photo by Stephen Nigl
I’m Steve Planté, owner and operator of Organic Oasis Restaurant & Juice Bar. The story of Organic Oasis begins in 1983 when I found out I had severe lead poisoning from years and years of leaded, stained glass work. I got no help from traditional channels. While attending an extension class at UAA, hosted by Gatekey – a local center committed to teaching massage, spiritual principles and good living – I met a naturopath doctor. Two years later I had a blood lead level lower than the national average. That was inspiring, so I decided to help others learn how to use food as a weapon against disease. I began reading everything I could find on alternative health and hung out at the health food store.
In 1986, I attended a spirulina conference at Palm Springs hosted by the late great Dr. Christopher Hills. My first health minded endeavor was conceptualized. Later that year, I thought up the name “Enzyme Express Juice Bar”. Enzyme Express opened its doors in August of 1987 (during the Harmonic Convergence), using an old door for a bar top. We “founders” helped people find a new beginning for their nutritional lives. For many years we were known as the “green food people” with our sprout farm and our wheat grass farm. There was no internet. Over four hundred classes were taught there. Topics ranged from product information, metabolism & disease to sprouts, wheatgrass & personal programs. I stayed at the “Zyme” for eight years before selling my interest and moving my focus to other things.
I learned much from those eight years at the Enzyme Express Juice Bar, walking and talking the talk. One St. Patty’s day I drank 30 ounces of wheatgrass juice with out losing it. For three of those 8 years I was a vegan. What a fantastic high I experienced during those times, incredible oxygenation and buoyancy. I know what living foods can do. The information exchanged there was like no college I ever attended. There is great merit in “on the job training”. My partner at the time, Tom Lee, was an inspiration for me. He was the most non judgmental person I was hanging with at the time, a true mentor in that respect. Upon leaving Enzyme Express my main asset was experience, knowledge and numerous friendships made during the time spent there. I had no intention of coming back into food service. The demise of Enzyme Express changed all that.
Many doctors, nurses and practitioners came to the Enzyme Express and made friends with us. We traded information on health, disease, products, spas, programs, scientific information and implementation of lifestyle change. It was a rich time for networking. The internet was still a crimson embryonic bullet. We had no idea that ten years later in 2001 a person would be able to punch in wheat grass on the computer and many many websites would come up. Amazing!
I signed the ten year lease on the Organic Oasis space in 1998. It took me six months to build the place and I opened on Earth Day in 1999; It had been an extreme struggle up to this point, there were times when I wanted to quit and move to Costa Rica. The Organic Oasis project has brought many life lessons to me. One of the big ones is acceptance. We all know that one, but to practice it is really rich for one’s soul. Another is patience. As the body cleanses so must the mind and soul. The community needs a place like this to hang out at and to find the tone of quality and integrity in relation to food and diet.
The giving out of information has always been important to me. I feel information should be available to all who ask. Organic Oasis now has wireless internet access for all who have the card in their laptops. Classes are conducted each fall and again each spring. Organic Oasisís growth has been steady and for the first time since opening, I feel that I may get a vacation this year.
Lately, we have been transforming the place into a healthy night club. With our stage, baby grand and sound system, we can host music as professional as it gets. Music happens five nights a week.
One of the main things I learned at Enzyme Express was that you can not force feed green foods to anyone. People move in cycles and at certain times of the month people want comfort foods or beverages. It is life. So, I decided to offer familiar things like organic beer and wine, organic espresso, free range buffalo, etc.. Flexibility has come to me. We will serve you what you want, but it will be of high quality. You can come in for a buffalo burger and draft beer and it will be of the highest quality. People will see the sprouts and the carrot juice out the corner of their eye and on some level it plants a seed that will some day give themselves permission to have the healthier stuff with confidence.
The true focus of our time has come down to this; Let Go of Issues, Clean Your Body & Empower Thyself. Good health is not so complicated but it does demand consistency and discipline of focus to avoid the slick ass fast food ambush on every corner of this town and almost every other town in America. As we age and move through this life and time, we tend to require less and less physical nourishment while needing more and more emotional nourishment. Many people who come to Organic Oasis are healthy and want to stay that way. I am proud to help them find their nutritional groove. We are here to serve and to help people find balance. Come in to find out if it is your time to shift.