Guest Blog: “The Quarks Effect” Series // Kari Collett

(Our new series, “The Quarks Effect” kicks off with Kari Collett, RDN, LDN, CLT of A to Zinc Nutrition. “The Quarks Effect” will take a look at how clean eating at Quarks impacts local businesses, entrepreneurs, artists, activists, and health practitioners, by partnering with their businesses and enabling them to pursue their passions).

There are as many descriptions of the phrase “clean eating” as there are websites on the topic.  In other words, clean eating has no clear definition or guidelines as to what a person who wants to eat clean should know or do. Defining “clean eating” means spending time learning, researching, and growing through a process. I have my own perspective on clean eating – based on my own story.

It all started with MSG (monosodium glutamate).  I read an article 12 years ago that caused me some concern about this chemical often found in our food supply.  Since I’m not one to take limited evidence as fact, I set out in search of more information.  Sure enough, the more I researched and discovered, the more I realized this neurotoxin was not good for me or my family to consume.  I stopped buying all products with MSG or its well disguised family members.

Gradually, I followed suit with other food chemicals: high fructose corn syrup, added nitrates and nitrites, polysorbate 80, food colorings, artificial sweeteners, benzoic acid…the list goes on.  Going completely chemical free was my first step in what I considered clean eating.  You can imagine this pretty much eliminated most of the pre-made and processed foods found in our grocery stores from our diet.  Our new way of eating became a whole food diet with a menu of meals that I had to prepare myself.

Taking chemical free one step further led me to concentrating on organic foods.  I appreciate a food supply that is not treated with chemicals at any step in the farm to consumer pathway: agriculture production, crop storage, and super market delivery.  Even though organic is better most of the time, I’ve since learned that just because the front of the label says organic, I still need to read the ingredient list.

With the rapid commercialization of organic foods, there are times when the organic produce I want to eat does not match the quality or sustainability practices I desire in my foods.  Thus evolved my next phase of clean eating, where I now go right to the source of my food supply:  the farmer.  Consequently, to get the best produce, I subscribe to a CSA, visit farmer’s markets, and go to the farms where my food is raised or grown and buy directly from the farmer.

With all of my own personal clean eating criteria, I find it exceptionally challenging to eat out.  I don’t trust many restaurants – but I do trust Quarks.  Their food is chemical free.  They have trustworthy food suppliers.  Their menu items are made from scratch – with fresh chopped vegetables and sauces made in-house.  They make wholesome eating fast, affordable, and most of all, delicious.  It’s such a good feeling for me to eat in a place where I don’t have to worry about what’s in my food.

If you’d like to personalize your clean eating plan or ask me questions about my journey, I’d be happy to talk with you and assist you at A to Zinc Nutrition. I’d also love to invite you to check out a “Dinner with Your Dietitian” Evening – a collaborative partnership between A to Zinc Nutrition and Quarks American Bento. The links for the remaining events are listed below. $5 covers your class, dinner & drink – don’t miss out on these great opportunities!

March 20th 

April 24th

May 22nd

(Be sure to follow our blog so that you don’t miss next week’s feature from Donna Roerick & Dr. Mark of Advantage Chiropractic!)