Last weekend my family took an outing to Tacoma. We spent the morning playing at the Children’s Museum and wanted to grab lunch. We were tired of the same chain restaurants and we really can’t “try new things” because it is too risky with our food allergies.

I decided to check my “Find Me Gluten Free” app and I came across a restaurant called Viva. It was entirely gluten free, organic and vegan! We had to go and try it.

We walked into a quaint café with vibrant walls bursting with amazing art work. We were seated right away and pleasantly surprised with the menu selections. There was something for every price point. We decided to order the nachos, kombucha, cauliflower wings, mac and cheese. We ordered the mac and cheese for the kids to share; to our surprise they were more interested in our nachos and cauliflower wings. We were more than happy to share with them and dug into what was left of their mac and cheese.

For dessert we had chocolate ice cream and  brownie a la mode. The vanilla tasted like true vanilla bean and the chocolate had a creamy, delicious flavor. The ice cream is made from cashews and I could taste the nutty flavor. Absolutely decadent. Did I mention that it was also all organic?

We left stuffed and satisfied. You see, this was the first time we were ever able to order ice cream at a restaurant as a family. My daughter and I are lactose intolerant and in the past I had to walk her outside and distract her while the boys had ice cream. This time, all 4 of us sat at a table out to eat and enjoyed it together.

I was so happy and ecstatic I wanted to reach out to the restaurant and say thank you. I sent the owner, Nancy, an email telling her how much we loved it. She called me personally the same day and we chatted. I wanted the opportunity to meet her in person and hear her story. She is a lovely and strong woman!

She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in her early 20’s and was told that by 50 she would no longer be able to walk. After receiving injections that she found out could ruin her joint she decided to change her diet. Even without her doctors support she knew there had to be a more natural way and she ended up with a vegan diet. Her husband is gluten sensitive and that is why they wanted a vegan and gluten free restaurant. Living with food values and believing that food is a natural healer, organic was also important to them. They were able to combine all three without compromising an affordable price tag.

Nancy and her husband do not take a paycheck for owning the restaurant and this is how they keep the menu prices down. They believe in paying it forward and want delicious, nutritious and healthy food to be accessible to everyone. They have truly nailed it.

Nancy showed that doctor by climbing Mt. Rainer at the age of 50. She truly believes in the healing properties of food, as do I. Health starts in the gut.

I also had the pleasure of speaking with the Chef. He was so kind and down to earth. He shared his story with me as well. He has suffered from IBS for the last 10 years while taking several medications and none of them working. Last year he changed his diet to vegan and mostly gluten free. He lost over 30 pounds and has had no IBS symptoms.

If you are gluten free, vegan or just love real food- I highly recommend you go and check out Viva if you live near the Puget Sound. You will not regret it. If you are not vegan or gluten free, you will still love the food.

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Have you gotten a copy of my E-books, Cold Weather Comforts or Living Freely Weekly Volume One?
They both contain delicious, healthy recipes that are made with easy to find ingredients. Both also have a grocery list and meal plan to make things easy!

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