Have you seen the documentary “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead?” If not, I hope it’s on your Netflix queue. You can also stream it on Hulu.
It’s the story of a man who finds himself 100 pounds overweight, taking tons of prescription medicines and just plain unhealthy. Rather than trying to fix himself with yet another pill, he drives across country with a juicer and vows to only drink fresh fruit and veggie juice for two months. His goal is to regain his health in a natural way, and he shares this new-found knowledge with more than 500 Americans along the way. It’s nothing short of inspiring.
After seeing this movie, I started seriously thinking about juicing, even if it’s just for breakfast. Juicing is a quick way to soak in the nutrients as well as all the health benefits of consuming raw fruits and vegetables. Boost your immune system, remove toxins from your body, lose weight and help digestion — the list could keep going. And if you’re a member of a local community supported agriculture, or CSA, farm like Spiral Path Farm, juicing is also a great way to use up your produce.
Living inCentral Pennsylvania, I’ve found the juice bar options to be somewhat limited. But I recently stopped by The Healthy Grocer in Camp Hill, which offers fresh-made juices and smoothies, along with a sea of other healthy food options. While it seemed a bit unconventional, the carrot apple juice that I ordered included broccoli and ginger, and it proved to be tangy and refreshing. Instant energy! Some of the more adventurous combinations include kale, parsley, red beets and garlic, but you can also create your own juice or smoothie. Shots of organic wheat grass are available, too.
Here are some other local juice and smoothie bars to try:
Gaia Fresh Food Café, Carlisle
I’m a fan of juices that include spinach, so try the Melissa’s green juice, which includes spinach, cucumber, apple, pear, celery, carrot, lemon and ginger.
Green Juice Bistro & Juice Bar, Carlisle
As its namesake, the green juice here also comes highly recommended. I like the philosophy of this place: "Food shouldn't be bad for you and healthy food shouldn't taste bad."
The Juicy Rumor, West Shore Farmers Market, Lemoyne
Even though it’s only open during market hours, The Juicy Rumor has quite a following. I’d recommend the citrus quencher (grapefruit, orange and lime) or grape expectations (grapes, apple, pear and lemon).
Lancaster Juice Company, Lancaster Central Market, Lancaster
Lancaster-area juice and smoothie lovers know this West Coast-inspired place for its more exotic offerings, including ones with blood orange and seaweed juices.
Tropical Smoothie Café, Harrisburg, Lancaster and Lititz
While this is a chain restaurant with many indulgent options, there are some healthy, low-fat smoothie varieties to choose from as well.
What’s in your favorite fresh juice or smoothie?
Erica Streisfeld is the editor for custom publishing at Journal Publications Inc., parent company of the Central Penn Business Journal. She moonlights as a foodie and wino, and many people also know her as founder and organizer of the Harrisburg Cupcake Cup, a community cupcake competition that doubles as a fundraiser for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. Follow her at @HbgFoodandWine.