The Loaded Bowl

By / Photography By Brandon Smith | December 29, 2017
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Conscious Comfort Food

The Loaded Bowl in the Farmer’s Market District specializes in familiar comfort foods such as mac and cheese, burgers, and similarly hearty fare. What sets this restaurant apart, however, is its conscious approach. To The Loaded Bowl, consciousness means serving healthful and cruelty-free food, supporting sustainable practices, making charitable contributions as often as possible, and providing the staff with a livable wage and a safe space to work and grow.

All of the ingredients used at The Loaded Bowl are 100% plant-based. By choosing foods that are plant-based, cholesterol is completely eliminated and saturated fats are significantly reduced. Both cholesterol and saturated fats are major contributors to chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and various cancers. Plant-based foods, on the other hand, are anti-inflammatory by nature, which enables them to help combat various dietary and environmental factors, as well as other pre-existing conditions, such as autoimmune diseases which are linked to inflammation.

Plant-based foods also encourage cruelty-free practices and decrease the environmental footprint. Considering that animal agriculture is responsible for eighteen percent of greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than the exhaust from all combined modes of transportation1, choosing plant-based foods reduces a critical source of stress on the environment. This choice is especially important with emissions related to agriculture currently projected to increase by eighty percent over the next thirty years2. The Loaded Bowl not only chooses foods that benefit the environment, but the restaurant also uses sustainable products and manages waste resourcefully and responsibly. All of its packaging is reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable, and waste is minimized by composting all leftover food and plates and by recycling or reusing everything else.

The Loaded Bowl is also conscious about utilizing its profits in impactful ways. In the past, proceeds from their cookies and cashew cheese have been donated to local, national, and global organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Oklahoma City Public Schools, and The Bella Foundation. GIVN Water, which provides one day of clean water for a person in need per bottle, is available for purchase at The Loaded Bowl. The restaurant is always searching for creative ways to drive revenue in the interest of a number of meaningful causes.

Understanding each of these sustainable strategies helps to clarify The Loaded Bowl’s tagline of “conscious comfort food”, but what does “comfort” mean exactly? To Tevin Grupe, the co-owner of The Loaded Bowl, comfort can represent a variety of things, but at its root, comfort is feeling like you belong:

“The feeling of comfort combined with delicious food is the best duo. Whether that sense of comfort brings back memories of dinner at Grandma’s, lunch with a friend, or a hot meal alone with your favorite movie, comfort food just makes us feel good. Our goal with The Loaded Bowl is to serve conscious comfort food - comfort food rooted in the idea that what you eat should make you feel good.”

With the production of documentaries such as What the Health, Cowspiracy, and Forks Over Knives, there is a surge of awareness of the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet, but Tevin and I agree that it isn’t always the most approachable topic.

“A plant-based diet can be even more daunting when your curiosity is met with an elitist attitude. Nobody can make the choice for another to give up meat or dairy. But if they’re interested in eating a little less meat, The Loaded Bowl hopes to show them that you can eat vegan comfort food without sacrificing flavor. And we believe the most effective way to make a plant-based diet approachable is to serve familiar dishes without a side of self-imposed moral high ground. We strive to provide an atmosphere and delicious dishes that are accessible to everyone.”

The Loaded Bowl goes against the status quo when it comes to food, and it’s for the benefit of people, animals, and the planet. Given the current statistics related to chronic disease in America and the global environmental crisis, we can only hope that more restaurants and businesses become this conscious of their practices and products. The Loaded Bowl employs a unique approach of providing familiar dishes with nutritious ingredients, truly exemplifying “conscious comfort food.”

References

1 "Livestock's Long Shadow: environmental issues and options". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Rome 2006

2 Tilman, David & Clark, Michael. "Global diets link environmental sustainability and human health". Nature. Vol. 515. 27 November 2014

Article from Edible OKC at http://edibleoklahomacity.ediblecommunities.com/eat/loaded-bowl
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