Monday, February 13, 2017 by Jude Henry
Walmart might be one of the last places that many people would expect to find wholesome organic food. But in certain locations, the standard “Welcome to Walmart” greeting can now be altered a bit to introduce guests to a healthy eating experience. That’s because Ray Allen, star NBA player for the Miami Heat, and his wife, Shannon, have founded Grown, the healthy fast food restaurant that is opening a location in the Orlando, Florida Walmart Supercenter.
No longer is “fast food” only associated with mystery meat, trans fats, artificial colors, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and tons of grease. This follows the opening of the first Grown locations at the Miami Dolphins’ Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
The popular Orlando restaurant has 69 seats plus a drive thru designed with customers’ speed and convenience in mind. They serve a delectable variety of menu items that consist of certified organic, local, gluten-free food. This includes slow-roasted grass-fed brisket and Love Greens juice (a powerhouse combination of cucumber, apple, celery, pineapple, ginger, spinach, kale, and parsley). Other juices, along with smoothies, entrees, soups. and salads are on the menu all day. GMOs, hormones, sugar, and preservatives are not on the menu.
Sharon, along with Todd Kiley, a chef from Boston, developed the menu. Customers can pick up food like they would do with typical fast food but without all the serious health risks associated with the greasy, toxin-laden choices.
Ray and Sharon started Grown out of a difficult situation. Their son had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and they were looking for healthy options that were also quick for busy families. There were unhealthy options at every turn, but this was just not an option for someone like their son. They showed great creativity and initiative in deciding to take matters into their own hands, rather than being passive and waiting around for someone else to open a healthy restaurant.
It might come as a surprise to many people when they discover that Walmart is actually the second-biggest seller of organic food in the United States. So it is already a place people go to pick up healthy food. What’s unique is that in addition to buying this type of food that they take home and prepare in their kitchens, shoppers can purchase ready-made food at Grown in the same way they would buy unhealthy fast food.
Also, because Walmart is such a high-volume seller of food, they have the power to push down prices of organic, healthy food. This dramatically changes the food-buying climate for consumers and makes healthy eating more affordable. This is especially significant, given that many people say they would like to eat healthier and buy more organic food, but the high prices prevent them from doing so.
Allen deserves kudos for promoting the same food that helps him excel on the basketball court. As discussed by The Health Ranger recently, other star athletes like Tom Brady fuel their high performance by following healthy diets consisting of bountiful organic food such as vegetables, superfoods, and healthy protein.
Let’s hope the trend of opening healthy fast food restaurants takes hold and more locations of Grown open at additional Walmart stores and at other spots in various areas. For that matter, it would be great if other restaurants of this type develop throughout the United States. People are always looking for healthy options that are also convenient and affordable. Restaurants like Grown fill that need.