19 years ago, one icy cold winter, I landed in New York City for the first time ever. Having seen the New York skyline in transit from Los Angeles to Manchester the previous year, it had captured my imagination big time! The following year I decided to make it my mission to go and explore this magical looking place, never imagining that it was a trip that was to change the direction of my life. Prior to that, I had worked in research for publications for a well known drug support agency, producing harm reduction materials for substance (mis)users, a job I also enjoyed very much. I've always been invested in healing - you could definitely say it's my life purpose and passion.
Stepping off the plane and re-orienting myself, I made my way to my lodgings in the Chelsea area of Manhattan, taking in the old glory of Brooklyn Bridge, the impressive presence of the Twin Towers (they were still there then), the crazy wonder of the Flatiron building and the art deco magic of the Empire State, amongst many other things. The people, the crazy colourful people, the energy, the creativity on display (pre-Giuliani!) and the wild busyness of the 'walk/don't walk' culture was the order of the day and I was captivated.
Juice bars where everywhere in NYC then, they still are, but in the UK at that time, they were a relatively new thing. Hardly anyone had taken up the juice health baton in the way they have now.
As I explored the city, constantly looking up (my friend had told me that New Yorkers always recognise a tourist from the fact they're always looking up!) at the crazy high skyscrapers and fully immersing myself in this buzzing city, it was then that I discovered her first juice bar. Weary from walking so many blocks (everything seems to close in NYC as you measure the location by the building and they're all visible as they're all so tall!), I gazed at the crazy creative range of choices, rarely having seen so many obscure menu items and green veg in one place. Kale was not the trendy thing it is today, so this menu was like a wonderful melee of unknown ingredients to me. I ordered, took my first sip and quite literally felt the energy flooding back into my body, restoring my bone-tired traveller's spirit within minutes. This sh*t was good! It worked. I ordered another, and the next day I went back.
This is how it went for the rest of my trip....rooting out as many juice bars as I could, exploring menus ranging from weird to wonderful, dull to delicious, I observed above all else that this daily habit was making me feel great! My favourite was Life Thyme, a whole food store with a juice bar located in Alphabet City in the East side of the city (it's still there and going strong). The lovely guy on the juice bar became a friend, and my daily habit was (unbeknown to me then) gradually becoming a dream.
As the end of my trip approached, I found myself sitting and reflecting on it all in Battery Park, the green space overlooking the bay, so named as it was the original site for the battery of canons which protected the city from invaders and would be colonisers (irony acknowledged!). Something in me knew this was my path, knew that I wanted to provide this energy boosting goodness for others, and knew that despite my lack of experience in this field, a dream had birthed. Dreams and passions will carry a person a very long way, through all kinds of perceived obstacles and into possibility, and so my seed of hope was sewn right there in that New York park.
My first juice bar Battery Park, named after that lightbulb moment, opened in July 1999 exactly 6 months after my trip. It was opened on a shoestring budget with little more than the love and support of friends, some very practical help to build the interior of the shop and a menu based upon providing that same level of nutrient-dense, health giving goodness I had experienced in New York. Following the opening, I was interviewed twice by mainstream television about this new 'thing' I had brought to Manchester. I was interviewed for local magazines and radio shows; I was amazed! People wanted to hear about this thing!
My third child was born into that juicing era in April 2000 less than a year after we'd opened. We weaned him on juices and he still juices to this day (he's 18 tomorrow!), and my love of the magic and potency of juicing for health is as strong now as it was then.
Please get in touch if you want to know more about juicing, about my work or if you have any questions. I will always do my best to answer them, and will let you know if I can't - nobody knows everything and I'm not into guru culture, so please know there's no such thing as a stupid question (is that actually true?!). Everybody has to start somewhere, so change your life today. Get your juice on!
CHANGE YOUR LIFE!
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