Some people call her the juice lady. And indeed she is, but she is also an advocate for healthy foods including vitamins and supplements. Elseata Hamilton is the manager and co-owner of CEC Exotic Juices & Health Foods at 1306 Homestead Rd. in the Publix Plaza and they are holding a grand opening on Thursday, Sept. 2 at 10 a.m.
"We're hoping for a lot of people. We want to show what we offer in our store," Hamilton said.
Opening a natural foods and supplement store was a natural for Hamilton who has been a diabetic.
Elseata Hamilton, the “juice lady” stands in front of one of the many displays of health foods that she sells at CEC Exotic Juices & Health Foods at 1306 Homestead Rd. Photo by Mel Toadvine
"But my numbers are down and I have lost a lot of weight because I have changed my lifestyle and the way I eat," she said. "And I have all those things in our store. But the store is not just for people with Diabetes, it is for everyone who wants healthy good food, things without preservatives and refined sugars.
Co-owners are her brother, Clinton Lindo of Deltona, and a friend, Cynthia Jordan, who lives in New York. Lindo comes down about a week every month to help out at the store.
"We work well together," Lindo said. Hamilton lives on Roosevelt Ave. in Lehigh. She has been here for two years. Originally from Jamaica, she moved to Lehigh from upper New York State.
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"I used to come down to visit friends and I found Lehigh to be serene. The people here are wonderful. It is a diversified community and everyone seems to get along well. I like that," she said. "I have come to love it here in Lehigh."
"I won't tell you that the snow in New York also was a factor though," she laughed.
Hamilton said she had been a diabetic for 10 years and that was one of the reasons she decided to open a health foods store.
"I changed my diet and I did exercise and decided to drink natural juices without sugar and after two months of that type of regiment, I was off medication," she said.
She said she once weighed 230 pounds and her goal is to get down to 160 and already she is close to her goal.
"I've lost 50 pounds already. If I can do it, so can other people. That is what I tell people who come in to shop," she said.
"Not everyone who comes in has Diabetes or other troublesome health problems, but they want to buy natural products to stay healthy, items you usually can't find in a regular supermarket," she said.
The shelves are filled with all types of food, juices and more.
"I enjoy my juices because they have no added sugar in them," she said. "You can overdo it even with juices, but if you drink them in moderation, you will be fine."
You'll even find things like honey on the shelves.
"Oh yes, honey is a good natural food. A diabetic shouldn't eat a lot of it, but the natural sugars in it are healthy," she said.
"I am not a doctor, but I know that these natural foods have a positive effect on the body. They are good for people who have serious diseases such as cancer and other life threatening diseases. It's all about what we put in our body," she said.
Her brother nodded in agreement.
"I eat natural foods and I watch my diet and I exercise by walking several miles several days a week, whether I am here or in Deltona," he said. His sister also walks most days.
"Your doctor will tell you that exercise is important and he is right. You just have to make it an important part of your life," she said.
Her brother bragged that he could do 300 abdominal push-ups because of his five-mile treks six days a week. He said he has lost 20 pounds by eating more healthy foods and exercising.
Elseata Hamilton is a friendly woman who enjoys making friends and if you ask her about these foods, she will explain the importance of good health.
"It just works, it is that simple," she said.
"We offer brown rices, natural teas, organic pasta that is gluten free, these are good foods for us. I don't go to fast food restaurants and I don't miss it," she said.
Her background has had an impact of her life. As a nursing assistant and occupational therapist, she saw people who had lost their limbs from diabetes. She said she didn't want that to happen to her.
The hours of operation at the CEC Exotic Juices & Health Foods are Sunday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. They are closed on Saturdays.
"Obesity is a problem in the United States and we need to start educating our children in our public schools about eating the right way. That is where it has to start," she said.
"What we offer are excellent alternatives for the health conscious to maintain and improve good health at reasonable prices," she said.
"Like our ad says, we have natural fruit and vegetable juices, natural and organic foods, veggie burgers, salads, smoothies, veggie wraps, spicy cod, veggie patties and Celebration Cakes by Angela. Come to our grand opening and sample our juices and cake samples and enter for the free drawing," she said.