With impassioned intentionality, Paula Medley shares her wellness mantra: “We are living creatures and our bodies need living food!” 

As such, she continues to create juices, smoothies and meals that are both medicinally beneficial to the body and pleasing to the palate while adding a host of superfoods to Boone’s menu du jour. Paula plans to continue to enhance the quality of life in the High Country through her business, Juice Boone.

Originally from eastern North Carolina, Paula is the daughter of a restaurant entrepreneur. Although her father’s family-owned bar and grill was not focused on healthy menu items, Paula explains, “I learned so very much about creating and managing a business. Not to mention the best customer service skills.” Nonetheless, she jokingly admits, “After years of working and basically living there I swore I would never own a restaurant. Never say never!”

Using the lessons learned from her father’s business and knowledge gained from years of work in various areas of the wellness field, Paula’s choice of venue is infused with quite a different focus. A staunch believer in Hippocrates’ maxim: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” Paula believes that the connection between food and wellness is paramount in understanding how to live our best, most vibrant lives. 

As a marathon runner, Paula said she discovered that exercise — even when burning thousands of calories at a time — does not override the necessity of eating healthily. She began to notice a connection between what she ate and a number of injuries she endured. She also detected a correlation between food and her moods. She recognized changes in attitude, thoughts and emotions when eating more healthily.

 “Tweaking my diet changed my emotional issues,” she says.

Juxtaposed with that empowering knowledge and the helplessness she experienced in witnessing her father’s declining battle with dementia, Paula was overwhelmed with a growing awareness of her community’s dire need for food education. Through The Juice Guru Institute — an international online institute in Redondo Beach, Calif. — she received certification as a Juice Therapist. Pairing this degree with her Nutritional Science studies at East Carolina University as well as other programs to receive her Holistic Health Provider certification, Paula explains, “I had been chipping away at growing in all the wisdom and knowledge made available to be a help and service to others in the journey of wholeness.”

From here, Juice Boone as it is today was on its way. An existing business since 2017, Paula and her husband were initially enthusiastic patrons of the store and, through a series of events that included an unforeseen pandemic, they became the owners. Through solely plant-based, vegan and 100 percent organic dishes, Paula’s goal is to continue to find ways to add a vibrant variety of nutritious and delicious items to her menu. 

With no hesitancy whatsoever, Paula describes her “going all in” approach to her business, her employees and her community. “Wellness to me is the recognition that your body is a temple and should be treated as such, Paula says. “That means you feed and nurture your body, mind and spirit in a way that promotes joyful living and allows you to be free from disease and illness that is the result of nutritional neglect. We make a promise to our customers each day to start and land in a position of blessing our community with the best quality nutrition that helps them to experience joyful living.”

Currently, Paula’s team of 16 employees work as juicers, food preps, dish washers and front of house smoothie and smoothie bowl makers. Juice Boone also partners with the Nutrition and Dietetics Department at Appalachian State University, whose graduate interns help with this list of duties as well as assist in Wellness Wednesday Tutorials and menu creations.

A proud employee of Juice Boone, Madelaine Amato’s role ranges from making smoothies and juicing, to taking orders and prepping menu items. Prior to working at the juice bar, she was not a customer of the venue. She explains, “My sisters always told me about it, and I just never got around to going.” She continues to describe that “my health was not the greatest before working there due to never reaching the recommended number of fruits and vegetables in my daily diet.”

Through research and testing, Madelaine discovered health and cognitive issues that could have been treated with prescription medication. She chose Juice Boone’s holistic approach instead. 

“Paula recommended a more plant-based diet that was nutrient dense. Once I started to incorporate more fruits and veggies, I immediately noticed a change. I just feel better as a whole,” Madelaine said.

Equal to this newfound vibrancy, Madelaine describes the atmosphere at Juice as saying, “The staff is willing to help anyone find what they are looking for healthwise or just coming in to grab a quick smoothie or juice. Our shop is a judgment-free zone and all we want to do is impact you in the best way possible.”

Paula explains that a great place to start when diving into learning about wellness is to first realize it is a journey. “There is no quick fix or one-size-fits-all in health or fitness. This is a customized journey that is unique for each individual,” she says. She also advises to start slow.

“Begin with smoothies and gradually move to juices,” Paula says. “Take the time to notice the positive changes in the way you feel, think and how you are in your world.”

Following her own advice, Paula shares ways she incorporates health in her daily life. She says, “Waking up early, taking time to move my body and fuel properly, I am ready to begin work on our farm with my husband and two children. Once I make it to the store, I am ready for a day filled with community and the promotion of health and wellness intelligence.” 

Paula’s perfect day would include “a refrigerator fully stocked with every vibrant color of the rainbow and lots of customers telling me they are glad to find us and how much they love the shop. The joy of knowing I’m making a difference truly makes every day at Juice Boone a good day!”

Paula’s impassioned philosophy “when the fork goes in you’re either feeding or fighting infection” resonates as a wake-up call to health, to wellness and to the vibrant journey of our best lives. Juice Boone could be the first step. 

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Hollie Eudy is an English teacher who loves stories, words and the mountains of Appalachia.

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