Vitality Juice and Smoothie Bar

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               Vitality Juice and Smoothie Bar is the latest addition to a growing health and fitness scene right here in CT.  Vitality is located at 23 Oak Street in Manchester.  Opened a little more than a week ago by Chef Shawn Dickensheets who also owns 21 Oak, a vegetarian vegan restaurant right next door. 

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                21 Oak has been opened for over 2 years and is very successful.  I expect nothing less for Vitality Juice and Smoothie Bar. In his new store Chef Shawn continues his trend of using high quality ingredients sourced locally when possible and adding his expertise to every item they serve. 

                The store is new and clean with nice features like easy to read menus and a list of the ingredients they use and the health benefits of them.  It’s easy to see Shawn’s passion for a plant based diet.  Take the list for example, while you are in line you can learn about the foods you are consuming and how they positively affect you.  That adds a layer of connectivity to your food that you don’t normally get. 

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                When there, I tried the Melon Spritzer- cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, lime and mint.  I also sampled the Beet Power- beet, carrot, celery, cucumber and red apple.  The juices were amazing with rich natural flavor without the overly sweet artificial taste that comes with smoothies made with cheap added syrups.

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                They also serve flavored drinks like Italian sodas, green teas, and lemonades.  They flavor those drinks using Monin flavors with no added artificial colors or flavors.

                It’s hard to keep up with Shawn, when I talked with him he was getting ready for a grand opening, donating smoothies to an organization around the corner that is trying to build and revitalize a neighborhood.  He was also telling me about his upcoming classes that he is teaching for the Manchester Adult and Continuing Education.  He is teaching his Veggie Vibes classes for them.

 If you are in the area, either of Shawn’s places should be on your list to try. 

More about Shawn and 21 Oak

Buy Local, Eat Healthy

Corn and Black Bean Dip

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Corn & Black Bean Dip

This is one of those great go to recipes that you will use over and over.  There are so many ways to use this. It can replace your regular salsa.  Add it to plain rice or use it as side dish by itself.

·         2 cups corn -fresh works best but frozen will do

·         1 -15 ounce can black beans rinsed

·         1 chopped colored bell pepper

·         1  jalapeno chopped  (you can keep the seeds in if you like it spicy)

·         ¼  chopped red onion

·         1  tablespoon  cumin powder

·         Juice of 2 limes

·         ¼ cup red wine vinegar

·         Salt and pepper to taste

·         10 dashes of hot sauce  -choose your favorite

  Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. You can enjoy right away, but its best to let the flavors come together awhile. This recipe is a good starting point but play around with it to make it yours. You can adjust the heat levels easy enough or substitute vegetables.

  Farmers market season is in full swing so be sure to support your local market.  Use this link to find a Farmers Market near you.

Buy Local Eat Healthy
Live Fit Connecticut

Achilles CT Hope and Possibilities Run

  Connecticut is loaded with great health and fitness events.  It’s not uncommon to have 10 different 5K events in one weekend.  Most events have a great cause and all have inspirational stories within.
                Achilles International CT Chapter had their second annual 5K/10K this weekend and had both a great cause behind it and the inspirational stories were overflowing.

Achilles International is an organization whose mission is “To enable people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream running events in order to promote personal achievement.”  Achilles pairs together athletes with a volunteer or volunteers to help them train, become familiar and proficient with special equipment if needed, provide guidance and running advice during races and help with race day logistics.

This was Achilles CT Hope & Possibility Run’s second year and they had 500 registered runners come out to support a great cause. Some of the participants included visually impaired, hand cycles and push rim athletes.  There were athletes from CT, New York, and Boston.  One visually impaired athlete rode a bus all the way from Rhode Island!

I had a chance to meet with Erin Spaulding President of the CT chapter at the Gaylord Gauntlet Mud Run back in June this year.  She was with her team of volunteers and adaptive athletes navigating the obstacle course.  I got a sense of her passion for the mission. So I had to see their event for myself.

Everyone was a winner for participating in such a worthwhile event and a big congrats to all the top finishers:

Male 10K:                                                                  Female 10K:

1.       Marc Fucarile                                                     1. Ashley Marino

2.       Jordan Zinn                                                         2. Olivia Rustic

3.       Kris Thomsen                                                     3. Jillian Harpin

Male 5K:                                                                              Female 5K:

1.       Darrin Reed                                                          1. Betsy Overstrum

2.       Mic Nugs Medeska                                             2. Katie Smith

3.       Henry Clayborne Jackson                                  3. Brielle Curtis

The run was put on by the Hartford Marathon Foundation and they always do a first rate job.  Keep a look out for this next year.


Buy Local, Eat Healthy, Live Fit CT!