Juice bars, juice menus, $8 single-serving bottles of kale-and-fruit juice at Whole Foods, juice “cleanses,” even a juice truck. Upscale juice (not a glass of OJ, but elixirs made with things like dandelion, ginger, beet, chard, carrot, cucumber, mint, and much more) has been ascendant in Denver and Boulder for nearly a year, and along with the flood of beverages has come a good bit of talk about their benefits.
We will get into those alleged juicing benefits in a bit, but first, my experiment. I worked with Jill Latham, a registered dietitian who owns Vibrant Earth Juices, a Denver juicery and juice truck, to go on a three-day juice fast.
Latham’s juices, like most of the nouveau concoctions, are “cold-pressed,” meaning a hydraulic press squeezes juice from the vegetables and fruits. The method extracts more liquid, and because the machine does not have whirling blades, like most home juicers, the stuff being juiced does not heat up and thus “cook.” Most people selling cold-pressed juices also trumpet that they are raw, or uncooked.
Either way, I wanted to see if I could get by on juices alone for a few days, if I indeed would feel more energetic, more “clear-headed,” as juicing-fans say.
So on a recent Tuesday morning I gulped 16 ounces of kale, romaine lettuce, dandelion, parsley, celery, cucumber, apple, lemon and flax oil, and launched into my busy day at work…
Interview with Jill Latham, owner
Q: How did you get involved in this business?
A: I worked in entertainment in Los Angeles after college but I found I wanted something with more meaning. So, I went back to school and got a master’s in nutrition, dietetics and food science and did a residency program to become a dietitian. During that time, I started juicing and it changed my life. I told everyone I knew they should try juicing but most people didn’t want to go through all the effort. That sparked my interest in producing juices and I launched my company shortly thereafter.
Q: What distinguishes you from other businesses in your category?
A: Vibrant Earth Juices is the only custom-built juice truck in Denver. We sell organic cold-pressed juices and juice cleanses. We use locally sourced produce and base our recipes on scientific research for overall wellness and vitality. Most home juicers use a spinning blade that causes heat oxidation and will degrade nutrients. The hydraulic, cold presses we use grind the produce slowly, without heat, delivering the most nutrition. We are also the only juice company that adds flax oil to our product, which enhances the absorption of nutrients (fat-soluble vitamins) and prevents spikes in blood glucose and insulin levels. This allows the body more time to digest the sugar, leaving you fuller longer.
Q: What do you like best about your line of work?
A: I love sharing my experience and knowledge with clients and helping them understand their relationship with food. When you’re doing a juice cleanse, you aren’t eating as you normally would, so you really think about food a lot. It’s amazing to see and hear how energized, alert and light people feel after they try my juices or a juice cleanse.
Q: What is your business’ biggest challenge?
A: Educating people about the benefits of juicing. Many people are starting to hear about the health benefits of juicing, and I want to make sure that I can educate and assist people so that they are juicing in a smart way.
Q: Something people might be surprised to learn about you or your business:
A: I use unique, specialized ingredients that provide specific health benefits. For example, I use turmeric, which is a natural anti-inflammatory; ginger, which helps settle your stomach; beets, which detoxify; and flax seed meal, which is great for cleansing. Oh, and I usually drink a few juices a day but I love to go out and have some good pizza. It is all about the balance!
Jill Latham, a certified masters of science (MS) and registered dietician (RD), founded Vibrant Earth Juice in Santa Barbara over three years ago. At the epicenter of health and beauty, Jill was able to tap into a holistic approach to wellness and utilize her training as a registered dietician to create organic, healthy juice with big benefits.
A native of Denver, Jill returned to the Mile High last year. Similar to Denver’s popular food trucks, but selling and delivering organic, cold-pressed juices and juice cleanses, the Vibrant Earth Juice truck is a healthful addition to the mobile food scene.
With eye-catching names like “Glow” and “Refresh”, each juice has a combination of freshly pressed raw, organic fruits and vegetables, with additions such as flax oil. “Spicy Energy” is loaded with vitamins and minerals from kale, romaine, dandelion, parsley, celery, cucumber, apple, lemon, ginger, cayenne and flax seed while “Immunity” has hard working antioxidants found in pineapple, pear, lemon, mint and flax oil…