Getting Juiced Up

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It may be brand new to Payson, but for years it's been a common sight in trendy places like Seattle and Los Angeles: baby boomers dressed in business attire, sitting at a bar, unwinding after a long day's work, sipping their cocktails.

What's unique is what's in the cocktails: wheat grass, kale, dandelion, cucumber, cabbage, celery, carrots, beet, lettuce, parsley, mango, papaya, pineapple, watermelon, cranberry, grapefruit, apple ...

Welcome to the world of juice bars and to the Back to Basics spin-off, Just Makin Juice, the latest such enterprise to open for business in the Payson area.

Now blending fruit-and-vegetable nectars in Suite F of the Rim Country Mall right next to the Payson Athletic Club, Just Makin Juice brings to town "the ability to have a healthy, nutritious fruit or vegetable drink for lunch or breakfast," says Steven Cole, who co-owns the bar with his sister, Cali, and their parents, Gary and Chiryl.

"The juices we have provide a good energy boost, so people who would like to get away from caffeinated beverages can now move to something natural and healthful," Cole said. "Just like we do with Back to Basics, we're supplying health to the community."

The Just Makin Juice menu boasts about 500 ingredients that can be "criss-crossed" into any custom concoction a customer could dream up.

"We have smoothies. We have 'moothie' drinks, a frothy drink made with milk. We have all the fruits and vegetable to do pure juices, like wheat grass and barley shots. You name it, we can make it," Cole said.

Additionally, Just Makin Juices offers protein bars, bottled waters, weightlifting supplements, packaged protein shakes, diet products, vitamins, ointments, lotions. And within the next two months, a variety of about five or six different salads will be added to the bill of fare.

Nuts for nutrition

Once confined to wooden-floored co-ops and vegetarian restaurants, juicing and fresh juice has fully stepped out of the shadows. According to a recent story in the Los Angeles Times, more than $1 billion is now being spent nationwide by fitness buffs and dieters in search of a healthy fix at the many juice and smoothie bars popping up across the country.

The trend is well timed.

Recently, the National Cancer Institute began a campaign to get people to eat five servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables a day. Why? Because plant chemicals, known as phytochemicals, are now known to hold the keys to preventing some of our most deadly diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, as well as some of our most common, like asthma, arthritis, and allergies.

Researchers have found, for example, that broccoli contains a substance that may prevent or even cure breast cancer. Citrus fruits have substances that make it easier for your body to remove carcinogens, thus decreasing the chance of contracting cancer. Grapes contain a phytochemical that appears to protect each cells' DNA from damage. The list goes on and on.

Fruits and vegetables are also good sources of the traditional nutrients. Citrus fruits provide healthy doses of vitamin C. Carrot juice contains large quantities of vitamin A. A number of greens are a good source of vitamin E. And fruits in general are a good source of minerals like iron, copper, potassium, sodium, iodine and magnesium.

Another vital substance provided by fruits and vegetables is water. More than 65 percent of the human body is water and in some tissues, like the brain, the percentage can be as high as 80. While water is absolutely essential for good health, most people don't consume enough of it or they drink it in the form of coffee, tea, soft drinks or alcoholic beverages, all of which contain substances that require extra water for your body to eliminate. Fruit and vegetable juices are full of pure, clean water.

And remember the National Cancer Institute's daily recommendation of five servings of vegetables and three of fruits? Well, the average American eats only one-and-a-half servings of vegetables and no fruit on the average day.

Sounds like the average day would be the perfect time to visit Just Makin Juice.

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