Neatly organized bags of organic chips and snacks line the walls of Catch a Healthy Habit Cafe in Fairfield, CT. In the display case across the front door, one can see the wide assortment of sweet macaroons and other goodies in this vegan-friendly and organic cafe.
“One of the reasons I love going there is because there are so few restaurants in our area that cater to vegans,” environmental teacher and vegan advocate Christine Kaszanek said. “You can usually find one or two things to eat on a menu in other restaurants, or request something be modified to be vegan, however, getting to look at a whole menu of options to choose from is vegan heaven!"
Catch a Healthy Habit Cafe, open since 2009, caters to vegan clientele and it strives to serve dishes in alignment with the “raw food diet,” meaning that the dishes served are unprocessed and “heated” instead of cooked. The cafe prides itself on using wholesome organic ingredients. It is als accommodating to allergies; the kitchen is completely peanut free, however, most of the dishes contain some form of tree nuts.
“I loved the experience at the cafe!” Kristin Amato ’19, who has Celiac Disease, said. “The servers were very friendly and accommodating to my food restrictions. Usually I can eat at least one thing at other restaurants, but at Catch a Healthy Habit I could eat practically everything!”
"It is extremely important for everyone including students to be health conscious. Students must be aware of what they're putting into their bodies in order to maintain a balanced lifestyle," Zoe Lieberman ’18
Unlike most restaurants, Catch a Healthy Habit hosts a wide range of events and classes throughout the year including documentary screenings, raw food prep classes and parties. Through these community outreach programs, they inform the public about healthy and environmentally friendly eating, which is part of their mission.
“By eating a vegan diet, I am helping the environment by not supporting factory farmed meat. This conserves water, energy, and land usage, helps to preserve biodiversity and decrease the instances of deforestation for grazing lands, helps battle climate change and even helps to combat world hunger, since you could feed many more people on a vegan diet than an omnivorous one,” Kaszanek said.
Healthy eating is a subject near and dear to students hearts, especially Zoe Lieberman ’18 the co-president of the “Need 4 Nutrition” club, whose goal it is to educate the underprivileged about nutrition. The club works with organizations such as Person to Person and the Family and Children’s Agency to create healthy and balanced recipes with food from these programs.
“Students must be aware of what they're putting into their bodies in order to maintain a balanced lifestyle,” Lieberman said. “It is especially important at this point in our physical and mental development to provide ourselves with proper nutrition and the opportunities to develop healthy habits.”
Other students have similar views about eating healthy and maintaining a vegan diet. “As a student who has to spend a lot of time on homework and extracurricular activities, knowing that there is a place to get good, healthy food is amazing,” Maria Tergis ’18 said. “I hate to make a big deal out of my lifestyle choice, so I definitely prefer going to restaurants that are vegan-friendly.”