Houma Business Inspires Community To Get Healthier

HOUMA, LA (AP) — In Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes, there's no shortage of burger joints, po-boy shops or fried chicken restaurants.

         But when it comes to eating healthy on-the-go, restaurants that serve healthier options are few and far between.

         Now that Root 2 Rise, 605 Barrow St., Houma, is up and running, area residents can have their pick of healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner options.

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         The menu boasts daily made chef's specials that include a variety of greens in wraps, salads, bowls and juices.

         But that's not all the cafe offers.

         The downtown Houma business also houses a yoga studio and serves juice from its fresh juice bar.

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         Owners Leah Porche and Shantelle Abshire have worked over the past year to get the space together. The newly designed space officially opened near the end of December 2015.

         "I like to think that we empower people to find their greatness," Abshire said. "Whether it's diet (changes) or physical fitness interest, we meet each person where they are and find out how we can support them."

         The physical space sits right on the corner of Barrow and Wood Streets. The exterior of the building is mostly red brick, but the heavily tinted windows and black trimming give it a very modern look.

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         In fact, it's very distinctive from many of the other buildings on Barrow Street.

         The interior is very vibrant and colorful with chalk boards attached to the walls.

         "Soup of the Day" was written on one of the doors in green and yellow chalk. The other menu listings were written in chalk as well.

         Porche, a dietitian by trade, said her role is heavy on the nutrition side of the business but she has a hand in everything.

         "Our mission is to bring healthy food and a healthy lifestyle to the people of Houma and the surrounding communities in an easy way," Porche said. "We want to make it easy to come in and make a healthy food choice."

         To the left of the cafe sits the spacious yoga studio, which is surrounded by hints of red brick and black sheer curtains.

         Abshire, along with several other local yoga teachers, instructs yoga classes through the Baptiste practice, which is designed to empower students with focus, training and insight in order to achieve consistency in important aspects of their lives.

         "Yoga lights me up," Abshire admitted. "I love how it makes me feel physically and emotionally. I love how it brings people together."

         Root 2 Rise's studio has infrared heating panels in the ceilings. The panels distribute heat evenly and allows for heat to enter the muscles which makes them malleable.

         One of the most popular classes taught at the studio is chair yoga–designed for people who can't get up and down easily.

         "It's easy for us to grab onto a healthy meal, but sometimes it's not easy just to step into a class," Abshire said. "I tell my students all the time that the hard part is just getting here."

         The studio also offers chirunning, a form of running influenced by the Chinese martial art t'ai chi, and kids power play which allows for the kids to learn yoga techniques and how to interact with each other.

         Porche and Abshire said so far, the community was ready to receive what their business offers. In fact, most of what they hear is that people are excited about it.

         "There's a national movement (for this type of business)," Porche said. "Regardless of what's going on, the fact is that south Louisiana has some of the highest obesity rates and we need this."

         – by AP/ Reporter Kevinisha Walker with The Courier

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