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A couple of weeks ago I was able to head back to my former home, Raleigh, NC. I love Raleigh and tend to miss it when I am on the road. However, when I left Raleigh I was eating very differently. When I arrived, I was a little concerned about where and what I would be eating for the weekend.
Let me say this, the south has a rich food history that should be praised. It extends beyond BBQ, biscuits, and sweet tea. The Triangle in particular prides itself in locally grown and seasonal produce along with creating wonderful atmospheres for people to dine in.
So what did I eat all weekend?
The place I miss the most in Raleigh is Trophy Brewing & Pizza. I used to live right across from the beer and pizza stop and loved ordering a beer and their signature Daredevil pizza covered in cheese while sitting outside. It was to my surprise as I scanned the salad offerings that they offer Daiya (dairy alternative) cheese ! I quickly whipped up my own pizza with arugula, mushrooms, tomato sauce, and LOTS of cheese. It was divine.
For date night, my fiancé and I ate at Fiction Kitchen. I had never given this restaurant much thought and I am really sad I didn’t before. This restaurant takes the motto “I can make anything you eat vegan” to the next level. We started with a summer must-have, zucchini fritters with a vegan sour cream, and completed the meal with vegan sushi and vegan lemon blueberry donuts. The ingredients are all sourced daily from the local farmers markets and the plates are almost too beautiful to eat. The flavors and textures leave nothing to be desired. Next visit I will be ordering their signature “chicken” and waffles.
A friend mentioned to me that a new raw spot had opened downtown and I of course went. Twice! Cold press juices fill the fridges and kombucha flows straight from the tap. The coconut ceviche makes you feel like you are in the Caribbean. But the true star was the tuna poke, using sustainable fish piled high with greens. While not a completely vegan food choice, this is what fast casual food should be like. I also highly recommend their blueberry bee pollen smoothie.
Whenever I travel in the US I always find the closest Whole Foods Market. Whole Foods Market on Wade Avenue had their salad bar set up and ready to go by 7 am each morning, which made for delicious salads topped with breakfast potatoes and a side of vegan steel cut oatmeal. If you know how to stick to lighter weight options, like shredded beets, zucchini, and seeds, you can make an impressive salad for under $10.
These restaurants are starting a new movement of raw and vegan food joints in Raleigh. As people start demanding healthier and sustainable food options, I can’t wait to see how the vegan and raw movements redefine the food of this city in the south.
This piece was written by Travel Expert, Jennifer DeSimone. Reach out toJennifer via Facebook or via email at Jennifer@theartofintentions.com
One of my favorite things about traveling is the food. I literally get excited just walking by little food markets and looking at all the local favorites. I’ve been known to stand in the chip aisle just to read the flavor options or buy half a dozen candies for curiosity’s sake.
As I’ve been transitioning into a more vegan, high vibrational foods–focused diet, I was a little nervous about spending three months on the road, not having my Vitamix, or even access to a kitchen most days. I made a promise to myself that I would do some research to seek out the best options, but also to be kind to myself if I really wanted to try something outside my vegan diet or just couldn’t get a vegan meal.
First stop: Bali. Or, as I like to call it, The Vegan Food Mecca.
I mean wow!!!! An entire month flew by as I sipped on avocado juices, slurped down smoothie bowls, and indulged in raw vegan ice cream.
To be completely honest and transparent, I did enjoy some incredible prawn, a few bites of a traditional coconut beef stew, and lots of eggs, but in general I stuck to meat and dairy free eating.
Here are my top 5 picks for vegan eats in Bali:
Seeds of Life Café
Located on a side and less busy street in Ubud, this restaurant is a 100% raw vegan restaurant which boosts a tea and tonic bar. Rotating daily specials and homemade desserts like “Oreo” cheesecake round out their all day breakfast options and lunch/dinner menu. My favorite picks include the dragon fruit sol jar, banana pancakes, Pad Thai, and the decadent chocolate torte. If you’re looking for a spot to get some work done, order a pot of oolong tea and savor the health benefits.
Travel Hack: Traveling with an omnivore? Check out Kafe. Their organic and vegan menu has something for everyone, including seafood, a kids menu, and a daily raw option. Don’t miss the the raw vegan moringa mint chip and maca cacao ice creams!
Earth Café & Market
Our taxi dropped us off at this gem by accident and I am so glad they did. They have a full market with all sorts of whole foods finds, including three floor to ceiling cases full of self serve desserts, many of which are raw vegan. The menu includes a cold pressed juices, soups, and salads, as well as a rotating power foods special plate. I love their commitment to sustainably and the community vibe the restaurant had.
If you are anything like me you follow various Instagram food accounts – and drool over them every day. I knew I just had to go after months of drooling over their feed. I began following this spot because of their beautiful smoothie bowls – and their incredible #gardengangters tag. I am talking smoothies served in fresh coconuts, fills with beautiful fresh fruits and topped with your pick of super foods. The bowls are simply filled with happiness. You literally cannot go wrong with anything off the menu here.
Travel Hack: Too full for dessert? Ask for a to go box from the register at Earth Café for a sweet ending to the day.
While not a 100% vegan spot, Bali Buda is every traveler’s dream. Along with its market and restaurant, they also have grab go fresh produce, vegan dairy products, and fresh baked goods and homemade snacks. They have some of the best soups and raw crackers I have ever tasted. If you’re feeling a hungry, stop in for a raw pudding pie and a Jelly Belly juice with turmeric and aloe.
Of all the restaurants we tried, this had the best urban vibe. They offer daily rotating smoothie bowls and insanely delicious vegan (and meat) burgers. Its like cheat day without the guilt. This is the spot you come to drink coffee, get work done, and then stay for lunch. Highly recommended for date night!
