Who doesn’t want to visit a “happy place” today in a world where uncertainty looms over everyone as the coronavirus continues its deadly toll.
Fortunately, there is a “happy place” to be found at Elite Nutrition in East Longmeadow that will not only make you smile, but possibly improve your health.
“I like to call Elite Nutrition a happy place for all. We do our very best to keep your visit upbeat and positive, and if you came to us upset, we want you to leave happy and with a smile,” said owner Crystal Jimenez about the smoothie and juice bar she founded in 2019.
Her introduction to protein shakes and teas happened just the year before.
“I was in desperate need to find something to help me lead a healthier, active lifestyle. I have a young son and wanted more energy so that I could keep up with him. That’s when I began to drink protein shakes and teas, which helped me to lose weight and build my energy levels” she said.
For those not in the know, Healthline, a popular health information website, describes high protein shakes as boosting metabolism because a lot of energy is spent digesting and metabolizing the protein. High protein shakes also help you build muscle, which burns more calories than fat. Also, researchers generally agree that high-protein diets can help you lose more weight and belly fat. Protein shakes may also prevent muscle loss and metabolic slowdown.
“I was so pleased with how I was feeling that I wanted to share that healthy feeling I was now experiencing with others. I determined the best way to do that was to open my own storefront,” Jimenez said.
So, Jimenez took a leap of faith and left a secure, full-time job where she had been working for the past five years. She began looking in different areas of Springfield and Westfield where she might locate her shop.
“Every time I walked into a potential site, it didn’t feel like the right fit. I was about to sign a lease in Springfield one day, but my heart really wasn’t in it. Luckily that same day I received a call about a hair salon in East Longmeadow that was downsizing and leaving a space available for rent. Just by looking in the window I knew this was the right place,” she added, noting a nearby bicycle trail which would help to bring in customers.
Today her shop serves up healthy, low sugar, shakes that at under 300 calories can serve as a meal replacement, and energizing teas with no sugar in a variety of flavors.
“Our smoothies taste good and look appetizing,” Jimenez said.
“How To Make A Smoothie 101” at Elite Nutrition goes something like this:
Take your base protein mix, customize it with different flavored Stevia products to give the shakes their unique taste, then simply add water and ice and blend.
“Ours don’t taste like some normal chalky protein shakes, they taste more like having a dessert. Some of our customers tell us they feel as if they just had an ice cream, but a healthier version without all the calories. Others tell us they were craving a hamburger or something not good for them, but came here instead to enjoy something healthy,” Jimenez said.
When customers walk through the doorway at Elite Nutrition, they see an entire menu of different protein shakes and energizing teas on a board before them. They are all made from scratch right before your eyes, and you only have to wait a minute or two until they are mixed to perfection.
Shake choices are grouped into five categories: Bakery Shop, Breakfast Shop, Candy Shop, Coffee Shop and Fruit Shop with more than 30 taste-tempting, sweet tooth delights to tickle almost any palate. There is Birthday Cake, Cookie Dough, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie, Fruity Pebbles, Rice Crispy Treat, Snickers, Twix, Peppermint Patty, Mocha Latte, Jamocha Macchiato, Chunky Monkey Banana Split, Strawberry Pina Colada and endless others.
As for all the nutrition packed into the shakes, they have 24g of protein, under 300 calories, 9g of sugar, 4.5g fat, 21 vitamins, 13 carbs and 5g fiber. And most can be made gluten free.
“We also offer post-workout protein shakes. These are for people who, after going to the gym, stop in for a high protein shake that is 38 grams of protein compared to our normal 24 grams, which helps them to recover and build muscle after a good workout,” Jimenez said.
“The come in chocolate, vanilla and strawberry shortcake and you can add PB2 to any post workout selection,” she added.
PB2 is a powdered peanut butter - containing 85% fewer calories from fat - that is made by pressing out most of the natural oils from roasted peanuts and then grinding the nuts into a fine powder.
For teetotalers looking for a cooling libation on a hot summer’s day or a warming cup in the cold of winter, there are Elite Nutrition’s energizing teas.
“These are caffeinated and healthy, just as if you are enjoying a caffeinated flavored tea with no sugar, but we can sweeten them with aloe,” Jimenez said.
Flavors include pomegranate, raspberry, lemon, peach, cinnamon and chai that can be sweetened with cranberry, mango or mandarin aloe.
Tea drinkers can also opt for boosted/lit teas.
“These are healthy guarana teas made from a black tea extract that gives you amazing energy without the crash you often get with coffee. These teas also offer you an increased mental focus and clarity. They are great for your gut health and we can also sweeten them with aloe,” Jimenez said.
The boosted/lit teas are lime-, orange-, tropical-, or pomegranate-based with a variety of flavors including Blue Breeze, Gummy Bear, Sour Patch, Skittles, Tsunami, Pineapple Peach, Captain America, Pink Panther, Very Berry Splash and Warhead.
The energizing teas, all gluten free, have 5-15 calories and no carbs, sugar or fat, while the boosted/lit teas have 29-40 calories, 4.5 carbs, less than 1g of sugar, and no fat.
For those who want a little more, there are protein bites - maybe Oreo Peanut Butter or PB Confetti on any one day that pair nicely with a refreshing energizing beverage or one of their tasty shakes.
While many customers stop in for “grab and go” - you can also call your orders in ahead - there are tables and chairs for people who want to sit and hang out for a spell.
“You’ll often find high school kids coming in to do their homework while having something to drink,” Jimenez said.
To add a little fun to the menu, Jimenez recently introduced what she is calling Mystery Monday. You place your order and if you have them pick your shake, tea, or combo, you receive $1 off your order. However, you can tell them which flavors you like or don’t like….then leave it up to them.
Elite Nutrition is located at 130 Shaker Road in East Longmeadow. Hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m.
to 3 p.m.
For more information,
visit their Facebook page, call 413-224-2579,
or email firstname.lastname@example.org