Glow Juicery opened in September in Edmonton after years of hard work and research on the part of founder, Marnie Ashcroft. Working with nutritionists and fitness gurus and drawing from her own experience as a fitness and health aficionada, she has created a unique line of fresh juices with the aspiration of helping people reconnect with their food and their bodies.
Edmonton may not be a city known for its produce. As a city, sometimes it feels like we are severely limited in our choices for healthy, vegan, ethical food options, and so Glow Juice might be just the thing we need.
Many of us can relate to feeling disconnected from what we put into our bodies – it’s difficult to conceptualize where something came from when it comes out of a freezer at the grocery store. There is an acute lack of awareness that leads us to make uninformed decisions that can ultimately be unhealthy. We are numbed to many of the choices we make surrounding our food, treating it alternatively as reward, punishment and idle pass-time. Marnie aims to change that, and to make the switch delicious and enjoyable.
Raw, organic, fresh and locally sourced when the season allows, their regular juices are not meal replacements or diet aids – the aim is not weight loss, but better overall health and a shift in the way we see our food. While all of the specific nutritional and caloric information is available for their juices and smoothies, Marnie discourages this line of thinking in her clients, preferring a more holistic approach.
“You would never have, 100 years ago, taken a tomato out of your garden and wondered how many grams of something you have in it. You would have eaten it, you would have felt full, you would have felt really good and you would have gone on with your day,” she says. “But fresh juices are nothing more than that, and your body processes them differently. I want people to think about that. It’s a conversation and a transformation that will occur over time, but we really encourage our clients to think past the calories and grams. Think about the value of the food and what it’s doing for you.”
Each recipe contains a finely tuned amount of a whole range of fresh fruits and veggies and offers different benefits. Marnie recommends choosing a handful of almonds and the Ener-G Glow Juice (spinach, cucumber, pear, celery and chlorophyll) over a coffee and a muffin for breakfast and hopes this will act as a catalyst for other healthy choices over the course of your day. If you’re feeling under the weather, she recommends treating yourself to a Vitamin G Juice, containing spinach, cucumber, carrot, orange, lemon and ginger.
As well as feeling better physically, she reports that her clients leave with a sense of empowerment and simple delight in that they choose to put something real and authentic into their bodies.
“There’s a gap in our society and we’re all just on this path, to discover what is my best food choice, how can I have more energy, what will make me feel better, how can I heal from this illness. Juice someway resonates with these people, and it’s really incredible that the most simple, perfect thing can fill that gap for people. It’s really cool.”
Glow Juicery also offers a range of juice cleanse programs, ranging from a 3 day beginners cleanse to a 7 day advanced kit. The demand for these cleanses has been enormous, with nearly 400 people taking part in a cleanse since September.
“In a beginner cleanse you’re having 6 juices a day and we recommend also having a salad for lunch. You start your day off with metabolism-boosting lemon water, and you make your way through your juices,” Marnie explains. “The benefits is that your body is in a state of rest, so the energy that would normally be going to your stomach to break down large pieces of [animal] protein is focused on breaking down and absorbing these plant nutrients. It just gets absorbed faster. It’s the most natural way for your body to reset.”
Cleansers, especially first-timers, should be careful to watch their energy levels and listen to their bodies. But Marnie and her clients say it’s all worth it in the end. The first few days may be rough, without the crutches of caffeine and artificial sugars, but she reports that cleaners at all levels feel energized and more aware after the cleanse is completed.
To ensure that her clients are coming away from their experience at Glow Juice empowered to continue to make healthy lifestyle choices, she has partnered with wellness centres, gyms and yoga studios in Edmonton – mainly, she is delighted to point out, businesses run by women.
“I was raised by a strong, single mom. I believe in women and opportunity, and I believe that we are each other’s greatest allies; when women work together I promise you there’s nothing we can’t do. All the businesses that I’ve worked with, other than 1 are woman led, and I think it’s incredible,” she says. “Women have a lot of accountability; we can’t fail if we’re gonna stand up and say we want this opportunity to lead. We need to do it well and sometimes better than well. We need to look for every opportunity and avenue we can to challenge ourselves and grow.”
Marnie Ashcroft continues to challenge herself and encourage her little juicery to grow. She has big plans for the business, hoping to one day have locations across Canada. Along with the will to grow, however, there is an understandable reluctance to relinquishment quality control. Above all, she says, Glow Juice as a brand should be as friendly, fresh, authentic and real as their product, and if ensuring that means less rapid growth she’ll accept that.
She laughs when I ask her what her five-year plan is, and admits that for the first time in her life she has no idea where she’ll be in the future. The last few months have brought an outpouring of support from the Edmonton community and potential for this women-run business seems limitless.