It's not as if drinking juice for health is a new concept. But even the most ardent carrot juice sippers in the 1970s might find it hard to believe that in today's juicy world, everyday life comes with a kale chaser.

When juicing came back with a vegetal roar a few years ago, it seemed like a trend that might not last, but drinking a meal or two a day -- crammed with many more vegetables than you could easily consume in one sitting -- continues to grow in popularity.

Locally, two facts illustrate this concept: Alfalfa's Market has seen a 60 percent jump in sales at its juice bar since it opened in 2011, and a new health-oriented restaurant, Zeal, offers four different cold-pressed "mother juices" -- red, green, yellow and orange -- from kegs.

Zeal owner Wayde Jester says the green juice made from kale, cucumber and green apple is the most popular.

"It seems to have hit a nerve, suiting palate and expectation. It's sort of the standard bearer," he says. "If you have a green juice, you will try a lot of other things."

By that, he means items on the restaurant's diverse menu that offers local, organic dishes made by a chef with 20 years' experience. The menu offers options for vegans, paleos and those who eat gluten free. It also partners with Conscious Cleanse to help those who want to do a New Year's cleanse. For those who like to mix and health and vice, Zeal offers cocktails from its wittily titled Detox-Retox menu.

At Alfalfa's, Mary Kloberdanz, coffee and juice bar manager, says many customers choose juice for health reasons. For the hard-core enthusiast, the greener the better.

"More and more people are wanting as leafy a juice as it gets," she says.

In the Connoisseur, for example, kale serves as the base with spinach, cucumber, parsley, cilantro, dandelion greens and celery adding to the profile.

"It's extremely bitter ... good for your liver," she says. "It's not for the beginner. It's not as palatable."

That's not to say that plenty of green stuff doesn't make it into the digestive systems of even the novice juicer. Apples and berries are often used to mask the bitterness. Kloberdanz says children love the green drinks once they get past the color.

"It's a lot of fun with kids. You can see the parents are happy and confident with what they're giving their kids. The standards are so high," she says.

Alfalfa's offers both juices and smoothies, which include all the fiber and are often used as a meal replacement rather than a snack. Coconut or almond milk, flax powder or almond butter are sometimes added.

Kloberdanz says the convenience of getting a meal on the go appeals to many students and to city workers who like to walk for part of their lunch hour.

"It's easy to come in and have a smoothie or juice and walk back," she says, adding that she sometimes finds that the smoothies satiate her longer than a typical meal.

For those who juice at home, the store offers juice kits of organic fruits and vegetables. Kloberdanz says a pound of vegetables typically makes 8 ounces of juice.

Another big trend is 2-ounce shots of ginger juice and lemon with cayenne. That's a favorite of Sophia Boedecker, 26, who credits the combination with boosting her immunity.

"I haven't been sick in two years," she says.

Boedecker, who lives nearby, gets a shot and a juice from Alfalfa's almost every day.

"It's a routine. I'm starting out my day with replacing breakfast with a juice or a smoothie depending on what the day holds," she says, adding that she likes the lighter breakfast before exercising.

"I don't' like to have a big stomach full of food when I work out," she says.

Boedecker travels frequently and says juicing is key to keeping up her healthy lifestyle.

"Whenever I get run down, I load up on juice, and it seems to work," she says.