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For years it’s been assumed that people in low-income communities are obese and in poor health simply because they lack education about food — or the will to do better. Only recently has the blame shifted to cities with no groceries or farmer’s markets to speak of within city limits, yet whose blocks are lined with McDonalds, Burger King, and Wendys — the types of establishments whose cheap convenience speaks to the needs of those in such neighborhoods. And while administrations have dragged their feet to correct such a subtle injustice, Jadakiss and Styles P have been going to work, successfully bringing juicing to the hood.

Elite Daily caught up with the Yonkers-bred rappers of The Lox to discuss their motivation for launching Juice for Life, a chain of juice bars in New York. Styles P said it’s simple:

“In the poorer communities, mostly, the money gets invested in liquor stores and the kind of things we don’t need.”

To counter that, he and Jadakiss opened three juice bars in the Bronx and Yonkers to give people in “food desserts,” the name given to neighborhoods with virtually no nutritional options, something healthy to sip on. While this is one small step toward correcting a national issue, on a regional scale the contribution to increasing access and education is crucial. As Jadakiss said:

“Our juice bars are open in the hoods on purpose to educate our people on health awareness.”

Check out Elite Daily’s feature on Juice for Life in the video below.

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  • [email protected]

    Health is always important to promote. Poor communities readily lack access to healthier foods as compared to richer neighborhoods. So, these juice bars are certainly part of the solution.

  • Me

    Not to piss in anyone’s cheerios, but juice bars are not healthy. The sugar content in most smoothies and juices is just as bad as any soda or bottled juice drink. There is a such thing as eating too much fruit. Sugar is sugar no matter where you get it from, and it’s just as addictive as drugs. I just read an article about how 49% of the population has diabetes or high blood sugar (I’m sure that number is much higher for black folks), so we need to be smarter about our food choices. Consume more vegetables than anything else (besides water).

    • RaiseTheBar

      “sugar content …”

      Definitely not to be overlooked.

      I’m HOPEFUL their Juicing FORMULA will be a HEALTHY success for the community as well as Jadakiss and Styles P.

    • Me

      That would be great, but think about this:

      Daily sugar intake shouldn’t be more than 50 grams a day (really 25 grams, but most publications say 50), yet…

      — V8 Fusion has 10-25 grams of sugar per 8 oz serving
      — V8 Regular has around 5-10 grams
      — V8 Splash has 5-10 grams
      — Jamba Juice Juices have 20-30 grams per small cup
      — Jamba Juice Smoothies have 50-75 grams

      These juices that usually come in 12-oz containers or larger have a day’s worth (or more) of sugar in them on their own, plus they are usually 300+ calories which is almost a whole meal’s worth of calories in one drink.

      They aren’t “healthy”, especially if folks are gonna be drinking these on a daily basis. It’s important to know what’s going into our bodies because these are the kinds of things that contribute to the rate of diabetes in our communities. It’s the whole “ice cream counts as your serving of dairy” trick.

    • RaiseTheBar

      ALL this and your previous comment ABSOLUTELY have to be taken into consideration in order to make Juicing a successful fast-food alternative. Based on what I got from the video, VEGETABLES are part of their Juicing Formula. And, the video did address a number of health issues that plague the community which gives the impression there is an understanding that “sugar” albeit from fresh fruit must be consumed in moderation.

    • Me

      True. But the reality is nobody’s gonna substitute a meal for a juice, which is the only way to add it to your diet w/o doing more harm than good. They’ll most likely have a juice w/their meal & blow their whole diet (if they’re on one at all). Juice bars should be a once in a while treat just like ice cream. It shouldn’t be marketed as a healthy option b/c they’re not.

    • RaiseTheBar

      ” the reality is nobody’s gonna substitute a meal for a juice,”

      Don’t want to sound Pollyanna-derish or Wishing Upon a Star, but I believe OUR pain (Spiritual, Emotional, Mental and Physical) is so deep and too long-standing, WE collectively will BEHAVE a new, improved REALITY for the sake of a Collective WHOLE Well-Being, if given better options.

