Take Your Life Back
Craft Food Classroom
Craft Food Classroom

Episode · 6 months ago

Take Your Life Back


Eric Diamond and guest Co-host Michelle Jefferson from Veganish sit down with Mary Johnson. Mary is the founder of Vitamin Kandie and author of From This to That. Mary talks about her unbelievable personal transformation and how she motivates others to change their life.

"Back in 2009, I was 120 pounds overweight, and I decided to take my life back."


Welcome to the craft food classroom podcast, where we help make food business simple at every stage of growth, broughtto you by PNC bank and central kitchen media, and now here's your host, Eric Diamond. This is Eric Diamond, CEO of the Central Kitchen, bringingyou the next episode of the craft food classroom, the podcast. TodayI am joined by two awesome people. I can't wait to get to knowthem more. We are going to start with Michelle from veganish. Yeah,correct, excellent. So you're going to be my cohost today. I'll cool, because you are starting on a path of a journey that this young woman, Mary, yeah, has been going down for some time. And Mary, you product is Vitamin Candy, if I'm correct. All right, that'scool, both of you. Welcome. Thank you. Thank you, soverry. Why don't you tell me a little bit about you? Who isMary? Who is Mary? Okay, well, I am Mary Jose,originally from Cleveland, Ohio, and I am a certify personal trainer, serialentrepreneur as the way, because I have my hands and so many different things, but I am a certify herbalist in health coach and I am a businessowner. Saw, business owner, correct. So what got you on this halfof wellness. So back in two thousand and nine I was a hundredtwenty pounds overweight. Oh my gosh. Yeah, and so I decided totake my life back and overcame adversity, pretty much, and two thousand andnine I joined a local gym and I started working out and kind of learneda little bit more more about, you know, how the body works andeverything, so that I can make this a complete lifestyle change. In twothousand and ten, after I had lost my weight, I became a certifiedpersonal trainer, Awesome, at the same gym that I was working out at, and I started training other people to do the same thing that I did. And during that time I worked there from like two thousand and ten toup two thousand and fourteen, and I learned that most people really suffer withnutrition versus, you know, working out. They don't. You can do thateasy. A lot of US work out to maintain unhealthy eating. Heavisright. We earned this food when really supposed to be the other way aroundit. And if we make it a lifestyle change, then it will becomeeasier when we just do it without even thinking about it. And so whenI left there. In two thousand and fourteen, I went off to theCleveland City mine because I needed to kind of triple my income overcoming that adversity, and I became certified rock mechanics engineer. Oh my gosh, they're aroundchanics engineer, and that I didn't realize how much that equated with my fitness professionas much as it did, because I really had to know numbers really indepth and I was like well, putting all this together, you know,I can kind of use this same mechanism to cater to my personal training client. So I use that income to open up vk fitness studio and university heightsin two thousand and sixteen graduations. Thank you, thank you. So Iwalked away from Cleveland City my two thousand and seventeen because I needed to takecare of my parent and also I needed to like just I was like I'mgoing to take a step out on a lamb and faith and I'm just goingto go into this full time because it's really the love of my life,so to speak. I like helping other people and making a difference and onceI start seeing the change, I was like I really got to spend moretime and this business. So during that course of two thousand and sixteen totwo thousand and eighteen, I noticed that my clients were really they would,they were buy the meal prep from me, but they wouldn't really stay on it, and I felt to mention how...

