Q&A With the Amazing Kelly Lewis
The Southern Sqweeze team is a huge part of what keeps me wanting to educate folks on healthy living and show them how great they can feel. To see the team’s passion for health and positive change, to recognize their kindness no matter what— is pretty amazing.
This is Kelly. Honestly she’s one of the most loving and generous people I’ve ever met. She makes it a point to get to know customers, remember their names, and help them find the juices and foods that are best for them and what they’re wanting. I wanted you to meet her, so here are her thoughts on juicing, cleansing, and health!
What drew you to work at Southern Sqweeze?
At Covenant College I majored in sociology because I love working with people. Not just surface-level interactions, but being involved in their life and well-being. After finishing college I was working at a great place, but it wasn't for me. My stress levels were high and the effect they had on my body were too much.
So, in the midst of hoping for something better, I had to ask myself some questions. What do I love? What do I never get bored of learning about? How can I love myself well and still help others in a meaningful way? All those questions led to the same answer: health. It’s such a broad word, but Southern Sqweeze was the first place that came to mind. I had already applied once before, but I was determined in my heart that working here would serve both my current desires and my long-term goals and dreams. Of course that’s what drew me to work here initially. My reasons for staying are too many and wonderful to count.
When did you start juicing?
I'd had some juices here and there, but I didn't truly start juicing until I came to work at Southern Sqweeze. Saying that seems crazy because now it's a major part of my lifestyle. Even being super health-conscious at a young age, juicing wasn't common or discussed in my environment and community. At age 22, juicing became a staple in my diet, and will continue to be for the rest of my life. What once was so new is now irreplaceable! I deem myself lucky to have learned about juicing at a younger age, which will allow me to share it with more people for so many years.
What's been your experience so far?
Thus far juicing has led to a lot of learning and self exploration. My experience has been nothing short of eye opening.
I've noticed that juicing has allowed me to drink certain foods I normally wouldn’t have eaten, therefore opening up opportunity to eat things I would have normally never touched. For example, instead of eating an apple and a salad, if I drink a juice of apple-celery-kale-and lemon, then I can also eat some kelp noodles (seaweed- yum!).
Of course I definitely had to learn a balance. At first I was a lover of all juices fruity and sweet. In my mind I knew a balanced diet consisted of more, so I had to make myself drink juices that didn't taste quite as good to me. I witnessed my taste buds changing over time. Now I crave green juices and only want fruit juices ~5% of the time. My body went from craving taste to craving nutrition.
How often do you do a cleanse?
I know people who do cleanses weekly, monthly, or about 3-4 times a year. For me, I found that shorter, more gentle cleanses worked with my body. There's no set date for me as to when I cleanse, it's about listening to my body and giving it what it needs, to the best of my listening ability. I'll do an afternoon cleanse, or a meal cleanse whenever it seems like my body is responding well.
Also, I do feel like I cleanse daily in a different way by eating a plant-based diet with an array of superfoods and herbs. Don't forget, cleansing the mind and soul is just as important as cleansing the body. Nothing is better than getting a good night sleep and drinking lots of water to prepare your body to cleanse itself.
What's that like?
I love cleansing as long as it is with care and intention. Having juice daily helps my body cleanse. I have replaced caffeinated beverages (yes, including coffee) with juice and that has made a huge impact!! Being "off" coffee is the most freeing experience. I wouldn't know that feeling if it weren't for my cleanse. My body has reacted well to juice, but I also need to listen to it to learn about what intensity it needs. Every person is a little different!
What do you say to people considering their first cleanse?
I would ask them what motivated them to try it. Drive and dedication to health are important when it comes to cleansing, especially in our culture. I recommend that everyone try a cleanse, at least to see how it goes for them. From there they can learn what type and duration of cleansing is best for their body. You never know if you never try!
Sometimes we learn best from things that we are scared to do, and especially things that are difficult for us. Anyone's first cleanse will teach them about their body, their addictions, their cravings, and all that good stuff! Cleanses can open your eyes to changes you can gradually make over time. My cleanse changed my headaches and my relationship to food, so what could yours do?
What is your favorite part about working at Southern Sqweeze?
Hands down, being excited about going to work and not being anxious to leave. In a world of people being frustrated and complacent about their work situation, I feel so blessed to love where I am. Southern Sqweeze is fun, I mean literally fun! This job allows me to work hard and feel accomplished while also being in a peaceful environment.
But wait! There's also the co workers, the customers, and obviously the great food. I get to do what I love and help people I love—what could be better? We laugh a lot, we learn a lot, and we get to meet a lot of awesome people. Sometimes we even cry, because that's good for us. But, at the end of the day, Southern Sqweeze has changed my life in ways I never imagined. It is preparing me for a bright future with lots of good things to come!
How has it changed your health?
My health has changed immensely! My fridge, my cabinets, my brain, and my whole body. Even my relationships and my self-care have changed for the better.
In a nutshell, my approach to health has become much more holistic. I've learned that everyone is different, so just because I hear something or read something doesn't mean it’s for me. Here, there is such a variety of foods, super-foods, and herbs that I've been able to find the best of the best; which are now my favorite things. Southern Sqweeze is very resourceful and integrative, so I am always excited to see what’s new!
What’s your favorite item?
Out of so so so many things I love, I am going to choose maca. I’ve been working to balance my hormones and help my anemia for quite awhile, and this super-food has been the most helpful, paired with ashwagandha. It's full of vitamins, iron, potassium, and tastes delicious!! I have both the powder and tincture in my kitchen.
What’s your favorite smoothie or food or both?
I see we saved the hardest question for last...
Okay, simple and sweet. My favorite smoothies are the Kale Yeah and the Down Home Chocolate Shake, with added vitagreens! My favorite savory food is the kale salad, and sweet food would be the banana bread (everyone at the shop knows this because I buy it almost everyday). My favorite juice as of now is the Wild Greens. Yummmmm. But I’ve gotten really good at not recommending only my favorite things, so if you come in I’ll help you find your own favorite!