I’ve recently been informed that fermented grapes do not constitute juicing. I’ve been doing this wrong for years. Soooo, I ended up reaching out to the owners of Neo Juicery as a part of my day job, and as soon as I met them, I knew they were the real dill. That being said, my views and potty mouth are not that of my employer.
I asked Kareema and Ala a few questions. I had to know, first of all, how did the two lovebirds meet.
Kareema: “We met when we were 8 years old. I was the new kid at school and we’d ride the school bus to and from school every day.”
This is already too cute for my face.
“I couldn’t speak the language very well yet as I had just moved to Jerusalem from Canada and Ala would pick on me and pull my hair all the time. I believe we got in trouble for fighting and promised the principal to be friends. When she got the invitation to our wedding, she was a bit surprised! We dated all through high school and got married in 2011 which is when Ala moved to Canada.”
Next I asked about the process. If you are not familiar with the difference between centrifugal and masticating juicers, this is good to know for when you are in the market for juice.
“We use a cold pressed juicing process. The first stage of juicing is mastication, or what people refer to as shredding. Our machine shreds the fruits and vegetables into a very fine almost slushy mix. This mechanism, if done well, breaks down all the cell walls of the plant matter then making available all the vitamins, minerals. macro-nutrients, and phytonutrients. The next stage is pressing. We use a hydraulic press and a fine cloth to press the slush mix and extract all the juices. This is a slow, cold, and gentle process that separates the indigestible fibre from the water and nutrients. That’s why the process is called cold pressed; no heat is used in the juicing or pressing thus preserving the nutrients and enzymes in the juice.”
Bazingaaaa. So if you were unsure why some juices cost more, the masticating machine is not only more than double the price, but the extract is less wasteful and retains way more of that good good. I was also very happy to find out that they use the remnants of their juices to make treats. They use glass bottles exclusively that can be returned, so you get $1 for each returned bottle. They’ve thought of everything, I swear. So what differentiates them from their competitors otherwise?
“Our quality, commitments and who we are. With Kareema’s significant background and immersion in the food industry over the past eight years, we are well aware of the challenges of running a food-based business, especially one that is on trend – a wave that can die down at any time. We run a truly zero waste and sustainable operation and we have made a commitment to quality, service and accessibility that is unmatched. Not only are we different in every way, we pay special attention to our formulations making sure that we have nutritional balance in every bottle and not sugar water. That’s huge. Not every cold pressed juice is made equally and we hear this feedback from our clients all the time; they feel the difference when drinking our juices because the nutrition in each bottle is fantastic. For example, we make sure our green juices have between 10-12 grams of protein per bottle because we find that most green juice drinkers use it to substitute a meal or snack on the go so it’s important to have all the fuelling nutrients that the body needs.”
“Our philosophy is balance and fulfillment. We don’t believe in deprivation, artificial dieting, or restriction. We believe in an evidence-based approach to nourishment, listening to your body and its needs, and enjoying what you eat and do every day.”
I’m always curious to see how other people describe their lifestyle, as I hate telling people “I’m paleo.” It instigates way less to say that I just eat whole foods. This is what they had to say.
“We grew up in a very rich and abundant land and we ate seasonally, locally-grown & raised fruits, vegetables and meats. Even our milk was fresh from the farm, unpasteurized, and delivered every morning. Now that we are in Canada, our plate is predominantly plant-based, lots of spices and herbs, a variety of meats (mostly chicken), and small portioned communal dishes. In terms of lifestyle, we are pretty busy and on the go all the time with work, side projects, and just life in general but we try our best to have downtime and space for nature. We love bring outside, that’s our zen place. Growing up in Jerusalem, Ala and I really acquired the taste of local because everything around us was local. The term is so popularized now that it’s just become a buzzword, but our vision is to be the go-to local biz where you know you can get the best juice in town. We had this shop in Jerusalem – which would now be called a juicery – growing up that made all kinds of juices, or “cocktails” as they called them. On our way to school we’d see the shopkeeper unloading sacks of carrots, watermelons, etc from his beat up little Subaru and we’d skip out of school early to stand in line for a cup of fresh pressed carrot juice. Now he passed on that shop to his sons and they still to this day run to the local farmers, gets their fresh produce, and make fresh pressed juice. That local pride is what we strive for. We want to bring the authentic taste of fresh and local to Edmonton as much as we can with a globalized food system. All we can say is keep your eyes peeled for our local shack one day!”
THE NITTY GRITTY 😈
I have yet to find a book on juicing that is evidence-based, scientifically sound, and doesn’t promote one-way thinking in terms of health. There is always something missing for my taste buds. Mind you, I can’t say that I have read them ALL. I’ll tell you one of my absolute favourite books on health that is capturing, eye-opening, and innovative is Life: The Epic Story of Mitochondria by ND Lee Know. I think everyone should read this book because from it you will understand your body better and you’ll appreciate why cold pressed juice, for example, is such a valuable tool in your healthy toolbox.
Ala will follow you to the moon and back for a piece of really, really good cheese and you can probably get Kareema to do anything for a piece of chocolate – especially a kit kat!
Okay okay okay. Let’s talk about the juice. I tried 5 of them and each one was so very distinct in taste. I was able to indulge guilt-free, as obviously they follow my nutritional standards. They source certified organic ingredients which come from mostly the US, Peru and Mexico with some coming from BC and Alberta during the growing season. The goal is to be fully local soon. You read the ingredients on the bottle, and when you drink it you can taste each one individually.
My least favourite: Hot 105.
It could have just been my stomach that day, and this one may be your favourite – but at the time, it felt like a boxing match in my stomach. It was counterintuitive to drink something that was a little bit spicy, like drinking a condiment. I’m sure if I had it again, it wouldn’t catch me by surprise so I could actually enjoy it.
Absolute favourite: Blackmud Creek
My god, I’ve been having nightmares about this. First of all, it’s an activated charcoal drink so it’s pitch black, but as soon as I had a tiny taste, I looked at my roommate wide-eyed. He said, “……..what?” I was like, “Oh no… it’s so damn good.” And then I chugged it. I’m a huge believer in slow eating and acknowledging the nutrients you are absorbing so it was crazily, uncontrollably good. 10/10, will be ordering more.
Overall: I think it’s a really good way to get the nutrients you lack but if you aren’t already eating healthy, I wouldn’t expect it to change your life. If you don’t like the taste of vegetables, you probably won’t like the juice. It doesn’t disguise itself as anything it’s not. Nothing can substitute a well rounded diet. These are the perfect accentuation to a wholistic lifestyle.