Tahini & Honey Porridge

So as I went to make my morning porridge I realised, with shock horror, that I was out of nut butter…

Just a couple of days earlier I’d been talking to an Israeli about the wonders of tahini and that it goes with everything. He then told me that it’s even great for sweet things when combined with honey, and so, I gave it a try.

The tahini just gives the oats a lovely creamy dimension and I’ll definitely be doing this more often (as if I don’t go through tahini quickly enough already).

This is a simple porridge which can, as always, be jazzed up with different nuts, seeds, dried fruit, fresh fruit, coconut, granola, the list is endless!

Ingredients:
1/3 c Rolled Oats
1 Banana
1 heaped tsp Tahini
1 tsp Honey (local honey whenever possible)

Optional:
Prunes
Sea view

Boil the kettle and add the oats to a saucepan along with 1 cup of boiling water. Slice in the banana and turn on the heat. The type of oats can make cooking times vary but just keep an eye on the pan and stir at least every minute. When the oats have soaked up the water and are the right consistency for your liking, stir in your tahini. Pour into your bowl and then drizzle over the honey and any other toppings. Bon appetite.

Travel: Uluwatu & Canggu, Bali

These two towns are not far from Denpasar airport in Bali so can make a great first or last destination on Bali. As I spent so long in Ubud, I just spent a few days in each. I found them to have a similar sort of vibe: relaxed, surfer town with a good mixture of tourists and locals. I recommend both for some lovely chill-out time to enjoy the sun, the waves, and soak up the atmosphere.

Uluwtau
This place has really beautiful beaches which lay in between and underneath huge rock. You often have to make extremely steep conquests down to the beaches and may then dread the climb back up… But you can do it! A friend and I walked, or tried to walk from Padang Padang Beach but as the tide was out we had to walk along the road for the first half and then came down through Impossibles Beach where we then walked on to Bingin – such beautiful scenery.

image

Food:
The Bukit Cafe:
This place is amazing. I ordered the veggie burger with sweet potato fries (my absolute obsession atm!) and my friend got the almond chicken salad. Mine was very nice but she absolutely loved hers! We both had green juices too and even though we were so full we just could not resist the dessert and wow was it worth it. I had the raw snickers cheesecake and it was one of the best raw desserts I have ever, ever had.

image

Nula Bowls at Single Fin (there’s also one of these in Canggu, Ubud & Seminyak)

Single Fin is a really popular spot. It’s a bar on a cliff overlooking the vast ocean so you can spot the surfers and catch up with people from all over the world. They serve pizzas and whatnot in the restaurant but also have a Nula Bowls pop-up which serves acai and smoothie bowls. I have to say I think this place is really overpriced; I guess you’re paying for the view. I get the feeling that the business is really about making money rather than having a true desire to produce good quality, healthy food. It’s fine and nice that there is that option other than the pizza.

Muzz restaurant:
The menu here excited me a lot and it’s open as a restaurant into the night which is nice, however I only managed to get there for breakfast. On my first visit I had a delicious smoothie, eggs florentine and also a madras cacao ball which oddly enough was covered in curry powder… It was yummy. The next day I got the acai bowl. My first visit certainly had not been cheap but this acai bowl was so expensive and I have no idea why. Again, overpriced but the menu was very inventive; I’d recommend coming for dinner to enjoy the ambiance and try some of the evening dishes that sound great.

Land’s End:
Small cafe opposite where I was staying. It advertises itself as a healthy, wholefood cafe. Very simple food that doesn’t take much effort, yet has a high price tag. Still, always nice to have the option of hummus and smoothies etc.

Yoga:
Morning Light
I really enjoyed my class here. Firstly, the open air studio looking out to the ocean is so picturesque. The class was taught by a man trained in iyengar so was very focused on alignment which I think is extremely useful every now and then. He was lovely and ended up riding me up to Muzz on his motorbike where we chatted over smoothies. The best thing about the class is that you get a free cold coconut included in the 120,000 rupiah class price.

image

Yoga Searcher
This is within the same establishment at Muzz restaurant. I turned up for the 7:30pm candle lit yoga class to be then told that the website is not kept up to date and the schedule on there is incorrect, so there was no class. I then had the problem of getting back to my accommodation without a motorbike (as a super kind local woman had dropped me there), but luckily for me the lovely receptionist told me he was just about to go home and would drop me back to my hotel on his bike. So, if you want to give this place a chance you must visit first to see the class timetable, and you probably want to get your own motorbike, unless you’re as lucky as me and manage to meet the kindest people who continually offer to take you places!

