Special Section

Drink and Shrink

the interesting meal system of Eau Claire Fusion

Kinzy Janssen |

In addition to serving up 35 flavors of smoothies, Eau Claire Fusion really gets invested in your personal health goals. At what other restaurant – or smoothie bar, for that matter – can you get a free body scan, or earn money from a pot as a result of shedding pounds?

Co-owner Nicole Nemec explains the basic three-part system that she has personally benefited from: she lost 80 pounds after following the program, and has maintained for her new shape for more than a year. First, you take a shot of mango-flavored aloe, served in a cute white mini-mug. It looks like water, but it's just a tad thicker, and goes down cool and smooth. As a digestive agent, it preps your stomach for the meal that will follow. Aloe has also been hailed as an alleviant for heartburn, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, and even Crohn's disease. Then you sip flavorful green tea (I had peach), which purportedly boosts metabolism and generates energy. Your meal itself comes in the form of a thick smoothie. I had the Oatmeal Cookie, which has ground-up raisins in it, but there are flavors as varied as Tropical Fruit Splash and Reese's Peanut Butter. Packed with 24 grams of protein, each smoothie has been certified as a meal replacement by the FDA, and they have all the vitamins and minerals our bodies need in one day, according to Nemec. She stresses the importance of protein intake in muscle building – and not just for body builders. Anyone who works out needs to get enough protein in order to replace unwanted fat with lean muscle.

“(Customers) go back to work and their co-workers are like, ‘How do they have so much energy? Where did you just eat?’ ” – Nicole Nemec

"We recommend a shake for breakfast, a protein snack, a shake for lunch, a protein snack, and a sensible dinner. And men might have another snack after that, since they need more protein. So you're eating five times a day," she said.

Many of Nemec's customers wander in from their downtown desk jobs, looking for an energy boost. "They go back to work and their co-workers are like, 'How do they have so much energy? Where did you just eat?' " said Nemec.

Other smoothie proponents are making them part of their daily diet, and attending nutrition club meetings to ensure accountability. The meetings span nine weeks, are held right at Fusion, and cost $35, which gets collected into a pot. At weekly weigh-ins (Mondays or Wednesdays), you must pay $1 per pound you gain. You are allowed to miss one meeting, but must fork over $5 per meeting you miss after that. The pot, which will have grown since the first meeting, will then be split between two winners: the person who loses the highest percentage of body weight, and the person who loses the most inches.
Shape scans are also available at Fusion. Nemec has a machine on loan from UCLA that measures all the important aspects of your shape, including the percentage of your body fat, total pounds of body fat, and lean body mass. Unlike a BMI scale, it's not just an equation. And the printout tells you how much protein you need a day, and what your caloric intake should be for maintenance or weight loss.

So whether you're looking to lose weight, gain energy, or just taste some of these eclectic flavors, you'll find Fusion's place in the Eau Claire smoothie scene is an powerful one.