Mercy Juice is a popular juice bar in Seoul with five store and pop-up locations operating all over the city. During my recent Korea trip, I met its Founder and CEO, Jung Han Moon. His story and Proverbs-31 based business is a major inspiration to young and aspiring business owners in Korea. If you can read Korean, check out this exclusive interview about Mercy Juice here.
I used to cook healthy meals often in college, but the comforts of homemade food put a temporary halt to the pattern. I've been meaning to make some life changes to recover from 1) mainly Korean diet (delicious, but those carbs!) and 2) skin problems (worst adult acne of my life).
Solution? Mercy Juice's three-day detox program! Two sets of all-green juices ("Green Cleanse") and one colorful fruit & veg juices (Rainbow Cleanse). They were delivered in front of my hotel early in the morning in an adorable fridge-friendly bag - and I drank one (six in total) every 2 hours from 10AM to 8PM.
From a graphic designer's perspective, I give them thumbs up! Korean design carries a unique aesthetic with detail-oriented and quirky moods - and Mercy Juice is an example of good design. When I first saw its colorful products on Get It Beauty, a Korean beauty show, I immediately rushed to its Instagram for more visual inspiration.
Also, all the juices come with a personalized name like "Almond Cloud" and "Fiji Cooler" with cute Korean captions. My favorites was Juice 1 of Green Cleanse called "The Shepherd Boy" referencing King David.
The taste was impeccable! I don't have much of a sweet tooth (some were tad too sweet for my taste), but it will be perfect for most of you out there. I was surprised by how clean and refreshing all the juices tasted - and how much they tasted like their unique names. My favorite was "Dr. Mercy" (their most popular drink, next to "Fiji Cooler") with beet, carrots, apples, lemon, and ginger - a perfect combination of sweet flavors with bitter undertones.
I realize though that juicing culture is relatively new to Korea. In California, many embrace the vegan, gluten-free diet as a lifestyle. Replacing a normal Korean diet (bowls of rice, flavorful side dishes, and heavy stews) with liquified fruits and vegs can appear too extreme. Many Koreans would cringe at the thought of chugging juiced up bitter plant roots like some folks in California. Hence, many people visit juice bars for healthier, better-tasting alternatives of everyday fruit juices, often as a one-time experience. The flavors and ingredients therefore adjust to the Korean taste to reach a greater market. I enjoyed exploring the creative options of juice-meets-Korean-diet with items like fig smoothies and soy-based vegan bowls. As more Korean people learn about and adapt this "new" diet, I'm excited to see what kind of solutions will arise in the food market.
Weight & Skin
Three days is too short to see tangible results on weight and skin, so post-detox diet is crucial to see lasting results. After my detox, I gave into tempting Korean barbecue and street food for some meals, but I kept most meals light and healthy for about a week. I didn't see direct results from the cleanse itself, but it played a part in motivating my now adjusted diet and skin routine.
My favorite things to eat in California were acai bowls, cold-pressed juices, and ahi tuna poke bowls. That all went out the window when I left LA to live with my family about a year ago. The comfort and laziness put me on a diet funk - and by the time I landed in Korea, I was ready for change.
When I came back to the states, the cleanse prepared my body - and mind - for a healthier lifestyle. I was reminded again of how happy I was when I took care of my body by eating well. Ever since my return, I have been cooking more, taking better care of my skin, and replaced coffee with tea.
My skin has cleared significantly with less frequent breakouts (thanks to the post-detox motivation, but largely to a K-Beauty routine (I'll do a K-Beauty dedicated post in the near future, but check out posts on K-Beauty intro and product reviews for now). I also lost significant amount of weight within 2 weeks after my return from Korea. Also, even though I live in a city with a small cold-pressed juice and vegan food market, I found a sweet spot to get my morning juice fix after some research. Small changes really are everything!
I'm so glad I did the detox and am thankful for the tangible lifestyle changes I made through the experience. Make sure you check out any of the five Mercy Juice locations if you are ever in Seoul. Meanwhile, visit their Instagram and Facebook page for healthy-living inspirations!
Stay tuned for my post comparing three top juice bars in Seoul - and find out which juice I liked best!