NOTE: Story originally appeared in the spring 2015 issue of the Flavor 574 digital magazine.
Rinse, peel, press, repeat.
Juice isn’t something you renounce after grade school anymore — juice bars and cafes are popping up throughout the country, building an estimated $100 million per year market, the L.A. Times reports.
Juice bars, like Rein Juicery in South Bend and The Moringa Tree in Elkhart, are tapping into that market by pressing locally sourced, raw fruits and veggies. They appeal to health-minded folks who want a nutrient boost or, for those who are ready to take the next step, a juice cleanse.
Jenny Weaver, of The Moringa Tree, has juiced organic goods and served whole food meals since opening her restaurant in April 2013, and she doesn’t see an end to the trend any time soon. She said she sold more than 10,000 smoothies and still sells at least 10 juices every day.
“Being sick, I was juicing at first to get nutrients,” Weaver said. “When I did a four-month cancer cleanse, I was amazed at how I was feeling and wanted to share that with others.”
Since June 2014, Nick, Todd and Scott Anglemeyer, brothers and co-workers at Rein Juicery, have juiced countless carrots, lots of limes and bunches of beets for juices and cleanse packages.
CLEANSE AND DETOX
April is just a few months shy of Rein’s one-year anniversary and, during that time, Nick said Rein has sold more than 300 three-day cleansing packages, about 50 single-day packages and about 100 two-day packages.
The packages include six 16-oz. juices for each day, according to Rein’s website, each packed with a carefully chosen blend of fruits and vegetables to provide a boost — whether for building immunity or flushing out toxins.
The one-, two- and three-day cleanses cost $53, $106 and $159, respectively.
“One day cleanses introduce what a cleanse is about to someone who has never done it before or is super skeptical,” Nick said. “The two-day is for people who do it every so often and start to feel the effects of what a cleanse will do. The three-day program is for something for people to help kickstart a healthy lifestyle.”
When a customer commits to a juicing program at Rein, all of the included juices are bagged and available for pickup at Rein.
Out-of-staters can have the juice shipped to them, just as Kris Versteeg of the Chicago Blackhawks does, Nick said.
“We send him two to three juices per week,” he said. “He likes the beet juice because it is so high in nitrates and helps his endurance.”
Juicing plans at The Moringa Tree are personalized for the specific needs and goals of a customer after a consultation, Weaver said.
“Not every program works for every individual,” Weaver said. “For example, a cancer patient would need a specific volume of juice and certain nutrients from certain fruits and veggies. But people with allergies or digestive issues or illnesses say they feel much better after juicing.”
“YOU CAN DO A FAST AND NOT FEEL HUNGRY”
Like all things, moderation is key when jumping into anything — juicing included. Similarly, knowledge and preparation are essential before starting a juicing program, Nick said.
“We set the program out online before, during and after the cleanse,” he said. “We want to prep the person to introduce fasting into their life.
But switching from solid foods, especially processed ones, to juice is a big change for the body’s digestive system and it can start to play tricks on the rest of the body. And just because you’re drinking juice doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also be drinking water, Nick said.
“If you’re not drinking a lot of water during the cleanse, you might feel a slight headache,” he said. “You might feel tired or sluggish. After that second day, people come in and say they feel like a new person. The third day, they say they wake up better and their body is more energized. Nobody said they were hungry doing a three-day cleanse. You can do a fast and not feel hungry.”
But that doesn’t mean some foods are out of the question during a juicing program.
For supplementation, Weaver recommends adding protein and healthy fat in the forms of scoops of protein powder or coconut oil to the juice.
Anyone feeling nasty hunger pangs during a cleanse can incorporate easily digestible foods like raw almonds, berries or salad, minus the dressing, Nick said.
Similarly, it’s best to avoid gnawing on heavy foods immediately after the fast.
“Don’t eat heavy afterwards,” Nick said. “It defeats the purpose. Ease back to solid foods with maybe some fish and then move to turkey or chicken — lighter meats. Avoid hardcore meats like steak, or processed foods.”
One of Rein’s repeat customers rounds out about 60 days of juice fasting, Nick said, which has helped the man shed about 40 pounds, lower his triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood) and kick a prescription medication.
Nick said there are a lot of repeat customers, but he recommends juicing every quarter or so, unless otherwise advised by a physician.
BIG POWER, LITTLE PACKAGE
All it takes to bottle raw nutrients is a handful of kale or an apple to 2,000 pounds per square inch of pressure … and perhaps an apron.
Both Rein and The Moringa Tree use the cold press method for their juices.
Cold press is just one of the three juicing methods, Nick said. Centrifugal and masticating methods are popular, but purists argue that cold press has the most nutrients as it doesn’t apply heat during the juicing process.
When juicing, raw nutrients are absorbed and assimilated into the bloodstream much quicker than with solid fruits and veggies, Weaver said.
“Most people’s diets aren’t at least 80 percent fruits and veggies,” Weaver said. “It’s a lot easier to drink them.”
And when then nutrients go straight to the bloodstream in a raw form, the digestive enzymes are delivered faster so that the nutrients from the juice can be quickly absorbed.
While quick absorption is one of the strongest benefits of juicing, it can also be one of the biggest dangers without proper knowledge, Weaver said. It’s why she only uses organic produce in her juice.
“When juicing, you need to avoid toxins,” she said. “It’s important to know the produce is chemical free. If you’re juicing with non-organic produce, it not only defeats the purpose, it can be dangerous without your body having a chance to fight it off.
Juice doesn’t have to be a dark green concoction, either. Weaver recommends carrots and a small amount of apple or ginger for beginners — just take it easy on the sugary juices.
“I’m glad to see more awareness and people noticing how they feel better and how their bodies can function better,“ Weaver said. “You know, people sometimes complain about why eating organic or juicing is so expensive. Really, the question we need to be asking is why is eating processed food so cheap?”