The Nutritarian

Healthy Eating Insight

Kohlrabi – Love at First Bite

Written By: The Nutritarian - Oct• 29•22

Although the outdoor farmers markets have ended, I’m inspired to share some kitchen creativity that came to me this season when I discovered my love of Kohlrabi at first bite, no joke.  I too imagined it would be a man, but not too surprising it’s a veggie.  Here’s the fast, raw recipe I created and a few food facts too.

Fresh Fall Kohlrabi & Apple Dish (breakfast, snack, or lunch)

Yield: Serves 2 to 4

Raw Preparation:

2 fresh, small to medium kohlrabi 

2 fresh, small to medium apples (select a crisp variety)

¼ cup raw, whole or old fashioned oats (local & organic recommended, we use either Severson Farms or Bob’s Redmill).

Flavor Sauce 

2 Tbsp water

¾ tsp cinnamon

3 Tbsp nut or seed butter

2 pinches salt


1. Wash and chop the apples into cubes.

2. Wash the kohlrabi, cut off the “alien” arms, then slice the top and root off.  The peel is edible and nutritious, so only brown spots need to be sliced or peeled off.

3. Chop into cubes, like the apples.

4. Mix/whisk the dressing ingredients in a large bowl.

5. Combine the kohlrabi and apple cubes with the dressing.

6. Add the raw oats and toss everything together adjusting seasoning to taste if needed.

7. Serve and devour.

According to, Kohlrabi is said to have been first grown in Ireland around 1734 and later in England in 1837. Originally cultivated from wild cabbage, Kohlrabi is of the broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and collard green family.  The name is a combination of the German words for cabbage (kohl) and turnip (rabi).

Now that we’re kohlrabi experts, I’d like to note, they are best eaten when firm, and taste delightfully fresh with a crunch somewhere between and apple and jicama with a light, fresh flavor that may be interpreted as slightly sweet.

While it may appear to be exotic, once the “alien” arms are removed, ends are chopped off, and any bruised or overly thick parts of the skin are sliced away, kohlrabi is easy to work with and delicious eaten raw (I can attest to this), or cooked (from what I hear).

Kohlrabi is rich in vitamin C and B6, which are best absorbed from food rather than supplements.  Both B6 and C help support immune health and vitalize cells for proper functioning.  Vitamin C can also help absorb iron.  Kohlrabi also offers the benefit of potassium for electrolyte balance.  According to, these vitamins and minerals can protect the body from free radical damage and play a role in wound healing, collagen synthesis, iron absorption, and immune and heart health.  If there aren’t enough reasons to try kohlrabi, that’s okay, it’s a bit late in the season to find them anyway, but you may notice the “alien” arms if you look at the next farmers market.

Note: According to The University of Illinois at Champaign’s Campaign College of Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences, Kohlrabi is a hardier crop unaffected by frost or moderate freezes.  Farmers and gardeners can even have a second fall crop with it, depending on the region and time of year.

Enjoy the rest of this beautiful fall season and perhaps I’ll see you at Third Space Artisan Market Sat. & Sun. Nov. 12th-13th, noon-4pm each day.  Connect with me and tell me how you like that raw, super fast recipe too!  The next email will come out at some point next month, ideally with news on more indoor, #SupportSuperLocal markets. :)

The has an extensive list of what is available seasonally for late October including apples, bell peppers, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, grapes, greens, herbs, horseradish, lambs quarters, lettuce, okra, onions, paw paw, peas, plums, purslane, potatoes, pumpkin, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, quince and more.

Laine DeLeo is a self-proclaimed health goddess, foodie, and founder of a vegan food company creating hit-the-spot healthy® & tasty snacks that are better for people and the planet.  She is a 13 + year Chicago resident and loves yoga, music, art, outdoor activities, and supporting exceptional local, independent businesses.  Please follow her on Instagram: Fastlanetohealth and Twitter: is her nonprofit blog advocating for wellness. <3

Wake Up. September Has Come

Written By: The Nutritarian - Sep• 05•22

Wake Up. September Has Come

Best Yummy Hummus Spots in Chicago, Vegan friendly

Written By: The Nutritarian - May• 17•22

Blue Door Cafe Lincoln Park - The hummus is served with plenty of veggies, and they have excellent salads, and cappuccino too.









Soho House, upstairs - Delicious, vegan and beautiful.  IMG-9163


Chikatana West Loop – Pretty veggies and house made crisps come with this hummus.

