Why juice? The answer may be different for everyone, but it all starts with a desire to live well, be healthy and feel good. We’re kicking off the new year with a healthy juicing habit, talking to some top juicing experts and learning why they juice, along with their best tips and favorite combinations. See our full guide here.
Here, we talk to Charlie Gulick, who founded San Francisco’s Juice Shop with his two brothers, Ben and Jake. Charlie started juicing after he was diagnosed with a rare liver condition, and he quickly found that maintaining a raw vegan diet and consuming fresh fruit and vegetable juices improved his symptoms and his liver functions. Before long, his whole family was on board, and Juice Shop was born! Keep reading to hear his full story.
WHY I JUICE: After being diagnosed with a rare and life-threatening liver condition, green juices became a staple in my health regimen. Juicing turned out to be one of the defining factors in completely regaining my health. I continue to enjoy a glass of raw organic juice every day.
Tell us you story — how did juicing help address some of your health complications?
In 1998, as a freshman in high school, I returned from a surf trip in Central America experiencing painful symptoms that interfered with my daily routine. After four years, many misdiagnoses, and countless unsuccessful surgeries, I finally received the correct diagnosis. Turns out I had contracted a rare liver condition called Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC). Told that I would have to endure a lifetime of endoscopic procedures and ultimately a liver transplant, my family and I felt we had no choice but to look for an alternative approach.
I went to the world-renowned Hippocrates Health Institute, where I was placed on a strict regimen of raw vegan food, with an emphasis on detoxification through juicing. The results showed immediately, not only in how I felt (my symptoms had vanished), but in blood analysis as well (my liver functions were back to normal). I continued my juicing regimen at home and after a year of being symptom-free, my doctors were nothing short of amazed, calling it a “miraculous recovery.” It’s been close to a decade since I saw the inside of a surgery room and I’ve never felt better.
Your family jumped on board and adopted your dietary changes. What were some of the biggest challenges for the group?
The biggest challenge was maintaining the strict regimen at home. But when I returned after those six weeks at Hippocrates, my entire family decided to support and commit to my newfound health lifestyle. My family came together and committed to eating raw foods and drinking juice daily. Doing some of the grocery shopping, helping with the juicing, learning new recipes, and applying it all to our own diets was a way that they could relieve some of the pressure and support me so that I could focus my energies on healing. Our mom always reminds us that this experience was a blessing in disguise because while it was traumatic, in the end it not only brought our family closer together and taught us some solid life lessons, but it also transformed into a source of passion for health and juicing.
How did juicing impact the rest of the family’s health and lifestyle?
Since we first got started with our juicing routine in 2002, we all have become incredibly health conscious. We have incorporated healthier eating habits (scouring the grocery stores for healthy ingredients for the house) and the use of more natural household products into our already active lifestyles, which have always been a part of our upbringing (we grew up playing a lot of sports, swimming, and surfing in Marin County). And, of course, we all still drink juice every day. Both of our parents have been receiving our green juices and other offerings since the first day we starting making them over four years ago.
What is the philosophy behind Juice Shop?
Our beliefs are simple and straightforward.
- The best ingredients make the best juice. We carefully source only 100% organic, non-GMO ingredients from local farms within 200 miles of the Bay Area.
- Cold press is the optimal method of juice extraction, so we make our juice fresh daily using a hydraulic press. This method limits oxidation and heating, and provides the most complete extraction of a plant’s nutrients, minerals, and enzymes.
- We are committed to being a sustainable company, dedicated to our health and the health of the planet. We use refundable glass bottles because glass is the safest material to drink from, as it does not degrade or leach chemicals. It simply tastes better.
How does fresh juice work into your diet today?
I drink juice every day as a part of my personal health regimen. It is similar to taking supplements and has proven to be highly effective.
What kind of juicer do you use and why?
My family and I get the majority of our juices from Juice Shop. But my brothers and I are often in the kitchen there, so sometimes we get some juice straight out of the press—oftentimes just one ingredient—filling a bottle right to the top and enjoying it that way. The cold press method we use provides the best quality juice because it ensures minimal oxidation, maximum nutrient retention, and the most flavor. However, I do have a few other juicers at home that I love to use. One is a single auger juicer, which I use for juicing wheatgrass. The other is a 10-year-old twin gear masticating system. That is one of my favorites, as it is easy to clean and does an amazing job grinding and extracting delicate plants or sprouts. I also have one that I made out of a piece of wood during a wood shop class a few years back. It sort of looks like a huge palm size dreidel. They all come in handy.
Tell us about a typical eating/drinking day for you.
In the morning, I usually start with water—sometimes I will add lemon or lime, blue green algae, chlorella and digestive enzymes. This is either followed by some juice, a smoothie or porridge, depending on my appetite. About 1-2 hours after breakfast, I usually have another smoothie or juice or some snacks or fruit. I tend to graze all day. Then more water. Lunch consists of more grazing, usually something a little heartier like a salad with seeds or nuts. I love pesto with red quinoa—can’t beat that. More liquids, more water, more grazing on fruits and veggies. I usually try to keep dinner on the lighter side. My wife has passed that quality onto me, as she is a light PM eater, which is a great quality for optimal healthy living. That said, I love soup—especially lentil! More tea, more water. I include digestive enzymes and chlorella tablets with all my meals, plus lots of liquids throughout the day to optimize my digestion. I have found that it makes a significant difference in my personal health.
What are some of your favorite ingredients to juice and juice combinations?
I love green juices—always have and always will. Pure vegetable green juices like our Deep Green and Alpha Green have sustained my health, and I find myself drinking them a lot. However, I do love pineapple, purslane (an edible succulent that one can eat like a leafy green), and herbs of all sorts. They provide a remarkable medicinal effect on the body. Melons may be my favorite fruit in the summer and for sure citrus in the fall and winter.
Usually in terms of combinations I love the simple ones:
- Grapefruit + orange + purslane
- Turmeric + ginger + a hearty amount of a desired green. Cut the intensity with cucumber or celery or both
- Any melon juice by itself is an all-time favorite
Can you share a recipe?
2-4 leaves of rainbow chard
2 large carrots
Half bunch of parsley
Half a yukon beet
Half of a whole lemon
Pinch of chili