Travel hack: Bali Buda has a large grocery store in Ubud along with a restaurant around the corner. Soul Bowl also serves great mimosas perfect for brunch time!
As with everything in life, enjoy in moderation and order dessert first.
Have you been to Bali and have other food suggestions? I’ll be back this August and would love to try your favorite spot!
Mantras are deeply rooted in various eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism. An active practice of repeating a sound or phrase over and over, mantras unlock power in each of us seeking truth.
Whatever lifestyle choice you choose, we all are seeking truth. Whether you are living the traveler, entrepreneurial, or 9-5 lifestyle, we are all using our experiences to come to some understanding of truth. Often, the road will get difficult. You will fail, or feel lonely, or feel like you just can’t do it. Setting a mantra will give you something to come back to, to focus on, and to find strength in.
While this seems simple in theory, in practice, the work is hard. Setting your mantra can be seemingly unapproachable. Sitting with your mantra can be uncomfortable.
Here are 5 ways to create a mantra to find your truth:
1. Be inspired: Mantras are a deeply personal experience but being inspired by other people’s mantras allows you to play with different mantras. Whether you start by chanting “om” or borrow words from others that you feel drawn to, playing with various mantras can help you find something that speaks to your inner truth.
2. Allow your mantra to serve you: My (current) mantra is “I am enough”. It comes from a place where I often feel like I am not enough. Turning to my mantra in moments of self-defeat often changes my perception and helps me shift my mindset to one that is encouraging and empowering. By changing the way you speak to yourself, you allow yourself to show yourself kindness.
3. Commit to a mantra: Your first mantra may not be the best one, but commit to it for a few days. Settle with it. You will find that sticking to a mantra, even for a short time, allows you to go deeper inside the mantra. Sometimes all you need is to know that a mantra is available to you, even if its not your mantra.
4. Repetition: One of the best mentors I have ever had tells her students to repeat their mantra 20 times to themselves and to come back come back to it if their mind wanders. Tell yourself something true, forgive yourself if you lose it, and come back to it. Repeat this. How beautiful is that practice?
5. Live your mantra: In the moments that life is hard or you feel overwhelmed, know your mantra is within you. You can come back to it at any moment. You only need the permission of yourself to go back to it. Live your mantra and your mantra will come alive.
Mantras work in mysterious ways, but remain open to the possibility that your mantra will be there when you need it. The work that you today on your mantra will build the foundation for your life tomorrow.
This piece was written by Travel Expert, Jennifer DeSimone. Need help setting your mantra? Reach out to Jennifer via Facebook or via email at Jennifer@theartofintentions
Paleo. Whole30. Vegan. Vegan-curios. There are so many ways people define their food choices these days which can be overwhelming. Most days, I just want to eat a lot while looking great in my yoga pants.
My philosophy on food is pretty simple:
1. It has to taste good and be satisfying;
2. It has to be ethical;
3. It has to be cost effective; and
4. It must be fiancé approved.
In March, as part of the EpicSelf fellowship in Costa Rica, I went (mostly) raw vegan for 30 days. I needed to go back to basics when it came to food. It was the first time I learned about “high vibrational foods” and the affects of these foods changed my entire mindset.
Here’s how eating these foods fuel my lifestyle:
Vibrational foods fire you up with energy because these are foods that eat sunshine! That sunshine literally becomes a piece of you and allows your inner light to radiate. You body takes this clean energy and burns it up. The best part? Some of the most indulgent foods are full of this energy like big bowls of “nice” cream, fatty dressings, and even dark chocolate.
The more I focus on intentionality, the more I find myself wanting to align my food choices with my lifestyle. Being impactful, conscious, and kind stems from my food choices. Food is a complex matter but knowing how, where, and by whom your food is grown and raised by, empowers us to buy better products.
Super foods can be pricey but are designed to last. Products like seeds, spices, and powders last since a little goes a long way. While fresh produce needs to be purchased more often, foods grown locally and in season can lead to big savings.
Food is designed to be shared and eaten with loved ones. Many diets limit the foods you eat to the point that your social life suffers. Eating real food opens up new eating experiences. Eat with people you love and feed them delicious food. They will support you once they taste how good it is.
With any lifestyle choice, there is a learning curve and I was so lucky to have a teacher guide me through this process. I am not a nutritionist and do not claim to be one – yet I cannot stop talking about the new foods I eat like cacao, kale, turmeric, tahini, nori, spirulina and vegan protein powders The list goes on and on, which opens so many new ways to combine foods.
It has been almost 60 days since I made a switch to a mostly vegan diet. With any lifestyle choice, you will find yourself eating that slice of pizza. The key is balance and finding what works for you. Over the next several months I will highlight my food choices and their impact while traveling and encourage you to join me on this epic adventure.
One note: the food issues this country faces are enormous and I want to be sensitive to the fact that I am lucky to have access to such foods. While food is a basic human right, we need to ensure that everyone has access to healthy and affordable food.
Need an idea for breakfast? Try this amazing “nice” cream with chia jam for breakfast or an evening treat.
2 frozen bananas, in one each pieces
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
large bunch of kale
1 scoop of raw vegan protein powder like Garden of Life
Optional: turmeric, matcha, cinnamon, or spirulina
Add all ingredients to blender and mix until creamy. You may need to push down mixture or add extra liquid until it blends.
Optional: mint, basil, cinnamon, or vanilla
Blend 6 strawberries until liquid. Pour into container and add ½ cup of chia. Stir to mix and store in airtight container overnight.
Pour nice cream into a bowl and top with your favorites like cherries, chia jam, unsweetened coconut shreds, cacao nibs, matcha, hemp seeds, and/or cinnamon. Grab spoon and dig in!
This piece was written by Travel Expert, Jennifer DeSimone. Find her @theartofintentions on Instagram.