“How did you get started in the juicing business?”

It’s a question, I am often asked.

Well, it was a matter of life and death… literally!”

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 After two seizures, a tracheotomy with chest tubes, and several blood transfusions to follow suit; breathing treatments, urine catheters, bedpans and an extended four-month hospital stay, at the tender age of 25; life for me was forever changed. On February 5, 2010, one day shy of the 37th week mile marker in my pregnancy, I walked into Morton Plant Sarah Walker Women’s Center in Clearwater, FL at approximately 12:30am. I was experiencing what I thought to be a mild case of bloating, even entertaining that today just might be the day I would finally get to welcome the arrival of my beautiful baby girl into the world. All of my excitement which had been building over the past few months, surrounding my planned natural childbirth by water delivery attended by my midwife, quickly faded, as what I had always envisioned as such a joyous moment turned into a life-threatening crisis. 

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HELLP Syndrome usually considered a severe variant of preeclampsia, very difficult to diagnosis and often mistaken for gastritis, the flu or acute hepatitis is estimated to afflict as many as 48,000 women annually. According to the Preeclampsia Foundation, preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy is the leading cause of infant and maternal death globally, claiming the lives of over 76,000 mothers and 500,000 infants. This horrible illness, which, I had known very little about at the time, left me with damage to my lungs, liver and kidney. My kidney damage was so severe, it required me to undergo routine dialysis for an entire year.  I was reduced to taking several medications, and despite medical claims that there is no way to prevent it, it forced me to take a look at myself and recognize how I had been abusing my own body. Getting yourself in good physical shape before getting pregnant is recommended by the Preclampsia Foundation, as a way to help minimize your risk for HELLP Syndrome. My age had allowed me to take my health for granted naively believing that I was far too young to ever get sick like that. The illness took a drastic toll on my mental health as well; Depression, anxiety and panic attacks became my new normal, and I watched as my hair fell out from all of the medications. It was close to a year and a half following the birth of my daughter before my menstrual cycle returned. I also had to undergo extensive therapy treatment just so I could learn to walk, talk and eat on my own again. At first, I felt helpless watching the demise of my health before my very own eyes yet I knew deep down I had to reclaim it! HELLP Syndrome had kept my daughter and I separated a lot especially during those early, precious bonding moments. We didn’t get to have that and I vowed within myself that no more time together would be stolen. I had to do this for both her and I.  But how?

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 I am a fanatic when it comes to documentaries.  During one of my documentary hunts, Fat, Sick And Nearly Dead, intersected paths with Joe Cross and I.  It was divine intervention as the film shared his juice journey and the amazing results he had experienced. I was convinced I had to try it for myself!  It definitely beat taking medications everyday and dialysis three times a week. I followed up my decision with additional research on the subject of juicing and prepared for my own strict juice revolution! Within two weeks, I had lost seven pounds, my vitamin D and iron levels were stabilizing while my energy steadily increased. This was the best I had felt in a long time and come to think of it, probably in my entire life. The entire experience had really clued me to how ignorant I had been, on the importance of nutrition and the huge role it played in our overall health. Right then I knew juicing was more than a fad, it was a natural healer and God’s miracle to me!

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As of today, I am no longer on dialysis (with minimal kidney damage) and I take ZERO medications! After reading and seeing what juicing had done for countless other people like Joe, and experiencing firsthand my own juicing transformation; my juicing business was born! The response was overwhelming as it was evident that people wanted to learn a more natural approach to taking charge of their health. Family and friends encouraged me to start selling the juices I had passionately shared with them, and in no time, people were on board the JuiceDefined train. It has proven to all those willing to take the ride with us that by increasing the intake of whole and raw foods while decreasing processed and artificial foods, one can drastically improve their overall health.

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Feed Your Womb

Feed your womb speaks to the role juicing also can play in the matter of fertility. Statistics show that 1 out of 8 couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy:

  • Women who are overweight or obese have less chance of getting pregnant overall. They are also more likely than women of healthy weight to take more than a year to get pregnant.
  •  The risk of preeclampsia doubles in overweight women and triples in obese women. Overweight women have twice the risk of gestational (pregnancy-related) diabetes and obese women eight times the risk, compared with women of healthy weight.

As suggested to me by my obstetrician, prepare for the period of fertility long before you start trying to conceive. When we’re able to stabilize or improve our physical health, we increase our chances of fertility through healthy organs, which lead to healthy pregnancies and healthy births. By merely increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables we consume on a daily basis can positively impact our health and make significant differences within our bodies.  Juicing is a simple way to accomplish that.  There are specific fruits and vegetables that you can juice to promote fertility and balance hormones. Generally, juicing can also help stabilize you mentally, increase blood flow, reduce stress, lower blood pressure and relieve symptoms of diseases such as cysts and fibroids. All of these things combined help to create a fertile and healthy atmosphere in the body. This means your healthy lifestyle should start NOW!

Don’t wait until you’re ready to conceive to get going. However, if you’re already trying to conceive, it’s not too late to start.

Here are two juice recipes that can be incorporated into your healthy diet to help promote fertility. They are great for cleansing, rejuvenating blood cells, weight loss and overall energy. Be mindful of how you treat your body. Feed Your Womb! It’s a sacred place and you have an obligation to yourself and future generations to take care of it.

Disclaimer: Any babies conceived as a result of drinking this juice, has to be named after me. 🙂

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Mean Green:

4 kale leaves

2 green apples

1 thumb ginger

1/2 lemon (if organic, you can juice peel)

1 cucumber

4 celery sticks

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Now Beet That:

1 large beetroot

8 carrots

1/2 grapefruit (do not juice peel)

 

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I consider my daughter and I to be among the fortunate. So I have an obligation to increase the awareness regarding preeclampsia because some mothers didn’t get to live to tell their story. It’s an even bigger tragedy that most of the time it happens because signs and symptoms were either misdiagnosed or missed altogether. Since 2010, I have committed myself to work tirelessly with the Preeclampsia Foundation as a Promise Walk coordinator in Miami, Florida.  I’m also on the Patient Advisory Committee for the foundation and served as the Regional Coach for the southeast region for three years from 2011 to 2014.  It is my goal to make our community more aware of preeclampsia and the dangers it can present to both mother and baby. I want to empower women as a whole, to listen to their bodies more and encourage them to take better care of them. Will you join me by getting educated and sharing this with your community?

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To learn more about preeclampsia please, visit the Preeclampsia Foundation

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