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My husband and I woke up Monday morning and decided to walk to a restaurant for breakfast. We both wanted to try a place we had never been before. I needed to take my medication (I have to take it twice daily with a meal) so we didn’t have a lot of time to walk around the city reading different menus.

We walked to a place we have both wanted to try, and it was closed, so we took a right and kept walking. A block away we ran into Café Gratitude. We had read that Café Gratitude only served vegan food and that it was a place of positive affirmations, but we didn’t know anything else about it.

When we walked in our server, a young dark haired woman told us to sit where ever we wanted. Then she brought us water and asked if we had ever been there before. We both said, “No.”

“We only use plant based food. Everything is organic. It’s vegan. And when you are ordering off the menu, you start off by saying I AM. You see here? Coffee is Courageous, so if you wanted to order coffee, you would say, I Am Courageous. Can I get you anything to drink?”

My husband took a quick look at the menu and said, “I Am Courageous.”

Our server said, “You are courageous.”

I said, “Just water for me, thanks. But if I ordered I Am Beautiful (a muffin) could I get it right away before the rest of our food?” I wanted to eat something as soon as possible, so I could take my medication.

She went to check with the kitchen staff to see if the blueberry muffins were ready and they were so she brought one back and said, “You are beautiful.”

I wasn’t sure what a blueberry muffin would taste like without eggs, butter or milk, but it was pretty good (my husband loved it). It had the largest blueberries in it that I have ever seen, and they were still hot from the oven.

When our server came back, I ordered, I Am Outstanding (sprouted probiotic steel-cut oats, warm seasonal fruit compote, maple glazed walnuts, cashew crème fraiche).

My husband ordered,  Yo Soy Supremo (roasted heirloom potatoes, cashew macadamia cheddar, seasoned pinto beans, spinach, shredded romaine, coconut bacon, pico de gallo, avocado, side of spicy pickled vegetables, whole wheat tortilla, topped with toasted pumpkin seed salsa verde, cashew sour cream and goji chipotle sauce).

My oatmeal was the best I have ever tasted, but it wasn’t just the food that made me write about this restaurant. I felt like it was a good place for people with a mental illness to go. How often do people tell us, You Are Fantastic (raw cashew crepe), You Are Peace (raw open-faced bagel), You Are Open Hearted (gluten-free pancakes), and my favorite, You Are Beautiful?

We need to hear these things. I think everyone needs to hear them, but I think those with a mental illness need to hear them more than others. We need positive affirmations. We need nourishment. We need a Café Gratitude.  (Check to see if there is one in your city or town).