It was her fear of the "Freshman 15" that attracted Ivie Gonsalves to a clean eating lifestyle.

Nearly four years ago, the Utah Valley University communications major arrived in Orem on a track scholarship, but found it hard to manage her weight because of a slow digestive system.

She started researching the benefits of juicing -- which is a popular way to get vitamins and minerals without eating them -- and over time developed a passion for the topic.

“I want to share what I’ve learned about being healthy with others,” the 22-year-old senior said.

That desire to spread the word started on a blog and eventually led her to opening a juice bar with business partner Nancy Gonsalves, a woman who also happens to be Ivie’s mom.

“There’s a hole in Utah’s market for a place like this,” Nancy said.

The juice bar touts a variety of healthy menu options, including all natural fruit and veggie juices, smoothies and shakes, and the bar’s most popular menu item, acai bowls, named after the Brazilian superfruit and antioxidant acai.

While customers have the option to add Stevia, coconut sugar, agave and turbinado, menu items are first made without added sweeteners, syrups or preservatives.

“This way you can have your treat and not feel guilty,” Nancy said.

Part of her inspiration for the juice bar came from being active in the Utah Valley dating scene, Ivie said. It’s awkward to go on a date to a yogurt shop and have to tell your date you don’t eat ice cream, she said.

The juice bar has already seen a variety of customers since its October opening, ranging from business people on their way to work to gym rats craving a drink after a workout. So far, the majority of customers seem to be 18- to 30-year-olds who are trying to live a healthy lifestyle, the mother-daughter duo said.

Expectedly, one of their most popular menu items is the Beach Babe acai bowl, which is made with a mix of acai, strawberries, blueberries, pineapples, bananas and apple juice. It’s topped with granola, coconut flakes and fresh fruit.

What wasn’t expected was the amount of people who order ants on a log -- a childhood favorite snack of celery sticks, peanut butter and raisins -- or the amount of men who visit the juice bar to buy a juice cleanse, Nancy said.

Cleanses are typically popular with women who want to detox their body and lose weight, but so far 85 percent of cleanses purchased at the juice bar have been by men, Nancy said.

The bar has juices for a one, two or three day cleanse. Each day of the cleanse, instead of consuming solid foods, people drink six, 16 oz. juices, throughout the day. For example, morning starts with Warrior -- a blend made of kale, spinach, chard, cucumber, celery, apple, lemon, lime and mint -- and dinner ends with Royal Almond -- a blend of almonds, dates, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and water.

This is the first business venture of their own, though both have experience in the restaurant business. Nancy worked as a manager of the banquet department at Snowbird resort about 10 years ago, while Ivie has worked at Red Robin, Brick Oven and The Hangout, a juice bar in California.

We both have strengths that complement each other, they split the job duties -- Nancy focusing on logistics and Ivie focusing on marketing.

“People say don’t go into business with family, but it’s brought us closer together,” Ivie said of her mom. “She’s my best friend.”

Ivie Juice Bar is located at 45 N University Ave. in Provo. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays. To learn more, visit iviejuicebar.com or search Ivie Juice Bar on Facebook and Instagram.

Keri Lunt Stevens covers Community & Business News in Utah County. Contact her at (801) 344-2556, kstevens@heraldextra.com and on Twitter: @keriinreallife

Keri Lunt Stevens covers Community News in Utah County.

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