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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

Do You Eat at Café Gratitude or Bitter Bistro?

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Dec 5th 2012

eatWhen I used to live up in the Bay Area of California from time to time I would eat at Café Gratitude, a vegan restaurant (although I’m not vegan) that named its plates after affirmations. The first time I was there I saw a guacamole dish that I was craving and so I turned to the server and said, “I am abundant,” and she knew exactly what I was ordering. Ten minutes later she arrived with a dollop of guacamole the size of a quarter and I was immediately confused by the title of the dish. I started to wonder whether I should open up a restaurant across the street called The Bitter Bistro. 

While I look back at this comically, it also brought up the question for me about looking at my diet. Not just the one that we usually think of around food intake, but a mental health diets. I had to look at what kind of nutrition I was ingesting through my senses. 

I found that I had a gluttonous intake of the news which made me feel bitter and agitated at times. I also had some relationships in my life that felt more depleting than nourishing. Then there was the amount of time I was spending looking at screens and while at times that was nourishing, the overall amount of the intake was more depleting. 

Then there was my mind. Where was it inclining, toward The Bitter Bistro or Café Gratitude (overall the Café was a good place, that was just a funny experience). I found that when I ate at the Bitter Bistro I inevitably didn’t feel as well mentally, emotionally or physically and when I made an intentional effort to incline my mind more toward eating at Café Gratitude, I felt better. 

So there it was my experience was my teacher. 

It can be a simple experiment to look at what you’re ingesting through your senses and to see if some things feel healthy or unhealthy? Is there a way you can incline yourself toward the healthy or pleasurable things? If some things or people are in your environment that are depleting, is there a way that you can relate to them that is less depleting? Even as crazy as it may seem, seeing that they are a person who wants to be cared about and understood and perhaps wishing them well and seeing what effect that has on you. 

Then, take stock of your mind. Are you entertaining to much negative self-talk or negative talk about others? How does this make you feel? Can you intentionally incline your mind to be on the lookout for the good in your life? What is worth being grateful for. 

This isn’t meant to swallow whole, it’s more of an experiment so you can see what your experience teaches you. 

So set aside your judgments and give yourself a chance to learn about your life. 

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from. 


Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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