Healthy Eating In The Valley: Three New Finds, Two New Dishes, One Recent Event

Apr 19, 2014 | 2014 Articles, Going Green, Healthy Eating in the Valley, Tom Sims

by Tom Sims

Enjoy this next Healthy Eating In The Valley column–this one with a bit of an Earth Day slant. Let us know what you think and if you have any suggestions of your own for us to check out! In future articles watch for some articles on local places to eat healthy.

I am going to offer you three eating out options, two eating in plans, and one very global perspective today in our quest for healthy eating in the Valley.

If you are busy and hungry, eating healthy sometimes means eating out. It can be a challenge, even in the fresh-food rich Central Valley of California. I always advise careful menu reading before walking in the restaurant and careful question-asking once inside. Photo by Tom Sims

As a vegetarian, I always have more questions than most folks; fortunately, I have recently found three places that have made my choices easier.

The first is Thai Gem. I love Thai food and this is near my office. The owner, Wit, has been running Thai restaurants in Fresno and Clovis for over 30 years and loves to talk to his customers. He also loves to accommodate any needs they have. He makes his own peanut sauce using no peanut butter. He is emphatic about that. He can create any dish on his menu as a vegetarian option. He does so with pleasure and serves the food quickly, hot, and delicious.

It is an elegant spot that looks like a hole-in-the-wall on the outside in a strip mall near three or four military recruiting offices, a Denny’s, and a 99 Cent store near the corner of Willow and Shaw. (742 West Shaw, Clovis, 93612).

Their ratings online constitute rave reviews and delightful surprises. Check the comments on Urban Spoon and Trip Advisor where they are called “delicious and authentic,” so authentic that they don’t even have a web site!

I generally get the pad thai. What else? I always ask for extra peanut sauce.

If you love Thai and Lao food, a brand new option is SabaiDee. I found lots of healthy options on their menu, including a vegetarian friendly fare. I settled on the vegetable spring rolls. It was enough to feed me for two meals – but probably not you!

The young lady who waited on me was happy to discuss the menu and the restaurant.

It is conveniently located near First and Bullard at 5730 N 1st St #103, Fresno, CA 93710 (Phone: (559) 412-7895). They have a website and a Facebook page. They even have pho on the menu and if they can fix it with vegetable broth, which is what I am having next time. It is hard to get healthier!

I am making a tour of Indian restaurants as well in my quest for healthy eating.

The best thing about Royal Taj Fine Indian Cuisine at 6735 N. First Street (559-443-7246) is their lunch buffet. You can read the menu on their website. However, the buffet has everything I want and they arrange their plentiful vegetarian dishes on one side of the row of hot plates and their meat dishes on the other. It’s all you can eat and more than I can or should.

The public agrees with me that it is delicious and it is healthy.

Now that is three meals out. You might be on your own for the rest of the week except for one thing. I am going to give you two simple, healthy meals to fix for yourself and one is with canned food!

raw food

Raw Fresno dish at Earth Day

It is not my first choice, but sometimes you have to act fast. Canned, stewed tomatoes – the kind with green peppers and onion, a can of garbanzo beans, and vegetable broth. That’s it! Dump it together and heat it. If you like, flavor it with some vegetarian meat substitute or, better still, add some quinoa for protein. You can always add some vegetables you have lying around. For the second round (leftovers), I threw in some greens from my garden and some peas from my freezer. It is a delicious soup. Hot peppers never hurt either.

Read your labels and buy the most organic canned things you can with the least number of preservatives (or big-long words) on the label.

So, here is breakfast. It’s the Valley. We grow whole foods. We specialize in vegetables. Why not start with them in the morning? Here’s my plan:

• Chop a button mushroom and put it in a non-stick pan with a thin layer of olive oil.
• Let the pieces cook a little at high heat.
• Add some onions after the mushrooms have gotten a little brown and after one turn.
• Reduce your heat to medium.
• Throw in some chopped red and yellow pepper.
• Salt and pepper each time you add something.
• Better put in some diced jalapenos!
• Then, add your diced garlic.
• Tomatoes come next. Turn down the heat a bit.
• Throw in some fresh greens from your garden (or your refrigerator) if you have them.
• Cover the pan.
• Let the greens wilt a little and then remove the top. Stir a little.
• Now, crack an egg over it.
• You can scramble it all together if you like or, do what I often enjoy, cover it and just let the egg cook on top.
• If you want, add some parmesan or mozzarella cheese.
• Eat it and pat yourself on the back with congratulations!

Pretty simple!

While I was thinking about all of this, the Sustainability Project and Mathematics Department at Fresno State University were putting on a week of Earth Day/ Earth Week events from April 1-4 (learn more about this in an article in this week’s issue). All culminated with a fair that included live music from Perch, food, vendors, and exhibitors promoting sustainable practices in the community.

Tree Fresno, Earth Day Fresno, Fresno Water Conservation Program, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, Raw Fresno, Dusty Buns Bistro, Ooh De Lolli, Verengo Solar and Solar City all participated.

Used by Permission of Fresno State

Earth Day events at Fresno State are presented by the Fresno State Sustainability Project and the College of Science and Mathematics.

Students planted shrubs, viewed films, learned how to live on $1 a day in Central America, use less water, and change the world.

Living on One Dollar is a documentary about three students living on $1 per day during summer in a rural Guatemalan village. Now THAT’s a healthy eating challenge! It won Best Documentary at the Sonoma International Film Festival, and received endorsements from Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, and the Director of the Hunger Games, Gary Ross.

The Sustainability Project gave me permission to pass this on, “The Fresno State Sustainability Project would like to thank everyone who helped contribute to the success of Earth Day. It really was all the volunteers, vendors, community members, and students that made this day a success. Thank you all for helping this project reach fruition, as it could not have succeeded without all involved. This week’s events were truly special and, thanks to all the volunteers and students who worked and attended them, Fresno State’s first earth “week” was a big hit. We’re looking forward to future efforts for a sustainable campus and community. Happy Earth Day!”

So there, you are, 3-2-1! Three places you can eat out and be healthy, two things you can cook for health, and one event focused on keeping the whole planet healthy and creating a sustainable environment where we can all eat healthy in the Valley and everywhere!

Thai Gem on Urbanspoon

Royal Taj on Urbanspoon

Check out more Going Green articles in this special Earth Day issue, and past ones in our Going Green section.

You can find more of Tom’s columns here. Keep up with all of Tom’s writing by following him on Twitter @tomsims

Tom Sims is a local pastor (and Grandpa!), writer, and blogger. His congregation, “The Fellowship of Joy,” is part of a larger collaborative called “4141 Ministries,” of which he is Executive Director & he is an active Toastmaster. You can also find him on Facebook.


1 Comment

  1. I enjoyed your article about food so I thought you would like to know how you can make your own tempeh at home. We produced Betsy’s Tempeh in Mich. for 9 1/2 years back in the mid 80’s when NO ONE had ever heard of this great food.
    Fast forward 30+ years, relocating in Ventura county we still make tempeh for ourselves and friends. We recently filed a patent for a tempeh incubator that could be used in restaurants and small shops making artisan tempeh for the local community. We will begin testing the prototype appliance within the next week or so. The incubator could be used as a vehicle for people learning how to make their own protein for their local neighborhood, etc. The name of the tempeh incubator is called TempehSure and was introduced to the world at the Natural Food Expo in Anaheim March 2014.
    If you ever travel down this way, let us know and stop in for a tempeh panini.
    betsy shipley


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