Rejoice in every new day, rejoice in each other!

Conversation with Nina Vukićević

Over the past five months, we have introduced our readers to a fruit that many have called miraculous. Now, we get to talk about the overarching issues - the miracle of life, family, motivation, responsibility, making our own choices and the deeds by which others recognize us - with Nina Vukićević, a girl who sports abundant energy for everything that brings joy and freshness into the lives of people whom she encounters - whether family and friends, or professional and even casual contacts.

Dear Nina, we are happy to finally realize this interview after five months! We really wanted a clear and unambiguous message to come before you, not that one is needed to promote its bearer given how powerful it is in and of itself, but given your engagement in various fields, we had the distinct impression that a conversation with you - an ordinary young person who is realizing her dreams - might encourage our readers to think harder about the message you are sending. Tell us a bit about yourself.

First of all, I should express my immense gratitude for this conversation, which I see as an extension of our story that has been unfolding over several months. It is true that what we have written about Siberian Aronia does not exhaust everything that could be said. This leaves everyone the opportunity to engage in further research and acquaintance with this lesser-known berry, placed high on the scale of nature's gifts available to man and beneficial in a wide range of effects on human health.

I was born in California 27 years ago, in a family where my father is an expert in computer science, and my mother is a pediatrician. What is very important for my two brothers and myself is the warmth, understanding and overall family peace that surrounded us growing up, and which - above all, in the critical years following early childhood - encouraged us to think deeply about the meaning of life, and the realization of human destiny. Following my father's example, the brothers set out on the path of engineering and computer science, while I was most interested in life sciences.

Giving all the credit to my parents and their care, I emphasize that it is an invaluable blessing to have ingrained the culture of the people I come from since my earliest childhood, even though I was born in America. Culture provides identity, and without identity there is no integrity or maturity, which is necessary to truly love every person regardless of religion and nationality. We spent every school holiday in Serbia, and most of the time we stayed in medieval monasteries, where my parents, in addition to their professional activities, dedicated their lives through the Blago Fund to the protection, preservation, nurturing and promotion of our medieval cultural and spiritual heritage. That is how they managed to teach us children - imperceptibly, in an engaging for us way - that the cultural heritage of every nation is equally important and belongs to every person born in the world, but that we as members of a particular nation have an obligation and responsibility for the inheritance of humanity that is specific to our tradition: to preserve and pass it on to those who come after us.

I received a degree in agricultural business at the California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo, with emphasis on the management of small wineries, which are really plentiful here in California. However, in addition to formal education, I think that the most important thing is to have curiosity and the will to constantly search, learn and research.

The fact is that not everyone is blessed with a wonderful childhood and harmonious interpersonal relationships. Life is very complex - we see it at all the time. Personally, I am not a individual who exclusively resides in the past or just indulges in fantasizing about the future. I think I really stand on the ground with both feet, but our lives would be pretty one-dimensional if we didn’t stretch both through what has passed and through what will come.

How did Siberian Aronia come into your life, what are your experiences and knowledge, what are your tips? You promote the use of Aronia in your daily diet, but you also suggest a cleaner lifestyle, right?

Through my parents, I received a small brochure in which the plant Aronia Melanocarpa was presented. I heard about this plant during my studies, but I didn't know anything more about it, except for elementary data. At first, the surprise was great when I read that this fruit is a champion among all natural sources of antioxidants. The effect of antioxidants at the cellular level is very well known, which our readers have learned from the previous sequels of the story about Siberian Aronia. By freeing the cell - that basic building block of our organism - from an excessive amount of free radicals and helping the natural process of their neutralization, the vitality of the cell itself is achieved, which consequently affects the proper functioning of organs and organ systems in humans. Very simple. The rhythm of everyday modern life is suitable for the intensive generation of harmful agents, while the organism often loses strength in its own defense. Sometimes the struggle lasts longer, and sometimes shorter, very often the quality of life becomes much worse in relation to the biological potentials that we carry as humans.

Reading the mentioned short brochure aroused my strong interest. A period of intensive search for relevant and serious sources followed. One after another, there were surprises. Particularly interesting is the origin - i.e. the way the plant was discovered by humans, followed by its spreading around the world - but of greatest importance for my sensibility, and in general for confirming the truth of everything that can be read in many places, is the entry of the plant Aronia Melanocarpa into scientific studies and experiments. There we come across many documents that are readily available.

Aronia is a fruit, it is not a synthetic preparation. I would say - it is a fruit with a special wealth of active principles, which has been confirmed and is no longer a secret. Basically, any fruit in the human diet is welcome. If we talk about the possible effects that would manifest themselves through negative consequences for human health when using Aronia, there is no reason not to ask at the same time about the possible harmful effects of any food of plant or animal origin, which is a separate topic. Such an issue should be general and comprehensive, applicable to the entire diet, and the guiding principle of life should be this: on everything, including food, try to get detailed information, think and take responsibility for yourself. How much, for example, do we think about the amount of sugar we ingest every day, not only through artificial products but also through fruits? Are we aware that the diet for diabetics excludes a wide range of different fruits? Do we think about the fact that grapefruit is often forbidden to people who take a certain drug therapy, even the one that cures the most common diseases of the modern age? There are many such examples. How important is it to us that our food, both of plant and animal origin, in most cases contains chemical substances that are used in the production process? These are all open questions, and to be honest, very few people think about it.