    • Me

      Idk if I agree with that. I think it’ll end up like all the other fads. Most consumers just want easy fixes. When you tell people “hey, this is healthy”. What they hear is “this won’t make you fat no matter how much you have”. These juice bars pop up all the time, but none of them ever tell customers that if you buy one of these for breakfast, you shouldn’t eat anything else until lunch. Most consumers don’t connect the dots or do their homework like that, so leaving out that kind of information hurts them long before they get to the point where they’re making other healthy choices to balance out the bad.

    • RaiseTheBar

      “Juicing for LIFE” is not a new concept. The concerns you pointed out will be addressed in order for this community QUALITY of LIFE improvement undertaking to be successful. Based on the video’s testimonial of Juicing for “LIFE” not Juicing for Profit($$$$) does sow seeds of potential positive results for Community and Jadakiss and Styles P.

    • Me

      Oh, see, I don’t believe anyone who opens a for profit business & claims their not doing it for profit. I don’t even believe the non-profits who say they aren’t in it for money. Jadakiss & Styles P wouldn’t be charging money if they weren’t in it for the money.

    • RaiseTheBar

      Their INTENTIONS are to improve QUALITY of LIFE by providing better quality sustenance, so their ATTENTION is on QUALITY of the product not $$$$s to be made. Profits will enable them to continue to provide their Juices for Life and Hopeful to expand and open more locations. I would LOVE for there to be a Juice for Life in my neighborhood where there now stands liquor stores, McD, BK, DD, Taco Bells, Fish-n-Chips and the Rest.

      The most thriving (Economically Speaking) “businesses” in OUR neighborhoods are the Liquor Stores, Fast “food????” establishments, Churches, FUNERAL establishments. Their ACTIONS is a huge paradigm shift — instead of giving the people what they erroneously believe they want, let’s provide them access to what their MINDS, BODIES and SPIRITS Need and they will come to WANT It. Like the movie, “Field of Dreams” with James Earl Jones and Kevin Costner — “If You Build It They Will Come”. It’s Visionary, Innovative, Profound, Awesome Endeavor on the part of Jada and Styles.

      Go GET ‘EM Fellas. So Luving on these 2 RIGHT Now!!!

    • Me

      I’m all for getting rid of liquor stores, but substituting fast food with juice bars isn’t as big a shift as you make it seem. Like I said before, most folks are not drinking juice instead of eating a meal. They’re drinking these juices WITH their meals, which makes it unhealthy b/c of the sugar content in the juice. Their intentions are to make money where they see a hole. I’m not fooled by black faces using the same capitalist tactics to get money where they see it. “Good intentions” is why Steve Harvey is making millions, so intent holds no weight with me. All I care about is “is it REALLY healthy and will it REALLY help black folks.” Juice bars are not the answer for people predisposed to diabetes, and that’s what it comes down to for me.

    • Ang

      That’s not necessaily true. Juice made with fruits and vegetables is actually healthy for you. Jadakiss and Styles P were on TM Z talking about their jucie bar. Their main juices contain oats, vegetables and fruit. In the video above they are juicing spinach and other greens. When done properly, juicing has a lot of health benefits. They said they aren’t in it just to sell juice, they encourage their customers to eat more fruits and vegetables at home and to work out more and change their lifestyle. A lot of people juice everyday and have seen great improvements to their health as a result. It also helps alot of people jump start their healthy lifestyle. Of course, everything has to be done in moderation. But I’m glad they are starting the dialogue in their community. I believe they are sincere in their desire to help people improve their health so I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt that their formula will be based on providing nutritional drinks. They have juice bars like this in Los Angeles. They are not on the same level as jamba juice or a V8 juice that is created to withstand shipping across country and sitting on the shelves for weeks. I’d much rather a kid buy a Kale, apple green juice on the way to school than a soda and a bag of chips.

    • RaiseTheBar

      Thank You for these details. I’m just filled with HOPE that a business birthed by Rappers from Juicing for “LIFE” in communities inundated with the likes of DD, McD, BK can yield AWE-inspiring results. If money ($$$s) were the motivating factor, it’s difficult to imagine, Juicing would have been their choice.

