My decision to open Yoganics was met by a healthy dose of curiosity – especially since I made the decision so quickly!
But when the opportunity to establish a health-focused business in Dr. Shad Reif’s new wellness center came about, I took a leap of faith and jumped at the chance. I knew exactly what our community needed--an organic juice bar and a place to practice yoga. In truth, my dream of creating a place to practice healthy living had been over a decade in the making.
"This path to self-discovery has taught me to listen to my body and understand the ways my diet and environment affect my inner state."Alisha Merrick
It All Started with Some Really Bad News (and Really Good Research)
In 2000, my mother was diagnosed with breast, cervical and skin cancer. Several doctors confirmed the diagnoses and she was given only six months to live. My family and I reeled from this shockingly bad news.
Though the outlook was grim, my mother made the brave decision to avoid painful treatments and spend her time surrounded by family. The frightening prognosis did not steal her spunk.
Instead, my mother chose to devote some of her precious time to researching the cause of her cancer, hoping to shield her children from a similar fate.
She found countless scientific articles making a connection between an acidic environment and cancer growth, and research indicating the way diet affects the pH levels in our bodies.
Based on her tireless research, my mother began to suspect that her diet was making her body highly acidic. So, she set out to shift the pH levels in her body, a process called alkalinization.
Raw Fruits and Veggies, Oh My!
The basis of my mother’s new wellness plan was a diet based on raw fruits and vegetables. These natural miracle-foods balance pH levels in the body. They also allow the immune system to fight cancerous cells, which cannot survive in an alkaline-rich environment.
She began revamping her diet to consist of 80% raw foods, primarily fruits and vegetables. She also gave up animal products (meat, eggs and dairy) because they generate acidity in the body, something she desperately needed to avoid.
The Power of Juice
One of the most exciting changes my mother made to her diet was preparing her own fresh juices, especially from carrots and wheat grass.
Cancer wasn’t the only health condition my mother had struggled with; she also had systemic candida, fibromyalgia and had been on hormone replacement therapy since an emergency hysterectomy in the early 1980s.
The months came and went and my mother maintained her healthy diet. And she did not die. In fact, she felt better than ever. Even her other conditions were improving.
Within nine months, she was cancer free. With her doctor’s permission, she quit taking the hormone medication she had relied on for nearly 20 years and no longer suffered from candida or fibromyalgia.
Over a decade later, my mother continues to enjoy a happy, healthy life. She lives in Cape Town, South Africa with her loving (and deeply relieved) husband.
And her amazing story inspired me to begin my own wellness transformation.
My Wellness Adventure
After my mother’s dramatic life changes, I had to take a closer look at my own life and diet. I began paying special attention to how certain foods affected my body.
Now, I’ve had an allergy to the whey in dairy my whole life, but that hasn’t always stopped me from enjoying ice cream and pizza, meaning I traded grilled cheese sandwiches for unpleasant ear and sinus infections.
But after watching my mother nearly die – then revitalize her life by making simple alterations to her diet – I realized it was time to make some lifestyle changes of my own.
It started slowly. While nursing my daughter Zara, I began to notice that certain things I ate made my little one sick – and very grumpy. When I started her on solids, she came down with frequent bouts of croup, ear and sinus infections and even pneumonia.
It was clear that these maladies were directly related to the foods I ate and shared with Zara. But how do you re-train a toddler about proper nutrition? Afterall, she was more than happy to live on mac-and-cheese which, without fail, led to some sort of ailment.
With the encouragement of my sister, we took little Zara to see a kinesiologist, and she tested positive for dairy and gluten sensitivities. Despite this, my early efforts to eliminate gluten and dairy from our diets were half-hearted at best and cutting out only some didn’t make much difference in our health.
But then my second daughter, Evangeline, came into the world, and I decided it was the perfect time to start from scratch. It was time to eat healthy and teach my children to do the same.
I began making fresh, green smoothies, and my girls loved them. I gave them berry BarleyMax® purchased from Hallelujah Acres instead of sugary, store-bought juice. And when I hit my 30th birthday, I finally gave up dairy, once and for all, with one last celebration of fried ice cream.
Not long after, I saw a doctor because of some minor health concerns and chronic fatigue. Lo and behold, my bloodwork showed I was suffering from candida, just as my mother had, and that I certainly have a severe intolerance for gluten. I cut it out of my diet that very day. Among these life changes, my doctor also recommended I try yoga--and what a change that has wrought!
To Health and Happiness!
I now believe that if I hadn’t permanently adopted healthy choices, I would have been on the fast-track to the same struggles my mother overcame. Yet like all hard-working, busy people, finding the time has been a struggle.
After countless late-night discussions with my husband about how to integrate wellness into the hustle and bustle of my daily life – and make it accessible to our community – Yoganics was born.
This path to self-discovery has taught me to listen to my body and understand the ways my diet and environment affect my inner state. With changes in my body over time and new breakthroughs and products, it is a constant discovery, an exhilarating journey.
I am now pregnant with my third child and am so grateful to have Yoganics in my life during this pregnancy. Hunger strikes fast and hard! In the past, this led to a lot of fast food consumption. Now, I head to Yoganics and grab a juice, a milk, or a smoothie. When I want something more substantial, I’ll add some spring rolls to my order. I regularly bring home juice and a parfait to have for breakfast, and I always have to bring extras for my daughters or they will drink all my juice! My favorite menu items lately have been our juices with ginger, which helps curb my ever-present nausea, or one of our delicious almond or cashew milks, which helps dampen the fire of raging pregnant heartburn.
I am so pleased our Yoganics journey has been fruitful, making it possible for people in Wylie, Sachse, Lavon, Murphy and surrounding areas to take advantage of our state-of-the-art yoga studio and fresh juice and smoothie bars.
Our hope is to empower others to live happy, healthy lives through yoga, fresh juice and smoothies. One of my greatest joys is hearing how Yoganics has improved the lives of our customers. It seems like every day I hear a new story of renewal and rejoicing. I am so glad to be able to share this journey with our Yoganics customers.
We invite you to take a leap of faith toward health and happiness by joining us for Yoga in the Park the first Saturday of every month, free of charge, to members of the community we love.