We all know a married couple that seem absolutely perfect for each other. A dynamic duo who are attractive, respectful and supportive of each other, and willing to face the challenges of marriage, family and working together arm in arm. A beautiful couple. Amy and Don O’Byrne fit the bill. They ARE the quintessential beautiful pair. And they’re beautiful in so many ways that do not include just physicality. They’re both healthy and fit. They work out by running and lifting weights at least five days a week –30 minutes to an hour with each session. They both enjoy a healthy, nutritious approach to eating. They live in a gorgeous home in a lovely neighborhood. A home they bought with good, solid bones but in need of drastic renovation and repair. Most of the work the couple tackled themselves. In a nut shell, this couple isn’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and put in the work to get things done. And to top it off –they are both just as beautiful inside as they are out. After spending the better part of his youth in California, Don returned to Shreveport and opened a restaurant in Bossier City. He met Amy and soon married. She joined him in managing his restaurant endeavors. Don Juanz Baja Beach Tacos had already become a huge hit. So much so that their guests soon clamored for a sister restaurant in Shreveport. What makes Don Juanz different? It is the home of Louisiana’s original fish taco. From the very beginning, Don Juanz has won positive reviews and numerous awards from local publications like SB MAGAZINE. Many reviewers on Yelp have declared Don Juanz as the best salsa and queso around.
Not a pair afraid of a little hard work, Don and Amy could be found at any given time serving their customers personally. Don Juanz Baja Beach Tacos is a locally owned, truly family operated restaurant committed to serving fresh, locally sourced food that is healthy and delicious. The menu is made up of recipes Don has created over the past 20 years and those from his younger days while enjoying the Baja beaches and cantinas from Rosarito to Cabo. Healthy, clean, wonderful personal service –Don Juanz is the perfect place for lunch, family events and company parties.
It came at no surprise when Don and Amy were approached by Ochsner’s Eat Fit Program to be included in their search for local restaurants that met the qualifications be Eat Fit certified. Eat Fit. What exactly is Eat Fit?
Eat Fit is a program that began when registered dietitian and nutrition journalist, Molly Kimball, embarked on her journey of helping people live their healthiest, strongest lives. You can bet that she had her work cut out for her. Living in Louisiana, where the good food and good times go hand in hand, she set a goal that may have seemed daunting let alone, impossible to attain. To give you an idea of what Molly was up against, let’s look at some terrifying statistics.
Most of these people –43.2% -earn between $50 thousand and $75 thousand dollars a year. Those with an income of less than $25 thousand a year rank 39.6%. With the percentages being this close on the socioeconomic scale, it’s difficult to blame the inability to maintain a healthy weight on income levels. At least not in Louisiana.
Even more interesting than income levels but perhaps an explanation for the high percentage of obesity within the lower income scale:
“Obese persons, particularly women, are socially stigmatized, which adversely affects their educational, socioeconomic and marital status. Obese individuals are excluded from certain occupations, and are discriminated against in others. Various surveys have found lower educational and socioeconomic achievement in obese and overweight populations. The inverse relationship between obesity and social class is more evident in women. Obese women were found to complete fewer years of school, be less likely to marry, and have lower household incomes compared with women of normal weight. They were also less likely to improve their social status on marriage. Although differences in socioeconomic status between obese and non-obese persons might be accounted for to some extent by differences in social, economic and educational background, obesity is frequently associated with health problems or reduced physical performance, which can restrict socioeconomic achievement. Furthermore, society’s poor perception of obese persons, particularly women, is a major handicap to socioeconomic progress.”
While this is an older study (1994), it still holds true to a large extent in 2021. Obese people are in for a challenge whether its social stigmatism or health concerns.
Even more reason to team up with Ochsner’s Hospital to develop the Ochsner’s Eat Fit program, a nonprofit initiative that collaborates with local restaurants and chefs to develop and feature menu items that are nutritious and delicious.
Eat Fit had its start in New Orleans but soon, by partner- ing with Blue Cross Blue Shield, found its way into six regions throughout the state. With the Eat Fit app, we can find Eat Fit restaurants complete with full nutrition facts of the Eat Fit menu items. We can also find recipes, community wellness resources and even connect to a health professional.
Molly’s philosophy is, “Instead of obsessing over what not to eat, my preference is to put the focus on the good stuff that I’m adding into my diet. The more healthful stuff we squeeze in, the more we edge out any space for the not-so- good-for-you stuff. Nutrition isn’t one-size-fits-all. Keep things simple without over complicating. My goal is to help clients erase those “rules” we all create for ourselves and take the pressure away from being perfect.”
As we circle back to Don Juanz Baja Beach Tacos,Don O’Byrne had already helped a couple of patrons shed the pounds just by counseling them on good nutrition and healthy eating habits. He and Amy have worked diligently to offer menu items that are not only delicious but healthy. So, when Eat Fit found that their restaurant fit the criteria
for the program and was selected for the Eat Fit “stamp of approval,” they were thrilled that they had been validated for the years they have spent perfecting recipes and keep- ing the menu full of healthy choices. 14 items that were al- ready on Don Juanz Baja Beach Tacos menu are certified Eat Fit approved. Don Juanz also holds the north Louisiana record for having the most menu options endorsed by the program. Everything on their menu is gluten-free except for these five items; chicken mole’, any steak menu item (soy-base marinade), El Dorado Tacos (mahi-mahi has soy-ginger glaze), flour & wheat tortillas.
The take-away here is that you CAN dine out and make healthy food choices. You CAN lose weight, feel better and look better. You CAN manage health issues such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. You CAN start right now. Download the Eat Fit app and check out the Don Juanz Baja Beach Tacos menu. You’ll find the orange colored Eat Fit seal next to each menu item that has met the Eat Fit nutritional criteria. There is no better restaurant to begin your journey with than Amy and Don O’Byrne’s Don Juanz Baja Beach Tacos. Getting healthy is a beautiful thing.
2333 Airline Drive in Bossier City and 1409 E. 70th Street in Shreveport
Sources: Trust for America’s Health; U.S. Health and Human Services; U.S. Census Bureau, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population, 2018-20191
Enzi G. Socioeconomic consequences of obesity: the effect of obesity on the individual. Pharmacoeconomics. 1994;5(Suppl 1):54-7. doi: 10.2165/00019053-400051-00011. PMID: 10147251.