The flavor and culture of New Orleans, Louisiana is deliciously pronounced via fried shrimp po’ boys, beignets, muffuletta’s, gumbo, and red beans & rice. It’s hardly a city well known for “healthy food,” and most tourists don’t visit for personal wellness purposes. I lived in this great city during my undergrad studies at Loyola University. While I was there, my best bet for anything quick and nourishing was Whole Foods on Magazine St. (as well as the best place for vegan chocolate chip cookies:)
Recently, I returned to NOLA and was overjoyed to see a variety of vegan, vegetarian, juice, and smoothie shops all over town. I had two days to hit a few stores and get my taste buds wet, so I dragged my parents around to scope out the burgeoning health food scene.
If you ever travel to New Orleans, after a few days you’ll most likely find yourself foaming at the mouth for some fresh greens or anything not-fried, and these places will surely come in for the rescue:
Superfood Bar - The first time I came here was in 2012, and I was SO excited to find it. I was in NOLA for my brother's wedding, and amid all the festivities, desperately needed some greens. They have a vast array of smoothie options, wraps, salads, and other great rejuvenators like fresh coconut water and house made kimchi. They also offer a variety of “Healthforce Superfoods” products, so you can get your extra boost of green. A casual, down to earth vibe with an emphasis on raw foods.
Raw Republic: Popped in here and was stoked to see the variety of non-food products on their shelves, including Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof coffee & products, local natural beauty/makeup products, cleanse packages, books (Kimberly Snyder’s Beauty Detox Diet, Dr. Junger’s Clean & Clean Eats) and Bright Earth products. They also had a few other products I hadn’t yet tried, like Solle Naturals. I tried their "Thai Greens" drink and it was delish (with bok choy and basil, not too sweet with a tad of yummy bitterness) and they also had a small selection of grab and go foods. The place also collaborates with a naturopathic doctor, and right by the check out counter you can opt to make an appointment. From what I gathered, Raw Republic aims to be more of a whole wellness center, complete with products, cleanse packages, vegan foods/juices, and wellness practitioner services.
FARE Food for Health: A large selection of juices, smoothies, as well as lots of paleo-approved treats (muffins, macaroons, muffins, and cookies). They also had some great raw snacks, like plantain chips and a variety of raw/ dehydrated crackers. I loved that you could buy Great Lakes Gelatin here too - a great collagen supplement which is great for healthy skin, musculoskeletal health, and digestive health.
Seed: If you go anywhere, go here. You could bring your most anti-health friend here and they’d surely find something (if anything, they offer traditional NOLA beignets, and Abita beer). Upon entering I immediately fell in love with the bright, clean atmosphere and local art. They offer plenty of seating, plus a juice bar in the back that also offers alcoholic juice cocktails. A beautiful place to come for lunch with a friend, or even for a date night. Everything on their menu is vegan, and they offer a great variety. Menu highlights include toasted coconut wrap ( lettuce, tomato, toasted coconut chips, garlic aioli, lavash bread - which you could trade out with raw flax-onion "bread"), pad thai (with spiralized veggie noodles), and mango + kale salad. My mother and I tried the mango + kale salad, plus artichoke fritters. Perfection.
The Green Fork: I wasn’t planning to come here, but it was right across from Seed and we were so glad we went. This place was impressive. On their wall boasts “#8 best juice/smoothie bar in the country” via Travel Magazine. My favorite part about this place was kombucha on tap, and a variety of grab-n-go soups in large mason jars, as well as their cashew nori paper snacks, which I snagged for the plan ride home (so much better than those tempting honey roasted peanuts).
Hi Volt Coffee Shop. Although this place has a very coffee shop vibe, I wanted to include it for their Chimi Beef Salad - if I lived in the neighborhood and really needed a nourishing lunch, I would get this. This recommendation may be a bit short sighted since it was the only dish I tried, however it just marked so high on my nutrition-o-meter! A super satisfying, gluten-free, paleo salad that’s big enough for two servings. Complete with shredded beef, avocado, and a poached egg on top, then drizzled with chimichurri dressing, this salad kept me very satisfied - so satisfied that I had no interest in snacking on my plane ride back to the Bay (and I LOVE to snack!). They also offered “Shockproof coffee,” with MCT oil and butter, and although I didn't try any, I could tell their muffin/baked good options were on point, just by the looks of them!
This is by no means an exhaustive list or extensive review of all the healthy restaurant options in New Orleans, just a few places I had time to try. Of course if you do go there, I would still advocate having some real deal, full fat, deep fried, NOLA style foods (fried shrimp po-boy from Crabby Jack’s is my fave), but these places will make even the most health conscious feel right at home.
Laissez les bons temps rouler! (Let the good times roll!)