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Thursday, January 30,2014

Juice, juice baby!

Juices aren’t just for cleanses anymore

By Christine Vazquez

Four years ago, Boulder resident Jo Schaalman was in chronic pain after a sports accident. She made the decision to treat the pain by changing her diet to one based on whole foods and juice.

Amazingly, she says it went from a nine to a five on the pain scale. She also lost 30 pounds. It was such a dramatic turn for the better, she couldn’t ignore the impact, and others couldn’t either.

Schaalman then partnered with fellow Boulder resident Jules Pelaez, who she met when both were yoga teachers more than a decade ago in Boulder.

Pelaez was also juicing at the time, and they quickly realized they shared a deep interest in healthy living, eating whole foods and juicing.

The Conscious Cleanse was born out of a desire to design a program based on their own great personal results, a program accessible to everyone.

Unlike most other cleanses, theirs is a whole foods-based program that incorporates juices and smoothies.

“The beauty of it is it’s not all or nothing. There’s no wagon to fall off of. This is about sustainability,” Schaalman says. “The goal is first learning how to eat whole foods — and we focus on the nutrient density of food — then learning how to add juices into what you’re eating every day. Juice is a good way of adding things in, instead of a focus on what you can’t have.”

What also makes their program different is that their recipes are free of all common allergens, which are known to cause inflammation in the body, and are at the root of many ailments. Inflammation is good when it’s the body’s natural immune response to injury. It’s not good when it is chronic, a result of toxicity from our lives and diets.

While commonly thought of in terms of cleanses and diet resets, juice from raw fruits, vegetables and nuts is increasingly becoming a key element to healthy, balanced meal planning.

Schaalman and Pelaez aren’t the only ones interested in helping others know the full benefits of juicing.

One local couple, Mimi and Ian Lee, decided to create Pressery to help teach people how to incorporate juice into their daily diets, balancing and optimizing them in the process. They also offer juice cleanse and reset programs.

“The ideal time for a cleanse is three to five days, or a one-day reset every couple of weeks to break daily patterns of unhealthy eating habits, which we all have,” says Mimi Lee. “Using juice as a meal replacement for one or more of your meals on a regular basis is full optimization.”

Of course, “full optimization” isn’t for everybody. And for those precious few, it’s recommended that the solid foods used to supplement the juice diet are the same as the ingredients in the juices themselves.

Formulating recipes with celebrated local chef Biju Thomas, who wrote The Feed Zone, and is chef to both the BMC Pro Cycling and Dempsey/Del Piero Race Car teams, the Lees’ intent was to create great-tasting juice, as well as goodfor-you juice.

“Fast food can be healthy for you, and healthy food doesn’t have to taste healthy,” says Lee.

And they went one step further, deciding to use only organic fruits, nuts, vegetables and spices in their cold-pressed juices and nut milks, sourcing as many of their ingredients locally as possible.

Pressery now offers six juices and two nut milks, including flavors like beet, kale, watermelon, spinach and strawberry chia, as well as vanilla and cacao almond milks.

Cold-pressing is an important distinction, since using juicers with a blade that heats up and simultaneously heats the juice itself causes it to lose three to five times the nutrients. Employing a twostep cold pressing process, Pressery uses an industrial piece that’s essentially a huge grater, which grates the fruits and vegetables into a large cloth bag. That bag is then pressed with commercial presses, extracting a smooth juice, making it much easier to assimilate into the body.

Something else you can do is make Juice Cube cocktails. This is something Pressery owner Mimi Lee thought up after seeing similar ideas using frozen cubes of other drink-making ingredients like orange juice and champagne.

“We were trying to think of new and different ways to integrate juice into people’s lifestyles, and also have fun with it,” says Lee.

One cube of frozen juice can easily be popped into a glass and topped with any number of spirits, but the most versatile is vodka. Nut milks can be mixed with traditional dessert-type spirits like Bailey’s Irish Cream, the hazelnut liqueur Frangelico, the coffee liqueur Kahlua or the chocolate liqueur Godiva. Recently, the Lees tested a whiskey sour using their habanero lemonade, and a white Russian using their almond cashew milk. Both were hits among their staff. Not only does this make for great-tasting cocktails, but you can feel good knowing there is a cube of health-supporting goodness inside your glass. Life is about balance, after all.

Zeal Restaurant in Boulder — in partnership with The Conscious Cleanse — also has a juice program to complement its health-supporting menu. Since it serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can have a juice along with your meal, or stop by and grab a juice to go, any time of day. They offer four juices by season — currently, you can find red, orange, yellow and green — which is how they’re listed on the menu. Red contains apple, beet and ginger. Orange has carrot, golden beet, parsley and orange. Yellow has pineapple, jicama and lemon. Green contains cucumber, kale and green apple. They’ll also let you do a juice flight — which is a double shot of all four juices, and a great way to sample all of the flavors.

Zeal and The Conscious Cleanse collaborate to help spread the gospel of healthy eating and living. On Zeal’s breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, you’ll find an icon designating which items are Conscious Cleanse-friendly. This is helpful, since so many people want to continue eating out at restaurants even during a cleanse.

Those in Boulder County and Denver who are on the Conscious Cleanse have the option to juice during the two weekends of the two-week cleanse. This is a way of getting as many minerals, vitamins and enzymes into their diets as possible. The greener the juice, the more nutrient-dense. All of the juices are made at Zeal and delivered to the cleanser’s door. In the future, their goal is to also ship juice to their cleansers around the world.

Juicing at home can be expensive.

Especially if you’re using organic fruits and vegetables. Though I don’t own a juicer, I wanted to do an experiment to see how much juice I could yield from one medium, organic orange by hand. I got 50 mL, which equates to 1.69 fluid ounces — to be exact. That orange cost $1.25. If I wanted to yield 16 ounces of pure, organic orange juice, buying ingredients myself, it would cost close to $12.

There is usually a 10- to 20-cent difference between organic and non-organic bananas. Apples have a larger price differential — anywhere from 50 cents to $1.

And on it goes in the produce section.

Zeal offers its juice in small and large [ounces aren’t noted on menu] for $6 and $8.25 respectively. Their juice flight is $7, and premium juices, which are offered as a daily special, are $9.

Pressery sells 16-ounce juices for $8 and nut milks for $9. A one-day reset, which includes five bottles of juice and one bottle of nut milk, costs $49. A three-day cleanse will cost you $147. If you want to augment your daily diet with one juice each day — whether as a snack, preworkout ritual or meal replacement — that will cost $240 for a 30-day month. It’s not inexpensive, but it is cost-effective compared to what you’d spend at home.

As much as the ongoing cost of ingredients has to be considered, so must the initial cost of purchasing a juicer. The only cold-pressed juicer on the market for at-home use is The Norwalk, and the stainless steel version costs $2,500 — out of reach for many households. These are just the financial costs. Those juicing at home on a regular basis also have the time and energy investment of clean-up, which may be the worst part of the whole experience.

And looking at it that way, a $9 glass of juice suddenly seems affordable.

Pressery’s juices and nut milks can be found at local farmers’ markets, and are also available for home delivery in Boulder and Denver, which makes it easy to stay on a year-round juice program. Zeal’s/Conscious Cleanse juices are available at the Zeal space at 1710 Pearl St. in Boulder, and through home delivery via the Conscious Cleanse program.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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