There’s nothing new about juice. But, it seems like in the last couple of years, juice bars are on their way to becoming as popular as coffee chains with new brands opening all over the country. Today, juicing is not just the preserve of raw-food/vegan zealots or celebrities in needs of a quick diet fix. It has gone mainstream, with people making wiser food choices and realizing the numerous health benefits you can get from sipping on those bright green concoctions.
Eric Helms just happened to identify these health rewards a lot earlier than the majority of us. “I started a small juice bar called Juice Generation approximately 15-years-ago, in the heart of New York City. It was a ballsy move: Back then, people would walk into our oxygenated oasis, look at our juicers and ask, “Where’s the food?” But we persisted, making juices and smoothies fresh-to-order for a small band of loyal customers,” Eric explains. “Our first fans were Broadway’s hard-working actors and dancers, who relied on us to sustain them for long house in rehearsal and on stage.
That one small bar has now expanded into 13 stores across Manhattan and Brooklyn with plans for additional bars in the works. “As foot traffic increased, we began to serve a bigger cross-section of New Yorkers. Our business has grown significantly since those pioneering days, and now we’re witnessing a juice boom that is in full swing.
In perfect time for the start of the new year, whilst we’re all still in ‘fit, trim and healthy mode’, Eric and the team at Juice Generation, have released their first book ‘The Juice Generation: 100 Recipes for Fresh Juices and Superfood Smoothies.’
The book has a foreword by Salma Hayek and includes advice, tips and favorite recipes from celebrities such as Martha Stewart, Blake Lively, Jason Bateman, Debra Messing and Hilary Swank as well as features such as ‘juicing jargon’, ‘juicing tips for detoxing and healing’ and a section on ‘ultra wellness and superfoods’. As Eric states, “We’ve created what we hope is a foolproof method that takes anyone from beginner [level] to experienced in terms of his or her skill and taste palate."
As for the most popular pick at Juice Generation? Think green. “Greens! Always and increasingly, greens,” says Eric. “It’s based on years of real-life observations at our stores: First-time customers tend to start with drinks on the sweeter, fruitier side, eyeing the greener drinks from a distance. A few visits later, they get more curious, venture out of their comfort zones, and experiment with one of the sweeter green juices, like a watermelon-kale. Convinced by the refreshing uplift they’ve found, they eventually go the whole nine yards.”
So, what new juices and fruits should we be looking forward to trying in 2014? According to Eric, “At Juice Generation, we fancy ourselves international super-fruit sleuths, seeking out and importing yet undiscovered delicacies like pitaya and mangosteen. In The Juice Generation, we unveil the aronia berry: the first super-fruit native to North America, as well as unexpected ways to use maca root and other ingredients you’ve seen around but never tried.
Ready to start juicing? Here are 3 favorite juice recipes from celebrities that are featured in the book: