Choosing Vitality in Omaha
Katie DeSantis first became serious about healthy eating about ten years ago when a friend was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. “Her doctors told her it was caused by environmental factors, so that really caused me to take a look at our family’s diet and make some personal changes,” Katie says. “Thankfully, my friend is now in remission, and I always tell her that, because of her, we were inspired to change our lives for the better.”
When it came time for another major life change — leaving the corporate world on the East Coast to become small business owners in Omaha — Katie, an Omaha native, and her husband, Tony, knew that they wanted their new life to be grounded in the health and wellness industry. “We’d always kind of joked about the idea of opening up a restaurant, and when we had the opportunity to bring Vitality Bowls to Omaha, it seemed like a natural fit for our family.”
Katie and Tony, who have four young children, say that one of the main things that attracted them to Vitality Bowls is that, by being independent owners of a larger franchise, they are able to strike a balance between work, school pick-ups and family life, while helping their customers find balance in their own lives. The store has attracted a devoted following among people who work in Aksarben Village and UNO students and faculty, and will soon be opening a West Omaha location in The Shops of Legacy.
“No one has the time to source and prepare fresh, nutritious food three meals a day, every day of their lives,” says Katie, noting that she’s certainly not above ordering the occasional pizza for dinner. “But we’re hoping we can make it a little easier for people to be more intentional.”
A proponent of intuitive eating, the nutrition philosophy that eschews traditional dieting in favor of listening to — and satisfying — your body’s cues, Katie says she can’t imagine many people would feel good after ten days of juice fasting. Instead, Vitality Bowls aims to have something for everyone: from their signature superfood-based bowls and smoothies, which contain no fillers (ice, frozen yogurt, etc), no sugar or trans fats and can be made gluten-free, to soups and salads, to raw juices to panini. “We get a lot of people who are doing Whole 30 or Keto diets, and a lot of people who are vegan and vegetarian,” says Katie. “But really, our target customer is anyone who believes that the food they put in their bodies can help them feel better.”