Canggu
Although the beaches aren’t as beautiful, Canggu is wonderful and I found it to have far more delicious food, both traditional Indonesian food and more modern health focused cafes. I really enjoyed my stay in Canggu with the highlight being my last night there, and of travelling as a whole, when I sat at Perenenan Beach, just next to the main Echo Beach, with all the locals eating the delicious street food and watching the sun set. I was surrounded by families, couples, children, friends, all sorts of people, all laughing and smiling and enjoying being together. I found the Balinese people to be ever so friendly and it was a privilege to spend my last night sharing the special sunset together.

image

Food:
Oma Jamu
The best!!!! Wow did I love this place. I met someone at yoga who recommended this spot to me but it was a little far back from the beach… Can you guess it… She gave me a lift on he bike on her way home. This warung offers a daily vegan buffet for just 35,000 rupiah which is super cheap but then also has an incredible menu. I ordered the wakame salad with miso dressing. The salad was fresh and crisp and the dressing was thick and creamy, the perfect combination. After that, I was so excited by the menu that I ordered a second meal: traditional Indonesian black sticky rice porridge with coconut and banana – delicious. I loved my meal so much that I asked the owner if she did cooking classes. The beautiful, modest chef was so taken a back and flattered, she just laughed and showed me her tiny kitchen and said she couldn’t possibly.

image

Sunday organic market at Samadi
When I found out about this market I knew I had to get there, so when Sunday came I walked for an hour to get there and I loved it. The market is on every week and has stalls of fresh fruit and veg, packs of nuts and seeds, oils, crackers, pesto, chutney, energy balls, cakes (of all kinds, sugar free, diary free, gluten free and also the usual jam packed with sugar and deliciousness type!). Also there’s some organic cosmetics, jewellery, clothes and swimwear. It’s just great. Samadi is a cafe itself which is open everyday and serves some lovely Indian dishes. I ordered the fermented rice pancakes with Indian chutneys.

image

Shady Shack
This place is very popular and is easy to get to as it’s close to the beach. The seating is mostly outside within lovely trees and plants. I went here straight away as my friend has been and told me how much she completely loved it. However, I have to say that I was massively unimpressed with my cauli rice bowl. I had such high expectations but it totally lacked flavour. My raw lemon cheesecake just made things worse. Whereas the raw snickers at Buckit Cafe was one of the best ever, this was one of the worst raw dessert I’ve had. Even still, I trusted my friend’s judgement and returned to the cafe the next day. This time I ordered the Cacao Dream smoothie bowl and to my delight, it was great; thick, rich and oh so chocolatey. I loved all the many toppings and the cashew butter tasted fresh and homemade.

Yoga:
The Practice
This studio was even more impressive than the last! The whole structure was made of bamboo and was totally open, overlooking beautiful, green rice terraces. The breeze wafted through the structure during our hip hop yoga class. It was so fun and a great reminder not to take things too seriously. I’m sure Jay-Z would be happy to know he got our downward dogs shaking left and right. This class was pricy at 140,000 but I really enjoyed the experience. If you’re going to be in Canggu a while you can buy a class pass, like all other studios, which would make it cheaper.

image

Serenity
I didn’t manage to get round to trying this studio but I heard very good things about it and I would have loved to try the high flying class where you’re suspended up in the air so get to do inversions without the pressure on your head. Also, it’s only 100,000 rupiah for a class here so it is a cheaper option than any others I found.

Samadi
This cafe which holds the organic Sunday market also does yoga classes. Again, I didn’t have the time to try it but they come highly recommended. The focus here is on ashtanga so I certainly doubt you’ll find any hip hop classes! Yoga and brunch here would make a lovely combo.

Travel: Ubud, Bali

I’m very much near the end of this amazing 4 month travelling trip around South East Asia. Although travel has been the absolute wondorous whirlwind of adventure that one had hoped, I thought it would be nice to take more of a ‘holiday’ at the end. No matter how positively life-changing travel is, it is also exhausting. So I thought what better place to come than Bali, and in particular, I’ve spent the majority of my time in Ubud, known for its spiritual, holistic, healing ways.

