- Lisa Sipe
- The gluten-free breakfast sando at Plantd is more than a tasty egg biscuit; it's packed with healthy fats, a rich source of choline, and lycopene.
"The space looks huge," I said to Gretchen Ulrich and Manya Williams as I walked into their new cafe, Plantd. The two bought Fearless Baking on Division Street in Bend, turning it into a gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian cafe and marketplace.
The previous cafe felt quaint and small, so I couldn't believe this was the same space. The interior is light, airy and bright. The wooden tables have fresh herbs and flowers on them and I noticed warm wooden planks on the ceiling. They've always been there, but now they have room to shine. Walls once blocked the kitchen, so with their removal you can see right through to the courtyard.
"We wanted transparency with the kitchen and food, to share in the gift of nourishing people. We want people to see that as tangibly as they can," Ulrich said, "so they can feel the nourishment from the kitchen."
Ulrich and Williams were introduced by a mutual friend. Both of them are nutritionists and yoga teachers who have studied with Matthew Kenney (a leading plant-based chef), and are moms with boys. Both knew time was a major obstacle for clients who wanted to prepare food and eat well.
- Lisa Sipe
- Gretchen Ulrich and Manya Williams
Williams said, "Plantd was born out of a convenience need for my private practice clients." Before the cafe opened, Plantd had offered clients weekly prepared food for a year.
A passion and knowledge of holistic nutrition is infused into the cafe. The basics of holistic nutrition, according to Dr. David Katz, is that "food not only provides the energy needed to function in our daily lives, but constantly supplies the nutrients which are required to build and regenerate body tissue, bone, muscle, fat and blood... Holistic nutrition is the modern natural approach to developing a healthy balanced diet while taking into account the person as whole."
gThat concept sounds great, but for newbies it's a little overwhelming. "We're here to meet people where they're at. We have dairy and baked goods. While we understand that less sugar and less processed flours are better, we want to create foods that are familiar and comforting to people," said Williams. "Our intention is for you try something a little outside of your comfort zone and support you and make it easier for you."
The menu does feel familiar. Breakfast includes a breakfast sando with a gluten-free biscuit, pastured egg, heirloom tomato, avocado and micro sprouts. The menu lists the benefits of each meal. For that sando, the description says, "nutrient-dense, quality protein, rich source of choline, healthy fats and source of lycopene."
"We're here to educate," said Ulrich. "We want to be here for people and we want people to understand why they should eat certain food. What does this food do for me? It's biochemically about your body and one size does not fit all."
In their time with Kenney, Williams said they learned that "as chefs you are either the biggest healer or the worst drug dealer." The menu at Plantd is intended to heal. What you know when you order your golden chai, bagel, buddha bowl or yogurt parfait is that each ingredient was chosen with intention for its function and seasonality.
- Lisa Sipe
- The courtyard at Plantd, recently opened by nutritionists Gretchen Ulrich and Manya Williams.
Williams says the open environment is also intentional. "We want it to be a gathering space around healing and good food."
Ulrich added, "When you sit down and eat, you need to slow down your parasympathetic nervous system, so your body has the energy to digest." If you rush to eat your food or consume it on the go, your body "can't assimilate vitamins and minerals. Even taking three deep breaths before you eat can help." That's why the tagline for Plantd is "take root."