...could I do that when Mc CannonVita Mc Candy was born and how the name came about. So during thecourse of two thousand and ten, when I came a trainer, I really, really wanted to become a bodybuilder. I wanted to compete in the competitionand I was like I want something that's going to help me cleanse my systemthat does not rip everything out at one time and make me feel like Ihave to just stay close to a restroom right and and give it put thatback in. As I'm doing all this heavy lifting, I know I'm jumpingall over the place, all the screen and the poort and part of whyVitamin Candy would even existed as day. So I started copressing juice at myhouse and I was like what is it that I can use to flush menaturally and build my immune system back up and give me to engineer? Ineed to get through the workouts. So the first one was my recharge juice. Is this my baby? Get the chance to taste that and I learnedthat when you put a CIDIC fruits and vegetables and leafy Greens and Herbs andstuff together, that it will flush you naturally and you don't have to worryabout, you know, any side effects from that. And so I waslike, well, what other things that help my immune system that are,you know, like a vegetable or fruit? So then reset came in play andat boost my immune system. Everybody's like your skin looks so good andI'm like what, I'm just drinking juice. Yeah, and then, because Iwas lifting so heavy, and I did, I was like barely evengetting through the workouts, I created recovery at vitamin C in and something thata boost me naturally, almost like a pre workout thing, but it's justa natural so that's how vitamin candy was born, and so it took methat far. Well, I started making it for my friends and my friendRegina was like like this is my elementary school friend, like you need tobottle this stuff, like, and she was serious. She was like no, like it's helping me, it's helping I gave it to my dad.You know, she's like you need to bottles stuff up, so I did. I started doing it a mason jars. Wow, I would come to thegym with boxes of juice in my trunk right and just sit it out, you know, when it was time after I taught my class and peoplebe like they bind is flying, it's flying. So that's what how itpretty much got started in school. Yeah, I love it. Yeah, sowhen I when I started to be full time into the gym and Inoticed that the clients really wanted, you know, my more of a conversation, Yep, to keep them focused on doing what I had given them todo, giving them the assign that I had given them to do, Iwas like, I gotta do better, I gotta I got to do better. How can I make this better? And so I took everything that Idid all over those years and I created Vitamin Candy. Actually, well,you're with it. We can't say was that. That was in two thousandand eighteen when I actually took what I put on paper and started to executethis plan to open up Vitamin Candy Cafe. So let's take a step back tothe days before you started your health journey. What do you think ledup to the way you were eating? What led to the weight gain?What do you attribute that to? As I mentioned in my book, Iwas in a marriage. I got married very young. I graduated high schoolearly, seventeen years old, I moved out. Always been like this oldsoul, and it was funny because my parents was like, okay, goahead, like they didn't even second guess that I was going to be responsibleenough to take care of my own light. Sure. And so we were bothkids and I think that we did it too young and I was prettymuch taking on his habits, yeah, and not really caring about myself,you know. And he dealt with some really serious issues like depression and stufflike that, and I'm just want to...

...fix everybody. As you can see, I'm like, how can I do better? And I kind of tookon his energy and then food became my friend. Yep, I hear littlewhile yeah, yeah, so I'm working late and coming home eating late,and I didn't even eat a lot, but it was what I was eating, sure, and now fall asleep on it and I'm still in I'll stillin college at the time. So I'm doing this every day all over again, and I did it for four years straight. Wow, and this wasthe result. Yeahs who, this is who I became. and honestly,it was I don't I don't know. I don't want to use the worddepression. For Myself. I think it was just a stagnated stage that becauseI always knew who I was. Sure I was a track runner and juniorhigh school I was always active. You know, I've drill team, allthat kind of stuff. I wasn't a bit kid, but it was justlike I was trapped. Yep, and his bubble, like and and shedid, the younger girl and their girl, get me out of here right,wow, what are you doing? Give me out of here. Igive you out. I don't want to be here anymore. And so,with a lot of prayer, determination and dedication, I was like one dayI woke up and I was like I'm sick of this. Yeah, I'mjust gonna do it. I'm just gonna do it. This is there.Diamond, we are back with the craft food classroom to Podcast, hearing aboutVitamin Candy, which we were about to taste. So, Mary, whydon't you walk us through what we have here? That Barry has poured us. Okay, Barry has poured you my baby, which is called recharge.It used to be called the pineapple and pair of juice. So this juicea combination of pineapples, pears, Sea Moss, when wet, grass andspinach. Oh my God, this is good. It's really good. IsMy baby. You wouldn't even but it, you know, the green color.Everybody's like ugly. You know, it's interesting because we even think.You wouldn't even think. It doesn't even taste like it's it's not real sweet, but it's good. It's flavor folk and you in the herb's hits youright at the end. And Yeah, and they the thing. You know, it's some of the cold press green juices I don't like because it tastestoo earthy, you know, almost muddy in or they'll use like a lotof Cilantro or something. Yeah, it's ridiculous. Fighting. This is justpleasantly sweet, but not too sweet, right. That's really smooth, reallyreally smooth. And the combination of acidic fruits, so the vegetables are acidicand if fruits are acidic, and when you put those herbs in there,it helps your body digests everything that you have eaten in a slow process.So Tmi not to get too deep, but when you go, you wouldnotice the difference in the the aroma. You don't even do like I justdid that. Always joke about that when I would talk with the people thatwill buy it at the gym, like you're not. I'm telling you,once you start notice in a difference and when you go you're going to belike, I want more of this, and it makes you want to drinkmore water to sure, right, because good that taste, that after taste, that a sea moss that you that you're getting. That even a badright, it's not bad. It's not. Let me drink some water to flushit through, and then it gives you energy to so you have tobe careful. I tell people to sit on this, don't just gulp itdown. Okay, I was just about to actually like how would you drinkit? Or when do you drink this particular je when I do it,when I started doing it for like a cleansing process, you would, Iwould do want you do, one juice a day and you could drink itwhatever time of the day, whatever fish your schedule, because, like ifyou work their shift. You don't want to be drinking his juice at nightand didn't have to go running for the border. So it depends. Itdepends on your digestive track, because everyone is not the same. So ifyou're backed up, it might hit you quickly, but if you're not,it'll probably hit you to that's why it's going to ask you as well,because I know a person I used to suffer, not TMI, but alot of people suffer from like what they...

