Beaming, a new hub for healthful eating, opens at La Plaza La Jolla center

‘Beaming’ superfood cafe offers everything from acai bowls to salads and gluten-free cookies

If there is one thing Beaming owner Lisa Odenweller hopes to impart to customers of her “organic superfood café” it is the concept of food as medicine.

“Quite frankly, sugar is the devil,” Odenweller confides Sept. 14, during the opening of her fifth Beaming location at La Plaza La Jolla shopping center at Wall Street and Girard Avenue.

She noted the copious amount of hidden sugar in the average American diet — in processed foods, but also in seemingly healthier options such as fruit and most gluten-free products, the latter of which typically contain either sugar-rich potato or tapioca starches. Instead, Beaming uses flax, hemp and chia seeds in its cookies and breads, which are high in fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids. “I wanted a chocolate chip banana bread that I could feel good giving to my kids,” said the mother of three, who opened her first Beaming location in Del Mar, at the end of 2012.

While some green juices can contain as many as two apples per glass, Odenweller keeps the fruit in Beaming juices at an absolute minimum — if using it at all, primarily for flavor.

Beaming also offers acai bowls made with sprouted almond milk for sweetness and, instead of bananas or dates, Beaming’s low-glycemic smoothies also contain yacón (Peruvian ground apple), which contains a form of fructose that, while sweet, is not metabolized in the digestive tract, and low in calories.

“Yacón has like this molasses-y flavor, but it’s a zero on the glycemic index,” Odenweller said. “It doesn’t spike insulin levels.”

Some Beaming smoothies get their creaminess from avocado — a popular dessert and smoothie ingredient in some parts of Asia, Mexico and Africa.

“Many people at first say, ‘An avocado smoothie?’ But when they have it they realize it tastes, I think, even better,” Odenweller said.

Beaming promotes and offers organic superfood cleanses over juice-only cleanses, as they can deprive the body of nutrients, calories, protein and fiber a person needs to thrive, said Odenweller, whose menu is largely based on the book “Crazy Sexy Diet” by Kris Carr.

Earlier this year, Odenweller opened three Beaming locations in the Los Angeles area, including those in Brentwood, Santa Monica and West Hollywood.

Also announced at La Plaza: On Sept. 14 La Plaza announced that in the coming months local landscape photographer Jeff Mitchum will open a 2,724-square-foot fine art gallery on the ground level of La Plaza. Mitchum also has galleries at the Bellagio and MGM Grand hotels in Las Vegas.

A former National Geographic photographer, his work has been featured at the Smithsonian Institute and the J. Paul Getty Museum.