The Best Hot Chocolate

Written By: The Nutritarian - Feb• 05•22

As a 13 year Chicago local, these are my favorites for the best hot chocolate in Chicago.

Best Vegan Hot Chocolate:

Infiniteus - Healthy, organic and made to order.  They also have awesome juices, smoothies, local vegan snacks from Fast Lane to Health and kombucha from Community Kombucha.

Best House Made Hot Chocolate and Marshmallows:

Katherine Anne Confections - Yum.  Seriously go here.  The marshmallows are the best.

Best Classic Belgian Hot Chocolate:

Hendrickx Belgian Bakery - Thick, creamy, hot and absolutely delicious.

Trust me, I’m a foodie. O:)

Fast Lane to Health-why us?

Written By: The Nutritarian - Sep• 05•19

Get in the Fast Lane to Health®

We create healthy, vegan snacks that taste like a treat.  Our Elevated Snacks™, Superfood Fudge™ & Superfood Muffins™ are satiating & nutrient dense without any added sugars.  This brand will tantalize your taste buds in a natural, hit the spot healthy way™, because we care about human beings and the environment.



In 2011, being a triathlete & self-proclaimed foodie/health adventurer  who needed fuel from real food, not glorified candy bars.  The kitchen became my lab & once product went to market, turns out, I am not alone in my desire for healthier, tastier snack options.  We now sell Superfood Fudge™️ &  “Butter” Cookie Dough™️ (two flavors) & Chocolate Zucchini Protein Muffins.  This visionary company cares about flavor & nutrients.  We deliver delicious, satiating vegan, & eco-friendly health snacks while giving back i.e. Healthy Schools Campaign, EarthDayED & supporting local and organic business and ingredients.

All Snacks are NOT Created Equally

Have you looked at the ingredients on any of your snacks recently?

When you do, you will probably notice that most have some form of sugar, oil or animal product at the top of the list.

Fast Lane to Health® Products use veggies and other nutrient dense ingredients as #1 all the way to the last one.

Everyone knows what big brands tell us we should be eating, but what does the research say about what is really best for our bodies and environment and why isn’t that reflected in what is available and affordable?

If you’re curious to learn more, check out research from The China Study, The American Dietetic Association, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, the Plant Paradox or other wellness research.

Superfood Fudge - Nutrition Label-3

Mission and Vision 

We promote wellness and creativity through delicious, nutrient dense food to embrace what is best for our bodies and the planet.

We encourage you to discover whole food snacks and better for you food options that promote wellbeing, satiation and best environmental practices instead of feeding habits.  Natural, organic, real food and flavor instead of overly sweet and processed product.

Exposure + $$$$ = More yummy healthy products for more people FASTER!

Investing in packaging, kitchen equipment & our own kitchen space will allow us to serve more customers, generate revenue to pay full-time and part-time employees, while offering higher wages & benefits to all involved.  Investing in informative & educational marketing will allow more people to understand our mission to support health, local food systems, environmental activism, & education. The future of food & wellness is essential to survival.  Our vision of easier wellbeing is here now.

Let’s embrace what is best for our bodies and planet.  We can all vote with our dollars to support real, local, organic food and benefit from snacks that promote wellness for all.

Giving back and partnering with organizations that care and make a difference 

Healthy Schools Campaign advocates for health and wellness in schools through policy and education.  They will receive proceeds once we figure out how to do that and we will be working with other local companies such as Healthy Schools Campaign, Yoga on the Beach and Ethical Grub to share wellbeing.

Copyright Laine DeLeo 2019

Get it While it’s Hot Dog Month

Written By: The Nutritarian - Jul• 28•14

Here are some recommendations for healthier vegan hot dogs and a homemade hot dog from scratch recipe. With the proper Chicago Style Hot Dog Toppings it all taste great, some are just better for your heart.

Smart Dogs 

Yves Meatless Hot Dog

All American Hot Dog Recipe from

2 cups (288 g) vital wheat gluten flour
1 cup (120 g) whole wheat pastry flour
2 tablespoons (14 g) smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon maca powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 (355 ml) cups water
4 ounces (112 g) extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/2 cup (120 ml) canola or vegetable oil
1/4 cup (60 ml) soy sauce or tamari
1/4 cup (84 g) brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons (33 g) tomato paste
1 tablespoon (15 ml) liquid smoke

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4).
Mix together flours, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, maca powder, and turmeric.
In a blender, purée together water, tofu, oil, soy sauce, syrup, tomato paste, and liquid smoke.
Add wet to dry and mix until uniform. The mixture will be wet.
Divide dough into 8 to 12 pieces, depending on how large you like your wieners.
Tear off 8 to 12 pieces of aluminum foil, about 6 x 12-inches (15 x 30-cm).
Form each piece of dough into a sausage shape and place near the long edge of the foil.
Roll up the foil and twist the ends tight.
Place seam side down on a baking sheet and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until firm.
Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle before unwrapping.
Enjoy as you would any hot dog.

