One of Momentum’s goals over the past few weeks was to highlight all of Hamilton’s exercise assets; and our beautiful city is rich with opportunity for living an active lifestyle. But what is exercise without proper nutrition? Amidst the plethora of bike paths, running trails, parks, and stairs, I thought I’d highlight a few of Hamilton’s many healthy hot spots.
My favourite place to grab lunch when I’m in a hurry and on a tight dollar is the salad bar in Nation’s Fine Foods located in Jackson Square. It’s a three minute walk from Momentum and doesn’t cost me more than $5.00 for a deliciously satisfying, nutritious, and personalized salad. Load up on spinach, lettuce, or kale and throw on some chickpeas, roasted chicken, boiled eggs, beats, seeds – so much variety. There are also ready-made kale quinoa salads, chicken salads, fruit salads, and further options for making a lunch that is not only terrifically tasty, but also healthy and wallet-friendly.
While you’re walking through Jackson, you might as well stop in at the Hamilton Farmer’s Market. Made up of 60 local, national and international vendors, you’re guaranteed quality products for your dollar. If you’re looking for the best organic option, Dilly’s Farmacy (typo intended) is the principle organic vendor in the market.
If money is a great barrier preventing you from making nutritious choices, FWP is the place to go. A hidden gem on the West end,Fiddes Wholesale Produce is almost too good to be true. With local produce at wholesale prices, you will not find a better deal in the city. They also do free delivery to local businesses.
Continuing toward the West, we find some of the jewels of Dundas.Picone Fine Foodshas to be my favourite family run business in the city. They just celebrated 100 years of business and have continued to stay true to their values and authenticity. Run by the Picone family themselves, I was given a lovely tour by Theresa Picone, including a history of their fine establishment, making me feel incredibly welcome, inspiring me to shop there instead of somewhere else, and causing me to fall in love with Dundas’ community a little more. All of their products are organic by policy and come from businesses which are as local as you can get. To top it off, Theresa gave me a jar of homemade vegan carrot ginger soup – which happens to be my favourite – at a special discounted price, probably because I’m hilarious. It was absolutely delicious and now I want fall.
Also while in Dundas I stopped in atThe Horn of Plenty. I was given another lovely tour and discovered how perfectly organized and health-oriented this family-run establishment is. From fermented foods to natural beauty products to supporting other local businesses, this place has a corner for every corner of local health. It’s deceivingly large inside, extending from a juice bar and restaurant in the front to a bulk section in the back (with an entire organic and gluten-free section, which I thought was pretty unique). I had a hard time deciding if I wanted to spend my time in the bulk tea section, at the holistic medicine wall, or juggling jugs of organic protein powder. Naturally, I went for the latter and purchased a fermented Greek yogurt protein which I have found to be extremely friendly on my system, unlike any other protein I’ve tried which leaves me bloated and sometimes with abdominal pain.
With three locations in Hamilton (and even more in other cities), Goodness Me! is a natural food market that is actually based out of our wonderful city. For a wider variety of options with familiar yet healthy and natural brand names, and produce that comes from their own local organic farm, GM is the place to go. Their staff are professionally educated in current nutritional knowledge and guidance so you’ll always find an answer to your questions. They even offer free classes throughout the week if you’re looking to grow your skill and wisdom of the natural kitchen, which I’m going to schedule time to do myself so if anyone would like to join me, you’re more than welcome!
To formulate a list of the plethora of Hamilton healthy gold mines would make this into a novel. The above are just a fraction of the possibilities scattered across our wonderful, healthy, growing city. Growth can be seen in the extensive local businesses, including fantastic health options like Glow Juicery, Bread Bar: Earth to Table, and Cake and Loaf Bakery on Locke Street, Green Smoothie Bar and Lettuce Love Cafe on James North, Rawlicious on King West, Homegrown Hamilton on King William, the fantastic co-op of The Mustard Seed, and a myriad more that I have every intention of discovering for myself.
If none of your favourite places are listed above, that doesn’t mean they don’t have healthy options. If it’s not plainly listed on the menu, ask the chef for some clarification and you’ll be happy and healthy in your favourite place!
Hamilton undoubtedly is an unbelievable place to be launching my fitness career. Where else can you find such a genuine and cohesive community that really strives to help everyone around them succeed? I’m absolutely elated to call this city home and to have a place like Momentum to grant me the opportunity to do what I love and help Hamiltonians live their best lives simultaneously.
“Be smart. Eat smart.” – Anonymous