Being Vegan In Bali

Eating is quite possibly one of the best parts about travelling. Can I hear an Amen? But heading on an overseas trip with specific eating requirements can really mix things up. As a vegan, the life choice that probably has the most dietary limitations of them all, excitement can turn to anxiety. Will there be anything to eat or will it be a diet of water and air the entire holiday?

Well if you are heading to Bali and you don’t venture far from beautiful Canggu, you won’t find it a challenge at all! After spending a month in Bali in January and having just returned from another 10-day holiday in Canggu, I learnt that 1) being vegan in Bali is easy, 2) being vegan in bali is delicious and 3) being vegan in Bali is cheap. All three of which cannot be said for Perth. I had some of the tastiest and most flavoursome vegan eating experiences of my life over there.

So with all the time spent over there, along with my love of food, I’ve managed to suss out some of the best vegan-friendly cafes and restaurants in Bali. Here are my top picks.

PELOTON SUPERSHOP

Highlight: The crispiest, crunchiest, most delicious sweet potato fries ever!

Peloton would have to be the best vegan restaurant in Canggu. Scrap that, the best restaurant in Canggu! Seriously, the food here is amazing! And you can totally trust me on this because I have pretty much tried everything on the menu. Like, I’m pretty sure we were basically on nickname basis with the staff by the end of our trip. Serving 100% vegan meals including salad bowls, tacos, lasagne, smoothies, brownies and more, Peloton can easily woo even the biggest carnivore and probably even convert them to #veganlife too. Everything we tried here (yes we visited that many times) from the ‘tricken’ parmy and Veggie burger to the pancakes and bruschetta toast, burst with flavour! The meals are hearty, filling and served to you with a smile. If you’re feeling like something sweet the iced choc whip, nuts n bolts smoothie and the raw snickers bar come highly recommended. Honestly, this place should be number 1 on your ‘to eat’ list. Just thank me later.

GREEN GINGER NOODLE HOUSE

Highlight: The Thai Green Curry.

If it’s authentic Asian food you feel like; the kind made with the freshest produce, aromatic herbs and fragrant spices, then this is the place for you. This gorgeous all vegetarian and vegan restaurant, which can be easily missed from the road so keep your eyes peeled for the sign, has that cute, cozy, homely feel. Once you’ve placed your order and the waiter has trotted away to the semi-open kitchen, your senses will be immediately filled with the divine smells of fresh herbs and spices being chopped and ground in to curry pastes and sauces. Ain’t nothing but made from scratch here!  The food tastes as good as it smells and I can honestly say the Thai green curry is the best I’ve ever tasted. Better than anything I have eaten in Thailand, bursting which rich Asian flavours and yep my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

CRATE CAFE

Highlight: Top notch iced Latte’s that arrive overflowing like an erupting volcano

Life is crate at Crate café. Before you even notice the menu of mouth-watering healthy delights written on the concrete walls (no paper menus here), you’ll be welcomed with funky tunes, chilled surfy vibes and friendly greetings from the always-smiling staff. With names like ‘hipster’ and ‘bowlarama’, Crate serves up (in my opinion) the best smoothie bowls in Canggu. It’s not all about smoothie bowls though, there are plenty of savoury breakfast and lunch options on offer and the coffee here is top knotch. It can be a little loud and sometimes crowded in this uber-popular hipster café, but the chattering of happy travellers and surfy locals just adds to the buzzing atmosphere. Plus, any Aussies having Vegemite withdrawals need not fear – Crate offers a dish called Veto, which is a homely combination of Vegemite and avo on toast.

THE SHADY SHACK

Highlight: The smoothies are 👌

Located on a quiet street overlooking lush green rice paddies, this recently opened cafe has the most relaxing vibes. With daybeds to lounge on, peacock chairs to perch your peachy, green tropical gardens and tables shaded by bamboo umbrellas, dining here almost feels like you’re on a holiday from your holiday. There are heaps of vegan options on the menu for breakfast and lunch, delicious smoothies and a cabinet full of raw cakes. Like anywhere you go in Canggu, you can order anything to takeaway, which could come in handy because The Shady Shack can get super busy.

LA BARRACA

Highlight: Owned by Italians, it’s the real deal for authentic Italian food!

So you feel like a good carb-load? A big bowl of al dente pasta or a soft doughy pizza? Just a good old Italian feast. But your vegan… well, s**t! That was my first thought when we rocked up here for dinner one night when I was already feeling very hangry. Just as I thought I was going to have to settle for a few pieces of bread or a boring salad, my eyes lit up and the heavens opened after reading two magic words – ‘Vegan Margaretta’ on the menu! And my golly, it was the best damn pizza I have ever eaten. Ever! (And I’ve been to Italy). Most of the vegetarian pizzas can be made vegan just by asking for vegan mozzarella. I recommend coming here for dinner, when the lights are dim, candles are burning and it feels oh so romantic.

AVOCADO CAFE

Highlight: Healthy, fresh, nutritious meals for veggos, vegans and paleoistas (I just made that up).

