One of the perks of touring the country during the On the Road concert festival is checking out the local attractions.
One such place -- JuiceLand in Austin, Texas -- drew in thirsty and curious Yahoo! hosts Ben Lyons and Jerry Trainor, star of Nickelodeon’s “Wendell & Vinnie.”
Watch the video to see our fearless reporters sample a greenish-looking beverage called a Ninja Bachelor Party. One of the juice bar's most popular specialty blends, it mixes up fresh jalapeno, pineapple, kale, parsley, celery, and salt. Um, yum?
But it gets even stranger from there. Juice shop proprietor Jordan says the shop's made-to-order concoctions include other odd additions like hemp seeds and hemp protein, as well as Himalayan salt and Ormus Supergreens, a "green mix grown out of diatomaceous earth" from volcanic ash in Utah. Translation: fancy dirt.
Clearly, this is not your basic glass of orange juice. There are some serious claims going into these silly-sounding mixes of fruits, veggies, and other weird stuff. But are the health claims all hype?
Some say that the diatomaceous earth -- which contains silicon, magnesium, calcium, and other minerals -– helps with detoxing the body.
Ormus Supergreens are grown in that mineral-rich soil, and the thinking is that they may contain more of those beneficial nutrients.
And hemp seeds -- which Jordan introduced as "here's where things get good" -- are not what you think. They do come from a variety of cannabis plant, but it's not that kind.
Hemp seeds and hemp protein are actually enjoyed by vegans, vegetarians, and the raw-food crowd as a protein alternative to meat. The seeds are surprisingly nutritious, containing all the essential amino acids, which is rare for a plant.
Regarding these crazy ingredients, “It's important to separate the hype from the truth,” Jessica Goldbogen Harlan, food writer and cookbook author, told Yahoo! in an email. “There are indeed some newly designated ‘superfoods’ that I've been seeing in juices, such as acai, chia seeds, avocados, and coconut water, which truly do have nutritional benefits,” she added.
Himalayan salt is said to contain the same minerals and elements found in the human body. Take that, boring table salt.
Even though Himalayan salt doesn't sound appealing in a smoothie, one writer for Livestrong claims it improves acne, dental hygiene, and even sleep.
If that doesn't sound good, then we're not sure what does: Feeling younger, healthier, and better could just be a Ninja Bachelor Party away.
But not everyone is convinced of the benefits of these fancy juice drinks.
"Marketing," said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University, in an email to Yahoo! addressing the health claims of the exotic-sounding ingredients. "Nothing else to be said," she added.
But Austin juice lovers shouldn’t despair. “The bottom line is, juices that are relatively low in calories and include colorful ingredients like dark berries and dark leafy greens are going to be the most nutritionally beneficial, regardless of what else is in there,” says Harlan.
We'll drink to that. Cheers!