London Calling article April 2015 - Healthy options for Lunch in London: You are What you Eat!

You are what you eat?

24 April 2015 |

Sara Colohan | London Life

You are what you eat?
What’s cooking London? Not much according to London’s latest food trends Raw food restaurants, superfood cocktails, dry bars, home herbalism and bone broth! Sara Colohan goes in search of London’s healthiest hot spots.
London prides itself on being ahead of the pack when it comes to all manner of fads and it’s impossible to ignore the rise of healthy restaurants, bars and food trends sweeping the city. Vegan and veggie restaurants have had a presence in the city for decades, but to some they often feel slightly high jacked by the petunia oil brigade! Even today, places like Wild Food CafĂ© in Covent Garden and Inspiral in Camden (although keeping on trend with raw recipes) can feel slightly dated for the non ‘hippy’ among us. Some of us like an occasional yoga class and the odd spiritual massage but don’t want to feel like we have to join a cult to eat healthily. Luckily, if you scratch London’s foodie surface, you will find great alternatives.
As Londoners, we know some basic foodie health facts. There are more healthy ‘fast food’ shops and chains like Planet Organic Eat andItsu on our streets than ever before, proof that healthy snacking is on the rise. We don’t want to be bombarded with scary statistics when we just want a snack but sometimes - convenience takes precedence and we grab that low fat sandwich and fruit salad believing we have taken the healthy option. According to The Guardianarticle Swallow This: Serving Up The Food Industry’s Darkest Secretsauthor Joanna Blythman went undercover in the food industry, to investigate false labelling. We learn our fruit salad could be weeks old and the low fat option sandwich may have twice the sugar of the full fat alternative. A must read, but the stuff of nightmares.
But don’t panic just yet! London Calling has sourced some of London’s healthiest places to eat (hey meat eaters – it’s not just a veggie list!) and yes, we know eating healthy takes a little more planning and cash, but it all adds up when even a small weekly change can make all the difference in later life. 
Traditional vegetarian restaurants like Soho’s Mildreds (open since 1989) are packed nightly, but now, the clean crisp lines of new style eateries are cropping up all over London. There’s simple labelling (cold pressed, organic, raw), neat clever packaging, no ovens or grills in sight – London’s Raw Restaurant movement is here!
Detox, raw food expert and wellness coach Tanya Maher opened up Tanya's Cafe in Chelsea,Lab Organic also opened last year on Neal St, Nama Foods opened in Westbourne Park, Juice Baby on King’s road and Roots and Bulbs has outlets in both Marylebone and South Kensington. These restaurants and more are on the front line in the war against unhealthy Londoner’s lunches.
As promised – meat eaters London’s healthiest and hippest The Good Life on Sloane Ave caters for you. It was the first to cover the New York hottest food trend bone broth, it also serves lots of chicken dishes, salmon teriyaki and dairy products, but all cooked in a super healthy way. For East Londoners, the much awaited Bel-Air opened in Old Street this week, with its Beverly Hills style sunny yellow and white striped awning. Again, this is not a veggie restaurant but caters for raw and general healthy foodies alike. For protein seekers, there will be three types of free-range breakfast eggs; some with chorizo, and even a minute steak option.
Wait a minute!  Maybe food isn’t your issue – maybe, you’re worried that you are having one too many tipples? Why not try a Dry Bar? The Redemption Bar is a booze free joint –opened in London last year. It serves up vegetarian food, mocktails and all kinds of in house entertainment including comedy nights. It started its life as a pop up in Hackney and now has a residency in Holborn’s Fairly Square. Soda Club is another informative site and meet up group for people fancying a break from booze and you can see a BBC report on both Here
If you can’t do or won’t do without your tipple then look for a Superfood Cocktail bar opening up near you (though currently you need to visit Chelsea to experience Europe’s first Using organic alcohol and healthy additions like natural walnut infused vodka, butterscotch medicinal flowers, cacao powder and beets you can top up your nutrients along with your alcohol.
Taking things into your own hands you could visit the cultural incubatorMade in Hackney and DIY your healthy make over by joining classes in bread making, raw foods and home herbalism. Made in Hackney is an eco-community kitchen, all their food waste is composted and taken to a local community garden, cleaning products are made from scratch using natural materials. It really is one of London’s finest examples of a healthy and sustainable business. You can check out a full page of healthy recipes on their site HERE
If you are determined to get healthier this year then you are really spoilt for choice. Experts say the first step is choosing organic and try the veggie options as often as possible.