One-, three- and five-day cleanses
(eight bottles a day) are available
online, as well as a Detox 6 daily
cleanse. 384 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach
When Jamie Jensen opened Living Juice a few months ago on Forest Avenue in Laguna Beach, she says she had a vision of Frida Kahlo in a juice bar. When I see Jensen, a sculptor in her own right, in her community kitchen, surrounded by colorful organic produce, I can only think of the Mexican artist‘s famous still life, Fruits of the Earth, a painting of locally grown produce like pitahayas and prickly pears that are ripe and fleshy and full of national pride.
Jensen, an artist and former money manager, and her husband, Martin Alper, who recently sold his software company, moved back to Orange County (she was born and raised in Huntington Beach) from New York City in search of a healthier lifestyle – one that involved lean, whole foods and organic juice cleanses. In New York, where she was working as a sculptor, she says she was agitated, not sleeping, trying to lose weight by working out hard. “I had a messed-up relationship with food,” she says. A nutritionist in a yoga class put her on a 10-day juice cleanse, after which she “felt amazing. I had mental clarity, I was sleeping like a baby, I had a complete transformation. The more juice I drank and the more lean whole foods I ate, the better I felt. I finally found what was right for me.”
Finding the same kind of raw, organic, cold-pressed juice in Orange County was a challenge for her until on eBay, she found her own Norwalk Juicer, the stalwart super juicer that grinds and fresh presses juice with maximum vitamin and mineral results. “Veggies were flying all over the place,” recalls Jensen after she purchased the machine, “carrots on the ceiling, spinach all over me. But I started concocting juice that made sense, and my girlfriends would taste them and tell me that batch to batch, they tasted as if they were handcrafted with love.” That led to leasing a community kitchen space in Santa Ana and more tweaking of juice blends, which turned into 16 incredible recipes that became the menu for Living Juice.
Living Juice was originally an online business and the company started delivering cleanses to customers in Orange County with individual juices sold at the Saturday Laguna Beach Farmers Market. But many began to favor certain blends and demand increased for individual recipes. Last fall, Jensen saw a space for lease on Forest Avenue, and earlier this summer, after local artists (including Jensen) finished creating murals on the walls and vintage wood from an Oregon barn was crafted into walls and ceilings and counters, the brick-and-glass Living Juice Market was born.
Jensen doesn’t follow any recipes for her juices; instead, she “combines ingredients that make sense to me.” Potent ingredients such as tomato, spinach, cayenne, sea salt, and olive oil; lemon, spinach, kale, cilantro, carrot, and parsley; maqui berries and lemon; or what one of my friends refers to as her “crack”: cashews, coconut nectar, vanilla, cacao, cold-brewed coffee, and cayenne, make up some of the 16 juices.
If Frida Kahlo painted the juice bar, this is what it would look like – colorful, productive, regenerative, and just plain cool.