For Christina Laham Paganelli, founder and CEO of drinkme, the invention of her raw food smoothies wasn’t so much a labour of love as a fight for her life.
By age 26, Christina had been diagnosed with MS and thyroid cancer. She underwent major surgery to completely remove her thyroid followed by radiation treatment. And then she learned the cancer had spread to her lungs. Six months later, she went through another round of radiation with no results. The tumours remained the same size.
She also began taking an immune-suppressant drug to help mitigate the effects of MS. The drug, which cost almost $20,000 per year and was only partially covered by Medicare, had to be injected into her legs once a week. She followed this regimen until she learned the drug shouldn’t be taken by anyone living with cancer.
Fed up with the ineffective treatments, Christina made a decision to take her health into her own hands. “My family and I made a commitment to change our lifestyles and eating habits,” she said. “We purged our kitchen cupboards and replaced everything with whole organic raw foods.”
Fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils, and top-quality enzymes, pro-biotics and other raw supplements became the staples of Christina’s diet. It wasn’t easy making everything from scratch. She searched health food stores for raw, organic foods that were already juiced and found nothing.
Once again, she took matters into her own hands and created what is now called a drinkme green smoothie—and drinkme became an integral part of her daily health regimen. “I’ve never felt better in my life and I have not required any more medical procedures,” said Christina. “My experience has led me on the path to helping others.”
It’s no coincidence that Christina’s line of raw whole smoothies share the same name as the magical potion in Alice in Wonderland. “After drinking the potion labelled ‘drink me,’ Alice’s body transformed. When I changed my eating habits, my body transformed and healed. I have been healthy for five years now,” she said.
So what’s in Christina’s “magic” green potion? Organic kale, freshly squeezed orange juice, hand-peeled banana and water. The “regular” green drinkme comes frozen and unpasteurized with 3.5 Canada Food Guide servings of dark green vegetables and fruit per 450 ml. The drinkme Green 3 comes with three times the greens.
The rich red-coloured Ruby drinkme has also become popular. With organic kale, freshly squeezed orange juice, organic raspberries, organic beets and water, Ruby tastes great.
The marketplace proved to have a healthy appetite for drinkme. “After I shared my frozen smoothies, I learned health enthusiasts liked the convenience of my frozen smoothies. They all began placing orders,” Christina said.
What started as a home-based business has grown into a burgeoning organic commodity with mass distribution in retail outlets across Canada.
“After a very successful Food Expo in Vancouver, drinkme launched with a Canada-wide distributor,” Christina said. “To keep up with the orders, we are going to start manufacturing in California.”
Drinkme is available in the frozen food section at Organza. The frozen smoothie is excellent nutrition for people on the go. As everyone settles into the back-to-school mindset, Christina suggests adding a drinkme to your daily health regimen. “It’s a really good way to get your fruit and vegetables servings in for the day and may help to reduce your risk for some types of cancer,” she said.
Keep your drinkme smoothie frozen until you plan on drinking it. After the drink has been defrosted, it can be refrigerated for up to three days.
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