...called irritable boy drop. Well,they stay blocked up and it's so crazy how traditionally my mom, I alwaystell people my mom used to have me thinking it was hereditary. Like no, it's the way we used to feed this when we're rolling up. NowI like to do a lot of detoxes and cleanse myself out. So,for a person that does that, would you still eat with this or isit still okay? Yep, I'm glad you asked that question because when peoplebuy the cleanse from me they always say, well, how many juices do Ineed? is just only one juice today? I'm like, you're notjust drinking juice. Yeah, you have to put back in which you putout. So it's whole grains. You eat like a Vegan. Yeah,and I even do the meal prep for you. Like I could choose tojust buy the three juices or you can get the juices with the meal prepand I take all the thinking out of it. You get twelve els.Wow, nice, lust to snack that you need, and it's just nutsbecause you don't want to put any meat or dairy in your body after yourflushing out anyways. Now you're clogging everything back. Oh Wow, yeah,yeah, and and it just to get a little bit more in depth.And Leaky Gut. If think about CACTUS, okay, and leaky gut really makesit look like a cactus is coming through and kind of ripping. Yeah, so if you ever see a diagram of your guess Gash or digestive tray, that's what it looks like. And so it's like the thorns sticking outof your track. So every time you go it's not a smooth flow process. So how am I going to stay healthy if my gut is all Jack? The right that we correct that is that we have to start doing allnatural things, that's to kind of make it melt itself back together. Verystorms, very interesting. Yeah, yeah, what are we going to try?Number two. Number two, we're going to go to reset. Reset. All right, tell us about reset. So reset is a combination of beatsand Apple and sparling and love beats, sals for you know, it's alike beat. Oh my God, are so good. You like picklebeats? Love pickled beets. I'm just now. I'm starting to you knowhow you get older, your tastes. Yeah, change. Hate beats growingup. Yeah, I love beats. The only one in my house atlead beats. I love it. They're so good, like my salt ricedishes and the salad, yeah, with Mandarin oranges, is so good.Oh Wow. And so this one is a combination of apples and beats andof course they're everything. All the juices I make are acidic and it's FurLena. The reason why is because they boost the immune system. Every ingredienthere makes the immune system get back together. Wow, yeah, nice, Itell you what. So tasting this and I've had other cold press juicesthat has beats in it. All your cases to beat. Yep, thisis this is like you can taste to beat it, but definitely beat forward, but it's not beat overpower exactly, but you can't taste that's fly not. No, you can't get her or anything like. You know, yes, really good, this is really refreshing, like I can ut refreshing. Youcould drink it, but I tell you, the juice is flying offthe show. I press them every day. Do you really every single day's flyingoff the shows because it's so even people that don't like beasts when theydrank this is like one, wait a minute, did this is not true, but the apple cuts the hardest. That's what you feel. So Idon't want to if I didn't want to overpower it with the apples, becauseit's not apple juice, right. You know, I want you to tasteit, beat so you can know what you're getting in. Then with thisone scares people because when you go number and you look like you're granted,Hey, what goes in must come first. Did it for the first time whenwe first got together. He was like super excited. Oh my God, you're sitting on the God much and he did the cleansay. He waslike what's going on right, like it's okay, it's just be wow,this is awesome. Okay, tell us about the Brits. Recovery, recovery. So with some of my carrots didn't cry press as much as I wantedit to. But this is oranges ginger and it's really, really it's refreshingon an aspect of making you want to...