I left revived with feathers in my hair and a spring in my step; I debloated that upset tummy of mine even though I was eating cake and choccy most days (pure cacao and vegan, wholefood treats that is of course) and best of all I was rested and regained some balance.

Accommodation:

Hostel Ubud: cheap, clean, very central. I stayed here for my my first night and it was perfect.

Neema Problema: this is where I made a home for myself and I loved it. The location isn’t ideal as its about a 20-25 minute walk out of town but I stayed there as it’s 5-10 minutes from the Yoga Barn. It’s cheap and super simple but the staff make it its absolute best by thoroughly cleaning every day and even our sheets and towels get changed which is such a luxury. Guests are welcome to use the kitchen and they also provide a free pancake for breakfast included in the room rate. Lots of space in the rooms, really nice and social but not in the ‘chug it!’ way; a really chilled vibe with cool people.

Eating:

There are some fantastic cheap, local food spots with a focus on vegetarian, healthy food:

image
Puspa’s Warung
Sopa’s Warung
Dayu’s Warung
: There’s a raw, vegan, gluten free pie; the flavour is mango chai chocolate latte with turmeric and goji berries; buy it, delve into it and let your world change forever.

There are also more upmarket, trendy cafes and restaurants which are sure to impress:

image

Alchemy: I got a build-your-own smoothie bowl here, so so good. I also had some of the organic, cold-pressed juices: nutrient-dense. I’ve been told by a good source that the raw banoffee pie is out of this world.
Earth Food Cafe & Market: good for buying snacks and bits to make yourself in your accommodation and the cafe is yummy, yet pricy.
Bali Buddha: I didn’t actually try the cafe but enjoyed the mart with fresh breads, cakes, dried goods and cosmetics.
Garden Kafe: part of the Yoga Barn – amazing food and the best deal is the family buffet on a Sunday; certainly the best buffet I’ve ever had! This wrap was part of their Ayurvedic menu created for health benefits.

Street food: I love the Indonesian food and there’s lots of stalls selling bits on the street, usually only being bought by the locals. Get in there and sample the good stuff! The sweet, black sticky rice with coconut is amazing.

image

Spa:

Fresh Spa: beautiful staff who treat you so well. Pretty pricy but a bright, open space that’s welcoming.
Skin spa and organic waxing: perhaps the best wax I ever had, real skill and precision with totally organic products that are kind to your skin and the planet.
Jaens spa: really lovely service and I had a nice, relaxing Balinese massage here.

Spirituality:

image

Sacred Healing Spring of Tirta Empul: I took part in a purification ceremony in these special waters which have magical curative properties, helping to cleanse sins, balance energy and provide good fortune.
The Yoga Barn: a wonderful place filled with wonderful people. It has a huge schedule filled with all kinds of yoga. During my time I attended a power yoga, yin, iyengar, a couple of vinyasa classes, a discussion on yoga and self realisation as well as health satsang and a full day workshop on balancing female hormones. On top of all that I ate in the amazing Garden Kafe and met so many interesting and inspiring people. The vibe and community here is great to be a part of and there are so many more wonderful classes I would have gone to with more time (kundalini, therapeutic yoga, kirtan, Tibetan bowl meditation, sound healing etc etc!)

And the rest…

Hike for sunrise: Mt Batur is the popular one which hundreds and hundreds of people get up in the middle of the night to hike up. Tours pick up from Ubud at 2am and make it up for sunrise. Mt Agung is higher and so pickups are around 11-12 and you arrive back around 10am, this is a much tougher hike.
Ecstatic dance: the yoga barn’s most popular event where you can swing, twist, jump and shake to your heart desire! Release and enjoy.
Paradiso cinema: 50,000 (£3) for film which can be redeemed on food & drink. Not your average cinema, modern loungers with comfy cushions and pillows. (Top tip: this is linked with Earth Cafe and you can half price food between 2-4 on Monday’s!)
Rice terraces: beautiful place to get lost and find your way back through meeting a local tending to their crops.
Tegenungan Waterfall: refreshing and powerful. The best tip I can give is to hike to the top and relax there by the palm trees away from all the tourists.

