AS a fit and active young man, Jovan Pejic was shocked when, at 24, he was diagnosed with stage a 3 non-Hodgkin’s Follicular Lymphoma in his leg; a cancer which can be fatal but is rare among young people.
Facing months of radiotherapy, the Kingston-based accountant weighed up his options.
“It was a scary time – I knew I would probably have to go through the radiotherapy, but it shook me to the point where I wanted to do more for myself; so I started researching how a healthy diet could help,” Jovan, 27, says.
Jovan put his body through a complete health kick, starting with an all vegan diet – no meat, dairy products – and twice-a-day cold-pressed, vegetable-based juices.
Six weeks later, at a routine visit to the doctor, Jovan was told the tumour had shrunk by around 30-40 per cent. He was stunned.
“It was not what I was expecting at all, it was unbelievable,” he says.
“The doctor could neither confirm nor deny that the juices had helped… but even he was just as shocked and couldn’t really explain how it had happened given I hadn’t had any extra treatment at that stage.
“After that, I started my three months of radiotherapy and continued my diet, and the tumour completely disappeared.”
Now in remission, Jovan and his wife Lucianne Attard are launching a new cold-press juice company in Canberra, The Fix, with the hope that local cafes will jump on board.
“We’ll be using vegetables from local wholesalers and selling the juices to local cafes, with the option for pop-up stores and cheaper online bulk ordering for the community,” says public servant Lucianne, 27.
“Cold-pressed juicers are very different to other juicers – most juicers have a system with a spinning motion, so it means it’s much quicker to disintegrate the integrity of the juice and, on top of that, the spinning motion creates heat so you’re killing the enzymes as you do it. The beauty about this juice, is it’s a slow press, so the integrity of the juice is retained and the important nutrients are locked in.”
The juices, which will cost about $10 if bought in cafes, will come in six flavours; made up of 80 per cent vegetables and 20 per cent fruit ingredients.
The young couple plan to make the juices themselves from their newly purchased Fyshwick space, which will be open to the public to pick up bulk juice orders or “just hang out and try them,” says Jovan.
“We want to provide our community with accessible, affordable and freely available healthy juices,” says Lucianne.
“We realised it’s not just about how much exercise you do, it’s about what you’re putting in your body. According to public health websites, around 83 per cent of all premature deaths among people aged under 75 years are due to non-communicable diseases caused primarily by stress, poor eating habits, alcohol consumption and inactivity… so that’s a serious figure.”
She reiterates the couple’s daily juicing and strict vegan diets “aren’t for everyone” and can be difficult to maintain everyday – “sometimes you go over to people’s houses and they’ll make something with dairy so you’ll break the diet, or you’re at work and pressed for time and the only available option for a snack is a piece of chocolate,” she says.
“We don’t want to impose our way of life on anyone, we just want to say it’s there if people are interested.”
Jovan says he is “ecstatic” he can now put his cancer scare behind him.
“For me, I’m so happy to have the chance to share that healthy lifestyle and move on with my life,” he says.
Jovan and Lucianne will launch The Fix juice at Steve “Commando” Willis’ training session, Reconciliation Place, Parkes from 9.30am until 4pm on February 22. Their website’s thejuicefix.com.au.
“CityNews” does not suggest cold-pressed, vegetable-based juices are in themselves a cure for cancer.