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Paleo Café, Market coming to Port Neches

PORT NECHES — Sisters Chrystal Lundy and Jodi Hebert have spent years living a lifestyle free of processed foods, refined sugars and grains and embracing traditional eating of pasture raised animals, fish, fresh fruits and vegetables.

Together, the sisters are planning to share their knowledge and menu with Gather: Paleo Café and Market. The business is set to open late December to early January and is at 1811 Magnolia Ave., in Port Neches.

“People in this area are trying to live a healthier lifestyle,” Lundy said when asked why open a Paleo restaurant.

The new eatery and market will feature fresh fruits and vegetables.

“Everything we do is fresh as it can be. We know our farmers,” Lundy said, adding that they buy produce from Donna’s Farm in Fannett. “We are very much concerned to stay as local as we can; eggs, vegetables, etc.”

Meat (raised primarily in Texas) under humane conditions is another must for the Paleo diet.

The future menu is not set.

“We’ll get seasonal items and rotate them out,” Hebert said. “This will not be a stale, stagnant menu.”

Just because the diet is based on the foods our ancestors ate doesn’t mean it isn’t flavorful.

“There is no limit to flavor. We use good fats and by far it’s the most flavorful food. And because we’re Cajun and we’re not playing around.”

Hebert is known to take traditional recipes and finds ways to replace the bad with the healthy and “people wouldn’t know it’s Paleo.”

At home Lundy keeps a pot of chicken and beef bone broth on the stove.

“Last fall I was making 10 gallons per week and selling 40 to 50 quarts a week,” Lundy said. “I keep a pot going on my stove.”

Lundy also refuses to eat or serve bland food and said people can taste the difference in fresh food.

Once open, the café won’t seat a lot of people and the owners expect people to drop in, grab a bite or get an order to go.

They will only serve lunch at first and will possibly expand hours as they go.

The market side of the business will sell kitchen essentials and healthy items such as coconut milk, healthy fats, collagen and body products as well as treats and snacks.

A typical meal will include a protein, a vegetable or two and healthy fats.

“There’s a misconception about fat but fat helps you lose fat and it’s brain food,” Hebert said. “Good fats are coconut oil, real butter, ghee and real pasture raised lard.”

Lundy has heard numerous testimonials from people who switched to a Paleo diet and started feeling better. One was a 62-year-old man with Type 2 diabetes but was not very overweight. Two weeks into the diet and was insulin free and had lost weight, she said.

“We very much want people to feel better and that includes older people, middle age, children,” Lundy added.

Lundy got on the Paleo diet bandwagon four years ago for health reasons.

“I was very tired and sick all of the time. I was a tired mom with two kids so I started looking for something better to do,” Lundy said.

The mom tried the diet on her family and by eliminating wheat and dairy her son’s eczema went away within a few days, she said. Runny noses and ear problems went away as well.

“Four years ago I started educating myself and we eat better.”

Lundy’s children, ages 5 and 6, are on board with the Paleo lifestyle.

“When we go out to eat I don’t give the kids a kids menu. I ask, fish or shrimp? They get it grilled, never fried.”

Hebert had just come off a vegetarian diet and now only eats animals who are treated right.

“I think this is how vegans can bridge the gap and understand if you think of this as a moral issue,” Hebert said.

E-mail: mary.meaux@panews.com

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