You may have seen Effortlessly Healthy's blue and pale green truck at the Public Market's food truck rodeo. Long lines have snaked back from the truck, filled with people hungry for seared ahi tuna-topped salad, chicken pesto and Portobello mushroom wraps, or the number one seller: the chicken, bacon, and avocado healthy trash plate.
"People think we're just the truck," says owner Shaina Sidoti. "Probably because it's so visible. But we're more than just a food truck. That's just a part of what we do."
Just a little over two years after Sidoti started Effortlessly Healthy, her business now includes the truck, a meal delivery service, catering business, and a brick-and-mortar café. All aspects serve fresh, tasty meals focused on lean meats, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables, with gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options available.
Sidoti's journey toward starting Effortlessly Healthy really began when she was 23 years old and had developed psoriatic arthritis, a condition currently without a cure. In pain and on multiple medications, Sidoti sought the help of a nutritionist in the hopes of alleviating her symptoms. She was told to toss out all junk foods, stop eating sugar, simple carbs, and dairy, and start eating unprocessed meats, vegetables, and healthy fats. After six months of following the nutritionist's guidelines, Sidoti's psoriatic arthritis went into remission. Continuing with her new plan, she also shed 60 pounds.
Though Sidoti's commitment to her new way of eating stayed strong, she didn't think of it as a career option. After graduating from SUNY Brockport, Sidoti landed a job as an administrator the University of Rochester Medicine's department of surgery.
"I was so lucky to be hired," she says. "I was fresh out of school, the job was satisfying, and the people were great." She touted the benefits of clean eating to her friends and coworkers but felt compelled to do more.
"I thought long and hard about how I could help other people eat better," Sidoti says. "So I took out a loan and I went for it." In the fall of 2013, Sidoti purchased her food truck.
Soon after, she added the meal delivery service — subscribers choose from a rotating menu and receive ready to eat, balanced meals at their homes or offices twice a week. There are breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, such as turkey sausage, sweet potatoes, and eggs; honey-glazed chicken with carrots, parsnips and turnips; and shepherd's pie made with a cabernet reduction. (Weekly meal packages start at $49.99 for five meals and go to $129.99 for 18.)
It didn't take long for Sidoti to realize she couldn't prep and cook for her growing venture exclusively using the food truck. "I didn't know anything about this business," she says. To handle the increased orders, Effortlessly Healthy moved to a kitchen space at the Public Market, adding a few staff members along the way. Event catering was added to the roster, which tackles everything from business lunches and birthday parties to large corporate events and full-scale weddings.
Last summer, Sidoti and her team — which now includes her mother Sandra Sidoti as executive chef — moved to a new commercial kitchen at 1921 South Avenue. Sidoti had the space fully renovated, and as of November, the kitchen has a front-of-the-house café. It's a small but bright and comfortable space, where diners can grab lunch or an early dinner.
Like the truck, the healthy trash plate ($6.50- $8.50) is a popular choice at the café. Plates start with cubed and roasted sweet potatoes and fresh coleslaw before getting topped with one of several protein choices: burgers, steak, chicken, tofu, or Portobello mushrooms. That's topped off with a drizzling of creamy, avocado sauce and selected add-ons, like meat hot sauce, avocados, artichokes, roasted red peppers, or bacon.
The café also offers an assortment of salads and wraps, plus nutrient rich sides, to eat in, take out, or have delivered weekdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Meal subscribers can also pick up their orders at the café.
Find Laura Rebecca Kenyon on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest @LauraKenyon, and dig through her recipe archive at LauraRebeccasKitchen.com.