Eleven years ago, Toni Salerno-Baird felt sick all the time. She took a hard look at her life and blamed her food: pizza, Snickers candy bars and a liter of soda a day.You wouldn’t treat a Ferrari like that, she reasoned, comparing the body one gets for a lifetime to a sports car.
Salerno-Baird went “hard-core holistic,” studying nutritional medicine like someone planning to summit Mt. Everest — like her life depended on it.
“You could eat my makeup,” Salerno-Baird said of her devotion to healthy living.
Palouse Juice, a full-scale Moscow juice bar and vegetarian cafe, is the latest base camp on her journey. The menu features fresh-pressed juices and smoothies and foods like acai and quinoa bowls.
Recipes are Salerno-Baird’s creations, inspired by her personal research into the latest health trends.
“It’s my mission and my passion; by now I should have a PhD. I want to empower people to get their health back,” said Salerno-Baird, who has worked as a theater teacher and radio deejay and moved to Moscow from Florida 13 years ago. She opened Palouse Juice with her husband, Zach, this winter.
For people looking to detox after a night of excess, there’s the Hangover Helper: fresh-pressed carrot, spinach, kale, beet, apple, celery and aloe water with the optional addition of charcoal ($6.99). Activated charcoal is in vogue because of claims it can remove toxins from the body. It’s popping up in everything from food to toothpaste.
The Fertile Murtile smoothie with mango, banana, cacao, matcha, royal jelly, spirulina and almond milk ($6.99) was designed to promote pregnancy, Salerno-Baird said. On the smaller side, “wellness shots” like the Flu Shot, with raw garlic, ginger, honey, pineapple, lemon and cayenne ($2.50 to $4), offer a quick boost.
Posters touting the benefits of particular fruits and vegetables adorn the walls, but Salerno-Baird also stays up on what’s fallen from favor. You won’t find soy or gluten in her restaurant — nor agave sweetener. “In my research it is the sister to high-fructose corn syrup,” she said.
“When you can find the same thing over and over again; that’s when you find truth. You have to be open minded,” she said about how she sorts through conflicting claims.
She uses an $11,000 juicer to cold-press some of her juices. The cold-press process is slow and prevents nutrients from being destroyed, she said. She also serves alkaline water, purported to reduce acidity in the body.
Among the foods, toast ($5.99) comes with a variety of toppings, from mashed avocado to cinnamon with grass-fed butter and royal jelly. Savory or sweet oatmeal, quinoa and acai bowls are loaded with dried and fresh fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables ($7.99 to $8.99).
“Once you start eating the right way, your body is like, ‘Thank God,’ ” she said.
Palouse Juice, 509 Main St., Moscow, (208) 892-2233