Keeping It Healthy and Natural: Top Five Organic Food Spots in Woodland Hills

Organic foods – those produced without the use of most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, genetic engineering, growth hormones, irradiation and antibiotics – have exploded in popularity because they’re simply healthier for us…and our planet. The American Cancer Society has estimated that some 85-percent of cancers result from environmental toxins, such as pesticides, and not from genetic sources, as it’s widely believed. Current studies have also confirmed that organic farming is good for the environment, requiring less water and giving off fewer toxic pesticides while minimizing soil erosion and improving nutrient levels in organic foods.

With the Food Marketing Institute reporting more than half of Americans now buying organic food at least once a month, we thought it was the perfect time to take a closer look at some of Woodland Hills’ top organic food spots…and what makes them so unique amongst a veritable sea of L.A.-based health food locales.

Health Nut, located at 23373 Mulholland Drive, offers fresh and healthy food, drinks and supplements with all its produce locally sourced to ensure freshness and quality. This Woodland Hills hotspot has been all the rage with celebrities, fitness experts, casual diners and longtime fans who return time and time again for Health Nut’s incredible salads, sandwiches, melts and Paninis, specialties and smoothies. Health Nut is situated in the El Camino Shopping Center in the Calabasas/Woodland Hills area, directly south of the 101 Freeway off the Mulholland Drive/Valley Circleexit.

Kashcool Kitchen, at 20929 Ventura Boulevard, has been serving authentic Persian cuisine to its Woodland Hills neighbors since 1969. Known for its signature fire-grilled kabobs bursting with a flavor all their own, Kashcool uses only Halal meat perfectly prepared for its myriad of dishes by Chef Mahtab. This Executive Chef of Persian Cuisine is no stranger to the Iranian kitchen, boasting several decades of experience that spans across several continents. Kashcool’s signature kabobs are marinated overnight in an onions, garlic and spices rub, while an open flame grill brings out the unique flavors in every piece of meat the health-oriented restaurant cooks.

Juicy Ladies, located at 22423 Ventura Boulevard, is the brainchild of vegan entrepreneurs Magal Nagar and Kinzie Oppenheim, a duo who shared a passion for understanding the connection between food and health. Since serving its first Quinoa Burger in 2009, Juicy Ladies held sacred three guiding principles: What we eat profoundly affects our health; healthy food nurtures body, mind and spirit and healthy food can be divinely delicious. From this inception, the concept of Juicy Ladies has evolved to encompass a philosophy of spreading health awareness through offering wholesome, organic foods in a casual dining atmosphere. Today, the sassy gals behind this L.A. health shack provide safe pasture to those with specialty diets – at Juicy Ladies, vegetarians are free to graze from anywhere on the menu, while the gluten-intolerant will find a variety of meals and can even satisfy their sweet tooth with gluten-free desserts.

Believing that we “eat with our eyes first,” Executive Chef and owner of Blu Jam Café (23311 Mulholland Drive) Kamil Majer has created a variety of titillating dishes that can only be described as “Creatively Eclectic.” There’s a reason Blu Jam Café has been awarded the best breakfast in Los Angeles two years in a row, and it has everything to do with the eatery’s utilization of European family recipes that have resulted in dishes with a healthy twist. From a selection of vegan, gluten-free and “vegan-possible” creations to signature items like the Crunchy French Toast with Vanilla Sauce, Blu Jam Café satisfies the most intricate – and health-oriented – of taste buds.

Of course, what would an organic hotspot roundup be without a place called The Vegan Joint? This charming little eatery situated at 20855 Ventura Boulevard Unit 3 has become a regular go-to establishment for local health foodies who return for such unique delicacies as garlic fries, Black Bean Burger, Pumpkin Curry and a variety of vegan sweets provided by nearby No Udder Desserts. If it isn’t the delicious organic tofu customers are seen piling in for, then it’s definitely the friendly staff and down-to-Earth, ultra-casual vibe of The Vegan Joint that represents a sheer sense of relief in a town inundated with put-on-your-sharpest-business suit power lunch venues.

It’s no secret why metropolises such as Los Angeles continue to grow in popularity as organic dining hotspots: Organic crops and organic crop-based foods contain higher concentrations of antioxidants on average than conventionally-grown foods. Not only that, conventional foods contain greater concentrations of residual pesticides and the toxic metalCadmium – but if the underlying message here is that we all need to eat more fruits and vegetables (and we all know we do), there’s certainly no excuse not to do so in Woodland Hills.