Sip on organic at Lakeland’s new juice bar

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Ever thought that combining pineapple, celery, ginger, and bell pepper and squeezing it through a juicer could produce something tasty? This drink, coined “Pineapple Express,” is one of many fresh-pressed juice drinks at the Juice Box Cafe a trendy, new organic stop in Lakeland.

Megan Lewman, the owner and founder of the café, has been juicing for quite a while now. Her passion for fresh juice and healthy food began with an attempt to lose weight. After diets failed, she targeted her eating habits and reinvented her lifestyle. Though Lewmen aspired to someday establish her own juice bar, it was always pushed to the back burner. Then an empty store became available that was the perfect size and fit. She jumped in.

“It just felt right,” Lewmen said. “I closed my eyes, held my breath, and signed the lease.”

While Lakeland has an eclectic amount of family owned and unique restaurants, healthy choices are lacking. The Juice Box Cafe, which opened after Memorial Day this summer, caters to the organic diet and offers nutritious foods that don’t taste like a bag of yard work or a piece of cardboard. Instead, Lewman has concocted tasty creations that’ll leave not only your body grateful and taste buds happy but will also care for the environment. In fact, the café is built on the motto “it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.” Treating your body well and being kind to the environment is all part of the package.

“If you are juicing and doing it for health benefits, you start caring about where that juice came from,” Lewmen said. “What is the point of drinking juice if it’s not organic and filled with pesticides. When you care about pesticides and the environment in which you raised the vegetables that you put into the juice, then you start caring about your carbon footprint.”

The vast majority of the cafe’s products and ingredients are made from organic produce and often come from local family farms. Any notes of sweetness in the drinks are due to coconut sugar, not the typical refined sugar found in drinks from other smoothie stores.

Want something a little thicker than juice? The menu also offers smoothies made with organic frozen fruit, excluding the ice so you don’t get a watered down blend. Exotic flavors ranging from “Banana Cream Pie” to “Carrot Cake” beckon. Hungry? The Juice Box Café also offers yummy dishes for lunch including paleo toast with assorted toppings, rice and noodle bowls and sammies.

But don’t neglect to sip on some of the original fare and most popular drinks, the Iron Man and the Cucumber Mojito. Cheers!