She went from suffering with a life-threatening illness to building a successful food-line business, to creating her very own brand. Listen as she talks about health, nutrition, faith, family, business, and giving back.
Glynis Albright was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana and lived there until age 10. Then, her family moved to Los Angeles where she lived for some time. She later moved to Colorado; where she lives now. She has two children, Brandon and Selina and is married to the love of her life, famous jazz musicianist, Gerald Albright. Listen along as she tells her story. The interview is also available below in writing, along with pictures.
3WV: So, tell us something about Glynis Albright we don’t know.
Glynis: I think most people know I like to dance. I like all types of dance including interpretive dance, hip hop and in high school, I was known for being the mechanical doll. I’ll have to send some clips of me acting silly doing the mechanical doll.
3WV: We understand that you were diagnosed with a rare blood disease.
Glynis: In 1994, I was diagnosed with a rare blood disease. Between 1994 and 1996, I went through my horrible storm fighting for my life. From that era, “Just Sweet Enough” was born. That’s when I started my first culinary business, and it was to help other people who were like myself at the time. Not only my diet had to change, my lifestyle had to change, too. I always ate pretty well, but I had poor eating habits. I was eating on the run, sometimes skipping meals, not sleeping enough, on the go, so those things and… they had to, I had to slow down, and get rid of a lot of stress, too. And sometimes, it meant getting rid of certain people that were in my life, as well. I had to concentrate on healing and that was it. And when I was going through that stage, you find that your circle is very small. It was loaded with quality, but I didn’t have a lot of friends that were there for me, so it was a life changing thing as well, just to find out who was in your corner, who you need to be concerned about, and I relied heavily on prayer, and my family, and just my handful of friends.
3WV: You looked into naturopathic medicine, what made you think about going that route?
Glynis: It was a friend of mine who called me, and the medications were really making me sick, and she said, “Have you thought of going a different route?” So, I started doing a lot of research and decided to go to a Naturopathic doctor, Dr. Joseph Acquah, and he became my doctor for those two years that I was going through my storm. And he dealt with herbs and certain types of acupuncture, and although, it took longer than going through your conventional chemo, I wouldn’t change anything. It was worth it, those two years of suffering and learning, just going through that journey, it really helped me to understand going the natural route; as opposed to going the conventional route, but of course, early detection gives you those options. Not everyone can go the natural route because they waited too long, you know, in the latter stages of the cancer. Because with chemotherapy, it’s the drug that is targeting the cancer cells, but unfortunately, it has to pass through all the healthy cells to get to the cancer cells, which means it’s just killing and poisoning the body. So, going the natural route worked for me. Like I said before, I had to change my diet, certain herbs and therapies that I had to go through, and I’m glad I did. I really am. And one of them was dependent upon nutrition to help with my healing. And that’s what took me into the area of being a nutritional therapist.
3WV: We understand that you went to night school and you got your PhD.
Glynis: Oh yeah, I was, after having two kids, and being a mother, a wife, not necessarily in that order, it was a lot. So, I had to balance out my day so I could fit in my education. It was very important to me to give back. I felt that God had given me a chance, and I wanted to give what I learned to other people, as well.
3WV: As you combatted the disease or illness you were suffering with, how did you come up with the idea of your food line?
Glynis: Well, as I said before, I always enjoyed cooking. It all started back when I was a student at UCLA. I was always cooking. Well you know, students really don’t have a lot of money, so I used to fix my friends waffles, crepes, and pancakes from the one recipe that I created, and over time, everyone started coming over to our home to eat my waffles, pancakes and crepes. So, using all of that chemistry, biology and psychology, epidemiology, math, calculus; I said, “Okay God, how can I use all the things that I’ve learned and put it into food?” And since my diet had to change, one thing that changes is your diet when you’re going through a life-threatening illness, and one of the things they take away from you are sugar and all of your sweets, you know, your cookies, cakes and pies. So I figured, why not create a dessert line that would have all the nutrients in it. So, while I was healing, I created a dessert line, entitled — Just Sweet Enough and the rest is history. When you think about it, desserts are the first thing taken away. It’s enough that a person is going through a life-threatening illness, and now they’re being told, “You can’t have all the things you enjoy eating.” And that’s when a lightbulb went off. And I said, “You know what, I really do enjoy eating desserts. Why not create a dessert line that’s loaded with fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. All the things that would help me to heal and help other people to heal. So, every time I would go into the cancer center, I would bring little samples of my cakes, cookies and pies, and I would leave them. After awhile, people began to ask. Later, we opened two locations in Simi Valley, California, and people would come in to try my treats, and we started shipping them nationwide. 3WV: Sometimes we never know where our illness or problems are gonna take us, and your illness took you to another place, because you probably never thought about starting…. Glynis: No, I was going to UCLA to become a surgeon. But, God took me in another direction. So, it was like a voice saying, “You will be a doctor, but just not in this area. It’ll be in this area over here.” So, it all fit in. I think the message was coming to me at an early age, but I just didn’t hear it. You know, at 10 years old when I started my own little baking company, going door-to-door with slices of cakes and cupcakes, and stuff like that. Who would have thought that 53 years later, I would be doing something like this.