Yield: 8 to 12 wieners

Nobu Sushi New York

Written By: The Nutritarian - Nov• 03•13

This place is a culinary dream.  Incredibly fresh and creative dishes, excellent ambiance and service. No wait here either, since it’s not exactly Nobu, it’s Nobu Next Door. Raw scallops don’t sound ideal, but they taste way better than you can ever imagine.


Fresh Pico de Gallo Salsa

Written By: The Nutritarian - Mar• 19•13

Fresh Pico de Gallo Salsa 

by Laine DeLeo

Serves 2-4


Ingredient Quantity
Carmelina Brands® Cherry, chopped, or peeled tomatoes 1 14.28 oz can
Drained Carmelina Brands® Italian Carmelina Brands® Lentils (optional) 1 14.28 oz can
Fresh organic tomatoes, one set aside to add later (chunkier) 3
Cilantro, fresh, de-stemmed 1/2 c
Sea Salt 1/2 t. & to taste
Yellow onion, small 3/4 c – 1 c
Lime, fresh juice of one small 1
Jalapeño, de-seeded 1/2-1
A blender I
Organic cucumbers, sliced 1-2
Tips: Delicious as a topping for salads and sandwiches.  Serve with warm pita, toasted wheat bread sandwich or dipping, lentil chips, whole wheat pretzels, Lentil chips, whole grain chips, or pretzels to dip
Sea salt, even blanket over top of sauce to taste
  1. Wash and cut veggies making sure the pieces fit into your belnder, open cans, de-stem cilantro.
  2. Pour Carmelina tomatoes into the blender and add all other fresh ingredients, except one tomato and the lentils.
  3. Add salt, Blend to into desired consistency.  Add last tomato and do a quick short blend allowing for visible chucks of tomato. Continue to next step if adding lentils
  4. Carefully pour lentils into a separate serving bowl.
  5. Chop the extra tomato and any other ingredients to make it chunky and pour over the lentils. Taste adding salt and pepper as necessary.

Tips:  The salsa makes an excellent vegan sandwich, salad toping, or sauce for any protein. Try freshly cut vegetables, whole-wheat pita, and/or toasted wheat bread instead of chips.

* Recipe created by Laine DeLeo, The Nutritarian, in collaboration with Mangia, Inc™

For more information about Carmelina Brands® and great recipe ideas, visit

Copyright© 2012, Mangia, Inc

Obesity Imbibes America

Written By: The Nutritarian - Feb• 12•13

What Is Obesity?

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, obesity means having excess total body fat and differs from just weighing too much (being overweight).

A person being 20% or more above normal weight would classify as obese.  A common measure of obesity is the body mass index (BMI). A person is considered overweight if BMI is between 25 and 29.9; with a BMI over 30, the person is considered obese.

“Morbid obesity” refers to a person 50%-100% over normal weight, more than 100 pounds over normal weight, having a BMI of 40 +, or being sufficiently overweight causing interference with health or normal function. Source:


Obesity prevalence varies across states in 2011:

  • By state, obesity prevalence ranged from 20.7% in Colorado to 34.9% in Mississippi in 2011. No state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%. 39 states had a prevalence of 25% or more; 12 of these states had a prevalence of 30% or more: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia.
  • The South had the highest prevalence of obesity (29.5%), followed by the Midwest (29.0%), the Northeast (25.3%) and the West (24.3%).
  • Between 1988–1994 and 2007–2008 the prevalence of obesity increased in adults at all income and education levels.


Causes of Obesity:

Consuming more calories than the body burns causes excess weight gain, and eventually obesity. This is often a matter of consuming too many calories and too much fat while exercising too little. Other factors can also play a role in obesity. Besides age, gender, genetics, environmental factors, and physical activity, these may include:

  • Psychological factors. Psychological factors also influence eating habits and obesity. Many people eat in response to negative emotions such as boredom, sadness, or anger. People who have difficulty with weight management may be facing more emotional and psychological issues; about 30% of people who seek treatment for serious weight problems have difficulties with binge eating. During a binge-eating episode, people eat large amounts of food while feeling they can’t control how much they are eating.
  • Illness. Although not as common as many believe, some illnesses can cause obesity. These include hormone problems such as hypothyroidism (thyroid problem slows metabolism), depression, binge-eating disorder, and in rare cases; Prader- Willi Syndrome.
  • Medication. Drugs, such as steroids or antidepressants, may cause excessive weight gain.

