Hello, It's Me, The JOI-OUS RD
Greetings from sunny Miami (but inside, in my work-from home office, that also doubles as my Pilates studio / geriatric spaniel dormitory). My name is Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RDN and I’m the new JOI-ous dietitian. I’ve had a joyous disposition my whole life. My Grandma’s name was “Sunny” because she was always happy. Maybe joy is somewhat genetic, but I’ve found that in life, you can always bring your own sunshine. I earned my undergraduate degree from the University of Florida, migrated south to Florida International University for my Master’s in Dietetics and Nutrition, matched into their dietetic internship program, and then worked for a couple of years at a large academic hospital before opening my private practice. Food is dear to me and I respect it for what it does in the kitchen, in the clinic, but most saliently -- for our souls. My favorite foods are almond croissants, Nutella crepes, mint chocolate chip ice cream, pizza, nut butters, frosting (yep, I’m THAT person that hacks away at the cake), extremely dark chocolate, Bircher muesli, Japanese whiskey, and Honeycrisp apples. I do not like anise, licorice, cumin, corn (love popcorn, though), gratin, and cucumbers unless they are in sushi. Oh, did you not ask for an encyclopedic list of my loved and loathed foods? My b.
How I SPARK JOI:
I have eaten nuts in some way, shape, or form (raw, nut butters, mylks) every single day of my life for decades. When I discovered JOI, I just about faceplanted into the tub. I am dazzled by anything shelf stable / without avalanches of fillers/emulsifiers/preservatives, since, as a dietitian -- I largely abhor our American food supply (don’t get me started on food politics) and those aforementioned chemicals therein. Joi is smooth in both texture and nutritional form. I spark joy/joi using it for my mid-afternoon pick-me-up-off-the-floor-I-am-so-tired foamed latte with a dash of cinnamon. I’ve been told a shot of Zacapa works well within this joi-ous beverage as well. Asking/telling for a friend?
How I SPARK JOY in my life:
As the owner of a multi-dietitian practice, as a mom, as a dog mom, a wife, a home chef, as a Pilates devotee, a constantly evolving online grocery delivery cart, and as a woman trying to keep up with a steady reading and streaming show queue, I need to be reminded to slow down. I am most at peace when I am so engrossed in a book (usually medieval history -- I have eclectic interests) that hours pass without me even noticing I have to pee. I suppose this is a form of meditation -- when the mind is so focused that it hears nothing, sees nothing, and feels nothing besides its immense focus on a task / activity. I experience immense joy from holding my snoozing son, cuddling my snoring spaniel, and spooning Joi into my mouth straight from the tub as a bedtime snack.
My JOYOUS Food Philosophy
All foods fit and all bodies are good bodies. “Unhealthy” foods (moralizing/labeling foods as such is silly; - ALL foods have merit!) is offensive. Food is meant to be joyous and enjoyed in the pursuit of health, happiness, and the liberty to even EAT (some people have to be tube fed!) All foods, even those which you may have demonized as “unhealthy”, can be a moderate and comfortable part of a sustainable healthy lifestyle -- otherwise it would be an UNsustainable healthy lifestyle. Food is a source of pleasure / happiness / social gathering / religion for us humans -- we should honor that with intent, trust, and balance. Indulgent meals should be truly savored and enjoyed, and then disintegrate into nothing but a joyous memory -- not something to ruminate or harp on. When food becomes traumatizing or stressful, that's how we know psychological intervention is needed to tease out these powerful mental forces and cope with them -- that's why my practice has enlisted licensed mental health professionals as part of our disciplinary team - it became quite clear that so many people were suffering from disturbing and upsetting mental intrusions surrounding food, when food (all foods, healthy and unhealthy) should be a source of nourishment AS WELL as pleasure.
Our worth as humans is much more than what we eat; and that one food/meal does not deliver someone into the realm of poor health. Health is global, wholistic, and relative to VERY long-term patterns of intake, movement, spirituality, socialization, and mental health. Elect yourself as the CEO of your own body - would you fire an employee because they slipped up a teeny bit (and enjoyed it, as you should when you mindfully indulge)? Would you yell at a puppy? No! Be a kind and benevolent CEO who employs mindfulness (presence in the moment) with all decisions related to food.
To your health, and to harnessing the JOI / joy in life --
Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RDN is the founder of Essence Nutrition, a group practice of seven registered dietitians, and oversees all of Essence’s private client work while focusing on Essence’s corporate wellness programming, speaking engagements, non-private client nutrition consulting services, school wellness programming, and marketing. She is the dietitian for the Miami Marlins and is the visiting dietitian specialist at Ocean Reef Resort and Club.