Thursday, November 6, 2008


In order for a food to be considered a "superfood," it must be high in enzymes, phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, Chlorophyll, and antioxidants. Think spinach, blueberries, walnuts...

The Superfood line put our by Naked Juice was brought to my attention by a loyal blog reader who said, "I've been really into the Green Machine juice, but I'm not sure how healthy it is." She too has grown weary of packaged and healthfully labeled "foods." So I did a little investigating and came to the conclusion that any juice from Naked Juice, particularly from the Superfood line, although naturally high in sugar, is pretty darn good for you.

The company calls itself "Naked" because they bare all in terms of ingredients. Each drink contains no added sugar, preservatives, artificial flavors or colors and boasts a pound's worth of beneficial fruit per bottle (the details of which is listed on the back of the container). The nutrition label on the Green Machine juice tells us that one serving (1 cup or 240 g) contains 25g of sugar. Compare that to Welch's Orange, Pinapple, Apple Cocktail that contains 34g of sugar, per serving of the same size, yet lacks the green power of algae, wheat grass, barley grass, spirulina, chlorella and every other beneficial ingredient special to the Green Machine.

I am such a big fan of wheat grass, I have considered shelling out the couple of hundred dollars to get my own machine. And as far as fresh, raw fruit and vegetables go, I can't get enough. I can however, get a little sick of the grainy green flavor that often accompanies anything with flax seed and, well, various types of grass. So what I am really liking about the Naked Juices is their blends, variety, and use of naturally flavorful fruits to hide those less pleasant parts.

Take a look at the contents of the three flavors in the Superfood line from Naked (following contents from

Green Machine: apple and pear juice blend, pineapple juice, mango puree, kiwifruit puree, banana puree with powdered spirulina, chlorella, brocolli, green tea extract, spinach, barley grass, wheat grass, blue green algae, echinacea purpurea extract, odorless garlic

Red Machine: apple and pear juice blend, red raspberry puree, banana puree, pear puree, grain flax seed, cranberry juice concentrate, natural strawberry flavor, natural cranberry flavor, dried dulse powder, red grape concentrate, vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamin B6

Blue Machine: apple and pear juice blend, banana puree, pineapple juice, blueberry puree, soluble dietary fiber, blackberry puree, coconut, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin E (dl-Alpha Tocopheryl acetate), niacinamide, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamine), folic acid

They sound pretty great, don't they? I'm sold on end product, but what about the company's practices? Packaging? How do they compare to their competitors? Let's see...

The word on the web is that Odwalla, another big brand in the power packed juice market, although comparable, may not be as tasty as the Naked juices. Their nutritionism marketing push is a little too cutesy for me (AntioxiDance, PomoGrand), but their practices are beyond noteworthy. Odwalla products never contain artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or genetically modified organisms. They do their best to local, in season, organic produce, use green energy to run their facilities, eliminate 99% of their bio-waste and save it from going to the landfill by using a high tech anaerobic digestion system, and they donate money to the Organic Farming Research Foundation, Conservation International and several other smaller organizations that are in the local communities of their 45 distribution centers.

Naked Juice's practices are right on par. All bottles contain 20-30% post-industrial recycled content and are, of course, recyclable and 100% PVC free. The bottle shape itself reduces the number of trucks used per juice delivery. The company purchases carbon credits to offset their electricity usage. By-products (orange peels etc) are given to local farmers for animal feed (love that!). They are members of Sedex and they hold their suppliers to safe and healthy codes of conduct. The only thing that I don't love about Naked Juice is that they get their "fruit from anywhere - anywhere it's the freshest, juiciest and purest that is." I suppose this is great news for acai berry lovers but it is bad news for locavores.

So my conclusion is, as always: fresh, local, in season fruit and vegetables are the best option for you and for the environment. Since few (other than the Kingsolvers) can pull off that kind of dedication - and everyone could use a little more health in their diet - grab a Green Machine. In comparison to the rest of the bottles juice market, their practices are paramount. The nutritional bang per buck and per bottle is impressive and, if you are a soft drink drinker, try replacing your daily soda with a Green, Red, or Blue Machine. I'm willing to bet you'll notice a boost in your energy level, improvements in your skin and moods, and perhaps even shed a few pounds.

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