We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Tanja Johnston and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dr. Tanja, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I had co-founded a technology company previously. Quite frankly after I successfully sold my share of that business after 7 years, I had all intention to settle into motherhood as my main job. But while I love my son and family duties, my innate drive for more kept me up at night. I wanted more! Choosing my second career took into account my previous experience in starting a business. I knew of the risks and benefits. That experience also amplified my strengths but also my shortcomings. This time around I did not want to carry the responsibility for an entire body of staff members. I wanted to have a business in which I am the talent and the fiscally responsible owner. As a nutritionist my product is ultimately my knowledge and skill set around food. I did not want my work to be influenced by having to sell anything else but my science-based knowledge and experience. I did not want my work ethic to be taunted by the need of selling other services or products to rake in the mark ups. My initial investment was simply into myself. To up my game I re-invest into continued education and training rather than fancy equipment that I need to amortize over years.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I run my private nutritional service, Intuitive Nutritionist, in LA. As a board-certified doctor of Natural Medicine I am trained in dietary and lifestyle interventions that go beyond a certified health coach or dietitian. My specialty is the adjustment of microbial imbalances. The genetic make up of the human genome is outnumbered by a factor of 1:10 by our microbiome – the gene pool of micro-organisms living in and on us. The gut alone hosts a mind-boggling vast array of bacteria that makes up 70% of our immune function, and secretes up to 80% of our happy hormone serotonin when properly cared for. When those colonies get depleted or depressed, we – the hosts – will experience a slew of pathological symptoms that will manifest in acute or chronic disorders of body and mind. Revising one’s diet therefor requires not only the knowledge of how nutrients fuel our cells but equally – if not more important – how metabolites feed our microbiota. Because of my scientific background I am in a unique position to “aim and shoot” at the root culprit. . In my practice I work with people suffering from auto-immune disorders, cardio-vascular health issues and all types of cancers. My work has been awarded LA’s Best in Business two consecutive years. The Naturopathic medical board honored me as a “High Achiever” in my field. And lastly this year I have been named one of the Top Ten Nutritionists and Health & Wellness Services in LA’s Film and TV Industry.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
During quarantine I would have to alter my itinerary. But I would usually start with a hike in Fryman Canyon followed by a brunch at SunCafe in Studio City. We would then head downtown via subway. And while it is quite shocking I do like to take visitors to Skid Row. Homeless tents are part of LA’s cultural fabric, and one of the biggest challenge our local governments and individual neighborhood councils are faced with. Downtown are also some of my favorite museums and galleries: The Broad, The Contemporary Geffen and Hauser & Wirth. For a great sunset we would head to the beach. I like the quieter stretch just north of Mothers’s beach at the Marina. The rooftop terrace of the Erwin Hotel is also a great sunset spot. Dinner would be at The Butcher’s Daughter.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My husband. If it weren’t for him, I would not do what I do today. He shook my world. His health challenges threw me off balance, and put me on the path of questioning everything I knew about medical science. Learning and applying effective changes helped me to being able to support others in their journey towards health.