The newest bar on Sanford Avenue might surprise you. Tucked among our town’s craft cocktail and imported beer havens, Roots Raw Juice Bar invites you to toast your health and do something nice for your body! This is a featured post*
Now, for some, the idea of a juice bar might immediately conjure an image of a super judgmental health nut owner who is out to tell you everything you’re doing wrong in your life. Nothing could be further from reality at Roots. Meet Jenn, the owner of Roots Raw Juice Bar Sanford FL and tender of all things nutritious. Her self-stated mission is to help her guests make good decisions for their bodies, even in a society overwhelmed by a backwards perspective on food. Jenn strives to provide accessible good nutrition in the most simple, down-to-earth way possible, which isn’t surprising given her own health journey.
Back to Basics
Jenn grew up with some solid values when it came to food. “Growing up, we always ate at home. My dad was a farmer, and we had fresh everything,” she said, from produce, to eggs and milk. Her upbringing was a far cry from the land of processed food most kids grow up in today. But as she approached her young adulthood, it became clear that this sort of food mentality is pretty tough to avoid, even for a farmer’s daughter.
“I kind of lost it as an adult,” she told me. “In my 20s I was all about fast food and processed food and it just made me feel horrible. I was 35 pounds overweight, which is huge for me because I’m only five feet tall, and I just didn’t feel good. I was tired all the time and had insomnia and all of these aliments, and I just thought, ‘Why, why do I feel so bad all the time?’. I just felt that I had to change, I had to go back to my roots!”
For Jenn, that meant living cleaner. She stopped smoking and began cutting out processed sugar and other ingredients. “Sugar is a worse addiction than nicotine, believe it or not,” she said. “And most people don’t even realize they’re addicted. Nicotine leaves the body in only three days.” She went on to point out that it’s mentality that keeps people dependent on sugary, corn syrupy substances, and other things that hurt your health.
So after years of research and looking after her own nutrition, Jenn is bringing her passion for health to Sanford. At Roots, she provides a bevy of organic and locally sourced ingredients, the equipment, and know-how to help anyone come in and make smarter choices for their body without skimping on taste. As soon as you walk into the clean, bright space, it’s clear that Jenn runs a no frills, no gimmicks operation. Everything is about the goodness.
Sanford’s Best Juice
So let’s talk about the juice! Jenn offers a plethora of tried-and-true juice combinations on her menu, with lively names like “Sunburst” and “Spicy Lemonade”. Each juice and smoothie is designed to taste yummy while providing most of the day’s vitamins and nutrients. But don’t be afraid if you want to add or subtract ingredients! All of Roots’ delectable, responsibly sourced produce is available for the taking. Jenn’s passion for only the best fruits and vegetables leads the way at Roots, so all of the produce at Roots is all as local as possible, and almost all of it is organic.
Wait a second, what’s the difference between a juice and a smoothie, you ask? The juices at Roots are made in a centrifugal juicer that separates the pulp from the juice, whereas smoothies are made in a blender, leaving in all of the fiber and texture.
But why stop at the fruits and veggies when you can add fun extras like coconut oil, spirulina, and (my personal favorite!) chia? Roots carries a slew of different nutrient rich ingredients to beef up your “cocktail” for $1 each. Jenn says her current favorite juice is “Go Bananas”, a tasty mix of banana, raw cacao, and hemp protein that will fill you up and keep you energized.
Recipes for Success: an Ingredient Guide
The whole concept of Roots is centered on doing nice things for your body that just make you feel good. So what if you want your juice to help you with something specific? Roots has you covered. Here are Jenn’s recommendations of ingredients you can put to work!
For clarity, try chia. These little seeds of joy promote brain health via omega-3 and have a unique “jelly” texture when they hit liquid, adding extra excitement to your juice.
For digestion, add some hemp seed to your juice. Hemp is super high in fiber and is one of nature’s more easily digestible proteins, making it a great way to give your digestive system a jumpstart.
For morning sickness, try a little ginger. This spicy root messes with serotonin receptors, putting a stop to nausea. It also pairs great with almost anything, so expectant moms can mix and match whatever they feel like.
For hydration, give the Green Juice a go. This emerald colored juice is packed with cucumbers, kale, and apple, which all help you stay hydrated while tasting way more interesting than your average glass of water.
