Years ago, my sister Rose and I dreamed of opening a fast food restaurant with tasty, healthy options for busy people, and our slogan was to be “fast food with a conscience.” Now “b.good”, a Boston-based chain with a restaurant at Derby Street Shoppes in Hingham, Mass. is fulfilling this need.
The philosophy of the co-owners, also childhood friends from the Boston area, is simple. Serve locally-grown food, produced by people, not factories. Beef, turkey and veggie burgers, hand-cut fries, salads and fruit shakes are on the menu.
The beef comes from Pineland Farm, Maine, a co-op of small sustainable farms in New England. The cows are fed primarily grass and hay during their lifetime, and no antibiotics or growth hormones are used. The meat is shipped to B-Good restaurants in chops where it is freshly ground on site. One of the benefits from this approach – verses grinding bits and parts from many different cows in a huge factory – is a lowered risk of contamination from dangerous bacteria, like E. Coli.
Food Inc., a documentary about the mass production of food, claims that four corporations own 80 percent of the beef slaughter market and engage in practices risky for the health of our nation. These corporations are squeezing out small farmers – but customers have a choice. Making a decision to buy local is like casting a vote for higher-quality food.
B.good also purchases local fruits and vegetables – strawberries, greens, tomatoes and the like – from farms in Massachusetts and through the Green City Growers, an organization that grows produce in plots on city rooftops. Local food is fresher and tastes better than say a tomato that has traveled thousands of miles to your table, and when you buy local you support your community farmer and reduce sprawl.
The b.good potatoes come from The Szawlowski Potato Farm in Hatfield, a family owned farm for more than 100 years. B Good hand-slices them on location with the skins on and bakes them, instead of deep frying them like other fast-food joints. Sweet potato fries are another option higher in carotenoids and fiber.
How does their number one burger, “Cousin Oliver” stack up against the Big Mac, McDonald’s most popular? The “Cousin Oliver” has fewer calories, almost half the saturated fat (6 grams verses 10 grams) and more fiber (5 grams versus 3 grams.)
Another advantage is the ability to up the nutritional value of your burger or chicken sandwich with healthy ad-ons, such as avocado, cilantro, salsa, locally-grown lettuce, and the like.
Unless you are a marathon runner, save the milk- and non-fat-yogurt shakes for a special occasion because they can add an average of 500 calories to your meal. Or opt for the smaller-sized (16 ounce) fresh fruit shake for 200 calories.
The veggie burger is delicious. To make your experience even healthier, grab a side of the crisp veggies instead of the fries. Consisting of fresh broccoli, carrots and peppers sautéed in a light, flavorful, sesame soy sauce, they are addicting.
Joan Endyke is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in food and nutrition. Send your questions to her at www.wickedgoodhealth.com. This column is not intended to diagnose or treat disease. Check with your doctor before changing your diet.