The Problematic Weight of the Nation

  • Today, 1 of every  3 children and 2 of every 3 adults are overweight or obese compared to 2002
  • Half the population is pre-diabetic, have type two (preventable), or have the disease and remain undiagnosed.  37% of adults are pre-diabetic, 8% of adults have type 2 diabetes , 3% have it and remains undiagnosed

Other Obesity Related Health Concerns

Cardiovascular disease

Type 2 diabetes

High blood pressure

Sleep apnea


How much are we willing to pay?

$190.2 billion; estimated annual cost of obesity-related illness

21%; annual medical spending on obesity related illness

$4.3 billion; annual losses to businesses because of obesity related job absenteeism.

What has gone awry?

Lack of physical activity

  • Almost half as many people are walking to work or school these days as compared to 1977.
  • Only 19% of Americans hit the recommended amount of physical activity.

Out of control eating

  • Portion size and calorie consumption has increased.
  • 30-40% of children and adolescent eat fast food. Who has seen Super Size Me from 2004?

Poor choices

  • 20% of the weight increase in the U.S. between 1977 and 2007 is attributed to sugar-sweetened beverages.  Many large food corporations are trying to join the health solution bandwagon.  But, are they sincere?

Media consumption

  • 87% of food and beverage ads seen by children ages 6-11 on TV are for products high in sugar, saturated fat, or sodium.
  • Children consume more than 7.5 hours of media each day.


  • Many health care providers feel unprepared or uncomfortable discussing weight with patients.  Professionals in the education field follow suit here.  Where else do we turn? Half of children’s waking hours are spent in school, and many families entrust doctor’s with health concerns.

Recognizing the Severity

Jeff Stier*, a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research writes, “Food and soda companies are at all times the villain, while people, adults and children alike, are mindless zombies unable to withstand the lure of a Super Bowl halftime show.” He continues to say, “If public health groups truly seek to help Americans deal with obesity, they should seek higher ground and abandon the attacks. Instead, they should take a seat at the table with anyone willing to have a constructive dialogue, with the focus on helping people, rather than on battering companies.”  Many would likely agree that it’s not that simple.  Some still have not realized that at this point, encouraging healthy dialogue has been done and we still need help.  *Quoted from: Forbes online

Gradual Changes:

An easy way to begin forming healthy  habits is to make small changes.  Dining habits can be a great starting point.   Try to avoid buying items that will sabotage your goals.  Look for satisfying replacements for big problem foods.  Take a look at pizza for example.  It is often loaded with fat and cholesterol while lacking nutrients.  Instead of sacrificing things you love to eat, try asking for light cheese with veggie toppings when eating out, or try this favorite healthy recipe: Robust Rustic Roasted Veggie Pizza.  You will find this healthy pizza is easy to make and will leave your tummy perfectly full of superfood fuel.  It is a vegan pizza recipe, but can be made with regular cheese if you prefer.


  1. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies “Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation”
  2. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
  3. U.S. National Library of Medicine – The World’s Largest Medical Library

The Old Oak Tap: Phenomenal brunch, Ukrainian Village Chicago

Written By: The Nutritarian - Feb• 04•13

Bison, quinoa, and deviled eggs, oh my.  How is it even possible that we didn’t have to wait in line at brunch? I am so thrilled to have stumbled upon The Old Oak Tap.  Everything healthy I love to see on a menu, whole wheat pancakes with fresh blueberries, fancy glass mimosas that are LARGE, arugula, tasty green tea, vegetarian options and a flexible chef in the West Loop?   We were taken care of the entire time, never did we wonder where our server was or why our glasses were empty; allowing for full engagement in conversation and palate pleasing flavors and textures.  This is the kind of service I am talking about.  The seating and atmosphere may be some of the most comfortable I’ve experienced in awhile too.  I hope no body believes me and it remains off the beaten path.  However, that seems unrealistic considering the EXTENSIVE beer and wine list, $3 mimosas, outdoor front patio, and delicious healthy options.   I could not have been more appeased.  Once people discover this gem; forget about flocking in without a worry for time.