• Life Alive: Urban Oasis & Organic Café

    November 6, 2012

    I’ve partnered with Harvard Pilgrim on this sponsored post, but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You can find more ways to be well at HarvardPilgrim.org/CountUsIn.

    As part of the “Well-Together Challenge,” the next thing Sarah and I decided to try together was eating some raw/vegan/healthy food from Life Alive, an “urban oasis and organic café” in Central Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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    Sarah had heard great things about Life Alive and it seemed right up my alley: “Scrumptious Unprocessed, Whole Meals.” It sounded great! Ok, pretty much as soon as Sarah said “juice bar,” I was on board. I love fresh juice and there’s no where near me that makes it (that I know of), so I was especially excited about visiting.

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    At Life Alive, all of their meals are made fresh to order from organic produce, which is delivered daily, so as soon as I walked in, it was the first thing I smelled. It was like being at a farmers’ market!

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    The menu at Life Alive was really something special. It included warm meals, cold meals (salads), soups, sides, smoothies, and juices.

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    I have to admit, the menu was a little overwhelming, but only because there were so many delicious-sounding options. There were also number of ingredients that I wasn’t familiar with, but the staff was friendly and willing to help. They described the various flavors and answered all of my questions.

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    Even still, it took me a little while to decide what to order. I wanted to try so many different things! (FYI: Life Alive offers Demi portions, which are a smaller version of their meals. I didn’t realize this until after I ordered, but ordering two Demi portions and maybe a side or two would be a great way to try a few different things.)

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    Random side note: I loved that the condiment bar was loaded with nutritious and various diet-friendly options—from nutritional yeast and liquid aminos to ginger sugar and gluten-free mustard.

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    Deciding on what juice to order was a piece of cake. The “Jive Alive” immediately caught my attention. It was made with cucumber, celery, kale, lemon, and ginger. The lemon and ginger flavors really came through, and it tasted fresh and clean.

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    After much debate, I ended up ordering “The Lover,” which was steamed shitake mushrooms with dark greens, shredded carrots, beets, and broccoli flowers tossed in a zesty, garlicky Ginger Nama Shoyu dressing and served over short-grain brown rice.

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    The veggies were only lightly cooked so they retained flavor, crunch, and nutrients, and the brown rice added texture and satiety to the meal.

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    It was a fairly large portion and ate the entire thing. It was awesome.

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    If you’re looking to try something different, I highly recommend Life Alive. My first experience was really great, and I’d love to dine there again soon. It’s sort of a hike from where I live, but I’d totally make the trek. Maybe next time with Mal? He’s sometimes skeptical of places like this because he’s worried the food will taste too healthy, but I wouldn’t hesitate to take him. The menu offered so many different dishes and the flavors were interesting, but not weird, and I think most people would enjoy them. Plus, you’re getting tons of nutrients in each and every bite of the food. I honestly felt healthier after eating at Life Alive!

    Question of the Day

    Have you ever eaten at a place like Life Alive? What’d you think? 

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    { 52 comments… read them below or add one }

    Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) November 6, 2012 at 11:38 am

    I’m not sure we have any places like that in Louisville but I would love love love to try it! The inside of the restaurant is so colorful and fun!

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    Katie @ Peace Love & Oats November 6, 2012 at 11:40 am

    That place sounds amazing!!! I’ve never eaten anywhere like that, I wonder if there’s something similar here in Chicago!

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    Brooke (beingvivacious.blogspot.com) November 6, 2012 at 11:41 am

    I have never been anywhere like this place. it looks really neat. I live near-ish to it thought. Maybe I’ll check it out next time I’m near Cambridge.

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    Annette@FitnessPerks November 6, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Mmmmm! That sounds & looks delicious!

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    Ed November 6, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Wow that is a groovy looking restaurant…if the food is like the decor, I bet i would dig it!

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    Ali @ WHOLEistically Fit November 6, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Wow! That place looks and sounds incredible. I wonder if that’s their only location or if they have others… say in California where I’m at? ;) I’ll have to scope it out.

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    Angela@The Chicken Scoop November 6, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Wow how cool! I would love to go to a place like this. Sadly, my area is a little slow to catch onto the healthy trend. Looks delicious!
    ~Ang

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    Candice@allthingsyogi.com November 6, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Yes, I look for these kind of eateries when I travel.