    • Ang

      NP. I agree, there are alot of other ways they could have made money in their neighborhood that wouldn’t have required convincing people to try it. For example, there was an article on Chris Brown last week that revealed that he owns 14 BKs. Ironically, the same article stated that he doesn’t eat beef. Rick Ross owns 9 wing stops. I’m not knocking those business endeavors because it is nice to see black entertainers diversify and build wealth. However, it is nice to see rappers do something that has the potential to help the community as well. If people don’t take the advice and better their lives that’s on them. But, I won’t knock Styles and Jadakiss for trying. Some low income people don’t eat any fruits or vegetables. The juicing is a good start.

    • RaiseTheBar

      ALL of THIS!!!

      Especially:

      “Some…people don’t eat any fruits or vegetables. The juicing is a good start.”

      Knowing Better + Access to Better ——–> Better QUALITY of LIVES!

    • Ang

      ITA.

    • Me

      Actually, the only folks that have been touting the “healthiness” of those juice drinks are the folks selling those juice drinks. If you look at the nutrition facts (I pasted some above), they’re no healthier than prepackaged juice that you buy at the grocery store (a 12 oz kale & apple juice from Jamba Juice has the same amount of sugar and twice as many calories as a 12 oz bottle of Sunny D), and the vegetable to fruit ratio is heavily weighted towards the fruit in most cases. Sugar content is high, calorie count is high. Those are unhealthy regardless of if you’re getting them from fruits & vegetables or from snacks. High sugar content is specifically dangerous for the black community which suffers more from diabetes & heart disease. Especially if you’re drinking these drinks without exercising.

    • Ang

      As far as I know, Jamba Juicen is not marked as healthy drinks. Maybe, “healthier” than other options but they are not a juice bar. They started out selling smoothies that are primairly fruit juice (as in store bought apple juice that contains artificial sugar, preservatives, and other ingredients most people can’t pronounce) and frozen yogurt. V8 juice is a prepackaged drink. Neither of those is what I was referring to and I don’t believe that is what Styles P and Jadakiss’ business is about. Putting kale and an apple through your juicer is not the same as drinking sunny D.

      BTW, I don’t know that Kale apple juice is on their menu, I was just speaking in general. Kale, apple, carrots is a popular juice combo.

    • Me

      Kale, apple, and carrots have the same nutritional value as Sunny D. Most juice bars function the same way. Add a little veggies to some blended or squeezed juice and make people think it’s healthy. The point is people need to be limiting their sugar content. These juice bars make it seem like b/c it’s fruit, it’s better. But sugar is sugar, no matter where you get it from. Calories are calories, no matter where you get it from. The amount of fruit they use in those drinks to make them taste good contains way more sugar than folks should be taking in in one sitting.

    • Ang

      No. I’m talking about juice bars that make juice in front of you with a juicer without adding anything to it the way you would at home.

    • Me

      It’s the same thing. The juice from fruits contain a lot of sugar in them naturally. That’s what makes them unhealthy. A healthy “juice” would be a vegetable juice, but that’s not what they’re making. They’re making fruit juices which are loaded with sugar and calories.

    • Ang

      The difference is that juice squeezed from an apple is giving you vitamins and minerals as well. Coke is giving you nothing.

    • Me

      Those vitamins & minerals don’t cut the sugar that sticks to your arteries or the calories that convert to fat. And the amount of those vitamins you get from fruit are more than made up for in your solid meals. The obesity problem is not a result of folks lacking vitamins. It’s a result of folks retaining sugar, calories, and salt.

    • Ang

      Our obesity problem does have a lot to do with consuming large questions of food that are high in calories and low in nutrients.

    • Me

      Low in nutrients does not cause obesity. It causes malnutrition, loss of weight, or bodily disfunctions (anemia, etc). Low in nutrients does not cause weight gain.

    • Ang

      It all works hand in hand. A banana and a serving of Oreos have about the same amount of calories. But the banana will make you feel fuller and help fuel your body, in addition to providing you with vitamin C, potassium, and dietary fiber that your body needs. All the Oreos are going to do is make you want to eat more Oreos and add to your weight. If all calories were created equal people would reach for a bag of cookies before working out rather than a banana or an apple.

