A taste of Jamaica - Vacationing American adopts island home; serving up healthy juices
After a week of sightseeing and visiting the most famous places on the island, Emily Clark found she was captivated by Jamaica and decided to make it her home.
Her initial one-week trip in February took her to some of the most famous spots but after she arrived in Portland, she decided not to return to America.
"There's no place like Jamaica. I've been to a lot of countries, I'm well-travelled. I've been to South America, Central America, most of the Caribbean islands, and while they're all very beautiful, there is no place like Jamaica," Clark said. "When I came here, I originally came for a one-week vacation and something just kept telling me 'This is where you're supposed to be girl, you're supposed to stay here'."
Clark, who was born in America to parents from the Dominican Republic, said she has been a registered nurse for the past five years as well as a plant-based nutritionist and personal trainer. She told THE STAR that after considering that she is unmarried, has no children and works online, she decided to make Jamaica her home.
"Jamaica kidnapped me in the best way possible and I let it. Jamaica and I ran off into the sunset together. We're madly in love, it was wild and crazy, but it's literally the best decision I've ever made in my entire life. I've always wanted this for myself. I've always wanted to live in the hills where my house is surrounded by greens," she said.
Now Clark has brought her healthy lifestyle to streets of Portland, where she shares her recipes for juices that combat various health conditions and chronic ailments.
"Mostly what I do is content creation. I create video that educate the community, especially the younger people, exactly how fruits, vegetables and herbs can literally heal the body from the inside out," she said. "My whole goal is just to tell people it doesn't have to be grass food or bunny food. It doesn't have to taste flavourless or bitter or whatever. "
Clark argues that many health issues come from poor gut health, which she said is a simple fix.
"Truly, it's just a simple matter of eating the right things, getting the right exercise. Holistic habits, meditation, stretching, you know, sleeping the correct amount of hours a night. This is a very big portion of it that can help people to the bigger picture, the whole lifestyle."
She said that her affinity for health foods came from a lifetime of training from her own mother, who ensured there was never any processed food in their household.
"She was very big on making our own juice at home, making our own popsicles. We didn't leave the dinner table until our vegetables were finished. So from a very young age, these methods were ingrained in my brain and eventually led me to wanting to become a nurse and nutritionist and wanting to help people with their diets and exercise," said Clark.
Further spurred by the choices she saw people make while working in the nursing field, she saw it necessary to share her holistic lifestyle.
"Being in the medical field and seeing how people will come in for something very simple, [and] get an over-the-counter medication. Nine times out of 10 those over-the-counter medications only cover the issue for a few days or a little while and possibly even create other symptoms and side-effects and then you have to treat it with other medication. When in reality you could just drink some turmeric tea or drink some turmeric juice or pineapple juice and clear the sickness from your body once and for all from the inside out," she said.
Now living out her Jamaican dream, Clark operates from Norwich in Portland sharing her juice recipes both in person and online under the moniker Juice Bae in The Wild.
"If I can do it, why not? There's a saying in Spanish, ' Yo quiero, yo puedo' [which means] 'I want to and I can', so I'm going to and that's exactly what I did," she said.