BELLVILLE — Every time Nina McGhee gives someone one of her organic cold-pressed juices, she says it’s like handing over a “bottle of nutrients.”
The 33-year-old Bellville resident hopes to help people lead healthier lives as the owner of Nourish Wellness Bar, which opened in February in the former Darr Events building on Ohio 13 in Bellville. The juice bar is housed under the same roof as the gym, Built By Unity.
McGhee, a Clear Fork graduate of 2004 and certified wellness coach, started paying more attention to food labels after giving birth to her first child 10 years ago.
“I was trying to breastfeed at the time and I thought what I'm getting, he's getting, so what am I getting?”
Her perception of what she viewed as healthy began to change from focusing strictly on low-calorie, low-sugar, low-fat items to whole foods (foods that have been processed or refined as little as possible and are free from additives or other artificial substances).
“Everyone has their own dietary needs, so there's nothing that fits everybody across the board except whole foods; it always goes back to the basics,” she said.
You can’t get much more basic than the ingredient lists for McGhee’s juices.
“A lot of people are surprised because they're like, ‘That's it?’”
McGhee opts for organic ingredients, “which is so, so important because you're really condensing and compacting everything so you really want them to be clean,” she said.
She said there’s a rhyme and reason behind each of her juice recipes.
“I don't just throw things together because they’ll taste good.”
With each recipe she uses primarily vegetables, using only one fruit source as a sweetener.
“When you juice you're leaving the soluble fiber, but the insoluble fiber is being extracted, which is good when it comes to GI issues,” she said. “Anyone who has IBS, Crohn's disease, diverticulitis, any type of GI issues, you can have the best diet, but your body's not going to absorb vitamins and minerals the way that it should because it's working so hard at breaking them down, so that’s why it's nice to have the insoluble fibers taken out.”
The menu features six staples, as well as two to three rotating specials.
Juices come in 10- and 16-ounce bottles. For those looking for a quick pick-me-up, Nourish Wellness Bar offers two-ounce turmeric and wheatgrass shots.
“I knew I wanted it to be more grab-and-go because we live in a fast-paced lifestyle,” McGhee said. “But I also wanted to create a space where people can just walk in and be at ease about what they're purchasing.”
She encourages folks to be mindful of food labels and their own dietary needs and to ask questions if they have any.
“I think that's what I love most about this,” she said. “I encourage everyone to look at what they're taking in because I feel like anymore we eat to fill our bellies, not to nourish ourselves, and there's a distinct difference.”
Taking a leap of faith
McGhee said she would have never pictured herself in the role she’s in today, but it’s a culmination of taking a leap of faith.
She had been teaching Mommy and Me classes at Clear Fork Alliance Church and then started attending fitness classes at Built By Unity.
“I continued to incorporate whole foods into my diet and working out just kind of became non-negotiable at that point,” she said.
Around the end of 2016, she became a wellness coach at Darr Family Chiropractic and Lifestyle Center. In that position she noticed a trend where people were frustrated from trying and failing to be healthier.
“It wasn't that people didn't want to be healthier. People do. But they don't know what direction to take,” she said.
McGhee continued working as a wellness coach until her father was diagnosed with cancer in April 2017.
“I stopped wellness coaching to spend time with my dad and I had every intention of getting back to it,” she said.
Two months later her father died at 57.
“He was my best friend,” she said between tears. “That just gave me a reality check to how fast life goes.”
Eight weeks after her father passed, her 54-year-old stepdad died of an aneurysm rupture after returning home from the gym.
These tragic losses left McGhee to contemplate how she was leading her own life and using her gifts.
“I just felt like the Lord gave me such an understanding of health and wellness, and the one thing I would always regret is not utilizing my gifts more, so that's when I really took a leap of faith,” she said.
By September 2018, Nourish Wellness Bar became an LLC.
“I did that to kind of encourage myself to keep taking those baby steps and to not let fear take over, and that's where it all started. It was after the hardships and just trying to make lemonade out of lemons that had been dealt,” she said.
Open for business
Nourish Wellness Bar, located at 5780 Ohio 13, is open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
In addition to juices, Nourish Wellness Bar sells nut butter bars, jerky, coffee beans, collagen and a select few supplements.
McGhee said she hopes to add smoothies to the menu in the near future.