Glow in a Bottle
Written By: Marissa Wright
Photographed By: Josie Gonzales
A born and raised California girl, I can admit that I have been spoiled just simply by living here. People from all over the world dream of our West Coast with its beaches and palm trees, but the picturesque landscapes, incredible weather, and surplus of available outdoor activities still make up a limited snapshot of all we enjoy here. Thanks to the same Mediterranean climate that makes our beaches tourist magnets and the rich, varied soil conditions, California ranchers have been specializing in everything from artichokes to dates, kiwifruit to pistachios, and even pomegranates. There are nearly 78, 000 farms in all of California making it the top agricultural state in the country, and roughly 6, 000 of those farms are based in San Diego. Los Angeles can have the movie studios, because the true stars won’t be found on a TV anywhere – our local farmers are too busy growing almost half of the US’s supply of fruits, vegetables, and nuts to smile for the camera. Like Joe Rodriguez, Jr. of Escondido whose family has been part of the agriculture industry and growing food since the 1950s. While the Rodriguez Ranch has always been a family farm, the switch to organic growing practices didn’t come until Joe, Jr. had gotten sick from the chemicals used to tend produce. Since gaining their CCOF certification in 1986, JR Organics has been cultivating non-GMO crops and now supply the bulk of the ingredients that can be enjoyed as a bottle of Illuminate Juice – a company dedicated to individual and community health.
Understanding first hand the power of proper nutrition, founders Rene Brunold and Sasha Treviso never planned to be juice gurus, but we are glad they did. When you marry high quality, locally sourced, organic produce with personalized service and support, the outcome is Illuminate Juice. Each of their cold-pressed juices is designed to taste as delicious as they are nutrient dense. Even a militant veggie hater would struggle to find something bad to say because the ladies of Illuminate Juice understand if it doesn’t taste good, you won’t drink it, and that doesn’t benefit anyone. You can work with them to fine-tune your order, and they offer boosts (your choice of chia seeds, hemp seeds, live green algae, maca, or spirulina) if you have special dietary needs or just want a little something extra to take your nutrition to the next level. And as an added bonus, you won’t have to leave the house to reap the benefits, because Illuminated Juice delivers all over San Diego county and has user-friendly online ordering.
Rene and Sasha understand the importance of building relationships and community around healthy lifestyle changes, so they provide new cleansers with their personal phone numbers. Having a crazy craving? Don’t think you’re going to survive day four of your cleanse? Call them. The ladies of Illuminate want to support your goals, but they don’t stop there. After throwing a Christmas party for the children of the Casa de la Esperanza Orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico, Rene and Sasha knew they had to bring a garden to the children. Relying strictly on donations for food, the children, and their caretakers had no access to fresh fruits or vegetables. The Illuminate ladies traveled to Tijuana this last April with volunteers, supplies, seeds, and toys for the children of the Orphanage to break ground on a sustainable garden project funded by Juice for a Cause and donations made to their TeamBank account. So if you are looking to give back after getting illuminated from the inside thanks to one of their cleanses, make a donation or volunteer your time when they go down next.
Q: How did you two meet?
Rene Brunold: We worked together at a digital marketing company and were really into health and nutrition. I took a course in integrative nutrition; Sasha went on to work on her MBA.
Sasha Treviso: Rene started Illuminate Juice. Six or eight months later, I asked if she needed help and the rest is history. We just quit our full-time jobs two months ago.
Q: What made you get into the juice business?
RB: After I turned 40, I needed to do something. I wanted to get healthy and juicing was the easiest way for me. I could get all my fruits and veggies in without having to think about it. I played with recipes because I wanted to make sure they tasted good and then started making these delicious juices. I would bring them to work, and everyone kept saying, “You need to sell this…”
Q: What makes Illuminate different from the other juice cleanses?
RB: First and foremost, our customer service. We are with them the whole way through their cleanse. We give them our personal numbers to text us if they have any questions and to make sure they’re doing ok. They become more than just customers.
ST: When they see us, we’re hugging each other. We love to get to know people, find out what works for them and what doesn’t…
RB: It’s a personalized service, too. We customize juices and offer boosts.
Q: What is your favorite part of the work you do?
RB: My favorite part is when somebody who hates vegetables finds us – they tend to naturally progress into this with some of our sweeter, “starter” juices. Then down the line we see them start trying other flavors and hear the healthy stuff is actually working for them. I’m all about wanting to serve my community and help people get healthy.
Q: Speaking of serving the community, how is the Casa de la Esperanza Orphanage garden project going?
