FREMONT – A new cafe is promoting a healthy lifestyle by providing consumers with an alternative to processed products: foods and juices that are 100 percent natural, raw, and vegan.
The Juice Garden, 1039 Oak Harbor Rd., is Fremont’s first and only cafe offering exclusively raw, vegan products made only from fresh ingredients. The cafe’s smoothies, bowls, salads, and power shots “are designed to feed your cells at a cellular level.”
The idea for the Juice Garden, which opened April 4, came when its founder and owner Tonya Phillips made a substantial lifestyle change.
In 1998, Phillips became very ill. In addition to feeling extremely fatigued, she found it painful to go outside in the sun.
“Anytime I went out into the sun, it felt like I was having a heat stroke all the time,” said Phillips.
Even indoor lighting bothered the Fremont native. As her symptoms worsened, she was tested for multiple sclerosis and lupus before she eventually was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus, the virus that causes mononucleosis.
To get rid of her symptoms, she tried multiple medications.
“I didn’t want to be on medications for the rest of my life,” Phillips said. “I thought, ‘There has to be a different option.'”
Discovering the wonders of a raw diet
A woman from Phillips’ church suggested she try a completely raw, vegan diet. As the name suggests, a raw diet is one where a person eats unprocessed, primarily plant-based foods.
In an attempt to alleviate her pain, Phillips went on a raw diet for four months.
“It was a lot of juicing. And I had salads and blackbean burgers,” said Phillips. “During those four months, only 10 percent of the food I ate was cooked.”
The diet worked wonders.
“I woke up one day and it [the sickness] was just gone. I could go out into the sun again,” Phillips said.
Since Phillips first went on the raw diet 20 years ago, she’s changed her lifestyle. She continues to eat primarily raw fruits and vegetables and is in the middle of a 30-days raw challenge, during which she will eat no processed foods.
“I know that you can change your health through your diet and your eating because I’m proof of it,” Phillips said.
Getting inspiration for the Juice Garden
Phillips got inspiration for the Juice Garden from similar raw cafes she visited throughout the United States. Many of her menu items are borrowed from cafes in Western states, where the diet is more popular and similar cafes are more abundant.
The Juice Garden has an extensive menu, offering a variety of smoothies, juices, acai and pitaya bowls, and salads.
The Juice Garden also serves “power shots,” a way to get key nutrients and proteins in a single 2 fluid ounce serving.
One of its power shots is the wheatgrass shot. One shot of wheatgrass is the equivalent of 2½ pounds of vegetables. Other shots include spirulina and chlorella shots, two types of lake algae that provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Phillips’ favorite menu item is the Beekeeper, a smoothie made with bee pollen, raw honey, bananas, blueberries, ginger, and almond milk.
One of its signature items is the “Little Giant” bowl, made specifically for coconut lovers. The bowl has bananas, coconut milk, coconut shreds, coconut oil, blueberries, and purple cabbage.
Phillips is planning to add more items to the menu, including a veggie burger, mock-BLT sandwich, berry smoothie and more shots.
When will Juice Garden open?
To celebrate its opening, the Juice Garden will have an official grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, July 28, from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be door prizes, drawings, free samples, T-shirt giveaways and more.
From 1 to 3 p.m., juices and smoothies, normally about $6, will be only $2.
Alycia Baumgardner, Fremont native and professional featherweight boxing champion, is the official spokesmodel of the Juice Garden. She will be unveiling and promoting her own smoothie bowl, called “THE BOMB,” at the grand opening, and will sign autographs and pose for pictures from noon to 3 p.m.
The Juice Garden is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. To find out more about the cafe or their menu, visit facebook.com/thejuicegardenfremont/.
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