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Behind The Scenes In the years sInce these outlets opened theIr doors locally, we’ve all had an extra reason to fall In love wIth fresh juIces and smoothIes. JO CARUANA meets the man behInd the vIbrant, malta-grown brand to dIscover hIs genuIne love of all thIngs fresh, fruIty and healthy.

Dr

Juice I often wish that healthy eating was easier. Glaring at a bowl of steamed vegetables, I find myself grumbling about why this sort of food can’t look and taste better. Then I remember the magic of the smoothie and suddenly things don’t seem quite so grim.

And if there’s any one brand that has proved just how brilliant smoothies are, it’s Dr Juice – the smoothie and juice bar that has managed to attract everyone from health-food fanatics to junk-food-aholics, and keep them sweet. So what is its secret? “Well, Dr Juice is all about squeezing the most out of life,” grins John Winfield, the company’s charismatic young founder. “When I moved to Malta in 2004, I was quick to discover the distinct lack of accessible healthy products for people on the go. At that point, I made it my mission

to seek out the finest flavours, fruits and vegetables from around the world, and then sought international suppliers who could deliver the right mix of raw ingredients to create the perfect smoothie.” After months of hard work, John unveiled the first Dr Juice bar in Spinola Bay in August 2008. It has since mushroomed – with a further five outlets in Malta and one in Sicily. “Most people assume Dr Juice is a franchise and are often surprised to learn it was started right here in Malta,” says John. “But we’re certainly proud to be local.” There’s no denying the fact that Dr Juice eatIng & drInkIng 41


Behind The Scenes is a Maltese success story, and John puts it all down to the product – freshly squeezed smoothies and juices that prove you can enjoy something really delicious, even when on a health kick. “People have embraced the healthy, fun side to Dr Juice,” continues John, a dad-of-one whose little son already loves a smoothie or two every day. “They relish the taste and unique flavour, and also feel good about themselves after enjoying one of our products – they’re a great, guilt-free experience.”

“Smoothies are packed full of different vitamins and minerals, they have also sorts of specific health-related benefits.” And there’s no reason why people shouldn’t feel great about themselves after a Dr Juice. Thanks to the fact that they are packed full of different vitamins and minerals, they have also sorts of specific healthrelated benefits – from providing an energy boost or helping to detox, to targeting specific issues. Plus, the fact that all this ‘goodness’ has been liquidised, means that the body absorbs it all immediately, so the benefits are felt at once. “This year we’ll be taking things a step further,” John continues, referring to Dr Juice’s new menu, which is due to be launched shortly. “Our innovative range of super juices has been engineered with health in mind every step of the way. We have done our research and have worked with experts, including nutritionist Daniel Petre, to ensure that each drink has the right mix of ingredients to help our customers realise specific health benefits, and the results will be fantastic. “These drinks are designed for people who have particular health-related objectives in mind. Whether it’s detoxing, weight loss, muscle building, liquid lunches, lactose free smoothies or increasing fibre levels, we will have a recipe engineered to suit most requests. There will be a strong local connection there too – we’ll be using seasonal ingredients as much as possible and packing our products full of Maltese oranges, pomegranates, strawberries and watermelon.” Inspired by his own upbringing on smoothies and fresh juices (John’s mum starts her day with a fresh juice made from half an avocado, three apples, three sticks 42 eatIng & drInkIng

of celery and some cucumber – and has felt the benefits her whole life), John is also determined to spread the word that little bit further. With that in mind, he recently launched the Fruit For Life campaign, which targets young people and inspires them to eat more fruit and vegetables. “I believe that our brand, with its fun approach and bright colours, has a lot to give youngsters. I want them to at least try

Top Tip! Don’t have a juice extractor? Not to worry! You can make fresh apple juice by peeling and coring an apple, and then popping it whole into a blender.

Fruity Facts • Putting lemon  juice  on apples or

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avocados will stop them going brown. This is all thanks to the antioxidants they contain. The World Health Organisation considers frozen fruits to be equally as beneficial as fresh ones. Smoothies can count towards up to two of your five-a-day. A handful of strawberries can contain 100 per cent of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C. Apples are a great source of pectin, a soluble fibre that aids digestion. When peeling an orange, try to preserve the pith, as a lot of the nutrients are stored here.

our product and to understand what goes into making it. “We’re going to be going into schools with our new Juice Bug (a very eye-catching Dr Juice van) and encouraging them to taste, try, mix and enjoy our juices and smoothies. “I’m really compelled to make as much of a difference as I can through healthy food and Dr Juice is my avenue for that. It’s been so exciting to watch people’s reactions over the past five years, and things have come on in leaps and bounds since. Now we’re at the crossroads and want to hike things up a notch. I believe it is an exciting time for Dr Juice, and an exciting time for Malta.”

Smoothie & Juice Recipes TRY THEM AT HOME! AFTER-SCHOOL SMOOTHIE This is an after-school treat for kids that is packed full of calcium and potassium. Its low glycemic index factor also makes it a slow-release energy drink. Ingredients: 1 medium passion fruit • 1 medium banana • 180ml low fat milk or fortified soy milk • 60gr of live vanilla yoghurt. Scoop out the passion fruit flesh and pop into a blender. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

LIQUID BREAKFAST This is a perfect, nutritious breakfast smoothie, which can be made from accessible produce to give your body an instant boost. Ingredients: 1 medium banana • 50gr of fresh or frozen blueberries • 40gr muesli • 60gr live active yoghurt • Splash of manuka honey • 2 teaspoons wheat germ. TIP: Keep some berries in the freezer; they’re delicious, nutritious and can be added to almost every juice and smoothie combination.

HOT LEMON TONIC If you’re feeling a little under the weather, this drink will give you a fantastic boost. The lemon provides vitamin C, the ginger and chilli powder help to clear the sinuses and the honey soothes a sore throat. Ingredients: 150ml boiling water • 1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest • 60ml fresh lemon juice • 1 teaspoon of grated ginger • 3 teaspoons of honey (or to taste) • Pinch of chilli powder or cayenne pepper (for children perhaps omit chilli powder).


The Man Behind the Juice! - E&D Feature