Healthy, happy travels

As it’s holiday season for my friends in the UK, I thought I’d share some simple tips that I go by to keep hold of my healthy lifestyle while travelling. I am currently two and a half months into my backpacking trip through South East Asia and the truth is that here, I simply cannot stick to my usual habits and this may be the case for you too. We’re not made of money and you don’t want every moment to focus on what you are going to eat that day. That being said, you certainly don’t have to throw all your healthy eating habits out of the window. I have made a list of some of the things that I do while travelling in order to help me to feel good without compromising other areas and hopefully they can work for you too, whether you’re holidaying in Spain for a week or taking on a 6 month travelling trip.

1)Be flexible and kind to yourself
I have put this as number one as I truly believe it to be the most important aspect of feeling healthy. This period of travel isn’t going to last forever; when you are back into a routine you can regain your usual healthy eating habits. For now, do the best with what you’ve got by picking your battles

2) Stick to fresh* foods

In terms of street food, which there’s a lot of in Asia, it may not use a particular oil that you like to fry in but it’s being cooked in front of you, this is a lot better than dried, packaged foods that have a crazy long use by date due to all sorts of chemicals and additives.

*by fresh here I don’t necessarily mean raw; food tends to be washed in tap water which in many places, shouldn’t be consumed; cooking food kills bacteria making it less likely to cause any problems.

3) Find out useful phrases such as ‘no sugar’, ‘I’m vegetarian’ and ‘vegetables’

You can simply google translate words like this and present them to stalls and cafes if you don’t feel comfortable saying them.

4) Do your research

I think that most cities now have vegetarian/vegan eateries and health food spots so while you are in more built up areas you can treat yourself to some healthy delights.

5) Take a daily probiotic and multivitamin

Probiotics designed for travel can help fight parasites. When put into a new environment your body may need an extra hand to deal with the new bacteria its faced with. A multivitamin will help top you up on any nutrients your diet may be lacking.

Happy travels!

Simple Mushroom & Bean Pasta

Here is a simple, speedy, satisfying pasta dish that can be made in 5 minutes; that’s less time than you’d spend waiting for a take away. It’s ‘meaty’ due to the combination of mushrooms and beans giving this pasta that kind of dense, full feeling that people get with meat, which makes it a good option for any vegetarian sceptics and those used to eating meat, as well as anyone in need of some veggie-filled comfort food.

Pasta (I used brown rice and sweet potato pasta)
6 Mushrooms
1 large handful Spinach
1 Carrot
1/2 tin Black Beans (or any bean you choose)
2 tsps Tomato Puree
2 tsps Miso Paste
2 cloves Garlic
1 tsp Coconut Oil
1 tbsp Italian Herbs

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Warm the coconut oil then add the sliced garlic to the pan. Add the sliced mushrooms along with the dried mixed herbs. Allow these to cook for about 3 minutes before add the drained, rinsed beans, grated carrot and tomato puree. Allow the mix to cook for another minute before adding the spinach which you can stir through to let wilt into the mix. Turn off the heat and stir in the miso. Add the veg and bean contents to the drained pasta and combine before serving.

Roasted Cauliflower & Chickpeas

I love this dish and use it as an accompaniment to all sorts of salads. Chickpeas are a great source of plant protein and when roasted they become firm and almost crispy, adding a lovely, almost nutty, texture. This is so easy to prepare but with the right spices, it creates something rather special. I always roast a full tin of chickpeas and head of cauliflower then keep leftovers in a airtight container in the fridge and add to my meals the next day.

1 Cauliflower
1 tin Chickpeas
1 tbsp Coconut Oil
Cumin
Turmeric
Paprika

If in England, or another cold country, you will first need to melt the coconut oil. This is easily done by putting into the baking tray while the oven is heating up for a minute or two. Heat it to about 175 degrees. Cut the cauliflower into florets and wash, then add to a baking tray, along with the rinsed chickpeas. Add the spices and use a spoon to ensure everything is coated in oil and spices. I like to add lots of all three because I love the flavours. Leave to cook for 30-40 minutes, perhaps turning the contents over once or twice if you’re close by.

