Back to the basics

Plant-based foods from Julia\'s Kitchen
Courtesy of Julia Hellerman

Moving away from additives and toward plant-based foods

Here in Boulder County, being healthy isn’t a trend, it’s a lifestyle. Between all the biking, hiking and running, Coloradans are managing to remain one of the healthiest states in the nation. Lately, we have been hearing a lot about going back to the basics with all-natural food choices. We all know that eating healthy is just plain better for us. But what does it mean to choose a plantbased diet and why is it worth it?

“I think that people have gotten away for a long time of eating food that isn’t really food, says Julia Hellerman, owner of Julia’s Kitchen. I think that we’re seeing long term, and really short term, it has an affect on how we feel.”

With the rise in medical conditions like cancer, heart disease and obesity, people are finding that a factor in these ailments is what we eat. What we are putting into our bodies can either harm or help us.

“There is a higher consumer awareness. People are checking labels the way they never used to,” says Etty Lewensztain, director of marketing and communications for That’s it. fruit bars.

Founded by a medical doctor, That’s it. fruit bars aim to provide fruit in its simplest, most convenient form by putting the fruit front and center.

“Our product contains only two ingredients and both of them are fruit,” Lewensztain says. “I don’t think any other product out there can claim that kind of purity and simplicity.”

These products defy seasonality and allow the consumption of fruit all year long.

“Our bars are not temperature sensitive and they have a twoyear shelf life,” says Lewensztain.

“I believe that in order for people to be healthy, they need to have healthy options to choose from,” says Sarah N. Ladley, owner of Ba-Noma-Nom, a food truck that provides 100 percent fruit frozen treats that are vegan, gluten-free and pack all the nutrition and fiber of fruit.

“It has the texture of soft-serve ice cream or frozen yogurt, but is literally made 100 percent from fruit,” Ladley says. “We live in a fast-paced society where convenience is key and eating healthy can be really hard when you are on the go. So the more businesses that exist that can sell healthy foods conveniently, the better.”

“Why are people choosing vegetarian diets? Health, weight loss, awareness of heart disease, cholesterol,” says Steve Hoffman, managing partner of Compass Natural Marketing, LLC. “These are all health issues that are tending to drive people towards more of a plant-based diet.”

In the past 10 years, there has been a definite increase in the switch to eating a more plant-based diet.

“I think people are understanding the value in eating more plants,” says Hellerman.

“Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free they are truly emerging trends in healthy lifestyles,” says Hoffman. “As people realize they need to eat less meat in the American diet, they are turning towards other kind of center of plate options.”

“People are taking on more of a plant-strong lifestyle,” says Adriane Little, category manager of Earth Balance. Earth Balance is working hard to show consumers that eating plant-based foods provides many health benefits.

“Our spreads are made from a patented blend that was shown to raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol,” Little says. “They are all vegan, non-GMO. Those are our two core brand attributes.”

Their line now includes buttery spreads, culinary spreads, soy milk, nut butters, mayonnaise and snacks.

“There are so many more alternatives available now,” Little says.

“Consumers are finally starting to realize that there are consequences to eating unhealthy or non-nutritious foods,” Ladley says. “People are starting to want healthy foods so they can feel good.”

Companies have begun to make many more products with all plantbased ingredients that try to eliminate the additives and get back to just fruit and vegetables.

“It’s important to offer alternatives for people who are interested in living the plant-based lifestyle,” Little says.

“People want to be able to understand the ingredients they are consuming,” Lewensztain adds.

“I am interested in selling a healthy food option due to my passion for obesity prevention,” Ladley says. “We spend billions of dollars every year on diseases that could be prevented by eating correctly and living a healthy lifestyle.”

Julia’s Kitchen offers a menu that is 100 percent plant-based, including the bakery items.

“It is food that is totally accessible and healthy for everyone,” says Julia Hellerman, owner of Julia’s Kitchen. “We try to make the most of all of our ingredients by silking and sprouting, and that’s something we have gotten away from in our culture because it’s not quick and easy.”

“Plant based foods are of major importance because they are where we get all of our macro- and micronutrients in their most organic form,” Ladley says. “Without all of the correct enzymes, coenzymes, proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates, our cells cannot metabolize correctly and our bodies can fall completely out of balance. I am proud to offer a product that nourishes the body as well as satiates the taste buds.”

The switch away from additives and preservatives is about getting back to the basics.

“We feel like plant-based eating should be fun, delicious, and convenient,” Little says.

Plus, what’s good for you is good for the planet, too.

“There is no carbon footprint involved with our products,” says Lewensztain.

Says Hellerman, “It’s the right thing to do. It’s the only sustainable way to live.”