    There is a place near my home called Lyfe Kitchen. I like going here after yoga: http://lyfekitchen.com/

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    connie November 6, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    I love Life Alive! My favorite is the the Adventurer – lots of dark leafy green, broccoli and almonds for a crunch. There are other locations in Lowell and Salem, but I think those are even further away from you -_-

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    Chelsea@Ahintofhealthy November 6, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Wow that looks awesome! I wish we had a place like that in Utah!

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    Megan November 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    LOVE this place. Next time, try The Healer. A-mazing.

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    Tina November 6, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Will do! That one sounded really good!

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    Sam November 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Looove Life Alive. My favorite is the Green Goddess. I don’t think it’s technically a raw food restaurant though is it? Just because things are warmed and the brown rice is cooked? I don’t know what the technical definition of raw food is though.

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    Tina November 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    No, it’s not a raw food restaurant. It’s an “organic cafe”! :)

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    Beks November 6, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    I need to move. We don’t have places like that (That I’m aware of) in Omaha. There was a restaurant I ate at in Columbia, MO called Main Squeezed that had a vegan/vegetarian menu, and I loved it. So did my mom. Dad, not so much, but he doesn’t eat his vegetables.

    I miss it. We have this one organic place in Omaha that’s been here since my mom’s college days, but we’ve never gone. Really want to, though.

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    Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio November 6, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Wow what an awesome restaurant. I’ve never been somewhere like that but I’d love it! The juice looks amazing,

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    Rebecca @ Blueberry Smiles November 6, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    SF has a lot of restaurants like this! On just opened in my neighborhood- I haven’t been yet but plan to check it out relatively soon

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    Hillary {Nutrition Nut on the Run} November 6, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    I could use some more green juice in my life. What a fantastic cafe. I have no doubt I’d clean my plate there, too :)

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    Brandi November 6, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    That place looks really good. I wish I knew about it when I was working in Cambridge.
    By the way, what happened to your post about taco night? It was in my reader but when I clicked over to give you a page view it 404′d on me.

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    Tina November 6, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    It’ll be up later! :)

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    Justeen @ Blissful Baking November 6, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    I was at Life Alive last month and I ordered the EXACT same thing – Jive Alive and The Lover! My juice was really strong and bitter though – I couldn’t even sip it without adding some honey!

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    Life's a Bowl November 6, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    That place looks awesome! I probably would be a bit overwhelmed with the extensive menu [hellooo Cheesecake Factory] but I just looked at their site and there are so many options I bet it would be hard to choose something not too tasty… I usually am not a fan of small plates because I feel like I have to order so many to feel satisfied, but that’s a great idea for a place like that where you’d wanna try a few different dishes!

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    Patty November 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I’ve heard such great things about this place! I work in Harvard Square so this could very well turn into a healthy option for lunch.

    How are the prices? I’m guessing it’s a little on the expensive side?

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    Tina November 6, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    It was a little pricey, but not too bad. My meal + juice was $16.

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    sara November 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    There’s nothing like this where i live that I know of. I live in Kentucky right near Cincinnati :( Soo sad… I think I would absolutely love it tho! Tina I have another question about your sweet breakfast scramble; Do you ever use butternut squash? I was going to try it since I have leftovers. Also after squash is made is good all week long? Thanks!

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    Tina November 6, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Yep! The original recipe was made with acorn squash, so pretty much any mashed squash, canned pumpkin, or sweet potato would work.

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    Kristen @ Change of Pace November 6, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    What a cute place! And lunch looks delicious :)

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    Emily @ www.main-eats.com November 6, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Beautiful restaurant and beautiful food!!!

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    Jen November 6, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    I love Life Alive! Im glad you got to try it :) My favorite is the Innocent. They also have delicious iced lattes with homemade almond milk that I’m sure you’d love!

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    Tina November 6, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Those looked good too! There was also a carrot cake smoothie on the menu that I NEED to try next time! :)

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    Carrie @ Fitness and Frozen Grapes November 6, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Mmmm, sounds delicious! In NYC, there’s a restaurant called Pure Food and Wine that serves raw, vegan dishes. It’s a bit pricy, but very tasty!

