A few weeks ago, I had a chance to interview Mark Kozhin, founder and owner of D’Vida Health based in New York. With only two locations and potential for expanding into new locations, plus launching a line of protein packets available online, D’Vida stood out after one experience there. What made them unique is one, they use whole fruits and vegetables, and they use low-glycemic liquid bases to accommodate customers who want all benefits and convenience of a smoothie with all the sugar. I asked Mark about D’Vida Health and their preference for blending.
Do you have a personal preference or a personal opinion relative to offering like whole fruit and whole vegetable smoothies versus what a lot of people are focusing on is the juicing? Why did you pick the format you currently have in D’vida Health Bar?
Mark: There’s a lot of thoughts on this and there’s obviously many different ways of getting your nutrients and essentially it really depends on what you’re trying to achieve and also the taste profiles as well as the quality of the ingredients and nutrients. Basically, there’s three or four ways you can actually get all these with some vegetables and the liquid forms. so there’s this centrifugal juicing, which is the least amount of nutrients come out of that but it’s the quickest way. It’s basically a high-powered, very fast cutter that essentially cuts the fruits and vegetables up and all the pulp goes to the back and the juice comes to the front so that’s only the least amount of nutrients but it does give you something and it gives you a lot of much of the juice but not as much of the yield as what’s called the masticating juice. – The masticating ones, it’s a different kind. Tget chew off the fruits and vegetables so you get more of the nutrients coming out and the juice in comparison and it doesn’t oxidize as quickly. And the third way is to liquefying through a blender. Now when you blend something, you put the whole fruit and whole vegetables in and usually you’ll need a base of some kind of liquid so that it blends evenly, so usually at our stores, we use our smoothie base which acts as a liquid and sometimes we’ll use a fruit base as well but the smoothie base alone, we know that it has a consistency in the taste profile that’s consistent throughout whatever you put in there. That also depends what kind of blender you use. If you use a 30-dollar blender, it’s not going to give you the same kind of results as let’s say a VitaMix blender which actually cuts up the fruits and vegetables to the cell level and releases all the nutrients. So you’re getting all the fiber, all the nutrients of the fruits and vegetables, maximum amount of product in your fruit and vegetable juice. The VitaMix blending is the ultimate way of getting all your nutrients and that’s why we kind of like to blend things more than juice things. Essentially, that’s the main difference – it’s just the amount of nutrients that you’re getting from the product.
And then essentially you’re doing obviously more fiber from using the whole fruits and vegetables. I’d say, what would be the things in between what you’re doing and a lot of places that just make fruit smoothies?
Mark: Well the difference – frozen and fresh, it’s not about the difference on frozen and fresh, it’s more about the kind of liquid that you use. Any other place it makes it a smoothie for example some kind of liquid to make the blend. So it’s either orange juice or milk or yogurt or something like that, then you put the fruits and perhaps vegetables in there. But the biggest issue is the taste profile is always very different and you’re not always sure how much fruit and vegetables you getting. They all have a different format of making it. as of making it but also what we’ve focusing on is the functionality and the glycemic load of the product. So you want the sugar to be as low as possible and flavor to be as high as possible. The biggest different between us and everybody else we create a proprietary base, a liquid product that we put in to all our smoothies which gives you the consistency, gets you all the fiber, all the protein, all the nutrients that you need, the low Glycemic level ingredients so it doesn’t give you all that sugar content that other smoothie products give you so essentially you can drink one of our smoothies, it only has a net of 200 calories , fill you up, has tons of fiber and most important is the sugar quantity is much lower so your body doesn’t react to it negatively so you don’t have the huge insulin rush or anything like that. It’s all about the lower sugar level to prevent all the issues with diabetes, et cetera. So that’s essentially what we’re focused on.
What else are you working on for your health bars?
Mark: I can’t wait for you to see the Bars that we’re going to have. We’ve already introduced them but we’re going to create a system of creating bars. You actually select the components you want in your bars and then make them right in front of you.
Will they be soy-free or will some of them have soy?
Mark: None of them will have soy. There’s no soy in our bars. Basically we have a binder that’s the proprietary liquid. So when it forms, it’s a liquid form. When it cools down to room temperature, it essentially hardens to the point where it puts all the ingredients together and makes it into a bar. So there’s no soy and it is low glycemic as well. We have the bars already selling in our stores but the customizations of it will be available online and in our stores in the next 6-8 weeks.
And then, the proprietary liquid – do you have a vegan option for that for people who are lactose intolerant?
Mark: It is vegan-friendly. The syrup itself is primarily made of with the Gabion Brown Rice syrup. There’s nothing else in there. It’s completely vegan, GMO-free, low-glycemic as well. It’s only good stuff.
Thanks to Mark for taking the time to chat with YGL. To find out more about Mark’s health bars, visit D’Vida Health.