Join Jade Joyner as she sits down to chat with the wonderful Amy Lawrence, entrepreneur and owner of Journey Juice. Listen in as Amy opens up about herself and talks about the journey to living a healthy lifestyle. Get the podcast here.
Amy’s Journey Part II – Rethinking Nutrition: Learning that everything we thought we knew about ‘eating healthy’ was wrong.
Once Amy endured her horrific Mother’s Day nightmare at Piedmont Hospital, both she and her husband were determined to educate themselves about IBS and all of its many permutations. Clearly, the doctors, nutritionists and the FDA did not have the answers. So almost nine years ago Amy began her journey to good health. Little did she know that her journey would change her life in so many ways. In the process of learning everything possible about healthy nutrition, Amy and her husband learned that most everything they thought was true, was false. Salt doesn’t increase your blood pressure; eating eggs, shrimp, and avocados — all full of cholesterol — does not increase the cholesterol in your body; cholesterol in your body does not increase cardiovascular risk. And our favorite: American workers who work predominantly outside — construction workers, lifeguards, etc., have the lowest levels of skin cancer as a group. Guess why: The people who get the most sun — and the most vitamin D, by definition — have the least chance of getting skin cancer.
Amy learned that although working out is great for your body tone and your long-term health, what you eat determines ninety (90%) percent of your health and body composition. She learned that more than eighty (80%) percent of the antibiotics sold in the U.S. are given to animals. And she learned that most polyunsaturated oils — the ones that everyone says are so good for you like canola oil & soybean oil — are really slowly killing your body. And the oils that the government and so many nutritionists told you were so bad for you, like butter, coconut oil, and avocado oil, are actually really good for you. Once Amy started eating all the good food she learned about, and avoiding grocery store meat and milk, bread, sodas, beans, soy, her gastrointestinal issues went into complete remission. More significantly, Amy was able to stop taking antidepressants for the first time in years as her stomach issues subsided. She felt better than she had ever felt at 35 years old. This is her story, in her own words.
The first question, I get when people come into Journey Juice is, “Are you a vegetarian?” And the answer is NO! I personally, could not survive without meat. I don’t eat commodity meat. All the meat I ingest is farm raised or wild caught. I need the animal fat because I eat very few carbs. I need the animal collagen because I don’t do supplements. I could never be a vegetarian because my tummy does not digest soy, beans or cruciferous vegetables — raw or cooked. This is why juicing is so important to my health. Liquid veggies are my way to veggies at all! And veggies are so hydrating to the body. And we are 70% water, so hydration if of UBER importance. And another cool fact– I am supporting local farmers by sourcing, juicing and drinking local cold pressed juice. Do you have to drink a bunch of juice a day to reap all these benefits? NOPE! One juice a day will do. But you do have to clean up your diet. You do have to get rid of those packaged, sugary foods and eat more whole foods. Basically, you have to eat Whole 30. If you don’t know what that is, then google it. It’s all the rage. Is it convenient? Not necessarily–It’s just a new discipline. But, it’s for real. And it’s the best plan for the human body.
When the body is hydrated then all the systems function the way they should, the mind has more clarity and the body has more energy. When the mind is clear and the body is energized appropriately, there is less anxiety. Less anxiety means less depression. Hence, my reason for juice. I don’t think juice is the end all be all, but it’s a start!! When I incorporated juicing into my daily regime, my whole world changed. My moods stabilized. Anxiety lessened. My sleep improved. My outlook was more positive. I personally cannot explain why. But, after reading about foods and how green veggies and whole foods affect the overall body, systems and mental game…well, duh then it’s not hocus pocus. It’s a real thing!! So, yes, I’m a heavy juicer. Why? Because juice became my new prescription. Is it expensive? Yes. Does it cost more than my copay of antidepressants? Yes! But, does juice have long term, adverse effects of antidepressants? NO! Not at all.
When I learned that I had to stop drinking beer because the yeast was so hard on my tummy and caused inflammation in my joints, let me just tell you I was S-A-D– SAD!!!. NOBODY loved a cold Miller Lite with lime like I did. And I didn’t want just one, two or three..I wanted six or nine. Learning that there were no more bowls of Cheerios..not even Gluten Free. That was sad. That revelation was hard. But, then you just kind of re-evaluate and think…UMMM, first world problems. This is not sad. You are so fine. You are feeling so much better. You are NOT taking pharmaceuticals and all you had to do was give up some processed shit and light beer. Girl, you are being a DIVA. So the gratitude list became a daily. Every day, I listed all that was well. And can you believe it?!–that list could get long fast! I mean really. If I just looked around, so much was going well. I just need to change my words and my diet, and my whole life shifted into a place that I never knew existed. I was 34 years old with insomnia, severe joint inflammation, depression and my tummy hurt all the time. But, if changing my diet and giving up several comfort foods could cure these awful feelings, I was down. It sounds so simple. And it was simple but it was not easy. However, I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. So, I did it. I gave up the comfort foods and started eating food for what it was: FUEL. I emotionally broke up with food– FOREVER! Next, Part 3: Life as it is today.
