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Written By: Charlotte Farrell
Photographed By: Liza Rosales Cafe Gratitude Elissa Goodman

Elissa Goodman is the underground hero of the cleanse movement. Through trial and triumphs that most would find too daunting to recover from, Elissa is a shining beacon of healthy hope. She has worked extensively with Café Gratitude in the past to develop their cleanse program, and now, Gratitude groupies can have a taste of pure wellness thanks to the salad she has crafted for the new menu at their elevated sister restaurant, Gratitude, in Beverly Hills. We had a chat with the good vibes guru about her past, her present and what’s next.

Cafe Gratitude Elissa Goodman

A Q&A With Elissa Goodman:

Q: Tell me a little bit about what inspired you to explore nutrition and wellness?

Elissa Goodman: After my cancer diagnosis in my early 30s, I turned to what felt right for me. That was juicing, yoga, plant-based eating and exploring alternative and complementary healing modalities from energy healing to herbs. After embracing this lifestyle and reaping the benefits, it felt natural to help others in doing the same. I became passionate about teaching my friends and family about this way of living and eventually felt compelled to pursue my passion after I lost my husband to cancer at an early age of 45 years old.

Q: What elements of nutrition and wellness are you most passionate about and why?

EG: It has evolved over the years. In the beginning, I was happy to share anything and everything I knew about juicing and plant-based eating. As I explored supplements more, I became passionate about showing clients how to use and find high-quality supplements, herbs and superfoods. Then I became passionate about finding the root cause through intuitive healing and treating viral and pathogen loads. Now, I am really interested in empowering others to take control of their wellness on a deeper level and teach that finding their purpose and passion will help them heal. I still love to explore and share everything I learn. That will never change!

Q: You are one of the pioneers of the cleanse movement. What went into developing your first cleanse and how has it changed since?

EG: I’m honored that the Café Gratitude cleanse program was the first one I worked on. I learned so much from working with the CG team, putting the menu together, and hearing the feedback from the cleansers. We designed a program that was vegan and raw. The feedback from cleansers was extremely valuable. I learned that there is no “one size fits all” to cleansing. We all have unique nutritional needs and biological factors that come into play, so flexibility is a must. I also realized, through working with cleans[ing] clients from Erewhon, Café Gratitude, M Café, and now my own delivered program, that cleansing needs to be a lifestyle one embraces in order to thrive not just survive. Our bodies have detoxification pathways built into us that protect us. If we learn to eat loads of veggies, herbs and fruits and get these micronutrients into us at a cellular level we can further help our bodies detox. Today, cleansing has become more about not starving or depriving ourselves, but getting healthy protein, fat, fiber and even complex carbs! Cleansing daily is the best way to give your body the support that it needs to do its job.  Eating more plant-based, juicing vegetables, taking time for yourself, prioritizing sleep, and meditating…those are all ways you can cleanse daily.

Q: Can you give some background on your relationship with Café Gratitude?

EG: Café Gratitude helped me launch my career. They had just opened their first restaurant in Los Angeles and they asked me to put together a five-day healthy eating cleanse together for them. This is where I got my cleansing background. It was so meant to be, because I’ve been able to build a career on cleansing and detoxing the right way. I will be forever grateful to Café Gratitude.

Q: You’ve crafted the “I AM CLEANSED” salad for Gratitude Beverly Hills. What are the ingredients?

EG: Chickpea tofu, watercress, spinach, dandelion greens, cherry tomatoes, roasted oyster mushrooms, caramelized onions, herbed hempseeds and green goddess dressing.

Q: Why did you choose certain component over others, like chickpeas instead of soy? 

EG: I’ve found that more and more people have an issue with processed soy. But, I love how versatile tofu can be. Using chickpeas is a natural choice. Floured chickpea sets into a great tofu consistency. They’re also a good source of plant-based protein and fiber, are rich in vitamins and minerals and provide slow releasing carbohydrates that we digest slowly, use for energy and help us avoid those spikes in blood sugar. I went for a hemp and herb crumble for a little texture to add additional protein from the hemp and detoxifying herbs. This is more nutrient dense than a breadcrumb base and offers a lot more flavor.

Q: What benefits can someone who orders the dish get from the ingredients?

EG: This is one nutrient dense bowl! They can be assured they are getting a balanced meal with healthy fats, vegan protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber and, on a micro level, vitamins and minerals that are good for energy, immune system, mental clarity, stress response and hormones:

-Mushrooms, for example, are immune supporters that provide a good amount of niacin (think anti-aging support).

-Tomatoes are a major source of the antioxidant lycopene and [are also] a good source of vitamin C.

-Greens are anti-inflammatory, a great source of vitamin K and because of their high antioxidants are essential for a disease preventative diet.

-Chickpeas (as stated above) are nutrient dense and are part of an anti-inflammatory, disease-fighting diet. They provide slow-burning energy and satiate you with plant protein. They are great for healthy digestion and support stable blood sugar levels. They also provide exceptional levels of magnesium and selenium that supports the liver in detoxifying cancer-causing compounds from the body.

Q: What is your philosophy on nutrition and living on a plant-based diet?

EG: I live for the 80/20 rule and strive for balance in my diet. Eat this way at least 80 percent of the time and make room for balance. Twenty percent of the time you can indulge in that imported cheese or have that slice of wood-fired pizza. If you can start with this, you can make it work. It’s also a goal of mine to eat as many servings of vegetables as I can in a day. I recommend a minimum of 8-10 servings daily—a green juice is an EASY way to make that happen! If you can do those two things, you will experience a great change in your overall well-being.

Q: What other projects do you have on the horizon?

EG: I am working on my second book, “Autoimmune Hacks,” which is the follow up to “Cancer Hacks” available on Amazon. I am expanding my business, focusing on women’s empowerment and how we can all do a better job of supporting and encouraging each other. I’m also bringing on inspiring wellness warriors weekly on my YouTube Channel, “The Elissa Goodman Show.”

Native Knowledge: Follow Gratitude on Instagram @gratitudekitchenandbar for updates and drool-inducing pics.

419 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210 Cafe Gratitude Elissa Goodman
424.389.1850 Cafe Gratitude Elissa Goodman