What started as a Hollywood craze that most of the general public rolled their tired little eyes at is fast becoming the most popular way to get healthy, quickly and easily. The predominant advantage that the modernised food market has over local, healthy produce is convenience. Ready meals, snacks and coffee shop lunches are quick, cheap and easy. Healthy eating requires more attention, more time and fresher ingredients and often means ‘splurging’ compared to what most people are used to spending at lunch time. With celebrities as common ambassadors of healthy living, most people assume that you have to tap into your life savings in order to improve your diet and begin to reconsider your lifestyle choices. However, like anything, if you’re serious about it, you invest in it. Your body is the greatest instrument you will ever own. It is the only thing you will ever have this much control over and you are the only person who decides how it is going to be treated. The food choices you make determine your body, your mind, your mood, and your inevitability to develop disease or to become unhealthy and unfit. Think about how much money you can easily spend on cocktails in one night, and cold-pressed juices suddenly seem relatively reasonable. Yes, okay, eating healthily can cost a little extra, if you’re stocking up on cold-pressed juices and superfood powders, but the thing is, you don’t have to. Making small changes to your diet can have incredible benefits. Merely replacing rice with quinoa (roughly £2-£3 more expensive than rice) can provide you with more energy, vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants and fibre than you’d otherwise be achieving from a single meal. So now we’ve got the price issue out of the way, lets focus on ease.
Convenience food is easy and not a lot else. It is quick, which is where it gets the term ‘fast food’ from, and it is so readily available these days. On every corner there is a grab-and-go lunch chain and at supermarkets there are constant offers on microwavable ready meals. Okay, making raw spaghetti out of vegetables is of course a pretty arduous task which is an example of healthy food being too much effort. But take a look at juices and you’ll realise they are the health food industry’s answer to quick and easy. Not only are they just as convenient if not more so (no cooking, no preparation) than most ‘convenience foods’, they also consist of actual real, nourishing ingredients. Juices are concentrated concoctions of more than your 5 a day and are made fresh before being bottled for take-away. You can grab one on the go and in seconds have 10 times the nutrients circulating your body than you’d usually be able to retrieve from a single meal. Convenience foods, on the other hand, are, yes quick and easy, but don’t provide half the amount of nutrients or real goodness that juices do. London has only recently become home to some of the most innovative juice bars and health food eateries i know. There are now juice bars dotted all over London, and even places like Pret are selling nutritious greens juices. Some companies even deliver to your house, so it really couldn’t be easier.
The problem is that when people think of juices, they immediately think of a juice cleanse. They picture a lanky lady with a full face of make up on her way to the gym and they think, nah, I’m alright thanks, i’ll stick to my BLT. The truth is, you don’t have to be some kind of health fanatic and you certainly don’t have to embark on a week-long fast in order to enter a juice bar or enjoy a bottle of ‘drink your salad’. It may not seem like your style as you observe these health bunnies from the side lines, but it doesn’t have to be. You drink choice/regime - whatever, doesn’t have to define you. You don’t have to be part of a club and i promise, you don’t have to wear your gym kit everywhere you go. One of the main assumptions i want to discuss is that you don’t have to give up solid food either. This is often an obstruction people create for themselves, as they assume that drinking juice means drinking juice, water, herbal tea and losing touch with their kitchen completely. The idea of going one or three or five days without solid food is what puts people off. The thing is, drinking juice as well as eating normally has just as many positive affects, if not more. As long as you choose the right kind of juice, incorporating it into your current diet now and then can have incredible health benefits and can really support healthy cellular function and improve digestion, hair, skin, energy levels and moods.
I recently attended an early morning juice tasting discussion at The Detox Kitchen in London. Amongst all of us, we agreed that food should not be replaced by juices, but that juices should be added to current diets in order to instantly and easily increase a persons intake of vital vitamins and minerals. “We see juices as an addition to a healthy balanced diet, when enjoyed with other foods. They can have real health benefits, from better digestion, higher energy levels and brighter skin,” Lily Simpson, founder of the Detox Kitchen, says. I think it is important to incorporate a fresh, preferably vegetable-based, juice into your daily or weekly routine as often as possible. Depending on your goals, the less fruit it contains, the better. Fruit contains high levels of sugar and although this sugar is natural, it still has a similar affect on your body and your blood sugar levels as other sugary foods. To any total juice virgins, i would recommend to take it slowly and to start with juices containing small amounts of fruit such as apple or pear. I would then advise to substitute these with subtly sweet vegetables, such as carrot, beetroot or squash. And if you’re making these juices from home, you’ll be surprised to learn that some vegetables actually become sweeter once they’ve been juiced. Courgette, cabbage and brussels sprouts are wonderfully flavoursome ingredients to add to juices, although they may seem like the most unappetising. Combine ingredients you know and love, and ease yourself into making a heavily vegetable-based juice a major component of your diet. They help to cleanse and detoxify the body as well as to repair them after infection, injury or just after a workout. Juices are brilliant substitutes to snacks too. Drink them as fillers to stunt cravings between mealtimes. Drink them as boosters, to give you an instant energy hit before an important event or to see you through the journey home after work. Just one juice a week can have majorly positive effects on your health, digestion, skin, hair, nails, modes, energy levels, blood sugar levels and even weight maintenance, as they will keep your body satisfied with nutrients for longer.
