“The body cannot produce disease and nurture health at the same time. Food either promotes healing or facilitates disease.” That is the motto for Living Root Cellar, a vegan restaurant on Sixth Street in downtown Redlands.
The Root Cellar was the brainchild of Rebecca Kasik, who opened the business in 2013 to provide freshly made, healthy juices to customers. Although Kasick only sold juices at the start, she developed recipes for breakfast and lunch sandwiches and salads, expanding the menu to include those items.
The restaurant looks small — a couple of outdoor tables and couple of tables inside near the display counter. However, there is a downstairs room with tables and counter seating. The restaurant has Wi-fi, so is student-friendly for studying and texting.
Kasik closed her restaurant in January 2017, but it re-opened in April 2017 with new owners, Sam and Ashleigh Benavides. Sam, an architect, and Ashleigh, a journalist, had no restaurant experience, but were motivated to introduce locals to better nutrition after reading “Fast Food Nation,” which discussed the fast food industry’s exploitation of farmers, slaughterhouse workers and fast-food personnel.
They champion the anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-infectious, anti-aging and anti-cancer health benefits of plant nutrition. The Benavides have backgrounds in nutrition. They took courses in lifestyle medicine and working with doctors at Loma Linda University Medical Center’s Center for Health Promotion.
They are in the process of developing a menu of foods that comply with the protocol used at the center. Those who want to follow the protocol, but are too busy to cook, would be able to purchase meals from Living Root Cellar, similar to the Blue Apron model.
Sam and Ashleigh offer workshops that incorporate both the 20/40 Project (a diet developed especially for diabetics, but also beneficial for non-diabetics) and CHIP (Complete Health Improvement Program) programs. These one-day seminars teach participants how to shop for wholesome ingredients, read food labels, make good choices when dining out, and keep these healthy habit changes.
Sam said, “I want people to substitute the word eat with the word nutrition, to develop the mindset of nourishing our bodies.” Some one-hour classes are offered at the restaurant (see the Root Cellar’s Facebook page to enroll). The staff at Living Root Cellar has much of this information and are happy to provide some guidance for people interested in the juice cleanses.
The Benavides kept the menu that Kasik developed and are adding to it. Their newest offering, a Chipotle Burrito made with nut meats, debuted in April. Their juices can also be purchased at Muffin Top Bakery on State Street in downtown Redlands and at The Yoga Studio in the business center on Redlands Blvd and Nevada Street.
Food items are only available at Living Root Cellar. The Benavides introduced a Membership Program that provides discounts to patrons. They are investigating on-line ordering as well as exploring the logistics of a drive-up, pick-up service.
Sam or Ashleigh is often at the restaurant, soliciting feedback from patrons and tweaking services to enhance customer satisfaction. “We want to make nutrition as easy as possible for our customers.”