Liquid Diet

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Sip your calories—and daily dose of vitamins—in a delicious raw juice or smoothie.  – By Ashley Breeding | Photos by Edgar Obrand

IMG_3202Pioneer of the raw food movement, Dr. IMG_2876Norman Walker proved—when he cured himself of illness by way of juicing “living foods” a century ago—that this sort of diet could lead to a healthier, longer life. And so the concept of liquid dining came about.

You can now find fresh shakes and smoothies on almost every corner across health-conscious California, claiming to do everything from boost energy to soothe your soul. Experts agree these claims are true, as long as you’re getting organic, fresh produce without artificial additives or sugar.

“I’m a big proponent of juicing and smoothies—particularly green ones,” says local nutritionist Jen Hoy, who practices in both Laguna Beach and New York. “They have incredible healing benefits.”

When it comes to choosing between the two, no one drink fits all, Jen says. “Smoothies provide all of the plant fiber (just make sure to chew them so your body releases digestive enzymes),” she explains. “Juicing provides all of the essence of the plants and is great for someone who is trying to lose weight and has excess energy reserves (fat). It’s also great for people with digestive issues because the food is already broken down.”

Look for greens like kale, spinach and super cleansing dandelion greens, Jen says, with mango, pineapple and kiwi, and a touch of ginger root and lemon.

“For a heavier shake with more calories, I like to add soaked nuts or nut butters like walnuts, almonds or pecans, and vegan pea powder.”

Here, we’ve stirred up a list of spots in Laguna Beach to grab a wholesome drink when you’re not in the mood to make your own. Whether you’re on the go and don’t have time to spare for a sit-down meal, or you’re just looking to condense your daily dose of vitamins in a shot (or shake), Laguna Beach’s health-conscious cafes offer a tall list of deliciously drinkable meals.

Orange Inn

Home of The Original Smoothie, the old Orange Inn on the ocean side of Coast Highway has been serving up this tasty classic since the 1930s. Staying true to the thought from the days of yore, simple is still best. A blend of strawberries, bananas, dates, freshly made juice, bee pollen and crushed ice (for an extra 75 cents, they’ll mix in some protein powder), this tall drink of juice will keep you coming back. (949-494-6085;

Anastasia Ca

IMG_3120In order to maintain sufficient shopping stamina at Anastasia Boutique, you’ll need proper nourishment. Next door, the cafe offers two organic, fresh-pressed juices: The Vampire has a bit of a bite with blood-red beets, carrots, oranges and super-cleansing celery. The Poison, ironically, detoxifies with spinach, celery and sweet pineapple. (494-497-8903;

Active Culture

Whether you’re looking for a morning starter or afternoon treat, the folks at Active Culture can satisfy your craving. Offering a menu of eight different shakes and five smoothies, each is blended with organic fruits and vegetables, and caters to gluten-, soy- and dairy-free diets (most use raw house-made almond milk). Try the Pick-Me-Up smoothie (kale, watermelon, pineapple and almond milk) to get your day going, or the Chocolate Bliss Shake on your midday break (a delicious blend of coconut, dark chocolate, raw cocoa powder, vanilla and almond milk). Or, create your own from an abundant list of healthy ingredients. (949-715-5188)

Living Juice

Loyal Living Juice customers will be delighted to learn that this once online- and Laguna Beach farmers market-only business has recently opened a retail location in the Lumberyard. No more waiting until Saturday mornings or 48 hours for deliveries: You can pick up all of your favorite vegetable and fruit juices on the spot (cleansing packages must be ordered in advance). Each of the 14 blends, with more in the works, are pressed via 2,000 pounds of hydraulic pressure, a heat-free method devised by Dr. Norman Walker that retains all of the nutrients. (949-427-5154;

The Stand

This vegan shack, standing in the heart of Laguna’s Village, has long been loved for its fresh carrot and watermelon juices—made on the spot, in a juicer, in their purest form. Newer to the menu is a cleansing citrus blend and a mixed green juice, made with spinach, celery, cucumber, kale, zucchini and chard. They’ll also toss in some beets and carrots if you ask for it. Any of these can be turned into a smoothie with just a little apple juice and crushed ice. (949-494-8101)

Nekter Juice Bar

One of the original juice cleanse companies to ripen in Southern California, Nekter Juice Bar has opened shop in the old Golden Spoon spot on Broadway. In addition to offering its one- to five-day cleanses, the menu features six juices and six smoothies, boasting a variety of benefits (glowing skin, immune-building antioxidants, increased energy, a toxin flush) through locally grown pressed vegetables and fruits. Even the Chocolate Dream dessert smoothie contains good-for-you ingredients like avocado, dates and nut milk (800-385-1650;

Whole Foods Market

Grab a ticket from the juice counter, fill it out, and in just a few minutes, you’ll have a delicious to-go shake. The Green & Glowing smoothie is packed with spinach, pineapple and mango that will leave your skin glowing. You have the option of a rice, soy or coconut milk base, and a shot of protein powder. For something on the lighter side, opt to have it juiced and not blended. The benefits are the same. Don’t care for this particular concoction? You can also create your own. (949-376-7888)

Coffee Pub

Tucked in Laguna’s Lumberyard, the Coffee Pub is the perfect place to relax with The Laguna Beach Indy and a cup of juice. The pub’s fruit smoothie is made with apple juice and fruit of your choice: peach, mango, strawberry, strawberry-mango or acai. Just ask them to hold the sugary syrup. (949-494-5334) LBM


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