San Diegans aren’t nearly as plastic-and-platinum as our neighbors to the north, but our endless summer weather means bikinis and boardshorts are year-round wardrobe staples. Despite our proclivity towards pale ales, there are some who strive for the eternal “beach body” through master cleanses and full-body flushes. Luckily, there is no shortage of health-forward drinking and dining options in nearly every neighborhood. When that extra barleywine prohibits you from buttoning up your swim trunks, opt for one of these fruit-forward concoctions to stay svelte throughout every season.
Señor Mango’s – North Park
Even with North Park’s glut of hip drinkeries, old-school options like Señor Mango’s still thrive. Why? Well, like all the best exports from Mexico, Señor Mango’s is unassuming, affordable, and delicious. Choose between straightforward juices like orange and carrot, aguas frescas (fresh fruit blended with water, ice, and sugar), licuados (fruit blended with milk and either ice cream or sugar), or smoothies with names like Papaya Mango and Sunset Peach. Shots of wheatgrass are also available for those who feel extra crunchy.
GreenFix Organic Smoothie – Various Locations
Hardcore health fiends swear by this farmer’s market favorite. GreenFix focuses on the veggie side of smoothies to appeal to those who prefer less sugar. Their menu is small, but each one of their daily-made options include a plethora of organic plants like kale, Swiss chard, dandelion greens, flax seeds, and so on. There’s even a completely raw blend for a turbo detox. Sign up for delivery or snag a bottle of the “most nutrient-dense food group on earth” at nearly any of the farmer’s markets around town.
Suja Juice – Various Locations
Suja Juice is as quintessential of a San Diego success story as it gets. Their goal of “democratizing juice” is carried out by making their gluten-free, USDA certified organic, kosher, certified non-GMO, dairy-free, cold-pressed juices, drinking vinegars, kombuchas, and probiotic waters available to as many people as possible. (And those aren’t even all of the buzzwords I could have used.) Of course, having a minority investment from Coca-Cola helps boost their distribution, but let’s face it, that type of quiet partnership is pretty San Diego too. Find Suja in most grocery stores around town or sign up for personal delivery.
Lucky Dutch Juice Co. – North Park
Despite being directly downwind from the tantalizing meat aromas wafting from Carnitas’ Snack Shack, Lucky Dutch’s cold-pressed juices still manage to attract all sorts of earth-friendly folk to their small storefront on University Avenue. With locally sourced, 100% organic ingredients in all of their juice, teas, and lemonades, Lucky Dutch offers über-healthy selections even animal rights activists couldn’t turn down. Browse their site for detox regimens and be sure to snap a picture of your bottle for Instagram.
Swami’s – Various Locations
Pious pilgrims feeling particularly zen after a visit to Encinitas’ Self-Realization Fellowship need only cross the 101 for an influx of tropical drinks to choose from. Swami’s has been a San Diego institution for years, and with nine locations, it’s easy for nearly anyone in the county to satisfy their smoothie cravings in record time. I’m partial to the Acai smoothie with blueberries, boysenberries, bananas, and strawberries, but their Nirvana Nectar and mixed juices are also fan favorites. Add a dash of bee pollen to any blended beverage for extra buzziness.
Smoothie Rider – Liberty Public Market
Liberty Station has transformed from a hard-to-navigate megachurch black hole into a still-hard-to-navigate dining destination with delicious, yet artery-clogging offerings from places like Soda & Swine and Slater’s 50/50. Those in search of something a little more waistline-friendly need only visit Smoothie Rider, the food truck-turned-booth at Liberty Public Market. Get cleansed with a D-Tox smoothie with OJ, ginger, kale, and more or “indulge” in the NRG with dates, coconut chips, and mango.
Juice Wave – Mission Beach
Juice Wave may be San Diego’s first organic juice truck, but based on how many people seem to be gaga about the stuff, I’m willing to bet they won’t be the last. Juice Wave’s unapologetically SoCal vibe is so charmingly innocent that their tagline is even “Sippin’ on zen and juice”. Classic! Stop by their tiny Misson Beach storefront or catch their truck to choose from a selection of juices like “The Hangover”, smoothies like the “Cali Chrome”, nut milks like “Mother Load”, or straight up health shots like the “Up-Beet”.
Nekter Juice Bar – Various Locations
Nékter? Nekter? Néktǝr? However you spell it, this Costa Mesa-based juice bar has exploded across the western half of the country since opening in 2010. San Diego locations include downtown, La Jolla, Del Mar, and Encinitas (among others), so it’s slightly less pervasive than Jamba Juice, but still feels pretty assembly line health. (I can’t think of many other juice bars with an app.) Still, it’s hard to knock their menu. Between the fresh juices like “The Sublime”—a “zingy blend of citrus and greens”—and smoothies like the “Orange Crush” (blended OJ, strawberry, and agave nectar), it’s almost enough to make me want to try a juice cleanse. Almost.
Sol-ti – Miramar
Building sleek tasting rooms in the middle of industrial parks seems to work pretty well for craft breweries, so why not juice rooms too? Sol-ti’s “organic production plant” keeps 8 of their juices on tap at all times and even offers tours of the facility and specialty events like networking and macrame workshops. They aren’t the cheapest of the bunch, but Sol-ti’s raw, organic drinks come in three different lines (Classic, SuperAde, and Tea) to appeal to just about everybody.
The Mad Beet – Pacific Beach
In PB, it’s much more common to see people actively toxifying their bodies than detoxing. However, no San Diego beach town would be complete without the compulsory juice bar. The Mad Beet offers fruit bowls as well as juices and smoothies, all of which go beyond the standard berry/banana/kale mix. For instance, “A Tribe Called Zest” juice contains orange juice and aloe vera. That’s it. If you’re feeling particularly sluggish, this may be the perfect spot to cure your hangover.
Myxologie – East Village
Although there’s no beach in East Village, it’s still pretty common to see an abundance of taut-and-tanned flesh wandering around downtown, so it’s no wonder Myxologie put down roots here. This “grab and go” spot sources produce from local farms like Maciel Family Farm in Bonsall and offers healthy breakfast and lunch options as well as their “superfood” smoothies. Try the “Walk of Shame” juice (celery, cucumber, ginger, kale, pineapple, spinach, and coconut water) for an intensely vigorous experience.
Frutilandia – City Heights
Expect flavor, not frills at Fruitilandia. You won’t find wheatgrass or turmeric here—just nondescript options like “green juice” and “fruit salad”. However, what Fruitilandia lacks in marketing pizzazz, they make up for with freshness and size. A large smoothie easily satisfies two people, but it’s best to get a few different flavors to share. Just don’t forget cash; Fruitilandia doesn’t accept credit cards.
Project Juice – Hillcrest
Juice cleanse programs are a dime a dozen (see above) but Bay Area-based Project Juice offers a customizable cleanse package, which sounds ever-so-slightly more attractive than pre-planned ones. Don’t let their name fool you; Project Juice also sells wellness packs and healthy snacks like a proprietary trail mix blend, all carefully engineered by (probably extremely good-looking) wellness experts. Stop by one of their one San Diego location in The Hub or order online for front porch delivery.