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I Am Grateful

Lissa Rankin's picture

cafe_sign1I did it! I finished the six day cleanse and didn’t cheat once. Today is my first post-cleanse day, and I’ve been warned to take it easy. You can’t just shut down your digestive tract for a week and then load it with pizza and ice cream and hamburgers. Our nutritionist Lita told us some horror stories, so we’re all feeling a little cautious today. I started my morning with lemon juice water and leftover green juice and had very good intentions for what I would eat for the rest of the day. Last night, I stayed up late preparing fresh pureed mineral soup (seaweed, sweet potato, onions, beets, carrots, celery, and garlic), with the intention that Mom and I would sip on it throughout the day to wake up our guts. But then I ended up at the glorious Marin farmer’s market, where they were giving out samples of fresh homemade cheese and spinach flatbread with hummus. I couldn’t resist taking a few itty bitty hesitant bites (wow- it feels good to chew!).

That went well, so Matt and I decided to make my first-ever trip to IKEA-land, to shop for some essentials that will help us fit into our new house. But one hour turned into three, and around 2 in the afternoon, my blood sugar crashed. I mean, one minute I was feeling a little hungry for the first time in a week and the next, I was sitting on the ground with my head between my legs trying not to faint. When my head stopped spinning, I looked up and saw, hanging from the roof like a beacon, a glowing sign that said “Café.” Stumbling over to the café, I stood in line behind about forty people while I read the menu. Hot dog. Hamburger. Marinara meatballs. Chicken marsala. Pasta with beef stroganoff. Mac and cheese. Pizza pocket. Cinnamon buns. This was going to be ugly.

Turning on my heels, I high-tailed it out of there. Still dizzy and light-headed, I trudged through the rain to the car (which was about a mile away in the massive IKEA-land parking lot). Sitting inside, I stuffed a handful of fresh sprouts from the farmer’s market into my mouth and waited to feel better. After a few minutes and a bite of apple, I started to perk up, and as soon as Matt finished checking out of IKEA hell, we hunted for a place to eat lunch.

How stupid was I? It didn’t even occur to me to bring something I could eat. We were way out in Berkeley, 45 minutes from my fresh mineral soup, and we didn’t know our way around at all. The first place we landed upon was a pizza joint. The second, a Mexican restaurant. My stomach gurgled just thinking about it. Then I had an A-ha moment. I remembered Lita and Tricia telling us about a raw foods restaurant that had two locations- one in San Rafael in Marin and one in Berkeley. By some miracle, I remembered the name- Café Gratitude- and after a 411 call, we were on our way.

Café Gratitude is SO Berkeley. Funky, sweet wait staff with dreads and burgundy hair, colorful art and a cozy fireplace make you feel right at home on a rainy day. For lunch, we feasted on DELICIOUS raw foods. The “I Am Abundant” appetizer sampler treated us to sprouted almond hummus, kale-sea vegetable salad, hempseed pesto crustini, spicy cashew nacho cheese with flax chips, olive tapenade, and a spring roll wrapped in greens with a Thai coconut-almond butter sauce. Matt couldn’t resist ordering the “I Am Sensational” live pesto pizza, which was a buckwheat sunflower seed flatbread crust topped with pesto, sliced tomatoes, and cashew nut ricotta, topped with a sprout salad. We sipped the “I Am Cool” hazelnut milk mint chocolate milkshake, and finished with the “I Am Perfect” pecan pie made with pecan butter and dates in a macadamia nut crust.

Of course, I knew I could only eat a few small bites, or I would risk spending the rest of the day heaving and sitting on the pot. But damn, that was some good food. Maybe it’s just that I haven’t eaten much for a week, but Matt, who is a die-hard carnivore who usually prefers carne asada burritos to veggie wraps, seconds the kudos.

The funniest part of this story is that, within minutes of sitting down, I noticed that the pretty blonde woman sitting at the table next to us looked strangely familiar. But you know how confusing it is when you’re out of your element and you can’t quite place someone? For just a moment, I thought she might be some movie star (she’s that pretty). Then, in a flash, I realized it was Lita. Now, I’ve just moved to the Bay area and I hardly know anyone. And Clear Center is in Mill Valley, all the way on the other side of the Bay. But here was Lita, the nutritionist who ran the cleanse with Tricia, the one who has been teaching us all week. It was Lita who recommended Café Gratitude, and it was her voice in my head that made me remember its name when I was in dietary hell at IKEA. What are the odds? But God bless that girl for practicing what she preaches.

For just a moment, I felt a wee bit guilty, like a teenager caught smoking in the schoolyard at recess. Lita had specifically told us not to eat food that was too heavy, even if it was raw food at Café Gratitude. And here we were with pizza and pecan pie. But she was busy laughing with her friends, and I figured it was a million times better than eating at IKEA. Sometimes, you just have to do the best you can and give yourself a break if you’re not perfect.

But I did finish the cleanse, and I feel a warm sense of accomplishment for following through and taking care of my body. So tonight, I’m just going to toast myself with an “I Am Enough” shot of wheatgrass and bless my body for getting me through this. Cheers!wheatgrassjuiceshot

I Am Grateful,


Cafe Gratitude | Sally Around The Bay's picture

[...] is an excerpt from

[...] is an excerpt from Lissa’s post about Café Gratitude. You can read Lissa’s full post here. Café Gratitude is SO Berkeley. Funky, sweet wait staff with dreads and burgundy hair, colorful [...]

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