Living Blog

  • Behind the Scenes: Visual Artists at Luna’s

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    You see the Luna’s team from time to time in the restaurant, plating servings of your favorite lunasagna or blending up the Grey Hulk smoothie just the way you like it. We may know your kids’ names and a little about where you work from conversations. You may notice that that one kitchen guy with a sleeve of tattoos always remembers to give you extra hemp dressing with your to-go orders, and the girl with freckles in the juice bar will give you samples of any drink in the fridge.

    But who are we beyond Luna’s?

    We’re a laid-back group of mostly twenty and thirty-somethings. Collectively, we have enough tattoos to fill an art book and enough car trouble to keep a business open. We have a talent for answering your nutrition questions and creating food that looks like art on a plate.

    But more importantly, we are artists – musicians, dancers, illustrators, photographers, crafty people, writers and amateur (and immature) comedians.

    Here, you’ll meet two of our talented visual artists.

    Introducing Taylor. With an armful of underwater tattoos and square glasses, you’ve probably seen him carefully constructing a tower of spiralized sweet potato on your salad. Here’s a little more about Taylor. A recent transplant from Denton, Texas just outside of Dallas, Taylor studied printmaking at the University of North Texas. Taylor is the talent behind the Luna’s juice cleanse brochure, some sweet art featured at Luna’s (see below) and the illustrator for a new series of event posters for the Fillmore and 106.5FM. You can drool over more of his art here: You can find Taylor in the crowd next month at 35 Denton, the 4-day festival before SXSW. It’s okay, we’re jealous too.

    Introducing Enid. Juli was excited when she hired Enid Valu because she thought her name sounded like a famous jazz pianist. Coincidentally, Enid used to be the keyboardist and a vocalist in a local band, Cement Stars, along with her boyfriend. You’ve probably seen Enid’s enviable talent as a photographer in some of our newsletters or issues of Shuffle Magazine. She took this one below of the Avocado Basil Sandwich. But the real work is here on her website of weddings, children, concerts and fashion art shoots. Whatever you do, don’t miss the videos. It’s only a matter of time before an international culture magazine snatches her up for good.

    This post is bittersweet because Enid moves to Germany in 2 short weeks. Off to live a life of adventure, no doubt. If you have any connections to Germany or employment abroad, drop a line. We’ll miss you, Enid.

  • DAY 3: Emily & Hannah’s great juice adventure comes to and end

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    Emily’s thoughts:

    [Note: Emily’s cleanse was a modification of the Luna’s full 7-juice cleanse. With only about 4 juices/day, she discovered it was less than her body needed to maintain an active lifestyle. Next time, she says she would opt for the 7 juices as recommended to reap the full nutritional benefits.]

    Today was actually the BEST and easiest day! Perhaps watching my family eat yesterday, and being a little bored with my time in the evening made me hungry. It was probably largely mental, as I drank A LOT of juice yesterday and was not physically that hungry. It was Juli who inspired me to keep going. I had a bit of a headache and she suggested water and going to sleep as the remedy. I drank a carrot juice, drank a big glass of water, and fell asleep early. I got another extremely overly rested 10 hours of sleep again!

    This morning, I had a Purple Rain when I woke up (lazily sulking out of bed by 7:45am). When I finally got home at almost 6 o’clock, I made the equivalent of the My Daily Salad juice in my blender, with kale, ginger, garlic, and sweet potato and heated it up on the stove so I wouldn’t have to drink it cold. Then I had an almond milk, and I’m ready for lots of healthy solid foods tomorrow! Hurray! This upcoming weekend we have lots of parties, get-togethers, shin-digs, and events, so I’m glad I had the chance to do this cleanse prior.

    In a way, I want to thank this juice cleanse for helping me to be more GRATEFUL and able to give more mindfully. My energy level and mindset has been a little low lately, and I think my intention throughout this has been to recalibrate, bring myself back to a place of thankfulness and get my body back on track. It made me thankful in and of itself just to realize that the reason I was hungry was because I have FOOD on a regular basis. I am so lucky! I like that it gave me a lot of extra time to myself, to relax, to read. I feel like I had to keep reminding myself that getting to the other side of a hurdle is something difficult, but the key is really to NEVER give up. Change and feeling good takes hard work. It doesn’t happen on its own, and it doesn’t happen overnight. This digesting hiatus, juicing detox was a good way to keep that in mind.

