by Hannah Brinks • photography by Two Eagles Marcus
Interesting ingredients and a long list of health benefits are apparent when looking at Malamiah’s menu.
“We put small slices of the actual ginger root right through the juicer,” explains Malamiah Juice Bar co-owner, Anissa Eddie. “This gives an amazing background flavor and ginger is loaded with health benefits. It helps relieve nausea and indigestion and also reduces inflammation and circulation problems.”
Anissa’s addiction to the juice and smoothie world is evident in her thirst to learn more. It’s a treat when she is able to discover new nutritional add-ins, such as bee pollen. She and her husband Jermale work hard to ensure that the ideas, like the produce, always stay fresh.
It began when Jermale noticed a co-worker toting a “strange looking green juice” with him to work. His co-worker recommended that they watch Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, a documentary about an overweight man getting healthy through juice. Their viewing, and the information about the many health benefits of juice, inspired the pair to add juicing to their home health regimen. When Anissa suggested that they take their passion for juice to the business world, Malamiah was born. “Malamiah” is a combination of the names of their two sons, Malachi and Nehemiah.
With “Drink for Life” as the motto, it’s easy to see that Anissa and her husband are passionate members of the juicing community. Her background in social work trained her to believe in the power of people. With an appreciation for the unique strengths of the people around her, Anissa seeks to enrich lives by providing healthy and nutritious choices. She believes her business is a life source to the community, providing health education and employment opportunities for youth.
Anissa said her and Jermale’s education presentations strive to empower people to take small, practical steps toward healthier lifestyles and emphasize the way it can benefit individuals, families and communities. In an attempt to reach the community with this vision, Malamiah partners with Our Kitchen Table and the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute. In addition to this, they work to connect members of the community with organizations that can offer support for a healthy lifestyle as well as access to food that supplement those choices.
What is your favorite recipe?
I have a special love for our Rise & Shine juice that combines orange, carrot and apple with a hint of ginger. This was one of the first flavors we made as a morning juice at home and it continues to be a great juice for beginners.
How do you come up with new recipes?
We actually had a fun competition with our staff this spring. They all had the opportunity to create their own smoothie recipe that was available for a week. After 8 weeks, we had a taste test event and customers voted for their favorite. Gaby’s Spring Pear was the winner (pear, spinach, banana, lime, coconut water and agave nectar). It was a great way to get both our team and our customers involved in bringing a new flavor to the menu.
How long does juice stay fresh?
It is best to drink the juice right away for optimum freshness. If you do want to drink it later, it needs to be sealed and refrigerated. Our bottled juices can be refrigerated for 5 days and still taste great.
What type of juicer do you recommend for the average user?
We love the Breville Juice Fountain. That is the juicer featured in the Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead documentary and it is the one we use at home. It is a great counter-top juicer.
Do you have any tips for juicing at home?
Load up on produce that you can combine in different ways for flavor variation (the menu on our website provides all our specialty combinations to help get you started with ideas). Put leafy greens and smaller items through the juicer first and end with juicer items such as cucumber or apple to wash in all the goodness. Using more fruit at first can be helpful for beginners who want more sweetness, but work in more veggies as you go with the goal of having your juices be about 80 percent veggies and 20 percent fruit. Think of juice like taking a vitamin supplement and work it into your diet in addition to healthy balanced meals.
You compost the leftover pulp via Organicycle– are there any other ways you can reuse the pulp?
There are lots of ways to reuse the pulp. You can add some water back in and freeze it to use later as the base for a veggie soup or stew. You can dehydrate it to make crackers or salad topping crumbles and you can also toss it into bread or muffin batter. If you have a home garden, you can use it to increase the quality of your soil as well.
What inspires you to use compost your waste?
Sustainability is important to us as a business. We use a lot of amazing produce from the earth in our juices and smoothies and we feel it is our responsibility to give back to the earth through composting. All of our cups, lids and straws are compostable too.
What’s your favorite work ritual?
We have a new product called the Acai Bowl that was just launched (Acai berry pure blended with fruit and coconut milk and topped with sliced strawberries and bananas, granola, shredded coconut and honey). Our team does a quick cheer in unison any time someone orders one. It is silly, but it makes people smile and we love to create a joyful atmosphere for our customers and out staff.
Do you play any music while you work?
After hours, we rock out as we clean to almost anything with a good beat. During open hours, the Downtown Market plays some good jams, too.
What keeps you inspired?
My family and my faith are what keep me going. I am motivated by the idea that we are building a business and a partnership with our community that they will be able to continue. When [our sons] create “juice bars” under the kitchen table and describe colors by names of produce (such as beet juice purple), I feel inspired to keep going. My husband is a very supportive and nurturing person. He makes me laugh every day and his passion is contagious. My faith evokes a commitment to living life with purpose and I believe the juice bar opens many doors for me to live that out.
Do you eat… anything?
Ha ha! Yes! Many people think that our family is ultra healthy and lives on juice and green salads. That is not quite accurate. Neither my husband or I grew up with exceptionally health diets and we are still learning a lot about how to incorporate nutritious foods into daily meals for our family. We can totally relate to our customers who want to eat better, but flounder when it comes to the logistics of it all. We have great supporters in our Juice Circle Advisers who help us and our customers grow in this area. We also advocate balance. Some foods are not the best for you, but can still be a decadent treat or part of important family traditions. We are very much supportive of eating those things in moderation and within healthy limits.
What is the strangest thing in your purse?
A sample pack of “Boogie Wipes” for kids with stuffy noses attached to a coupon for 50 cents off. I got it from a hotel room recently and stuffed it in my purse thinking it could come in handy with my two boys. I may use them to wipe “boogies” or beet juice mustaches.