Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014 | 11:57 p.m.
Gorgeous Jamie Stephenson is an avid fan of juicing. She credits it for helping her recently win the title of 2014 Ms. Asian Las Vegas at Palazzo. Now she’s turning her love of juicing into a booming business concept.
The 33-year-old has opened her first Juice Standard store on the west side to a steady stream of customers and big applause and is planning an east-side location and future nationwide rollout.
Juicing has become a huge celebrity trend with everybody from Oscar winners Reese Witherspoon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Halle Berry extolling its virtues.
November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and I talked with Jamie before she opened the doors with partner Marcella Melnichuk for their morning rush of west-side customers.
They have become respected nutrition gurus and the go-to girls for runners training for the Nov. 14-16 Rock and Roll Las Vegas Marathon.
What got you interested in juicing, and why did you decide to take that interest to launch a business from it?
It’s a very simple question for me to answer. I watched that plants healed my own body and the bodies of loved ones; my stepfather Walter was diagnosed with stage-4 colon cancer. He and my mother had just gotten married. He woke up one morning; it was pretty dramatic.
The doctors and oncologist basically said he had a time frame of seven months to live. It was pretty scary. My mother flipped out and turned the entire house upside down and started to go on a completely macrobiotic diet and incorporated lots of juicing.
I was in my early 20s and needed to move back in to pay off a credit card and go back to university. Her situation was, “You can live here rent free, but you must only eat my food. You’re not allowed to go to Jack in the Box anymore; you’re not allowed to eat anywhere unless it’s here at home with us.”
I watched my skin clear up, I felt slimmer in the tummy, my periods weren’t so painful, I had more energy than I’d ever had, and I was in my early 20s, but I would always crash in the afternoon.
Most importantly, it was five years later that we were all celebrating Walter on his birthday. The doctors were wrong, and it occurred to me that food truly matters. What we put into our bodies not only makes us feel good today, but it also creates longevity in our lives.
For building a business, I was obsessed! I was juicing for myself every day. I would always want to talk about it. I spent my money on it. I would pay to do it. I figured what better business was there to go into than something that I already loved to do. Plus, I get to help people and educate them.
I’m very fortunate because I have a wonderful business partner. Her name is Marcella, and I couldn’t do it without her. We decided we wanted to do this, and we’ve been obsessed ever since. So we have our first Juice Standard on Fort Apache between Tropicana and Flamingo, and our second store should be open by early spring next year on St. Rose Parkway at 215 and Pecos.
We own them, so we’re not a franchise. Obviously it would be wonderful to have them from New York to Los Angeles, but the plan is to stay quality. We understand that what we’re dealing with is a very fragile product. It doesn’t last very long, and it’s time and temperature sensitive, so we believe that the freshest is the best quality.
You can buy a juice HPP, high-pressure processing, that claims they can kill all the bacteria in the juice and that allows a much longer six-week shelf life. That is great for inventory and cost control. However, we want to do it right and give you something that has only a six-day shelf life that you drink and is filled with probiotics truly healing the body, gut and getting the brain to function well.
I’m not sure exactly how that’s going to look, but we’re on a mission to get as many people a high-quality product if we can.
Is it just juices at Juice Standard, or do you have other health food?
We have bottled juices, and we offer a juice cleanse package, as well. We currently have one thing on the menu that you can chew. It is called the acai crunch, and it’s basically an acai smoothie mixed with organic granola.
Oftentimes, friends will come in together, and one of them really wants to chew something, maybe they’re not into juicing or understand the concept yet, so they come in and buy an acai crunch; it’s very delicious. We don’t add any sugar to it; it’s 24 oz.
The other thing that we serve that’s not juice is espresso. We use a local espresso company called Sunrise Coffee, and they roast all of their own coffee. It’s 100 percent organic. We make everything from an Americano all the way over to what we call Bee Invincible, which is an incredibly powerful energy coffee. It’s coffee with butter and coconut oil.
Bullet Proof Coffee came up with this concept and trademarked it. You put it into the blender and whip it around ,and it turns into this creamy, delicious, slightly sweet brain food.
It’s excellent in preventing dementia, curing depression and potentially reversing Alzheimer’s disease. It’s pretty powerful stuff for the brain.