Stock up your store cupboard

It’s a common misperception that healthy eating must be both expensive and time consuming. The main reason that I don’t find this to be the case is because I’ve got most of the ingredients to my meals already in my cupboards, bar the fresh veggies, therefore the meal is actually cheap and easy. I understand that looking at a list of ingredients including oils, herbs and spices etc can look daunting if you don’t have any of these items to begin. This is why I have created a shopping list of what I consider to be the essentials for living a deliciously healthy lifestyle where preparing food is easy and enjoyable. The money used on these items may at first be fairly costly, however it is an investment which will just keep on giving.
Store Cupboard Essentials:

Oats
Brown Rice
Quinoa
Lentils
Miso Paste (unpasteurised)
Tamari
Tahini
Coconut oil
Extra virgin olive oil
Chickpeas
Pumpkin Seeds
Almond butter
Raw Cacao
Almond Milk (or any other non-dairy milk)
Cumin
Paprika
Turmeric
Fresh garlic

I think this is a great selection of essentials that will provide the basis for amazing smoothies, porridge, roasted veg, salad dressings, curries, stir fries and many more. On top of this list you will, of course, need to add the fruit and veggies that you like. I change what fresh foods I get depending on the season, where I’m buying and what catches my eye. In general though, my most used fresh items probably consist of…

Avocado
Spinach
Lemons
Broccoli
Mushrooms
Kale
Peas
Bananas
Carrot
Aubergine / Eggplant
Zucchini / Courgette
Cauliflower

If you feel like you have adequate funds to go beyond the initial list, here are a few other bits that I use a lot of too.

Apple cider vinegar (unpasteurised)
Sesame oil
Black Beans (or any other kinds of beans)
Coconut milk (can)
Chilli flakes
Mixed italian herbs (dried)
Fresh herbs such as basil, coriander, mint, sage.
Chia seeds
Hemp protein
Medjool dates
Buckwheat
Brown Rice Pasta

Green Smoothie Bowl

Last week I arrived home in England. I made a quick decision to take a break from travelling to fly half way across the world to surprise my mum for her 60th birthday; I spent 33 hours travelling on four planes and even with delays and a missed flight, it has been well worth it. It’s amazing being able to spend time with my loved ones and it’s also so great getting back in the kitchen while I’m here. Ever since being home I’ve been cooking pretty much every meal for us.

After being in Asia for 6 weeks I was delighted to get back to my usual eating habits that make me feel so good. During my time travelling, carbs have played a much bigger role in my meals than usual. Carbs aren’t bad but I don’t usually eat them in such a large quantity and certainly not if I’m not doing the exercise to match… which I wasn’t. On top of that, rice, noodles and vegetables are almost always fried; so basically, there was a lot of stodge. This is why I’ve loved being able to use fresh ingredients to make healthy recipes.

I know that lots of my friends who are still at uni are going through a stressful period right now with it being exam time. It’s at times like this when, often, people don’t feel like they have the time or energy to make great dinners in the kitchen. However, this is a also a time when you need nourishment the most! This smoothie recipe is bursting with health and vitality; it’s thick and has so many textures due to the toppings which makes it really interesting and filling, plus, it can be made in 5 minutes.

For anyone needing an extra boost of health, this is for you.

P.S. It tastes delicious!

Ingredients:

1/2 Banana
1/4 Avocado
1 tbsp Coconut Milk
1 large handful of Kale
2 Celery sticks
Coconut Water (amount depends how thick you want it)
(Spirulina, Hemp, Flax – optional)

Possible toppings:
Blueberries
Dried Fig
Chia Seeds
Almond Butter

Add the banana, avocado, coconut milk and celery to the blender and you might want to blend this first depending on your machine. Tear the kale leaves from the stems, wash and add too, along with your chosen superfoods. I have spirulina tablets with me from travelling so I pop six of these in my morning smoothie now. Add a good slosh of coconut water then blend. You may now want to add more coconut water, depending on your desired consistency. Pour the thick smoothie into a bowl and top with blueberries, sliced dried figs, chia seeds and almond butter. This all adds so many different textures to work your way through. Enjoy!

Travel: Kampot, Cambodia

I have found my favourite place. After a month of travelling Vietnam and Laos, we crossed the border into Cambodia. Our first stop was Siem Reap followed by an overnight bus to Sihanoukville (surprisingly comfortable!), then another bus out to Kampot. I’d heard lots of good things about this town and had also read some blogs on things to do/see/eat/drink. During my research I looked, without expectation, to see if there was any yoga in the area and to my surprise there was a whole centre which offered yoga, spa treatments and a vegetarian cafe! I was delighted. Not only that, but the place I was planning on booking us into, due to a recommendation by a friend, happened to be right next door. Everything looked like it would fit into place… and it did.