    • Me

      Calories are created equal. A calorie is a calorie. There’s no way to slice it. Folks don’t reach for a banana for the calories, they do it for the potassium (btw, bananas are one of the highest sugar content fruits… it would be better to have a bowl of unsalted beans before a workout to get the same amount of potassium and protein without the sugar overload). Also, a serving of Oreos has 5 times as many calories as one banana, which means eating that before a workout would require you to burn that many more calories to not gain weight. That’s just a numbers difference, not a difference in calories. And for the record, all the starch in Oreos would actually make you “feel” full more than a banana would (same reason rice is more “filling” than vegetables). The reason Oreos are a bad choice to eat is because of the high fat, high calorie, high sugar, and high salt content per serving that your body has to overcome every time you eat it.

    • Ang

      “Folks don’t reach for a banana for the calories, they do it for the potassium”
      That’s pretty much the point. Obviously, a calorie is a calorie. But the point is, you could have a the same amount of calories from a junk food or a piece of fruit, a vegetable, or even a juice but what you get in addition to the calories from the fruit/veggie/juice is better for your body than the junk food.

    • Me

      My point is what you get from the produce doesn’t counter the fact that you’re taking in too much sugar and calories in the first place. Yes, you get this vitamin or that by drinking these juices, but you’re also getting fat from all the sugar in them and those vitamins don’t fight fat. That’s why it doesn’t matter if you’re getting 200 calories from these juices or from some other snack… it’s ***200 calories*** out of the 500 that you should be getting from a full healthy meal. Unless you’re going to have that juice with a couple rice cakes and call that lunch, there’s too much bad in it for the good to matter.

    • Ang

      A serving or Oreos is 3 cookies for 140 calories. A large banana is 120 calroies. You are not feeling full from 3 Oreos. You are also not adding a single thing that will benefit your health.

    • Ang

      I don’t know whats in sunnd D. I haven’t drank than since I was a kid and it doesn’t even taste like real food. A cup of kale has 33 calories. An apple has 90 calories. I beleive a carrot has roughly 25 calories. Water 0 calories. Put that in a vitamin/ninja. No way that’s not healthier than sunny DD which probably doesn’t even contain oranges Even if you double that using a juicer you’re better off than drinking a packaged drink full of artificial ingredients and preservatives. You can balance out the added sugar you got in that one setting from the juice with the rest of your meals throughout the day. It’s not a problem if you’re not a diabetic.

    • Me

      33+90+25 = 145 calories. That’s not healthier than Sunny D (80 calories)

    • Ang

      Where your calories come from matter in terms of your health and nutrition. A serving of Oreos has 100 calories but it is not healthier than the kale, apple, carrot smoothie.

      Nutrional value of Sunny D:
      Contains 5% Juice
      40 Calories per serving
      % Daily Value*
      Total Fat 0g0%
      Sodium 140mg6%
      Total Carbs 12g4%
      Sugars 11g
      Protein 0g
      Vitamin C 80%
      Thiamin 10%
      Serving Size: 1 Bottle
      Not a significant source of calories from fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, dietary fiber, vitamin A, calcium and iron.

      Ingredients for Sunny D:
      CONTAINS: WATER, CORN SYRUP AND 2% OR LESS OF EACH OF THE FOLLOWING: CONCENTRATED JUICES (ORANGE, TANGERINE, APPLE, LIME, GRAPEFRUIT, PEAR), CITRIC ACID, ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1), NATURAL FLAVORS, MODIFIED CORNSTARCH, CANOLA OIL, SODIUM CITRATE, CELLULOSE GUM, SUCRALOSE, ACESULFAME POTASSIUM, NEOTAME, SODIUM HEXAMETAPHOSPHATE, POTASSIUM SORBATE TO PROTECT FLAVOR, YELLOW #5, YELLOW #6.

