Physicians told melasma sufferer Jil Larsen (pictured) that she would forever live with dark skin marks, and could never step outside without harsh chemical sun protection. Today, you wouldn’t know it by looking at her. She left her job at a law firm, started studying nutrition, and has now founded Magic Mix Juicery in NYC. We asked her how diet transformed her.
Q. When you first introduced healthier foods into your diet, did you notice the difference right away?
A. It was a battle, because I had to wean myself off the standard American diet: dairy, meat, sugar (huge sugar addiction). I eliminated one thing at a time, seeing what worked and what didn’t work. Once I started incorporating living foods and all the plants (green juices, organic foods), that’s when I really started seeing that my body was starting to change, starting to replenish. I think I was overfed and undernourished, and this made up for years of an imbalance you don’t notice until either your skin or your energy levels change.
Q. Did you have to try a few different “diets” before finding the right one?
A. Absolutely. In the beginning, there was a lot of craving. I think it was more about being addicted to certain things (like the sugar), and I started to see what could I substitute it with. When I wasn’t eating wheat, I would eat all the [conventional] gluten-free products, but that really wasn’t helping me either. . .It took a little while until I figured out, okay, it’s the nutrients that I’m missing.
Q. You don’t insist that everyone follow the same diet that worked for you. Why?
A. I think everybody has a different makeup. I’m not here to deprive people of what they feel they need in their lives. For some people, meat works; for some people, dairy products work. It’s all about finding out what works for you. I think, most importantly, it’s about eating good quality food. So if you feel like having a steak, hey, absolutely have a steak, but look at where it comes from: how was it raised? What was it fed?
Q. Do you now have a morning routine?
A. I drink a large glass of water with some lemon juice and cayenne pepper, so it gets my metabolism going. Then I come to work (which to me, isn’t work anymore), and I’ll make myself a superfood smoothie, which consists of coconut milk (which we make here in-house with young Thai coconuts), a tablespoon of vitamin green powder, some spirulina, some cayenne pepper (I love my cayenne pepper!), and a banana. That gives me the boost to get to lunch, have a clear mind and get the day going.
Q. What advice do you have for someone battling a chronic condition?
A. I think what’s important is to breathe, not stress out too much. Take time to yourself to find out what it is that you might really be missing in your life, whether it’s a nutritional deficiency, or in your career, relationships or physical activity. Look at all those aspects and see where you might be able to improve. And be kind to yourself. Don’t fret over little things, because gradually, the more you work on making yourself happy, the other things fall into place.
Magic Mix Juicery
102 Fulton St. (@ William St.)
New York, NY 10038