Natural Products Expo West and Natural Products Expo East, the two biggest organic food trade shows in the U.S., not only present an opportunity to check out the newest and coolest organic products, but they give me a chance to catch up with some of my friends in the industry.
One of these individuals that I see at each show is Whitney Lauritsen, journalist, filmmaker, photographer, and founder of the very popular website Eco-Vegan Gal. Based in Los Angeles, Whitney dedicates her time and energies to spreading awareness about how to make healthy eating choices and develop a planet-friendly lifestyle.
Eco-Vegan Gal is an online empowerment resource that uses YouTube videos, articles and social media posts to help people discover and easily prepare delicious and nutritious plant-based food, while making sustainable decisions everyday. I caught up with Whitney recently and asked her to fill us in on all things juicing.
Why do you juice?
Juicing is a great way to combine the delicious flavors of fruits and vegetables and quickly absorb their nutritional benefits. My body responds incredibly well to fresh juice, especially on an energetic level. I really enjoy doing juice cleanses to give my body a break from regular digestion and my mind a chance to reflect on my eating habits.
Tell me about your juicing lifestyle?
I try to juice at home or buy pressed organic juice at least once a week, though I strive to drink it everyday. I enjoy pretty much any kind of juice and it really depends on my mood – no matter what, I always change up the flavors to keep it exciting.
If it’s on the savory side, I like juices that contain kale, fennel, carrot and ginger because of their flavors, colors and nutrients. Basil is a surprisingly nice twist, too, especially since it’s my favorite herb. As for sweet drinks, I adore pineapple, apple and mint – it’s a great combo of grounding and elevation.
Do you have a juicing habit that no one knows about?
As an environmentalist, I’m always uncomfortable buying products in plastic, but I make exceptions for high quality food when I’m on the go. I do this from time to time with pressed organic juice – unfortunately, a lot of companies use plastic bottles, but if they have a great product, it’s hard to resist! Thus, I typically don’t publicly mention when I drink out of plastic.
What is one of your favorite pressed organic juices?
As of today, my favorite juice bar is The Punchbowl in Los Feliz (Los Angeles). This cafe has an amazing vibration, from the staff to the decor to the innovative menu. I love their unique combinations and that each juice has been designed to balance the body and is served in glass. The Punchbowl is owned by a couple, one of whom was the juice bar manager at One Lucky Duck in Manhattan, so you know he’s good!
My favorite drink so far is the Meadow Greens, which has grapefruit, tarragon, dandelion, spinach, cucumber, and pear. I love how the bitter flavors are complemented with sweet and soothing fruits. Punchbowl is walking distance from my apartment, so I go over there whenever I want a juice (or smoothie!) that I don’t have ingredients for in my fridge.
What is your favorite time of day to juice?
I love juicing first thing in the day, within the hour after I wake up – it’s the perfect way to start the day with a burst of nutrition and energy. However, sometimes I juice in the evening if I’ve had a heavy meal because I find it helps with my digestion.
How has your juicing evolved over the years?
More and more, I learn the value in juicing regularly, so I’m always trying to get in the habit of juicing at home daily. What helps the most is keeping my fridge stocked with produce – this forces me to juice because I don’t want it to go to waste! I learn new recipes from going to juice bars and trying bottled varieties – their combinations inspire me to try it at home and I really enjoy mimicking and sometimes improving on them!
What are your best tips for staying healthy when traveling?
It’s honestly not that hard to be healthy when traveling – the key is to be prepared and flexible. Do research ahead of time and plan the trip around the availability of quality food. Look up your favorite juice brands online before you leave home and find out where they are located around your destination.
I’ve found natural markets all across the country and healthy meals at even the most meat and dairy-centered restaurants (after a few modifications).
It also helps to stock up on fresh produce and dry snacks without sugar, oil and salt before you get in the car, plane, train, etc. And keep reusable containers accessible like water bottles, produce bags and food tins, along with reusable utensils and napkins, so you’re always prepared.
Thanks so much Whitney and see you in a few months at Expo East in Baltimore!