“Let Food Be Thy Medicine and Medicine by Thy Food” -Hippocrates
Letting food be thy medicine is the mantra Dr. Andrew Weil, the co-founder of True Food Kitchen lives by. After all, isn’t food meant to give us energy and nutrition? Many western doctors are quick to prescribe drugs to patients instead of suggesting healthy living and nutritious foods as preventative measures to avoid disease. (Preventative medicine is a common practice more in the east) Dr. Weil had an alternative vision and solution. He has written health books and opened a University for Integrative Medicine. For the past decade, he has ran popular anti-inflammatory restaurants in Los Angeles and the rest of America.
Many Americans are Overfed yet Undernourished
In the earlier civilizations, people hunted for fresh animals and food for their families and communities so that they would have the energy and nutrition to survive another day. Eating together has always been a daily ritual that transcends cultures, religion, gender, political and geographical background. But in the recent century, with the rise of capitalism in many developed (and developing countries), food is not as often a supplier for energy and health. Americans especially have notoriously reported the highest obesity rates in the world. A large population known to overeat, yet are undernourished.
For many, eating has become an on-the-go, less enjoyed phenomenon. The rise of fast food chains, the strict code of one hour lunches in the corporate world adds to this equation. Bad food has even become the cause of so many diseases as recent researches have shown. Diabetes, Cholesterol, Cancer, High Blood Pressure, Obesity and ADHD just to name a few diseases suggested. Many researchers are linking food as a higher indicator for one’s health condition than even genetics. Food industries have monopolized and manipulated the food-making process which heavily includes the farming industry.
Many of us rarely get the chance to learn about where our food sources really come from. With the acknowledgement of such issues, health food restaurants have been popping up throughout America. In a sense, we are enthused to go back to eating the way it’s been done at the beginning of time. The way in which those living on the farm still happily do today.
True Food Kitchen – A New Way of Looking at Food
In the late 1990’s, restaurateur Sam Fox (who operates 2 dozen restaurants in Arizona and the mid-west) met Dr. Weil. Fox learned how tasty healthy food can be upon hearing Dr. Weil’s restaurant concept and cooking with him on his ranch. Dr. Weil’s vision was to serve health food mainly based off his Anti-Inflammatory Diet which raises environmental awareness. He envisioned nutritious, yet delicious food which bridges a community with like-minded, conscious individuals together. The first True Food Kitchen opened 2008 in Phoenix, Arizona. Since, they have opened over 20 successful restaurants throughout the United States.
Let’s Get Back to Our Roots of the Farm-To-Table Days
True Food Kitchen, one of the fastest growing health food restaurants in America is revitalizing the way we look and process food in our body. This concept isn’t new, it’s really just going back to the old days, when food actually brought us nutrition and good health.
Dr. Andrew Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Dr. Andrew Weil has promoted and advocated for an “Anti-Inflammatory Diet“. Thus, challenging the ‘trendy diets’ that come and go each year. While many diets work for fast weight loss, they do not necessarily provide a nutrition-rich diet that is long-lasting and/or practical.
With a ton of research into this principle, Dr. Weil “encourages simple changes in eating habits to avoid and counteract chronic inflammation: a root cause of heart disease, many cancers, Alzheimer’s disease and more. It is a way of selecting and preparing foods based on science that can help people achieve and maintain optimum health over their lifetime.“
Seasonal Menus at True Food Kitchen
The photo above shows two of this spring season’s Superfoods that was introduced to us by Larry Sher, General Manager of the True Food Kitchen El Segundo location. Black Walnuts, indigenous to the Himalayas, is known to benefit gut digestion, skin, eyes. It has been used in medicine for over 4000 years. The other one featured is the Young Garbanzo beans which is high in protein, fiber, iron and magnesium that aides in healthy blood and bones. While the black walnut tasted bitter itself and the green garbanzo bland, the chefs at TFK has mindfully created ways to incorporate these superfoods into the dishes to make them the perfect toppings.
Health Food Can be Ethnically-Farmed Meat & Seafood too
A common misconception is that ‘Healthy Food’ must only be Vegetarian or Vegan. A mainly plant-based diet is likely going to be healthier than an all-meat diet. Ongoing researches are still figuring out whether going completely vegetarian is the way to go for every individual, or if each individual needs a different diet for their body type. I’m no food expert, but I do know how my body feels after eating certain kinds of food.
Whatever the case is for your body or preference, there is something for everyone at True Food Kitchen as it caters to all diet types. Vegetarian, Vegan, Naturally Organic and Glutten-free options are clearly marked on the menu but they also serve Meat (farmed from the best sources) and fresh Seafood (YUM!).
Their vibrant menu changes by seasons which allow guests the opportunity to experience an enchanting variety featuring the season’s ripest ingredients. Ingredients are produced and sourced at the peak of their freshness from mainly local sources. Californian, Asian and Mediterranean cuisine is a summary of the menu. I am thoroughly impressed with their creative use of global spices while incorporating superfoods into the dishes.
Examples on the menu are: Wild Caught Albacore Tataki, Cashew Pad Thai, Mediterranean Chicken Pita, Margherita Pizza and Organic Tuscan Kale.
The Edamame Dumplings (dashed with white truffle oil) is my absolute favorite appetizer on the menu which has been on since their early days.
Don’t Worry, True Food Kitchen has a Full Bar Too!
True Food Kitchen serves up a full bar from seasonal cocktails, fine selection of wine and craft beers. “Seasonal cocktails” literally mean that they use fresh-pressed fruits and vegetables to concoct and tailor to your perfect drink. Ask the server what they’d recommend to pair with your meal!
Not a drinker? There are a huge selection of nutritional juices to choose from. My personal favorite is the Kale Aid!
Eating well doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice taste, nutrition or quality.
On my last visit, they served us a Strawberry & Rhubarb Crisp with almond flour (gluten-free) crumbles, chia seed and vanilla ice cream (vegan made with rice milk and coconut cream). The strawberry is softened overnight which tenderizes it. While I’m typically not a dessert fan, I absolutely loved this dish.
“Healthy Eating is a Way of Life”
Besides sourcing farm-to-table food, True Food Kitchen is proud of their inclusive community which lives up to it’s mission. Upon stepping into any of their restaurants, the passionate staff members have an infectious positive energy that transcends through the room and kitchen. Chefs hired by TFK are required two months of training on the menu before working. If tables are full, the bar seating is just as awesome as it allows you close, in-depth look into the open-air kitchen where the chefs prepare their specialties!
“You have a place to truly enjoy eating uniquely delicious dishes
that help you on your quest to live well.”
That is the tagline on the True Food Kitchen website.
And it very well lives up to their mission each and every single day.
True Food Kitchen Locations
True Food Kitchen currently has 24 locations throughout the USA and over 30 on it’s way.
Anti-Inflammatory Restaurants in Los Angeles
In Southern California, TFK has restaurants in Santa Monica, El Segundo, Pasadena and Newport Beach.