RB: It’s amazing! We are just taking a little break while raising more money to finish the fence. We are planning some trips in August and September. We want to go down to visit to make sure the garden is doing well.
Q: What are you planting there?
RB: We wanted something that would work long term, so lemon trees, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, cilantro…
ST: Stuff they would use. We didn’t want to give them radishes or something that they wouldn’t enjoy.
RB: They now have fresh, whole foods to eat and they’re learning about where food comes from.
ST: And the kids love to help – they like to help us pick the weeds. That’s why we need to raise a lot of money so that we can continue this work.
Q: What recommendations do you have for someone wanting to start growing food at home?
RB: Plant stuff that they are going to eat or juice. It sounds common sense, but that’s first. During the summer, stay away from leafy greens because there is too much sunshine. Also, rotating crops is important for the garden itself.
ST: Cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, peppers, and squash are easy to grow.
RB: Make sure to get good organic compost. Look for the non-GMO organic fertilizer out there. We have to think about what we’re putting in our bodies AND the Earth.
ST: Also, a raised garden is more manageable – especially if you don’t have much space.
Q: How did you decide on your menu for Illuminate?
ST: Rene did about six months of testing with the recipes and customizing the menu.
RB: And the juice menu hasn’t changed much since the beginning…
ST: Rene tweaks the recipes here and there, so we have added a few new juices to our lineup, but they are mostly for sale at farmers markets rather than to be part of a cleanse.
Q: What is your favorite juice on your menu?
RB: Radiate – no question. But if I want to chug a juice, it’s Enlightened.
ST: Ignite – I love the ginger and how it makes my throat feel clean. The cilantro enhances the flavor of the cucumber, and the ginger brings out the other flavors. It’s a great everyday juice.
RB: When people taste our juices, they always remark on how they can taste every ingredient – every flavor pops and tastes really fresh.
Q: Do you have a go-to ingredient you use for your own juice?
RB: We really try to keep a variety in our diet. Your body will adapt if you eat the same foods all the time and then you won’t get as many benefits from it. It’s always best to mix it up – get your greens, and throw some beets or carrots in between.
Q: What are the most popular juices on your menu?
ST: Ignite is most popular juice for our delivery service. Surprisingly, it’s a more advanced juice because it’s not sweet like some of our “beginner” juices. People are usually more knowledgeable when they’re ordering delivery.
Q: How can people benefit from incorporating Illuminate Juices into their regimens?
ST: The most important thing is we know how busy everyone is. Finding the time to make juice or get the foods into your diet can be tough. Our juices have two to three pounds of raw food in each bottle, so you don’t have to think about it.
RB: It helps get you on a path to a healthier lifestyle by adding so much nutrition without all the work.
ST: Sub out chips or other snacks for a juice in the beginning and eventually you start to crave the juices and better foods, too.
RB: Your body will crave the whole foods you’ve been getting.
Q: What are your tips for a first-time juice cleanser?
RB: Definitely prepare a day ahead of time by cutting out caffeine, sugar, and other sweets. Try to limit your diet to whole foods and veggies leading up to the cleanse. It makes the detox process less painful. If you drink a lot of caffeine or soda, be prepared.
ST: Some people will get headaches and be tired, but it’s a natural part of the detox process.
RB: It’s more of a mind thing, really. The hand-to-mouth thing can be tough, but chewing your juice can make you feel like you’re actually eating a meal.
ST: We also have a beginner cleanse. It has more variety to it so that makes it a little easier when you’re trying it for the first time.
Q: How can someone maximize the benefits of their cleanse?
ST: Hydrate! Drinking a lot of water will make sure you’re flushing all the toxins out.
RB: And after finishing your cleanse, eat a lot of fiber-rich foods. It keeps the cleansing process going.
Q: What if someone is worried about the amount of sugar in the juice?
RB: We can customize the juices to fit their needs, so we cut sugar content by reducing certain ingredients and increasing others. We definitely work with people to make sure they get what they need without having to worry.
Q: When you’re not busy with Illuminate, how do you spend your free time?
RB: I love to do yoga. I’m a dedicated yogi. I like to see live music. I love to be outdoors.
ST: I like bike rides and taking my dog down to the lagoon.
RB: We like to shop! We never have time to, but we really like to.
ST: We also like to spend time volunteering where we can. We have done work with food banks and Father Joe’s. During the holidays it’s a little easier to make the time.
9932 Mesa Rim Rd
San Diego, CA 92121
858.395.2616 | illuminatejuice.com