The Healthy Lifestyle Choice of More Than Just Hippies

Samantha Good

In today’s fast-paced society reliant on drive-thrus and microwave meals, it can often be  difficult to find vegan, vegetarian or generally healthy food options. 

However, the homegrown, organic farmers market culture of Athens inspires many restaurants and cafes in the area to make a conscious effort to offer as many choices as possible to customers with dietary restrictions.

More restaurants are adding vegan and vegetarian-friendly options to their menus.

“I’d say [eating healthy] is pretty easy here,” says Megan Hurwitz, a sophomore studying retail fashion product merchandising .“There are lots of options. I prefer eating out at the markets or on court street to the dining halls just because there are more options for me.” 

Uptown is full of eateries perfect for people with various dietary restrictions, including: Purple Chopstix, Brenen’s Coffee Cafe and Salaam. Lotsa Pizza gives customers the option to get their pizza with a vegan cheese and many places, like Big Mama’s Burritos, are flexible enough to change the meals to suit each person's needs. 

Bagel Street Deli incorporates some of their bagels with veggies and tofu to give vegans and vegetarians stacked sandwiches. 

“I have never seen tofu cooked so many different ways,” says Clara Miller, a sophomore studying microbiology. “Going into my freshman year I was worried that I wouldn’t find very many food options on or off campus. However, now going into my second year I’ve found that there is a plethora of vegan food options off campus as well as accommodating staff and dining halls on campus.” 

Fluff Bakery has also worked to build a menu that accommodates vegans and vegetarians.With eight years of experience in uptown Athens, Fluff’s menu offers vegan, vegetarian and meat options, all made from scratch. 

When the owner, Jessica Kopelwitz, started Fluff utilizing the homegrown, organic foods in Athens’ farmers market culture, she made sure to include a wide range of options for people of all dietary lifestyles. 

“A lot [of people] don't even realize how many items we have,” Kopelwitz says. “We kind of revamped our menu recently... [We] substitute some of the [ingredients] that make it vegetarian if not vegan. I always tell people once you come in here, our biggest focus is our customers.”