3WV: So in dealing with your illness and I see that you like helping other people, so how does it make you feel when you see the benefits that you’re helping other people?
Glynis: Well, it was actually part of my healing, too. The fact that I can help others, it really helps me out as well. And it’s a challenge, especially if someone comes to you with an illness you haven’t heard of. It forces me to do research to find out what foods will assist in healing that person. And you know, once I find out, then that particular dessert is added onto the menu. So, the menu just keeps growing as people come in asking for various treats to help them.
3WV: What is the name of your foodline?
Glynis: Okay, the line is, we’ve rebranded everything. It goes under Glynis’ Kitchen. But at one point, we had three different companies, so people would have to go to three different websites to order my products. But now that everything is under one roof, Glyniskitchen.com, you can find Albright Cuisines, Just Sweet Enough, and Cookie Dots all under one roof as well as my nonprofit, M.A.N.E.
3WV: What does M.A.N.E stand for?
Glynis: It stands for Making Advancement Towards Nutritional Empowerment. What I’ve been doing for the past 10 years is traveling the world, sharing my testimony as a cancer survivor, and then sharing a few treats with everyone.
3WV: Tell us about your recent experience with Dave Koz?
Glynis: We just recently, about 10 days ago, returned from Australia, and my waffles was served on the MS Neuordan Ship. So, this time everyone got a chance to have some of Glynis’ treats. So, I was very excited about the opportunity because now over 7000 people are aware of Glynis’ Kitchen who may not have known about me before. So, it’s a great opportunity.
3WV: Tell us about the pop-up kitchen at the Burke’s Jazz Festival.
Glynis: Yes, right after I finished the Dave Koz cruise, I had to fly back east to Redding, Pennsylvania, and inside the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, the library was transformed into Glynis’ Kitchen. So, for 3 days, from lunch through late night til 1:30 in the morning; so, from 11 o’clock in the morning til 1:30 in the morning, they were serving Glynis’ chicken and waffles. And this is my second time doing that particular festival, but we’re hoping that Glynis’ kitchen becomes a permanent fixture at all the Doubletree by Hilton all over the country. So, we’re working on that.
3WV: How do you feel when you see your products featured in magazines?
Glynis: It’s so exciting because, wow, I mean it’s breathtaking to turn a page and you see your face and people say such wonderful things about you. And you know I’ve always asked God to help me see what others see in me because you know how you look at yourself and you go, “Well, I don’t think I’m that interesting.” You know or whatever, and now to see my face on so many magazines, even on covers, too. It’s just really exciting. It’s mind-blowing. Everyday, I pinch myself because I just can’t believe that, you know, this is what’s happening.
3WV: How did you get through things with your faith? How was your faith through it all? Did you ever want to give up? Did you ever question – why you?
Glynis: I think at the very beginning when you’re diagnosed, I was only 36 years old, so when your doctor tells you that you may not live to see your 37th birthday, and my next birthday will be 62, that was mind-blowing for me as well because you look at your life, and yes, I did ask questions, I was like, “God I’m a good person, why is this happening?” But you know as they say, doing the test the teacher is always quiet. So, I had to in turn, be quiet so I could listen for my answers, and the answers did come. You know, this was my purpose – to create, to teach, to educate and empower. And I’m enjoying every minute of it. 3WV: Yes, it’a great thing when you can find your purpose in life because so many people go through life and never find their purpose. And it brings you so much joy when you see your purpose coming to fruition. Glynis: It does, it really does bring me a lot of joy to see all of this coming to fruition — all of the hard work that I’ve done. You know, it’s finally paying off, and like I said before, I’m really enjoying every minute of it.
3WV: Tell us how you feel about balancing food, nutrition and general well-being?
