When I moved to New York, juice bars were the hip new thing, at least among the yoga-practicing hippie types who seemed to just radiate health and energy.
Years later, it's become clear that vegetable juice isn't just for a niche market anymore. Trendy juice cleanses are now are a dime a dozen and are regularly shipped from NYC to all around the country.
Even so, it took me a while to come around to juice. I had a lot of questions: Was it all hype? Did I really want to consume liquid calories? What about all the fiber that is lost in the juicing process -- why would I want to sacrifice that?
From Juice-Curious to Juice Believer
As I did more research, the list of benefits proclaimed by juice fans went on and on. Personally, I wasn't looking for a life change -- I just wanted to feel little healthier and maybe give my complexion a little boost.
One of the great things about juice is the instant gratification: It gives you an instant energy hit. And yes, they're liquid calories -- but really, will a nutrient-filled vegetable beverage make anyone fat? Especially when the alternative is a light frozen coffee concoction?
When I started turning to juice, I found that after drinking a glass in the morning or before a workout, I felt light, energized and generally more alive. I don’t think juice is the holy grail of nutrition, but I do find it a welcome addition to my diet, especially during the hot months of summer.
I'll admit my first forays into “green juice” were not pleasant ones. It took me a while before I could guzzle down kale, spinach, parsley and ginger concoctions with pleasure. The first few juices I bought sadly went to waste.
A few easy steps helped me ease into juice-drinking gradually and pleasantly.
A juice comparison
Juice isn’t hard to come by, you can find juice almost anywhere in the city -- even in unlikely places, like the Mister Softee-Juice Bar combo truck that’s always parked on 14th Street and Broadway. Here are a few of my favorite pressed juice suppliers:
Juicing isn't a substitute for overall healthy eating habits -- juice for breakfast and a cheese steak for lunch isn’t a balanced diet. But you might find, as I did, that juice not only gives you a natural energy boost, but it also puts you back on the healthy track if you’ve veered off the path. Now, juice often cuts down my cravings for sweets and helps reset my taste buds to appreciate fresh, clean foods more than ever.
Melissa is a NYC resident and workout junkie. She keeps motivated to stay fit and active by trying out new workout classes, signing up for races, and keeping an eye out for a fun fitness challenge. She hopes to complete the New York City Marathon for the second time in 2011. Read more about her healthy adventures in New York City at her blog fitnessnyc.wordpress.com.