The Green Ingredient presents healthy plates packed with flavor

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The Green Ingredient – nestled on the bottom floor of the Chase building in Downtown El Paso – is a unique restaurant that offers a large number of dishes with fresh and green ingredients.

Jacqueline Cordova says what sets her restaurant apart is the not-so-normal cuisine. Customers won’t find live octopus or a moldy corn delicacy, she said the items on her menu are a healthy alternative.

Food varies from quinoa pancakes with yogurt and fresh berries to a Feel Good Falafel and a Mediterranean salad.

Cordova started the restaurant after losing a friend, she said.

“The reason we created this restaurant is cancer,” Cordova said.

The family friend was given no more than six months to live. She was allergic to the chemotherapy medication so she decided to change her eating and she turned her three-month life expectancy to about more than four years.

The family friend’s meal plan and life-changing diet inspired the Green Ingredient menu. Cordova conducted research and found that while the food wasn’t a cure, it did improve health.

The lifestyle change is especially important in our border city, Cordova said.

She said some El Pasoans may think healthy food means a sandwich from a nationwide franchise and food like hers is out of their comfort zone.

“We have a lot of people with diabetes, sadly we don’t have enough support because they think the food is expensive,” Cordova said.

Green Ingredient Restaurant. Photo by Ashley Milam for Journalism in July.

Green Ingredient Restaurant. Photo by Ashley Milam for Journalism in July.

The healthy eating lifestyle isn’t just for cancer patients it can even help diabetic people because the meals are made with natural ingredients and there is no unnecessary salt or sugar.

Cordova also has a son with Attention Deficiency Disorder, and she has guided him in eating better and she said it has helped him with his concentration and attention.

The Green Ingredient buys all their produce from local farmers; Cordova only wants the freshest ingredients put into her meals, but she says that may come with an addition customers don’t like.

“What they don’t understand is, quality has a cost to it. We have to be able to pay that cost in order to provide a quality meal”, Cordova said.

She adds that she believes in helping local struggling and their produce cost is higher than the average Wal-Mart or Albertsons.

“The quality is much better and it’s [produce]is fresh right from the garden,” Cordova said.

Cordova said it’s important for people to understand what they’re eating because the majority of foods offered elsewhere or at home are fried or made out of processed ingredients.

She sponsors workshops to educate people and teach them the importance of eating healthy. In addition, she holds yoga brunch and has guest speakers.

“We don’t even have a fryer because we bake everything here,” Cordova said. “It’s how you prepare and season the food.”

Cordova’s products have become so popular you can now find some at the weekly El Paso Downtown Artist and Farmers Market.

She says healthy means bland and tasteless for some people, but that isn’t true.           

Green Ingredient is open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., www.greeningredienteatery.com.

This article was produced as part of Borderzine’s Journalism in July 2016 summer workshop for high school students sponsored by the Dow Jones News Fund and the University of Texas at El Paso Department of Communication.

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