13 September, 2019, 02:19

Pure Love Juice has a fresh take on convenience food (and your body’s going to like it)

In addition to Insta-worthy captures, it’s a win-win on the health front.

Marisol Casal grew up in Nogales, Arizona. Her love for healthy food and wellness came from her family.

Growing up in Mexico, Casal was surrounded by juices, natural fruits, and vegetables. Her grandmother also insisted on natural cures for everything. Casal laughed at the memory of her grandmother’s repetitive advice, “Eat three cloves of garlic and go to bed.” Natural food is medicine, she smiled.

A business idea was born

Although Casal has always been a healthy life and wellness advocate, it wasn’t initially her profession of choice. After graduating, she worked at a local accounting firm.

While working full time at the firm, she found a way to pursue her love of health and wellness. She received a cleanse certification, which then evolved into her current health coach and raw food chef certification from Pure Joy Culinary Academy in Tubac, Arizona.

“I started making juices for myself, for my own good, and then for my coworkers and people said that they’d pay me,” Casal said. “I realized that it would be such a good business.”

Inspired by the sound ethics and vision at the accounting firm, Casal decided to step out on the health front and start a business of her own. And that’s where things escalated. She and her sister, a pilates instructor at Body Works Pilates, rented a kitchen to turn their vision into a reality.

In 2013, their juice bar delivery service was open for business. “I delivered juices to Body Works Pilates where my sister works,” Casal said. “The owner started buying juices for the studio and their customers and that started the journey.”

Pure Love Juice Cleanse options

Pure Love Juice Cleanse options (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Why juices?

“I’m from Mexico and we grow up on juices with natural fruits and vegetables,” Casal said. It’s as natural to her as breathing. Well, almost.

“To give our bodies a cleanse from a diet high in fat and meat, we need to flush out our system with juices,” she said. “The purpose of cleansing is to reboot your system and to help you to eat healthily.”

There are a variety of benefits linked to juice cleanses, including weight loss, increased mental clarity, glowing complexion, and the start of healthy lifestyle habits. Casal admitted that the benefits outweigh the initial struggle and customer feedback highlights that juicing is a holistic experience, a mood uplifter, and energy supplier.

“We have a lot of repetitive customers,” she said. “A few years ago, juice cleansing was new and people were willing to try it but now they continue with it after reaping the benefits.”

Family scare influences menu expansion

While the juice business was flourishing, Casal had yet to make the leap to food. In the meantime, due to travel and poor lifestyle choices, the rest of Casal’s family had begun to struggle with maintaining a balanced diet.

It wasn’t until a traumatic health scare, her father’s heart attack, that health was again prioritized in the lives of all family members. It was then that Casal committed to a permanent location for her business (and the inclusion of a food menu).

Pure Love Juice, the brick-and-mortar location at 1980 E. River Rd. in St. Phillip’s Plaza, opened in 2015.

Zoodles at Pure Love Juice

Zoodles at Pure Love Juice (Credit: Jackie Tran)

More than juices

The menu consists of a range of options from wellness shots and smoothies to medicinal elixirs and wholeness bowls.

With a focus on wholesome food to fuel a healthy life, the ingredients used in all menu items are selected with care.

Casal extends support to local farms in Tucson as well as her hometown in Nogales. Ingredients are sourced from local distributor Arizona Fresh, as well as microgreens and wheatgrass from Grassroots (located at the St. Philip’s Plaza farmer’s market each Sunday), kombucha (available on tap) from Fermented Tea Company, cold brew from Yellow Brick Coffee, and Maya Tea for their tea options.

Popular menu items include the Pure Energy smoothie (coffee, banana, peanut butter, almond milk, blue agave), acai bowls, and the Pure Blue Majik smoothie (blue majik, blueberries, pineapple, orange, mango, blue agave).

“The Pure Blue Majik is trendy right now,” Casal admits. “The color is catchy but it’s really good for you and filled with antioxidants and protein.”

Blue Majik smoothie at Pure Love Juice

Blue Majik smoothie at Pure Love Juice (Credit: Jackie Tran)

What keeps customers coming back to PLJ?

It’s all about prioritizing quality ingredients and staying en trend with new products on the market.

“We keep things freshly made to order; nothing is pre-made,” Casal said. “And we stay on top of new superfoods coming out.” One of which is charcoal — a stomach cleanser (and phenomenal hangover cure).

In addition to the regular menu, Casal keeps a hidden menu for returning customers to sample from. “The spring rolls weren’t on the set menu but once approved [by faithful customers], they were added and people love them,” she said.

And lastly, it’s health food made for your convenience — nutrient-dense, locally farmed ingredients are packed into each menu item, ready to be enjoyed by the customer. And, of course, it’s tasty.

Acai Bowl at Pure Love Juice (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Plans for the juice bar

“We would love a new location because our current space is a cute, tiny hole in the wall,” Casal said. ”People tend to wait a while and we would like to get orders out faster.”

The dilemma is seating space. Due to the demand for to-go juices, the kitchen is cranking out fresh products all day for customers waiting in anticipation. Regulars know to call ahead with their orders. By doing so, you just need to pay, grab your order, and go.

Casal admits that she’s toyed with the idea of moving locations but no immediate plan is in effect.

Challenge accepted

For those of you interested in finding out more about the juice cleanses offered at Pure Love Juice, we have something just for you. The Tucson Foodie team gave them a try and wrote about it here.

We’ve included handy tips to note before starting a cleanse, what you should expect, and why they’re beneficial. Want some insight and realness? Read We survived the three-day Pure Love Juice cleanses (read all about it).

Location and hours

Pure Love Juice, located at 1980 E. River Rd. in St. Phillip’s Plaza, is open from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday, and 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information, call (520) 815-9116 or visit purelovejuicebar.com.

Kate hails from South Africa. Yes, you read correctly. After wrestling lions and riding elephant-back, she finds herself in the desert. Feel free to charm her with mimosas anytime.

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