• hacking native foods with the healthy vegans

    May 12th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, native foods

    we’ve been fans of the healthy vegans for quite sometime. their entire blog focuses on starch-based recipes and restaurant reviews, all with very little fat and no oil whatsoever. lately i have been loving their menu hacking posts where they go in to restaurants and modify items to be extra healthy at no additional charge. we dined with them over the weekend at native foods, and got a first hand lesson in how to hack the menu to mcdougall standards.

    tijuana tacos made extra healthy. $7.95

    pictured above is what the healthy vegans ordered. they each got a serving of the tijuana tacos, hacked to healthy perfection. as they say on their blog, “The trick to ordering them is the Substitution game. Normally if you order with Subtract and Add you’ll end up increasing the price!” the tacos normally come with: two soft grilled corn tortillas filled with native taco meat, native cheese, salsa fresca, lettuce and guacamole. the healthy hack is to sub red beans for taco meat (which contains oil), leave off the guacamole, and sub brown rice for native cheese (even vegan cheese is pretty damn fattening). and there you have it, a huge serving of vegetable-rich mexican food that you could eat 3 times a day.

    gandhi bowl made super healthy. $8.95

    for our hacked meals, my husband and i ordered the gandhi bowl and the hollywood bowl, respectively. these were both great, but i must say after all the substitutions, they came out being pretty much the same—lol!

    the gandhi bowl (pictured above) normally comes with “tempeh blackened on a bed of jasmine and brown rice. topped with organic greens, steamed veggies, wild curry sauce, cranberries and green onions.” the only substitutions need to make this extra healthy were to switch out the tempeh for black beans and the curry sauce for fresh salsa.

    the hollywood bowl (pictured below) normally comes with “ginger marinated and seared tofu spears over organic brown rice, steamed veggies, and organic greens in out tangy freshly roasted peanut sauce.” again the only changes needed were to sub black beans for tofu and salsa fresca for peanut sauce.

    hollywood bowl healthy-fied. $8.95

    i must say, even with all the menu hacking, this meal was still incredibly delicious! when we were first seated, i was eying up the oklahoma bacon cheeseburger being brought to another table, but by the end of the meal i was totally satisfied and content with my entree. the steamed vegetables, fresh salsa, and hearty beans were all excellent.

    i give fake meat and cheese SO MUCH ink on this blog, it’s nice and refreshing to cover some simple nutritious eating for a change. for pure guilt-free foodie-ism, be sure to check out the healthy vegans website!

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27 responses to “hacking native foods with the healthy vegans” RSS icon

  • That’s so cool you posted about The Healthy Vegans! I found them through surfing your forum (which I love to do although I’m not signed up) and I really enjoy their site.

    I am trying to lose weight, so I have actually made a few of their recipes.

  • Cheers to The Healthy Vegans!!

    I must admit I am not very healthy though. I’m donuts and ice-cream girl all the way.

    I do sort of aspire to being more healthy at times however.

  • I can’t imagine Quarrygirl giving up her fried foods! I think leaving off the guacamole was taking it a bit far. We need good fat (like avocados, nuts, seeds, etc) in our diet for brain function among other things. Sure, cooked oil is not the best for us, but not all fat is created equal.

  • Native Foods rules at healthy AND junk.

  • Thanks so much for this post!!! We’re so happy to share our passion with you!

    @ Christy : Here’s a good link on nuts and other high fat whole foods http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2009nl/nov/nuts.htm Nuts, Avocados, Seeds are a delicacy on a healthy diet. & again on the fallacy of “good fats” http://www.nealhendrickson.com/mcdougall/020600puhealthmythsomega3goodfats.htm

    Starchy foods provide all the fat and protein we need or we wouldn’t be here today with our big old world destroying brains.

  • Hm, Menu hacking actually is not a bad idea. I should try it. Except, Menu hacking makes me want to grab a hammer, axe, or a hatchet and do some serious damage. Just kidding.

    Hooray for Healthy Vegans and Quarrygirl!

  • Great healthy suggestions! My personal favorite is the Hollywood bowl substituting greens for the vegetables. Maybe next time I’ll try the bean/salsa switch too!

