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Rahilla Zafar Headshot

Kicking Junk Food in 3 Days

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Philadelphia isn't known for being a healthy city -- on the contrary, it's famous for its cheesesteaks. Initially when I saw the sign for Pure Fare, I didn't make the connection that it was even a restaurant. Just off of Walnut Street, I assumed it was one of many bars in the Center City neighborhood. One day, a friend that's a San Francisco native invited me to join him at a new spot he discovered that serves great Blue Bottle coffee. While he was excited about discovering coffee from his hometown, I was struck by the menu of everything from vegan soft-serve made from scratch with ingredients like agave and homemade nut milk, to vegan cauliflower rice. When I finally began to try different items from the menu, I was further struck by how it didn't taste like diet food and how full I felt after each meal. From its juices to sandwiches, Pure Fare items are portion-controlled, and contain no white sugar or flour. Their bread, for example, is gluten-free and made out of ingredients such as teff flour and all-natural grains and seeds. The meat they serve is organic from local farms, and is seasoned and roasted in house. The dressings are also made in house using fresh juices, herbs and no preservatives. I decided to eat Pure Fare food only for a full week, and these were some of my observations:

1) I would eat the oatmeal every morning for breakfast, and it was like a divine experience. Made with coconut oil and maple syrup, I added walnuts, strawberries and chocolate chips. I felt much more full than I did on days where I grabbed a bagel or oatmeal elsewhere.

2) After the first day, I was full but craving sugar. I realized how oftentimes if I ate something, it was just to satisfy a sugar craving and not because I was actually hungry.

3) By day three, all my sugar cravings had stopped. I couldn't believe how easy it was, I didn't even care for chocolate chips in my oatmeal anymore. Furthermore, as someone who once felt like I was addicted to caffeine, I stopped having urges for the coffee or diet beverages I sometimes liked to drink with meals -- I only felt like drinking water.

4) I could feel the difference eating foods full of fiber, protein and complex carbs compared to eating foods full of empty calories. I felt better, and never got hungry in between meals.

5) By the last day, I was down to 1,300 calories a day. That's all I needed to be full, and realized that anything else I was eating was just excess.

6) Apart from the oatmeal and Andrew's latte, I would eat a salad then hummus and vegetables as a snack; and my favorite dinner entrée was the shredded cabbage salad with Thai peanut sauce.

7) As someone who was getting into the habit of eating junk food again, I was amazed at how quickly the Pure Fare diet reversed my eating habits for the better.

8) I used the new Pure Fare tracker and found it an easy way to keep track of my calories. The food I purchase automatically gets logged into my account online, and it's easy to add in other food not from Pure Fare.

Pure Fare: Revolution Eating
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The slideshow contains pictures of the foods I consumed during my week of all Pure Fare.

Pure Fare is located on 119 South 21st St. between Walnut and Sansom

For more by Rahilla Zafar, click here.

For more personal health stories, click here.

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