Food is so powerful, “the food you eat can be either the safest & most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” - Ann Wigmore
At What’s Good Wellness, it is definitely not the latter. At their eatery, What’s Fresh Eatery, food is a part of the healing process. It aims to create a balance within the body of its consumer through a fusion of nutrition, mind, and body with traditional Chinese medicine, food cures, Chinese Herbal medicine and acupuncture.
My visit to What’s Good was nothing short of pleasant. I spent part of the afternoon chatting with Chef Charleston about food, health, and how traditional Chinese medicine switched the way he thought about and prepared food for himself and for others.
He reaffirmed in my believe that when cooking we should think about nutrition and not just taste—and that it is possible to have both. Let me tell you more about how we can use food not only to feed ourselves but to use it to restore and optimize our vitality!
At What’s Fresh Eatery, every dish is influenced by traditional Chinese medicine, which focuses around eating seasonally, and eating organically and locally. Executive Chef Charleston cooks fresh, nutritious breakfasts and lunches using organic, vine-ripened fruits and vegetables, and proteins from locally grown farms.
He also has his own hydroponic garden of sprouts and herbs to further enhance the flavours and presentation of his gastronomy. This way he is able to deliver only the utmost nutrition to his patients and customers.
Chef Charleston wants his patients to see and use food as a source of medicine.
“When diet is wrong, medicine is no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” - Ayurvedic Proverb
The food here is absolutely exquisite. This eatery is such a gem and I’ve never come across a cafe quite like it. Chef Charleston has accomplished something remarkable: to make healthy food taste really good and wholesome!
At What’s Fresh, you don’t feel bad that you “are eating out”; quite the opposite actually, you feel revitalized after eating a meal here.
I had the pleasure to have a trio prepared specially by Chef Charleston. It was a very surreal experience. I felt like I was in a high-end restaurant enjoying a tasting menu.
Charleston’s background as a chef has allowed him to bring in his knowledge of fine cuisine to transform dishes from just tasting good to being nutritious as well. He proves that food doesn’t have to be greasy, fried, or covered in butter to taste delicious.
If you ever doubted that elevated cuisine could be healthy and taste good, then you need to have your next lunch at What’s Fresh Eatery.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
An important component of health in traditional Chinese medicine is a proper diet. This means that foods are categorized into different temperatures (from hot to cold) and flavours (from sweet to spicy to salty) as they influence the body in specific ways. Balance of the flavours and temperatures here is key in order to avoid creating an imbalance in the body.
There are also foods that are limited or omitted as they can cause inflammation and deficiencies in the body. Thus, Chef Charleston prepares his dishes to be gluten-free, dairy free, wholesome, and organic as possible.
He prepares his own bone broth, ferments his own Kimchi, and makes his own coconut milk yogurt and seed bread. (All which are delicious).
His menu changes seasonally as traditional Chinese medicine dictates that each season represents an organ, which must be fed certain types of food (of that season) to allow the body to develop immunity during that time of year.
Each season also indicates what percentage of a meal will be raw versus cooked. For example, for spring, 40% of a dish will be raw and 60% cooked. This is done in order to temper your body to match the temperature outside and thus create a perfect bodily balance.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, there’s much more to know about traditional Chinese medicine and food but hopefully this serves to peak your interest as it did mine.
My What's Good Experience
At first when I walked in I was greeted with a smile and a personal greeting from Chef Charleston. I would later find out in our interview that he and the rest of his staff make it their goal to know their patients by name.
His reason being that he wants to create a feeling of home and welcome-ness in his clinic/eatery.
It’s really a place of tranquility with an eco-friendly and empowering atmosphere with numerous quotes surrounding the walls and doors or the clinic and eatery.
One of the most impactful quotes I came across during my visit was: “When “i” is replaced with “we” even illness becomes wellness.” - Malcolm X
As you walk in you will be offered some water or this lemongrass, ginger, maple tea. The tea is absolutely refreshing and delicious.
And that’s how my wellness journey started at What’s Good.
Charleston and I chatted about his clinic and eatery and of course Chinese medicine as I mentioned above. Then we shared similar thoughts on the much-debated food and fast food industry, as well as our hopes and dreams for the future of food—which will hopefully be at least 60% organic and real.
He showed me around the clinic and introduced me to his plants, especially SpongeBob—he’s a pineapple plant Charleston is growing! He told me I would have to check back with him in a year for when it’s finally grown.
I bet its going to be the tastiest pineapple ever!
After my conversation with Charleston, he invited me to his kitchen where I got to see him prepare my meal.
I’ve never had the pleasure to have a chef specifically cook for me so I felt extremely fortunate at that moment.
It was all fresh food, prepared right there in front of my eyes. You can’t get more real than that.
I was served a “trio” as a mentioned before which is like a mini tasting menu. You can combine three dishes—a salad, a soup, and a main.
I had the miso bone broth, the rice paper rolls, and the mini burgers. It was by far one of the best and healthiest meals I have eaten outside of my own kitchen!
You could definitely taste that the difference of the grass-fed beef. And the seed bread added such an earthy and nutty flavour; you didn’t even miss a regular bun!
What's Next for What's Good
Charleston has big dreams for his eatery and I cannot wait for him to make them a reality. The food here is truly special and I think more people need to experience it. I think an expansion is definitely in the horizon!
In the meantime you can visit the What’s Fresh Eatery Mondays to Fridays from 8am to 3pm.
They will also be at The Milton Farmers Market this season!
You can also visit their website to learn more about What's Good Wellness Clinic and What's Fresh Eatery: www.whatsgoodwellness.ca