Juice: It's What's for Dinner, But Is It as Good as an Actual Meal?

Photo by the dabblist
Chewing is sooooo last year.
As usual, some people think Houston is a little behind the times.

Juice bars -- as in restaurants/cafes/bars that serve only fresh squeezed juice -- have been a mainstay of New York and Los Angeles dining culture for years now. With the recent opening of several new juice bars in Houston, it seems the Bayou City is finally hip to the trend.

"I moved down here from the East Coast, and I feel like everywhere but Houston there are juice bars on every corner," says Becki O'Brien, the owner of Houston's newest juice purveyor, Big & Juicy Juice Bar, located inside Big Yoga Houston. "You go to New York, and there's a juice bar everywhere you go. I moved to Houston, and I was so shocked. Even most of the places we do have aren't organic. It's a huge trend in other cities, and Houston is finally catching on."

Still, one has to wonder if juice is simply a trend or if it really is a healthy meal alternative. What's the benefit of drinking juice over, say, eating a salad or munching on an apple? Is one cup of juice really worth what most juice bars charge? Can you drink juice instead of eating a meal and call it dinner?

We chatted with both juice purveyors and nutritionists to find out the real deal behind the juicing up of Houston.

"Houston's just not very healthy, to be honest," says Gretchen Hawkins, owner of the Juice Girl food truck and new brick-and-mortar juice bar of the same name near Rice University. "Everybody is eating burgers. It's cattle city here. But I think finally people are starting to get into it, into being healthier.

Hawkins has been running the Juice Girl food truck for about three and a half years, but she's been a proponent of juicing, she says, since 1993. She believes that people will be able to notice a difference in the way they feel after drinking just one juice a day for a week or more, because they'll be getting all of the fruits and vegetables their bodies need, perhaps in one serving.

"Everything's cooked, and that's killing vitamins and enzymes and minerals, so getting fresh-pressed juice is better," Hawkins explains. "And how are you going to eat as much fruit and vegetables as you need to get everything? It's a large amount. No one has time to sit around and eat all that. We're just not living in a society where people are doing that."

Location Info


Big Yoga

3115 Allen Parkway, Houston, TX

Category: General

Juice Girl

, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

 First of all, thanks to the Press for covering this movement. Although ostensibly a review of the juice bar scene, you also included a lot of opinion on juicing.

  As a person who first started juicing and juice cleansing about 34 years ago, I would like to address a few aspects. With all due respect to the Nutritionist from U.H., my alma mater, she is kind of missing the point. Yes, Fruit has fiber, and fiber is great for your body. But a Healthy diet should include this fiber on a DAILY basis, and sure adding Flaxseed and other goodies to your daily smoothie is a super idea.. On the other hand, when you go on a juice cleanse the idea is to let your body rest, so that it can rest itself, and also absorb all of the Enzymes and micronutrients, since you do not have to digest (pulp free) juice. The idea propagated by some people, (likely research funded by the food industry), that your body is going to suffer terrible consequences if you do not take protein for a period of time is totally false.

  It was correctly pointed out that Fruit juices bought in stores often have high sugar content. Of course, it cannot be labeled as “juice” if it has any sugar added. Nevertheless, even the fructose content of 100% Fruit juice can be problematic for some people. But here is the thing to remember folks. When you “Juice” for Health reasons, the drink should ideally be in a ratio of around 70% Vegetable juice, 30% fruit. Yes, I know there is an “ICK” factor to drinking Kale, Spinach, Broccoli, Celery, etc. So, what you gotta do is work your way up to that. As you eat more natural foods, your body will begin to actually crave them. That nasty Green stuff actually becomes palatable, believe it or not.

  Thanks to the excellent writing in this article for 2 more salient points. Yes, it is good to Chew your juice, or at least drink it slowly. And the main purpose of juicing should not be weight loss, but Health. 


i make a carrot apple orange at least at least weekly.  it's just delicious.  but you also have to, you know, eat good


Who needs all that sugar in those juice drinks?  Too much. 


Glad we're finally catching up with the whole juice movement; Houston is a great food city to some degree, but always way behind the ball on most things like health, locavore, organic, head-to-tail, and the rest. Good news here!

Rami Haddad
Rami Haddad

I prefer to blend everything. Juice by itself is just sugar water. If anyone wants to lose weight, you'll have to work for it. Blend, don't juice, and EAT vegetables and fruits at night, no meat or breads.. Etc...

Mai Pham
Mai Pham topcommenter

I'm a big proponent of whole fruit and vegetable smoothies as opposed to straight juicing. You get protein and fiber, which slows down the fructose rush that assaults your system when you drink straight juice. Glad to hear Hawkins is offering smoothie options with flax and chia seeds. 

whateveryousay topcommenter

As long as you can juice a steer I'm in!

Let me get a rabbit and kale smoothie please.

Jennifer Stringer Grant
Jennifer Stringer Grant

I can't believe the negative feedback juicing gets in Houston. I've gotten nothing but amazing results health wise. If you have time to sit and consume all the fruits and vegetables you should each day than more power too you but I highly doubt it! I'd love to see more juice bars in Houston...hurry!

Clay Wisner
Clay Wisner

ya know what juices my waffle? When I'm logged into the "voice nation" or whatever it's called but still can't post a comment.


The selection of fruits and vegetables is key, too.  Juicing fruits gives you all the sugar with none of the fiber, which is counter productive.  Try to be veg heavy on the juice, and juice lots of leafy greens.  It is easy to drink the juice from a pound of kale, espeically when you mix it with some beet, carrot, apple, ginger, and jalapeno.  It is much tougher to get excited about eating a pound of kale.  This being said, consuming all veggies and fruits in liquid form is not the right move.  But, as a way to add more veggies and fruits to your diet, juicing is an effective tool.

Now Trending

From the Vault