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EarthBar opens

Owner finds purpose to help others

By ZOË WATKINS - zwatkins@t-g.com
Posted 1/7/23

Ruslan Kushnir decided to get his life together three years ago. It involved not only finding God’s will for his life but also beginning a healthy lifestyle. 

He recently opened …

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EarthBar opens

Owner finds purpose to help others


Ruslan Kushnir decided to get his life together three years ago. It involved not only finding God’s will for his life but also beginning a healthy lifestyle. 

He recently opened EarthBar on North Cannon Boulevard in a little rundown building that used to be a bank. Today, he serves a variety of healthy bowls and drink options to help others eating healthy too.  

“Food stopped being an object in my mind,” he said. “It’s a never-ending cycle: if you start eating badly, your brain will start reacting badly because it starts asking for more bad stuff because it tastes great.” 

But starting EarthBar was never his intention. Instead, the journey to where he is today started across the world in Ukraine where he was born.  

Kushnir’s family immigrated to the United States in 1988; he then settled in Los Angeles where he lived for 30 years and worked in the computer industry.  

At that time, those three years ago, Kushnir said he “hit the wall in his life.” 

That is, until God put the name Shelbyville in his mind. 

“So, I reached out to Him and said, ‘Get me straight, get me out. Help,’ without any hope that He would hear me.” 

That simple prayer led to everything changing. 

“I have a cousin who lives in Shelbyville so I knew that it existed...But I couldn’t get the name out of my head. I just went on for weeks with this Shelbyville in my head,” he said.  

After selling everything he had in L.A., Kushnir took a leap of faith and drove across the country. Arriving in Shelbyville in July with little funds and no place to stay, the move didn’t feel right. But Kushnir put his faith in God and kept asking how he could serve other people.  

Looking for places to eat, Kushnir realized there were very few healthy places that put the emphasis on real fruits and vegetables. In his efforts to eat right, Kushnir had cut out meat, smoking, and indulging in food. He recounted when he first came here, he had to go to three different stores to put together a salad. For him, Shelbyville resembled something that’s called a “food desert.” 

It hit him: helping others eat healthily here could be his calling.  

Driving down North Cannon Boulevard one day, Kushnir noticed the old bank building and knew it was the place for him to open his business. He acquired the building in August, and after weeks of renovations, finally opened EarthBar.  

Now settled, Kushnir offers a variety of smoothies, acai bowls, and his popular ginger shots. “If you’ve never drank them, I suggest you try,” he said. “They’re very uplifting.”  

Also known as “2 oz of daily health,” ginger shots are bright oranges and yellows, spicy, and full flavor. Take a sip and you’re bound to taste, smell, and feel the ginger as well as turmeric and lemon.  

But they’re great for you—especially in the dreary months of cold and flu season. According to Kushnir, the benefits of drinking ginger shots include more energy, better immunity, and help with chronic pain and inflammation.  

But if you’re not necessarily into spicy ginger, acai bowls are a creamy, fresh alternative that are still packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, and potassium—a great post-workout food.  

Or, if you need something for your sweet tooth but don’t want refined sugar, try EarthBar’s latest invention, strawberry and oat milk sherbet topped with fruits and covered with coconut and granola. 

“We are what we eat, and we behave like what we eat. What we put in our stomach controls our brain. If you put fried, unreal food in, it’s going to drive you in the wrong direction,” Kushnir said.  

That is, you no longer crave the “bad stuff.”  

Making his first recipe was a breeze. When asked where he learned to make these recipes, Kushnir simply said, “Him. I’ve never done anything like this.”  

Kushnir said he first understood why he came to Shelbyville when a couple came into EarthBar during their lunch hour — instead of going to a fast-food restaurant — and ordered one of the fruit bowls. “And they were very excited because they had never seen anything like this in town,” Kushnir said.  

“Now I start to understand what I’m doing,” he said. “I’m in a perfect place to change something.”  

EarthBar is located at 210 North Cannon Boulevard across from Planet Fitness. It is open 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. most days. For updates, check out their Facebook page, EarthBar.