BIG Announcement: Coming Fall of 2017 to Takoma….Yoga Heights #2!

Yoga Heights Hero
As Co-Owner of Yoga Heights, I just had to share!! We are so excited for this next big step and can’t wait to bring our community-oriented yoga and fitness classes to a new neighborhood in the District. Stay tuned for photos of the build-out and details on our grand opening slated for this fall.

Yoga Heights Takom

April 27, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yoga Heights, a yoga studio at 3506 Georgia Ave. NW., announced today that they are opening their second location this fall in the Takoma Central Apartment building at 235 Carroll Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.  Yoga Heights is a community oriented studio that offers classes for every body, at every level and every budget.


“The love and support of the Yoga Heights community has been overwhelming for the past three years,” said Jess Pierno, owner. “Our students’ enthusiasm for the studio, our teachers, events and community, has made Yoga Heights an incredibly special yoga studio. It was never in the plans to open additional locations, but due to repeated requests to offer more classes, community events and YHDC good vibes, we were inspired to expand our studio!”


Yoga Heights will continue to offer all levels vinyasa and power yoga, beginners classes, Rocket yoga, restorative and Yin yoga, prenatal yoga, bootcamps, Pilates, yoga teacher training and community events at both locations.  


Yoga Heights Takoma is just steps from the Takoma metro station on the red line and is on bus lines 52, 53, 54, 62, 63, F1, F2 and K2.

Yoga Heights Half Moon

To ensure that their classes work with all budgets, Yoga Heights offers half price “happy hour” classes five days per week, work-study in trade for classes, as well as “Karma Passes” which allows students to pay just $8 per class up to four times per month.Through these programs, Yoga Heights has helped more than 4,000 people afford yoga classes in the three years they have been open.  


“We look forward to continuing to be an affordable and community oriented yoga studio for people who are brand new to yoga, as well as regularly practicing yogis,” Pierno continued.


More information on class offerings, pricing and events is available at


Studio owners Jess Pierno and Amy Rizzotto, and their talented team of instructors remain steadfastly committed to working with Yoga Heights’ students to ensure that health and wellness are accessible to all.


Yoga Heights is currently offering pre-opening sales on unlimited memberships through its website at Visit to sign up and save today!


For questions or comments please contact:
Amy Rizzotto, Yoga Heights


Foods to Fight Cancer

I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been touched deeply and irreversibly by cancer. The disease – in all its many forms – is not kind, patient, or forgiving. It is surprising, frightening, and debilitating – yet so many of those diagnosed are the strongest, fiercest, bravest and most compassionate among us. Whether you have been directly or indirectly effected by some form of cancer, you can help protect and heal your body through food. Below is a quick list of what to eat and cook with and what to avoid when it comes to prevention and holistic treatment.


  • Ginger root
  • Turmeric root
  • Curry
  • Green tea
  • White tea
  • Spinach, kale, swiss chard, beet greens and collard greens (and all dark, leafy greens)
  • Salmon/fish in general
  • Lean meat – unprocessed chicken, turkey and pork (not the fatty cuts though like bacon or belly)
  • Brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, millet and teff (or any whole, gluten-free grain)
  • Organic veggies (and if this is crushing your bank account just buy the ones on the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” list organic and the rest conventional)
  • Fruit in limited quantities (no more that 3 servings per day, follow the Dirty Dozen list as well, stick to low glycemic fruits like barely ripe bananas, berries, and tart apples)
  • 2% plain yogurt
  • Folate, calcium and vitamin D supplements (but talk to your doctor about this first)



  • Processed foods
  • Red meat and processed meat (like most sausages/hot dogs)
  • Desserts
  • Added sugar of any kind (I’m going to lump maple syrup, honey and agave in here)
  • Fried foods
  • Refined grains (like white bread)
  • Alcohol – it’s basically sugar


When cooking to fight and fend off cancer, keep your recipes simple. Try seasoning with warming spices (cumin, turmeric, curry, cayenne, chili, cardamom, coriander, red pepper flakes), citrus (fresh lemon or lime), olive oil, and salt and pepper. Strip away the the excess and eat whole, healthy, real foods. We should all eat this way as often as possible, cancer or not.

Spring Clean your Diet with this Asparagus Detox Soup

Spring is a time for renewal. Let’s face it, we’d all like to be able to hit the reset button on our lifestyle in one fell swoop but positive change takes hard work. As a nutrition coach, I work with clients one on one to determine how we can make their desired healthy living goals attainable. One way to jumpstart a positive dietary shift is to undergo a detox. It just might be the closest thing to a reset button there is.

While developing my seasonal detoxes, I let the foods that are at the peak of freshness and availability speak to me and inform my culinary creations. Since it’s spring, asparagus is certainly abundant and there are countless ways to use it in healthy, cleansing recipes.

Below is one of my absolute favorite recipes. This soup (which can be served warm or chilled) is refreshing and light. It’s perfect as temperatures start to rise here in the District!

