choice health bar…there’s no such thing as a “healthover”

As I sit here inhaling a latte from the coffee shop who will not be named, I recall the highly energetic version of myself, typically the one that comes from grazing at the Choice Health Bar in Lahaina.

I never thought I’d get hooked on vegan until I walked through the bummer-free zone of conscious consumption envisioned by founders Emily Kunz and Kathryn Dahm. Maybe it’s the bright green wall of menu boards with wacky names, or the LCD Soundsystem channel on Pandora that sets the mood for a Ram Dass book. Either way, the space is so welcoming that before you can google spirulina, you are downing a shot of Force Field and getting 2Legit2Quit with an extra dash of shilajit.

While I might make light of this meatless utopia I now frequent as the chosen setting of my lunch dates, I seriously support its earth-friendly concept. “It really is about a local movement,” says Emily. “This store is a manifestation of the movement of eating local, being conscious of the world around us, giving and taking. It’s a classic balance.”

The two met through a mutual friend, became roommates and worked as managers at the Honokowai Farmers Market, which was the “best learning ground.” Emily adds, “They’re like our family, they gave us the key!” Kathryn’s expertise in wellness, herbal remedies, and superfoods, is combined with Emily’s commitment to locally grown organic produce. Majority of the ingredients are from Maui except the apples and Yukon gold potatoes. Acai comes from Brazil and is procured through a local distributor in Kaua‘i. Their food also has a boom-pow factor not readily associated with vegan or uber-healthy cuisine, it tastes great.

Yes, there are acai bowls, coconut-based smoothies and juices up the yin-yang. But I am especially fond of their hot offerings. Three types of vegan soups change daily. I oftentimes layer the soup with my choice of grains—quinoa with curried corn chowder; or brown rice with a red lentil and carrot soup. Plate lunches can be customized—a kale salad, potato onion soup, falafel wrapped in chard, and a bite-size raw ginger snaps will help you power through the day. Organic Pad Thai is made with shredded zucchini and an almond-butter base for the savory dressing. Since they opened last April 2011, the cafe has extended its hours until 5pm.

“We want to burst the bliss bubble,” said Emily. “It’s for everyone.”

For more info, call 661-7711 or visit

–eliza escano

1 Response to “choice health bar…there’s no such thing as a “healthover””

  1. 1 kathryn August 28, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    awesome article~~~!!!!! great description of a super unique place

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