The United States Healthful Food Council (USHFC), a nonprofit dedicated to making it easier to dine healthfully and sustainably, announced that True Food Kitchen’s 12 locations have become REAL Certified, a nationally recognized symbol of culinary nutrition and environmental excellence.
“When we began developing the REAL certification program in 2012, we identified True Food Kitchen as one of the emerging restaurant brands that was demonstrating that serving healthy, sustainable food is actually good for business,” says Lawrence Williams, CEO of United States Healthful Food Council. Co-founders Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., the father of integrative medicine, and restaurant visionary Sam Fox created the menu, inspired by the principles of Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet.
The highly coveted Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership (REAL) certification has been bestowed only on a select number of restaurant and foodservice providers. Utilizing a points-based REAL Index, third-party registered dieticians evaluate establishments through interviews and menu, supply chain, and operations analysis. Those that earn sufficient points in the areas of Responsible (nutrition), Epicurean (preparation), Agricultural (sourcing) and Leadership (going above and beyond) are able to become REAL Certified.
“REAL signifies authentic, wholesome, nutritious and sustainable food—all of which are values we take seriously at True Food Kitchen,” says co-founder Fox. “To be recognized with this mark of excellence from the USHFC is not only an honor, it further underscores and validates our commitment to nutrition and sustainable best practices.”
Offering a wide selection of vegan, vegetarian, naturally organic, and gluten-free options, along with dishes for those following a paleo or Mediterranean diet, True Food Kitchen serves up truly original, surprising and satisfying fare using fresh, raw ingredients. In addition to responsibly-sourced proteins like grass-fed beef, sustainably raised fish and select produce, True Food Kitchen uses several unique and nutritionally-dense ingredients like sea buckthorn, chia and Anasazi beans and more for their vitamin- and antioxidant-rich properties and benefits.
Underscoring the pillars of REAL certification, True Food Kitchen uses local, organic sources wherever possible and emphasizes a conscious, community-based dining experience. The environmentally friendly ambiance features reclaimed wood floors, recycled quarry tiles, low-voltage LED lighting and other architectural nuances designed to maximize comfort, while minimizing the impact on the planet.
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