...go, like recharge and just keepgoing. So this is what I created when I was at the gym workingout and would like need to power through, so I would drink this last whenI'm trying to get through those last few sets. Yes, is good. Oranges, carrots and ginger. Yep. Yeah, yes, a much betterthan that. Artificial just won't be my favorite. Yeah, I likethis. Takes the ginger off the end. Yep, I don't see refreshing thatis yea ginger makes you wake up. Even if you just smell ginger,it's like okay, I'm ready. I like that. So it's sometimesthe colors of the juice scare people, but no, so how much yousell your juices for? So they are eight dollars a bottle and they're threeand twenty two if you buy him in a bundle. Actually is every singleday. And if you want to get the cleans with it is seventy fivedollars. So you get twelve. That's Super Bales you get, you get, I even do the breakfast for you and you get the three juices andyou're guaranteed to lose at least by five to eight pounds for women and somemen have lost from senda fourteen pounds and three days. Three Day is yeah, oh, that's incredible and and it's really because, we're saying, ina lot of water and you're getting rid of parasites that's been sitting there,hanging out in Chilm then your guts and stuff for a long time, likethey lived there. So you want to man everyone do this at least oncea month. That's cool at least. So we are going to take aquick break sponsored by PNC bank, and we come back. I want tohave a conversation about entrepreneurship and specifically minority women entrepreneurship. This is Eric Diamond. We will be back. This podcast is brought to you by PNC bank. For more than a hundred sixty years, we've been committed to providing our clientswith great service and powerful financial expertise to help them meet their financial goals. We're proud of our longstanding history of supporting not only our customers, butour community employees and shareholders. For more information on PNC bank, please visitwwwccom. This is Eric Diamond bringing you the next episode of Craft Food Classroom, the podcast. We are here with Mary from Vitamin Candy and Michelle fromVeganish. So, Michelle, we've heard about Mary. Where you adding yourentrepreneurship journey? We are at the beginning. Yeah, we're at the very beginning. So I'm so excited to be here and to connect and to hearyour story. It definitely resonate with my personal story. But yeah, meand my I call them my sisters, but we've been friends for forever,you know, and you know how it just came about. So we're atthe very beginning. That's cool. So do you, and how many othertwo too, so it's three of us. So too, it's a little bitabout Veganis. So Vegan Ish. We how this all came about.We are all on our own separate journey. It just so happens that it collaborated. My own personal reason of going Vegan is definitely health. Sure,just through the years I've just had some things going on with inflammation. Ijust recently was in the hospital over seven days for it again, just havingrandom things happen with inflammation and doctors don't know what's going on and it's like, okay, I have to take this in control, you know. Iknow I can heal myself through food and just believing in the healing and youknow. So that's where I'm starting. But I did it a couple ofyears ago and I was successful with it. However, I didn't have the mindsetthat I have now to stay with it and I wasn't really focusing onmy health. It was more to to lose weight. I was, youknow, didn't really know. And then my other two sisters, their reasons, you know, are either health or to lose weight. God, butwe're all here trying to support each other. That's how it kind of came about. We were keeping each other accountable and out it just came about,you know. So we're like, we're...

...definitely want to reach out. Wewere getting feedback from our community and so that's what we wanted to do.We wanted to inspire other people who wants to go in this journey with us, who might be on the fence about, you know, becoming Vegan, notreally understanding like hey, we're on this journey. Let's do it together. You're going to grow, you know, and you guys that help us stayaccountable. Your product? Is it a what kind of what is theexact product? It's not really a products more but like the more of asupport. We do things in the yeah, so we do things in the community, like we have a street market that's coming up. Awesome. We'redefinitely reaching out to other venues and other people who are Vegan who can helpus grow, you know, and get the information out to the people whoare looking as well. Yeah, interesting. You know, I was probably afew years ago now. I spoke at a town hall for the ClevelandFoundation and it was around equitable entrepreneurship and I remember this study that I hadread that said the fastest growing population of entrepreneurs in the United States is blackwomen over the age of thirty five. But if you look at that,they're also the group that gets the least amount of support from the funding community. Right. So there's this philosophy that, you know, only the entrepreneurs,the one that can think freely, act freely be creative, but wedon't put those resources behind anybody that's not wearing you know, flip flops inthe Hoodie and slinging code. Have you guys experienced that? If you seenthat coming up? Mary, you've been doing this for a while now.Tell me about some of that. Oh, absolutely. Back when I first startedwith Vitam Kenny and, like I said, I was just making thejuices, I would pull them out the trunk of my car just like hey, you know, if anybody want to buy the juices, and a lotof people laugh at it and was like nobody's that's ugly, nobody's going todrink that. Or, you know, just because of who I was,they like, you know, you're a trainer, you stay a trainer,you do it this way. Yeah, you who do you think you are? Branching out, trying to do something different. They didn't believe it inthose same people have come back to me, the customers, not for the help. Well, I need a health consultation, you know. And theneven, I'm going to speak even on the business side, with trying toget a brick and mortar it was hard for me opening up the gym.I went to many of banks trying to get support and they didn't want tosupport me. So I had to take my own savings and open up mygem and even now, like the incubator space that I'm in. I thinkthat they let they thought I was a joke when I when I when Ipitched for the competition, that I was in it. And no disrespect toanyone, because I'm grateful for the opportunity, but I didn't even get chosen inthe first round. Wow, they not choose me, and I wasthinking to myself, how in the heck could you not want to have ahealthy cafe in a food desert community that's getting all the wrong stuff and don'teven have any education about it? How could you not want me to bethere? Yep, and God has it brought me back around for a circle. I still kept searching for a space and still kept pitching my business.I never stopped. Yeah, and they had to come back to me againbecause someone did not want to be there and said, would you want thisspace? And I said, well, of course, that's what I wastrying to tell you in the first place, and not to to a horn.But now I am. I'm the one that drives the place. I'mnot even the biggest business and the incubator space, but I never had toclose my doors at that location through covid because people need it. Yet whatI had to help them get through. Yeah, yeah, great point.Yeah, it's a struggle. It's a struggle even still to this day,applying for loans and stuff like that. You have to be very convincible tothem because all they they see is a woman trying to I don't know,I guess be it a male for dominant a predominantly male industry, or evena leveling of it to a CEO status. You know, no, we're knownto be in the kitchen and then having baby, but that's not youknow, we have our own lines and we really we have a lot toshare. You sure do you know. So what about you? Have youseen experience that? strugglingfully? My sister,...

