Photo Courtesy of Juice Press
Meet one of the most intense people in the food world: Marcus Antebi, the founder of Juice Press. He wants to destroy corporations that market junk food to the poor and to children. He’s jumped out of planes (2,300 times), fought as a professional Thai boxer, and been sober since the age of 15. His juices and smoothies are equally intense, with names like “Mother F&*%in Fireball” and “F&*%in Genius.”
It should come as no surprise that he believes his company is “THE BEST ORGANIC BEVERAGE, FOOD, AND WELLNESS BRAND ON THE PLANET,” as the homepage of the Juice Press website declares in big bold letters, Donald Trumpian in its confidence level.
Antebi launched Juice Press in New York City in 2010, having been introduced to juicing during his time as a competitive boxer. After crash dieting for years to stay in his weight class, Antebi discovered that a plant-based diet full of superfoods, raw juices, and salads left him in a better place mentally and physically.
The New York juice scene was already crowded and competitive at that point, and there were plenty of naysayers in the media and the medical field questioning the validity of juices, especially juice cleanses. But it didn’t scare off a born risk-taker like Antebi.
It seems to be paying off. Today, Juice Press has expanded to 25 locations, including one in Connecticut, and two are currently under construction in Boston. The menu of certified-organic offerings has expanded to include a range of salads and snacks, and lots of cold-pressed juices and smoothies. The Juice Press Instagram account is filled with celebrities like Karlie Kloss and Gigi Hadid toting its bottles around town. All of this has helped Antebi outlast some of his major competitors. Last week, the New York-based Organic Avenue, which launched in 2000 and was sold for $30 million in 2009, closed all its locations and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, according to Eater.
Antebi’s goal? “I will find myself in a position of power, able to positively and accurately change humanity’s vision of food and nutrition,” he wrote on the Juice Press site. Yahoo Food chatted with Antebi recently to learn more. Watch out, world.
Photo Courtesy of Juice Press
Have you always been so intense?
I was told that at two years old I would break out of my crib and rip off my diaper and run in our furniture-less living room and do laps back and forth for an hour. At four, I locked my nanny out of her apartment and the fire department had to break in through the fire escape.
You’ve been sober since you were 15. What was your childhood like?
Ages 13 to 15 were really rough. I had very little parental supervision and a lot of bad influences around me in the early ’80s. I would smoke pot, listen to Duran Duran, take diet pills, and drive in my friend’s red Saab convertible. Luckily, they were giving away free coffee and cookies at an AA meeting, and they also validated parking, so naturally, I joined.
Where does your entrepreneurial side come from?
I come from a long line of retailers in New York City. My father was modestly successful at several retail trades, but really crushed it in the ’80s selling pinky rings to nouveau-riche people in Beverly Hills. I have retail in my blood mixing with nutrients from cold-pressed juice! It’s a lively combination!
How did your interest in skydiving come about?
I was hanging off the edge of a cliff in upstate New York at age 23 when I saw parachutes opening high in the sky, over the Shawangunks Mountain. They landed at a nearby drop zone. Very shortly after, in 1992, I made my first jump and was hooked. I like the pretty jumpsuits a lot and I love the complex nature of the equipment. I retired with 2,300 jumps.
And how about the Thai boxing?
You know … when I was phasing out of skydiving, I needed something that was a little bit safer, so I decided that getting in the ring and kicking someone in the face with my shin was the way to go.
Photo Courtesy of Juice Press
Do you pursue either anymore?
So it was actually my obsession with Thai boxing and training that helped me phase out and eventually retire from skydiving. But I still train regularly in Thai boxing. My skills are still good and I dare anybody to come out here and challenge me, especially if you’re in the juice business.
Why did you decide to turn your passion for juicing into a profession?
I didn’t decide to turn juice into a business, juice decided to turn me into a business owner. I’m a servant of juice. When God told Abraham to kill his son, he didn’t argue.
How crowded was the juice field when you got involved?
