The healthy food and drink community in Baton Rouge is on the rise. From juice shops to vegan-friendly restaurants, conscious consumers now have lots of options to purchase nutritious food and lifestyle products. While the state capital has made significant progress, the same can’t always be said for the greater Baton Rouge region.
Brittany Lawrence is a Zachary native who struggled to find healthy food in her neighborhood. Until she opened Zen-Jus on Main Street in Zachary in 2020, the mother of three had to drive up to 30 minutes to get organic groceries and plant-based meals.
Since opening, Zen-Jus has become a convenient shop for people to pick up cold-pressed juices, coffee drinks, plant-based milks, and alkaline meals and vegan plant-based meals.
The holistic shop also sells locally made chemical-free body products, incense, sage, essential oils, natural vitamins and alternative medicines.
Lawrence makes all of the fresh-pressed juices in-house. Zen-Jus has eight juices on the menu, including the customer favorites Open Heart Beets, which is made with beets, carrots, apples, lime and ginger; Let it Flow, made from kale, spinach and celery; and Energize, made from apples, carrots, lemons and ginger. Customers can order juices in sizes ranging from 16 to 32 ounces. Those who want to do a three-day juice cleanse can order 18 bottles of juice, drinking roughly six bottles a day.
Lawrence wanted to create a one-stop-shop for people seeking plant-based foods, natural household items and locally made gifts. The 34-year-old didn’t want to do it alone and wanted to give other local businesses without a storefront a space to share their products. Before Lawrence opened her shop doors, she sold fresh cold-pressed juices at the Zachary farmers market alongside many of the businesses who are now her store vendors.
“About 75% of the products we carry are from other local businesses, and 90% of the businesses are Black-owned,” Lawrence says.
Local goods include elderberry syrup by Ellie Mae’s Elderberry; herbal tea by Adornleaf Tea Co.; CBD oil from Mountain Pure CBD; sea moss gel and drinks by Lyfestyle Naturals; essential oil blends by Beluga Bliss; and vegan meals by The Golden Vegan.
She describes the community of small health-focused businesses as a family, and says their network is more like a brother- and sisterhood. Lawrence strives to continue sharing her space with other local businesses, inspire other Black and women business owners to follow their dreams, and promote a healthy and mindful lifestyle. zen-jus.square.site
This article was originally published in the January 2022 issue of 225 magazine.