AUSTIN (KXAN) — Jonathan Mendoza, or “Nurse Doza” as he is affectionately known, is passionate about health. But getting to where he is now, a successful career in health and wellness, did not come easy. Nurse Doza came across some health challenges.

“I drank a lot,” Mendoza recalls back to his journey. “I was able to keep drinking while I was accumulating, you know, knowledge about the body. At the time, I wasn’t thinking about health. I’m studying the body, but here I am kind of destroying it at the same time.”

As he was starting his career, Mendoza said he gave himself gout from a poor diet and was borderline diabetic.

“If I couldn’t take care of myself, you know, like, how could I tell someone else to take care of themselves, too,” Mendoza questioned.

His story resonated with KXAN producer Jose Torres. Jose said he and Mendoza both grew up in a Latino family that shows love through food.

“When I was younger, I always thought you were supposed to eat until you were bloated. And in a Hispanic culture, you’re almost taught that, because you overconsume with so much abundance of food, and it’s all bunch of carbs and grains and things that bloat you and inflame you and make you miserable. That was the term ‘oh, I’m so miserable,’ but it was so good. And I’m like, ‘oh my gosh, like we were all inflamed.’ Like there’s no way, because every, all my family is diabetic now.”

Nurse Doza eventually put his last glass of alcohol down and raised his first glass of vitamin cocktails.

“I learned vitamins and amino acids and antioxidants at a very early age, and how powerful they are,” he said.

Mendoza and his best friend in college created a vitamin health bar, and it sparked MSW Lounge, an IV clinic mix with chiropractic and vitamin drinks. He now hosts a lunch-and-learn session every other Friday inspired by his passion for community.

Nurse Doza believes health starts with having a community. So, he created these free lunch sessions where you can come in, take a plate of healthy eats and listen to experts on health. He also created How Do You Health Fest, a health-focused weekend filled with workshops on health and wellness, vitamin injections, fitness classes and more.

“Community is so powerful. There is no drug that can replace it. And that’s why we go after it, because we want the hugs, we want the smiles, we want those connections.”

Julie Karam and I caught up with 'Nurse Doza' to talk about his journey of self-empowerment while facing health challenges at the start of his nursing career. (Photo by Jose Torres)
Julie Karam and I caught up with ‘Nurse Doza’ to talk about his journey of self-empowerment while facing health challenges at the start of his nursing career. (Photo by Jose Torres)

Jose Torres is a news producer with KXAN. His blog brings stories of hope and determination from others who have fought through their own health struggles and life challenges. He looks forward to sharing those conversations in future blogs.