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Meet Dr. Tanja Johnston of Intuitive Nutritionist in Valley Village

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Tanja Johnston.

Dr. Johnston, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am a trained engineer in the field of media technologies, I worked at Europe’s largest research facility for 6yrs and then co-founded a technology company based on one of the inventions created there. My partner in crime was the inventor of MP3, Prof. Dr. Brandenburg. The new technology we brought to market together was based on a revolutionary 3D audio algorithm. The marketing of such technology brought me to the US.

NY first, and then Los Angeles. I sheparded the company into the Hollywood movie industry for about 7 years before I sold my stake in the company and ventured into the field of Natural Medicine. This move was largely triggered by health scare of my now husband. He was diagnosed with multiple advanced disorders with a very dim prognosis and life expectancy. We had to implement drastic changes to our diet and lifestyle to beat his odds. To the surprise of our primary physician and consulted specialists he survived and was able to completely get all of his prescription drugs. Inspired and motivated by our own experience I became a certified Holistic Health Practitioner at the College for Natural Healing NHC. And then a certified Health Coach through the program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NY, and later specialized in plant-based nutrition under Prof. Dr. Colin Campbell at Cornell University. I got licensed by the AADP and started my own nutritional practice under the company name “Intuitive Nutritionist”. I received LA’s Best in Business Award two years in a row right after inception. My work focuses on nutritional prevention and intervention of certain disorders.

In March 2015, I enrolled into the PhD program at the University of Natural Medicine, and received my doctorate in Nutrition specialization in microbial health earlier this year.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Going plant-based was tough! Especially since we did it at a time (almost 15 years ago) when there were not many yummy options available in supermarkets, vegan restaurants were far and few in between and recipe blogs were music of the future. So it was a lot of trial and error. There are three kinds of motivators for a clean diet, especially plant-based approach: (i) ethical and environmental reasons, (ii) pure pleasure (concoction of nut butters and agave sweeteners might not be healthy but they are surely yummy), or (iii) life-threatening pain. My husband and I were certainly driven by the latter. Pain is a damn good motivator. And with every bite – even though it was not all yummy in the beginning – the pain dissipated and a state of serene well-being settled in. We started to look and feel better. During my training I focused on easing the transition pains. I have of course learnt many culinary tricks to make medicinal foods that do not taste like medicine. My clients can mainly thank my husband and later my son for having been my guinea pigs over decades.

Intuitive Nutritionist – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I specialize in plant-based nutrition. I have the educational background to make that a sustainable lifestyle choice. For many disorders it is a necessary course of action to remove animal based metabolites that only fostered the disease in the first place. My background is a very scientific one. While I am knowledgeable about alternative healing modalities like Ayurveda or TCM I subscribe to an evidence based nutritional intervention.

Thanks to my own research for my PhD in microbial health I have the unique ability to treat the whole person including imbalances of their microbial floras. The human body is only 10% human, and whopping 90% microbes!

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
As a yogi, I value and embrace change. Success in my business is a tricky one. If your clients improve quickly and ease through a transition smoothly, you will lose them as a paying customer. I have however learnt early on, that exactly that makes them loyal to me for future advise. People change and need to modify their strategies. For that I am then the best sounding board. Also, the more impressive and noticeable their transformation, the more infectious their recommendations and referrals are. Word of mouth is even in the day and age of social media and other marketing tools the best business driver for success.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Anja Schaefer

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.


  1. Andrea Emmerich

    October 11, 2017 at 02:36

    Congratulations Tanja this is fantastic! I like this publication and hint at them that there s a hidden gem for Ayurvedic medicine right here in the Hollywood hills check out my website

  2. Lauren O'Connor

    October 12, 2017 at 15:47

    Lovely to learn more about you Tanja! Great work and wonderful feature. 🙂

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