Juice: It's What's for Dinner, But Is It as Good as an Actual Meal?
As usual, some people think Houston is a little behind the times.
Photo by the dabblist Chewing is sooooo last year.
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."