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Food for Humans.

Hu Kitchen is a glorious establishment.

I don’t think I have ever been so excited to be in a restaurant. Based on principles of ancestral eating (ie. how food was intended for human consumption before the advent of factories, food engineering, and processing), Hu Kitchen promotes balanced meals of clean, whole foods – full of all of the good stuff we need and with none of the stuff we should avoid. It’s a marketplace set up, so guests wander around and choose the components of their meals from different ‘stations’. You can visit the hot foods, bowl bar, prepared foods, organic wine/beer bar, and whole-food dessert ‘mashbar’ (natural sweeteners only) to piece together a colorful set of dishes that will have you saying, ‘I didn’t know real food could taste so amazing’ (especially if you don’t usually frequent ‘health food’ restaurants). Plus, having to move around to get your food? I can get on board with this! [Their whole menu is here.]

Everything Hu Kitchen has going on – their mission, food philosophy, layout, deliciousness – fits pretty perfectly for everything I value when it comes to food, and presents a pretty easy way to do some good things for your body, your social life, and the planet.

A selection of Hu Kitchen’s prepared market bar options: a stuffed acorn squash [roasted veggies, coconut milk, cashew, arrowroot flour], ‘creamed’ spinach [turmeric cashew cream with onions], and curried sweet potatoes [dried apricot, hazelnut, and a pile of spices]

Here’s why:

- They make “food for humans”. While I don’t subscribe entirely to a Paleo Diet, I do feel there are some real benefits to eating foods our bodies were designed to consume – or as they indicate, ‘pre-industrial’ (so, not processed junk).

- They focus on plants: a variety of organic, whole, legitimately-from-the-ground produce makes up the bulk of their menu. Prepared a variety of ways, they make their vegetables incredible, moving them to center stage and highlighting their natural flavors with really interesting blends of spices.

- They focus on ingredients, not calories. Because calories are not created equal (200 calories of sugar does something very different to the body than 200 calories of broccoli rabe), it’s important not to get caught up in counting them; instead, we should look at the quality and variety of ingredients in our food. Increase the whole stuff and you limit how much room there is for the junky stuff. Simple.

- They are entirely gluten-free (cavemen didn’t have our processed grains of today… so, no gluten). I was thrilled. It’s rare I can venture into a restaurant and know I can eat just about everything! (Even though I steered clear of the meat, I still had dozens of options.) The grains they do use, sparingly, are whole.

- Healthy fats make perfect portions so satisfying. They embrace avocado, coconut, and olive oils — nothing on the menu has a processed or trans fats added anywhere.

- Clean, clean, clean: organic produce, free from toxins, no GMOs. This is how we should be eating.

- They’ve taken an ordinary restaurant experience and turned it into something new and interesting: the cafeteria-style set-up is fun, communal, and conducive to discussion with the people who prepare + serve your food. They’re excited about what they do and want to engage with customers about their choices. It’s also nice to see the many, many options available – it’s neat to see so many healthy options at your fork-tip!

- The physical space is just really cool. It’s sort of like being in a trendy cave – beautiful tree-trunk tables, really chill lighting, upbeat (almost club-like) music. It’s an experience.

You can check out the pillars of what Hu is trying to do here. Not only is it nice to have a restaurant dedicated to making these things accessible and delicious, their pillars provide great inspiration to work some of these ideas into your life: clean, organic produce; mostly plants; healthy fats; whole grains; increasing whole, real-food ingredients and cutting down on processed foods. If you’re down in Union Square (or near a train and feeling adventurous), check it out! It’s a wildly unique healthy dining option – good for you, good for the planet.


Hu Kitchen
78 Fifth Avenue, NYC
Just west of Union Square

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Tags: dining out, , Food, Hu Kitchen, organic, , Restaurants, vegan

About the Author - Amy Height

Amy is a holistic health coach and blogger living in NYC. She's pro-sustainability, pro-cycling, pro-plant-based-nutrition, pro-ethical eating, and pro-big smiles. Visit her website at www.fromthegroundupwellness.com....

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