Teresa Piro, Founder, CAN CAN Cleanse: 5 Top Health Tips for 2013

Another topical interview for January! Need a seasonal cleanse, anyone?!

Teresa Piro is the Founder of CAN CAN Cleanse, a liquid cleanse business designed to help people jump start their paths to wellness.

Unlike many other cleanses, CAN CAN offers more than just a variety of juices. It is a cross-over cleanse that offers food in liquid form, such as soup and nut milk and has warming components to promote an approachable experience for its clients. Ingredients are sourced locally and seasonally and Teresa encourages her clients to cleanse four times per year.

Teresa’s interest in nutrition started after her first visit to a nutritionist’s office when she was 14 years old. Blood tests revealed that she had high cholesterol - like her mother and grandmother - despite being an active youth with a healthy body type. On the recommendation of the nutritionist, Teresa made immediate changes in her diet, including cutting out saturated fat and red meat. At the time, there were misconceptions about healthy eating and low-fat & non-fat foods were bombarding grocery shelves and being mass marketed to consumers. Teresa was unsuccessful at lowering her cholesterol levels through a low-fat diet.

It wasn’t until Teresa attended Bauman College that she understood the importance of consuming whole foods, including healthy fats. She decided she wanted to educate others about the dangers of consuming processed, low-fat foods and how a whole foods diet rich in naturally occurring fats could help with weight loss and weight management.

She wanted to bring awareness to people that being healthy isn’t about counting calories, but about understanding how foods fuel our bodies and promote health and wellness.

Passionate about helping others jump starting weight loss plans, Teresa started making cleanses out of her San Francisco apartment kitchen for friends and friends of friends. She furthered her knowledge of juicing through literature and books by long-time juicers and then set up lab-like experiments to test her recipes. After a while, it became her after-hours job.

As the word spread, she decided to leave her day job and follow her passion. She started working late nights and asked close friends for support. Not long after, she launched CAN CAN.

What started in her kitchen as a hobby is now headed into its third year of business.

We spoke to Teresa about the challenges of being an entrepreneur in the food space; her top 5 health 'to do's for our readers; and the Einstein motto she lives by.

ZH: What is it like being an entrepreneur in the food space?

TP: Revolutionary. There are so many good ideas out there and people are executing on them. It’s wild. I had mung bean pasta last night – that’s a new one to hit the shelves! I have appreciation for and applaud those who are making healthy transformations in the food industry – it can be challenging and costly.

Food businesses look to be a ton of fun on paper and to those who’ve never worked in a restaurant the thought of working in a kitchen is exhilarating, but it’s a labor of love! Good food, especially in the health food and organic spaces, comes at a cost. Our margins are hard to manage and execution, quality control and distribution are difficult for a small business owner to operate seamlessly and successfully. 

Thankfully, right now there is great emphasis and growing demand for healthy food. The public is starting to witness healing through whole foods and understand that preventative health starts with a clean diet and exercise. I’m proud to be a part of this revolution by introducing clients every week to the practice of seasonal cleansing.

ZH: What lessons have you learned from your successes/failures?

TP:

I live by, “Life is like a bicycle; to keep your balance you must keep on moving.” – Albert Einstein. Success is about endurance.

Even if you hit a roadblock and fall off your bike, you can get back on and keep pedaling. Don’t stop and magnify your failures.

ZH: What advice would you give to an entrepreneur starting in this space?

TP: Be creative, don’t limit yourself or let limited finances stand in your way. Start small (in your own kitchen), utilize your resources (friends & family), enjoy your work and don’t forget to sleep, eat, juice and breathe.

Go for it and be confident. You’ll be richer with experience at the very least.

ZH: What changes will we see with CAN CAN Cleanse in the coming months?

TP: We’re looking forward to offering our clients 5-Day Cleanse programs as well as a new Fitness cleanse designed for our active individuals. Additionally, I’m excited to do more educational talks and demos in our Bay Area communities. I can’t wait to spread the good word about cleansing and the benefits of a whole foods diet.

ZH: Where do you see CAN CAN going in the next 5 years?

TP: I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to bring our cleanse programs to people across the nation. I’d like to see more people commit to seasonal cleansing, which means making our cleanses available to those outside the Bay Area.

Heck, maybe in 5 years we can reach our international followers. We have had shipping requests from across the globe – London, Paris, Australia, India, Kuwait, Turkey.

ZH: What are your top 5 to-dos do you have for The NextWomen readers to kick off the new year?

TP:

  1. Replace one bad habit with a fresh juice, daily
  2. Photo journal your meals to keep you accountable
  3. Read labels - or better yet, buy more foods that don’t come with labels
  4. Add fresh herbs to your diet (parsley, cilantro, basil, thyme, oregano, tarragon, sage)
  5. Drink more water

Based in San Francisco, Zinnia Horne is a technology user analyst focused on improving the mobile user experience. She also spends time strategy consulting for a couple food start-ups. In her spare time, she enjoys making sorbets and ice creams.  

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