    Cheers to a more Pura Vida!

    – Emily

     

    Cheers to the final day!

    Hannah’s thoughts:

    Today’s juices:

    11am – hot water and lemon, Zinger

    1pm – Tree of Life

    3pm – Pura Vida

    4:30 – hot water and lemon

    5pm – Almond milk

    7:30pm – Power Cleanser

    10pm – Purple Rain

    As Wednesday night winds down, Emily and I are polishing off our last juice of the day on the last day of our cleanse. FINISH LINE IN SIGHT! Speaking for myself, these past three days have felt long. Perhaps it’s the great expectations that by the end of three days we would have a more balanced self, a resetting of the taste buds or some unforeseen divine realization bestowed by juice molecules flooding the body.

    Well, no lightning bolt struck, but I have managed to slow down these past three days and take a look at my relationship with food. First, I realized how much time I spend planning the next meal, buying food, preparing food and eating food. It’s a substantial amount of mental energy and time that I was spared for three glorious days. But to me, having quality, flavorful meals and looking forward to them is a small joy in life that I’m excited to resume experiencing.

    My taste buds are definitely reset. An apple sounds delicious right now. Give me a carrot stick and I will give you a happy girl.

    This cleanse was a great thing to experience. The lightness of being, the sustained buzz of energy without caffeine and the feelings of satiated hunger without fullness or tiredness made me feel more compelled to juice and eat more whole foods – especially fruits and veggies going forward.

    Cannot wait for breakfast tomorrow. I will eat slowly and savor each bite.

    To renewal,

    Hannah

     

  • Crossing the Rubicon: Hannah

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    DAY 2

    Let me begin today with some tips learned from the bottom of my juice bottle (and heart):

    #1: Drink water, and lots of it! Apparently drinking juice all day can leave you feeling a bit dehydrated as evidenced by the late-day headaches Emily and I experienced. Try to drink as much water as you normally would. As toxins are flushing from your body, you need to help move them out.

    #2: Speaking of toxins, they seem to come out of your mouth in the form of bad breath. (It’s really flattering.) This is a small price to pay for a deep cleanse of your system, but it’s icky nonetheless. So, carry a toothbrush, ya’ll!

    #3: “Find rich individuals to sponsor you each day of your cleanse” –Emily

    This is how today went :

    I slept in, so today included fewer juices. For a normal workday, however, expect to still drink 6-7 juices.

    11am: Pura Vida (Carrot, Apple, Orange, Lemon) – I found the citrus a satisfying, zippy taste to start the morning. The lemon is a diuretic which is great in the morning and the sweet carrot and fruits kept me feeling wide awake.

    At noon I went for a quick jog around the neighborhood with my dog and realized that while I felt a buzzy, light energy, it quickly wore off. This is why juices are recommended every 2 hours. Since your digestive system is not working overtime and burning energy to process fiber and complex carbohydrates or break down proteins, you don’t get that sleepy feeling that hits after a meal. Instead, I felt alert after a juice, but quickly depleted as the vitamins, enzymes and minerals of the juice were absorbed into my body in minutes. Take away: even if you don’t feel thirsty, try to drink a juice every two hours.

    2pm: Gateway to Green (Kale, Apple, Orange, Lemon) – More citrus for sustained energy

    Reading N.W. Walker’s Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices, borrowed from Juli. It’s an oldie, first published in 1970, but the information is fresh.

    5pm: half Tree of Life (Kale, Parsley, Celery, Cucumber, Lemon, Ginger) – This is a Real green juice, people. It is the golden god of juices. Check this out: It takes a full grocery bag of fresh, organic greens to make a 16oz juice. Each of these veggies is packed with nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese, potassium and iron. Ginger eases the stomach and also acts as an anti-inflammatory while lemons are packed with antioxidants and vitamin C. The goal is to drink one of these powerhouses every day.

    7pm: Almond Milk (Almonds, dates, filtered water, vanilla, pinch sea salt) – This drink has been my saving grace in this cleanse. As an untraditional supplement to juice, it’s optional, but I’ve found that having a source of protein has really put a zip in my step during an evening slump of energy. I couldn’t say no.

