Celebrate Nutrition developed out of Leanne Ernster’s desire to revive the lost art of healthy eating and families gathering around the table. Owner Leanne Ernster grew up around healthy concepts. Her mother and grandmother were both nurses, and the women demonstrated a great appreciation for the world of hospitality and a nurturing home. The family always ate really healthy, but in the 90s her parents, David and Donna Madore, took it to the next level.That heightened awareness had Ernster considering a career in the medical field, but a few loops and turns – from Vancouver all the way to Japan – and a defining moment job shadowing a hospital dietician altered the family nursing tradition.
“I’m always clear to say, I appreciate conventional medicine, but I see my mission as keeping people out of the hospital through disease prevention,” says Ernster.
The first patient she visited with the medical dietician showed signs of intense constipation. The goal was to place him on a low-sodium diet.
“They gave him Jell-O,” says Ernster, and she thought, “This isn’t the world I want to get into.”
Preventative nutrition became her passion. She attended George Fox University and graduated with a degree in Health and Human Performance, with an interdisciplinary collective of nutrition and athletic training classes.
“All these (disciplines) were fascinating to me, but as we know our diet is over 80% of how the body heals and restores,” says Ernster.After college she fulfilled a dream to live in Japan. She taught English for a year in the mountain village Matsukawa, Nagano. The Japanese filled her tiny kitchen and the pull-up cellar in the floor with their garden crops. Their generous gifts garnered Ernster a greater appreciation for local, fresh, and fermented foods.
Upon returning to the Northwest, she attended a year-long intensive fitness-training program through Ashmead College and received her certification as a personal trainer through the American Council of Exercise. She went on to complete a plant-based, nutrient-rich, chef school at Culinary Awakenings in Portland, Ore. while also working at the Firstenburg Community Center – assisting gym members with weight lifting – and running the café at Whole Foods Market. In each of her positions she fielded nutrition questions which fueled the catalyst to provide credible and inspiring nutrition coaching.
With imagination fully engaged, she founded Engedi, a healthy-minded, organic espresso and real-fruit smoothie cafe just inside the doors of US Digital. The unique twist of Engedi’s hospitality is that it shares 100% of every penny earned with the 34 local non-profit organizations housed in the same building. Engedi is a partnership with her father, and owner of the building, David Madore.
Leanne Ernster is a continuous student of good health and she has hit on exactly what America needs.“Eating well doesn’t have to be about restricting calories, measuring waistlines, prescribing rubbery foods or depriving oneself of enjoyable food experiences says Ernster. “I knew the whole counting calorie thing wasn’t for me, and I knew I didn’t want to be a chef per se, or caterer,” and she doesn’t sell bars or shakes or supplements.
To me, nutrition is not even about food, or cooking, or even longevity. For me, my heart for nutrition comes from relationships. I love people and I think the saddest thing of all is when people die from something preventative.”
Leanne Ernster understands that no one begins to eat healthy overnight, but they can be inspired to begin. Last year she taught a series of nutrition classes, and this year she hopes to reach a larger audience through videos to be released soon on COUV.COM.
Her contagious, yet soft-spoken enthusiasm is focused on encouraging healthy life-changes. When asked how she will know when she’s succeeded in her mission, she replies, “I already have.”
Open to the public
Hours: Mon-Thu: 6:30am-5:30pm, Fri: 8am-4pm
1400 NE 136th Ave (Inside US Digital)
Vancouver, WA 98684