Forbes Magazine ranked Minneapolis as the healthiest city in America with cities like Portland; Washington, D.C.; Denver; Boston; and San Francisco rounding out the top six healthiest cities in the country. North Carolina ranks 31st in health when listed by state, which is fairly low, considering Charlotte is the 17th largest city in the country by population.
With more than one million people calling greater Charlotte home, it’s somewhat alarming that we’re falling short of national standards for public health. Charlotte has an obesity rate of 29 percent and only 10 percent of Charlotteans are getting their daily veggies. So, the question with which we are presented is simple: What are other people doing that we’re not?
The nation’s first and only vegan butcher shop opened in Minneapolis this year and plant-based options in the six healthiest cities in America are nearly endless. A quick Google search turned up 20+ vegan restaurants in Boston. For such a large city, Charlotte is behind the times, but we are gaining ground year over year.
The city’s newest veg eatery, One Life Raw Juice Bar, is helping bridge the gap in our general health. One Life Raw Juice Bar offers cold-pressed juices and smoothies, like its name suggests, but the real highlight of this little spot on Selwyn is the food.
Owner Tameyka Rustin made an inspired choice in hiring Head Chef Shawn Harrison to serve up raw food that would make any meat-eater swoon. With options like sushi, pizza and burgers, the menu explores raw versions of classic comfort foods. The avocado cacao mousse dessert option would even pass the kid test it’s so decadent and satisfying.
When I visited, I tried every food item on the menu as well as the Midwood Greens juice — a favorite.
Luna’s Living Kitchen has always held the only spot for raw food in the QC, but the addition of One Life Raw Juice Bar is garnering some much-needed diversity.
Bacon may be trendy, but widespread illness and death from preventable diseases is causing Americans to refocus their diets in a more healthful direction. A healthy diet and lifestyle isn’t a trend that will pass, it’s critical to the survival of our species. The American Cancer Society estimates that around 50,000 Americans will die from colon cancer this year alone.
It’s time for Charlotteans to join the ranks of other major cities when it comes to our general health. If you’re skeptical, I suggest trying the Beet Burger at One Life. The hand-crafted patty is served on locally baked bread and it has that familiar smoky, salty flavor that will make you forget you’re eating health food.
Photos: Taylor Slaughter