Smithfield Herald

A health trend comes to Clayton

Theresa Esposito, co-owner of Juiced Up, sells a juice called “Hulk It Up” to Meredith Pounds.
Theresa Esposito, co-owner of Juiced Up, sells a juice called “Hulk It Up” to Meredith Pounds.

Juicing is a popular health trend that sprouted on the West Coast and has now spread to North Carolina, including Clayton.

Liz Layman and Theresa Esposito, both of Clayton, are longtime friends who started their journeys with juicing because of the health benefits.

A year ago, they decided to share the gospel of juicing with the Clayton community, where they saw a lack of healthy eating options. They opened Juiced Up, a juice and smoothie shop, on U.S. 70 Business next to Gold’s Gym.

“Instead of getting fast food, people can get a smoothie or a juice, and we hope to educate people,” Esposito said.

Selling drinks is only a small part of what the owners intend to do in Clayton. They want to help people enjoy life more by showing them how to eat better. The nutrient-dense juices are pretty filling on their own but do not have to be a meal replacement.

“It’s like taking a multivitamin for the day,” Layman said. And it’s a tasty way to get your greens.

A lifestyle change

Documentaries such as “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” have helped fuel the interest in juicing, with inspirational stories of people going from obesity and depression to being able to enjoy their lives.

The shop has a steady flow of customers who are active and into staying fit. But they also have customers who first came in the door not knowing much about how to be healthy but looking for a place to start.

The shop offers a juice cleanse for people who want change their eating habits. In the cleanse, customers drink only juice for three to seven days. The cleanse is intended to get rid of toxins in the body and can be a way to get a fresh start when you are ready to get healthy, Esposito said.

She recognizes that the juice diet is hard. And the cleanse can be a huge commitment, but the benefits are worth it, she said.

Sometimes the shop organizes cleanses where people have a buddy so they can encourage each other. But people who don’t have a buddy can check out “Juiced Up Clayton” on Facebook to find comments and support from other people who are doing the cleanse.

Esposito did juicing during her pregnancy, and she attributes the ease of her pregnancy and the health of her baby to juicing.

“I felt amazing, stayed at a healthy weight and had a ton of energy during that time,” she said.

With its location near many fast-food restaurants, the owners at first were concerned the concept wouldn’t catch on.

But once people taste the juices for themselves, they’re sold, the owners said. They have built their store mostly on word of mouth.

Layman and Esposito said they treat their customers like family, asking them about every aspect of their lives and health. They also aim to help make the transition to a healthy lifestyle a smooth one by offering lots of encouragement.

“We teach how the body can heal itself from the inside out, and we want to help people do that,” Layman said.

Juiced Up has 17 juiced called “fruiteggies.” One, called “Hulk It Up.” has pineapple, wheatgrass, cucumber, celery, kale and ginger. The “Big Kahuna” has kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, parsley, lemon and ginger.

When the ingredients are blended, the green ingredients – spinach, kale, wheatgrass – don’t have any flavor. What’s noticeable are lemon, ginger and pineapple.

The shop also has smoothies and solid foods. The “super bowls” have ingredients like coconut water, super greens, banana, granola and honey and are as filling as a meal.

For more information about Juiced Up, visit