August 17, 2008

Helping RC Get Healthy

I don't think anybody would accuse me of being health conscious. Like most people in the newspaper industry, I'm not usually seen gnashing on veggie burgers or substituting lunch with a fruit smoothie.

We journalists drink, smoke, eat a lot of take-out and the only exercise we get is chasing down our sources until they outrun us.

Which is why I raised a lazy brow when Rancho Cucamonga asked me to help make and create a Healthy RC smoothie, a new drink that Robeks, 8160 Haven Ave., is promoting in conjunction with the Healthy RC campaign.

I'm pleased with what Francie Palmer, marketing manager for the Community Services Department, and I came up with - a yogurt-based smoothie with raspberry juice, strawberries, blueberries and pineapple.

Robeks is selling the smoothie for $4.45; $6.95 with the reusable, earth-friendly travel mug. The price includes two free boosts, like "intellibek" and "trimbek." Not a bad price for something that makes you both smart and skinny.

The city has been on a health kick lately. Earlier this year, it banned smoking at city facilities and initiated a Healthy RC campaign with programs that promote healthy minds, bodies and Earth.

Even the pedometers that the city hands out to walking club participants are healthy - they're solar powered.

All this puts a lot of pressure on making the ultimate healthy smoothie - especially since Palmer wanted the process to be democratic. The bubbly marketing manager went out and gathered more than 80 surveys from walking club participants and city staff members; each gave a piece of his or her mind on what makes a stellar smoothie.

Palmer strikes me as someone born with spreadsheet software in her brain.

"I'm a survey queen," she said.

Her surveys, which pitted strawberry (46 percent said it was their favorite) against mango (14 percent said it was their least favorite), are extremely thorough.

Participants of the survey were thorough, too.

"It has to be lavender-purple to match our city," wrote one person.

Another person wanted more than one nutritional boost, while a boost hater declared, "No Boost, I hate Boosts I don't want them in my smoothie!"

Suddenly the task of making a crowd-pleasing smoothie seemed impossible. I suggested we ditch the surveys and create something that Palmer and I liked. Palmer laughed, thinking I was joking.

We began experimenting with raspberry sherbet, peaches and orange juice.

Owner Bob Kenz, a soft-spoken man, was kind enough not to laugh even though I looked ridiculous in a Robeks apron and couldn't find the blender's "off" switch.

Kenz seemed truly excited that the city was helping residents get healthy, but he wasn't too pushy.

"Have you ever tried wheatgrass?" he asked me.

"Umm no."

"Really? You should try it."

"Umm no."

I was thinking more along the lines of a splash of Zinfandel, you know, a nod to the city's winemaking past. I thought it was a good suggestion but alas, our Healthy RC smoothie came out wine free. Kenz probably thought I was joking.

Robeks is offering a free Healthy RC smoothie to the first 200 participants of the city's walking and running club. To join, call Janelle Hughes at (909) 477-2760, ext. 2381.

[email protected]

(909) 483-9376

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