Central Illinois' First Paleo Restaurant Launches Beta Program

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Jan's East End Grill will become the first restaurant partner to launch ATE PALEO, a healthy pop-up restaurant concept helping busy workers and local athletes to find nutrient-rich foods while removing controversial staples of the Midwestern diet, including corn, soybeans (legumes), refined sugars, gluten, and dairy products.

ATE Paleo Logo

ATE Paleo Logo

My son went from 210 lbs. to 192 lbs. in 45 days, no workout, just eating paleo.

According to the Trust for America's Health, Illinois claims a 27.1% obesity rate, meaning 1 out of every 4 Illinois citizens is FAT. Their annual obesity report estimates that by 2030, Illinois' obesity rate could nearly double from 27 percent to 53.7 percent. As reported by the Chicago Tribune, obesity-related healthcare costs in Illinois could jump more 16.1 percent.

Obesity may be preventable by adjusting diets to include a healthier intake of nutritious ingredients, coupled with moderate exercise. Unfortunately for most Central Illinois residents, bad ingredients are just too easy to find throughout local restaurants. Jan's East End Grill Executive Chef Matt Tipton, who graduated from Richland's culinary arts program, is taking a stand to ensure that Decatur-area residents have access to higher quality ingredients in their local dining experience through a new Paleo menu.

ATE PALEO is the name of the new restaurant concept, ironically located across from the primary corn and soybean research facility for ADM, and will be featured inside Jan's East End Grill, which has new ownership as of Mid-March. Owner Lika Bekteshi is excited to help people spend more time with their families or working out, and less time worrying about cooking healthier options. Lika says, "I'm here to support a Paleo menu as long as people show up and we can make ten plates a day. Chef Matt is excited about it, so I know it's going to be good. Everyone in our community has my full support to get this started."

Paleo is often misunderstood, but the premise is simple: Midwestern ingredients contributing to obesity and diabetes are infiltrating our food sources, and it's difficult to find anything in a restaurant that doesn't pull from one of its primary ingredient categories: corn, soybeans (legumes), refined sugars, gluten or dairy. By removing these food sources in favor of more fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seafood, nuts, and healthy fats (like coconut oil) the digestive system is able to maintain better balance, and autoimmune / degenerative diseases are kept at bay.

Paleo is popular among CrossFit gyms, and Mike Lambdin's "MLCrossfit" facility at Club Fitness in Decatur has actively expressed support for this new Paleo lifestyle. MLCrossfit was the first gym in Decatur that was certified as a CrossFit facility, and Mike's team is actively involved in helping their members to see the greatest benefit from a combination of healthy food and exercise.

No pricing is currently set, as the menu is experimental and is only able to accommodate a handful of initial customers who will pay only for raw food costs as the menu is shaped with the advice and feedback of its initial customers. Corporate clients are the initial target customers since the transactions are much less complicated.

The goal of growing this program is to ensure easy access to quality food composed of truly fresh ingredients for everyone in Central Illinois. The vision is that a truck travels twice a week to either St. Louis or Chicago, picking up groceries from Whole Foods Market or other organic produce locations, and starts a local delivery program for businesses in Bloomington, Springfield, Champaign and Decatur.

"This is a no brainer for college students in all of these areas who are sick of the school-imposed meal plans and want a healthy alternative to keep them in shape. But we're confident that families and businesses seeking healthier and more productive workforces will also embrace ATE PALEO as a solution for finding great quality meals with less prep and clean up. My son went from 210 lbs. to 192 lbs. in 45 days, no workout, just eating paleo and my mail carrier has been doing this for the last 19 days, too. She's lost a pound every day," says Pete Paulin, President and CEO of 300 Below, who is sponsoring the ATE PALEO meal plan for all of his employees during lunch time.

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