question before continuing on with a fun filled blog.

Health Coaching is my personal definition of "reformed" health care. It's about taking the preventative measures to care for yourself now so you don't end up with thousands of dollars in medical debt later. We've got health care completely backwards in this country. Why do we wait until we are sick to see a doctor when we could simply be making more educated choices in order to avoid those expensive and dreadful trips?

A health coach has the incredible job of focusing on you as a whole person: on all of the wonderfully angelic/devil on your shoulder, spinach loving/ice cream binging, peacefully meditative/anxiety stricken parts of you! A health coach doesn't judge and a good one isn't going to tell you that you have to cut those beloved chocolate milkshake binges out of your diet. A health coach works with clients to figure out how you can be living the most balanced, healthy life possible.

That's what I do.

I'm not a doctor. I'm not a nutritionist. I'm not a miracle worker. But, I can help turn YOU into a miracle worker for yourself by making more educated and loving choices. The caveat is that you have to be motivated to make changes (hence Motivated Nutrition), otherwise the tool box that I provide you with will never be successful. My job is to be here to support you on your journey and be your personal tour guide to find the solutions that fit your specific needs.

I offer Individual and Group Coaching. I also give workshops, organizing sessions, health food store tours and fitness sessions. My approach is high energy, fun, supportive and dedicated to helping you become as healthy as possible. I'll introduce you to the world of eating whole foods, exercise that doesn't have to feel like a chore, organization that's easy and overall balance in your life.

Health Coaching is all about changing your relationship with yourself, your food, your body and everyone around you.

That's cleared up. Let's get back to the fun stuff! If you have any questions or issues that you want me to address, shoot me an email at

In Health,


Joanie Johnson, HC

Monday, February 22, 2010


When was the last time you were motivated to make a change to better your health? We're not just talking nutrition, but mental, emotional, relationship and spiritual health as well.

My most recent change is the process of downsizing my life. I have a new goal of trying to make my life more simple and strategic. I'm finding it harder than I thought to make some much needed sacrifices. There is always the fear that the change I'm making isn't for the better. When that self doubt sneaks in, I (gently) remind myself to get over it and stop sulking.

For support, I've turned on the power of "The Secret", and have been repeating a few mantra's in hopes that my subconscious will help me out. I've written them on my mirror so it's sure to catch my attention every morning. Here are the two that I've come up with:

My life is simple, open, loving and strategic.
I am one with the universe and all life loves and supports me.

You may judge, but they get me through the day with a positive attitude. Give it a try.

Here's your first Motivated Nutrition Challenge. Take a few minutes to come up with a mantra or some motivational words of your own. Write it on the bathroom mirror, or if your roommate won't appreciate that, whip out the good ol Post-It's and stick it some place that you will be sure to read it every morning. That's the easy part. The real challenge is believing it everyday for a week to see what happens.

Have you noticed any improvements in your attitude? Share your mantras and experiences here!

In Health,


Joanie Johnson, HC