Imagine indulging in gluten-free chocolate pancakes for breakfast. These pancakes are topped with coconut-cashew cream, raw honey and cinnamon. And here’s the clincher—indulging in raw and vegan juices, smoothies and entrees at the Electric Beet Juice Company (located front and center in the Public Market at 1530 Cornwall Avenue in Bellingham) contributes to a healthy lifestyle.Mount Baker Theatre

Remember the days when fast food meant greasy hamburgers and fries dripping with sugary ketchup? These days we have choices with more cafes and restaurants including fast, local, fresh and organic foods on their menus. And in the progressive city of Bellingham, raw and vegan foods are no longer well-kept secrets by people living on the fringes. The city also boasts its share of alternative healers, foodies and brave folks taking their health back one fresh meal at a time.

A health care professional, Kara Marklin touts the healthy lifestyle of juicing. Photo credit: Patricia Herlevi.

Health and Wellness Professional Kara Marklin launched the Electric Beet Juice Company in December of 2014. This happened right after Terra Organica shortened its name to Terra and expanded to fill the Public Market. The juice bar, which features raw and vegan cuisine, fits in well with Terra’s clean food philosophy. A shopper cruising through the produce department can easily hop on over to the juice bar to fuel their body with vitamins, minerals and enzymes while supporting the local food economy.

Some local farms and vendors Marklin supports include Cloud Mountain Farm Center, Osprey Hill Farms, Ralph’s Green House, Growing Garden, Bow Hill Blueberries and Shambala Farm and Bakery, to name a few.

Kara Marklin touts Taco Party as her favorite entree at Electric Beet Juice Company. Photo credit: @Zoeellaa (Instagram).

When I met with Marklin at the Public Market, she touted Shambala Farm and Bakery which is operated by another local female entrepreneur named Nancy Chase. Marklin turns to Chase for the gluten-free bread that appears on the Electric Beet menu. And speaking of gluten-free, Marklin mentioned that she uses separate cutting boards and toasters to prevent gluten from cross-contaminating with non-gluten food.

Prior to opening the juice bar, Marklin experimented with raw and vegan foods. She also carefully researched every ingredient that appears on her menu. Her entrée, Taco Party (mixed greens, walnut taco meat, fresh tomatoes, red onion, sprouts, carrots and cilantro), has us waxing nostalgic for taco salad.

Or try the Walnut Kale Caesar Salad topped with vegan Caesar salad dressing. And for anyone who wonders about the inclusion of beets, they appear in the Walnut Kale Caesar Salad, as well as in the juices, Electric Beet and Purple Rain (don’t let the cabbage and beets deter you).

Over the Moon contains anti-inflammatory herbs, fruits and vegetables. Photo credit: Patricia Herlevi.

I sampled a juice entitled, Over the Moon (orange, fresh turmeric, cilantro, pear and coconut water), which tastes oddly like a piña colada. The surge of energy I experienced gave me a much-needed boost at the end of a long day.

The origins of the juice bar began in 2014. “I did six months of research into all types of juice bars and decided on a 100 percent organic model that utilizes local food as much as possible,” says Marklin.

She also sources most of her produce locally. Only two fruits hail from the tropics, including coconut and bananas which Marklin sources from Hawaii. Marklin mentioned an annual favorite, a virgin cocktail which she says is a cross between gazpacho and a bloody Mary. Since she relies on local tomatoes for this sought-after drink, customers begin asking for it as early as June. (Local tomatoes don’t ripen until late July or August).

Front and center in the Public Market, this juice bar fuels active Bellinghamsters. Photo credit: Patricia Herlevi.

Other items on the upcoming summer menu include watermelon juice and hibiscus tea. The menus are seasonal and medicinal too. The juice bar offers an alternative cold and flu shot that includes ginger, lemon, raw honey and cayenne. Customers can load up on probiotics with the Olykraut Brine Shot and for those who choose to alkalize their body, a shot of wheatgrass does the trick.

A vegan winter broth with chickpea miso, ginger and a blend of 26 herbs offers a warm boost to get someone through a cold spell. And during the spring months, the juice bar offers juice fast packages.

Besides offering the healthiest cuisine in Bellingham, Marklin does not adhere to any single dietary preference. “Sometimes I am vegan and sometimes I’m not. My days of adopting strict diets are over. My only rule is to eat and drink lots of greens things every day,” says Marklin.

Kara Marklin drinks her daily green vegetables. Photo credit: @Zoeellaa (Instagram).

When asked about her food philosophy, she responds, “In a word – balance. Electric Beet aims to give you options that can help you achieve balance rather than proposing an ultra strict diet philosophy. If Chardonnay and truffle fries were part of my weekend I know on Monday morning I will be back in the juice bar to balance it all out.”

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