Q&A: e.t.c. Juicery’s Melina DiPaola
E.t.c. Juicery, located in the North End, turns out fresh, nutritionally-balanced pressed juices both for those looking for a supplement to meals or for the brave souls embarking on a full-on juice cleanse. Also featured in the April issue of Boston, e.t.c is part of the new Boston juicing trend. Here, we catch up with e.t.c. (which stands for electron transport chain) owner and founder Melina DiPaola.
What gave you the idea to start e.t.c.?
When I was little, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor—a pilocytic astrocytoma—and thus was launched into the world of medicine, and eventually holistic medicine. Although I had to have numerous surgeries (most of them taking place here in Boston at Boston Children’s Hospital), my parents were big advocates of involving me in less-invasive treatments as well, including constant acupuncture sessions, dietary switches, and, of course, juicing.
As my interest in health and fitness continued to grow, I noticed the juice industry starting to grow profoundly in Los Angeles and New York, but lacking in Boston. I felt that the people of Boston were lacking something that they didn’t even realize they were lacking: juice, specifically pressed juice. Knowing that my boyfriend would help me, I convinced myself to bite the bullet and buy my first press.
What makes e.t.c. different?
I really feel like e.t.c. is the juicery that really has something behind it. There’s substance there, there’s passion, there’s a painstaking call to action that I was working with. So eager I was to do this that we started while I was still finishing school. We couldn’t wait!
Another point of differentiation is that our juice mixmaster and cofounder Robert is a chef, and so our juices provide immense nutritional benefit as well as delicious flavor. We don’t add water to any juice, and we really prioritize keeping the glycemic index of all of our juices as low as possible.
What’s the difference between juicing produce and making pressed juice?
When we juice, we are pretty much just grinding or blending the produce to extract the juice. This is of course healthier than not juice-making at all, but juicing like this is just the tip of the iceberg. Juicing like this does not extract all the fiber [as making juice on a press does] so some is left in the juice, lowering the absorption of the nutrients. In addition, air can more easily seep into juicers than presses, speeding up oxidation and nutrient loss. So that’s pretty much the reason why there’s an industry for juice businesses: Because people can juice at home, but the product isn’t as potent or as beneficial as one can get from juiceries that press.
What are the health benefits of juicing?
In terms of just drinking pressed juice supplementally, you’re getting a highly concentrated form of absorbable nutrients in an easy, accessible form. Since the fiber is extracted, it allows the bloodstream to absorb the nutrients ASAP, in their most potent form.
If you’re cleansing, you’re drinking even more juice and not eating solid foods, so you’re getting all the benefits of the aforementioned, but also giving the digestive system a break from the tedious job of digesting solid foods, allowing the body to heal and cater to otherwise neglected processes.
Can anybody juice?
Yes, anybody can do it and everyone should do it. Drinking juices like these every day in addition to a proper diet can painlessly improve anyone’s health. In terms of cleansing, same thing. Since you’re getting such a quantity of fruits and veggies, you’re not depriving the body. In fact, you’re giving it a much greater insurgence of nutrients than you’d be getting if you were eating solid food. Even if you slip up and have a bite of food or indulge in a “cheat food,” you’re still doing awesome. It’s better to do a cleanse and slip up a little than to not do one at all.
Be honest: Is it possible to cleanse without being hungry all the time?
It’s hard to actually be hungry on a cleanse because you’re consuming six 16-ounce bottles of fluid, plus tea, plus water. So what people mistake for hunger is the desire to chew, or masticate, or begin mechanical digestion. It’s an oral fixation thing, a habitual thing. So you just have to differentiate that from actual hunger and you’ll find that you’re probably not really hungry.
Why do you think juicing is such a hot trend right now?
I don’t think it’s a trend; I just think people are becoming more aware of its factual benefits and are intrigued by the potential it has to really change lifestyles.