    • Me

      Not at all. Your body doesn’t break down calories any differently if it comes from a plant, a grain, dairy, fat, or anything else we consume. A calorie is a calorie is a calorie. The body recognizes it as a source of energy when we’re active or converts it to fat if we’re not. Once your stomach acid breaks it down, it’s either good for you or bad for you. Nothing more, nothing less.

    • Ang

      There is more to food than the calories. You don’t see a problem with the ingredient list in Sunnd D compared to the ingredients in fresh jucie made with vegetables and fruit?

      “ACESULFAME POTASSIUM, NEOTAME, SODIUM HEXAMETAPHOSPHATE, POTASSIUM SORBATE TO PROTECT FLAVOR, YELLOW #5, YELLOW #6.”

      I don’t know what any of these things are. These man made ingredients are wrecking havoc in our bodies. There is nothing even remotely healthy about man made foods regardless of the calorie content.

    • Me

      I do see a problem with Sunny D. I haven’t drank it since I was a kid. I ALSO see a problem with Juice Bars. I drink those MAYBE once a month if the urge hits me, but I limit all sugary drinks in general. My main source of liquid intake is water. Anything containing lots of sugar, I treat the same way I treat any dessert b/c sugar that doesn’t get broken down becomes fat. Cutting the amount of sugar people eat alone would result in pre-diabetic people getting their numbers back in place even without incorporating exercise (and I’m not talking about switching out real sugar for fake sugar or other types of sugar, I mean eliminate half the amount of sweetened food people ingest). I helped my mother do it (I had to tag team her with her own doctor to make it sink in that even fruit can derail your health b/c of the sugar they contain). It’s a simple diet change. It’s the same reason people tell new mothers not to introduce sweet baby food to infants before they get used to the spinach and peas purees b/c sugar is addictive and folks think eating a bunch of fruit solves their health problems when it doesn’t. We shouldn’t be encouraging the black community to substitute one bad habit with another bad habit.

    • Ang

      Diabetics are not required to cut fruit from their diet, including bananas. They need to monitor their sugar intake and have fruit in moderation. There are also juice recipes that use vegetables and spices that are perfectly fine for diabetics. Every juice is not inherently bad. People have been incorporating jucing into a healthy lifestyle for years. Is it the only option? Of course not.

    • Me

      I’m not saying every juice is bad. I’m just not a fan of juice bars b/c of their content. Healthy juices are the pale kinds… the ones that come from fruits that have high water content, with no added sugar of course. This whole juicing trend came around as a way to get folks to get more veggies in their diet, which is a good intention, but they’re doing it in a dangerous way. It’s no different than when a parent says I get my kids to eat broccoli by covering it in cheese. By the time their little bodies process all that dairy and fat, the little bit of benefit they’re getting from the broccoli means squat. It’s the same thing with these juices that stack up lots of sugar-rich fruits on top of a few veggies. Only a very active body can process that much sugar and even then, it’s still not advised to be drinking 2-3 tablespoons of sugar with your meal.

    • Ang

      There are no articfical ingredients or potentially harmful chemicals in Kale, apples, carrots or water. Thus, making it a healthier option.
      Kale:

      Calories 33
      % Daily Value*
      Total Fat 0.6 g 0%
      Saturated fat 0.1 g 0%
      Polyunsaturated fat 0.2 g
      Monounsaturated fat 0 g
      Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
      Sodium 25 mg 1%
      Potassium 329 mg 9%
      Total Carbohydrate 6 g 2%
      Protein 2.9 g 5%
      Vitamin A 133%
      Vitamin C 134%
      Calcium 10%
      Iron 5%
      Vitamin D 0%
      Vitamin B-6 10%
      Vitamin B-12 0%
      Magnesium 7%

    • Me

      Not at all. Your body doesn’t break down calories any differently if it comes from a plant, a grain, dairy, fat, or anything else we consume. A calorie is a calorie is a calorie. The body recognizes it as a source of energy when we’re active or converts it to fat if we’re not. Once your stomach acid breaks it down, it’s either good for you or bad for you. Nothing more, nothing less.

    • Me

      … except for the pesticides and fertilizers used to grow them.There are no articfical ingredients or potentially harmful chemicals in Kale, apples, carrots or water.”

