Prasad’s Karen Pride Comes Clean About Cleansing

As the owner of a health food cafe I get asked quite often about why I chose to open Prasad, how I became interested in health food and what my personal diet is like. A common and reasonable assumption is that I adhere to a vegan or raw diet and want to provide vegan food for others. While there was a time in my life when I was a strict vegan, believing that everybody should eat the same way as I did, my philosophy has evolved greatly over the years, expanding while simultaneously simplifying.

My thoughts on food and diet are vast; It is a subject I adore and could talk about for hours, yet when I begin to answer the question about why I created Prasad I always refer back to the winter of 2005 when I did my very first cleanse.

It was my first year living in Portland. I was 23 years old, a broke pastry chef and student consuming a mostly vegan diet that wasn’t exactly horrible but did contain loads of sugar, white flour, and packaged Trader Joe’s foods. While I have always been fairly healthy and fit, I had very little understanding of how my body really felt. That winter an ad for a 2-week guided cleanse grabbed my attention and although we could barely afford it my boyfriend and I signed up for the cleanse. We purchased a Jack LaLanne juicer and committed to a variety of cleansing practices for the next two weeks.

We made some awful juices with too much beet and ginger, steamed tons of vegetables, learned to eat salads with only apple cider vinegar for dressing, drank garlic, lemon and olive oil for breakfast, put castor oil on our chests and dry brushed in the evenings, among other cleansing rituals. It was weird but we were committed. We pushed through every step of the cleanse determined to do it right.

During those two weeks my body changed; it felt and looked different. My mind was less cloudy and my energy level ebbed and flowed as my body adjusted to the diet. My skin became clearer than ever. But the biggest change was that I began to really feel my body for the first time.

I started to recognize cravings and realized that I could guide my energy levels with what I choose to put in my body. It didn’t mean that coffee, whiskey, cookies and fried onion rings (some personal favorites) had to be banished forever from my life, but I could finally understand what difference I would feel in consuming these items.

After years of experiments and cleansing diets, I now have a diet that works well for me. It is broad and open-minded, filled with loads of fresh, organic, nutrient-rich food. It also holds space for dining at all the great Portland restaurants, enjoying local breweries and occasionally throwing dinner parties so extravagant they are guaranteed to compromise my yoga practice the following day.

Prasad was created out of my love for food and restaurants, along with the dream of sharing nourishing food with people that will make them feel good. In my cafe I want to provide food that is simple and cleansing for customers to partake in daily or whenever they feel the desire or need. Over time, I hope that the meals people enjoy at Prasad will lead to explorations in their own diets.

Curious about cleansing? Join Prasad for a summer cleanse this July. This 4-day program comes complete with fresh juices, smoothies and a guide for personal cleansing with all sorts of options to customize the cleanse for your own needs. Discounts at Yoga Pearl will also be offered for the opportunity to revitalize your body and mind, inside and out. Details available at the Prasad website mid-June.

Karen Pride is the proud owner of Prasad. When not cooking or eating, she can be found exploring her interests in photography, music, yoga and community building.


  1. Kay morse says:

    Thank you for the lovely meals that I come
    In for or take out 5 Ish times per week !
    I will sign up for your summer cleanse
    And I love the studio face lift

    I asked My friend kathi who owns Portland picks magazine to call to interview for an article

    Anyway my twin mary and I love our sister time each week in your healthy enriching oasis



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