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Whenever someone says, "I'm going on a cleanse!" I think starvation and lawn juices. It reeks of misery and wheat grass so freaking fresh it makes your butt pucker. Of course, you feel great afterward, right about the time your body begins to eat itself and you see little fairies waving to you from the garden.
But Nekter, a local juice-bar chain with stores all over Orange County, makes its smoothies with all the good reasons for cleansing, but without such intense conditions--and with better flavors. Oh, it sells wheatgrass and some juices so vibrantly green your processed-foods-riddled body might go into shock at the first sip. But it also sells some phenomenal choices that even the worst fast-food junkie would slurp up like so much Mountain Dew. Take the date nut smoothie: raw vanilla bean, cashew-nut milk, dates, banana and nutmeg blended with ice into a toasty, cream-colored swirl with specks of golden brown. The rich texture is accented with chewy little bursts of date; after a while, they settle on the bottom of the drink as though they were boba.
After drinking it, your stomach doesn't hurt, and you won't find an extra layer on your belly the next day. If you'd like a milder version of the beverage, pour it over ice. If you'd still rather drink lemon-cayenne water all day, then Nekter has that, too. More dates for the rest of us!