Arthur Cribbs, Howard University News Service
Considered an epidemic at both the local and national level by the Washington, D.C., Department of Health, obesity has remained a prevalent issue in the nation’s capital, primarily east of the Anacostia River. With a lack of food options, primarily those of the healthy variety, over 72 percent of people of Ward 7 and 8 are living with obesity. Attempting to change this trend, Turning Natural has provided residents with healthy alternatives through body-cleansing juices.
Opened in Anacostia in 2016, Turning Natural features juices specifically for cleansing certain parts of the body. Their drinks that include blueberries, for example, are aimed to cleanse the liver with a high concentration of antioxidants, while their use of carrots helps trap toxins in the lungs. Their menu also features less conventional options including goji berries and guava juice. While goji berries help control blood sugar and protect against age-related eye disease, guava serves as a benefit to the immune and digestive systems. While the process of juicing removes fibers from fruits and vegetables, it absorbs the nutrients from these foods.
Commenting on the importance of cleansing, Turning Natural employee Jerri Evans said, “It gives your body a necessary break from processed and toxic foods. There are multiple routes to cleanse from juicing to herbs to supplements, but the important thing is to allow your organs and channels of elimination in the body have time to process.”
Customer Maisha Roberts added, “Cleansing removes all the unwanted toxins in your body, especially with all that our body takes in.”
Adding cleansing options in Anacostia has also served as a holistic alternative and response to the lack of pharmacies in the area. According to the Department of Health, there are only 18 pharmacies between Ward 7 and 8 despite a population of 145,000 people. In comparison, Ward 2 has 41 pharmacies for their population of 76,000.
“We need more medical services here. I shouldn’t have to travel across the city for more medicine and vaccinations,” said customer Imani Thompson. “Since the city is not bringing these services though, I am at least thankful for the addition of some healthier restaurants here so hopefully I won’t need the doctor as much.”