Juicing just might be the new black, as the health trend is appearing everywhere from the runway to the red carpet. Celebrities and fashionistas have helped kick-start a craze that has arrived in Fort Worth, with the opening of three new raw juice outlets during the past few months. Here, local juicers share the skinny (and even the ugly) on juicing and juice-based cleanses, along with recipes to try at home. From kale laced with aloe to beets tinged with lime, drinking our vegetables never tasted so good.Juice JunkiesFormer ballet dancer Hillary Biediger returned to her hometown of Fort Worth seven years ago after living in New York City for a decade and jumping on the raw juice bandwagon. All the health food stores up there had juice bars, she says, adding that she was hooked at first sip. Ill never forget the feeling when I had my first all-green juice, Biediger says. I thought, I have never felt this good. I had instant energy. I started juicing at home and it just became my routine.Determined to open her juice bar in Fort Worth, she soon realized Cowtown wasnt ready to go raw. Jamba Juice and Smoothie King were big, but actual juicing drinking vegetables like nutrient-rich kale and beets in pure liquid form was still a foreign concept. That was until 2012, when Biediger learned that juice bars were opening in Dallas and experiencing success.I said, OK, its time, she says. In November, she opened Juice Junkies, a storefront selling organic, cold-pressed juices and healthy snacks. Weve gotten such a positive response, she adds. Its really nice to hear people say, Im so glad youre here. With a staff of 10, Biediger is cold-pressing more than 16 varieties of juice blends (each named for her favorite rock songs) using powerful ingredients like ginger, turmeric, green apples, carrots, spinach, parsley and garlic. The elixirs contain from 3 to 6 pounds of produce in each bottle.Youre getting more nutrients and enzymes in one bottle than most people get in a week, she says. What makes cold-pressed juices so unique (and pricey) is the lengthy, tedious process involved in production. Vegetables are slowly grinded and then pressed into liquid form, allowing the juices to retain the maximum amount of nutrients possible, Biediger explains. Most home juicers are of the centrifugal variety, which means they whip air into the vegetables at high speeds, which can cause oxidization or heat, and potentially kill off beneficial enzymes. But anytime you can juice at home, do it, she adds. You just have to drink it right away.Try her recipe for Panama Red, a beet and carrot-based beverage ideal for workout recovery and popular with yogis leaving Bikram Yoga, located just next door to her Foch Street shop. The GemLeslie Needleman was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago, leading her to pursue a goal of maintaining a healthier lifestyle, and juicing became an important part of that.It was kind of uglier than most, she says of the disease. It had gotten into my lymph nodes. Theres nothing scarier and thats enough to change everything. And I did.In her efforts to remove everything toxic from her life and help others do the same, she opened The Gem juice bar in Dallas two years ago. She says juicing has given her much better energy and clarity, her immune system has been boosted, her skin looks better and her health is vibrant. But not everybody has to be scared into this, she says. Once you get on board, its something that your body just responds to and you just know its the way to go.Needleman recently partnered with Abundios Studio in Fort Worth to offer The Gem juices via the fitness studios new retail outlet. Folks can pop in to purchase her organic, cold-pressed juices to go from the cooler, or order juice cleanses in bulk for scheduled pick-ups. Its not a substitute for your vegetables, she says. But your body will start to crave it.Better yet, she says juicing doesnt have to involve a strict, intimidating regimen. Instead, she suggests simply incorporating it into your daily lifestyle and reaping the benefits. Simply Fit MealsJuice cleanses, also increasing in popularity, involve a more complicated process of dedicating three to five days, or more, to restricting food intake to just juicing. The intent is to remove bodily toxins that come from foods and, also, the environment. A lot of people typically get freaked out and say, Theres not enough protein, but youd actually be surprised, says Chris Sanchez, founder of Dallas-based Simply Fit Foods, which opened its first Fort Worth store last fall. Simply Fit Foods offers cold-pressed juices, and among them are several creative varieties that include jalapeños and Himalayan sea salt. About a pound of kale, which is in some of our juices, has about 20 grams of protein. But if you were going to eat a pound of kale, it would probably be about two shoe boxes full.Sanchez admits that juice cleanses are not a magic concoction that will rid your body of years of abuse. He describes cleansing more like a reset for the body, a great technique for wiping the slate clean and building a lifestyle of better nutrition. As a former personal trainer and marketing executive for Whole Foods, Sanchez cleanses about once a year. I think the fact that celebrities are doing it has given it a little more notoriety, he says. It makes it a little more mainstream.
Before You Juice
Before jumping on the juice cleanse bandwagon, take note of Simply Fit Meals’ Chris Sanchez’s tips for safely getting started and what to expect.
• Be prepared to keep juices at proper temperatures at all times. Buy a cooler and ice packs for drinking juice on the go.
• Have a schedule. Mentally plan when you will drink your juices. (Every two hours is a good rule-of-thumb.)
• Drink water. “A lot of people think because they’re drinking juice that they don’t need to hydrate,” Sanchez says. “That’s completely opposite from the truth. Water is very important to flush out toxins and complete bodily processes.”
• Listen to your body. There’s no need to be sedentary, but “I wouldn’t recommend anybody run a marathon while juice cleansing,” he adds.
Possible side effects
• First-day hunger pangs. “It’s not that you’re malnourished,” Sanchez says. “But it’s your stomach telling your brain, ‘I’m used to having something solid in here.’ ”
• Nausea. “If you haven’t had green juices before,” Sanchez says, “it could be like taking a multivitamin on an empty stomach, since the nutrients are so concentrated.”
• Headaches. “This is likely due to dehydration and not drinking enough water throughout the cleanse,” Sanchez says.
• Rashes. They’re rare, but Sanchez says it can happen. “If your body is flushing out a lot of toxins, they can have a reaction on your skin as the lymphatic system is pushing them out,” he explains.
• Expect to feel less bloated, and even lighter, and you might even feel you have tighter skin.
• Folks who don’t normally eat many vegetables can expect to feel more energetic.
— Simply Fit Meals, 3020 W. Seventh St., Fort Worth,
Juice Junkies Panama Red
4 medium carrots
1 medium beet, peeled
1 1-inch piece fresh turmeric (handle with gloves to
1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
1/4 small lemon, peeled
Wash all ingredients thoroughly. Put all ingredients into your favorite juicer and enjoy.
— 925 Foch St., Fort Worth, 817-885-7775;
The Gem Radiant Glow
1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger (about 1/2 ounce)
1 lemon (about 4 ounces), peeled, pith removed
5 Tuscan kale leaves (about 4 ounces)
1 Gala apple (about 8 ounces), halved, cored
and cut into wedges
1 small red beet (about 8 ounces), scrubbed and cut
1 large cucumber (about 12 ounces), cut into 3-inch
In an electric juicer, juice all of the ingredients. Serve right away.
— Available at Abundio’s Studio, 2908 Cullen St.,
Fort Worth, 817-885-8900, www.abundiosstudio.com;