Sunday, November 23, 2014

It's Time Restaurants Take Responsibility for Their Influence On Everything Ever

This is the era of Food Porn, Social Media, Super Foods, and Non-GMO's. As the baby-boomer consumer demand begins to drop and the millennial generation takes the driver's side we can see a huge shift in the economic balance of supply and demand. The supply and demand relationship is literally the equation that all restaurants should observe very carefully and if they did so something magical would happen in the world

Just like fashion magazines serve to act as an example for how the population should dress, restaurants serve as an example as to what people want to bring home to their very own kitchen tables. In the 1960's (The Era of The American Diner) every breakfast menu had scrambled eggs and bacon. As a child growing up in the 80s and 90s I can remember my mother creating that exact breakfast for my sister and myself every weekend. Did my mother do this instinctually? Or, did she learn this classic combination from the many experiences she herself had as a child while out to eat with her parents and friends? I think the answer is obvious. 

Nowadays, food behavior is not just experienced and learned at meal time, but rather, it has become a social media phenomenon. 57% of all Pinterest is food related and most likely uploaded from a certain age range either eating out or cooking a meal at home that they experienced whilst eating out. The point is that restaurants are an example for what people should be eating. A study performed in 2013 deemed that 72% of all meals take place in the home and only 27% of all meals consumed take place at a restaurant.  If restaurants declared that they would serve clean and organic food then that 27% would expand to 100% because people take what they learn in social settings and do it in private. Restaurants need to take responsibility for their influence on people’s consumption decisions right now.  

The irony in it all is that the data is there. Consumers are far more interested in clean, whole, non-fortified foods than ever before. A major study conducted in 2010 revealed that 52 million adults suffer from high cholesterol, muscle and joint pain, heartburn or indigestion, diabetes, and osteoporosis and people are looking to food as their healing method before seeing a doctor. In addition, more than half of the US population claims to read food labels in order to avoid artificial chemicals. So, here is my question: If the consumer is creating the demand for healthy food then how are restaurants surviving without providing the supply?

My suggestion to this unanswered question would be that it is a mixture between temporary paralysis of consciousness and Murphy's Law. What do I mean by this? My good friend is a perfect example of someone who suspends healthy and conscious eating while going out to a restaurant. Joe (not his real name) is what I call a "generally healthy eater." He tries to eat mostly salads, avoids animal products, and enjoys a green juice here and there. However, when Joe's work buddies meet at the local bar for Happy Hour after a long day's work and the menu has  "French Fries, Burgers, and Cheese Cake...all for a very low price," Joe chooses to ignore all the facts that he knows to be true about the food he is about to eat. Why does he do this? The answer is simple: because he can and so he will. It's Murphy's Law. The only obvious and immediate repercussion that Joe might experience is a stomachache the following day, but for anyone who remotely pays attention to important media sources knows that what you place on your plate extends far beyond the reach of your fork. Someone somewhere suffered for Joe's experience with his work buddies and eventually Joe's health will suffer as well. 

What if that Happy hour served only healthy and conscious food? Since Joe is already a clean eater (Like most people as we can see) I hardly doubt that he would have any complaints. Eating out is so much more than just eating something. It is about being social and having human connection, which is essential to happiness (as we witnessed in Tom Hanks, "Cast Away"). Restaurants fear that if they begin cleaning up their menus and stray from what sells then they will go out of business. But, this mentality is totally backwards because people want healthy food and choose healthy food when in the privacy of their own home. People will not stop being social because we need that in life. Murphy’s Law can go both ways; if people have the chance to eat healthy they will!

People are looking to point fingers at many things to explain our planet and health issues. Is it the fault of Doctors? Insurance Companies? Monsanto? The Dairy Industry? I'm sure it is a mix between all of them, but if restaurants stopped purchasing and serving nasty GMO food and told their patrons they were doing so, I know that the same behavior would ripple effect throughout Everyman's personal consumer behavior. Pointing fingers and blaming are not effective ways to bring about big change. I think that changing our standard of trendsetters is the most proactive, effective, and efficient way to create a big impact on a more sustainable and healthy supply and demand in the world of food. 

Share if you want to join the fight for healthy restaurants!

Got Thanksgiving Plans?

GustOrganics has you covered this Thanksgiving!

NYC is a busy city and Thanksgiving dinner is a pretty big time commitment. So, whether you want to dine in or take-out, sit back and relax and let GustOrganics take care of your big Thanksgiving meal this year!

