- Posted March 16, 2010 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Food court city
Healthy Eating in Everett, Washington: Report by a Former Fast Food Junkie
Everett, Washington, 25 miles north of Seattle, is a manufacturing town turned affordable bedroom community. It’s definitely the ‘burbs, with food options featuring the usual suspects – “Queen,” “Hut,” and “Bell,” among others – not exactly a heart-healthy destination location. I know some chains are trying to clean up their nutrition act – at least they say they are – but does anyone really think of salad while they’re driving through Queen, Hut, or Bell? I never have.
In addition to the ubiquitous chains and mall food courts, we have our own home-grown cholesterol, the tastiest of which can be found at Shawn O’Donnell’s in my south Everett neighborhood. It’s one of the oldest restaurants in town, recently relocated to classier digs, and a favorite for “pub grub.” Another local legend – legendary, I think, for its terrific sign and for “cowboy coffee” that’s been on the range a bit too long – is the Totem Restaurant downtown, founded in 1953: hashbrowns, eggs over easy, and toast that doesn’t even pretend to be whole wheat.
Despite the dubious food choices that surround us, my husband and I have found it possible and enjoyable to eat healthfully and deliciously in our town.
A few local restaurants – mostly Asian – feature vegetarian and even some organic entrees and offer brown rice, though I admit you have to drive to Seattle to hit the veggie-org bonanza. Our local Sno-Isle food co-op is an intimate, old-fashioned waterfront store where you can buy organic fruits and vegetables to take home or stay for a healthy meal at the adjoining The Sisters Restaurant. Central Market in Mill Creek (technically, one town over but within walking distance of our condo) has an array of organic produce, soy analogs for sausage and other meat products, free-range beef and naturally raised chickens, and a healthy in-store buffet that’s a bit like a healthy food court. The most impressive healthy eating option, though, is an organic delivery service provided by Klesick Family Farm in Stanwood. Every Tuesday, Klesick delivers, to our doorstep, fresh organic vegetables, grown locally, nationally, and internationally, plus the world’s best bread, the Mini Monster Wheat from the Bread Farm in Edison. We used to subscribe to Klesick’s fruit box, too, but with only two of us, we just couldn’t eat it all fast enough.
Of course, you’ve got to cook. There’s no instant, slide-down-the-throat, settle-on-the-hips, unconscious eating. But cooking, I have discovered, is a both pleasure and a better means of bonding with my mate than sharing an order of onion rings. The energy and enthusiasm we reap by living this way give us much more than the fast-food cardboard we used to drag ourselves out to eat. Did you know you can make rainbow chard tacos with carmelized onions? I did it this Tuesday. They were fun to make and tasted great. Last week, I made a stir-fry of organic zucchini, green beans, and onion with Apple-Sage soy sausage, which was also wonderfully savory.
There are organic delivery services in many major U.S. metropolitan areas; there is probably healthy food where you live, whether from organic delivery services, at food co-ops, or in Asian restaurants. Even Panda Express can be healthy if you select a seafood or chicken entrée and substitute steamed vegetables for white rice or chow mein. Bon appétit – and to your health!