In January, I was carrying an extra 40 lbs. around on my frame, and suffering from knee issues and depression. I'd discovered the beauty of raw foods six months prior, but had fallen off-course through the winter months and was just on a fast track to Yuckville. I decided that I was going to have to buckle down and drop the weight, so I forced myself to go on a juice cleanse. When I say forced, I'm talking more about the act of cleaning up after making a juice. When you're out of practice, cleaning a juicer can be a time-consuming and tedious process. The juice itself is wonderful, like almost nothing you can buy out of the grocery store, because nearly all juices on shelves are pasteurized, which has killed off all the living enzymes in the juice.
But back to my juice cleanse. It lasted 16 days. In those 16 days, here is what I experienced:
1. 16 lbs. of weight loss, that never returned, even after I went back to normal eating.
2. My knee pain disappeared.
3. My skin was glowing.
4. My wrinkles diminished, especially crow's feet.
5. My depression and mental fog lifted and cleared.
6. My sugar cravings vanished.
7. My appetite slowed.
8. My taste buds worked better--I could taste a million flavors in a simple leaf of lettuce!
9. My eyes looked brighter.
This awesome experience is what led me to opening a food truck. I knew this city needed a juice bar, and I love preparing gourmet food and wanted to test out some of my favorite raw recipes and try new ones in a small setting, so that is how In the Raw "Test Kitchen & Juice Bar" was born. My vision is to share a better way of eating; a way that tastes amazing but is also better for you than anything else you could put in your body. I think we're accomplishing that, and this mission is one I don't take lightly.
Starting in the next few days, we're going to be offering up 3-, 7-, and 14-day juice cleanses. They'll be a way to save our guests the hassles and time factors of dealing with juicing for themselves, while also saving them money by purchasing packages instead of paying full price per juice.
Today we're four weeks in at In the Raw Test Kitchen & Juice Bar. If you'd asked me in the early hours of August 1 this year if I thought people were going to like what we were bringing to the table, I'd have looked at you with a little bit of fear and a little bit of excitement, all rolled into one. I personally know the benefits of raw foods and juicing through my own personal experiences, and I took great pains to make sure our menu items gave a glimpse into the exciting flavors raw foods could offer. However, I also knew that diving into preparing a clean, strictly plant-based menu was a risk in our small city. Just yesterday, I was standing outside at our dehydrator, checking on some cauliflower popcorn that we were developing into a new recipe. A guy walked up and wanted me to charge his phone. I said he could use the cord right next to the dehydrator and offered him a piece of the cauliflower. He took one piece, looked at it, smelled it several times, and said, "It smells like vegetables." Then he threw it down on the ground where it could attract bugs and such to our truck--a constant battle when you're working outdoors. At this point I noticed that he was holding a car charger, not a plug-in, and when he insisted that he needed a car lighter plug and I should let him use ours from our truck, I informed him that our 1967 Grubman didn't have an outlet for that. He then told me I needed to sell him a soda, to which I replied that we don't carry them, but we have other drinks. He replied with an incredulous look and the statement, "Well, you don't have to lie to me". By this point, I was happy to call in our patissier Chad so he could explain nicely while I found somewhere else to occupy my time. Apparently, I am very sensitive about food waste and littering....and manners. I really feel that guy needed some vegetables instead of the recreational substance that he was on.
We're a few days away from one month in, and it's flown by. We've organized ourselves, pulled together the best team, and we are starting to run like a well-oiled machine. It feels good. I can look back to when we first opened where I was frazzled and overworked, afraid to leave the truck in case someone wasn't trained enough to take care of a particular thing. Now, I've got a couple of people who can handle every aspect of the business without me, and that takes a load off. I can now get home early enough to hang out with the little man--who is the very reason I decided to go into business for myself anyway....I wanted a better life for us, one that didn't involve working a thankless job that I dreaded going to in the mornings.
Until next time, Eat Raw, Live Long!