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Juice is one of those things we all grew up with.  Gulping down a tall glass of OJ at breakfast, wiping your upper lip on your sleeve and running outside to play is a classic scene – at least from my childhood.

Our parents thought giving us juice was a healthy thing to do, maybe because of the vibrant images of fruit plastered all over the cartons, and “vitamin-packed” claims covering up the ingredients. But now, we all know that most of that “fruit juice” we were drinking was actually “fruit drink” loaded with sugar and just a drop of fruit.

Today, juicing whole fruits has become quite the trend. Especially with new gadgets and blenders that allow you to get all the pulpy, fibrous bits that are so good for you.

But I’ve also seen this trend skipping right over the black community, where unhealthy fruit drinks, sugary juices, flavored sodas and even Kool-Aid (a staple of my childhood) still fill the shelves of corner stores and supermarkets.

But, then, I met the Juice Man.

Anthony Scaife, a personal chef and culinary expert from Chicago, gave me the most delicious juice I’ve ever tasted…and it was healthy too. I drank his blends of natural, whole fruit juices with fruits like pomegranate, watermelon, grapefruit, and seven kinds of oranges and I was hooked.

I found him in Gainesville, Florida while visiting my brother and his wife for the Holidays. Or should I say, my brother found him and took us to the local farmers’ market to prove to us that the Juice Man was a Godsend.  My brother has been addicted to juice since he could walk, and was sick of hearing my soapbox sermons about his unhealthy habits.  So to shut me up, he took me right to the source of his changed ways. (He also used to eat Checker’s burgers on the regular, but now buys most of his food from the local farmers at the market – yay!)

My goofy brother Jarad and me

I was happy to talk to Anthony because I think he serves as a great role model for healthy eating in the black community (similar to Bryant Terry who’s famous for showing how healthy Soul Food can be). He was the only black vendor in the whole farmers’ market and his stand was packed with customers.

Come to find out, Anthony has long been creating amazing juices and serving up recipes that he gathered from all over the world during a six-year tour in the Navy. He’s made delicious and healthy dishes while running his own catering and personal chef company, Anthony’s Apron, in Atlanta, combining Southern comfort food and traditional West Indies and Mediterranean cuisine, like his famous “Southern Fusion Hash” , “Kicking Poo Wings” and his BBQ ribs. But he also loves his juices and has a magic ability to fuse different flavors of fruits from all over the world together in one healthy, delicious sip.

I think chefs are often left out of the discussion in the good food movement, and they really shouldn’t be.  So here’s to Chef Anthony, the Juice Man, changing the way we eat and drink juice.

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