Pound for Pound: Local Spots Serve up Fresh Choices

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Ieyeball it warily. It eyeballs me back. Will it be friend or foe? I have no idea. I do know this. Pound for pound we are in this together. I take a deep breath and step on … the numbers spin to my New Year’s destiny. This year, I have decided to bring in backup. Two local culinary destinations will be my foundation for health in this spirited New Year. And as I said, pound for pound we are in this together. And I mean that in the literal sense. “Turn over a new leaf” as they say. Then how perfect that my first choice for beneficial nourishment is a new salad bar named Leaf? Leaf is a bright and airy invitation to dine healthy. Simple in design and concept, you walk in, grab your container and start building a work of stunningly beautiful food of which you pay for by weight. Your salad glory can be accomplished in your crafting of color and texture. Leaf’s salad bar is extensive: numerous lettuces, every kind of vegetable you could want, proteins, cheeses, random accoutrements, etc. Some of the more exotic to highlight are sun-dried tomato, asparagus, smoked salmon, wasabi peas, figs, gouda, goldfish crackers … and the best part is that all of it is so crisp and fresh. You could not ask for better. Top it off with homemade salad dressings meant to meet everyone’s needs and you are good to go. My favorite was a sweet and spicy pineapple vinaigrette. Not to be outshined is the fruit bar. Again, like the vegetables, the fruit is heavenly in its expansive choices and peak freshness. Many of these lovelies end up in the smoothie machine, one more mechanism to ingest the good stuff. Of course, since Leaf has to cover every angle of our palate to create great tasting healthy food, there are all kinds of ways to sass up your smoothie. Coconut or almond milk, protein powders, flax or chia seeds as well as many others are on hand to create your perfect drink. If you need something a little more substantial, try the soup. I have sampled two. One was the cream of broccoli, which was creamy and smooth and surprisingly restrained in thickness. It wasn’t runny by any means, but it also did not feel too heavy. On the flip side was the lobster bisque. I know we are talking healthy, but if you need a little silky indulgence the bisque passes muster. Its thickness came from lobster meat. I can think of worse things. What happens when you need a little indulgence in life? How does it affect the relationship you have with your scale? Pound for pound are we friend or foe? Let’s continue this conundrum with dessert. Sugar Berry is another local establishment that seeks to increase our health through frozen yogurt. OK, I’ll buy it. It is not ice cream after all, and it does have the word “berry” in it! Similar to Leaf, you walk in and grab a container. From there you choose your yogurt and then have a smorgasbord of delights with which to decorate it. Again, here you will find wonderful fruit choices … and every kind of candy … and brownies and cookie dough and hot fudge … Whoa! Rein it in. I’m getting overexcited! Since Sugar Berry is like Leaf in that you pay by weight, I better take a deep breath and prioritize. What is cool about Sugar Berry is that they offer a dairy-free and a sugar-free choice for customers who care for these in terms of their health choices. They also have a sign that says frozen yogurt can help lower cholesterol, boost the immune system, reduce blood pressure, manage weight … now that is what I am talking about! Pile it on. At both places! The scale actually is my friend. At least it is at Leaf and Sugar Berry. For more info visit www.facebook.com/sugarberryfrandor or www.leafsaladbar.com.
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Tags: Healthy Eating, lansing, Leaf, Restaurant Review, Sugar Berry

Colette Evangelista

Colette Evangelista sells certified organic, non-toxic beauty, health, baby and home products at www.healthandhopeorganics.com. Twenty percent of her profits go to Ascending Above Autisim, a charity that helps parents pay for autism treatment.