Feel the Love at Goodness Gracious Cafe

20160524_105802LOVE. This is the first word that comes to mind when I think of Goodness Gracious Gluten Free & Organic Cafe in Yandina on the Sunshine Coast. The women who run this charming abode (Jill and Nicky) radiate love.

But I’ll get back to this. For now, I’m going to sidestep a little to a time in my life when I was really sick. Stay with me…

About thirteen years ago, my health was in a terrible mess, diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), Hashimoto’s Disease, hypothyroidism, a host of rheumatological issues and more. It was an intensely frightening time, unable to work to make the money I needed for the many treatments that doctors and natural therapists claimed would help. Unable to afford them, I had to make Big Life Decisions. But one of the easiest decisions I made was that I needed to invest the little amount of money I had into FOOD. It was clear to me that high quality food would be the basis of everything after that.

I started going to the Northey Street City Farm organic markets each week. And then for whatever reason, I found myself drawn to eating at Govinda’s (Hare Krishna) cafe in Brisbane city. Something that deeply impressed me about the Hare Krishna lifestyle was how important food was in their service and spirituality. So much so, I was told, that to be a person elevated to a food prep position was something of an honour, something that had to be earned. To prepare food in a Hare Krishna kitchen included loving and blessing the food before it was eaten.

Call me crazy if you like, but I felt some deep healing on those Sunday evenings spent at Govinda’s.

And this takes me back to Goodness Gracious Cafe. From the moment you pull up on the footpath you are surrounded by love–in the welcoming chalkboard signs; in the organic garden that’s lovingly tended by these women; in the heart-shaped art pieces hanging from the ceiling; in the locally-made handmade artworks for sale; in the groups of women knitting at the tables, with their rows of stitches becoming blankets for the homeless in the local area; and most certainly, most definitely, in the food.

Everything here is baked on site inside this post-war home on stumps–a home that has a fascinating history including being a railway station master’s home and having had a resident spirit called ‘Alfred’ walking the rooms (who was later ‘released’ when his daughter, who’d also lived in the home, happened upon the cafe and took him home with her).

Jill and Nicky and their friendly staff are always there with a warm smile, knowing many of their customers by name. Their gratitude for living their dream is evident, with the cafe and its customers supporting more than half a dozen different charities, both local and overseas. And their gastronomic creations never let you down.

My favourites include the Turkish delight hot chocolate (with real rose water); the chocolate, blueberry and lavender mud cake (seriously, you MUST try this!); the banana pancakes with homemade caramel sauce and banana ‘nice cream’ (dairy free); the chicken crepes and salad; the paleo lemon bar; and, well, pretty much everything else on the menu too.

There is some kind of deep wisdom that tells us that to provide food with love, and to eat food with love, is one of the most powerful things we can do. That’s why so many of our memories involve food with loved ones. That’s why we say ‘you are what you eat’. That’s why we go home for a ‘home cooked meal’. That’s why we make our loved ones soup when they’re ill.

Hippocrates is reported to have said, “Let food be thy medicine.”

Whether it’s intentional or not, the love and care that comes from these women’s hands infuses every mouthful. Just like my time at Govinda’s all those years ago, I come away from Goodness Gracious every time feeling blessed, nurtured and a little bit healed. And I walk away feeling that the world is a good place after all.

 

Goodness Gracious Cafe: 3 Conn St, Yandina. 

Opening Hours

Mon – Fri  8:00am – 4:00pm

Saturday  7:00am – 2:00pm & Sunday  7:00am – 1:00pm

(This post is part of a series of fortnightly reviews by Josephine Moon and Ashley Jubinville of healthy places to eat on the Sunshine Coast.)

 

Kunara — a health foodie’s dream

Dear friends,

As Australia’s first foodie fiction author, I take my position seriously and therefore I have decided to make the ultimate sacrifice for you and eat my way around the Sunshine Coast in order to let you know what’s out there. No, please, no need to thank me. It’s my service to you 😉 To keep my spirits boosted during this obviously arduous task, I’ve enlisted the assistance of my friend, Kitchen Coach Ashley Jubinville (of the amazing “bee cake” fame). Together, we will eat on your behalf.

The obvious place to start is at Kunara, the organic superstore that is fast becoming the power centre of what the Sunshine Coast does best: health. Not only is there the organic supermarket itself, but organic cotton clothing, an organic hair salon and day spa, a holistic vet, holistic doctors, organic garden centre, organic butcher and more on the way.

In the cafe you’ll find everything a food sensitive soul would want: coconut milk cappuccinos, paleo chocolate desserts, golden turmeric mylk, vegan pastries and more.

One of the most delightful things about Kunara’s cafe is the outdoor seating that is situated within their garden shop, with the sound of the natural (and spectacular) water feature nearby. It’s a tranquil little space and we both agree it’s rather special. The other thing we particularly loved today was the gluten free spinach and feta roll. Wow! (If you’re not gluten free you won’t understand how exciting this is. For me, I’ve been gluten free for twenty-five years and this is the first one of these I’ve seen in that time. Trust me, it’s a big deal.) Ashley and I are strictly gluten free and to stumble across one of these was a first for both of us. And it didn’t disappoint. Go get one!

And for a bit of trivia, Kunara even features in The Beekeeper’s Secret.

Until next time,

Jo x