Entrepreneurs Rewriting the Rules of Healthy Eating
Consumers everywhere are waking up to the connection between diet and daily performance. In response, these three epicurean innovations are lined up to sell food that powers body and mind.
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Remember the days when dietary choices were made to satisfy a craving or an empty stomach?
No more. Today’s consumers are opting to fuel up with foods designed to keep them humming at peak performance.
Proof? The National Restaurant Association reported last year that seven in 10 adults were trying to eat healthier at restaurants than they did two years prior. And a 2014 report in the British Journal of Health Psychology found that they’re justified in doing so. People who ate more fruits and vegetables were found to be happier, more curious and more creative.
Here’s a look at how the creators of three innovative food offerings are targeting today’s health-conscious consumers.
Divya’s Kitchen: Sanskrit-to-Table
Most chefs consult cookbooks or dietitians to inspire healthy recipes, but at NYC-based restaurant Divya’s Kitchen, open since fall of 2016, husband and wife co-owners Prentiss and Divya Alter reference ancient Sanskrit texts.
Here, 3,000-year-old food and wellness traditions from India known as Ayurveda inform the menu. The right food, the thinking goes, can achieve specific health-related outcomes, from combating jet lag to correcting illness to prepping for a change of seasons.
“Bad fuel can clog up a car and make it break down faster — and it’s the same thing with our bodies and food,” says Divya Alter. “The quality of the food we eat will affect our performance. If we eat processed, artificial or improperly cooked food, it lowers our body’s intelligence to do what it’s supposed to do.”
Divya’s menu is a departure from other Ayurvedic restaurants because it applies Ayurvedic techniques — supplying the body with natural, wholesome, nutrient-rich foods — to global cuisines, as opposed to the typical roster of raw, vegan dishes. On offer are seasonal, vegetarian rotations of risottos, lasagnas, salads and more. All are designed with wellness first-in-mind: green cabbage and kale served with quinoa–wild rice pilaf restores the body’s pH balance by neutralizing acid waste, while a rice and lentil stew with cilantro-mint chutney packs an aromatic punch to open up the sinuses and ease congestion.
Wanderfuel: Energizing Food for Travelers
Tired of airplane food that only adds to the jet lag and exhaustion that comes with flying? Former marketer Corey Angelo was, too. After feeling sluggish, bloated and generally unwell after one too many flights, she founded Wanderfuel in 2016 to eat better in the air.
Wanderfuel’s three snack boxes — Refresh & Recharge, Detox, and Rest & Calm — are aimed at reinventing travel dining by eschewing salty, processed foods in favor of nutrient-packed natural snacks that build energy and restore equilibrium.
Pick-me-ups like mushroom coffee, chia shots and VITL Greens drink powder are tucked inside Refresh & Recharge. Raw snacks like wasabi wheatgrass kale chips and an organic rosehip and lemon bar await inside Detox. And Rest & Calm soothes with a turmeric and coconut-infused Golden Mylk drink, among other treats.
Since launching in November 2016, Wanderfuel has struck up partnerships with private charter companies BLADE and VistaJet, among other boutique travel companies. The goal? Have boxes on sale in all major airports, airliners and hotels.
Fitness Kitchen LA: Clean Eating for an Active Lifestyle
Here’s a new healthy-eating buzzword to add to the list: “clean.” Fitness Kitchen LA, a high-end meal-delivery service out of Los Angeles, uses the term to describe its meals, which are sent weekly to subscribers and are free of dairy, soy, gluten and refined sugars.
“It’s critical we have the right fuel to perform at our maximum potential throughout the day — in the gym, on the athletic field and in the office or boardroom,” says CEO Tom Aaron. That means consuming the right mix of lean proteins, complex carbs and healthy fats — and none of the potentially unhealthy stuff mentioned above. To be sure, the ideal mix of nutrients for one person might not be right for another, so Aaron customizes meal plans for clients based on their macronutrient needs and goals.
Despite the strict limitations on ingredients, flavor does not take a back seat. Aaron totes credentials from the French Culinary Institute (today the International Culinary Center) and the Institute of Culinary Education, which explains inventive breakfasts like peachy overnight gluten-free oats with walnuts, chia seeds and toasted coconut and protein-packed lunches like pan-seared chicken thighs with mango-cauliflower sticky rice.