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Local company is really fruity

Smoothies for healthy, productive employees

Posted: December 4, 2008 9:51 p.m.
Updated: December 5, 2008 4:30 a.m.

Ron Beaudette, operation and systems manager at Designing Health, makes a veggie smoothie drink for his co-workers Thursday around lunch time. Beaudette, who has been mixing smoothies for breakfast and lunch, is known as the official juicer at work.

Every work day various employees at Designing Health in Valencia have a fruit smoothie for breakfast and a vegetable smoothie for lunch specially delivered to their desk by operation and systems manager Ron Beaudette.

Several days a week many of those same employees take one- to two-mile walks on their work breaks.

As members of a company that produces healthy flax supplements for pets and humans, these employees took it upon themselves to literally walk their "healthy" talk on a daily basis and have benefitted physically and productively ever since.

"I had health issues - heart disease, diabetes, was overweight - and that's how I got involved," said Nate Armstrong, the company's vice president and chief operations officer.

Armstrong joined the Designing Health team in 2000. In 2004, he decided to incorporate daily produce smoothies into his diet mixed with the company's signature powder product, MegaFlax, as well as two-mile walks during breaks.

Soon enough, other employees caught on to Armstrong's routine.

"Everyone was looking at me because I had lost 30 pounds and everyone thought, ‘Wow, I'd like to take those juices, too,'" he said. "And, what we've found is a dramatic reduction (of) health issues in our employees."

Beaudette jumped on board right away.

"It was just before (I started the juicing and walks) that my doctor told me my cholesterol was too high and my blood sugar was off the scale," Beaudette said. But after a month of juice fasting and walking with Armstrong, "(my doctor) said ‘I don't know what you did, but you're back to normal.'"

For the last five years, Beaudette purchased and prepared the fresh juices for 10 to 24 employees daily. For breakfast he combines at least 10 different fruits, and for lunch at least 15 different vegetables, mixes them in a blender and juicer with the suggested amount of MegaFlax and a couple other supplements and makes his deliveries.

Beaudette rotates between the different varieties of MegaFlax aimed at four degenerative conditions- heart disease, immune dysfunction, joint and inflammatory conditions and digestive disorders.

The flax plant is rich in the Omega-3s, which are often destroyed in modern processed foods, Armstrong said.

President Robert Collett developed the flax product for humans and a similar product for pets and founded Designing Health in the early '90s.

Customer service manager Joanne Toeper said she started juicing to provide a consistent intake of the supplement to combat a weak immune system.

"I used to frequently catch bronchitis," she said. "Since I started (the juicing and walking), I don't get it like I used to. And (Beaudette) makes all kind of good smoothies - sometimes they taste like Orange Julius."

A healthier employee also means a more productive employee, Armstrong said.

Toeper no longer has to miss so much work because of her bronchitis, he said.

"In the afternoons, you don't get that three o'clock drag-down," controller Katie Pulley said. Pulley does not take the juice drinks but makes it a priority to take one to two employees on a 20-minute walk with her.

As for Beaudette: "If it wasn't for the juicing and walking, I'd probably be dead."


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