Lean, green cuisines

Lean, green cuisines

Most Southeast Texans would probably agree with columnist Doug Larson’s comment that “life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.”

However, they just might settle for a fresh, raw, green vegetable drink that tastes like lemonade.

Those looking for lighter, leaner lunch fare (to slim down before Spring Break, perhaps?) will find that Basic Foods offers healthy, organic, ready-made meals that – wait for it – taste great. That includes the magical green lemonade pictured here, teeming with vitamins, antioxidants and everything else good for you, offering an easy mid-day energy boost.

“We’re all about helping to put good nutrition into your body,” said general partner Maryann Smith. “We try to focus on some of the dietary needs of people.”

Basic Foods offers everything from dairy-free ice cream and cheese to gluten-free pasta and fresh baked goods; for those who prefer a vegetarian or vegan diet, the store carries several meatless meats and vegan products, as well as an array of diet-friendly lunch options including chicken salad, tuna salad, spinach salad with roasted chicken breast, Greek salad, salad, salad, salad … I haven’t lost you, have I?Because Basic Foods isn’t just a special store for special diets. They’ve got meatloaf, made with grass-fed, hormone-free beef. Sure, there’s a difference in the taste, but in a good way.

“You’re getting a healthier diet here, whether it’s raw, or grass-fed beef or the sandwiches that we prepare without preservatives,” Smith explained. “When it comes to the ingredients, you’ve got to be asking — if you can’t identify it, how is your body going to deal with it?”A surprisingly diet-friendly, delicious and filling selection also available in the cooler is the raw dishes. While the word “raw” may seem a little off-putting when you’re scrambling for a quick lunch, consider this — nuts, fruits and vegetables are considered raw at 108 degrees, so food can be heated to a point that it’s more manageable for preparation.

Intrigued by this, The Examiner had the privilege of tasting several raw dishes that Basic Foods serves in its deli, including a filling dish of “spaghetti and meatballs,” which is in fact a delicious tomato sauce poured over zucchini strings, topped with seasoned balls of pecan pâté — no really. It was lean, filling and incredible.

“You don’t necessarily have to be 100 percent raw,” reassured Smith.“If you just did a juice a day with some raw food in there, that alone would jumpstart your morning.”

So the next time you’re out and about and ravenous, stop into Basic Foods. Like Smith said, you don’t have to dive head first into the world of raw vegetables — take a few baby steps. Grab a meatloaf out of the deli cooler, and wash it down with green lemonade.Read the Basic Foods blog at www.BasicFoodsMarket.blogspot.com or become a fan on Facebook to receive frequent health fun facts and product updates.

The store is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call the store at (409) 861-4424.

Basic Foods is at 229 Dowlen Road in the Oaks Shopping Center next to World Gym in Beaumont.