A pharm fresh take on clean eating

Kasandra Parker

With the growing consciousness surrounding food quality in today’s society, it’s no surprise that San Antonio is joining the movement. Now more than ever, restaurants with local, farm fresh foods are popping up in San Antonio to promote a farm to fork eating experience. No restaurant does quality food better than Chef Elizabeth’s, Pharm Table. Vibrant, local, fresh and seasonal foods constitute the tasty meals on Pharm Table’s menu, while the agua frescas, matcha chai lattes and homemade iced teas cleanse and aid in healthy digestion.

“What we do is put food on the table and then we really care about what happens inside your body after you eat it,” states Chef Elizabeth.

Pharm Table promotes a culture unique from other farm-to-fork eateries because the emphasis is not only on food quality but also on its medicinal properties. This medical approach to food is also Chef Elizabeth’s inspiration for her playful spin on the restaurant’s name. “Our food is a pharmacy. It’s our medicine cabinet, and that’s where most pharmaceuticals come from; they come from botanicals,” states Chef Elizabeth.

Chef Elizabeth also manages to incorporate culture into her food through the holistic, medicinal practice of Ayurveda. “Ayurveda does not take a one size fits all approach to nutrition, and that’s kind of what drives me crazy about Paleo, Keto, even raw vegan, etc. It’s that I don’t think it’s fair or correct when a group of people or a particular doctrine wants to dictate to the masses that this is good for everybody ‘cause this is just not the case,” states Chef Elizabeth. Ayurveda is concerned with the universe and how it connects to people. A school of thought in Ayurveda is how people’s bodies are made up of five different elements. People are composed of either more or less of those elements making a person’s constitution completely unique to them. This could be the five senses of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing, and the organs linked with those senses; and the five elements of creation which are: Earth, air, fire, water and ether.

“I think that Ayurveda celebrates diversity, it celebrates the fact that we all have different nutritional needs, and it also is a very sound practice that has been codified for 5,000 years,” Stated Chef Elizabeth.

According to Ayurveda, the summer season is dominated by water and fire and is the most aggressive season of the year. Chef Elizabeth’s menu is created to pacify the fire and water by creating a balance through foods that are sweet, bitter and astringent. Some of the sweet treats on Pharm Table’s menu for the summer season contain beets, sweet potato, carrots, coconut, avocado and lime juice. The bitter foods are marked by dark leafy greens and all types of herbs, and the astringent foods on the menu contain okra, beans, cabbages and tumeric. “When I am building the menu with the team, we’re looking at what’s in season and then what falls into those categories of qualities for the season,” states Chef Elizabeth.

In its four years of operation, Pharm Table has been able to survive the uncertainties of many people skeptical about the world of clean eating and medical approaches to food. “When I launched Pharm Table, I couldn’t really say the ‘A’ word (Ayurveda), and today people are coming and asking me about it and they want to know more about it, so it’s been really interesting to see that organic natural evolution,” states Chef Elizabeth.

The growing consciousness surrounding food quality and emphasis on living a good quality of life has thrusted Pharm Table to unprecedented popularity. Pharm Table has been featured in several well-known publications inside and outside of San Antonio and has some treats expected to be sold at Whole Foods Market very soon. Despite Pharm Table’s growing popularity, Chef Elizabeth’s passion for education-based eating and community involvement is always a priority. When asked about what she hopes people take away from her food philosophy, Chef Elizabeth states, “I hope that it makes them curious and it makes them want to learn more.” More than just a trendy restaurant filled with delicious food, Pharm Table is an engaging and educational environment promoting health and wellness. It is also filled with a wonderful group of supportive and community driven people making Pharm Table a comfortable and exciting adventure. Keep an eye out for a special collaboration with Chef Elizabeth on The Paisano’s YouTube.