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Juice Up Your Health
— Napa, Sonoma, & Marin



Intro

Gia Baiocchi, owner of The Nectary Juice & Smoothie Bar, has twenty years of life experience in plant-based culinary arts, traditional herbalism, Ayurveda and aromatherapy, and she is the “Alchemystress” of all things good at The Nectary. Her shops presented a perfect way for her to integrate and share her diverse skills and offerings. Says Baiocchi, “The Nectary is in the blissness’ of creating living food that promotes a truly healthy, natural lifestyle approach in a modern world.”



JUICE UP YOUR HEALTH

Gia Baiocchi, owner of The Nectary Juice & Smoothie Bar, has twenty years of life experience in plant-based culinary arts, traditional herbalism, Ayurveda and aromatherapy, and she is the “Alchemystress” of all things good at The Nectary. Her shops presented a perfect way for her to integrate and share her diverse skills and offerings. Says Baiocchi, “The Nectary is in the blissness’ of creating living food that promotes a truly healthy, natural lifestyle approach in a modern world.”

The Nectary, with shops in Sebastopol and Healdsburg, rose from humble beginnings. In July 2014, as one of the first tenants in Sebastopol’s The Barlow and producing everything on-site, The Nectary opened its doors. A little more than a year later, it opened its own production kitchen. What didn’t change with the expansion was the commitment to providing nourishment and healing potential through “plant medicine.”

Says Baiocchi, “Simply put, we at The Nectary believe that food is medicine, and making healthy choices about your nutrition is foundational to overall health.” Brenna Howsepian, who has a B.S. degree in dietetics, is a Nectary team member who writes The Nectary’s “The Buzz Blog.” She says that with food as medicine, there’s no generic prescription, nor is it dose dependent or tied to a start and end date. Factors such as lifestyle, the environment, and one’s genetics, disease states and life phases cause an individual’s nutritional needs to change constantly. Fortunately, whatever a person’s specific needs may be, The Nectary’s “medicine cabinet” of plant-based foods can help replenish, revitalize and rejuvenate. It’s chocked full of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, healthy fats and whole grains, and the shops’ juices, smoothies and foods capitalize on the healing powers of plants, herbs, flowers and beneficial cultures.

Howseplan writes that pant-based diets can provide significant physical, mental and emotional health benefits. Specifically, they can aid in weight control, stabilize blood sugars and improve lipid levels. Vitamins and minerals are critical to maintaining internal homeostasis, providing anti-inflammatory responses, maintaining healthy brain function and reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Research indicates plant-based diets or components thereof play a fundamental role in reducing the risk for heart disease, stroke, obesity and type 2 diabetes. (Vegetarians consume more vitamins and minerals, and less total fat, compared with those who eat a standard American diet. Sadly, on a scale of 1 to 10, the typical American’s diet rates about a 1.)

Howesplan notes further that in recent years, the “gut-brain axis” has garnered attention. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep, appetite, and mood, and functions in pain management. Nearly 95% of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, the gut. Properly digested and absorbed food supports the efficiency of the nervous system. When this neurotransmitter is sent to the brain, it creates a domino effect of feel-good emotions. In other words, the physical, mental and emotional benefits of plant-based diets go hand and hand.

At The Nectary, delicious “plant medicine” comes in the form of organic cold-pressed juices, superfood smoothies and (mostly) raw, vegan food. Rather than limiting food choices, the overall goal is to help customers increase their consumption of plant-based foods, even if they don’t adhere solely to a plant-based diet. “Think of The Nectary’s kitchen as being like a grocery store,” Howsepian says. “Fridges full of dark leafy greens, root vegetables and organic fruits; shelves stocked with jars of almond or coconut butter; and bulk nuts, seeds and rice.”

Starting with impeccably sourced organic ingredients, The Nectary invests the time and patience required to create delicious food from scratch. Depending on the item, the process can involve soaking, sprouting, dehydrating, blending, or some combination — and moreover, Baiocchi says, “[We] infuse every living food we make with love.” Every product is free of refined sugars, gluten, dairy and soy. Virtually all of their food is raw. This means they have abundant vitamins, phytonutrients and active enzymes. (Many customers wonder how the shop’s gRAWnola, flax crackers and biscotti can be “raw.” The answer, it turns out, is three Excalibur dehydrators. The Nectary “bakes” goods at or below 115˚F. The process removes water from food but preserves the essential nutrients.)

The Nectary team believes it’s important to enjoy the taste of your food, while simultaneously feeling great about what you're eating and knowing that it’s truly nourishing. This trifecta can be challenging to achieve in our fast-paced world: quick fixes and immediate gratification, often at the expense of long-term negative effects, are a constant temptation. The Nectary’s beverages and foods are designed to provide both immediate enjoyment and long-term benefits. (For those in a hurry, Baiocchi created a graband- go section that’s filled with a variety of both sweet and savory items.)

Meagan Ricks, The Nectary’s raw food chef, got hooked on a vegan, mostly raw diet when she was younger and dealing with health issues. “My passion for health has only grown,” she says. Ricks sums up what she, The Nectary team and their clientele appreciate most: nutritious products, made from high-quality ingredients, that are exceptionally delicious. That’s “blissness” at its best!



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