Amy’s Journey: Part I The Early Years – Trying to Outrun the Carbs
Amy started working out in middle school. She was a bit chubby in elementary school, so she did not want to take any chances now that she was a cheerleader and played basketball and ran track. She ate a ‘healthy’ low fat, high carb diet, because that’s what all the experts she read and saw on television said to do. She drank a gallon or two of grocery store skim milk per week. This was the the beginning of her health decline.
Once Amy got to Ole Miss, she kept up the low fat routine and worked out daily. She would do an hour of aerobics every morning before class, then exercise again in the afternoon after class. She was a cardio junkie. She ate all the “right” foods: turkey sandwiches on whole wheat pita, low fat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, pretzels (not chips). She drank skim milk and Diet Cokes, thinking all of this was the healthy way to go. As long as she ate low fat foods, and did lots of aerobics, Amy thought she would stay fit and slim. But three years into her college career, she weighed more than ever — more than 150 pounds! She worked out religiously, and ate an all low fat diet. But she kept getting bigger.
Once Amy graduated from Ole Miss, she taught elementary school in the Mississippi Delta during the day and waited tables at City Grocery (best restaurant in Oxford!) five nights a week. She worked 70 hours per week. All of a sudden, there wasn’t as much time to eat a lot of food and when she did eat, she had no time to overeat. And although she was not working out twice a day at this point, she was standing and moving non stop for twelve plus hours a day. The weight began to drop off. But the gastrointestinal issues were not going away.
When she was 27, Amy moved to Savannah to tend bar at a local venue in Thunderbolt, Georgia, where she met her husband. Two years later, they moved to Atlanta. She kept eating what she thought was a healthy diet for several years. And she always exercised. Amy still suffered with various gastrointestinal issues as she had for most of her life. Sometimes she would go a week or two without pooping; sometimes she would have diarrhea for days. She never knew why. The tummy distress starts to impede upon one’s quality of life after a while. By the time Amy was 30, her stomach issues were affecting her mental health. And if Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. So, Amy’s stomach issues became a family issue.
On Mother’s Day 2010, Amy was suffering from terrible stomach cramps. Her husband went to see his mother without her for the first time ever. Amy is never sick and has never ‘called in sick.’ But she just could not make it to her husband’s mother’s home for Mother’s Day. She did not think she could make the one hour drive without getting sick in the car. She was physically sick from the stomach pain. She was vomiting and pooping non stop for two day. So he went by himself. But before midnight that night, Amy called her husband and said she needed to go to the hospital. So her husband took her to Piedmont Hospital, where they did more than 20 thousand dollars worth of tests, including a colonoscopy. After all of the testing, the ‘experts’ at Piedmont Hospital told Amy she suffered from ‘Irritable Bowel Syndrome.’ IBS, of course, is just shorthand for, ‘We Don’t Know.’ And if you ask Amy, she’ll tell you IBS = WTF. The most interesting thing about Amy’s experience at Piedmont Hospital was what they did not ask. The doctors asked lots of questions. They took lots of blood samples. And they seemed genuinely concerned. But the one question they never asked was what Amy ate. What was her diet? No one seemed to care about what Amy was putting into her body.
After exhaustive research and a lot of trial and error, Amy changed her diet. Stay tuned for Part 2!
How To Weather the Bad Food Storm During the Holidays
If you google ‘How to stay healthy during the holidays,’ more than 50,000 articles instantly appear. Each one has a different ‘hook,’ the clickbait urging you to click on a particular article. There are no doubt some helpful tips contained in each article, but the real trick to staying healthy during the holidays is no trick at all. If you want to stay healthy during the holidays, just do what you need to do to stay healthy all year long.
You already know that eating grocery store sugar cookies is not the best idea. And eating an entire half-gallon of ice cream while binge watching your favorite sitcom was never smart. So when you see five dessert options at Thanksgiving, pick the best looking one and enjoy it. Don’t feel guilty. Just don’t eat all five.
If you exercise three times per week, that’s great. Just keep to your routine, even if you are traveling. Do you drink one Journey Juice per day? That’s great, too! Just keep to that routine, too. Are you flying somewhere and worried you can’t take your favorite Journey Juice with you? We can’t live without our Journey Juices, so we always travel with the juice. As long as the juice stays cold, it travels well. The airlines won’t let you carry on a cooler, but you can check a cooler along with your bags.
Here is our take on the most important tips & tricks to staying healthy during the holidays:
- The holidays can be stressful, whether it’s the travel or dealing with the relatives. So our number one advice is to manage your stress. Just like the workouts, whatever you do regularly to mitigate stress, keep doing it. You can’t just tell yourself not to stress out. Make a goal to do whatever you do for you. Do it regularly during the holidays.
