Dive into a healthier summer with the help of Isola’s Healthy Habit

Thai Zoodles from Healthy Habit. — Photo by Marnely Murray

“It’s important to practice what you preach,” says Gabrielle Sullo, owner and recipe creator at Healthy Habit on Church Street in Edgartown. In its second season, Healthy Habit has become a destination for those looking for a nutritious alternative to the fried clams, buttery lobster rolls, and creamy clam chowders so readily available here.

The takeout restaurant offers delicious and nutritious salads, wraps, toasted sandwiches, organic coffee, cold-brew coffee, and herbal tea, along with a variety of their raw vegan energy balls (also known as amaze-balls) and raw vegan “cheesecake” squares.

As a professionally trained pastry chef, I was doubtful that a raw vegan dessert would entice me. Oh, how wrong I was. Healthy Habit makes chocolate “cheesecake” squares ($7) that I dare say are the best chocolate dessert anywhere on-Island. Made of coconut cream, avocado, and raw cacao, among other healthful ingredients, it’s the smoothest, most luscious treat you’ll ever taste.

And since life is too short, dessert came first. But the salads that are offered at this Church Street establishment are just as flavorful. Try their Thai Zoodles ($11.95), a combination of spiraled zucchini, baby spinach, shredded carrot, red pepper, cilantro, and a homemade “peaNOT” dressing. Yes, a peanut-free sauce that tastes just like the classic one.

On the dressings, Gabrielle handcrafts each one, testing and retesting until she obtains perfect balance. Some options you can find at Healthy Habit include vegan cashew, green goddess, raw carrot ginger, lemon maple and an olive oil vinaigrette.

In describing her recipe creation process, Gabrielle says, “I strive to create items that are naturally gluten-free, meaning we don’t use gluten-free flours. We also stay away from refined sugars, focusing on natural sugars such as maple syrup or coconut sugar when sweetening our treats.”

She grew up among a family of cooks with an Italian father, and Gabrielle was used to consuming large amounts of fresh pasta, with a good balance of healthy vegetable dishes. She’s currently engaged, and she and her fiancé try to eat as locally and organically as possible, hunting for venison in the fall and winter, and fishing during the summer. She focuses on what’s fresh and local; as her diet evolves with the seasons, so do her menu creations.

If you’re still not convinced that a vegan diet is the thing for you, Healthy Habit offers a delicious Chicken Alley wrap ($9.95), made with grilled chicken, avocado, red cabbage, mixed greens, and their raw ginger dressing. If you’re up for taking the plunge, try one of her most popular “toasties”: the “B”.L.T. ($8.25), layered with sliced tomato, arugula, basil vegenaise, and their house coconut “bacon.” A vegan twist on the classic BLT, it’s all about that “bacon.”

And if you’d rather opt to try a raw vegan dessert at home before venturing out to Healthy Habit, you can re-create their recipe for chocolate pudding below. You’ll be amazed how creamy and delicious it is!

“Don’t create restrictions, create healthy habits,” the perfect lifestyle motto, or so I think.

Healthy Habit’s Chocolate Pudding

¼ tsp. vanilla extract

1 medium ripe avocado, chopped

¼ cup raw cacao powder

3 to 4 Tbsps. organic grade B maple syrup

pinch of sea salt

cacao nibs, to taste

Blend everything in a blender until smooth. Portion into small cups, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Sprinkle with cacao nibs, if desired.

Stop by Healthy Habit, a raw and whole-food eatery, 19 Church Street, Edgartown. For orders, call 774-549-9329.