By Samantha Fitzmaurice
“What do you want to eat?” might not be the question you want to hear when your stomach is growling. A Tampanian might ask “What do you want to drink?” And no, I don’t mean alcohol. I mean JUICE. The number of juice bars through the streets of Tampa are on the rise, and almost equivalent to the amount of actual bars in the city.
As I walked into my first juice bar, SOHO Juice Company, I felt more out of place than I do at a regular bar. It wasn’t a bad feeling, just a weird one. I was welcomed by a girl standing behind a simple counter in her Lulu Lemon yoga apparel.
Chelsea has been a dedicated employer at SOHO Juice Company for over a year now. The company has been up and running for over two years and their clientele ranges from the daily regulars to the curious customers like myself.
Many juicing shops in Tampa are conveniently located within just a few miles from The University of Tampa. Some of the more popular shops include: SOHO Juice Company, Squeeze Juice Works, Swami Juice, and Urban Juice Company. It appears as if juice bars have popped up over night. In a city of college students, workaholics and fit families from Bayshore, Tampa seems to be the place where health trends catch on fast. That’s no different when it comes to specialized diets.
At SOHO Juice Company, one wall is full of colorful juices that fill the see-through glass fridges. All of the juices seem to be color coordinated, grouped from the brown and white milk-colored drinks to the fruity purple and orange ones. Of course you can’t miss the vibrant green drinks which take up a majority of the fridge. The colors of the juices nonchalantly hinted at what ingredients they contained. The layout of SOHO Juice Company was much less intimidating for me than at Squeeze Juice Works. Squeeze had a long, granite bar and a smaller fridge in the corner which held gallons of juice.
At both juice bars, I was lucky enough to try some samples of what I referred to as “the green stuff,” thanks to its appealing color. Each company used similar ingredients in their green vegetable juices including apple, cucumber, kale and spinach. At SOHO Juice Co., a bottle of juice goes for $9.62, where at Squeeze it’s $8.99, but the $0.63 does pay for the difference in taste. SOHO Juice’s ‘Tropikale’ is a customer favorite because it is sweeter. Personally, the Tropikale was much nicer to the taste buds than Squeeze’s ‘Simple Green’ juice. My friend Talia Pappas, a junior public relations and advertising major who had came with me on this adventure strongly agreed. “I can’t drink a bottle of that,” she said in reference to Squeeze’s “Simple Green” juice. If you’re one who adjusts quickly to the unique and bitter taste of vegetables, then Squeeze might be the juice company for you.
Juicing can also be done at home, but the juice bars do have their benefits. The basic juicer has a history of its own dating back to 1954. It wasn’t long before the juicer found its home on QVC. Most juicing companies, including SOHO Juice Company and Squeeze Juice Works, use a cold-press technique to make their juices. Most people who own a juicer at home have a centrifugal juicer, which contains a metal blade that generates heat. This leads to accidentally cooking your fruit and vegetables without you even knowing it.
The cold-press technique used by the Tampa juice bars crushes the fruit and vegetables into their tiniest form and then presses them to extract their juice and nutrients. Because the cold press doesn’t produce heat like the centrifugal juicer, more of the fresh ingredients are kept. The nutritional value you receive at juice bars is a big reason why the Tampa juicing industry has skyrocketed.
Fitness and health have become such a popular concern and obsession for many, so people use alternatives, such as juicing, to better themselves. One juice bottle contains almost your entire recommended daily serving of fruits or vegetables. Many don’t know the average person should be consuming between five and thirteen servings of fruit and vegetables a day.
There are many different options when it comes to juicing, including the popular juice cleanse. A cleanse is meant to “jump start your metabolism, reprogram your taste buds and recharge your innate nutritional needs,” according to the SOHO Juice Co. pamphlet.
Although juicing is meant to benefit one’s body, people should understand their body and how the juicing process works before jumping into it. Most cleanses are meant to be done over a three-to-five-day period and specify what juices you need for the right nutritional value. Many of us are guilty of looking up “diets to lose weight” or actually know someone who has drank only lemon-infused water with cayenne pepper for two weeks because “the diet guru said to.” That is not the way to do it.
Many juicing places like to say a juice is a meal replacement, but Joe Dalessio, an employee at Squeeze Juice Works, disagrees. He says that a juice should be in addition to a diet because it gives you extra nutrients you probably wouldn’t get normally.
If you don’t think you can down a whole bottle of juice, most juice bars in Tampa have other popular options known as One Ounce Juice Shots. The shots are about 1 to 1.5 ounces of juice jam-packed with nutrients. They are beneficial in helping to increase circulation and decrease inflammation within one swig. They also have shots designated to cure symptoms of common issues, including hangovers.
Juicing also has many other benefits. The common issues of migraines and joint pains as well as the infrequent health issues such as morning sickness can all be alleviated with certain juices.So, if you’re interested in getting your daily intake of fruits and vegetables within a few sips, it is no question that juicing is the way to go.
Samantha Fitzmaurice can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.