Boston’s Adaption to Clean Eating
By Tia DiSalvo
Clean eating, the latest craze to sweep the Hub, has resulted in new vegan-and vegetarian-
friendly restaurants making their way across all parts of Boston.
As city officials and the state legislature have reinforced the correlation between improper diets and detrimental effects on the body, Bostonians have become increasingly conscious of such dangers.
Starting in 2008, when the Boston Public Health Commission placed a ban on products containing trans fats, the awareness of healthy eating increased citywide. This act sparked a domino effect, encouraging many residents to turn to healthy eating as a result of the participation of their peers.
“I look for organic products when shopping now, I heard they’re better,” says Su Aung, a Northeastern student. “Watching my friends eat clean has inspired me to do so as well.” The 2008 ban informed the public that the consumption of this hydrogenated oil will result in numerous health issues such as heart disease, strokes, and high cholesterol.
Since then, the Commission has worked to increase awareness of many other health risks. The agency has implemented programs to raise awareness of the importance of understanding nutrition labels as well as programs working to decrease the consumption of foods containing high sodium. Its most recent campaign, Sugar Smarts, aims at educating parents on the dangers of the overconsumption of sugary beverages such as certain juices.
“We make sure there are programs to address obesity among the Latino and African American communities of the city, said the Commission’s Director of Obesity and Hypertension Prevention Nineequa Blanding, “We want to raise awareness.”
Throughout recent years, statistics from the American Heart Association have shown that Latino and African American residents are at the highest risk for obesity, where over fifty percent of the adult population is overweight or obese.
Six years after the ban, Boston has become much more aware of the existing health “I eat solely vegetables for a few days each month as a type of cleanse,” said Boston resident Chanyu Jai.
Jai, along with many other Bostonians, have turned to diets and cleanses as a way of keeping their health on track.
To adapt to the increasing health consciousness of the city, many vegan-and vegetarian-friendly restaurants have emerged. From Hyde Park to Charlestown, restaurants with specific focuses on dairy-free, gluten-free, and organic products now cater to residents of the city.
Deena Jalal owns two vegan restaurants in Allston. FoMu, a plant-based ice cream shop, and Root, a “feel good” restaurant, both work to provide a plethora of options to those whom are conscious consumers.
“We realized that there were lots of people with many different allergies to things such as nuts or gluten,” said Jalal, “We wanted to help them.”
“It’s an increased trend. We are influenced by what we are learning, which is constantly evolving,” Jalal said about the sudden influx of healthy eaters in the city.
She also explained how becoming a parent plays a large role in becoming a conscious consumer.
“Keep the weird words away from the kids. If I can’t pronounce it, I shouldn’t eat it.”