    9pm: half Tree of Life

    Now comes the big upside to DAY 2: Majorly diminished cravings. As Emily says, doing a cleanse is more of a psychological challenge than a physical one. I haven’t actually been hungry yet. To be honest, I’m also not full in a just-polished-off-a-veggie-burger way, but I’m pleasantly sustained.

    As I write this I’m sitting in Nova’s Bakery, sipping chamomile tea and over my shoulder princess puffs, cannolis and gingerbread cookies beckon. Yesterday, I don’t think I could have handled the Siren call of the man behind the counter describing a dessert: “It tastes like a peanut butter cookie and a chocolate cookie had a baby!” But honestly, today I feel pretty good. I’m not masochistically drooling over the glass case of tiramisu (see below). I think the habit of snacking or craving sweets is subsiding.

    Glass case of sweet treats at Nova’s Bakery in SouthEnd

    I’ll let you know if that lasts…

    Later tonight: Coconut-chai (Young Thai Coconut Water, Homemade black chai tea)

    Drop a comment and let us know what you’re thinking!

    Love and (lots of) veggies,

    Hannah

  • DAY 2: Emily

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    Woke up super late for me, after going to bed at 9:30, I woke up at 7:30! Feeling slightly disoriented and wishing I could chomp into a great big apple to get me going, I chugged some water, got ready for my day, hopped into my car and sped off to work. I drank a Gateway on my way there (30 minute drive) about 8:30am.

    Before starting work at Luna’s commissary kitchen, I had a hot lemon water with a spritz of orange and ginger. 

    8:56am. Enter Emily to the commissary. I was putzing along pretty good, but making granola made EVERYTHING look really tasty. It’s hard to have your hands in food I think and be thinking about being hungry. By ten or eleven, I was indeed hungry.

    11:30-12:30 drank a Tree of Life, which surprisingly helped me to feel less hungry. Aterward, I had a Peppermint tea, but I could only drink about half of that and some water.

    The Green Juice Goddess, herself!

     3:00pm got home from work and CHUGGED a Purple Rain. Then I settled in to read and my mind keeps wandering to why am I doing this. I want to completely rejuvenate and cleanse. I have to keep reminding myself of that, because it would be pretty simple to break down and have some crackers and Almond Butter, which are beckoning me from the kitchen.

    I’ve toyed with my body a lot in the past few years and I wonder about this cleanse. Perhaps it’s good to keep your metabolism guessing? Is there something to be said about stability and rhythm? These are the questions I consider… So, as I press on, I’m dedicating this to resetting that appestat, to promising myself more nurturing and caring, and to respect and listen to my body’s needs. I am also looking for a FORCE of energy to help me move gracefully into the next phase of my life.

    Tonight, I will have a carrot juice at about 7 or 7:30. I bought some carrots and will make them in my own juicer. Carrot juice always helps me to feel full and it also helps me fall asleep.

    -Emily

  • A Tale of Two Cleanses

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    Hi there, and thanks for your interest in our juice cleanse! Emily and I are one of a few rounds of guinea pigs at Luna’s testing out a future Luna’s Living Kitchen cleanse program. If you’re considering a cleanse or just curious about how they’re done, read on!

    Introducing the subjects:

    Emily, a Jill of all trades at Luna’s (server, dessert-and-juice-maker). She enjoys extremely long runs, witty banter and avocados. Hannah Taylor (me) server and manager of marketing at Luna’s. She enjoys chewing her food and reading under the Christmas tree.

    That’s Emily (the witch, second to the right) and me (cheerleader, on the right) this past Halloween.