JUICES IN LONDON:
The Good Life Eatery:
Thinking back to almost a year ago I think The Good Life Eatery was the first place I ever had cold-pressed juice in London. Having been in New York surrounded by juice bars, I’d returned to London having accepted there was just no equivalent. Then The Good Life opened, and everything changed. The Good Life Eatery is my favourite place in London. They have the food locked down, offer all of the right things, have the most intense juice combinations and most importantly, have a great vibe. Their greens juices come with or without fruit depending on how serious you are feeling, and their other flavours are incredibly refreshing and energising. I could quite literally spend the whole day here. But it seems I don’t need to, as they have recently announced their delivery service. (uh oh).
Imbibery consist of two beautiful ladies who’ve practically brought all of New Yorks health secrets to England. Selling cold-pressed juices and a combination of nut milks, they have a flavour or form to accommodate any kind of need. With a wide variety of flavours, their juices are easy for anyone to incorporate into their current diet. The great thing about Imbibery is that they don’t work on a cleanse-only basis. You can order just one juice online and have it delivered to your home or to work. They also offer intense shots, such as ginger, turmeric and lemon - an even more concentrated combination of the freshest, most cleansing ingredients. See their website for their list of stockists.
Roots and Bulbs:
A brand, spanking new juice bar located in Marylebone, perfect for time-poor customers looking for some instant TLC. With an open fridge you can easily and quickly choose the juice that is right for you. They come in durable bottles which are easy to transport (although don’t leave them out of the fridge for too long) and are also available in small sizes - perfect for travelling. And, I know we’re talking about juice here, but, the coconut water. Just. Thank me later.
A tiny little corner of heaven located in Westbourne Grove, inside a slightly bigger corner of heaven, known as Joseph. I love everything about Canyon Juicery. The branding, the names, the colours and their entirely unique flavours. There’s nothing exciting about going to a juice bar and ordering exactly what you had last week somewhere else. The sweet potato blend is one i experimented with at home, and to find it in-store, ready made and done even better was great. Grab and go or order online for delivery to your door. The only downside to this place is that you are required to walk past rails of Joseph-selected clothes without breaking down in turmoil. Good luck with that.
East London - especially Shoreditch - has become stereotyped over time and now all anyone ever associates it with is the smell of stale alcohol, and people in what can only be described as fancy dress. If you can see past this, you’ll notice it is home to so many brilliant eateries nowadays, as well as innovative, independent shops and other creative spaces. I stumbled across Lovage recently and although their menu is petit, it is inventive and delicious. I had a greens juice sweetened with squash. Operating out of a window in the corner of a small building, there is nowhere to sit down and take time over your drinks, but it is perfect if you are passing by or in a rush.
The Juice Well:
Brand new and full of incredible in-house snacks, The Juice Well is the newest addition to London’s health food scene. With a large smoothie menu and the option to add extra super foods, they can pretty much tailor your order to your personal taste. The fridges are fully stocked with juices and dairy free milks, but what’s different about them is that they also offer things like chlorophyll water, lemon, pineapple or mint infused reverse osmosis H2O and concentrated shots of intense ingredients, like ginger, cayenne and lemon.
Prêt a Manger:
Definitely a more affordable juice option, and also even more convenient, as we all know we will be within walking distance to at least one Pret store wherever we are in London. Offering a selection of mixed fruit and vegetable juices, it is definitely a good place to start. No additives, no sugar, not preservatives. All real, all natural.
Crussh has been around for a while now and an the best thing about it is that you can more or less build your own juice or smoothie. They offer wheatgrass shots, an abundance of superfood boosters such as acai, vitamin c, omega 3 and bee pollen and a brilliant variety of fruit and vegetables to juice together as you wish. Not cold pressed, but again, quick and easy and incredibly high in fibre.
Other places to visit for quick and easy personalised juices and smoothies, visit Nama Foods Notting Hill, Natural Kitchen, Planet Organic, Wholefoods, Blend and Press and The Juicery (a beautiful spot in Marylebone to sit, relax and enjoy a nutrient-rich juice or smoothie when you’re in less of a rush).
Read the full write-up of our Detox Discussion here.