By Eileen Weber
(This restaurant has closed)
“If it’s not 100% organic, it’s not going on the menu!”
Those words were emphatically stated by the three people who joined together to launch Grass RXoots, an organic food and juice shop on Sound Beach Avenue in Greenwich. They call it an “underground movement,” mainly because word-of-mouth is the preferred marketing scheme to promote their business.
But the irony is not lost on me. It is an underground movement because that’s exactly where it starts, with the ground. Everything we eat—vegetation and meat products—has contact with the earth in one way or another. And if that ground is covered in herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and chemical fertilizers, it just sets off a chain-reaction of bad things going into our bodies.
That’s what the folks at Grass Rxoots want you to remember the next time you get hungry. Our power is in what we do—or do not—put in our mouths. So why not eat something that’s actually good for you?
Grass Rxoots is the brainchild of Amy Guerreri, owner of Upper Crust Bagel Company and Arcadia Coffee Shop, and Dr. Steven Murphy, a geneticist and medical doctor. Guerreri came to Murphy when her one of her four children developed a bizarre pattern of weight gain. After seeing umpteen doctors at umpteen different hospitals, she finally met with Murphy. After running his own tests, he realized Guerreri’s daughter wasn’t metabolizing carbohydrates appropriately. He helped her get back on track with her diet and she has lost 35 pounds in just the last five months.
Both Murphy and Guerreri thought there has to be a better way for people to eat the proper foods on a regular basis. And that’s when lightning struck. Within eight months, they launched the organic juice and food store inside Guerreri’s bagel shop, secured Heidi Flagley, a trained chef and holistic nutritionist, and began their quest to educate the wider public about eating organic foods.
Lots of people “eat right” because they’re looking to lose weight. And certainly, weight loss is a good thing. But, eating the right foods all the time because it’s simply a better way to live is an even better reason.
Getting your vitamins and nutrients from fruits and vegetables greatly surpasses just taking a daily supplement. Grass Rxoots uses a hydraulic press to extract the liquid from the produce for their line of juices. Keeping the food raw and in its purest form, it provides the optimal level of nutrition. Vitamins common in most fruits and vegetables like A, C, and E work together to benefit a healthy body.
There are no GMOs at Grass Rxoots and they are chemical-free. (Flagley mentioned that she had a dish that called for baby coconuts. She did not put the item on the menu when she found out that coconuts are doused in a formaldehyde solution to keep them “bacteria-free.”)
Dr. Murphy discussed the differences in how the body processes organic versus non-organic foods. He said that when the food you’re eating is non-organic, has GMOs, and is pesticide-ridden, the body’s absorption is completely different than if it’s organic. Your liver, which detoxifies your system, siphons the good stuff as well as the bad stuff in your bloodstream. That organ functions much better if what you’re ingesting doesn’t have chemicals in it.
But Murphy was quick to point out that most doctors don’t focus on nutrition as the first defense in combating disease. Rather than concentrating on keeping patients healthy, they work on how to treat the ensuing problem. Instead of pumping your body with medications to treat a problem, why not avoid the problem in the first place?
“Doctors aren’t good at wellness,” he said. “It requires time and training with a focus on wellness and not disease. We’re focused on disease.”
Murphy said that by just feeding the body the fuel it needs to be healthy, an infinite number of health problems can be avoided. Heart disease, diabetes, obesity. These are just a few examples of how you can avert a health problem simply by eating well.
What’s even better about Grass Rxoots? The food, ranging from raw vegan to paleo, tastes amazing. The Fairfield Green Food Guide stopped by for a bite to eat and we were impressed. Chef Flagley has created a dish called “Veggie Layers.” Eating this raw dish can only be described as a life-altering experience. Made with thinly sliced zucchini sandwiched into a crisp Napoleon with tomatoes and a “cheese” whipped up with macadamia nuts as its base, the dish sings. The accompanying sauce was a riff on tomato paste produced by blending sun-dried tomatoes, herbs, and a touch of olive oil. Sheer heaven, I’m telling you.
And I could go on for days about their kale chips. These are not your run-of-the-mill kale chips. While we were there, more than one customer came in to say this handy little snack was not just great but “addictive.” The chips are dehydrated to keep their raw flavor, color, and produce crispness. With some sunflower seeds, herbs, spices and a little help from nutritional yeast, the taste is reminiscent of a slice of cheesy pizza.
And in case we weren’t kale happy enough, we also tried their kale salad. A light, creamy dressing didn’t weigh the hardy leaves down. Diced carrots and nuts rounded out the vegetable medley giving it both crunch and savoriness.
We also had their veggie pizza with a whole grain crust. While it was delicious and satisfying, there was one teeny, weeny disappointing factor: the thin crust was soggy. It’s hard to keep the crispness when a product sits in its container waiting to be bought. Every food shop wrestles with that problem. At home, a quick warm up in a cast iron skillet brought it right back to crispness.
Grass Rxoots makes a point of pulling their products from the shelves every three days. Although, it’s rare that they have to pull any foods or juices from the shelves—they’re disappearing at a rather fast clip.
“We can’t keep them in stock long enough,” said Flagley, “they’re flying off the shelves.” Juices are going into 24/7 production to meet demand and allow them to roll out their juice cleanse.
This is a great spot to hit for lunch or on your way to the beach. Grab n’ Go with an organic, and local, twist. A few days after our visit, the team spent a day visiting organic farms in the state to secure new suppliers. So stop by the next time you’re in the area and let us know how you liked the food.
Grass Rxoots is located at 197 Sound Beach Avenue in Greenwich and is open from 7 am – 4 pm daily. Visit them online at www.grassrxoots.com or call them at 203-637-4343. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter. Catering orders are welcome.