To Busy To Cook?

GustOrganics is also doing Thanksgiving Catering!

Let us know what dishes you would like to have and we'll
help out with that Thanksgiving Family Dinner!

Friday, November 21, 2014

A New Beginning for GustOrganics

So here's our story in a word: seven years ago we were ahead of our game in the world of health food, however, times have changed and so have the facts about what is considered healthy and environmentally sustainable.

First and foremost, GustOrganics believes in Organic food. We believe in "Organic" in every sense of the word. Plants should be grown organically, animals should organically eat what they crave and live in their natural organic environments. People should eat what organically works best with their bodies, and humans should organically socialize over long healthy meals. We've done amazing work in the Organic world but as I mentioned earlier the standards for what is "Green" and sustainable have risen and so shall we.

Our Vegan Journey began where most vegan journeys do: with education. Incredible films like Cowspiracy, Earthlings, Forks Over Knives, Meat the Truth, Food Inc and books like, "The China Study", "Eating Conscious", "Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating", and "The Way We Eat" have made the GustOrganics family realize that just being organic isn’t enough. Therefore, we needed to turn the wheel on our business by 180 degrees, also known as, economical suicide.

GustOrganics has been a revered organic Paleo restaurant for seven years. We’ve essentially catered to the arch nemesis of vegans and raw-foodies. Our roots and our limbs were watered with Paleo beliefs and practices and suddenly we’ve ripped those roots from the ground. To our devout supporters this was an act of betrayal, but to GustOrganics, it was an act of liberty and freedom.

Besides going plant based for the logical reasons like a drop in food cost and the lessening of our carbon and water footprints (by a lot) there is a freedom that we can’t really describe. The best way that we can describe it is by saying that we feel cleaner, simpler, and more honest about everything we do. No one has to die in order to enjoy his or her experience at GustOrganics and that just feels good. The energy there is beyond pleasant. There is less confusion for the servers because our identity is so much simpler and our guests know exactly what to expect when they come. Also, the dishes have more flavor! Instead of trying to flavor a tasteless chicken or meat with plants and herbs, we are using plants and herbs to flavor something that’s already flavorful in its natural state and the result is simply delicious.

We are not here to say that if you eat meat then you are bad. Every person and business has its own journey and we need to respect that and hope that they will become more and more conscious with time, but insulting and fighting is not effective and only makes people and businesses defensive. With millions of people leaving animal products behind, we are certain that others will eventually follow our lead but we need to provide them with resources and positive examples in order to do so successfully.  Our goal is to help other restaurants take the leap just like we did at GustOrganics and see that the communities that support such change will not let anyone fall or fail.  We want to show other restaurants that it is a bold and modern move to make and only good things and good business can come of it.

Since the leap, we can honestly say that we’ve not even seen a drop in sales. The feedback is amazing and it’s as if we’ve been born again and have another opportunity to do good and help the planet. We look forward to what tomorrow brings because the connection between food and health is becoming more and more known and we cannot wait to be a part of this growing movement. 

Our journey does not stop here, however. As of this moment, we have 51 vegan dishes and 3 meat dishes. "How could we have a vegan launch party and still have 3 dishes?" you might ask. Here is our response. We told you that we did "economic suicide" because we betrayed the clients that keep our doors open. We definitely see more support from  the vegan side but it's not enough to keep us afloat. These dishes still sell way more than anything else and at the end of the day they allow us to pay rent.  We've done our part and now our supporters need to create a supply and demand relationship that calls for zero animal products. 

How can you help? You can dine at Gusto and order vegan dishes. You can blog about us and spread awareness so that more vegans order from us. You can write good reviews on yelp about our vegan story. There are a million and one ways to tell us that you support this decision but at the end of the day we are not mind readers so we need to look to the numbers to see which dishes are selling the most. With your help in the vegan-sphere those three dishes will be gone by January 2015. 

Please share our story and help other restaurants become pillars of the health food movement.

Photos Diary of our Transformation
January 2009: Daily Menu

Signature/Most Popular Dish in 2012

July 2013: Daily Menu

February 2014: Valentines Day Menu

July 2014: Meatless Monday Launch

September 2014: Crowd Funding Campaign to hire a professional vegan chef starts

October  2014: Our vegan chef training begins

November 2014: Our Vegan Launch Party

November 2014: Current Menu

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Eating Raw This Winter

There is nothing better than curling up to a blanket on a cold winters day with a bowl hot soup, right? Many people fear or dislike eating raw during the cold winter months because they think that it keeps them cold. But, just how scientific is this?

