When Anna Garcia had some health issues come up, she knew she needed to change her lifestyle. Living in New York City, she said it was very difficult to hang out with people because she couldn’t drink. “It’s a very cultural thing,” she said. “When you want to hang out, you say ‘let’s go grab a drink.’”
But Anna soon realized it’s about the person you are with and not the drink. She had a birthday coming up, so she decided to put a spin on the traditional pub crawl. Instead of drinking, she did a juice crawl with friends where she hopped around to different juice bars in the city. She put it on Twitter, and her first official juice crawl in 2014 sold out. She has had just short of twenty juice crawls with up to 50 people attending.
A private flight attendant Verity Hatfield posted a photo at a juice shop on Instagram, and @juicecrawl liked it. That’s how she heard about Anna’s juice crawls. She decided to attend one when she was visiting New York for work. “I search out healthy things to do when I travel,” she said. “This is a really unique thing.”
The craze is a very positive, health-motivated trend. The main objective was to establish a setting where people could have a healthy mindset while also being social. “Social and healthy,” Anna said. “That’s what it’s about.”
Verity said that it was mainly for her to try a different sort of tour of the city that was unique. The event was fun without the grueling hangover the next day. “You’re with a group of people that are like-minded that are really focused on health and fitness,” Verity said. “It’s a way to social without having the pressure of drinking alcohol.”
Verity said she appreciated the change from the normal drinking scene. The juice crawl is the healthier alternative to drinking alcohol while still being sociable.
Dana Gutt also attended a juice crawl, three in fact. Dana said that she loves juicing, healthy food, clean eating, and New York City. The juice sampling is combined with a workout, so participants don’t have to miss their workouts to do something fun.
One main focus of this healthy trend is mindfulness, or being more aware of the present moment. People are becoming more aware of their health and what they need to do to stay healthy. “You don’t have to drink to have fun,” Anna said.
Verity’s juice crawl started with a meditation class at Athleta and a sample of cold-pressed juice from Daily Greens. After class, they got another juice sample before embarking to Terri, The Juice Shop, and The Juice Press in the Flatiron District of NYC. The Mother F*#%in’ Fireball is not the cinnamon whiskey shots served to college students at bars and fraternity houses, but it is a spicy orange drink with cayenne, ginger, and oregano oil.
Dana appreciated starting off the day with a yoga class. “You’re nice and relaxed, and you can go out for juice and not be totally drenched in sweat.”
Jordan McMullen has been to two very different kinds of juice crawls, one in Brooklyn and one night tour in SoHo. The one in Brooklyn started out with a yoga class at the Laughing Lotus before hitting up the juice bars.
There are some perks to doing a social activity while being sober, the people involved pointed out. Anna said that people have mentioned they enjoy meeting people when they’re sober. People will start to become friends, even go on dates, after a juice crawl.
Verity said that the whole group had some fun, interesting conversations, starting with juice and then venturing off into other areas. She mentioned that she would love to bring a group of friends to do it. “You actually remember the conversations as opposed to going out drinking,” she said.
Dana, having gone on three juice crawls, said that the group started to feel like family when she started knowing the people who go on it. She described meeting people who have the same kind of values as her. Instead of harming your body while drinking, you are doing something good for yourself while being social, she said. “I did the party scene in college,” Dana said. “I wish there was a juice crawl when I was in college.”
Jordan’s opinion mirrored those of Verity and Dana. She saw it as a way to go out and meet people without drinking. She said she gets really bad migraines, so she ditched the bad hangovers for the healthier alternative of juicing. Her self-proclaimed favorite part was meeting people she could actually have intelligent conversations with as opposed to mindless, alcohol-fueled ramblings.
Anna is flying solo right now, but she hopes to set up juice crawls in other cities, such as DC, LA, Portland, and Boston. As Verity put it, “It’s such a simple idea, but it’s such a great idea. I’ll look for it in other cities.”
There is actually a wide age range of people who go on juice crawls. All ages come out and unite over the common desire to be healthy. Verity, for example, is 37-years-old.
Verity said that the juice crawl is part of an overall effort to stay healthy in general, not to prevent one specific kind of disease or anything like that. Drinking, she added, is not a healthy activity long term.
Dana mentioned that even some juices need to be limited. The ones with lots of sugar aren’t going to be as healthy an option as, for example, a green juice. Luli Tonix has a great green juice called Kick!, with kale, chard, and lettuce with hints of lemon and mint to detoxify, nourish, and energize. “There definitely has to be a balance between sugar in juices and vegetables,” Dana said, who has been active in juicing for two years now.
Jordan, a personal trainer, said she likes to have a green juice everyday, or at least a wheat grass shot. She said she would much rather have a cold-pressed juice than one that has been purchased from a store in a bottle. The juices are much more potent when they are fresh. The cold press machine doesn’t use heat or a blade. Instead, it uses hydraulic pressure for a much more nutrient-rich juice that doesn’t lose it’s enzymes.
Photo courtesy Flickr creative commons.