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Deep Cove juice bar providing a healthy lift for outdoor enthusiasts
Before opening their juice bar at the base of Mount Seymour in June, Jacqueline and Chris Doll conducted some "beta carotene" testing with their family.
The couple's three daughters — 6, 8 and 10 — had already become accustomed to drinking their dad's homemade healthy smoothie concoctions chock full of lentils, and/or kale and/or flax seeds.
The girls' personal favourite is "Ironman" juice made from apples, cucumber, spinach and lemon.
"I would always say: If they drink it, anybody would drink it," says Jacqueline, sporting a lime-green T-shirt and black athletic pants.
She's seated next to Chris at a table inside their juice bar The Local Lift that boasts a view of the conifer trees outside. For this couple, who met while tree planting in Prince George in the early '90s, their lives have always been embedded in nature.
"Well, we are both really into mountain biking," offers Jacqueline, when asked why they migrated to North Van by way of Kitsilano and East Van.
They both agree Boogeyman, a Seymour biking trail situated practically within spitting distance of their shop, is their favourite ride.
"It's pretty technical. There are some good rock faces," says Chris, dressed the part of a mountain biker in a hoodie.
The Mountainside secondary woodworking and gym teacher explains how adopting a healthy lifestyle was a slow evolution, save for the foray into vegetarianism.
"We went cold turkey," says Chris, who found he had way more energy after dropping the meat from his diet.
Chris and Jacqueline had discovered Tao Organics to be a good source for vegan and raw food. The Esplanade-area cafe somewhat served as inspiration for the Doll's juice bar, in terms of offering North Shore residents healthy food alternatives.
Today they have a partnership with Tao, serving their products including nut burger patties and kale chips at Lift.
Before they were awarded the business space at Parkgate Village, the Doll's had to prove to the property management company that they had a palatable product. Jacqueline, a chartered accountant, went to work on a business model for the juice bar.
To create the recipes, she chose Breville's Juice Fountain Plus, featured in the documentary Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, as the workhorse of the fruit and veggie masticating operation.
The naming convention for the smoothies and the store itself arrived organically. The Doll's intention was to draw a connection to the local mountain and ski hill through the word "lift" — and by naming their smoothies after area trails.
First opening their doors in prime mountain biking season, the couple thought they nailed down their main clientele. They went so far as to stock their juice bar with spare bike parts and even whole, ready-to-ride bikes.
The Dolls have been more than happy to see a cross section of the community, from stay-at-home moms to outdoor enthusiasts, become regulars at Lift.
"In this community, the Cove area, people are into supporting local businesses," says Chris.
By virtue of geographic location, the Dolls are also feeding the local economy and, at the same time, adopting a 300-metre diet by purchasing their fruits and vegetables from Parkgate Farm Market.
As well, Lift sells sandwiches from Copper Alley Cafe and gluten-free goodies from Sweet Tooth Cakery — both in the Riverside Drive area.
In November, Lift launched a juice cleanse program, in which customers commit to only consuming six fresh-pressed juices, spirulina supplements, herbal teas, broth and plenty of water each day. The detoxification cleanse can last as little as three days or up to 10.
Jacqueline says one customer comes in every day for his "Upbeet" elixir, which he attests has lowered his blood pressure.
The Dolls explain how the cleanse gives the digestive system a rest.
"With the juices, there are so many minerals that are going directly into your system so your body doesn't have to work hard at pulling them out of other food," says Chris.
We know what the Dolls are doing with all that reserve energy. You can find them taking down the Boogeyman on their bikes.