Healthy Eating, Style 2022 – in Kansas City

Keto, Vegetarian, Low-Carb – No matter which school of thought you subscribe to, there are more options than ever when it comes to eating healthy in Kansas City, without sacrificing flavor or variety. We spoke to the owners behind Four Healthy Eating Concepts about what’s on the menu and what healthy eating means to them.

Staci Cross | Enjoy: pure food + drink

Staci Cross was an entrepreneur trying to balance traveling across the country, raising two kids, and eating a vegan diet when she first dreamed of enjoying: Pure Food + Drink.

“It was almost impossible to find decent food anywhere — food that tasted good, and so much less was healthy,” Cross explains, adding that she often found herself putting together a meal at Whole Foods. “I just thought, ‘This is not how people should get healthy foods. There needs to be more awareness of healthy food and what it really looks like: organic food without all the chemicals, and really healthy things that taste good. “

Her answer was Enjoy, which opened in April 2016 at Leawood’s Mission Farms that serves cold-pressed juices and smoothies made with organic produce, as well as an array of breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes featuring lean protein, whole grains, and plenty of veggies. Case in point: the restaurant’s best-selling Take on the World dish, which includes quinoa, kale, beets, broccoli, hemp seeds, almonds, avocado, and ginger miso sauce.

Photography by Aaron Lemkeehler

Although the Enjoy program states to offer vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free options, the menu does not cater to any specific diet—instead, it aims to incorporate ingredients that help people get the balance of foods they need. their best.

“People don’t really care about weight as much as they do about calories and food and all of that,” Cross explained. “They just want to know what they’re eating is healthy. It’s not loaded with fat, but it does contain healthy fats, like avocados and almonds.”

Kansas City has an appetite for the concept—enjoy expanding its space in February 2019, and Cross plans to open another metro location this summer before finally being awarded a franchise to make nutrient-rich foods more widely available.


Keri Goble | Cultivation of vegetables and grains

For Kerry Goebel, healthy food should taste good.

Goebel opened Cultivare Greens & Grains in Overland Park with his brother Kevin in the summer of 2020, and summed up the restaurant’s style in a few simple points: “Is it balanced? Is it good for you, and does it taste so good that you want to come back and eat it tomorrow?”

Cultivare aims to tick all those boxes by serving food

A ray of salads, cereal bowls, soups, and paninis that are hearty and satisfying. The menu includes dishes such as the ahi tuna with avocado, mango and cucumber; Thigh wraps delicious chicken cubes. And Goebel’s favorite salad, the Gorgonzola Steak and Salad, made with lean beef tenderloin and black radish sauce. (Cultivare’s chutneys and sauces are a particular point of Goebel’s pride.)

The brothers owned pizza concepts in Kentucky for a decade, but decided to branch out and open a more health-conscious restaurant based on what they wanted to see as local visitors and the growing popularity of similar concepts across the country.

“I feel like a lot of adults now who don’t intentionally spend time learning about nutrition and the science behind a healthier diet have kind of this initial idea about what healthy eating is going back to this pyramid that we all saw in elementary school,” Goebel says, adding Ten years ago, I don’t think people were fully aware of what they were eating.

He shows that the renewed interest isn’t just changing the way people eat — it’s making grocery stores and restaurants go even higher and changing the way food is obtained. Pioneering farmers are already benefiting from this shift, as more locally produced ingredients are making their way into dishes due to increased demand and more widespread distribution. one example? Salads made with leafy greens are from Missing Ingredient in Crossroads, an urban farm with a very local footprint.

“In this scenario, everyone wins,” Gobel says.


Gigi Jones | Gigi Vegan + Wellness Café

Adopting a plant-based lifestyle wasn’t just life changing for Gigi Jones – it was a life saver. In 2015, she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Through diet and lifestyle changes, Jones says she’s been able to beat the cancer without surgery or chemotherapy, though she stresses the importance of listening to doctors and following their advice.

“Once I opened my eyes and started my journey, I was so excited,” she recalls. ‘My energy levels went up, I looked 10 years younger, I felt 10 years younger. I fidget with my grandchildren – I’m so excited.’ I thought, ‘Oh my God, I have to go back and educate the community. This is something new, this is something they need to know. This is it’ The way we heal.”

Jones, a registered dietitian, nutritionist, and health and wellness coach, founded MidWest Soul VegFest, an educational event featuring local and local speakers, workshops, vegan cooking demonstrations, and of course, vegan food. And in July 2020, Gigi’s Vegan + Wellness Café opened along Westport Road.

“We’re not just a restaurant,” Jones explains. “We don’t call ourselves that — we’re a wellness café.”

The café offers organic cold-pressed juices and juices, healthy picks, and vegan breakfast, lunch and dinner options, such as the client-favorite Westport Burger, a vegan burger nestled inside lettuce and served with avocado puree. No sugars, salt, or oils are added to Jiji’s foods, and Jones works with farmers and suppliers in Kansas City and grows some of the ingredients in a garden behind the café.

In addition to catering, Gigi’s offers ongoing support for vegetarians, develops meal plans and provides meal prep services, hosts health and wellness classes, and even has an on-site infrared sauna. A doctor will join the team this year to serve more people.

“We just want to be that resource in the community, and we think we’ve become,” Jones says.


Robin Krause | Unbakery & Juicery Grocery Billie

After five companies were sold and exhausted, Robin Krause decided to take a pause.

“I took a year off to study health coaching,” she says. “I took an herbal apprenticeship; I trained a yoga teacher just to try and find the next path — ‘What is health actually? What is health? “

It’s a big question, and it’s one that you explore at Unbakery & Juicery, its eat-and-go East Brookside spot as well as at Billie’s Grocery, a bright and breezy downtown restaurant that serves up nutritious food. Both contain foods and drinks that nourish the body, support detoxing systems, and provide plenty of options for people with dietary restrictions, including baked goods and desserts.

Photography by Aaron Lemkeehler

Unbakery opened in 2016 and allowed Krause to try serving Kansas Citians things they might not have been familiar with at the time, like chia seed candy and sauces without dairy or sugar. When the concept started, Krause decided to go to nutritional therapy school and graduated as a practitioner in 2018. She has brought this understanding of nutrition to clients who are curious about the benefits of what they eat and drink at Unbakery, as well as Billie’s, which opened in summer 2020. Krause says the restaurant offers Healthy fats, proteins, organic vegetables, and carbohydrates, but it’s done differently than you might expect.

“It has a little something for everyone, and that was my goal, just to get everyone together,” Krause says, noting that guests can enjoy everything from vegetable stew to Bailey-style reuben with home-fermented purple kraut and French fries cooked in oil. the rice.

“Here, we don’t do anything fat-free,” she explains. “Every cell needs fat in your body. We have fat, we have dairy, we have oils—it’s a little better.”

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