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Greens, Beans, and Grains - Open 8/6
jeff Posted at 2012/08/05 6:56pm reply to

jeff
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Hey Guys,

Not sure if others have noticed the Greens, Beans, and Greens food service bar opening at Whole Foods downtown tomorrow! It is conceived according to the "four pillars" of healthy eating that Health Starts Here advocates (based on Engine 2, and one other health initiative that does allow some meat).

The menu looks amazing, EXCEPT for the protein options:

image

I just wrote this open letter to Dan Marek, the lead chef for Health Starts Here. Not sure who exactly decided on the launch menu, but figured he is the one to speak to.

*****

Hi Dan,

I'm a longtime vegan and have begun primarily eating a PlantStrong diet free of added oils, sugars, etc. Thank you for pioneering Health Starts Here! I'm a huge fan of HSH and pick up prepared and packaged products from Lamar WFM a few times a week. I was incredibly excited to find out about Greens, Beans and Grains, and did some online research about other GBGs like one in Chicago. I've been posting about the opening of the Lamar GBG on Facebook in anticipation. But I was rather disappointed, as were other friends, when I saw the Lamar menu with only 1 out of 4 protein options being plant-based.

The article I read about the Chicacgo GBG (http://www.mlive.com/food/index.ssf/2011/07/greens_beans_and_grains_a_plac.html) mentions seitan and tofu as two of their four options. Since HSH is half based on Engine 2 Plantstrong principles, it seems odd that the flagship GBG would serve to perpetuate the myth that meat should be the primary source of protein. As you know well, animal protein consumption is closely linked to various cancers and heart attacks among other serious health problems, along with massive environmental waste and animal cruelty, even from "non-factory" farms.

I am an active member of several Austin vegan & vegetarian groups, and among the tens of thousands of Austin area herbivores who would like to see Greens, Beans, and Grains truly at the forefront of the move toward healthy, socially responsible quick-serve food! It honestly hurts my pride as an Austinite and a vegan to think GBG teams in Chicago or other cities are more forward-thinking when it comes to plant protein (and health, animals and the earth) than here where the "Health all started".

I look forward to visiting Greens, Beens and Grains individually and for large group meet-ups. I've already talked with Vegans Rock Austin members about planning a meet-up there, but the scarcity of plant protein options will be a big drawback for us.

Please pass along my suggestion to make *at least* half of the protein options at the flagship GBG plant-based.

Thanks for your great work promoting whole plant foods and making delicious examples of them!

Sincerely,
Jeff Zick

cc: Vegans Rock Austin

*****


Not sure if we should all write polite messages to him, or schedule a meet-up first, then engage them in person beforehand. His email is Dan.Marek@wholefoods.com

-Jeff
carrie Posted at 2012/08/06 12:18am reply to

carrie
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Great letter, Jeff! I'm definitely up for a meetup, but I do hope they change the menu a little. It's a bit misleading. Someone new to healthy eating might think that beans are not protein! Having one of four veg "protein" options makes it look like a concession and not an encouragement.
Jessica. Posted at 2012/08/06 10:26am reply to

Jessica.
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Great letter! I think sending polite emails pre-meetup is a good idea. It'd be great to schedule a sit down meeting with Dan to see what his thoughts are, and find out who is behind the decision making.

Paging Angela... awesome
Iron Clad Ben Posted at 2012/08/06 10:42am reply to

Iron Clad Ben
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Excellent letter Jeff!  
jeff Posted at 2012/08/06 11:34am reply to

jeff
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Thanks guys! I talked with Natala too, since she does Engine 2 media and they are half the basis of this concept. She's gonna look into it too. She said Dan is really cool--I would think they'll rotate the menu a lot and would be open to a more balanced division for that category.

Carrie--I agree, the add-ons would ideally be called that or "extra protein" instead of "protein" since that does make the beans (and grains for that matter) sound like not-protein.
jeff Posted at 2012/08/06 8:40pm reply to

jeff
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Well, had it for dinner and the food was AMAZING.

I got a split sweet potato stuffed with creamy cashew kale, mango BBQ kidney beans, quinoa, plus tofu w/spinach & mushroom, alfredo sauce, pesto, avocado-edamame-hummus, fresh basil... It had to be at least 1 1/2 lbs of hearty rich delicious oil-free vegan food for $5.99! We are SO stuffed...

Gratuitous food shot:

image

Jacob Posted at 2012/08/06 10:07pm reply to

Jacob
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Very well written letter, Jeff!  The food sounds yummy too.  I'll have to check it out soon. =D

Do you know if this is going to be at other locations?
Ross Posted at 2012/08/07 12:32am reply to

Ross
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Wow that sounds pretty freakin' awesome Jeff! Good letter too, I'd love for us to work with Dan on this
jeff Posted at 2012/08/08 8:05pm reply to

jeff
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Jessica. Posted at 2012/08/09 12:06pm reply to

Jessica.
Posts: 446
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I love the idea of a healthy eating demo/meet up.

Re: Beyond Meat, the last email I got from them said:

"Hi Jessica,

At this time we are focusing on our launch in the Pacific Northwest and San Francisco areas. Thank you for your support and patience at this time!

Beyond Meat
Customer Relations"

So who knows when they'll be here...
peter Posted at 2012/08/09 6:44pm reply to

peter
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This article says that they plan to debut nationally sometime next year.

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2012/07/beyond_meat_fake_chicken_that_tastes_so_real_it_will_freak_you_out_.html

Excellent letter, Jeff. The response is kind of what I expected, though. Whole Foods and other mainstream companies that reach out to vegans do not do so because of some sort of advocacy. Vegan, to them, is one of many options to offer; we're just one group to target market to. So it makes sense that they would, unfortunately, include meat on the menu.

A healthy eating demo/meetup sounds like a decent offer. I give them props for reaching out.
jeff Posted at 2012/08/10 1:05pm reply to

jeff
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Thanks guys. I wrote back to Dan and said we'd love to have him do the demo at a meet up there. I'll see when he can do that so we can plan around it.

Yeah, wish Beyond Meat would get here sooner!
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