    DAY 1

    This is not as easy as I thought. The goal today is to drink 6-7 juices, or one every two hours. The day began this way:

    8am: Hot water and lemon

    9am: Tree of Life (Kale, parsley, celery, cucumber, lemon, ginger)- this nutrient-dense punch of greens are best absorbed on an empty stomach

    11am: half Volcano (Orange, lemon, grapefruit, maple syrup, cayenne)- warms up the body & revs metabolism

    When the lunch rush hit, Emily and I began noticing how often our minds wandered to food. “MMM that avocado basil sandwich looks delicious!” “Cacao-almond smoothie – yes please!” As we carried out plate after plate of toasted cranberry walnut bread with hummus and salads piled high and bejeweled with cherry tomatoes and twirls of sweet potato, we hankered for something to chew on as we sipped. Restraining ourselves from cheating, we chewed on the idea that we just needed to train our minds not to make a habit out of snacking. But c’mon. It’s hard to say no to this:

    The vegan queen of veggie burgers: made-from-scratch classic burger with lemon parsley hummus and spicy salsa verde

    Noon: Zinger (Beet, apple, orange, lemon)- Citrus to keep energy up in the middle of the day

    2:30: half Volcano

    At home, I started to feel on the verge of being hungry, so I went for the protein hit of raw, homemade almond milk.

    4pm: Almond milk (Filtered water, almonds, dates, vanilla, pinch sea salt)

    That natural date sugar and nut energy gave me the boost I needed. I perked up from my afternoon slump and went for a jog around the neighborhood with my dog. Afterward, I did cardio around my house for a half an hour and felt plenty energized. Not in a kick-in-the-pants coffee jolt way, but a light, buzzy alertness. So far so good…until dinner.

    Yes, ma’am. It’s just that good.

    7pm: My Daily Salad (Tomato, carrot, zucchini, cucumber, kale, celery, garlic, basil, water, olive oil, sea salt)

    First, I must say, this juice (coming to Luna’s soon!) is super delicious. The fresh herbs mixed with organic veggies and a pinch of salt is like a garden-fresh gazpacho party in your mouth. But sitting across from my family eating piping hot bowls of tortilla soup, sliced baguette fanned out on a wooden cutting board, red wine and brie while I ate cold juice with a spoon…is less joyful. In between bites of brie, my father managed to nod out a “It’s really not that good” to meet my frowns.

    Here’s the message: It’s a case of focusing on what you do have – in our case, 100% organic, cold-pressed juice to fuel and replenish  – and looking at the bigger picture. After a night of pizza and beer and some weeks of decadent desserts, Emily & I have set a goal to reset our taste buds to crave healthier foods. Your goal may be weight loss or the start of a new path toward eating healthy, fresh, whole foods as a way of life. As Emily and I soldier on, in search of what waits us on the other side of day 3, we invite you all to leave comments or ask us questions. We’re learning about this process and best practices along with you, so your future cleanse will be sweet and smooth as a Purple Rain.

    Speaking of purple rain… Later tonight: Purple rain (Cabbage, Bosc pear, mint)

    Cheers

  • Farmer Profile: Pickleville

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    Bill “the Pickle Man” Averbach
    Charlotte, NC

    How long have you been making pickles?
    My whole life. My family is from Eastern Europe and everybody pickles things. Three years ago, I started growing cucumbers at home. But something unusual happened…I grew too many! So, I pickled them and began selling out. Part of selling pickles is being a showman, which isn’t hard for me. (He interrupts to imitate yelling to a customer, “Have a sour day!”)

    Tell me about your pickles.
    The kosher pickles that I make are fermented (and locally sourced in the summer time). They’re probiotic. It’s a traditional way of pickling things that goes back to the Tigris-Euphrates River Valley (now the region encompassing Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran). We have dill pickles, garlic and hot garlic. As the pickles age, they get more sour, like some people.

    What else do you sell?
    I sell fresh salsa (pico de gallo, salsa verde, black bean and others), kimchi, pickled cabbage, pickled okra and cajun-creole foods. I’m constantly creating new stuff. I recently came into a lot of hot peppers, so I invented the Pico de Bayou salsa. All my recipes are original.

    What’s the best part of your job?
    It changes day to day. I love cooking for people. I love it when people like what I make. In my family it’s traditional to manifest love through food.

    Why is buying local important?
    Because local is fresh. Buying local supports the community. It encourages people in the community to do small things. A lot of people say, ‘I can’t do that, I’m just a little guy.’ But business doesn’t have to be big with corporations and franchises. Small is personal, individualistic. Small allows you to take pride in your role. For example, Luna’s is tiny, but the food is beautiful. When you visit, you see people smiling. All these details of small enterprises form little drops in the bucket. The net worth of community is big.

    Luna’s favorite Pickleville product: the agave mustard pickle relish found on the Skinny Witch veggie burger, adding a bit of spice and a lot of savory flavor.