...she's the one that you know.She we have each our own duty. So I don't really do that.The have to do the technical stuff better and other avery is because Iam an entrepreneur outside of this. I do feel that same push back,you know, and I've talked to many of other women who are entrepreneurs whohave that same, you know, push back. I did join the community, the women's Business Center, who has definitely been a blessing for meat andthey have been, you know. So having that support was tremendously helpful becauseI couldn't imagine trying to do it on my own and trying to, youknow, find my own way. So shout out to the Women Business Center, great and all them. Yea, who knows to them? What advicewould you give young women coming up from where you've been married? I woulddefinitely tell them whatever it is that's like a burden desire in your heart,don't stop. Fell forward, but even if you get some pushback, sowhat? And don't take anything personal. Is just business. What about you, Michelle? Definitely that same advice and stay persistent. Stay persistent, continueto believe in yourself. There's someone that needs you. Oh yeah, there'ssomeone. They need you, even if it's someone else is doing something similarto you. There's someone who needs your personality. There's someone who needs whatyou exactly have. So just don't stop. The two more things. One iswhen I mentoring entrepreneurs, I always ask them kind of what they're unfairadvantages. What's your Superhero Power, Mary, what do you think your unfair advantages? Who? That's a good question. That is a good question. Iwas just say being a woman period awesome. Being a woman it fitness, fitness and in the especially, and people don't really notice. But beingin a chef now that I'm a chef, now that, yeah, funny.It sounds funny wrong. Look at myself as a chef. I'm like, I just cook good food. But yeah, even that industry. Yeah, just being a woman, it's a little hard. That's right to yep, Michelle, what's your unfair advantage or superpower? Put You? That isa hard question. I'm listening open. What are you better at than youthink most of your peers are? Um, I would say just organization, oreven organize. You know, that is not my like to have mychecklist. I like to check things off. You know what we I'm just theopposite. So when we're building a team, I like to build ateam around people who are like you. Yeah, so to keep everybody organized, right, get and everybody. That's not what they need to do.Exactly how I think. So, Mary, where can people find Vitamin Candy andtell us to give a plug for your book? Oh Yeah, youcan find me at oneus fourteen hundred east, a hundred and fish street, Ashburyat a's clean Cleveland Ohio, right, and a new building called Glenn Village. Sure, Glenn Village. Yet. Also on Social Media At v CandyCafe. That's on instagram and Um, my website is a vitamin CANDYCOM andalso you can find my book on Amazon. Okay, that's awesome.From this to that, this is the first edition. Number two will beout in July. Yes, I have some more stuff talking about. Forgetwere to bring it back to it and in my store. Excellent. Wherecan we find veganish? Yeah, so we're definitely on instagram. We're underveganish girls. We're here at central kitchen, but where we have our youtube pageunder vegan issues. Well, awesome that they can check us out.Very cool. Well, ladies, this has been awesome spending the warning withyou guys. Very, very keep for having it. Thank you great,great stories and I look forward to following you guys and seeing the great successif you guys have so thanks again for coming. Thank you so much.Thank you all. This is Eric Diamond signing out of the craft food classroom. Until next time, be well.

Thanks for joining on the craft foodclassroom podcast, where we help make food business simple. At every stage ofgrowth. Brought to you by PNC bank and central kitchen media. To learnmore about what we're doing, visit us at the central dot kitchen. Pleasesubscribe to this podcast to learn more about food entrepreneurs and their experience in thecraft food business.

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