Liquid Planet Cures Death

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Essential energy for mall walking.
We overhear the best health tips in -- where else? -- shot-and-beer joints. Take Richard Raicone, a regular at the Tick Tock Tavern (11526 Clifton Blvd.; 216-631-6111.) Six months ago, the semi-retired collections agent was about to put his 93-year-old mother, Pauline, in a nursing home for a string of nagging ailments from cataracts to chest pains. So Raicone first put her on a daily regimen of fruit smoothies and swirls laced with vegetable and fruit juices from the trendy Liquid Planet down the street from his happy-hour hangout. Every morning, he pops in to buy three of Mom's favorites: an "Orange Creamsicle" smoothie made with mango, banana, orange juice, and non-fat frozen yogurt; a "Hawaiian Kiss" swirl with its mix of celery, apple, and orange juices topped with ginger; and a "Rio," made with blueberries, apple juice, skim milk, Kashi granola, and the antioxidant acai berry from the Amazon Rainforest. For an added boost, Raicone asks the clerk to sprinkle in either spirulina, ginseng, bee pollen, gingko biloba, or flaxseed. "It's a natural pick-me-up," he tells us. But the daily doses of juice don't come cheap. A small smoothie runs $3.25, a 16-ounce swirl costs $3.75, and the "Rio" sets you back $5.95. But half a year later, Pauline feels better than ever. She even power-walks every morning at Great Northern Mall. "She has me running in circles," says Raicone. "But she doesn't make me guilty enough to knock off the gin-and-tonics." -- Cris Glaser

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