    Visit pickleville.net for more info and coupons.

  • In Defense of (Raw) Food

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    We thought we’d start off the blog with an entry about raw foods, because, let’s be honest, eating raw food aside from the occasionally salad or smoothie is a foreign concept to the average American. Raw food sounds dull, flavorless and about as appealing as eating carrot sticks and celery all day, every day.

    Well, you’re in for a treat. Because this is what raw looks like:

     

    And what does raw taste like? Here’s what some of our customers have said:

    “The flavors [of the lunasagna] are explosive….You will likely finish by scraping every morsel from the plate. There is no shame in this.

    Next to this colorful concoction is placed the most perfectly designed salad.… Enveloping your senses is a cornucopia of greens, sprouts, bell pepper, onion, and yes, even a fresh flower. It is a literal work of art that I was forced to admire and interpret before gathering the courage to destroy and consume. It is, bar none, the best side salad (in every sense of the word) I have ever had.” – David A, Charlotte, NC

    “What a delightful surprise to discover Luna’s. I had the Kale Cornucopia for lunch; what a wonderfully simple and delicious dressing, with the candied almonds, and a green salad with a yummy tahini dressing. I was so intrigued, I took home the vegan burger for dinner and it was truly the best vegan burger I have ever had.” – Eli W, Framingham, MA

    “If Luna’s is being compared to other Vegan/Organic experiences…it’s hands down a five-star experience. If I’m comparing Luna’s to restaurants with meat and overly processed foods…I’d give it five stars.” – Brian A, Rock Hill, SC

    If you’re not convinced by that, here are the facts:

    • Raw food preserves the nutrients and enzymes in food, so every bite is nourishing your body. Cooked food breaks down nutrients and enzymes, so you get less bang for your bite.
    • Raw food often tastes better than cooked food. Yes, you heard right. Raw food is rich with all of the flavors of the original plant, fruit or legume, so you taste food as Mother Nature intended. Add to that flavors, spices, herbs, and an infinite amount of dressings and sauces and your meal is literally blooming with flavor.
    • Raw food helps you lose weight. Without the added calories of oils and butters that weigh down most cooked food, raw food is fiber-packed and you get full of the good, typically low-calorie stuff. Plus, if you eat  vegan, pounds will shed from releasing heavy animal protein and fats.

    So, now that you’re convinced, come try us out. If you want to know more, servers at Luna’s are primed and ready for questions.

  • Lunas Living Kitchen

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    Welcome to Luna’s Living Kitchen’s new site! We are so proud of it, and hope you continue to enjoy it as we add new features.

    At Luna’s we’re turning over a new leaf, while maintaining our founding principles. Here are some exciting, new things to look out for:

    Opening for dinner. You may have heard through the grapevine: Luna’s is opening for dinner starting Tuesday, Sept.4th! We will now be open from 8am – 9pm (Monday – Saturday).

    Expanded menu. Yes, opening for dinner means new menu options such as a savory taco salad, a raw burrito, a curry bowl and more! Lunch and dinner items will all be served from 11am – 9pm.

    New teammates! You may have noticed new faces around Luna’s. We’ve hand-selected some pretty special people with a passion for community, creativity and healthy living. Outside of Luna’s, they’re pretty awesome too. We’ve got a magazine and culture photographer, an afterschool percussion teacher, a student of macrobiotics, a native of Ethiopia, a mother of the cutest toddler on earth, and a girl with a Shel Silverstein tattoo. Think you can spot them?

    New cold-pressed juices. Made fresh at our commissary kitchen, cold-press juicing is a superior way to juice. The machine (which looks like a giant telescope) juices by pressure, without denaturing enzymes or sacrificing nutrients (unlike the typical centrifugal juicer). The result is the crispest, freshest, most nutrient-dense beverage, served cold to you.

    A new logo. Yes, we were fond of our elaborate moon drawing, too. But our new logo focuses less on the Luna’s and more on the living part of Luna’s Living Kitchen. Living food, living relationships and living ideas are what we’re all about. The new logo represents this effort and will allow us to increase our reach to more customers like you.

    To sign up for our newsletter for future news, menu items and promotions, click here.

    See you soon!