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Changing Bad Habits: Jonny Bowden From Musician To Optimum Health Nutritionist

May 24, 2008
This interview is an excerpt from Kevin Gianni's The Healthiest Year of Your Life, which can be found at http://thehealthiestyearofyourlife.com. In this excerpt, Jonny Bowden shares the story of his transformation from a bad-habits-all-around musician to a nutritionist in optimum health.

The Healthiest Year of Your Life with Jonny Bowden, author of many books including The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth and a board certified nutrition specialist.

Kevin: Welcome, everyone, to another night of The Healthiest Year of Your Life Program. My guest is Jonny Bowden, Ph.D. He's a board certified nutrition specialist and a nationally known expert on weight loss and nutrition. Well, Jonny, we have a wide range of people on the line here tonight, people who want to be healthier, as well as people who are already really close to the top of their game, but let's start by telling everyone a little bit about yourself and what you've done.

Jonny: Well, I certainly was not the top of my game when I started this. I actually am a career convert. Like many people in health and fitness, I came to it as a second career. I was a professional musician working pretty much in a successful level and New York City playing jazz, rock, mainly Broadway, conducting shows, doing national tours and I had a pretty successful career in music and like many people in that field, was terribly out of shape. I smoked cigarettes. I came from the sex, drugs and rock 'n roll era of Woodstock and so on and lived that way. I would wake up at noon, if I didn't have a gig and smoke some cigarettes and would be out of breath if I had to run around the block. What happened was that I would go one to tour with these actors and they always got the girls and they looked great in they were in shape and they got up early in the morning and they went to the gym and you know, you kind of get influenced and I thought I'd like to do some of that. I got something to show me some weight training exercises and I just got bitten by this bug and I started to see that I could drop a few pounds and then I gained a little muscle and one thing led to another.

I started thinking well, maybe I should go back to school for this. Maybe there is a way to get some training in his stuff and I started scouring the magazines and noticing that all the information I was getting on training and nutrition was coming from, what we fondly call the Muscle and Fiction Magazine and things of that ilk and everything was contradictory and nothing made sense.

I started a long slog, which began with getting my training as a personal trainer, getting my certification as a personal trainer and then I got another one. Then I got six of them and then one thing led to another and I got healthy myself. I lost the weight. I stopped smoking. I got in shape. I got fanatic as many of us do when we change our lives around completely. Slowly but surely, I switched over careers and began working as the first Equinox that ever opened in New York City and quickly became -- not quickly, but over the years became kind of their spokesperson for a lot of media things. I began writing and met Barry Sears. I went back to school for nutrition. I got board certified in the late 90s from the American College of Nutrition, the certifying board of nutritional specialists. I finally went back and got a Ph.D. and that's kind of what I've been doing ever sense. I was always writing. I've written for most of the major magazines, or been quoted in, or contributed material to most of the major magazines. I've done a lot of TV shows and I've just been passionate about this field of self-healing and transformation and the things that can happen in a person's life when they kind of become empowered and take over and take charge of their own health. That's what happened for me and it's what I have tried to empower and teach and write about for people for the last 15 years.

Kevin: I wasn't planning on asking this question, but what drives that passion? Is it just seeing people transform, or is it knowing what you can get from it?

Jonny: Well, I think it has to start, Kevin, with what you experience yourself. It's really hard. A tennis teacher is not going to be able to teach you how to do a slam and serve if they can't do it themselves. You've got to have to experience some of that yourself to kind of be bitten by the bug and the transformation I experienced in clarity of thought -- I'm 61 years old. I wake up without alarm clock between 5:30 and 6:00 every morning and I'm all in full alert, ready to go, excited about my day. I'm on no prescription medications. I have relatively low body fat. I play tennis four to five times a week. I have the libido that I seem to member having 40 years ago. I mean, it's a great life and you kind of want to be able to give people whatever it takes for them to be able to find it within themselves whatever they need to find an order to have that life. I've always been something of an outsider and identified with outsiders and so I've always been really bristled when I see official information that's just so wrongheaded, and almost destructive, even it doesn't mean to be and there's the rebel in me, the rock 'n roll musician from the 60s and the 70s kind of rebels against that and wants to just put up a big halt sign and when I see these kinds of things -- I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but there is a kind of matrix of the pharmaceutical companies and the food companies and the official health information organizations that gives just such wrongheaded advice to people and I see them and when I was in private practice for 10 or 12 years and I would see patients and they would come in and now, when I do lectures and seminars and people ask questions I see the confusion in their eyes and they're following these cockamamie programs that they read about that are handed to them and they're frightened about their cholesterol levels and all these things that are essentially kind of red herrings and it just angers me and I get very passionate about trying to correct some of that information and trying to help people get off that treadmill and kind of find their own path and listen to their own music and hear their own drum and find their own pathway back to health.

It's an uphill battle because there's not a lot of social support for that, even though there appears to be. A lot of the information that we're getting from official health organizations is just not so. I guess we'll talk about that when we talk about my book why doctors don't know about this stuff. If you study the whole economics of it, it becomes very clear why they don't know about this stuff. It's very disheartening to me and it gets me very angry sometimes. I've had talks with friends and I suggest a supplement, or I suggest something that they might do and they go back to their doctor and ask the doctor about it. Well, that to me that's like asking your accountant to recommend a tennis racket. Your doctor doesn't know anything about nutrition. Why do you think he does? So it's something of a mission for me, to kind of educate and to try to do it with humor, with story, with self revelation.

When I talk about addiction and food addiction, I've experienced them. I was an addict. I know what it's like for food to beckon, for drugs to beckon, for alcohol to beckon. Believe me, I understand that. So I think that there is a kind of inborn -- I resonate with the people I speak to. I don't talk at them. I talk with them, because I'm one of them and I know what health can do for somebody when you really grab it by the horns and you wrestle health and you can just achieve all sorts of things and there's a halo effect to that. It's not just your health. That's why every radio show has been titled, Your Body, Your Health, Your Life, because it starts with taking control of your body. It goes to control of all of your health, which then touches on your brain, your thinking, your emotions, your relationship, your job, your stress, your sleep and it really is about your life and it really is about empowering your life and that's what I'm passionate about.
About the Author
To read the rest of this transcript as well as access The Healthiest Year of Life experts just like Jonny Bowden please click here! Kevin Gianni is an internationally recognized health advocate, author & film consultant. He has helped thousands of people take control of their own health naturally. For more information visit raw food diets and holistic nutrition.
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