Seven weeks into the new year, I decided to dust off my resolutions list and focus on number one: health. With the welcomed addition of Huntington Beach's second Nekter Juice Bar helping to ring in the new year, I thought why not kill two birds with one stone. Give the new Main Street spot a shot and detox the holiday gluttony. I carved out three days devoted to guzzling juice, and I honestly can't wait to do it again. The results, my friends, were incredible. And so is the Orange County-based company.
Founded in 2010 by health-conscious couple Steve and Alexis Schulze, Nekter first opened its doors in Costa Mesa. The mission was simple: squeeze the freshest fruits and vegetables to bring the local community the healthiest, most affordable concoctions in town. Flash forward to 2014, and the growing neighborhood juice bar has expanded into more than 20 locations throughout Southern California, as well as set up shop in both Texas and Arizona. Customers looking for a natural glow, buzz or flush can order up fresh juice at the counter, and those seeking a needed detox can get their cleanse on for up to five days.
The Schulzes have managed to pack 15 pounds of cold-pressed produce into each bottle of cleanse juice, and drinking six bottles daily supplies the brave detoxing soul with between 800 to 1,200 calories. Customers can opt for the classic or advanced cleanse and one, two, three or five days of resetting, renewing, flushing and revitalizing. Online ordering makes for a fast and convenient pickup at the store, where the precious cargo will be neatly packed into complimentary Nekter cooler totes—ready to break customers of their naughty processed food habits. Cleansing rookies need not fret about the details. Entertaining instructions are included.
Hardly a newbie to cleansing, I've challenged myself to just about every cleanse out there, from the intense Master Cleanse to the more gentle Ayurvedic khichadi cleanse. The Nekter classic and advanced cleanses are two of the simplest cleanses I've endured, and once my detoxing days were up, I actually missed my juices. That's right. I craved cleansing. Nekter makes cleansing easy and convenient, bottling up six tasty, nutrient-dense juice concoctions for the day that are numbered one through six. Roughly every two hours, a bottle gets guzzled, and the key is to drink as much water as possible in between. As a general rule of thumb, we should drink half of our weight in ounces of water daily, cleansing or not.
Sadly, due to a lack of sales, Nekter recently discontinued their organic juice cleanse line, but the classic and advanced cleanses are still here to help. Here's a peek at what the classic cleanse day looks like:
Now let's take a look at my three days of both the classic and advanced Nekter cleanses.
Day 1 // Wednesday
I'm walking the dog, drinking my #1 and feeling pretty good about life at about 9 a.m. Surprisingly, I'm quite full, though that may be thanks to the hefty dinner I consumed the night prior in preparation for three days of not eating.
A couple hours later, I'm loving the coconut water in my #2, though I'm not loving the wave of diarrhea that ensues. A co-worker mentions peanut butter toast and ignites a flash of rage deep within me. I remind myself that I signed up for this and will soon feel even more awesome than peanut butter toast.
By midday, the habitual urge to chew on something has grown quite apparent. Luckily my #3 proves delicious and saves my appetizing arm.
At 1:30 p.m. I walk into a meeting where four women, unaware of my current state, are happily eating salads. The handy bowl of SunChips nearly sends me over the edge, but I practice restraint. My stomach growls through the entire hourlong interview.
An hour and a half later, nausea, which is likely the result of dehydration, sets in. While my mood is light, I'm feeling rather spacey. The zippy cayenne pepper and welcomed heat in my #4 wakes me up and spurs Master Cleanse flashbacks.
As the day fades into evening, I find myself gifted with a quieter mind and crystal clear urine. By 5 p.m., however, my mind is consumed with thoughts of hunger, starvation and sandwiches. I daydream about what I'll eat for breakfast on Saturday and Native Foods' hearty Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger.
I sing aloud as I crack open my #6. It tastes like Heaven. Later in the evening fatigue wins, and I'm ready for bed by 8 p.m.
Day 2 // Thursday
I wake up feeling light, bright and sleepy. I'm relieved to find my dog safely snoozing beside me, free of my own desperate teethmarks. Rising from my slumber proves extra trying. I chug my #1 and sip some green tea later in the morning, then own up to the fact that I'm failing miserably in the water consumption department. Time to flush out those toxins.
My excitement for the morning comes in the form of a fully formed green number two. An expected diarrhea episode leads me into the afternoon. On the plus side, my skin appears rosy and glowing, feels soft and is healing noticeably faster than usual.
The spicy #4 tastes better today, and around 2 p.m. I'm daydreaming about three very important things: naps, avocados and Native Foods (again). Come 6 p.m., I submit to a nap—a luxury I rarely embrace.
In the evening I'm bewildered by the absence of starvation. It actually feels nice to experience mild hunger pangs.
Day 3 // Friday
It's the final countdown. I'm not sure if it's the cleanse or the knowledge that I'll be allowed to eat tomorrow, but getting out of bed proves easier today. I'm not starving, and mentally, I feel quite energetic.
Today I'm trying the advanced cleanse, a welcomed change from the previous two days. The ginger in my #2 lemonade packs a nice new smack, and I drink my #5 beet drink down with glee. Always a sweet ending, my #6 tastes more amazing every time.
By now drinking six bottles of juice seems routine, and my system happily absorbs the nutrients. I can't believe how easy this cleanse has been. As a pescetarian who typically eats clean and drinks little caffeine, I thankfully experience minimal headaches during my cleanse. Other aforementioned detox symptoms were to be expected.
Post-Day // Saturday
I arise knowing that in a few hours, my three-day daydream will become a delicious reality. Jumping on the scale, I'm elated to see a drop of 3.8 pounds. After high-fiving myself, I reluctantly pull out the measuring tape, and boom, down 7 inches.
Instead of shoveling food into my mouth for my first two meals, I stick to two Isagenix superfood shakes, then enter Native Foods with more excitement than any previous customer. When the crowded plate lands in front of me, the meal looks impossibly huge. Each bite tastes divine, but my first post-cleanse meal isn't as exciting as it has been in the past. Perhaps this is because I never felt like I was starving during the Nekter cleanse, and variety is the spice of life.
In the days following the cleanse, I found myself missing my juices and the brilliant mental clarity I'd attained while drinking them. The purity was short-lived, but it's something we should all experience at least once in our lives, preferably daily during our days.
Aside from its tasty juices, Nekter also serves up smoothies, shots, acai bowls and healthy snacks created in nearby kitchens. Custom orders are welcomed, like adding a post-workout protein boost, substituting nut milks or sprinkling in a little cayenne zing to a ginger shot. "We got you covered," promises Alexis.
Looking to the future, Steve talks of a more streamlined ordering process and yummy new menu additions. "We are focusing now on rebranding Nekter into something bigger and better," he says. "A new experience for our guests that includes online ordering so you no longer need to wait for your drink to be made, new logo and modern farm-fresh design in our stores and a new line of bottled juices and salads."
With Alexis' zen-like summation of Nekter's neighborhood contributions, we feel it's safe to say the new Main Street locale is in the right place: "Nekter is the perfect place to go in the morning post-surf and get your daily sip of green sunshine," she says. Cheers to that, Surf City.