There were only a handful of companies that had been around longer than me with as much momentum. Liquiteria, Organic Avenue, and BluePrint were the only companies that offered any type of competitive comparison. Today, there are even less, in my eyes.
What makes Juice Press different from all the others? You’ve definitely positioned yourself as the badass juice company.
Well, Juice Press first and foremost does not HPP juice [HPP, or high pressure processing, is a type of pasteurization] or use any processed ingredients in anything we produce and we are USDA-certified organic. Those two facts alone are like taking a baseball bat and smashing the glass storefronts of our so-called competitors. I think that our formulas are intricate and taste amazing.
You know … a lot of times, people think that there is something badass about a company that talks the way people actually talk. And they think that we are badass because we are defiant in the food industry. But what really makes us badass, in my opinion, is that there are no truly pure food companies out there besides us because, sadly, it’s just not a business model that’s easy to follow. My partners and I have worked incredibly long hours to build up a business that’s sustainable on a platform of transparency, integrity, and a real deep, deep understanding of nutrition and chemistry.
What is your response to those who say juicing is a fad?
If you remember what aerobics was in the 1980s, one could easily say that exercise was a fad. Or look at coffee. The reality is that juicing has become a lifestyle. We have daily customers who have incorporated juicing into their lives. They don’t look at is as a fad, nor do we.
I’m always surprised that people pick on juice cleanses, versus truly bad things like sugary, chemical-filled sodas or junky fast food. Does it surprise you when juicing is attacked either by the media or health professionals? Or do you not care?
You know … a dog can sit in front of your TV and criticize the shapes and the lights coming from the box, but clearly cannot make an educated complaint because he’s incapable of interpreting two-dimensional images. Similarly, most people are extraordinarily toxic, their upper GI tracts are filthy, their livers fatty, and their emotions deeply, negatively impacted by the intense inflammation produced by the moronic Western diets that people lead. There’s no way in the world that people who have not experienced the power of fasting and juicing can have educated discussions about this completely scientific approach to human chemistry. There’s no wonder that something as simple as this would evoke a response of jeering from the uninitiated.
You’re pretty down on dairy. Why so?
Don’t get me started here. All you need to know is you’re not a baby cow and there’s no reason for you to wrap your lips around the teat of a 979-pound female beast. Just because some fat Dutch lady with wooden clogs did it, and lived a solid 56 years, doesn’t mean it’s a health food. I have a question for you: If you have a phlegm/mucus problem and you go to the doctor, what’s the first food group that they tell you to avoid, and then stick you on a bunch of antibiotics? “Got Milk?” How about “Got Snot?”
What do you snack on?
Cheetos and Newport cigarettes, but I’m different. Uhh … no. I don’t snack. I consume my meals and I’m done. Three to four meals a day. Eh, I’m not perfect. For me, snacks are the “small wares” at Juice Press, such as flax crackers, “Sin-O-Bun,” a raw chocolate here and there.
Do you follow a specific diet? Raw, paleo, etc.
Well, let’s start with the basics: I 100 percent avoid processed food, I am vegan 100 percent of the time, and I drink a s—-ton of juice. I eat salad in bulk and cooked vegetables in bulk. I live on a plant-based diet, eat lots of probiotics, take my vitamin D. The paleo diet is completely wrong and obnoxious and… if you know anyone out there who wants to challenge me on these things, let’s do this.
Photo Courtesy of Juice Press
What’s your typical breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
Typical breakfast: smoothie or some type of blended fruit combo. Lunch: depending on the season, I eat smaller meals in the summer. Dinner: drink juice, eat salad. It’s a big luxury for me to go out and have salad and cooked vegetables at a famous restaurant with my beautiful girlfriend at a good table.
What’s next for Juice Press?
We’re working on a collapsible 16-oz. bottle. And we’re working on a clothing line made from juice pulp. Seriously. We just want to open more stores, city by city, state by state, country by country, continent by continent, and planet by planet.
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