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Local

Eating can be fun

Dixon natives come together with a mission to make the area healthier through good food

DIXON – Want to eat better, maybe lose a little weight?

Alex Oliver and Jessica Nutt can help. The Dixon natives kicked a letter off of each of their last names, and the result couldn’t have been better for their healthy food business.

Olive Nut, which grew out of its space in the kitchen at Oliver’s Corner Market, now has a spot of its own at 120 N. Peoria Ave., next door to the newly opened Coffee Crush.

It’s not a dine-in kind of place – the food they make is sold locally at Coffee Crush and the market, and to folks who order their products online.

The two make a variety meals using healthy food; nothing fried, no chemicals, artificial colors, bad oils, or other "garbage-y things" that come in food, Nutt said.

"We don't do anything that is Plain Jane," she said. "We use a lot of spices, a lot of flavors and flavor combinations, because we want people to know that eating healthy does not have to be just chicken and rice. You can eat healthy, and it can still taste amazing."

Nutt, 47, and Oliver, 36, business partners who have worked together as health coaches for nearly a decade, asked their clients a couple of years ago about what more they could do to help them – something different, and real.

Making food was suggested often, and the two came together to make it happen. Several creations came after nearly 6 months of trial and error.

Monday was their first day working in their new digs, and they also plan to have food sold at more locations, including the Dixon Family YMCA.

One of their originals is a bowl made with leafy greens, roasted sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans (soaked and boiled on site), spinach, brown rice, roasted Brussels sprouts, and sliced and chopped almonds with tahini dressing on the side. It comes hot or cold, and with chicken, or salmon or no meat at all.

Other bowls have their own creative names, such as the Southern Comfort bowl and the salsa verde, both of which are hot sellers, Nutt said.

Dressings are made from scratch, as is granola, and parfaits with organic-based yogurt and crispy chickpeas that come in cups with a message: "Food should contain nothing but food!"

They make a hummus called "Just 'Beet' It," with beets for pinkness and Gorgonzola cheese for a sweet/sour balance.

Their creations will keep coming: Olive Nut is working on a breakfast burrito and pizza, as well as soups, smoothies and snack packs.

"We live in a small town that, let's be real, the options are a little limited," Oliver said. "We want to make healthy food quick and available to people."

Oliver and Nutt want to people to think beyond simple salads when they think of healthy food, and they want them to know that eating right doesn't take a lot of time – especially when you let them do the cooking and meal prep.

"A lot of times when you go somewhere to try and get something healthy, it's still not that healthy," Oliver said.

"This stuff is really healthy."

Olives, nuts and much, much more

With its new kitchen, Olive Nut serves up several mixed bowls with nothing but healthy foods, granolas, organic parfaits and more from its Dixon kitchen.

Their foods are sold at Coffee Crush, 122 N. Peoria Ave., and Oliver's Corner Market, 748 N. Brinton Ave.

Find Olive Nut Certified Health Coaching Services on Facebook, go to olivenut.org, email olivenutchc@gmail.com or call 815-297-2234 or 815-973-5635 to place orders or for more information.

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