When you opened Juice Standard, was it solely developed with prevention in mind? Or was it just general good health?
It’s both things. Definitely prevent disease to maintain good health if you are already on medication for blood pressure or various other problems. We’re not doctors. We’re not here to give medical advice. However, we’ve seen it with our own eyes that people will change their lifestyle, eat many more plants, or in this case drink them, and all of a sudden they don’t need their medications anymore.
They simply reverse their disease or shield it. A documentary called “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” really changes people’s lives. They come in quoting that movie because it talks about juicing and how people stop taking so many medications. It’s just really a testament to what it can do for people whether it’s maintaining, preventing or reversing.
Turmeric plays an important part in your juicing and your beliefs. What is it?
Turmeric is a ribosome related to ginger and found in the ground. It is incredibly crunchy and anti-inflammatory, a powerful antioxidant. It also has antifungal, antibacterial properties, and it is such an incredible find for scientists because they’re starting to realize that everything — arthritis, digestion, mental stability, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s — can all be prevented and in some cases reversed with the regular consumption of turmeric.
We serve turmeric in several of our juices, and we also offer something called a shot. It is a juice bar, after all, so we offer shots, as well. These 2 oz. shots are turmeric and ginger based, and they’re just powerful in healing whatever ailments you have or preventing them from happening in the first place. It’s absolutely incredible stuff. I’m referencing a book called “Grain Brain.”
Is turmeric the reported reason for low Alzheimer’s incidence in India?
It’s very well known. People who consume turmeric even moderately or things that contain curcumin just generally have a lower incidence of depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s. It’s that powerful and incredible.
Is there a lot of medical or scientific proof that turmeric works?
There’s a lot of money going into this research right now, and the findings are pretty incredible. As I mentioned, I’m referencing “Grain Brain,” which is a scholarly book written by renowned neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter.
Turmeric is now being funded in all of these research studies and how our brains create new neurons and we have the ability to protect existing neurons. Turmeric is part of the diet, not just 100 percent, but a very large part of it has to do with replenishing our bodies’ ability to create neuron genesis so that we can be healthy.
It’s just now being unveiled that it works. Chinese and Indian medicine have been doing this for thousands of years. They get it; they have much smaller instances of Alzheimer’s in their countries, absolutely.
You just won Ms. Asian Las Vegas. How much credit to the win do you give to your own juicing diet?
Juicing changed my life. I’m very grateful that I’m passionate about something that’s so meaningful, not only to my own family but also to others. I get to give somebody a gift every single day when we make the juices, and that feels so good. When I stood up onstage and I was talking about my platform, it was with so much emotion.
To stand up there and tell people that they can take control of their own health if they want to. It doesn’t have to be a torture; you don’t have to starve your body. You can feed your body and it can taste really yummy. I’m lean, I definitely work out; I love to do Pilates and yoga, which definitely help my physique, but 80 percent of that has to do with diet, not just going to the gym.
Juicing has opened up for me so many doors, including the Ms. Asian Las Vegas win. My platform is my highest value and my purpose, and I was able to convey that onstage, and that’s a part of what helped me win.
How long have you lived in Las Vegas?
I’ve been here since 1985. From kindergarten through university at UNLV for political science. My mother is from Okinawa, Japan. I, too, was born in Japan but born on American soil because my father served in the U.S. military. Automatically I became Japanese-American right off the bat. I was raised here in Las Vegas, however, by my mother.
You are really passionate with your good health platform and starting your own good health business!
By purchasing and consuming organic food, a person is not only healing themselves, they are healing the environment. Look at bumblebees. This is the reason why all of our juices begin with B-E-E is because we want to highlight the fact that organic juice does not use pesticides that cause neurological damage to the face function.
We have the ability to go ahead and pollinate 60 to 70 percent of our food supply. So by not only serving something of a high quality that is organic and cold pressed juice, we also stand to protect these little bumblebees that do so much work on our behalf.
I’d also like to point out that the bees you see pollinating flowers are all girls. The male bees are all at home taking care of the queen. I don’t know if that’s how life should be, but that’s how life is if you’re a bee.
You juice for life, for health and for taste. Juicing is the easiest way to undo the world of hurt we do to our bodies year in and year out.
Juice Standard, 4555 S. Fort Apache Road in Las Vegas, is open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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