I was staying at Olly’s Place, where my friend and I shared a bungalow for just $8USD a night (about £5.50). This group of separate straw shacks all lead to the bar and restaurant with lots of comfy chairs, cushions and hammocks all on a dock which backs straight onto the river. It’s total paradise. I spent lots of time relaxing, reading, writing, thinking, chatting, lying, napping, jumping, swimming; feeling very happy and content.

On my first morning I woke up with an early storm then couldn’t get back to sleep so I went for a run which was a really nice way of exploring the surroundings. As soon as the sun came up high enough to hit my face I got very, very hot. Luckily for me though, I was able to plunge straight into the river as soon as I got back and enjoy a beautiful swim, gazing up at blue skies and the surrounding palm trees.

Next door was Banteay Srey, which was closed on the day I arrived (Tuesday) but became almost my home for the following three days. Deva Cafe had some amazing breakfast options such as homemade morning glory flatbreads filled with all kinds of veggies and dips along with different fresh smoothies and juices. For lunch and dinner they serve an array of hot and cold tapas dishes which are really tasty and involve good quality plant proteins such a beans and lentils which I have found hard to find in traditional cuisine street food.

On my third day in Kampot, it was time to try out the spa. This training spa empowers and supports Cambodian women from backgrounds of poverty, violence and trauma. My therapist, Srey Ny, was so polite, professional and incredible at what she did. I had a pedicure with an added half hour foot massage as well as the most amazing facial. I don’t usually get facials but in my quest to become more natural I’ve ditched my cleanser totally and after being in a few very polluted cities I felt like a deep clean with natural products would feel rather divine. My favourite thing about this facial, besides the incredible head, neck and shoulder massage that I got with it, was the fact that I saw the beauty therapists prepare each stage. The facial involved a cleanse, steam, exfoliation, massage, mask, tone and moisturise and every product used came from the earth, such as black sesame, coconut, palm sugar, honey, cucumber, green tea etc; good enough to eat. I saw the girls fetch the fresh cucumbers and slice them up ready for the toning stage of my facial. The whole experience was blissful.

I loved that Banteay Srey offered yoga. I had managed to find classes when I was in other Asian cities which was great but the yoga here was my favourite. Every day they offered a power yoga class in the morning at 9:30am and a yin yoga in the evening at 5pm. Finding a sacred place to practice yoga with like-minded, inspiring individuals in something very special; it helped me to feel grounded and open to all the new experiences that were coming at me.

One day we rented bikes and went into town for breakfast and to plan our next moves, then a storm hit. This lead me to spend the day cafe hopping around all the cafes I’d researched and heard about. I had breakfast at Ellie’s Cafe where I had the special: homemade cashew and ginger granola with mango, banana, dragonfruit and yogurt. I don’t usually eat yogurt but I have been doing since coming to Asia, as a way of upping my good bacteria in my gut, and I’ve been enjoying it. The breakfast was delicious and I followed with a pomegranate loose leaf tea at the Epic Arts Cafe, an amazing place that supports disadvantaged people; the company enrols disabled students who are taught about artwork, gaining technical skills, performance skills and creative outlets. I also had a flapjack that I’ve honestly been fantasising about ever since! It had rolled oats, raisins, ginger, cashews and I’m not sure what else but it was vegan. For lunch, I ate at Cafe Espresso, which was opened by an Australian couple so I was able to enjoy a true favourite of mine: avocado on wholegrain toast with two poached eggs, spinach and roasted tomatoes, finished with lime, salt and pepper. This place really does have the Australian cafe vibe and is another lovely place to spend a rainy afternoon.

Finally, we spent our last evening on a river cruise. For just $5 we spent three hours cruising and were given a complementary drink. The sunset was beautiful, even after the stormy afternoon, and we got to see fireflies after it turned dark. Our cruise was through Naga House and was an enjoyable way to spend the evening and take in Kampot’s tranquility.

Travel: Vietnam

After 3 weeks of travelling up the coast of Vietnam I thought it was about time I shared with you the amazing eateries I found along the way. There is so much delicious Vietnamese food, however I found that most of the typical foods are deep fried and very heavy in carbs which is not something that makes us feel very good.

