In the spring of 1990, Roni DeLuz, then 35, was married, a mother and enjoying her career as a registered nurse in Southern California. She and her husband, at that time, owned and operated three nursing homes providing health care to medically fragile and developmentally disabled children and adults. But she began to have health problems of her own. Her joints and muscles started to ache. She was even experiencing night sweats and her heart was racing. After consulting close to 30 physicians, no one could figure out what was wrong. But something was terribly wrong.
Eventually, DeLuz tried the holistic approach and detoxed, among other natural approaches. It was a long journey but it was helpful and insightful. This move not only healed her, but changed her lifestyle and prompted a new business venture.
In 1996, DeLuz earned her PhD in Natural Healing and enrolled in the Clayton School of Natural Healing to receive her N.D. (Naturopathic Doctorate Degree). And in 1999, she opened the Martha’s Vineyard Holistic Retreat located in Vineyard Haven.
“What led me to open my retreat was being sick for many years living in Thousand Oaks, California when I came down with a mysterious illness which led me to over 50 doctors but not getting better – just collecting drugs and getting worse to the point that my entire body hurt, even my eyeballs. After many years of suffering, I went back to school to become a naturopathic doctor. Eventually, I learned that the body can heal itself if you give it the nutrition plus the detox the body needs and customize herbs and micronutrients it needs to heal,” she explains.
According to DeLuz, she self-funded the venture. “I raised funding to open the retreat in Martha’s Vineyard by working as a nurse at night at a long-term care facility plus by selling my long term care facility in California to open the retreat on Martha’s Vineyard. I was highly motivated and worked 18 hours, most days, to try to catch up after being sick for years,” she says.
Later, she penned the book, The Martha’s Vineyard Diet Detox, which received major press, from Larry King Live to Vogue. She is now focusing on her new book, 1 Pound A Day, which offers an expanded, simplified month-long program to cleanse your body.
“I attract high-end and celebrity clientele as a result of my first New York Times best-selling book, 21 Pounds in 21 Days: The Martha’s Vineyard Diet Detox. This book changed the way people were dieting all over the country. The title alone became famous because of the promise. And the promise was attainable and gave more value than the weight list and that was how I got on national TV shows – because of how the book changed people’s lives,” says DeLuz.
While the retreat has been a success and has become popular with not only locals and people from all over the world, but also with celebrities. Still, there are challenges. “The biggest challenge for growing the retreat was the uniqueness of being on an island where specialized staff is limited. So I sent my staff to school, housed them, fed them, and developed them into trained, health coaches,” says DeLuz.
But DeLuz is looking ahead to even bigger things. “My goal for 2015 is to go national and do seminars and workshops around the globe. My first workshop is in late June in the D.C. area,” she shares. “My long-term goals are to increase awareness around the globe on the subject of detoxification solutions for a sick and obese nation. I feel that love, first, can bring us profound changes in body, mind and spirit because through love we learn how to feed our body good nutrition and stay on a healthy, lifestyle program. Through my education webinars, seminars, workshops and tours we will be changing the nation.”
DeLuz has already been a trendsetter in the field. “Mine is probably the only retreat, not only African American, but of this magnitude in terms of the wide variety of services we have. We treat, at least, 21 chronic illnesses and provide customized protocols for detoxification, weight loss, nutrition and integral wellness services all in a unique, quaint, large, Bed & Breakfast setting,” she says.
And she’s loving what she does. “I love my work and my retreat because it’s the reason why I am well today. My friends and family are well because of my retreat program. It’s rewarding when people come from all over the country to heal at our retreat on Martha’s Vineyard (a playground for the rich and famous),” says DeLuz.
DeLuz, who also has her own blog radio program, shared, “My promise to God was: If you heal me, I will dedicate my life to healing others.”