Juicing gaining popularity in Utah Valley

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Mend Juicery owner Giovanni Niccoli visits with a customer while Landon Walker takes her order in March. (Photo by Carlos Mozo)

Mend Juicery owner Giovanni Niccoli visits with a customer while Landon Walker takes her order. (Photo by Carlos Mozo)

This is not the orange juice your mom used to make while you watched cartoons on Saturday mornings.

Mend Juicery’s “R2: Amped OJ” is made from raw, cold-pressed oranges, carrots, cucumbers and strawberries. It’s one of around 18 juices made at Mend Juicery at the Shops at Riverwoods in Provo — the only juicery in Utah Valley and one of only a few in all of Utah.

The idea for a juicery began to take shape last summer, and Mend Juicery now has both home delivery and a storefront.

“It’s definitely taken off and people here responded well to it,” said Stephanie Niccoli, who started Mend Juicery with her husband, Giovanni, and their business partners, Matt and Suzie Turner.

Juicing is nothing new and has actually been around since at least the early 1900s. However, it has become more popular over the past decade, thanks to juice-promoting celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow. Juice bars started popping up all over the coasts and are now about as common as coffee shops.

The juice “trend,” as some call it, has finally come to Utah County. Mend Juicery serves a variety of customers ranging from young college women to older business men. Niccoli said the business is here to stay.

“Utah needs it. And we live in the community, our families live here, and we just wanted to offer a healthy alternative to people here,” Niccoli said. “We all fully believe in the product. We drink it ourselves. We’ve seen and felt the difference.”

Cleansing allows your body to rest, Niccoli said, but recommends people consult with a doctor when they try Mend Juicery’s variety of cleanses.

To retain nutrients that would be lost if the juice is heated, Mend Juicery uses a cold-press process to make the juice out of fresh produce — about five pounds per bottle. Niccoli said the fiber is held back, but some soluble fiber still makes it into the juice.

“If your car requires premium fuel, then you’ll put it in. You wouldn’t question it,” Niccoli said. “Why don’t we put the right fuel in our bodies? We try to make it very easy and convenient for people to put the ‘premium fuel’ in their bodies.”

Seasoned juicer Sara Staker often juices at home for her monthly cleanses and regular juice drinking. She said it helps her be in tune with her creative and spiritual sides when she cleanses and eats healthy foods.

“I tend to function better and feel better. I have more energy, and it’s easier to manage my weight and my skin’s better,” Staker said. “Everything is better, life is better. My mood swings don’t get as severe. I feel like I’m a more temperate person.”

Staker uses a regular blender since she likes to keep the fiber in her juice because it’s more filling.

The Mayo Clinic says there is no “sound scientific evidence” that the juices extracted from the fruit and vegetables are healthier than the whole foods. However, juicing makes said fruits and veggies easier to consume on a regular basis.

For Staker, juicing is a matter of convenience and an easy way to pack in nutrients while she’s busy being with her children, working as a full-time photographer and writing books.

“I have these four boys I’m constantly chasing around and taking to baseball games and swim meets, so it’s a simple way of avoiding the fast-food trap,” Staker said.

When she does purchases juices, Staker said she dilutes the juice to make it last longer and to make strong or too-healthy-tasting flavors more tolerable for her. She said the expense is probably one of the biggest deterrents for people, especially Utah County folks who tend to be do-it-yourselfers. Staker said it’s faster and more convenient for her to get her fruits and veggies in by drinking them.

“For me it’s just easier, and I feel better,” Stake said. “I know I’m doing good things for my body, and hopefully, my body will do good things for me.”

 

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