It is important to be able to adapt while travelling and it’s fun eating your way through different cultures. My favourite Vietnamese specialitiy, pho, is made with noodles, broth and usually meat; you can get it without meat though and the best varieties come with herbs, spring onions, nuts and fresh lime and chilli to add to your taste. Other typical dishes include banh mi (baguette filled with meat or eggs with a sprinkling of veggies and sauce), fried/sticky rice and noodles. You can find all these foods lining the streets for an incredibly cheap price which is great but eating all these foods each day can cause digestive issues which you don’t want to be dealing with throughout the whole of your travels.

With some research and tips from blogs and Instagram I managed to find many healthy alternatives, especially when in cities and I will share them now for if you ever find yourself in Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh City: Hum Vegetarian
This restaurant really is like a hidden oasis away from the hectic city, it is actually situated right next door to the war museum which is a must-do when you’re in Ho Chi Minh city, so it’s easy to find. Hum vegetarian has a tranquil atmosphere and the food is fresh and colourful, just what you need to revive when in a busy, polluted, noisy city. Here I enjoyed fresh spring rolls to start and then steamed vegetables with a rich soy bean sauce, along with a lemon and orange infused mineral water. The menu is huge and everything is vegetarian.

Hoi An: Minh Hien Vegetarian restaurant, Morning Glory, Cocobox
Hoi An offers a variety of healthy food. I was in Hoi An for my birthday and so I made sure that we had a delicious and healthy place to eat. We began with breakfast at our homestay which consisted of eggs, baguette and fruit platters (this is typical of hostels and homestays in Vietnam) then for lunch we went to Minh Hien Vegetarian restaurant which was amazing. This cafe is a little outside of the main streets in town which means that it’s very cheap. It was a lovely place to sit and enjoy a lunch with friends and would be equally nice to dine alone and watch the world go by. For dinner, we went to Morning Glory Restaurant which is very popular and is more expensive. A top tip for this place though is that the side dishes are actually really big and can be made into a main dish. I ordered the eggplant which was a side but I got a good portion along with a serving of sticky rice which was perfect after a big lunch. This restaurant serves meat and fish yet the sides are all veggie. Be warned that this place does get busy and you will probably wait for a table but you can enjoy a drink and/or a long ponder over the extensive menu.
On another day in Hoi An we discovered Cocobox, a smoothie bar opposite Morning Glory. They serve smoothies, juices, homemade ice cream and chocolates – it’s yummy! I got a green juice, coconut ice cream topped with Hoi An spiced and dark chocolate and a ginger and orange hot chocolate; I felt like I was back in Australia.

Hue: Huong Thoi Gian
Onwards and upwards from Hoi An, we motorbiked up to Hue (I should add that I wasn’t the driver) and found more delicious food. We had a favourite street food spot that we visited a couple of times in this city and also found Huong Thoi Gian. I, along with two friends, walked to this cafe at lunch time and although there is a large seating area, there was only us to fill it. We’ve been continually amazed at how quiet all cafes are but I guess it’s because most people eat street food; the number of people in the cafe isn’t a sign toward how good/bad the food is. We ordered a whole array of dishes to share and it was delicious. Again we got so much for our money and enjoyed a lovely couple of hours here before we left Hue and got the bus up to Phong Nha.
Hanoi: Raw Juicery, Jalus, Zenith Yoga Centre
Raw Juicery is a small bar that offers thick smoothies and cold pressed juices for cheap. I would always build my own smoothies using their structure of fruit, greens, liquid, booster and extras such as chia seeds and goji berries. If you’re looking for a nice cafe/restaurant both Jalus and Zenith are great options. They both have lovely decor providing a nice escape. These cafes are significantly more expensive than most other food options but they’re a great price when compared to what you’d pay at home in the UK or Australia for example. You can also do yoga at Zenith. I went to two classes there and if you pay for a class, you get 10% off your bill in the cafe. The smoothies are a bit thin for my liking however I can highly recommend the wholemeal pizzas, both the pesto and the hummus version. At Jalus, I tried their special salad and, on another occasion, their platter which I loved as it had a bit if everything, just what I needed after a seven hour bus ride back down from the north before we flew across to Laos.