Juice Ranch juices.

Courtesy Photo

Juice Ranch juices.

Juice Craze Hits Santa Barbara

Vegetable-Fruit Juice Bars Sprout Everywhere

Juice has been transformed from a noun to a verb, thanks to celebrity endorsers, weight-loss advertisements, and a growing, hip crowd. It has left the confines of a children’s boxed drink to become a full-blown swallow of social status. To “juice” means to be part of a high-end crew who are not only extremely health conscious but also not hesitant to drop $10 for their daily dose of vegetables. With more than 10 new juice bars in Santa Barbara, this trend has taken our hearts and stomachs.

In Montecito alone, within less than a mile span, residents have the option of three different juice spots: JuiceWell, Pressed Juicery, and even the Four Seasons Biltmore have jumped on the juice trend. With so much competition comes the question of whether each bar gets a steady flow of customers. The answer is yes. According to Pressed Juicery’s manager, Ian Robinson, “Business is pretty great. We get a good mix of Montecito regulars and intrigued visitors.” Unsurprisingly, Santa Barbara fits all prerequisites for successful, cold-pressed juice sales: sunny weather, avid health followers, and money.

On a hot day, when one has a 10-spot to spare and a legitimate fear of fast food, an on-the-go juice brimming with nutrients seems the ideal choice. The Greens N’ Ginger, Juice Ranch’s most popular choice, made with kale, celery, romaine, cucumber, spinach, parsley, apple, lemon, and ginger, sure sounds a lot better fare than any other five-minute meal stop might offer. And it’s not just the ingredients; there is no arguing these juices aren’t delicious.

Juicing may deliver in the taste department but what about its promise of creating a healthier, cleansed you? The answer is controversial. According to the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, one should eat at least seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day to increase health and longevity. Since juicing provides the same vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients as eating whole fruits and vegetables, those who juice contend they are increasing their health in this regard. However, problems can arise when juicing replaces real food. In a CNN interview on juices, Jennifer Nelson, director of clinical dietetics and nutrition at the Mayo Clinic, said, “You want your diet to be balanced and healthy and to include protein, dairy, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and fats.” Juice would be considered a food high on the sugary side. When you juice, you’re “separating the fiber from the juice. This fiber helps regulate your blood sugar levels after you eat a piece of whole fruit. Without fiber, the sugar in juice goes unchecked,” said Nelson.

So juicing is delicious, has its health benefits, and most of all, is what all the cool kids are doing. Maybe all the juice bars have to do to keep the buzz is to keep it out of a box.

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