Broccoli Asparagus Miso Spring Detox Soup

[makes 2 meal sized portions or 4 appetizer size]

− 1 bunch of asparagus
− 1 broccoli crown
− 4 -6 cups of chicken broth
− 1 Tbs white miso paste
− 1 Tbs sherry vinegar
− Juice of half a lemon
− 1 Tbs ghee (or organic unsalted butter)
− 1/2 tsp chili powder
− Sea salt and pepper to taste
− Optional: stir in 1/4 cup nutritional yeast for a more “cheesy” flavor

1. Trim woody ends off asparagus and cut broccoli into florets (use the stalks!).
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch trimmed asparagus and broccoli florets for 1-2 minutes. Drain and immediately submerge in an ice bath.
3. Cut off the tips of the asparagus and reserve for future use (I like to scramble mine into a couple eggs).
4. In a blender, blend the blanched asparagus stocks and broccoli with broth, miso, vinegar, lemon, ghee/butter, chili, salt and pepper to taste. Add more stock as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
5. Heat over a medium-low flame (or setting) for 10-15 minutes when you’re ready to eat.


Serve warm or chilled. If you like a more creamy or cheesy flavor to your soups (I loved broccoli and cheese soup growing up) add 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast to the entire pot and stir well before dishing it out into bowls. You can also add a drizzle of nice olive oil and a hit of freshly ground black pepper for a little flavor enhancement. Bon apetit!

Lights, Camera…TLC Sunday Brunch!

A few weeks ago, producers for a new TLC show (TLC Sunday Brunch) approached me to be their on air “Health Expert,” sharing several of my MOARfit recipes with viewers alongside the lovely and talented Ereka Vetrini. I could barely contain my excitement despite my best efforts to play it cool. I must say it was kind of a dream come true.

Way back in middle school me and one of my best friends, Jenna, used to do cooking shows for our families or whoever else would stomach our babbling and “creations.” My culinary skills weren’t exactly expert at the time, but both Jenna and I have grown up to work with food and feeding people in our own various ways. Never in a a million years did I imagine, however, that I’d be on TV telling people about my recipes and spreading the good word about how easy, affordable and fun healthy cooking can be.

My brief segments will air today, Sunday, July 27th and next Sunday, August 3rd between 12:00-1:00pm. Get your DVR ready to go! And I just might be filming a few more segments around yoga and mind/body wellness so stay tuned for more info on that!

Here are some photos from my very very cool day:

photo 5

Lights, camera, ACTION. We got to work in my dream kitchen – a HUGE island with tons of counter space and a light, airy vibe.

Amy Rizzotto_TLC Sunday Brunch_Makeup

I got the full treatment with a hair stylist, Daryl, and makeup artist – her name is escaping me but she was so gorgeous and practices yoga and meditation so she’s my kind of chick! I can’t thank them enough for making me look purdy!

P.S. I had those curlers in for nearly 4 hours and was walking around like Betty Draper in my apron and full makeup.

TLC Sunday Brunch_Makeup

I had serious makeup arsenal envy after getting dolled up. A trip to Sephora might be in my near future.

Amy Rizzotto_TLC Sunday Brunch_Headshot

The finished product! They did good, no? If only my hair could look that good every day…

TLC Sunday Brunch_Branded Apron

I even got to rock one of their cute TLC Sunday Brunch aprons. Thank goodness for stylist, Pascale’s handiwork in tweaking it to fit my petite frame!

TLC Sunday Brunch_MOARfit Strawberry Balsamic Tart

Speaking of stylists, my food even had a stylist. Actually, make that two! My Strawberry Balsamic Tart never looked so good.

TLC Sunday Brunch_Crew

A great big THANK YOU to the cast and crew who included me in this wonderful experience and made me feel so welcome and comfortable for my first TV appearance. I don’t know how they do it but they’re amazing!

Tri-Color Potato Leek Soup (V)

Earlier this week I shared a hearty and healthy winter soup recipe. If you liked that one, I’m pretty sure you’ll dig this one too. Potatoes are a low-calorie carb, high in fiber and fat-free. According to the USDA, we should be getting 45-65% of our total calorie intake from carbs. On a 2,000-calorie diet that translates to about 225 to 325g of the often-demonized nutrient per day. For the carbophobes out there, keep in mind that carbohydrates act as your primary source of energy–essential for those of us leading an active lifestyle. A 1 cup serving of the potatoes used in this recipe contains 26g of carbs and 2g of fiber. Fiber is a powerful tool for weight control as it’s your best friend when it comes to staying full and satiated.  For my ladies out there, adult women need around 25g of fiber a day. Our male counterparts need to up the ante to around 35g of fiber a day.

The real superstars in this recipe, however, are leeks. One cup of raw leeks contains 52.2% of your daily value for vitamin K, 29.6% for vitamin A, 21.5% for manganese, 17.8% for vitamin C, 14.2% for folate, 10.5% for vitamin B6, and 10.3% for iron. Talk about a secret weapon!

