When I was a teenager, I would take trips with my mother to Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico, who went there for asthma treatments at a wellness spa. I was convinced that I wouldn’t actually benefit from the experience, but it’s actually when my fascination with health and wellness began. The twists and turns of life (including combating cancer) have taken me full circle, and now nutrition and helping others lead a healthy and happy life have become my career and I couldn’t be more grateful for it. After graduating from college, I worked long, hard hours fueled by caffeine. I was determined to become a “successful” businesswoman. Nothing would stop me. Then I felt a lump. When my doctor told me I had Hodgkins Lymphoma, I couldn’t believe it. I was only 32 — I wasn’t supposed to get cancer. I had gotten married and was going to start a family. I thought I was healthy and headed toward an exciting time in my life. The doctor recommended chemotherapy and radiation, but after a few treatments I felt like the “solution” was worse than the problem. The treatments were harsh and my intuition was telling me that my body needed something else. I thought back to the lessons I learned from my mom on her health and wellness trips, and a light bulb went off. I realized that, in addition to medical treatment, my body needed nourishment and love. I felt strongly about this realization, so after a lot of research and consideration, I shortened my radiation regimen and pursued an alternative path. I left my job, began managing my stress and doing yoga, and learned that good food wasn’t always healthy food. I began juicing and eating a more plant-based diet — within a few months I truly felt great and went into remission. Happily married to my husband Marc, my dreams of growing a family together came true and we had two beautiful daughters. Then, cancer entered my life again. But not for me. This time it was Marc’s health that began to fail, nine years after I had gone into remission. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma sounded terrifying, and it was. Marc’s doctors convinced him to begin immediate chemotherapy and radiation. He spent time in and out of hospitals as his immune system weakened. After an 18-month battle, it wasn’t cancer that took his life — it was infection. The treatment that was supposed to cure him contributed to his untimely death at 45. I can’t even begin to describe the devastation I felt. My partner was gone, my daughters’ father was no longer in their lives. How could this have happened? How were we supposed to go on and feel happy without him? Day by day we began healing as a family, learning to live this new normal. While our grieving took time, our loss also provided clarity and started me on a path I know was meant for me. I went back to school at the American University of Complementary Medicine in Los Angeles and became a Certified Holistic Nutritionist. Years later, here I am, working with people from every walk of life to help them cleanse their bodies and their lives. My run-ins with cancer showed me the importance of what I had learned as a teenager on the trips with my mother. The old saying that “you are what you eat” couldn’t be more true. Food was the root of many of the problems I saw in life, and it could be the solution too. I believe that no matter your story, you can cleanse your body and, through nutrition, lead a happier and healthier life. Many people think that cleansing means starving yourself or drinking juices all day. That’s not true. I’ve designed a number of cleanses that include healthy juices and food. We are a product of the things we eat and the way we treat ourselves. I’m happy to be able to say that I am cancer-free and feel great. That’s why I’m on a mission to help others be open to other approaches when it comes to healing. I want everyone to experience the joy I’ve found in good health. Interested in juicing like Elissa? Check out easy-to-use this juicer!