Dee Woods: Catering to the health-conscious diner

Mixing it up for good health by Dee Woods from October 10, 2010

It’s great to discover restaurants on the south and southwest sides for people who want to eat and drink in a more healthy fashion. Quite by accident I discovered another area treasure, a man who joined forces with Dr. John Principe in attempting to bring good health to the southwest suburbs.

Dr. Principe and Paul Boundas have a monthly health seminar on the preparation and cooking of healthy and whole foods. It is open to the public at Country House Restaurant, 5400 W. 127th St. (Route 83) in Alsip. The sessions are held in the banquet room and examples of the types of healthy foods they promote are served to guests. I went to one session and loved it. I couldn’t believe there was a local sit-down restaurant that served healthy and homemade foods.

Boundas explained that his restaurant menu consists of dishes you might find at other restaurants, but his food contains no monosodium glutamate (MSG), no high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and no preservatives. Everything is made fresh except for the Breadsmith bread. His sauces are homemade with fresh garlic and herbs. They serve only fresh fruits (in season) and fresh vegetables as well as chicken and turkey. No parts and pieces.

Country House has two menus. One is for the regular faire while the other is for even more health conscious patrons. He will even offer stevia for coffee or tea upon request. Most of his desserts are also homemade. For a few pennies more, you can have your breakfast made with Dickman’s eggs. Dickman’s are better than organic, they are totally free-range. He prepares healthy lunches to a number of Catholic schools. In fact, last week at the 100th Anniversary reception of Holy Trinity Catholic School he served the exact same luncheon to the Chicago Cardinal and other guests as he served to the Catholic school kids that day! He only advised the Cardinal after the luncheon that his meal was the same as the students. Boundas jokingly explained that he worked for 10 years at Country House and soon after received his master’s degree in clinical psychology. He transitioned directly into culinary school and purchased the restaurant he worked at for 10 years. As proof of his dedication to healthy eating, he explained his children eat all three of their meals every day, seven days a week, from the restaurant (is his wife lucky or what?). He went on to explain his children eat the exact foods the patrons of the restaurant receive.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention another wonderful carry- out establishment in Palos Heights, Papa’s Fresh Foods at 12207 Harlem Ave. They make a terrific kale salad, beet and orange salad, as well as other healthy dishes.

If you’re health conscious and like carry-out, you must try Papa’s. If you would like to attend the next Country House Wellness MD presentation, “Foods of Autumn,” on Oct. 20, you can make reservations by emailing countryhouserestaurant@ comcast.net or if you have questions call 267-8345. If anyone out there knows of other healthy establishments in the area please let me know at deewoods@comcast.net. Dee Woods is available to give presentations about alternative health treatments and healthy living.