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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Genesis Non-GMO Vitamins Makes Living Healthy Easier

Jul 01, 2014 10:21AM ● By Linda Sechrist

Mariesa Copeland, co-owner of Genesis Non-GMO Vitamins, in Naples, lovingly recalls from childhood the times when her dad would lift her up onto the kitchen countertop so that she could watch while he made her fresh juice. “By the time I was a teenager, I was making fun of him for doing that because like any other adolescent, I thought it was totally not cool,” recounts Copeland.

Fortunately, Copeland began to find her way back to modeling her father’s healthier lifestyle when she was 20. “Up until then, I had bad eating habits, loved red meat, bacon, cheese and bread. Naturally, as an emotional eater, I was overweight. It wasn’t uncommon for me to eat French fries five times a day if I got stressed or upset about something,” she admits.

While Copeland was living in Colorado, a friend sent her an email about the documentary film Food Matters. “As soon as I saw David Wolfe, I knew I wanted to be just like him,” she chuckles. “He was so passionate and intelligent that he inspired me to give up my poor eating habits and try a raw food diet. I found his BodyMind Institute classes online and started taking as many as possible. It was like my brain opened up and everything I studied stuck in it. Eating raw left me feeling so clean and clear, which I suspect could have been why I retained all the knowledge. Because of my earlier exposure to a healthy lifestyle and David’s training, I developed a fiery passion for natural health education that is essential for guiding people to their right path for achieving optimal health.”

Today, when Copeland walks around her family-operated, 1,700-square-foot store, which sells strictly non-GMO products, from bulk herbs and supplements to organic clothing, she feels a sense of gratitude for the wide base of knowledge she acquired as she earned BodyMind Institute certifications as a holistic health and lifestyle coach, raw food nutrition coach, life coach and spiritual counselor. “My role reversal with my dad sometimes feels a bit paradoxical,” she muses, noting that her father, Vincent Pitonzo, also works at Genesis every day. “He was the one who used to teach me. Now, I walk with him around the store to teach him what I have learned about particular herbs and supplements.”

Maria Pitonzo, Copeland’s mother, also plays a part in the business. A hair stylist for 22 years, she began working with only organic hair care products in 2008. “Now our customers can also get their hair done while they are here,” says Copeland, who loves the diversity of Genesis, which opened April 1. “When I lived in New York, I only had a raw food café inside of a small organic grocery store. With all our offerings here—including coaching in health, nutrition and spiritual matters—life has blossomed not only for me, but also for all those I come in contact with. My favorite thing is to show people all that is available to them on their path to optimal health,” she advises.

Particularly proud of her extensive research regarding the store’s non-GMO supplements, Copeland explains, “It was a monumental task to go through all the GMO certifications and verifications. This opened my eyes to the big picture in the health industry, especially when I discovered that children’s vitamins were among the most highly contaminated with GMOs and fillers. Our motto is ‘Treat your body like a temple.’ Our family takes it seriously, so that customers can walk comfortably though the store and know they don’t have to worry about reading labels to find non-GMO products. Everything here is non-GMO,” explains Copeland.

Location: 877 91st Ave. N., Ste. 4, Naples. For more information, call 239-596-9017 or visit

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