      … except for the pesticides and fertilizers used to grow them.

    • Ang

      Organic kale is 99¢-$2.00 (probably less if buying in bulk). A bag of prewashed, pre-cut organic kale is $2.29. Problem solved.

    • Me

      Organic foods still get treated with pesticides and fertilizers.

    • Ang

      But still healthier for you than eating processed food that is full of artificial ingredients. There’s no way around that.

    • Me

      I’m not arguing against that.

    • Ang

      You kind of are if you’re saying that juice from produce is no healthier than a manufactured drink like Sunny D or coke. If I’m wrong in what you’re arguing my bad. But we can agree to disagree. I think we both want people to be healthy even if we have different ideas of what that is.

    • Me

      “I’m not arguing that.” means “I agree with you on that point.” (sorry if that wasn’t clear) If your body has to have too much of anything in it, it should be vitamins & minerals, not chemicals and food dye.

    • Me

      And for the record, a 12-oz can of coke has 140 calories & 39 grams of sugar. Compared to Jamba Juice’s stats that I pasted above, juice bars are not really helping the situation and can’t be considered healthy.

    • Ang

      I agree. Jamba juice isn’t healthy. I said that in my comment. I’ve never heard anyone refer to Jamba Juice as a “juice bar.” Most people in Jamba Juice are fully aware that it’s not healthy. Its justnan alternative to making a smoothie at home. But, for the record, a can of Coke has zero nutrional value and is all articfical ingredients. So I would still chose Jamba Juice over coke.

    • Me

      You should read the labels. The nutritional values are the same regardless of which one you choose. I even posted them for you.

    • Ang

      I don’t go to Jamba Juice or drink coke unless I’m having a day where I know I’m not eating healthy so it doesn’t matter. Like I said, I don’t think anyone considers Jamba Juice healthy.

    • Me

      Read the labels of whichever brand you fancy. You’ll see how high the sugar and calories are in them and how similar those numbers are to whatever you could pick up on a grocery shelf. Juices are not as healthy as folks think they are.

    • Ang

      I actually make my own juice and green smoothies that are more vegetables than fruit. If I buy a green juice it is from a place that also makes them with more vegetables than fruit (or however the customer wants them) without any added ingredients. It is possible to make healthy juice. If you are eating right, there is nothing wrong with adding fresh juice to your diet. There are juicing recipes that are good for diabetics as well. NO ONE is getting fat because they are drinking too much green juice. But there are plenty of people who have incorporated juicing into a healthy weight loss plan. You can’t paint everything with the same brush.

    • Me

      “NO ONE is getting fat because they are drinking too much green juice. ”

      That’s not true. It would depend on what else they’re doing in their diet & exercise. Adding green juice w/o cutting anything else out in your life, or w/o cutting enough out of your life would cause you to gain weight. Anybody who eats 5 pounds of food still overate regardless of if that food is a bucket of veggies or 20 big macs. The juice itself doesn’t cause you to be healthier. It’s what you replace with it that matters.

    • Ang

      That doesn’t make the juice itself unhealthy. Of course people have to use common sense.

      No one is saying the juice is going to instantly make you healthier. That’s a process.

      No one has ever over eaten on a bucket of veggies. Where do you buy that? We are not a nation full of obese people because people are overeating veggies and drinking too much green juice lol. Come on now.

    • Me

      I’m not saying folks are overeating veggies. In fact I’m saying folks should be eating MORE veggies. But these juices are MOSTLY fruit, which have high sugar content, especially when you add a bunch of fruit to one drink, which is not healthy.

    • Its good if its pure juice hopefully its just pure juice and not just smooties those can be full of sugar.

    • I understand your concern it does depend on the formula their using I usually mix fruits and veggies when I juice.

  • RaiseTheBar

    I applaud Jadakiss and Styles P’s PRO-actions to combating the worst of fast food choices that plague our communities.

  • I love this! I have a juicer myself and I juice a couples of time a week and I can tell a big difference in my skin, my eyes, and energy and it has been a God send while being pregnant.