FitFitBanner Images

Audio Archive Audio Archive

Got Health?

June 16th, 2012 - By Lari Robling

Share on Tumblr

All we need to do is look around and we can see the obesity epidemic right in front of us. The reasons are many, varied and the solution elusive. Two local small businesses, Pure Fare, and Ralic Steakhouse, explain how they incorporate their personal approach into their business plan. Plus, enter the IBX Game Changers Challenge to support innovative solutions improving the region’s health and wellness.



Do you think there is anyone out there who hasn’t gotten the message that we have an obesity epidemic?  Right. We got it, but don’t know what to do. Clearly, there is no one size fits all solution. But two local restaurants have incorporated their personal approaches into their business plan.

At Pure Fare in Philadelphia, Kriti Sehgal and her brother worked to combine a fast casual dining experience with interactive tools on their website.

“Anything you buy at Pure Fare we track for you through a key fob system,” she explains. “You would create a profile on our website put your height weight and all your information. We benchmark it against your BMI. Anything you bought that day you can see and if you eat anywhere else you can go in and input that yourself and get an exact measurement.”

Customers can also get information, set healthy living goals and receive rewards. Seghal notes that beyond the web innovations, the bricks and mortar store is an integral part of the experience. That means creating delicious, healthy food that keeps customers coming back.

Says Seghal, “We use USDA Guidelines of what it means to live a healthy life. Our hardest thing wasn’t calories– it was salt.”

And, nutritionally dense desserts are more likely provide satiety instead of looking for “more.”

“Why do you need a cookie the size of your head, do you really need a cookie that big,” says Seghal shaking her head. “Our brownies are made with sweet potatoes instead of butter and egg; cookies are made with real bananas and we have our double chocolate chip cookies where the base is avocado so you’re getting good saturated fat”

Another challenge was the perception of what IS a portion.

Sehgal compares their whole grain vegan breads to white bread, “It is two point three ounces of carbs versus 4.5 to 5. So when you open up a sandwich anywhere you go I always urge people to look inside what are you getting more bread, more white flour?”

At Ralic’s Steakhouse in Haddonfield, New Jersey, owner David Ralic knows the battles with obesity first-hand.

“I’ve done Weight Watchers, I’ve done NutriSystem, I’ve done guilt diet from your family…you name it I’ve done it,” he says.

About two months ago, at 416 pounds Ralic had a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, a surgery taking his stomach from the size of a melon to the size of a banana. With exercise and lifestyle changes, Ralic is taking the weight off.

For bariatric surgery patients, there are radical changes in how they eat, what they eat and how much they can eat. Dining out is filled with challenges and stigma so Ralic worked with his surgeon and bariatric nutritionist to come up with a menu at the restaurant to accommodate his needs as well as those of other patients.

“The new menu for bariatric patients,” says Ralic, “is focused on high protein content, it’s focused on moisture, easy to swallow small portions.”

So, a typical menu might include a one ounce crab cake with avocado tomato chutney and for an entrée 4 oz chicken breast with sweet potato and sautéed Swiss chard.  And, there’s a consideration for the regular menu as well.

“We make sure that we don’t send things out as fatty and greasy as possible because as good as it is it’s not great for you, focusing on health,” says Ralic.

So do you think you have a good idea to promote healthy eating and fitness? Independence Blue Cross along with Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs and the City of Philadelphia is launching the Game Changers Challenge— enhancing health and wellness through innovation. Applications are accepted through July 10.


Photo by Flickr user Jennifer

Comments are closed.

Photo by Flicker user Chiot's Run / CC BY-NC 2.0

Move Over, Kale Chips! Kale Buds Are Here

By Lari Robling - April 18th, 2012

High Tunnel farming caught my eye because its extended growing season adds to the amount of local produce we get. While farm manager Aviva Asher was tidying up the winter crop to make way for spring, I discovered another benefit of local growing: use what you’ve got.

More wisdom »

December 2014
« Jun    

Got a question for Fit? Want to submit your own "fit and fresh" recipe? Have a good story idea for us?

Contact us at

Get Healthy Philly is part of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work Initiative, a federal effort to: prevent and delay chronic disease, reduce risk factors, promote wellness in children and adults, and provide positive sustainable health change in our communities.

Food Fit Philly is part of Get Healthy Philly, a program that works to reduce and prevent obesity and related chronic diseases (like heart disease and diabetes) by increasing access to healthy foods that people can afford.

Your body needs help when it's time to quit. SmokeFree Philly is a program of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health that offers support and tools to help smokers quit. The goal of SmokeFree Philly is to: help people to quit smoking, stop people from starting to use tobacco, and reduce heart disease, cancer and other illnesses caused by smoking.

Philly Food Bucks!
Philly Food Bucks are coupons that help ACCESS/food stamp customers save money on fruits and vegetables. Philly Food Bucks can be redeemed for $2 worth of fruits and vegetables for every $5 spent in ACCESS/food stamps at a participating farmers' market. Learn more about Philly Food Bucks at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health's recently expanded web site Food Fit Now also accepted at the West Oak Lane Weaver's Way Food Coop.