There are many healthy cookbooks to choose from, but it’s not often that their recipes are accompanied by stories about what inspired them. We want to introduce you to Natasha McKeon, founder and CEO of Choice Superfood Bar and Juicery and author of the new cookbook Plant Food Is Medicine.
What Is Plant-Based Food?
Plant-based food consists of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, seeds, whole grains, and oils. Among other health benefits, plant-based diets have been known to help manage weight loss, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and improve gut bacteria.
After chatting with McKeon, we learned that her inspiration for Choice Juicery and subsequent cookbook came from her grandmother: When her grandmother died, she helped clear out her belongings and came upon a book about food being medicine. Ever since, McKeon has felt that her grandmother guided her to where she is today. She remembers a dream where her grandmother came to her to help her process her passing. “If I hadn’t had that experience, I wouldn’t have gone on to help with clearing out her house, and I would have never found that book,” McKeon says. “I believe that all of that was not by mistake but by design.”
McKeon worked in the banking industry for over eight years before she segued into the health and nutrition sector. Her trajectory is a testament to taking a leap of faith despite the anxiety that comes with it. It has all paid off, and there are currently six Choice Juicery locations in Southern California, with hopes of expanding. McKeon says she wants to “educate people on what true integrity with food really looks like and then open locations where we are needed.”
Healthy Foods Choices
With an emphasis on superfoods, Plant Food Is Medicine contains over 100 plant-based, gluten-free juice, smoothie, and meal recipes – some of which are from the Choice Juicery menu – that are sure to tantalize the taste buds and redefine the meaning of “food is medicine.” It also includes information about why to eat plant-based foods, reasons you should drink juice every day, types of juicers, and more. Through her book, McKeon hopes to show people they don’t have to sacrifice healthy choices for budget reasons. “I also wanted to show our guests just how much work and love goes into what we do at Choice,” she says.
Eating a Plant-Based Diet
To those who want to start a plant-based diet but are apprehensive, McKeon says, “Starting with a small goal and building from there makes going fully plant-based so much easier down the road.” She says it helps to focus on all the foods you can eat versus the ones you can’t. Doing a 30-day cleanse allowed her to adopt the plant-based lifestyle, which she says gave her “heightened mental clarity, incredible amounts of energy, and balanced moods.”
When you get McKeon’s recipe book, she says to start with the smoothie recipes. “Smoothies are a great way to ease into more plant-based foods,” she says. “The java chip is a must-try.” Some of her favorite meals include the zucchini Alfredo and kelp noodle pad thai. Ultimately, McKeon hopes that you are inspired to make healthier choices that lead to overall happiness.