“Now, plié.” An instructor at Kitsilano’s Barre Belle is putting us through our final set of ballet movements at the beam. My legs are shaking and a bead of sweat is forming above my furrowed brows. It’s tough work, exercise, but we’ve been promised that our exertions will be rewarded.
We make a quick jaunt down the street to Vancouver’s newest shake bar, Shift Shakes, and I reach for a glass filled with a deep purple concoction. This is, I discover, the Black Sesame. With activated charcoal (to assist in detoxification), nut milk, and plant protein, it tastes just as it looks: earthy and thick, yet subtly sweet due to a dash of vanilla and a handful of dates.
Owner Danny Liu and director of nutrition, Noya Madadi, met in a boxing class and decided it was time to provide an alternative to the regular smoothie and juice joints across town that, they believe, often serve products they consider too high in sugar. Shift Shakes—which opens today—offers dairy-free, plant-based, nutrient-dense nut milk shakes and vegan snacks in a grab-and-go concept.
Madadi is a naturopath, and built the recipes around vitamins, nutrients, botanicals, and whole foods.
“It’s all about improving your energy, vitality, and productivity,” she explains. “It’s about feeling our best and doing our best in the world.”
The menu features eight shakes (no substitutions allowed), including the 24K Gold Longevity with its sprinkle of 24-karat gold flakes, collagen, rose water, ginseng, and honey.
All shakes include the house-made nut milk— almonds, white sesame and sunflower seeds, vanilla, and a touch of Himalayan sea salt—and include fresh fruits or vegetables and other ingredients such as hemp hearts, adaptogens, maca, spirulina, flax seeds, and raw B.C. honey. Ingredients are sourced locally wherever possible. They are served “Fit” or “Fancy” style, the latter topped with a swirl of coconut whip.
Snacks include oatmeal and nut butter “Power Pops,” and vegan chia pudding or coconut milk parfaits, all served in compostable or recyclable containers.
“We’re making health more approachable,” says Madadi. “And just letting people have more fun with it.”
Shift Shakes: 1835 West 1st Avenue, Vancouver.
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