With spring’s arrival comes an awakening, and for many of us that means more attention to what–and how much–we eat. Personally, I get overwhelmed when I think about tweaking my diet, but the good news is there’s a simple, delicious way to get daily servings of fruits and veggies without a lot of fuss: Juicing. This method of “drinking” your food allows you to get more of the good stuff you need (3/4 cup of juice counts as one serving of fruits and veggies) and maximizes the body’s absorption of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fiber.
“Juicing is not only great for its nutritional benefits, but it’s economical because you use parts of the fruits and vegetables you’d throw away with normal preparation,” explains certified nutritionist Cherie Calbom, MS, CN. Known as The Juice Lady, Calbom is the author of several books, including her latest The Juice Lady’s Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies: More Than 400 Simple, Delicious Recipes. Calbom also touts the feel-good perks of eating clean, citing a recent study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology that followed 281 young adults who ate 7-8 servings of fruits and veggies a day for 21 days. At the end of the study, scientists concluded that eating several daily servings of fruits and vegetables seemed to promote energy, happiness and boost overall emotional well-being among the subjects. So next time you’re out and grabbing something to go, think about switching your latte for a fresh juice instead. Lucky for us, there are places sprouting up everywhere in Fairfield County that offer these tasty, made-to-order healthy fixes.
Here are my favorites at each place, and where to get yours:
Where: Playhouse Square, 285 Post Road East, Westport; 203-227-9007.
What: Tucked in the back of this “old school” mom and pop healthy food market, you’ll love the amazing organic juice bar where you can order juices, smoothies, salads, soups and sandwiches.
The Skinny: The “Green Juice”, a combo of kale, parsley, celery, spinach and cucumber. Add a dash of ginger, and you’ve got a great snack that will energize and keep you going through the afternoon. Other options are the mixed vegetable juice (mostly carrots and beets), fruit smoothies like apple, pear, banana, orange, strawberries, pineapple, protein shakes, watermelon juice and cantaloupe juice.
Where: 1098 Boston Post Road, Darien; 203-656-1036
What: Located in a tiny alleyway across from Darien Sports Shop, this little wisp of a place offers huge bang for your nutritional buck. G & T has a focus on clean, green eating, and they offer everything from vegan salads and sandwiches to several cleansing juice programs. Their cold-pressed juices are hard to beat, and although made offsite each morning with a special hydraulic press that minimizes oxidation and heat exposure, they will keep for around 4 days. Smoothies are made onsite and you can choose from many intriguing “add-ons” including coconut meat, goji berries or bee pollen to name a few.
The Skinny: “The Green Monster”. I couldn’t get enough of this filling, healthy juice. I admit—I’ve been back several times to stock up!
Where: 362 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich; 203-629-6153
What: My favorite of the juice places by far, but possibly because I’m a fan of their amazing buckwheat crepes! This charming creperie started in 1994 as a 14 fourteen-table restaurant, and has grown leaps and bounds, and currently serves an early bird breakfast, lunch and dinner. Meli-Melo is no stranger to the juice world–they began in 1994 with fruits only, have grown with the times, and are imminently launching a new juice bar menu featuring fresh health and detox smoothies created by Hartford-based holistic health coach Kevin W. Reese.
The Skinny: Regulars (like me!) love the spinach/lemon/kale/celery/basil juice. But on their soon-to-be-released menu, I can’t wait to try the “Sunlight,” which includes Celery, Baby Spinach, Parsley, Lemon, Ginger and Apple, and was formulated with “overall health and optimal body function” in mind.
Where: 31 Wall Street, Norwalk; 203-956-5670. and 87 Mill Plain Road, Fairfield; 203-873-0414
What: Everything screams “Fresh and home grown” at this amazing gem of a place. Their menu has delicious salads and sandwiches, and they offer healthy snacks like kale chips.
The Skinny: Like all the places we mention, you can “build your own” juice, but the Number One here is “The Stand”, a combo of apple, kale, celery and cucumber. Braver souls opt for “The Nasty”, which includes garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, kale, collards, cucumber and celery, and is known for jumpstarting your immune system when you’re feeling ill.
Where: various locations in Darien, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, Greenwich and Fairfield.
What: This is a Big Box answer to healthy drinking. It may not have that made-in-your-kitchen feel, but the cost is reasonable and their fresh-squeezed juice menu is quite extensive. Additionally, you can add a shot of lemon/ginger, wheatgrass or acai/lemon to give your specialized drink a boost. Another upside? Robeks is like Starbucks—there’s practically one on every corner.
The Skinny: I had gone green long enough, so opted for the very brightly colored “G-Snap”. It was a surprisingly zingy, tasty mixture of ginger, carrot and orange.