Glynis: It’s very important, and it’s something that my husband tells me, and my family, my daughter and son– Selina and Brandon, (sigh) they push me all the time, “Mom, you have to make sure that you eat. You have to make sure you practice what you preach. So, it’s very important that we live a balanced life. And I’m sure that’s what God wants us to do: to eat well, eat good wholesome foods, get plenty of rest, You know, sleep is very important. And now, I’m being pushed, my husband stays on me, “Glynis, by 9 o’clock, let’s start wrapping it up.” Before, I used to be a night owl. I was up all night working, so I had to change my tune, as well. But, balance is very important. We have to, especially as mothers or as women, we need to find that balance between work, family, getting rid of stress, you know– finding that “me time” to rest during the day; so although I’m almost 62, I had to learn a few lessons, as well, because stress can really affect your life, and not getting enough sleep, as well. 3WV: Yeah, absolutely. It’s important because you don’t want to get burned out, and then, everything else is totally negative affected by not having balance in your life. Glynis: Exactly. And I don’t like using the word remission because “re” means again, but I know that I’ve had to do what I need to do to make sure that my illness does not come back again. It’s very important.
3WV: So what kept you focused on your goals and dreams through the whole process?
Glynis: The support of my family. They constantly reminded me. And then as I visit different places in the world, you see all the things that are happening. You see a lot of people who are very lonely, they’re suffering, they’re going through a whole lot, and that touches my heart, too. And it let’s me know that I have a lot of work to do.
3WV: What does it look like in the day for Glynis?
Glynis: Oh wow, it changes. So many things is going through my head all the time. But mainly, I’m always thinking about: What can I do next? What can I create? What dessert can I create that’s loaded with nutrients, and that will make people feel good? So, just recently, I created a brownie, like a chocolate treat for people who are going through Osteoporosis or Rhuematoid Athritis. So, you know, the brownie is loaded with kale and collard greens, dark chocolate, and a little bit of cayenne to give you that little kick on the end. And so, I’m testing it out on a few people who are going through their storm. And they seem to be enjoying it. 3WV: So, we take it that your products are low calorie? Glynis: Yes, everything is low sugar, low fat, low cholesterol. I don’t add in salt because you’re going to get it from whichever shortening that you use anyway. So, my goal is to add in fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices for flavor because that’s the main thing you need, the flavor. I think whenever we are eating a meal and after that meal, we want a little something something at the end for a dessert. It really doesn’t have to be loaded. It doesn’t have to be loaded with a lot of sugar and salt. The main thing that I feel our palette craves is flavor, so, I try to put that flavor in there.
3WV: Can you tell us any awards that you’ve won, recognition that you’ve earned?
Glynis: Yes, the latest two, the city of Denver honored me with the Wilma Award. And that was named after the former first lady of Denver, Wilma Webb. And I’m also a soror, I’m a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. And it was in the area of business. And the Colorado Black Chamber of Congress honored me with their Chairman’s Award for community service. So, it feels good to be honored and recognized by your own. So, it was very, very nice. 3WV: And community work is so, so needed. Glynis: Yes it is, it is. And plus, it brings you joy, too, when you can give back.
3WV: If you could give some words of encouragement or empowerment to other women because we are an empowerment magazine, so what would you say to women to empower them?
Glynis: Especially women who have started their own business, and their dealing with life, just balancing everything, as I’ve said before in a couple other interviews, in business things are going to go up and down, It’s very cyclical. When you’re in your down swing, don’t let anyone know about it. Just, keep your head up. My mom used to tell me all the time, “Don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” Yeah, keep your mouth shut. Keep your business to yourself, and keep it moving because not everybody wants to see you succeed. Keep everything on the upswing.
3WV: Where do you see yourself and your food line in 5 years?
Glynis: In 5 years, I plan to be traveling the world, enjoying my husband, and allowing Albright Cuisine, Just Sweet Enough, Cookie Dots, Doggie Cookie Dots, Mrs. Albright tea cakes, and everything that goes under Glynis’ Kitchen work for me. My husband would tell me all the time I need to learn to work smarter, not harder. And to get to that point where I can really enjoy the fruits of my labor. That’s my plan for the next 5 years.
3WV: If someone was suffering from a life-threatening illness, are there any suggestions you can give that would make things easier for them as it relates to nutrition and even their mindset?
Glynis: I would say to them to ask questions. When I went in to see my doctor and I was diagnosed, don’t just take the diagnosis, ask questions. What should I eat? What foods should I stay away from? Because that’s very, very important. A lot of people will take the diagnosis, and then, they become depressed. They feel their life is over. For me, I would say don’t take anything at first hand, do your own research and ask plenty of questions. And try to give the doctors the best body that you can give them. Hire nutritionist. And most times, when you’re going through a life-threatening illness, a nutritionist will be assigned to you. And that way, she will help you to choose the right foods that won’t inflame your illness.
To purchase Glynis Albright’s products or for more information — Go to Glyniskitchen.com