Fit to drink

Juice It at the Y

by Nicole Galland

Juice It at the Y

Elizabeth Cecil

Made to order goodness, whether you're a member of the YMCA or not.  

You don’t have to join the YMCA to eat at the Y Café, but the space is cunningly designed to make you feel you should. With a modern, clean, IKEA-like design, the café—in the entrance foyer of the Y—looks directly into the lap lanes of the swimming pool. Something about the sleek wet bodies exercising right in front of your eyes operates almost as a fun-house mirror: if you are imbibing something healthy, you feel virtuous by association, as if you are one with the swimmers, on the same team of health-consciousness. On the other hand, if you’re slurping down a Y Café milkshake (chocolate or vanilla) when you notice that there are people giving their bodies a good all-over exercise… suddenly you’re far more aware of every empty calorie that enters your slacker mouth.

Luckily, there are plenty of healthy options on the Y’s menu. One of the best, in my opinion, is the Energy Juice. Carrots, apples, broccoli, parsley, and ginger are served over ice. (The menu specifies that the vegetables are juiced daily; they are not necessarily juiced at the time of order.) This is delicious. It’s hard to taste the broccoli or parsley in this bright orange, crisp-tasting juice. But the carrot, apple, and ginger shine through, with a sweettart invigoration that will definitely make you think about getting a membership before you leave.

For a slightly more indulgent, luxuriating taste experience, try the smoothies. These are less likely to make you leap up and run to the registration desk, but they are satisfying and healthy all the same. They consist of various fruits blended together with unsweetened yogurt and soy milk. The Tropical Blend, for example, features bananas, pineapple, mango, and oranges. The banana and pineapple tastes come through fresh and strong, somewhat masking the mango and orange. Of course, it’s possible that the mango and orange were not present, despite the description in the menu: the ingredients are subject to change due to availability, as all the smoothies are made with fresh fruit.

So go on, indulge yourself in a fresh, clean, airy, well-lit space; gaze across the ambient light of the swimming pool into the towering trees out the far window, and get a smoothie with pure, whole ingredients— the kind that make you think maybe you’d like to check out a Y membership, after all.

The Y Café is open Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. All drinks mentioned are $4/small and $6/large.