How Getting Hit by a Truck Saved My Life

When Jules and I were co-creating the Conscious Cleanse we both had our own personal transformations – distinct but equally profound. What became crystal clear to us through our journey was the sheer truth of what’s possible for people when we commit to a process of slowing down and healing ourselves with food. That’s why I’m thrilled to be able to share my journey to vibrant health with you today.

I was born with such severe allergies that my finger swelled if it so much as touched a tomato. I could not eat food cooked in plastic without getting a rash. Gluten, dairy, eggs, yeast, avocados, apples–you name it, and chances are it caused some kind of allergic reaction, often severe. I couldn’t tolerate chemicals or fragrances, so my mother had to clean with vinegar and baking soda. I had to avoid pesticides, carpeting, and pets. My seasonal allergies made the simple act of breathing a labored chore.

I credit my mother, who, like Marilee, walked out of countless doctors’ offices, convinced there was a solution beyond the medicated breathing machine and high-dose prescriptions. Through Theron Randolph, a forward-thinking doctor who believed that most physical and mental diseases could be attributed to food and environmental toxins, I began a rotation diet and eliminated allergens from my diet. This new plan completely eliminated the need for medication. I got healthier and I thrived.

17 years later, I was a nationally ranked diver and pre-med honors graduate. I had my whole life in front of me and I knew exactly how it looked. I was going to be a doctor and help people heal. My last hurrah before going to medical school was to lead a group of high school students on a 3,000-mile bike trip across the US. On the second to the last day, with the end of the ride in sight, I was hit on my bike by a truck going 70 miles per hour.

As a result of my accident, I had a long recovery that included chronic debilitating pain, weight gain, and depression – none of which could be helped by modern medical practices. In fact, I was told by over 20 doctors that I would not heal. Hearing that message over and over and over again, only made my depression and pain worse. And of course, I started to believe it was true.

My breakthrough moment came when I decided to stop hating my body, when I stopped using food to numb my pain – both physical and emotional, and started to wake up to the realization that food could be my medicine. Every single thing I ate came with the question, “How will this make me feel?” I combined my childhood doctor’s method of isolating foods with updated academic and clinical knowledge, listened to my body, and worked to understand what foods caused greater levels of inflammation and what caused pain.  

Eventually, my daily pain levels went from a 7 to a 3. I dropped 15 pounds almost immediately. My thyroid, which had been nearly nonfunctional, kicked in. My recovery took quantum leaps, and one day I realized I actually felt better, in many ways, than I had before the accident.

I knew we had to share this knowledge with others, so that they, too, could stop fighting with their bodies and instead learn to use food as medicine. So we created our 14-day Conscious Cleanse that anyone can join from anywhere to cleanse with a group of supportive health coaches and fellow cleansers.To help you start out on your journey, I wanted to share with you the top things I would tell my younger self at the beginning of my own experiences:

  1. Change your mindset: This is a really hard one, but one of the most important steps. Instead of viewing food as an enemy, shift your mindset to viewing food as medicine. Instead of feeling negatively about your body, think of all the amazing things it can do and how you can best nourish it. Through self-love and re-thinking your relationship to eating, healing is possible through food.
  2. Eat clean, don’t diet: Instead of calorie restriction/counting, focus on eating whole foods that come from nature. Be gentle with yourself if you slip up by creating a mindset of learning not punishment (for instance, if you eat a sugary treat, instead of being mad at yourself, listen to your body and see how that sugar made you feel). It’s not about a specific number on a scale, but rather about healing from the inside out.
  3. Find YOUR blueprint:  As we all know, no two people are the same. You’ll find your particular food allergies/sensitivities through really listening to your body. You’ll also find your hero foods, those foods that really nourish you and make you feel vibrant. Try to avoid food fads/trends and stick to the foods that make you feel amazing.
  4. Find a supportive community: Last but not least, find your tribe! Seek out people who are on their own clean-eating journey or who are working towards similar goals and have had similar experiences. Through shared knowledge and support, you can thrive as a group.

That last step is why we started leading live online cleanses, so that wherever you are, you can find a safe and supportive group of like-minded individuals. We wanted to create a safe space for personal exploration and discovery so that those just starting out would have help with their  healing. If anything I’ve said has resonated with you, I sincerely invite you to join us for our upcoming Conscious Cleanse starting March 6th. Use code branchbasics for 30% off! No matter where you are on your journey with food or healing, we would love to help you get to the next level.


With much love,



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  1. Thank you for your story! Just curious if you have any tips on encouraging your young child to eat a clean when there is so many unhealthy fake foods all around them that almost all their friends eat. How do you explain in a positive way that they need to eat healthy even though the other kids food is sugary and tastes better most of the time. I have tried the elongation diet with my son to try to help his eczema for yrs, but it was an absolute nightmare. He felt like he was being punished and it was heart breaking especially because we were Taking away certain foods that weren’t bad but just eliminating to see what effected him more. It would take us yrs to eliminate them at different times and it’s overwhelming. In the end nothing showed his skin improvement and we have a family history of eczema. We continue to feed him clean foods, yet it is still extremely difficult as he feels left out and ostracized when his friends are eating something he can’t have. How do we parent well and don’t crush his spirit? 🤦🏼‍♀️ He is 4 and it’s difficult to understand!

    1. Hi Courtney. We feel for you! What a tough situation. Overall, the best approach is not demonizing foods and labeling them as “bad” or “good” but to focus on how it makes you feel and gives you energy and strength, etc. You’re probably already doing this, but ensure that in your own home, you are all eating healthy foods and talk about how much they love them. When children are old enough to understand, you can make it a game by teaching them the difference between the red in a strawberry vs. the red in an artificially-dyed snack. When they can read, teaching them to look out for words like “sugar” or “canola oil” in a snack will help them get involved in the process. Healthy food choices are much more readily available! While it may take a little more time, involve your son in the process of making a healthy pizza or baking delicious cookies, muffins and other desserts using real-food ingredients!

      Finally, removing products with harmful chemicals from your home is a step that your son doesn’t even have to know about. Make sure all personal care products, shampoos, soaps are 100% pure, that he sleeps in organic cotton pajamas, sheets, bedding, all his clothes are 100% cotton with no treatments. Here are some ideas outside of diet to try – P.S. In terms of Diet be sure to try to avoid the Omega 6 oils like safflower, sunflower, canola oil – all lead to inflammatory conditions.

      Best of luck, Courtney!

    2. Courtney,

      First off, pat yourself on the back for having the guts and tenacity to even undertake exploring the world of allergies and sensitivities. I know it can be frustrating just making changes for yourself, but when you then try to make changes for your child, it can often times be very difficult. Allergies are not black and white. Allergy tests are not always accurate. For me, I was lucky because I started taking allergens out at a very young age, so there was never the push and pull of removing a food. I also have a 4 year old daughter and I try to keep her diet clean- gluten, dairy, egg free etc. What’s been the most successful for me is to take all of the junk out of the house, so it’s not even an option to eat it. My daughter also watches what I eat and most nights wants what is on my plate. We also always make a special treat that she LOVES when we go to a birthday party or place where I know there will be foods she can’t eat. I always make enough for the party or group. We’ve found this recipe is a hit- Keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t give up! And joining a community of like-minded people always helps to give you new ideas and inspiration. We’d love to have you join our tribe. Much love, JO


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