Styles said he believed whole-heartedly that your race, class, or economic status shouldn’t determine which foods were available to you. Therefore, Juices for Life is a response to this lack of access. His juice bars offer a range of smoothies, including the Kiss of Life (bananas, pineapple, blueberries, strawberries), the Future (peanut butter, beets, pear, strawberries), and the Revive (carrot, ginger, beets, grapes, lemon). They also sell a variety of juices specifically geared toward certain ailments; there’s the Anemia (beet, carrot, green pepper, apple) and the Asthma (spinach, kale, celery). All the juices cost between $5 and $6 — that’s less than a Big Mac and fries from McDonald’s.
Juices for Life, however, is more than just a spot to grab a fairly priced juice or smoothie. Styles stressed that he wanted his juice bars to be a place where customers could educate themselves on food and nutrition-related issues, gather as a community, and engage in discussion. With four stores already opened and more in the works, it’s obvious that a revolution is already in motion.
As Styles and I chatted at a high-top table near the door, he greeted everyone — and I mean everyone — but as we sat and talked, the true potential of the Juices for Life model was revealed when Styles was approached by a man who introduced himself as an interventional cardiologist, born and raised in the neighborhood. “Give me your card,” Styles said. “Actually, give me two. I’m going to text you so you know it’s me. I’m going to build with you, brother.”
Styles is aligning himself with medical professionals and entrepreneurs who share his beliefs. He recently collaborated with Claude Tellis and Kareem Cook, founders of the plant-based protein company, VeganSmart, to offer vegan nutritional shakes at all Juices for Life locations. For the past decade, Tellis and Cook have been fighting the battle against childhood obesity in Los Angeles elementary schools. In 2003, they successfully lobbied to have all junk food removed from vending machines within the LA school system, a law that later passed in the entire state of California. By partnering with VeganSmart, Juices for Life customers can purchase their own tub of nutritional powder and make nutritious shakes at home when another healthy meal option may not exist.
Health and music are “common denominators” of life, Styles said, because he believes they transcend racial, economic, and cultural differences. “If you walk through the door, if I walk through the door, health is a conversation that we can have. We have to find things to bring people together; you’re white, he’s Spanish, he’s Arab, he’s Albanian, he’s of Asian descent. Our religious backgrounds are different, but if I want to take care of my family, and you want to take care of your family, and I want to see our kid’s kids grow to be part of a bigger and better nation.”
In a time when there is overwhelming concern for the government’s ability to sufficiently provide healthy options for all its constituents, it takes entrepreneurs like Styles P, Kareem Cook, and Claude Tellis to make meaningful change.
“You have to start somewhere,” Styles said. “I try to wake up every day and push forward with something that I think is right.”
Styles is not simply shouting from the sidelines about how to help people; he is actually doing it, one pulse of the blender at a time.
Original post written by Michael Serrur for The Daily Meal