Personal Best: Health Food Blues (2006)

Juanita Dixon, Blues Singer

"Give me a pigfoot and a bottle of beer," blues great Bessie Smith used to sing. Local blues legend Juanita Dixon is after more up-to-date fare. Give her a mixed green salad and a grilled fillet of tilapia. Maybe it doesn't have the old roadhouse resonance, but it fits the healthful lifestyle Dixon has been pursuing since a doctor told her she was in danger of becoming a full-fledged diabetic. Her medical plight naturally led Dixon, who was born in the Bahamas but grew up in Fort Lauderdale, to Whole Foods on Federal Highway. And sooo glad it did. "You find more of the natural foods there, without the preservative crap in it," she says. Dixon's gospel-tinged singing (she learned it all, she says, at Fort Lauderdale's Mount Herman AME Church, where she has been a member and, off and on, a choir singer since she was a girl) has been a beloved fixture in the South Florida club scene for decades. Nowadays, you can catch her at Sushi Blues in Hollywood and O'Hara's on Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale, though she makes time every summer for a Northern European tour, where she has a loyal fan base. Ask Dixon what her favorite Whole Foods items are and she expounds on a particular kind of vinegar. "It's got some herbal something that's supposed to cleanse the body," she says. Take that, hamhock eaters.


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