We sat down with Living Kitchen founder, Juliana Luna, to chat about her food philosophy and why she believes in juice cleansing. Juliana also offers us a simple (and easy!) tip for making a positive change to our diets and overall lifestyle. Time to get in the kitchen!

Noteworthy: What was the catalyst for starting Living Kitchen? 

Juliana: I would say, it was a personal interest and intention to bring whole foods into a beautiful atmosphere with incredible people. I've always felt that the best way to connect with people is through food, and we wanted to serve people with the highest quality ingredients while bringing togetherness.

Noteworthy: What is your food philosophy?

Juliana: We believe that preparing living food is a labor of love and that health, beauty & art can be served on a plate.

The Living Kitchen philosophy displayed on a wall of their SouthPark (Charlotte, NC) location.

Noteworthy: Why do a juice cleanse? 

Juliana: Personally, I think juice cleansing is the best way to reset your system, it's like a deep cleaning of your "house". It clears your tastebuds and eliminates toxins. It also helps to recreate healthy eating habits and inspires you to be intentional with all areas of your life.

Noteworthy: What tips would you give someone preparing to cleanse for the first time?

Juliana: Easing into your cleanse can make all the difference. The week before your cleanse we always recommend to incorporate as many fruits and vegetables as possible. The day before, no alcohol, no meats, and no dairy. Eat as much raw food as you can. This will help kick-start your body's detoxing.

Noteworthy: What is one piece of advice you would offer someone interested in changing their diet and overall lifestyle? 

Juliana: Cook! When you prepare your own food, you are not only saving money, but you also know what you are eating. It's a beautiful way to connect with your food, your body, spirit, and mind. Eating simple, whole foods based meals is a great place to start. If you want to delve even deeper, shopping at your local farmer's markets brings profound appreciation for where your food comes from.  

Do you have a sweet tooth like me? Try the Living Kitchen's cookie bites (now available on Amazon).

Living Kitchen recently launched their "potions", carefully-crafted herbal remedies designed to give you a daily boost and promote balance within the body. You must try!

In 2012, Juliana Luna and Stephen Edwards discovered they shared a passion for plant-based cuisine. Both believed strongly in the positive benefits of living foods and felt that the city of Charlotte needed a restaurant that prepared organic, plant-based dishes of the taste, quality and presentation they desired. Juliana, with the creativity of a master chef, designed a plant-based menu that would surprise and delight the most discerning palates. The historic Atherton Mill in Charlotte’s South End proved an ideal location to design a restaurant that complimented the artistry of the food, and a neighborhood institution was born. Word spread quickly and passionate customers arrived from throughout Charlotte and beyond to enjoy food that was both artistically curated and thoroughly satisfying.

Building on the success of the original South End location, Living Kitchen opened a location in Raleigh in 2016, followed by Chapel Hill and a second location in Charlotte in 2017.

For more about Living Kitchen, visit livingkitchen.com and follow @living_kitchen on Instagram.

Images by Will Taylor @thewilltaylor and williamaveryphotography.com.