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Cold-Pressed and open-hearted

Canadian entrepreneurs blend faith and food in Clear Fork.

About a year and a half ago, Sarah Proud, a homeschooling mother, and wife from Canada, got into contact with a franchise broker in Fort Worth, Texas, and six months later purchased Clean Juice Clearfork, a juice and smoothie cafe with other treats for health foodies in Clearfork. "I grew up north of Toronto in Alliston," says Proud. "My husband and I lived in the Ottawa area for twenty years. We came here looking for something different."

The Prouds liked the area and chose to move to Fort Worth because their values aligned with the city more than their own northern home. "Investing in a business is one path to getting a Visa, so we started looking at different business opportunities. Our broker introduced us to Clean Juice and it really aligned with our values as far as food and faith. We were really excited." 

Clean Juice is a franchise of over 100 stores across the country, but the Prouds have the only one in Fort Worth. "Texas is behind California and Florida's healthy eating movement," says Proud. "But I can see it becoming a priority for people around here, and I hope that grows.

The message and practices of the brand are simple: do less to get more. It's a restaurant that lists its ingredients on the menu without anything extra, and as a homeschooling mom, Proud appreciates a brand that goes the extra mile to ensure quality. "It is important to us to eat foods that benefit our bodies," she says about her family's practices at home. "And we are very intentional about the ingredients in our foods, mostly cooking from scratch."

Since its inception, Clean Juice has been a certified organic restaurant, but Proud says the brand may drop the requirement next spring. "Organic certification is becoming more restrictive in the spring," explains Proud. "So, we may drop our organic certification, we'll see. But because of the restrictions we've had to source our produce from certified vendors."

The shortened list of vendors means produce could be coming from Argentina, and Proud wouldn't know, but dropping the certification could give her the freedom to source locally. "I would have the freedom to visit local farms and say, 'I agree with their practices, I would eat their food, and I will bring it into my restaurant.'"

But she maintains there's still value in organic certification, chiefly keeping toxins at bay during juice cleanses. Proud says that certified organic fruits and veggies are critical when abstaining from solid foods because they ensure the body doesn't accidentally absorb toxins during one's pursuit of health.

The cleanse club at Clean Juice knows all about detoxification, and members commit to a month, or more, of discounted juices. The cold-pressed juice is often bought by people to supplement fruits and vegetables in their diet and can be picked up in pre-packaged bottles from the shop's front cooler. 

"When our bodies process juice there isn't any fiber," explains Proud. "So, if we have toxic chemicals from pesticides the fiber isn't there to flush it out. The lack of toxins in organic foods makes nutrients from the juice that much more available and removes any detrimental effects."

The juice is sold both singly and by the day in cleanse carriers and guests are welcome to pick up as many as they would like. "We keep some packed and ready to go in the cooler at the front, so you don't have to be a part of the club to get those."

The shop also sells sandwiches, wraps, salads, toast, acai bowls and smoothies. "Smoothies are a fantastic way to get superfoods into your diet," says Proud. I don't take vitamin supplements for the most part. I eat whole foods, so if I need more of something I add turmeric, maca, camu camu, or greens to my smoothies."

Superfood additives are a great way to pack nutrition into a diet and Clean Juice has a wide variety of superfood powders, juices, and frozen cubes for customers to customize their smoothies however they like. Proud explains that the acai bowls are similar to smoothies but are more indulgent. "The acai bowls are a great treat," she elaborates. "They are thicker and more filling than a smoothie, and my kids call it 'smoothie ice cream.'"

When Proud is on the go, she grabs a smoothie, but when she has an extra minute she opts for a bowl. "The bowls and the smoothies don't involve any milk products," says Proud. "The liquids we use for the base of our products is either almond milk or coconut water." The acai bowls consist of thick smoothie ice cream on the bottom with layers of granola and fresh fruit on top. Customers can add goji berries or fresh coconut as a garnish.

The restaurant recommends various toppings and flavor combinations, but Proud says customers often customize their food in unspecified ways. The restaurant offers two four choices for toast: "The Avocado Toast is our most popular, and it's delicious," gushes Proud. "Its simple ingredients include avocado, olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon, some Himalayan salt, and red pepper flakes. All the good stuff." It's an easy hand-held breakfast, along with the shop's breakfast wrap, that is packed with the energy Fort Worthians need.

For lunch, Clean Juice serves up salads including The Protein Bowl. "Tim Tebow's favorite salad," she laughs, evoking the franchise's brand ambassador and Heisman Trophy winner. "The protein bowl has the spring mix salad as the base and eggs, walnuts, chicken, hemp hearts, and avocado."

Clean Juice is open for breakfast, lunch and an early dinner, seven days a week, and Proud says she's encouraged by their location's success. "I hope people see the value in taking care of their bodies," says Proud.

  • Owner: Sarah Proud