For your skin, go for blueberries. These juicy little berries do a great job of reducing oil production and promoting circulatory health, which is a perfect recipe for helping you get that glow!
For keeping from getting sick, add pineapple to your juice or smoothie. This super fruit contains a ton of vitamin C and an enzyme that makes it five times more effective than cough syrup. (And I think we can all agree that it tastes better too!)
And of course, being a 20-something and living in a town with great bars, I had to ask Jenn what she would prescribe for hangovers! Her pick for a hangover cure has an awesome name: “Beet Me Up Scottie”. It’s a combination of beets, apples, lemons, ginger (remember what we said about reducing nausea?), and Sanford’s own star veggie, celery! “Beet root juice not only cleanses the liver but also helps detoxify alcohol toxicity. Celery also has a lot of calcium, which helps calm the central nervous system,” she said.
All About Roots Juice Cleanses
So now that you’ve heard the amazing health benefits to be had from juice at Roots, it won’t surprise you that many Sanfordites are already hooked, and some have even delved into the fresh-start, feel-good adventure of juice cleanses! “A cleanse is a great way to reboot your body,” Jenn told me. “There are so many things that we get exposed to that are out of our direct control, like air pollution. It’s nice just to give your body a break.”
So how does a cleanse work? Well,
1) Schedule your cleanse
Once you’ve decided to embark on your new healthy lifestyle, schedule it with Jenn. Two days prior to your cleanse, you’ll want to get a head start by avoiding meat, alcohol, and caffeine and begin chowing down on lots of raw, veggie based meals.
2) Let Jenn work her magic
3) Take it easy
Sip your juice over the next 24 hours, and get excited about the positive changes you’ll experience in your body. Jenn says to try one day, and if you love how you feel, then try a second day. She’ll help find just the right balance for you, and as she says, it’s all about baby steps!
It might sound a bit daunting at first, but anyone who has done a Roots cleanse will tell you that it is well worth it. If you don’t believe me, ask Paul Williams of the West End Trading Company, who is the only man in Sanford to complete a full five day cleanse to date. Congrats, Paul!
More Than Just Juice
You can make a healthy choice you’ll really be proud of when you round out your meal at Roots with one of Jenn’s homemade trail bars, complete with gluten free oats, chia seeds, dried fruits, natural peanut butter, honey, and other raw goodies. I tried one with my “Kickin’ Kale” smoothie and was in absolutely bliss while I sat in the window and watched the cars drive down Sanford Ave. There’s no added sugar or mystery ingredients, and I gotta say, I prefer these bars over cookies! (Bonus: the packaging is completely biodegradable!)
And now for perhaps the most invigorating shot you’ll ever take, Roots offers pressed wheatgrass! This little wonder contains the full roster of essential amino acids, and a full day’s worth of vitamins in a single tiny cup. It helps to break down toxins in your body, and unlike most shots, this one will make you feel good, even through the following day. I tried wheatgrass for the first time at Roots, and I absolutely love the taste. It’s bright, fresh, and slightly sweet. Order up a round of shots for your friends and chase with the chilled coconut water Jenn keeps stocked in her fridge.
Keep an eye out for new items; Jenn says she hopes to begin introducing her food items, such as soups and raw wraps in the very near future!
A Great New Neighbor
One of my favorite parts of Roots is how down to earth Jenn is, and how even though she has plenty to teach, she insists she’s not an expert–yet. While she has done voracious research for her own health for many years, she hopes to take her education a step further by enrolling in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition once she gets Roots settled into Sanford life. “I just want to learn so much more,” she said. “I love new knowledge. People come in asking, ‘oh have you tried this or that to help this’ and I say no, but I write it all down so I can research it.”
I think Jenn’s thirst for knowledge and delicious juices make a great addition to Sanford Ave, and I’m thrilled that we have such a great resource right here in Downtown Sanford. Her mantra is to keep things simple, and what better example than sipping an organic, locally made juice while getting to know the woman who made it? So take a jaunt down to Roots, introduce yourself to Jenn, and indulge in a little “daytime drinking”. Your body will thank you for it!
And pssssst…Don’t forget to bring the Roots coupon on your Sanford365 app! Available for iPhone and Android.
Roots Raw Juice Bar is located at 516 Sanford Ave. She is open Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm, and Saturday from 10am-4pm.
*I received compensation in exchange for writing this review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.