With Daymond John’s Help, Woman Overcomes Odds To Start Business

By Kathi Nailling
Athens Daily Review, Texas

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) It took Sara Benezue four years to lose 300 pounds, but today she is healthy. With the help of Daymond John from the popular television show, “Shark Tank,” in February she created her own business, “J and L Sauces.”

Athens Daily Review, Texas

Once weighing more than 300 pounds and possibly dying from Lupus, Sara Benezue, 56, of Eustace is now a happy 116-pound entrepreneur.

Her journey started in 2002 when she was diagnosed with Sepsis Lupus — an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the body’s organs. In severe cases, organs are damaged and failure can occur.

“I was always a small person,” she said. “When I was first diagnosed, I weighed 95 pounds. I wore a size 0-3.”
The treatment for her life-threatening disease caused a 200-pound weight gain.

“I didn’t know if I was going to live or die,” she said. “I spent four years in Green Oaks Nursing facility on Hospice care.”

Eventually, Benezue’s condition improved enough to move her to Oak Wood Place Assisted Living in Athens, where she spent the next six years.

“I don’t remember the first two years in Oak Wood,” she said. “After four more years, I felt it was time to leave.”
And that’s what she did.

“For the first time in 10 years, I looked into a mirror. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It didn’t even look like me.”

Benezue decided it was time to do something about her weight gain.

“I love ketchup and BBQ Sauce,” she said. “I put it on everything.”

She made a determination to create her own sauces. After experimenting with some ketchup recipes, she found the perfect combination using Stevia as the sweetener or sugar substitute.

Stevia is a calorie-free, natural sweetener plant. It can substitute for some, but not all, of the sugar, used when baking because it does not provide all of the multiple functions that sugar uses.

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