Protein shakes, superfood smoothies, and pressed juice: not just for athletes anymore. Over the past few years, the liquid-diet sector has been booming, particularly here in LA. And for good reason. If health and efficiency are your objectives, nothing does the trick like a nutritious meal replacement. These days, Angelenos have more than enough options to cop both nutrients and a glow, but like most foodie endeavors, a little research is required. In the spirit of our most sartorially focused issue of the year, we’ve decided to get our lean protein intake up, and our empty caloric consumption down. During the process, we put together some CliffsNotes for you.
Neighborhood: Santa Monica/Brentwood
Try: Rockstar Smoothie + Spinach
Superfoods, chia pudding, vegan ice cream, salads, juices, smoothies—Beaming in Santa Monica has it all for the health-conscious Angeleno. The superfood-centric cafe offers an organic lunch menu and a generous variety of juices and smoothies. Warm dishes like their butternut squash soup and zucchini lasagna are worth the Montana Ave. parking struggle, and their juice options are made with fresh, nutrient-dense ingredients to keep your energy high throughout the day. Taking it easy on sugar? Try their low-glycemic base as an alternative to a banana base.
Try: Chunky Monkey + Protein Powder
When it comes to juice and shakes, Downtown LA certainly has options. But with regard to taste, quality ingredients, price, and efficiency, there’s really only one worthy spot: Juice Crafters. The Historic Core spot is known for its smoothies, but offers wellness shots, cold juice, and Brazilian açai bowls (which are big enough for two people) as well. From fruit blends like Slim n Fit to green-infused smoothies like Greenest #3, these guys specialize in unique, refreshing recipes. If you can’t choose, just ask the staff—they’re warm, knowledgeable, and ready to recommend your new favorite drink.
Try: Strawberry Protein Shake
Located in the Pointe Dume plaza in Malibu, SunLife Organics boasts a medley of pressed juice, Brazilian açai bowls, salads, and smoothies with a retail shop offering organic food (human and dog) and beauty products up front. Known for their Wolverine Smoothie—banana, almond butter, dates, royal jelly, bee pollen—SunLife also offers a liberal selection of add-ons, like raw organic protein powder, goji berries, probiotics, and young Thai coconut. With ample parking and a zenned out atmosphere (like, a lot of crystals), SunLife is the perfect finale for your hiking/beach day.
The Daily Shake
Try: The Original Daily Shake
If you’re like us, you’ve often found yourself hungry, with an awkward amount of time to kill in Mid-City. The Daily Shake is here to help. The neighborhood’s cult obsession carries a variety of tasty meal-replacement shakes like the Coffee Shake, Green Shake, and the Coconut Vanilla Shake, along with a full espresso bar and an assortment of gluten-free baked goods. When it comes to their smoothies, we’re talking actual meal replacements here—without low-quality fillers. The Daily Shake boasts clever recipes that implement smart ingredient alternatives, like avocado, coconut oil, and almond butter, in lieu of sugary bananas, in case you’re wary of a sugar crash in Mid-City.
Neighborhood: Culver City
Try: Make Your Own
You don’t have to be a hippie or a 4th grader to appreciate Culver City’s best-kept secret. Rainbow Acres is home to one of the best juice and smoothie bars in LA, but also offers an excellent organic lunch menu to boot—think oven-roasted thyme chicken, wild Hawaiian ono with caper tomato sauce, curry turkey pasta, and polenta with roasted vegetables—all GMO and gluten free, and served between 11am-7pm daily. When it comes to their liquid menu, Rainbow Acres uses fresh, high-quality ingredients, like apple, kale, lemon, ginger, berry, and cucumber for their customizable blends—Oh yeah, and they’re only $5.
Want more? Get hyped with LA’s best culture cravings in our latest Gentleman’s Issue.