What's unusual about the West End is that despite the number of gyms, outdoor bootcamps, yoga studios, and gym-goers; the proximity of Stanley Park, the seawall, and the Vancouver Aquatic Centre; and other health or outdoor activities, there are very few, if any, health-food options available. There's also a glaring dearth of vegan or vegetarian eateries in the area.
Helping to address that neglected area is Fit Camp Foods at 1107 Davie Street (the former location of the Just Juice juice bar), opened by Evann Ryan and Armin Bahmanpour on October 11.
In an interview at the sweet 'n' petite premises (about 400 square feet), Ryan said she has always loved health and fitness but finds it challenging to maintain a nutrition-oriented diet during hectic times.
"Whatever job I've been doing, I always made myself healthy meal-prep meals to take with me all the time," she said. "I just find it's really hard to eat healthy when you're out and about all the time when you're going to and from places."
Drawing upon her experience of working at her family's cafés and restaurants, she explained that she wanted to create a place where customers could grab something quickly without having to think too much about calories or ingredients.
She also emphasized that she wanted to ensure it was both nutritious and fulfilling.
"I don't want you to come and have a salad and you feel healthy but then hungry an hour later," she said. "I want you to eat it and then be good until dinner and actually enjoy it and feel full."
Take-out containers in a cooler offer a number of grab 'n' go meals for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, alongside dairy-free, gluten-free, or vegan and vegetarian options.
For breakfast, for example, there's the oat-free Fit Camp granola parfait ($4.99) with Greek yogurt, coconut, mixed berries, dates, pecans, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon.
There are also a few smoothies made with Greek yogurt ($5.99), such as banana pistachio or cranberry green tea, as well as an anti-inflammatory tumeric tonic ($2).
For something heftier, there's a garlic beet wrap with red onion, mint, lemon zest, Greek yogurt, and roasted chick peas ($8.99).
One of many bowls currently offered is the Mediterranean quinoa bowl ($11.99) includes baked cod, grape tomatoes, red onion, mint, cucumber, and a basil vinaigrette.
There's also the health bowl ($12.99) with brown rice, sweet potato, roasted almonds, garlic beets, roasted chickpeas, kale, and a honey-ginger vinaigrette.
Protein, such as turmeric cod ($4) or lime-roasted chicken ($4), is available as side additions to add to vegetarian meals.
If you've got a sweet-tooth, you can try out their gluten-free donuts sweetened with honey ($3.99), such as almond or double chocolate.
They'll be offering different health shots every day, such as orange juice-carrot shot or turmeric shot, as well as a daily soup.
At the moment, Ryan said they're testing out how popular some of the options are, such as vegan dishes, and will change the menu according to feedback and demand.