This New Cafe Chain Is Like a Buzzier, 100 Percent Anti-Inflammatory Panera

Dr. Smood cafe
Photos: Courtesy of Dr Smood

Sometimes, simply grabbing a quick bite to eat can feel like you're navigating a minefield of inflammation-inducing bombs. Whether you're trying to track down a sandwich with gluten-free bread or attempting to find out whether your salad's coated in a dairy-based dressing, there comes a point where you might wonder why, exactly, eating healthy can be so much work.

And while wellness-conscious cafés are more popular than ever, one new arrival is making the fact-finding process positively effortless: Dr Smood.

Dr. Etti Ben-Zion
Dr. Etti Ben-Zion

The idea came to Danish business developer Rene Sindlev and his wife, Patrizia Manici Sindlev, when they were living in Denmark and feeling frustrated by the lack of healthy, grab-and-go restaurants. So, they decided to not only open their own—in Miami—but to also make it healthier than anything they'd seen before. Step one? The couple recruited holistic nutritionist and healer Dr. Etti Ben-Zion to spearhead the menu.

"The concept was for everything to be anti-inflammatory," Dr. Ben-Zion says. "That means 80 percent of your diet should come from plants, which is why our products are 80 percent plant-based." That's not all: From juices and salads to sandwiches and snacks (all organic, natch), they wanted every menu item to be as nutrient-dense as possible.

Clearly, the Sindlevs were on to something. In just two years, Dr Smood has gone from one location to five in two cities (the other being New York, where three locations opened within a two-month span)—and four more are on the way this summer and fall.

Here, Dr. Ben-Zion shares more details of what goes into the ultra-healthy, super-delicious offerings—at this rate, a Dr Smood may be opening near you sooner than you think.

Here are four ways Dr Smood is changing healthy eating on the go.

Dr. Smood cafe

1. Everything is dairy-free

Dr Smood is a completely dairy-free zone, opting instead for homemade almond, cashew, and Brazil nut milks.

You'll find them in 15 different items, ranging from smoothies and lattes to sweets like maca chia pudding and cacao mylk (their version features Brazil nut milk blended with cacao nibs, cacao powder, vanilla powder, and Himalayan salt).

Dr. Smood coffee

2. The coffee is low in acidity and high in antioxidants

Instead of your average cup of joe, Dr Smood uses white coffee beans. "White coffee originated in Yemen thousands of years ago," Dr. Ben-Zion explains. "[Farm workers] didn't have time to roast the coffee for very long, so they lightly toasted it instead. This gives it a cream color, instead of the dark brown roasted coffee has."

The upside? Dr. Ben-Zion claims white coffee is lower in acidity that black coffee, making it easier on the digestive system. (Though not all scientists back up this idea.) "It's also very high in polyphenols, which are very high in antioxidants," Dr. Ben-Zion says.

But Dr Smood didn't stop there. The brand actually created its own coffee formula, infusing the beans with Hawaj—a combination of Yemeni spices, like turmeric and cumin, that are said to be anti-inflammatory, energizing, and good for digestion. Oh, and of course you won't find a bag of refined sugar hiding behind the counter—coconut palm sugar is used instead for anything that requires a little sweetening up. (Your move, Starbucks.)

Dr. Smood sandwich

3. The sandwiches won't put you into a coma

You might be surprised to find a sandwich menu at Dr Smood, but don't be fooled—they aren't made with your average loaf of whole wheat.

"We created a special 'performance bread' that's only made with four ingredients: millet flakes, spelt flour, water, and salt—that's it," Dr. Ben-Zion says. "It won't spike your blood sugar and isn't heavy with carbs, so that way, you won't feel like you want to take a nap after eating it."

Pair one with a green juice or "booster"—waters infused with ingredients such as turmeric, chlorophyll, maca, and spirulina—and you might find your 3 p.m. crashes are suddenly history.

Dr. Smood supplements

4. There are supplements on hand, too

Dr Smood also formulated its own line of supplements to address six common wellness concerns: General health, immunity, energy, beauty, power, and detox. Many of the menu items are labeled with these same benefits, which is helpful when you're choosing to what to order.

And since you might be overwhelmed by all the incredible options—organic tiramisu or cinnamon roll?—that kind of wellness Rx is just what the doctor ordered.

If you don't live near a Dr Smood, here's how to build your own ultimate anti-inflammatory meal. An even easier hack: Use this inflammation-busting oil at every meal.

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