Cafe Gratitude is a California (of course) vegan restaurant, part of a mini-chain of six, that endeavors to serve up “sunshine and rainbows” with its food orders.

Customers are asked a positive-focused question of the day before orders are taken, such as “What is it you love about your life?”

Entrees are named to reflect the theme: “I am Accepting” (a bowl of deconstructed “sushi” with raw kale, cucumber, avocado, nori and fresh herbs with a choice of quinoa or brown rice mixed with a spicy wasabi ginger sauce topped with sprouts) and “I Am Extraordinary” (a “B.L.T.” sandwich with romaine, sliced tomato, avocado and crispy chipotle-maple coconut instead of bacon).

“‘A sense of constructive engagement with the world is the real product they sell,’ says regular Craig Wright, a playwright and former ‘Six Feet Under’ writer. ‘The food is just a delivery system. But it’s a great delivery system.’” (The New York Times, July 21, 2011, “Power Lunch with a Side of Homilies,” by Deborah Schoeneman.)

Founder Cary Mosier espouses the concept of “sacred commerce,” described as “merging spirituality with business….The idea that a workplace can be a transformative environment.” Or as one customer stated: “My day tends to get shifted in a really positive way.”

To some, such a concerted effort to focus on the aspirational may seem silly or inconsequential; I beg to differ. Emotions often follow the focus of your thoughts, and the frequency of smiles has been correlated with longevity and health. Your thoughts are one of the few things you truly can control.

Closing quote:

“Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.” — Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948)