Knowing how good this soup is for you, you’ll feel even better when you realize it actually tastes good too. Pair it with a hunk of my Easy Multigrain Bread and voilà, lunch is served!

Tri-Color Potato Leek Soup


What You’ll Need:

  • 6 cups reduced-sodium vegetable stock
  • 3 leeks, cleaned and cut into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 14-16 small tri-color potatoes, cubed
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • salt and pepper, to taste


How to Make It:

  1. Heat oil in a large (5-6 qt) saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, shallots and leeks, sautéing 5-7 min or until tender and translucent.
  2. Add garlic, thyme, oregano, cayenne and salt and pepper, cooking for another 2-3 min.
  3. Add tri-color potatoes, making sure to coat them in the spices and onion, shallot, leek mixture.
  4. Add vegetable stock, bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 15 min. The potatoes should be easy to pierce and pick up with a fork.
  5. Finally, using a hand blender if you have one, purée the mixture in your saucepan until smooth. (If you don’t have a hand blender a standing blender does the trick).
  6. Adjust your seasoning for spice and saltiness. Serve hot and enjoy!

Note: if you aren’t vegan or dairy-free, I highly recommend adding a tablespoon or two of your favorite shredded cheese. I have a dairy sensitivity but can handle goat and sheep’s milk cheeses, so I added some grated manchego–yum!

DIY Holiday Gift Idea: Infused Vinegars

In the latest edition of one of my favorite cooking magazine’s Eating Well, I came across a great Christmas gift idea. Since I make my own salad dressings all the time, I know the simple joy of having a tasty flavored vinegar to work with as your base. Eager to start exploring the art of canning and itching for a new DIY project, I thought making infused vinegars as gifts this holiday season just might fit the bill.

The finished product!
The finished product!

As a nutrition enthusiast, I was also pleased to learn that out of the 6 herbs used in these two infused vinegar variations 4 made the Huffington Post’s Top 25 Healthy Herbs list. In the Oregano, Rosemary & Marjoram Infused Vinegar, oregano has both antibacterial and antifungal properties. It has also been found to be effective against yeast-based infections. Rosemary is rich in several antioxidants, making it a potent combatant of inflammation. In the Fennel, Orange & Star Anise Infused Vinegar, star anise and fennel provide a sweet taste similar to that of black licorice when used in foods. Anise seeds have been proven to soothe tummy aches and help with symptoms of the common cold.  For the ladies out there, estrogen-like properties found in anise may increase milk flow in breastfeeding mothers, treat menstrual symptoms and boost libido. Feeling bloated? Fennel is your GI track’s buddy, helping your body deal with uncomfortable digestive issues (WebMD).


Oregano, Rosemary & Marjoram Infused Vinegar:

  • 6 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 9 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 9 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 9 sprigs fresh marjoram
  • Additional fresh herbs for decoration (optional)

Fennel, Orange & Star Anise Infused Vinegar:

  • 6 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 9 fronds from 1 fennel bulb
  • 3 strips zest from 1 medium orange (see Tips)
  • 9 whole star anise (see Tips)
  • Additional fresh herbs for decoration (optional)

What you’ll need:

  • 6 pint-size (2-cup) glass canning jars (3 per recipe)
  • tongs
  • cheesecloth
  • decorative vinegar cruts (2 16-oz or 4 8-oz)

How to make them:

  1. Wash 6 pint-size (2-cup) heatproof glass-canning jars and their lids with hot soapy water. Rinse well with hot water. Fill a large, deep pot about half full with water. Place the jars upright into the pot; add enough additional water to cover by 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil; boil jars for 10 minutes. Add the lids to the pot, and then remove the pot from the heat. Let the jars and lids stay in the hot water as you prepare the flavoring and vinegar. (Keeping the jars warm minimizes breakage when filling with hot liquid.)
  2. Thoroughly rinse herbs with water. Remove the jars from the water bath with a jar lifter or tongs. Divide the herbs among the jars. Heat vinegar in a large saucepan to a bare simmer (at least 190°F). Carefully divide the vinegar among the prepared jars, leaving at least 1/4-inch of space between the top of the jar and the vinegar. Remove lids from the water bath, dry with a clean towel and screw tightly onto the jars.
  3. Store the jars in a cool, dark place, undisturbed, for 3 to 4 weeks. Strain vinegar through cheesecloth into another container. Repeat as needed until all the sediment is removed and the vinegar is clear. Discard all solids and pour the strained vinegar back into rinsed jars or divide among sterilized decorative bottles. Decorate with a few well-rinsed fresh herbs, if desired.

With Christmas just one month away, time to get cracking! These babies need 3-4 weeks to really let the flavors seep in, so why not make this Sunday Funday a little better with a little DIY action and save a little extra $$$ for Cyber Monday.