By Colleen Sparks
People are hopping on the smoothie trend as they sip the thick, fruity, sweet and savory concoctions to get a boost and fill their bellies while keeping on track with their health goals at a new Ocotillo shop.
The Nutrition Craze opened in February on South Alma School Road, just south of Germann Road.
Customers can buy a huge variety of what owner Laurie Warner calls “meal replacement smoothies” with 24 grams of protein, 200 calories and 24 vitamins and minerals.
They can choose from more than 60 different smoothie flavors including French vanilla, double chocolate, peanut caramel, shamrock, Neapolitan, peanut butter Captain Crunch, cookies and cream, Andes mint, twist cone, chocolate-covered pineapple and piña colada.
“We have something really for everyone – fruity flavors and I use real fruit,” Warner says.“We have tart flavors; we have chocolate, coffee-flavored, ones that are rich, almost really sweet. You would think you were at Dairy Queen. They are that good.”
She said some popular smoothies are chocolate-peanut butter-banana; strawberry-orange-banana; fried ice cream and piña banana colada. Seasonal smoothies at The Nutrition Craze include pumpkin pie, pumpkin latte and raspberry cheesecake. All of the smoothies are made with water and ice.
Customers can participate in weight loss challenges every six weeks at The Nutrition Craze, keeping track of their body fat percentage loss. The clients contribute money into a pot and the top three winners who lose the most body fat each get a percentage of the cash.
The drinks are all gluten-free except for the cookies and cream and the mint cookies and cream flavored ones, Warner said.
Also an aesthetician, she said drinking the smoothies has helped her lose 84 pounds and she aims to lose 30 more pounds. “It’s just something that’s easy to mix up,” Warner says. “You know exactly what you’re getting for calories. I never was a breakfast or lunch eater. I just was not hungry until like 2 o’clock; then I’m starving. I just thought maybe now I can take some control, and so – shakes, and that way I’m not just looking for everything I can get my hands on.”
She said she plans her snacks every day and has smoothies for breakfast and lunch and eats vegetables and other foods for dinner. Warner also eats snacks during the day and The Nutrition Craze sells protein bars and soy nuts, as well as energy and hydration drinks.
Green tea fans can pick from several different flavors of the drink including lemon, raspberry and chai green teas that are naturally flavored and unsweetened. Those who want a cool drink that is sweet can try the Arnold Palmer, mango, orange-pineapple and other teas sweetened with Stevia at The Nutrition Craze.
The smoothies are not the only ways to get protein and energy at the business. The Nutrition Craze also has “Lit & Lean Protein+Energy” drinks with protein and 85 calories including the flavors “Sour Patch Kid,” which has peach, lemon-lime and lemonade, and “The Mermaid,” which is made up of berry, pomegranate and berry-blue.
Several people praised The Nutrition Craze on the store’s Facebook page. “Best place in Chandler for a Nutritious on the go shake & Tea!!” Jodi Rios-Towns posted.
Ron Fry also gets good vibes at The Nutrition Craze. “I’m here every morning,” Fry wrote on the store’s Facebook page. “Laurie is so friendly. Don’t come in there with a bad mood expecting not to leave with a smile on your face. The aloe shots are amazing and the tea keeps me going through the day. Get your energy level on at Nutrition Craze!!”
Warner had owned other, similar nutrition clubs in North Dakota previously and lived in Moorhead, Minnesota before moving to Chandler. She enjoys the warmer temperatures in the Valley.
“I love it,” Warner says. “Everyone is so nice and it’s great because there’s a lot of people that are actually from the Midwest here. It’s almost like you feel like they’re family.”