For the past 10 years, I’ve been on a journey to find the best eating style for myself and now my family of four. I’ve tried everything from Paleo to Mediterranean to Keto. I don’t believe there is a one size fits all diet. Everyone has different nutritional needs based on genetics and acquired conditions and diseases. But one thing I have continued to encounter in my research and self-experimentation is that we should be eating more plants. With two parents suffering from chronic ailments, I believe plants have the most healing benefits.
The SAD (Standard American Diet) only includes 1-2 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
We should be eating a minimum of 8-10 servings for proper digestive health, metabolism and longevity. There is one compelling study that I keep coming back to called the China Study. If you don’t have time to sit down and read this 417 page book, you can find a good summary here. It basically describes how a population of people eating a whole food, plant based diet reduced their risk of cancer and heart disease while promoting a longer life span.
While we are not 100% plant based, we are approaching about 90%. Being from New Orleans, food has so many purposes — we nourish our bodies with it, celebrate with it, and find comfort in it. I believe in treating our bodies with respect, but also allowing yourself some indulges that nourish your soul! It would be very difficult for me to give up fish and dairy based cheese indefinitely. So, I basically treat them as a luxury and eat them in the presence of others at special events!
Whether you’re looking to completely eliminate animal protein from your diet or just reduce your intake, I’ve provided a list of both vegan/vegetarian restaurants and vegetarian friendly restaurants around Chattanooga. Cooking fresh food for my family is very important to me, but some days I need a break!
This is by far my favorite plant based establishment in Chattanooga; you can find me there 3-4 days a week. Everything in their store is both vegan and USDA organic. I love walking into their store and not having to worry about whether the food is “healthy.” Their menu is packed with smoothies, juices, breakfast bowls, salads and entrees that will be sure to satisfy your hunger. Don’t skip the dessert counter where you can find vegan cookies, cakes and breakfast treats!
Cashew is a strict vegan restaurant in North Chattanooga with an excellent menu and atmosphere. They have mastered the art of making vegan food taste just as savory and delicious as meat-based dishes. Cashew also has a delicious dessert counter where you can order cakes and cookies ahead of time. My birthday cake came from Cashew this year and it was absolutely divine!
I have not visited this Fort Oglethorpe based cafe, but I’ve heard wonderful things about it. Based on their website, they have an extensive menu of food and drinks that are strictly plant based. They also have a take and bake menu where you can order a large family style meal. No need for Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese if you’re too busy to cook!
This is another establishment on my bucket list of plant based restaurants. Located on Lee Hwy, they have a menu full of appetizers, side dishes, entrees, desserts and cold pressed juices. Plant Power offers catering and meal delivery through Dinner Delivered.
This local restaurant was already one of my favorite coffee shops and eateries, but they recently launched a vegan menu with over 14 choices for breakfast and lunch! They are also open late for dinner. My favorite dish is the curry roasted cauliflower bowl; it’s both savory and so filling! You won’t miss the meat.
Some other vegan/vegetarian friendly establishments are:
Keep in mind that most restaurants are willing to modify dishes or make accommodations if you ask them for a vegetarian dish. One of my favorite ways to avoid animal protein while eating out is to ask for a veggie plate. If there is not one listed on the menu, you can ask the server to put together 3-4 side dishes! I never feel deprived if I can have a plate full of tasty side dishes in lieu of meat.