Dish for Dosha: Custom Elixir

Dish for Dosha’s ayurvedic juices are made specifically for the individual

Heather Hoch
Cecilia Arosemena makes specialized juice blends for her business Dish for Dosha.

There isn’t a lot of love given to juice in the culinary world. While it’s an unmistakable trend to go on a week-long juice cleanse and pretend you don’t miss solid food, there is something special about the way Dish for Dosha is serving up juice.

You won’t find chic, modern surroundings or a gaggle of girls in yoga pants when you go to Dish for Dosha. In fact, owner and sole juicer Cecilia Arosemena is currently operating out of the commercial kitchen in the YWCA located at 525 Bonita Ave. But this is actually kind of perfect for Arosemena because, rather than chasing after fad diet followers, she’s aiming to create healthful, convenient options for people in Tucson.

“It’s an efficient way to create bioavailability of nutrition,” Arosemena says of her juices. “We’re all trying to do the same thing: stay healthy. I’m trying to make it as quick and affordable as possible.”

Unlike many juice purveyors in town, Arosemena’s are actually blends and combinations that are customized for each individual client. Using a holistic Hindu philosophy called ayurveda that focuses on balancing the mind and body through food, Arosemena has new clients fill out a survey about their current health and asks them about their health goals.

“People come to me with their goals and I say, ‘Rest assured. I can take care of you for the next three, five or 15 days,” Arosemena says, smiling.

Since beginning her customized juice service in November 2013, which also incorporated a catering service, Arosemena says she’s gained 100 recurring clients and has an 87 percent return rate. That impressive level of customer retention over the span of less than two years says something about a business—especially one that has only grown through word of mouth.

That’s likely because, unlike many of the uniform cleanse programs, Dish for Dosha offers over 65 varieties of juices, paired expressly for your personal needs. They’re reasonably priced at $5 per eight-ounce juice, which is the equivalent of about two pounds of vegetables and fruit per bottle. Arosemena also doesn’t demand clients go without food during a cleanse, offering ayurvedic salads and soups to help curb hunger.

“It depends on the person. If a client needs to build their immune system, I’m not going to deplete their body of nutrients,” she says. “I usually tell those clients they can eat as many fruits and vegetables as they want.”

“Cleanses and fasting aren’t a new thing. It’s good to let your digestive system rest sometimes,” she adds. “You’re still getting nutrition and energy since you consume the equivalent of about 15 pounds of produce per day, but you might feel anxious because you aren’t chewing anything.”

One of her most popular soups is one she calls the “veggie woman,” which uses a slow-steeped ginger and turmeric tea base that adds in hearty vegetables slowly over the 36 hours it takes to cook it. She says this soup, with its orange and yellow produce, is good to balance too much estrogen with not enough testosterone—an issue she says is common.

However, along with individual clients and the YWCA, Dish for Dosha also provides juice for Green Halo’s medical marijuana patients, giving them a healthful edible alternative to the typically butter, sugar and gluten-centric field. She hopes to supply 50 dispensaries statewide in the near future. Arosemena’s juices can also be found at Renee’s Organic Oven, 7065 E. Tanque Verde Road. Here, her juice blends are combined with small-batch liquors to create cocktails that still have at least a twinge of healthiness to them.

“We haven’t done studies on it but I can say the nutrients in the juice would help metabolize liquor better. You’d also be avoiding the artificial sugars in mixers and those usually are what lead to nasty hangovers,” she says. “The juices have sugars that your body knows how to break down and I can say when I drink with them I feel fine the next day.”

With each juice she makes, regardless of where it goes, Arosemena says it’s important that it be made from local ingredient for local people.

“Eating local and seasonal is pivotal,” she says. “The things that grow in this environment are meant to be nourishing for those living there.”

Along with her own locally grown herbs, Arosemena’s juices include Sonoran-specific ingredients like aloe and prickly pear pads and fruit, which she says are great for hydration. Equally important is timing. While the Dish for Dosha slow juices, allowing for less oxidation and keeping the enzymes and nutrients of the produce alive longer, Arosemena says her juice still has just about three days of shelf life before it loses its nutritional value.

“We don’t pasteurize it because once you do that it’s dead,” she says. “It takes out all of the good minerals.”

Although Arosemena was trained professionally both at a traditional culinary school and at Dr. Deepak Chopra’s ayurvedic center near San Diego, she says that it wasn’t until October 2014 that she became serious about juicing and its benefits after discovering she had a life-threatening liver tumor that many doctors told her was inoperable.

“They were telling me to be prepared to not wake up after surgery. They told me to make arrangements for my son,” she says. “It was then that I was really forced to walk the walk and start healing myself with food.”

After finding a doctor that would operate and remove the tumor and flooding her system with nutrients from juicing daily on her own time, though her doctor said the fruits and vegetables wouldn’t necessarily help her at all, Arosemena did wake up and walked out of the hospital just six days after surgery.

“Part of my deal with the YWCA was that if I did wake up, I would have a place in the kitchen and it gave me hope.”

Arosemena is now completely tumor free and ready to see what the future holds for her and her little local juice company called Dish for Dosha. For more information on Arosemena and her services, e-mail or call 309-9055.

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