  • Good stuff…minus losing the guacamole.

  • I hack the Tijuana Tacos all the time but I sub out the taco meat for portobello mushrooms. Mmm!

  • Well, that settles my lunch order tomorrow!!

  • Those are some good hacks. It’s great Native Foods is so cool about it.

  • It’s not for me. I don’t think I could possibly go to Native Foods without ordering a bunch of fried deliciousness.

  • I grew up with avocado and lemon trees in the backyard in SoCal, so guacamole was a frequent thing from childhood onwards.
    In addition to habit, I think I must admit just don’t have the discipline to give up fattening foods in general.
    I’m sure I would be healthier if I could give them up or at least cut down portions of them somewhat (I try to have part of one donut and not two whole donuts for example. This doesn’t always work.)
    I don’t believe in looking down on anyone’s diet though, ever. It can live and let live peacefully, no? Each to his/her own, doesn’t need to be World War III over cuisine choices.
    And this blog post reminds me I need to find some reason to drive over to UCLA soon so I can stop in at the Westwood Native Foods!!

  • Jeez, atrocious grammar in my post above, sounds like I didn’t go past third grade?!!

    Meant to type:

    “I must admit I just don’t have the discipline…”

    “would be healthier if I could give them up partially or at least cut down portions….”

    “It can be live and let live peacefully”

    And whatever other mistakes are in there Lol

  • Thanks for the great post. Glad to see this focus featured on the blog. The ultimate goal is delicious and healthy. Sorry folks, that means laying off the deep fried stuff. Maybe for a special treat if your body doesn’t rebel. That said I have found fried foods having much less power over me the longer I am away from them. I am also better able to feel (greater body awareness)the quality of my food now that I am eating cleaner.

  • It might be just me but it seems like it would be easier to just make this kind of food at home. For me this type of “hacking” defeats the purpose of going to Native Foods though. I’m only in the area and can only afford to go to Native Foods about once or twice a year so I like to try something new from the menu, in the way that the chef designed it. I don’t think I’ve had any of those three dishes yet.

    If you go out to eat often it can be challenging to reduce your intake of calories from fat to the McDougall level. (something like less than 10%?) Since I only go out to eat about once a month I don’t think it makes much of a difference.

  • Youch! That’s unfortunate to those suckers who eat out once a month and don’t see the value of this.

    I, however, eat out 5-10 times per week and my waistline does not like it. This post is a GODSEND.

    Thanks healthy people!

  • Tempeh isn’t healthy? I guess plain black beans are healthier thananything covered in sauce. Only problem is..eating beans everyday..boring.
    Nonetheless..I see what they are getting at. More fiber..more nutrients…good stuff all around.

  • “It might be just me but it seems like it would be easier to just make this kind of food at home. For me this type of “hacking” defeats the purpose of going to Native Foods though.”

    That is a very good point. Why go out to eat and overpay if you’re gonna live off grains and legumes?

  • this is a terrible idea. i can’t believe someone made a blog encouraging people to go to restaurants and rip apart the food. it is really a hassle for the people in the kitchen. this is why i never tell people that i’m vegan. it’s very elitist.

  • Ten bucks says that “Ashley” is a FAT BEAST who can’t appreciate this post.

    Please keep up the good reporting, QG.

    Don’t let these fatass midwestern disgustings ruin it.

  • Ashley sounds like a fat person.

  • I’m actually kind of with Ashley on this one. She definitely could have worded her post better, and I don’t know if I would necessarily use the word “elitist,” but I have found that overly vocal and picky vegans tend to drive more omnis away from the cause than towards it. Playing it cool is the best way to get people to recognize that veganism isn’t radical…it’s common sense. Also, calling her fat is just lame.

  • FYI Native Foods is already a vegan restaurant.

  • Methinks “Foodforlife” and “Leena” are the same person. A person who needs to get a life.

  • fat beast? you guys are gross.

  • miss anthrope

    hey everyone, let’s keep the comments to the food, which was DELICIOUS!!!!! love you all.

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