Good-for-you food op­tions abound

Sam­ple on-trend eats

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - SAIRA PEESKER

Jay Quinn used to be like a lot of peo­ple: tired, over­booked and quick to grab fast food.

He’d started his ca­reer as a chef, but found the long hours weren’t worth the pay. Then he went to school and worked as a para­le­gal at a law of­fice, which didn’t solve his prob­lem of be­ing too busy. “Be­ing in a car all day, sit­ting at a desk all day” meant it didn’t take long for his health to suf­fer the con­se­quences.

“I found that my eat­ing habits and gen­eral over­all health and mo­ti­va­tion were def­i­nitely de­clin­ing,” said Quinn, who launched Fork & Lean out of the Kitchen Col­lec­tive in August. “I looked for­ward to crappy food choices. The eas­i­est thing to eat is just re­ally bad for you. I felt lethar­gic. I didn’t have time to pre­pare meals my­self.”

Fork & Lean cooks up­scalelook­ing meals that don’t have any gluten, dairy or added salt, and are ready for pickup twice a week — perfect for cus­tomers liv­ing like he once did. And he’s one of sev­eral new busi­ness own­ers in Hamil­ton who say healthy food has hit prime time as peo­ple look for faster ways to eat well.

“(Our so­ci­ety has) so many health and weight is­sues,” Quinn said. “More and more, peo­ple are re­al­iz­ing the root of it is food.”

Sev­eral other busi­nesses tout­ing healthy food op­tions have opened in the area lately, in­clud­ing a Freshii out­let in Jack­son Square, Glow Juicery on Locke Street and Pure Love, a juice and smoothie bar at­tached to the Let­tuce Love ve­gan café on John Street in Burling­ton. In down­town Hamil­ton, The Sec­ond Bowl veg­e­tar­ian café and two-in-one con­cept Lit­tle Big Bowl/Eatwell (of­fer­ing “healthy, de­li­cious bowls”) are open­ing soon.

At Glow Juicery, part of an Ed-

mon­ton-based chain, the menu fea­tures a vast slate of cold-pressed juices in­cor­po­rat­ing fruits, veg­eta­bles and spices, as well as smooth­ies and ve­gan, raw food.

Hamil­ton lo­ca­tion owner Lina Can­nella be­lieves there has been an evo­lu­tion among peo­ple who typ­i­cally eat out and have re­al­ized they can do that in a health-con­scious man­ner.

She says her clients do in­clude peo­ple fol­low­ing all-juice or ex­clu­sively raw-food di­ets, but many oth­ers work around Locke Street and are look­ing for a healthy lunch, or are shop­ping in the area and drop by to grab a juice.

“Peo­ple al­ways ask me if I’m ve­gan, and I’m not,” said Can­nella, who was try­ing out ve­g­an­ism for one month when she spoke with The Spec­ta­tor in early May. “I just be­lieve in giv­ing peo­ple more healthy op­tions.”

Kelly and Ken Childs, who run Pure Love and Let­tuce Love, dis­cov­ered ear­lier in their hos­pi­tal­ity ca­reer that peo­ple who eat veg­e­tar­ian or ve­gan di­ets were an un­tapped mar­ket. While run­ning the Black Dog in east­ern Toronto be­fore mov­ing to Burling­ton, Ken — an om­ni­vore at the time — says Kelly con­vinced him to change his menu to about 30 per cent veg­e­tar­ian dishes.

“It was an im­me­di­ate suc­cess,” he said. “We were go­ing af­ter a mar­ket that was brew­ing.”

They opened Let­tuce Love (ini­tially called Kind Food) in 2010 af­ter mov­ing to Burling­ton; Pure Love launched last Novem­ber. Kelly also runs Kelly’s Bake Shoppe — which offers gluten-free, ve­gan and peanut­free baked goods — with her daugh­ter Erinn Weather­bie.

Ken is now ve­gan, but says it takes more than just adopt­ing a la­bel to lead a healthy life­style.

“Ve­gan doesn’t mean healthy — Oreo cook­ies are ve­gan,” he said, laugh­ing. “You can fill your­self with candy and pop and say you’re a veg­e­tar­ian.”

Dr. Janet Pritchard, who teaches nu­tri­tion to life sciences stu­dents at McMaster Uni­ver­sity, stresses the im­por­tance of eat­ing a bal­anced diet, say­ing most di­etary trends haven’t been stud­ied enough for their ef­fects to be truly un­der­stood.

“Rather than chang­ing our di­ets to in­clude all raw foods, foods from the Stone Age or juices, we should be think­ing about adopt­ing a di­etary pat­tern that is more sus­tain­able and sci­en­tif­i­cally sound.”

She rec­om­mends fol­low­ing Canada’s Food Guide or the Mediter­ranean Diet, say­ing both are backed by sci­en­tific ev­i­dence. That said, she notes it’s hard to com­pete with health ad­vice from celebri­ties such as Gwyneth Pal­trow and the Kardashians, whose thoughts on health and well­ness of­ten get more at­ten­tion than those of the sci­en­tific com­mu­nity.

“That’s why I do this ‘Fad Diet Fri­day’ sec­tion in my cour­ses. Let’s take what’s out there and de­bunk it.”

Top, John-Michael Quinn pre­pares some of his pre­made meals avail­able from his com­pany Fork & Lean. Cus­tomers can or­der their meals on line and pick them up at the Kitchen Col­lec­tive, where he pre­pares them.

Left, Lina Can­nella, owner of Glow Juicery on Pine Street, with its vast slate of cold-pressed juices in­cor­po­rat­ing fruits, veg­eta­bles and spices, as well as smooth­ies and ve­gan, raw food.

Above, Fork & Lean’s salad and sand­wich with roasted red pep­per, pick­led red onion and chick peas.

PHO­TOS BY BARRY GRAY, THE HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR

Michael Ren­nie, gen­eral man­ager of Let­tuce Love Cafe in Burling­ton, which offers a va­ri­ety of gluten free and ve­gan food op­tions.

From the top: Hawai­ian Bowl, Sweet Po­tato Burger and Power Bowl from Let­tuce Love.

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