Business travel has been a bad influence on my diet and exercise. After a year and half of being on the road frequently, I’ve been forced to look into some options for dietary changes when traveling. On a recent business trip to New York and Paris I’ve started a little experiment with juicing. Cold press juicing has become more popular and I’ve noticed a variety of juice stores pop up in major cities. The “Fat, Sick, and nearly Dead” documentary also made an impression. Juicing seemed like a good way to incorporate more vegetables and fruit into my diet, even if I might not do it full-time right away.
Juicing in New York
Dean & Deluca
Dean & Deluca at Broadway and Spring st is packed with delicious treats. When you are swapping solid food for liquids, they also pack a few nice fresh pressed juices in the fridge. I trust that they are reasonably fresh, but I couldn’t help but wonder if the same juices there at the end of the day would wait for me the next morning. I assume so, and I assume that is OK. Nevertheless, I still prefer it to be solid shortly before I drink it, whenever possible. Saying “when in a pinch” doesn’t seem to do the juice enough justice, but when the ultra fresh juice is not an option the Dean & Deluca juices tick the boxes just fine as well. As far as selection goes it is a bit less exciting than JuiceWell, but reasonable.
VitaminChick [UPDATE: sadly, I just noticed VitaminChick is permanently closed. Updated March 3rd 2017]
The office I call home when I am in New York is in Soho, and conveniently located at 196 Spring street is VitaminChick. A small juice bar where you can buy bottled juices and smoothies, as well as freshly made-while-you-wait blends. The menu is reasonably sized, and I went over lunch to get a ‘healthy green’ smoothie from their menu. It tasted great, and it was whipped up faster than a fast food meal would be. As a smoothie, it also felt fairly filling and I was fine until about 6pm when it was time for a business dinner anyways. Having consumed only fresh juice and a smoothie for breakfast and lunch, the rice in my sushi dinner didn’t feel as ‘guilty’ as it might have otherwise.
The only suggestion for improvement at VitamineChick would be the option to create your own smoothie from a set list of ingredients. I felt a bit boxed in by the options available and some creative freedom would have been great, given the chance. To be fair, I did not ask if that was an option but if it was it wasn’t offered clearly.
JuiceWell [UPDATE: March 3rd 2017, this is also permanently closed. so sad. What is going on with New York and Juicing?]
I bought a few juices and some coconut water from JuiceWell. Their juices are made fresh daily, but not on site. They are sold bottled and the selection is as good as VitaminChick. I admit that I like seeing my smoothie or juice made fresh as I wait, but JuiceWell juices tasted quite fresh. I loved the infused coconut water, albeit a bit too expensive for regular consumption. I indulged because I figured it was a healthy treat to encourage me to keep juicing on my trip. JuiceWell’s opening hours are very convenient, opening as early as 8am. Their location is not obvious from the street, but you can find them in the lobby of 233 Spring St @ 6th Avenue.
Juicing in Paris
Paris was my next stop on my trip, followed by a quick one-day meeting in Montpellier. This meant I would be on a train for at least 4.5 hours, just getting off the train for a meeting. Chances of finding a real meal aside from what the local train stations offered were looking slim. Being quite happy with how I felt with juicing in New York I bravely typed in juice bar and all variations thereof (including in French) in Google Maps to search for options near my hotel. Juicing has not caught on yet in Paris as much as it has in New York, and it proved difficult to find options. There are definitely a few available, but any of these options would be an hour commute from my hotel. Eventually, I found Nubio, who are able to prepare and deliver your juices with just a couple of days notice. After I did the math, getting them delivered to my hotel really was the best way to go. The ladies at Nubio were also tremendously responsive and friendly when I confirmed by email first that delivering to my hotel would be no problem.
My two-day juice cleanse arrived in meal-sized bottles packaged in fancy boxes. It made being healthy feel decadent. It was nice that a green juice felt as chique as a croissant in a Parisian cafe. Except that it was much healthier of course.
The best part of juicing while I was travelling in France was exactly the same reason I thought it was going to be difficult: I was incredibly busy. Getting a cooked meal was an option once a day, at best, but I was completely fine thanks to having my juice available throughout the day. It is liberating when you don’t have to think about what or where to eat, and whether it is going to be somewhat healthy.
Juicing while traveling on business has been a great way to balance out some of the ‘road food’ that finds its way into the diet. In New York I still ate one meal a day with colleagues. If anything, on the New York portion of the trip I managed to consume more vegetables than I would normally. While at the same time enjoying some time to socialize over a meal in the evening. In Paris and Montpellier life was so hectic, with so many meetings compressed in very little time, that Nubio’s juices were a true life saver.
If life is all about balance, then juicing while traveling keeps my diet more on track. A nice side effect was seeing a positive effect on the scales once I returned home.