Before graduating in 1990 with a master's degree in nutrition, Cherie Calbom ("The Juice Lady") had already written her first book. A dozen years and nine books later, she is a celebrity nutritionist, with her own juicing books, her own juicer and countless appearances on TV.
Calbom credits a good portion of her success to Bastyr University. "Being a student at Bastyr was such a positive experience," she says. "I learned so much, and it launched me into this incredible career."
Calbom's first step toward international fame came when the former speech-communications major decided to pursue a graduate degree in nutrition. "I'd basically healed myself from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia through juicing and diet change," she says. "I wanted to share my experience and learning with others, but I wanted credibility behind my convictions."
Calbom was living near Seattle at the time, so when she began her search for schools offering nutrition programs, she quickly zeroed in on Bastyr. "It just happened that the best school in the world was right where I lived."
Unfortunately, Bastyr was not yet accredited, but Calbom, a strong believer in divine guidance, felt this was her destiny. "I started the program on faith," she says, "and sure enough, it was accredited by the time I graduated."
Shortly before receiving her diploma, the company making the popular Juiceman juicer approached Bastyr and asked if a couple of top nutrition students would be interested in writing a booklet of recipes and nutritional information for the juicer. Calbom was definitely interested, as was fellow nutrition student Maureen Keane, MS ('90). Together they wrote the booklet that still accompanies the Juiceman juicer.
"That little booklet grew into Juicing for Life," Calbom says, referring to the book coauthored with Keane, which is now an international best-seller in 17 countries with 1.8 million copies sold. Juicing for Life quickly spawned a sequel, and Calbom's position as the First Lady of Juicing was firmly established.
Hired by the Juiceman company as their "Juice Lady," Calbom toured the country, demonstrating the Juiceman juicer. Her visibility quotient continued to rise after Salton-Maxim Housewares purchased the Juiceman company. On their behalf, she appeared on a growing number of television shows as their infomercial hostess, pitchwoman and nutrition authority.
At a 1996 housewares show, Calbom met heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman, who was promoting his grill at the same booth where she was promoting the juicer. Soon Calbom found herself advising Foreman on his own nutritional needs, and she recognized an opportunity that would benefit them both. She proposed to Salton that she and Foreman collaborate to promote his grill and write a cookbook. Their popular Knockout the Fat Barbeque and Grilling Cookbook was the result.
All of Calbom's juicing books are designed to be practical and to offer tasty drinks that help to alleviate various health problems. "I make it easy for readers to find recipes helpful to their conditions," she says. "I'm also very specific about ingredient amounts in my recipes, and I try to spark up the taste of vegetable combinations with lemon and ginger."
Recently, Salton granted one of Calbom's long-held dreams-to have her own Juice Lady juicer built to her design specifications. "Now I make appearances on behalf of my own juicer, my cookbooks and the George Foreman grill," she says.
In addition to appearing nearly every month since 1994 on the QVC home shopping channel in the U.S., Calbom has pitched products on QVC-Germany, QVC-United Kingdom and the Shopping Channel of Canada. Combined with her many talk-show appearances and infomercials, her TV appearances are now edging towards the thousand mark.
A woman of apparently limitless energy, Calbom still finds time to write new books and to support organizations whose causes she champions. The dessert chapter in her newest book, The Ultimate Smoothie Book, is dedicated to the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.
Using a body-mind-spirit approach, Calbom also conducts workshops with her husband John, offering exercises and insights for people seeking purpose in life. "John's a psychologist-priest, and he's the one who helped me realize my calling to promote nutrition in a credible way," she says. "So he was very much behind my enrolling at Bastyr."
Looking back, Calbom is still amazed by the life-changing events triggered by Keane's and her student project a dozen years ago. "Would you like to do this 'little' project? Wow," she laughs, "we had no idea."
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