- With travel, parties and eating & drinking a lot, it is very easy to get dehydrated. The single best reason to drink Journey Juice is to maintain good hydration. If you can’t drink the juice regularly during the holidays, make it a point to stay hydrated. Add some lemon or lime juice to a glass of water to turn it into a superfood powerhouse of nutrition. We could write a whole blog just about lemon juice, but here are the highlights:
- Antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral;
- Rich source of immune system-boosting vitamin C;
- Rich source of alkalinity-increasing electrolytes;
- Anti-inflammatory properties fight joint and muscle pain;
- Detoxifying properties promote good digestion and liver function.
- Drink a little grapefruit juice every day. Like lemon juice, grapefruit juice is another one of our favorite superfoods. In addition to the lemon juice benefits above, grapefruit juice lowers blood sugar and increases cholecystokinin, a peptide hormone that naturally lowers ghrelin, the hunger hormone. But be careful: If you take pharmaceuticals, check with your doctor before drinking grapefruit juice as it is contraindicated with certain drugs. If you drink Journey Juice’s ‘Just Grapefruit,’ you can be confident that no added sugar, water, chemicals or preservatives have been added — just like all of our juices.
- My Emily Post-loving grandmother always said, ‘Never go to a dinner party hungry.’ That’s great advice anytime but especially during the holidays. Before you go to a party, be sure to eat some high-quality protein and fat. You should never eat or drink high quantities of sugar on an empty stomach.
If you follow these simple suggestions, your body should weather the bad food storm during the holidays. We follow these ideas year round, so the holidays don’t seem quite as bad as they used to. Eat well, drink well, and be well. At Journey Juice we are very thankful to be able to do all three. Happy Holidays!
The Flu Shot: Should You Take It Or Not?
One of our most popular cold-pressed juices at Journey Juice is the Flu Shot. We originally sold it only in the winter months, but we had so many requests to bring it back in the summer, we now sell it year-round. The Flu Shot packs a powerful combination of greens, celery, broccoli, lemon/lime, peppers, garlic, ginger and turmeric. Each one of those ingredients helps your body fight colds and flu, but the combination is an amazing boost to your immune system without the nasty side effects of over-the-counter medicines.
Many customers ask us health-related questions, and, of course, we never give medical advice, because we are not doctors. But we do share with customers our opinions about health, fitness and nutrition. Ultimately, everyone should do their own health research and not just accept as truth what you hear on TV and read in the popular press. The conventional wisdom on nutrition and health does not have a good track record. This time of year we get asked all the time, if we take an annual flu shot. And, if not, why not?
We do not take the flu shot, and have never taken one. The reasons are simple:
- We don’t get the flu.
- The flu shot is not very effective.
- Several studies have shown a negative effect on your natural immune system from taking the flu shot.*
Do not mistake our view on the flu shot as being anti-vaccine. Vaccines have successfully eradicated many terrible diseases over the years like smallpox and polio. While there are still a few stubborn areas of world — mostly in Africa — where a few polio cases are still reported, this debilitating disease has been 99 percent eradicated because of world-wide vaccine use. And no smallpox cases have been seen since 1977.
The flu shot does not work like a traditional vaccine, because the virus changes every year. That is what all those H’s and N’s are (e.g., H3N2), describing the particular virus that the CDC et al are guessing will be the most prevalent in a given year. The Haemagglutinin (H) proteins target your cells then reproduce themselves and multiply. Then the Neuraminidase (N) proteins help the new virus particles break out of your cells to go invade the next host (bird, chicken, pig or human). The problem is, every year flu shot takers get ingested with a different type (e.g., H1N1, etc.) of flu strain.
If you have been taking a flu shot for the last 20 years, you’ve had 20 different combinations (multiple strains) of the flu introduced to your immune system. So even if the scientists guess right on this year’s strain and you take the new shot, when the flu comes along your immune system has 20 years’ worth of antibodies to choose from to combat this year’s particular strain. There is mounting evidence (see references below) that when this phenomenon happens — your immune system trying to decide which of its 20 years’ worth of flu antibodies to use to combat this year’s flu — it resorts back to the original flu strain antibody it developed when your body first confronted the flu. Unless your first encounter with the flu happens to be the same exact strain as this year’s flu, which is highly unlikely, you end up getting the flu anyway. That’s why the success rate of each year’s flu shot is almost always less than fifty (50%) percent, and often less than thirty (30%) percent.
So How Do You Avoid the Flu?
There is plenty of evidence that a deficiency of vitamins C & D — and many other vitamins, minerals and other nutrients — can weaken your immune system. And a weakened immune system certainly makes you more susceptible to the flu. So our best advice is to avoid fast foods, bad seed oils, added sugars and anything that turns into sugar once eaten (e.g., wheat and corn). Consume lots of green veggies, and if you eat meat, make sure it is grass-fed and not full of antibiotics and other bad stuff fed to mass-produced animals. Of course, the best way to make sure you are getting plenty of vitamins is to drink Journey Juice. And if you feel like you are getting sick, come get the Journey Juice Flu Shot. It will cure what ails you!
● Clinical Infectious Diseases 2014; 59 (10): 1375-1385
● Clinical Infectious Diseases February 20, 2018, ciy097
● Newswise February 15, 2018