Tameko Richard wanted to create a place in Lansing where people could buy healthy smoothies. After five years of development, she and her husband, Vernon, opened Juice Nation. Just last month, the smoothie shop celebrated their one year anniversary and introduced new menu items — including some new smoothie flavors — and their new name.
The shop, formerly known as Eden’s Juice, provides a wide variety of unique and colorful smoothie flavors including Richard’s favorite — Mango Mania — which is full of mangos, banana and guava nectar. Other flavors include Pomelicious (with pomegranate juice, strawberries and blueberries) and the brand new Go Green (with mangos, pineapples and spinach). They also recently introduced non-dairy sorbets to go with their zero fat, low calorie frozen yogurts — the most popular yogurt flavor is Blueberry Tart among others such as Key Lime and Pomaberry.
What’s best about their products — aside from tasting great — is that they’re good for you, too, say the Richards.
“We use all whole fruits — no sugars, no syrups. We only use honey to sweeten, and we use deionized ice so you’re getting all natural products that are much healthier for you,” Richard said. “You don’t have to have a huge meal, and you can get full off the smoothie. It’s like a meal replacement.”
Richard has always watched what she eats, and she wanted to bring that same health consciousness to the Lansing area.
“I just wanted to change my lifestyle to become healthier,” she said. “I wanted to bring that to the market so people could be more conscious about what they’re putting into their bodies.”
Richard puts a big emphasis on their use of wheat grass — which is grown right inside the shop — and for good reason. Wheat grass provides 98 vitamins and minerals, and it lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, takes toxins out of your body and has more protein than meat. This power food is available to customers in a 1 or 2-ounce shot.
“In that 1-ounce you’re consuming 2 pounds of leafy green vegetables,” Richard said. “Energy wise, (it’s) three cups of coffee without the caffeine and the jitter.”
Wheat grass is also featured in the most interesting item on their menu, the Grand Slam. It is taken as five consecutive shots containing wheat grass, ginger, cranberry juice, lemon juice and lastly, pineapple juice acting as a chaser.
“The energy level in that gets people wanting to try it,” Richard said. “People are becoming more health conscious, so they actually know about wheat grass. You just have to inform them a little bit more, and then they’ll definitely do the wheat grass. They come in and see people doing the shots, and they want to do shots and bring the whole office down and do shots together. Once people try it, they are so amazed at the effect.”
Josh and Rachel Piland frequently order the Grand Slam and take advantage of its nutritional benefits.
“It has so many health benefits, and it just makes you feel better afterward,” Rachel said. “It’s so much better than drinking coffee or something caffeinated, but it gives you all the benefits of that. It’s fun, too — it’s a blast.”
Richard herself drinks up to five ounces of wheat grass a day, so she personally promotes it with ease.
Like wheat grass, the environment inside Juice Nation is full of energy. As customers walk into the bright green and orange smoothie shop right on Washington Square, they will, no doubt, be given an enthusiastic greeting. From behind the counter, the Richards oftentimes hand out free samples to waiting customers. And with your smoothie also comes a slice of delicious poppy seed bread.
“It’s been a lot of research, a lot of reading and looking at what things are more natural and beneficial to the body and what helps the body replenish itself,” Richard said. “The community has been very accepting to us.”
Editor’s Note: At the time of publication Juice Nation has not yet undergone their name change. Currently their name is still Eden’s Juice.