In December 2012, Garren Millare opened G’s Juicebar after serving a tour of duty in the Middle East. While in the Air Force, he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a painful and incurable disease of the digestive system. Since medication made him anemic and he felt “foggy,” tired and lost, he searched for an alternative way to heal.
“My passion for health didn’t come from me always being healthy,” he says as a steady stream of residents, aged between 20 and 80, enter the juice bar. “I used to eat canned food, corned beef hash and fast food when I was deployed in the desert in Qatar and Iraq.”
Garren decided to have one glass of freshly made juice a day and felt remarkably better after one week. In 2011, he went off his medicine, bought a juicer and began drinking fresh-made juice all the time.
“I did a lot of research because I felt like the medication was poison in my body,” explains the 28-year-old who was born and raised in Hanapepe. “As soon as I started juicing my energy increased, my mind got clear and my attitude got better.”
When Garren returned to Kauai, he was driven to help his community. His cousin and mentor, Kauhi Sarmiento, (owner of Rambla Clothing Co.) as well as Garren’s father and his sister, Georgie, built-out the small shop.
Inside G’s Juicebar, which is located in Waimea town just behind L&L Barbecue, hand-painted murals burst with color. Vibrant chalkboards list smoothies, acaí bowls and juice blends. Garren tells me that while students from Waimea High School wait for their order, they read posted signs that explain the benefits of consuming foods such as dates, bananas and kale.
“This health thing has made such an impact on my life,” says Garren. “If I didn’t share the knowledge I’ve gained, it would be a waste. Life is about helping each other.”
All smoothies ($5.95 to $6.95) begin with frozen bananas. As a former mixed martial artist, Garren created the protein-packed Ironman, which includes organic hemp protein powder, dates, kale, natural peanut butter, vanilla, cinnamon and almond milk. Jah-G (created by Georgie) includes dates, natural peanut butter, homemade granola, cocoa nibs and almond milk. Hula Girl is a blend of strawberries, papayas and mango juice.
“When I first opened people didn’t understand what I was doing,” Garren recalls. “They thought my smoothies were the typical ones made with a lot of sugar and dairy. But we only use whole fruit and honey for our sweeteners and we don’t use milk products.”
Six types of açaí bowls ($6.50 to $6.95) are topped with honey and homemade granola. Their bases are made with frozen bananas and açaí, a palm tree berry rich in antioxidants. The bowls include flavors such as strawberry, coconut, raw cocoa powder, chocolate nibs, natural peanut butter and dragon fruit.
Garren also offers cups of yerba mate, a beverage made from the leaves and stems of a rainforest tree. The tea is consumed to strengthen the immune system; relieve allergies; reduce the risk of diabetes, heart attacks and strokes; boost metabolism; increase nutrient and oxygen supply to the heart, increase mental energy and focus; improve mood and promote a deeper sleep.
All five fresh juice blends ($5.95) contain ginger, which has long been used for health and wellness. The 20/20, a low-sugar blend meant to boost vision, is made with carrots, apples, kale and lime. Michelangelo — named after one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — is made with pineapple, carrot, orange and lime juice. Donatello, another Ninja, is made with beets, apples and lime.
Shots ($3) include pineapple and ginger; beet and ginger; carrots and ginger; and apple and ginger. Extras include organic plant-based protein powder, goji berries, bee pollen, hemp seeds, chia seeds, spirulina, turmeric, ginger, maca (green tea) powder and kale from the Kekaha Community Garden.
“Juicing changed my life, honestly,” explains Garren, who hasn’t had a Crohn’s flare-up since he started juicing. “Today, food and mindset are my medicine.”
4492 Moana Road, Waimea
Marta Lane has been a food writer on Kauai since 2010 and is the author of Tasting Kauai: Restaurants – From Food Trucks to Fine Dining, A Guide to Eating Well on the Garden Island. For more information, visit TastingKauai.com.