iQ: The Restaurant That Introduced Me to Healthy Eating
Those who know me know that I am a bit of a health nut when it comes to the food I eat (I've even inspired my roommates to eat healthier!); a perfect and fulfilling lunch for me is a quinoa bowl, filled to the brim with a variety of fruits and veggies, protein (I typically go for ground turkey, chicken breast, eggs, or tofu), and nuts and seeds (usually chia). Sometimes I eat it with a homemade 'Asian Butter' sauce - my own recipe - or just plain. Sure, I do this for the sake of being healthy (and for a nice figure too), but the main reason I need to eat cleanly is because my stomach just cannot handle anything otherwise; acidic, fatty, greasy, carb-y foods make it very unsettled and even painful.
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But ever since I switched to a healthier diet, the stomach has generally been feeling a lot better. iQ Food Co. was the first 'healthy fast-food' restaurant that I tried, and was what really got me into the whole clean-eating thing I have going on. My mom - also a health nut - was the one who introduced me to it a few years back, and since then, I have been hooked!
Healthy. Seasonal. Sustainable.
iQ uses fresh, locally-sourced whole food ingredients in the basic method of scratch cooking. Aside from nutritious meals, they also pride themselves on the aesthetics of their restaurants - vibrant, comfortable, modern, chill... they even have a pretty nice Spotify playlist that complements the whole atmosphere.
iQ offers 6 different boxes in their standard menu, plus 2 seasonal options (all gluten-free). Their Apple Cob box is my go-to, and for this particular visit, my mom opted for the Sparta. As for the seasonal options, for Fall 2017, iQ has introduced the Maple Greens and Kabocha Tahini boxes.
Oven-roasted chicken, aged white cheddar, double red apple, dried cranberries, toasted almonds, spinach, organic quinoa, honey dijon vinaigrette
Oven-roasted chicken, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, kalamata olives (w/ pits), pickled onions, basil, organic arugula, organic quinoa, hummus, extra virgin olive oil + balsamic vinegar
Oven-roasted chicken, mariposa dairy goat cheese, maple roasted squash, pear, shredded brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, organic baby kale, organic quinoa, balsamic vinaigrette
Sumac roasted carrots, black-eyed peas, feta, cucumbers, red cabbage, pickled turnips, organic microgreens, black sesame za’atar, organic baby kale, kabocha tahini dressing
In addition to their boxes, their menu also includes avocado toast, seasonal soups, oats, chia puddings, a variety of freshly baked goods, smoothies, and of course, quality coffee and tea. Vegan options are also available. For the full menu, click here.
Healthy foods + healthy drinks? Sign me up! Not too long ago, iQ and Greenhouse Juice Co. opened a collaborative store at First Canadian Place in downtown Toronto. Though, iQ does sell some of their products - such as the Canada Super Dry Ginger Kombucha that I had - at other locations. On an unrelated note, I've been LOVING kombucha, especially the ginger flavour, as you can probably tell. The probiotics in the kombucha help with my sensitive stomach as well.
Eating my first healthy box from iQ jumpstarted my newfound taste for the simplest of power foods. This small lifestyle change has fuelled my interest in health and overall wellness/well-being, and has also motivated me to take up other healthier lifestyle choices. And it feels fantastic! That is all.