My First Raw Food Experience

Since I last blogged, I’ve been very diligent in keeping up with a very strict and miserable diet to help me quickly lose a little bit of the weight I’ve put on during my forced running hiatus. It’s been very difficult eating basically the same thing for lunch and dinner every day. It’s fine to stick with it for a week or two in a pinch, but after a while I just need a change of pace. I figured a visit to Jar Bar for lunch yesterday would be a perfect way to have a healthy meal, but get out of the house to do it.For being somewhat of a “foodie” (I don’t like this term, but don’t really have a better one to use), I am an extremely picky eater. I have this weird hang-up with textures and smells and tend to stick with what I know. So I really wasn’t sure what to expect when trying raw food. Jar Bar recently opened, and boasts being Philly’s first “completely juicy and raw cafe.” They’re owned by the makers of the Catalyst Cleanse, which I had planned on doing in a few weeks anyway. The menu is all raw, vegan, and gluten-free. The menu features a lot of the juices from the cleanse, as well as some heartier smoothies. If you’re not into liquid lunch, there are salads, soups, snacks like granola and kale chips, and then the impostor foods. The impostor menu items are foods that are redone to be made raw. For example, the pasta is made with sweet potato and zucchini ribbons. The Lasagna is made with zucchini noodles and avocado among other ingredients. The desserts are mostly made from fruits and agave.

I had to try a juice in preparation for doing the Catalyst Cleanse. I selected the BURN juice, which is cucumber, apple, lemon, ginger, and cayenne. I have to admit, I didn’t love it. I generally water down any juice I drink at home, so chugging down something thick like this juice just didn’t appeal to me. I guess I’ll have to get over that before the cleanse, though!

Next up was the Sprouted Hummus Wrap. The foods were all prepared in advance, which made for quick service. It’s probably a smart move since all the juices are made to order and take a bit of prep time. The hummus wrap included carrots, hummus, sprouts, zucchini, and jicama in a nori wrap. The contents of the wrap were surprisingly delicious. It was well balanced, and didn’t really taste like health food. I’m not a huge fan of seaweed, but mixed with the wrap ingredients, I didn’t mind it.

For dessert, I saw a Chocolate Mousse Pie on the menu I just had to try. Being a vegan raw restaurant, obviously, this isn’t a normal chocolate pie. It’s actually avocado-based with cacao powder, agave, coconut oil, dates, and shredded coconut. It looked like pie. It smelled like pie. But I was apprehensive to taste the first bite. It was actually pretty good, and got better with each bite. It’s not super sweet, which could be a good thing or bad thing depending on how you like your desserts. If you put this pie in front of me and didn’t tell me what it was, I would definitely be able to tell it was a healthier version, but I would have no idea it wasn’t dairy-based. The avocado makes for a perfect filling texture. The date crust is tasty and does add a little sweetness.

I left my Jar Bar lunch surprisingly full, and felt energized the rest of the day. I would definitely go back and try some of the other menu offerings, especially the lasagna and the carrot cake. It’s on 12th street right by the new Kitchenette location (I had no idea they had moved, but the store looks expanded and super cute!). I would love to see nutrition information on the menu in the future. But Jar Bar is still just starting out, so I’m sure they’ll get even better as time goes on. It’s interesting to see the growth in popularity of veg/vegan foods in Philly. It seems like new restaurants are popping up all the time now. I look forward to having some more healthy options for dining out,  but the challenge will now be convincing myself to pick vegetables over a Churchill burger…


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