The entire point of eating raw is to maintain the enzymes and the nutritional value of the food (Click here to see video on the raw diet)Enzymes are essential to all life.Enzymes are responsible for breaking down the food that we eat in order to make it usable nutrient dense fuel for our bodies. If we look at this process with a logical lens then we can deduct that if the food is lacking in enzymes then our bodies will work harder to break down the food with the use of it's own self-created enzymes.

The difference between eating a raw meal and a cooked meal is actually observable. After eating a raw meal -- it's nearly impossible to have that heavy or exhausted feeling. Eating cooked food often leaves us with the feeling known as "food coma". This "food coma" is the process of your body using it's own enzymes and blood to break down the meal in the digestion system. Your digestion organs pull blood from your hands, feet, head, and elsewhere leaving you with colder body parts. 

To understand this theory let's take a look at cooked food. Every piece of food is alive in it's natural state and like the human body  it is running ramped with electrons.  As soon as living food is heated above temperatures 115˚-118˚F the molecular structure is altered. When we cook or a living organism we essentially kill those electrons and enzymes and the food becomes more acidic or oxidizing because it steals energy from our body (think of rust, breakdown, decay). Some foods even create acid-forming toxins and free radicals (for example: Oils).

So to close the argument--is raw food good for winter meals? After looking at the science behind raw food it seems like raw food may keep the body 's temperature warmer because all the energy, heat producing electrons, and blood stay exactly where they should.  So go ahead and dive into that huge leafy salad this winter and enjoy the benefits!

Friday, August 22, 2014

$20 Organic Brunch Prix Fix!

Saturday August 23, 2014
 Launches our New Organic Brunch Menu

$20 Prix-Fix (Starter + Entree+ Coffe)
$10 Unlimited Mimosas with Prix-Fix

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"All the cars in the world do not equal the damage done by the agriculture industry"

These are both terrifying and comforting words about a very true reality. How can something be both at the same time? Let me explain. It's terrifying because in no way are we about to abandon agriculture in the near future. It is what feeds human beings after all. With agriculture being an absolute necesity and having knowledge about it's effects at the same time is like watching a loved one slowly die on propose. It can be agony for those that truly want to save the planet and ultimately ourselves.

Now for the fluffy part.

The Earth did not come in a nicely packaged boxed with agriculture included. It is a "man-made" process and therefor it can be a "man-shaped" process. The challenge in this change falls in the sheer volume of work that lies ahead of us. We need scientists to give the facts. We need news stations and papers to give these facts the massive attention that they deserve. And, possibly the most difficult challenge lies in companies willingness to lose money in order to create a new system that might have some growing pains until a new system gets ironed out.

On a very small scale--GustOrganics can understand why this might be so challenging for those corporations. There is so much economical risk from their point of view (granted if the Earth dies due to lack of change then they have more to worry about than their company's bank account). In GustOrganics' situation we are transitioning from a heavy meat restaurant to vegan and we see the economical cost of trying to create a better system. The old system followers do no approve and therefore do not support. If one were to observe this transition phase they might call it a failure.

But that person would have to lack imagination because the beginning of change always starts slow. On the upside--a totally new passionate and dedicated demographic do support our decisions--but it takes time and word of mouth before the new supporters fill the void created by the old clientele. With tiny steps here and tiny steps there, you finish the race without anyone noticing how. People will ultimately focus on the finish line and this finish line must be paved with compassion for the planet, the animals, and most of all self preservation.

Undoubtedly, Self-Preservation is by far the most important to humans, Not one single logical person can fault a company for trying to save themselves, right? So why aren't more food and agriculture companies using this fault proof excuse to justify their change for the better?  This logical excuse to change the agricultural system is going to be the key to their success. If enough people hear the "why" enough people will support the change of system. We simply need to start the conversation with more passion and more emphasis on the urgency of self-preservation. The clock is ticketing away with every second spent stagnant in the old system of agriculture. So let's change. After all, like I said--it's man-made and it can be man-shaped.

Friday, August 8, 2014

GustOrganics Now Serves Exclusive Monday Menu ALL WEEK LONG!

I've heard it called "true gourmet vegan food", "sheer awesomeness", "Don Draper Style food" and much more. People are raving about the simply awesome Meatless Monday Menu (AKA The Sexy Vegan Menu)--so much so--that we've decided to make it available 7 days a week! The below is coming soon!