Cookies and cakes, roasts and rolls, chocolate and cheese, ‘wurst and wine, and, of course, champagne. During the holidays, these indulgences are delectable and precisely what our taste buds seek, but afterwards they leave us feeling overly full and a little unsettled. This year, we’re starting our New Year’s detox differently. We’re not swearing off large groups of food; instead, we’re focusing on fresh, local ingredients that will taste as good as they make us feel.
Owen + Alchemy, one of the newest additions to Chicago’s health food and juice scene, is bottling up a daily dose (and then some) of fruits, veggies and other plant-based whole foods in the form of juices, milks and kombucha. By design, the Logan Square juice apothecary’s menu leans savory, away from juices high on the glycemic index. Chef and part-owner Jared Van Camp said the concept for O+A blossomed out of his own health issues – he has had Type 1 diabetes for more than 20 years – and he and his partners thoroughly thought through how to develop a menu that would transcend sweet and fruity juices.
With Van Camp’s intentions for O+A in mind, we’re starting off 2015 by adding to – not subtracting from – our diet and trying a different beverage each day for a week. Follow along with us below or visit the shop to sample the menu and choose your own adventure.
Day 1, Fermented #61 local raspberry, raw local honey, green tea, mint, lemon ginger
It’s fizzy, but don’t think for a second that it will taste like your favorite soda. The first sip is sour, then slightly sweet – an acquired taste, but one that develops quickly, upon the second sip. This fermented flavored tea, known as kombucha, is a natural detoxifier with probiotics that help rid the body of bacteria and aid in digestion. The only green tea-based beverage on the menu, this drink is lighter, sweeter and less assertive than the black tea options – ideal for those who are looking to try kombucha for the first time.
Day 2, Green #06 kale, coconut water, parsley, romaine, ginger
For some, the color alone makes green juices hard to accept. The inclusion of coconut water in this drink, though, lends a creamy quality to an otherwise leaf-driven blend, making it easy-to-drink and ultra-hydrating. This flavor profile didn’t happen by accident. The O+A team approached each menu item the same way they would a plate of food, keeping in mind balance and depth of flavor.
Day 3, Fruit #15 apple, ginger, lemon, cayenne
Our favorite among the fruit- and citrus-driven juices, this drink is bright and refreshing. It toes the line between a sweet, tangy and slightly spicy lemonade and an adult-approved apple juice. While it is one of the few juices with a high sugar content, when enjoyed in moderation, it provides detoxifying and anti-inflammatory qualities as well as digestion support.
Day 4, Nut/Seed #59 young raw coconut juice + meat
For another ultra-hydrating drink, set aside your coconut water today and take a swig (or several) of this thick, creamy blend of coconut juice and meat. This nutty and not-too-sweet milk has more texture than the juices, but it’s not off-putting; the subtle grit makes you appreciate this beverage’s ingredients. And not only will it help keep your body hydrated, but it will lend its clarifying powers to your skin, too.
Day 5, Savory #42 heirloom tomato, organic Himalayan sea salt
In the winter, it’s difficult to replicate the succulence of a ripe heirloom tomato. But with only two ingredients, this juice tastes exactly like biting into the purest tomato just touched by sea salt. Aptly categorized, it’s the most savory juice we’ve tried – not that we mind, though. Loaded with lycopene, this tomato juice may promote heart health and provide immune support.
Day 6, Root #36 beet, carrot, ginger, sea salt
This ruby root juice is rich in antioxidants and full of beet flavor – a juice that borders on sweet and savory. But for those who are beet-shy, not to worry, this isn’t the sort of juice you guzzle at once. Sip this smooth and barely spicy juice throughout the day (with a straw, unless you want your teeth tinged reddish-pink) and enjoy its nourishing and energy building effects.
Day 7, Nut/Seed #54 raw hazelnut, cacao, cinnamon, vanilla bean, raw local honey
While this milk is rich in antioxidants and minerals, we’re not trying to kid anyone. We love it because it tastes like a light Nutella milkshake – it is sweet and creamy and subtly chocolate-y. Made with alkaline water, this milk, of course, doesn’t replicate the texture of a milkshake, but it is a guilt-free vanilla-chocolate hazelnut treat that can help quash cravings for sweets. We suggest enjoying eight ounces at a time, as this milk leans higher in calories than many of the menu’s juices.
2355 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-227-3444