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    Katie @ Talk Less, Say More November 6, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    YUM! that looks so good and very eclectic. There’s a place in SoCal that I only had the opportunity to eat at a few times but it was SO good!!

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    Grace @ Grace Dishes November 6, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    This place looks amazing! I love the little details that you noticed and captured. It really makes me get a great feeling about this restaurant.
    YUM!

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    sarah November 6, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    that looks like such a great spot! I love the condiment selection – I wish more restaurants would offer these kinds of options!

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    Michelle (Peachy Palate) November 6, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Wow that place looks awesome! I’d definitely go for ordering a few different smaller dishes; you’ve got an excuse to go back again now though! Love the fact that they had nutritional yeast and aminos!!

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    Kristen @ Happy Running Mama November 6, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Wow. That place looks like my dream restaurant! As a vegetarian and someone who eats healthy most of the time, I always have a hard time ordering at restaurants. There are usually only 1-2 things on a menu that I can choose from. So I would be completely overwhelmed (in a good way!) with the menu at Life Alive! I can’t relate to being able to order almost anything on the menu. Seeing restaurants like this makes me want to go open one of my own! :)

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    Arie November 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    I love this place! I wondered in one day while apartment hunting and its a great restaurant!

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    meghan @ struggle muffins November 6, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Love Life Alive! Definitely hear you on the overwhelmingness-of-the-menu front, but I’ve never had anything I haven’t enjoyed. And while it is a hike, you could set up shop right down the street at Clear Conscious Cafe and work from your laptop – I used to do it all the time, makes it more of a substantial trip!

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    Anne November 6, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Wow! I am not vegan or raw, but that sounds amazing! I wish I had an option near me that had local produce delivered daily!

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    Amanda Sutherland November 6, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Such a coincidence! I ate at the Lowell location yesterday. It was amazing! I got “the romantic” with brown rice on a wrap. AMAZING. I will be frequenting that place more often, as it’s right down the street from my classes.

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    BroccoliHut November 6, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    What a wonderfully funky place! Everything looks fantastic! There are a lot of similar places like that in Asheville. We visited there last spring, and I really loved Rosetta’s Kitchen the most–I got a Buddha bowl with a fantastic sea vegetable salad.

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    Christina @ The Beautiful Balance November 6, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I want to live in there! That would be my favorite place ever. I mean, seriously, noosh in a shaker?! Fresh green juice in ball jars?! Sign me up!

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    Melissa November 6, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    That place looks amazing! I need to look and see if there’s one in my area.

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    Lindsay November 7, 2012 at 6:37 am

    I haven’t visited the Cambridge location but have been to the Lowell location many times and I love it.

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    Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin November 7, 2012 at 7:56 am

    I wanted to go there when I was in Cambridge/Boston for HLS this summer, but it was really far away from the hotel so I never got a chance to check it out. It looks awesome though!

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    Lea @ Greens and Coffee Beans November 7, 2012 at 8:23 am

    This restaurant looks awesome! The decor is so fun and the food looks delicious! I wish there was a place like that near me!

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    Anon November 7, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Yes yes!!! The Goddess + avocado is the BEST!!!!!!

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    Kelly November 7, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Oh my gosh, I make that juice every morning in smoothie form! (jive alive)

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    Gina @ Health, Love, and Chocolate November 7, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    I love these types of restaurants, especially their selection of raw desserts which usually ends up being a problem for my wallet. ;-)

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    stampylisa November 8, 2012 at 6:43 pm
    June April 8, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    We first went to the Lowell location, after going to the quilting museum. The Lowell location is smaller but seemed bigger as there were not as many people standing in line to place their order (be sure to visit the restroom to see pretty way they repurposed the bathtub!). We saw on the menu that it was in Central Square/Cambridge too.

    Since then we’ve been walking to Central Square a few times a week and have tried all the salads and all the hot meals – some of the other things too. Everything tastes delicious. My husband and I split a salad and hot meal for dinner. If we stick to the basics it’s around $20.

    They also have Live Alive in Salem, we haven’t been there yet.

    I just heard from the owner: A cookbook is in the planning stages – look for it in a few years though as they are busy arranging the new store in Jamaica Plain!

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    Breakfast Criminals February 28, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    I’m obsessed with Life Alive! Just wish there was one in NYC. This place is just out of this world in its food and vibe.

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