My experience constantly confirms the simple truth that moderation in everything is the best principle to follow. I personally advise the inclusion of Aronia in the culture of nutrition, its inclusion in everything we are used to. Diabetics, for example, have to give up many small pleasures in their diet, but not Aronia, which with its nutritional richness not only affects the regular harmonious functioning of the organism, but also according to numerous testimonies as well as scientific papers dealing with these issues, they manage to balance the blood sugar level to a satisfactory level. I have not met anyone who regretted using Aronia in their diet; on the contrary, there are numerous expressions of satisfaction and a determination, following tangible results, to change some bad life habits and see life itself as the only true value. In any case, people should be interested in what food they use, what is harmful and what is not, what benefit they can provide themselves by consuming even what is constantly present in the diet, and include there that, which like Aronia, unequivocally  brings great benefits, especially in the conditions of modern psychophysically stressful life. Due to minor or major health problems, a true dialogue should be established with the doctors we trust. If, for example, we are not expert enough to fully grasp the meaning and effects of a treatment, we should not declare something a magic cure on our own. In order for that not to happen with Aronia and to make sure no one gets me wrong, I always emphasize that, regardless of its superior wealth of active principles among other fruits, Aronia cannot be seen as a substitute for doctors and prescribed therapy. Its inclusion in regular or periodic use enables strong prevention of diseases, protection and increased vitality of the organism, and its use that potentially facilitates or accelerates treatment in case of acute or chronic diseases should be harmonized with doctors' advice and monitored. If possible, it is good to follow the scientific achievements and test results not only of Aronia, but also of everything that we take in through our daily diet. We need to promote introspective thinking about the style of one's own life and what we can do for ourselves to increase the quality of life, always bearing in mind that nature and its fruits are priceless gifts that are at our fingertips.

Your business experiences are not insignificant. They also cover serious dealing with Siberian Aronia. Tell us about what you are doing.

I mentioned curiosity, which sometimes honestly represents even a burden to me, but it is a great driver of constant activities. I really have a huge love for nature, I go to mountaineering camps whenever I have the opportunity, I play sports recreationally. I strive to make authentic living in harmony with nature my only choice at all times.

With my engagement at Costanoa Commons Farm, I get to experience a genuine, I might even say unworldly touch with the meaning of life. Cooperation in food production, as well as ordinary contact with those wonderful, joyful and smiling people, who we say have special needs - but who with their purity and untouched kindness act nobly on all of us - is a special gift.

You can visit our farm and see how we function there. You will probably wonder why we do not grow Aronia on the farm. This is a great question and the answer is very simple: the main reason is that the better quality of Aronia is still achieved in areas characterized by extreme living conditions, which also happen to be much more environmentally friendly. These certainly include the northern areas of the Eurasian continent, where average temperatures are below freezing for most of the year, and where Siberian Aronia plantations are located at least 500 miles from the first industrial zones. Siberian Aronia is known for its natural resistance, so we get extremely beautiful and high-quality berries from these plantations. Even that alone is enough to state that our Aronia possesses a quality that most people do not have available in everyday shopping and purchases of food.

Delivery in the form of fruit itself is rather impractical, and it would not allow for Siberian Aronia, with absolute preservation of quality, to be available to a much larger number of people. The perfect way to ensure a presence at your fingertips, with the preserved features of active principles, is in the form of juice. Our friends and associates from Armedina in Belgrade manage the technological process and produce the juice exclusively by cold squeezing in a closed system while respecting all modern hygienic and technological standards. The uniqueness of our juice is recognized by the fact that it does not contain preservatives, additives, emulsifiers, added sugar or water, and naturally does not contain lactose or gluten, is not made from concentrate, nor is its content changed from what comes from the fruit. This is exclusively the best of the best - only what is obtained by the process of cold squeezing. Additionally, we performed a test at Brunswick Laboratories, which showed that our juice called Aronia Treasure possesses an antioxidant ORAC6 level of over 20,000 μmolTE at a dose of 50 ml.

After all this, I would like to say something about the goals of ArmedinaUSA, of which I am the CEO. I don’t want to speak the usual business language - it is not interesting and doesn’t carry significant information for your readers. Suffice it to say that we are a company on a significant rise and we invite all potential associates to contact us. We also invite all those interested who would just like to talk or learn more about our products. Let everyone contact us, and we will do our best to answer questions.

Also, I would like to emphasize something that is an integral part of the identity of all my associates and me personally, and without which we would not be able to deal with this business. Since we are first and foremost promoters of a healthy lifestyle in harmony with nature, we pay a lot of attention to live contact with people, which is then inseparable from material support for various humanitarian and cultural projects.

Humanity above all and love above all! My associates and I are guided by that because we primarily accept every person as a brother and friend. We all have unique lives, and each of us certainly has the strength to contribute to the spread of goodwill and harmony to which we are called by our very existence.

Dear Nina, I admit that while listening to what you are saying, I feel your deep sincerity and determination, which must surely result in general life and business successes. Thank you for the interview! You conveyed a completely fresh energy to us and infected us with a special joy! The editorial staff of Balkan City Magazine wishes you all the best!

Thank you for the invitation and the opportunity to share my personal experience. Rejoice in each new day, rejoice in one another! Be mobile and brave to do everything you can for yourself and your loved ones, and life will reward you with priceless gifts.

Balkan City Magazine, 2018

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