Any place that features an all day breakfast menu gets a solid tick of approval. Plus, it’s name can only mean good things, because seriously, who doesn’t love avocado? It’s the little touches that give this humble health-hub its charm. Recycled vodka bottles created into drinking glasses and candleholders, comfy cushions on the boho-chic chairs, glass straws and fresh flowers on every table. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, avocado’s extensive menu features vegetarian and vegan-friendly options plus plenty of choices for the paleo dieters. From protein shakes, smoothie bowls and fresh juices to lentil burgers, salads, curries and sugarless desserts, there is something for everyone, especially the health-conscious!

NALU BOWLS

Highlight: Healthy smoothies galore with gram-worthy presentation for the ultimate #foodporn #smoothiebowl snap.

Serving up an abundance of fruity smoothie creations completed with your choice of toppings in cute coconut bowls, these smoothie bowls are almost too pretty to eat. Now with two locations in Canggu, Nalu bowls is the perfect place to visit for a refreshing treat to cool you down in the Balinese heat. Design your own bowl from a choice of 6 different smoothie options, including the popular Acai bowl, and select as many or as few of the 15 topping options you desire. You can also find Nalu Bowls smoothie bowl shacks in Seminyak and Uluwatu.

Not staying in canggu? Here are some other restaurants in surrounding areas that also impressed me with their delicious vegan options.

  • The Spicy Coconut (Canggu)
  • Eden Cafe (Canggu)
  • Cafe Organic (Seminyak)
  • Zuchinni (Seminyak)
  • Earth Cafe & Market (Seminyak and Ubud)
  • Clear Cafe (Ubud)
  • Kafe (Seminyak)

In all honesty, being vegan in Bali was not a problem at all. Most places offer a huge range of vegetarian dishes as it is and it seems Bali is one step ahead when it comes to catering for Vegan travellers. It’s actually probably harder to be a vegan in Perth than it is in Canggu. Just another reason why I belong there.

Love Elo xx

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Food Rules To Live By

Vegetarian, Vegan, Paleo, Breatharian (yes, that is actually a thing), low-fat, low-carb, gluten-free… the list goes on! Don’t eat this. Do eat that. Reduce this. Eat plenty of that. And what about all the juice and shake diets, detoxes, cleanses and fasting? Not to mention calorie-counting, nutritional supplements, calculating macros and an endless list of fad diets.

Aghh, it’s all too much!!Screen_Shot_2015-02-11_at_11.22.29_AM

Nutrition is always a hot topic of debate. Everyone seems to have a different idea of what optimum nutrition is. Everyone seems to have an opinion. With so much conflicting information out there, it is almost impossible to know what to believe. It’s overwhelming to say the least and almost always confusing!

So who and what should we believe? How do we decipher fact from fiction? And how on earth do we decide which advice to follow?

What I have learnt over years of trying a bunch of different approaches to diet and nutrition is that nutrition is not one-size-fits-all. It is not the same for everyone. What works for one person might not work for the next. But no matter your individual dietary requirements and food choices, there are some simple rules that everyone should adopt when it comes to nutrition.

Here are 5 of my golden nutrition tips.

  1. Eat To Fuel Your Body

Start thinking of the food you eat as fuel for your body. Just like a car that needs petrol to function, your body needs fuel to keep it running smoothly and performing at its best. You wouldn’t put diesel in a Ferrari, you’d only use the top-notch premium unleaded, so if you want your body to look and feel like a luxury model, you have to fuel it with the good stuff! Opt for lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains. And ditch the processed foods, refined sugar, saturated fats and artificial ingredients.

  1. Balance is Key

A well-rounded, well-balanced diet is one that contains Protein, Fats and Carbohydrates. Balance is key. Physiologically speaking, your body needs all three to function properly. Your muscles need protein for maintenance, repair and growth, your body uses carbohydrates as its main energy source and fats are required on a cellular level.

Not to mention, protein keeps you full for longer so you are less likely to overeat or snack throughout the day and slow release complex carbohydrates (such as fruit, vegetables, and whole grains) keep your blood sugar and energy levels stable. Australian nutrition guidelines recommend a daily dietary intake of 45-65% carbohydrates, 15-25% protein and 20-35% fats, with no more than 10% coming from saturated fats. A great rule of thumb for a well-balanced meal is to load up half of your plate with plant-based foods (leafy greens and vegetables), a quarter of the plate with complex carbs (e.g brown rice, quinoa or sweet potato) and the final quarter with protein. Add some avocado or cook your veggies in some coconut oil for those healthy fats.

  1. Keep Your Portions Under Control

You’ve probably heard it thousands of times before, but portion control is one of the most important things to master. Even if you are eating all the right foods, if you are overdoing the portions, you aren’t going to see any shift in your weight – at least not in the direction you probably want. Don’t overdo it. Stop when you are content, not when you are full to the brim, stomach bursting with a food baby. Know your portions, prepare your meal accordingly and don’t go back for a second helping.

  1. If You Can’t Pronounce It, Don’t Eat it

Start reading food labels and learning what ingredients are actually in those so-called ‘healthy’, ‘natural’, ‘low-fat’ or ‘organic’ food products you have been eating all this time. You’d be surprised at just how many unrecognizable ingredients, chemicals and preservatives manufacturers sneak in to food products. Simply, if you don’t recognize something on the label, put it back on the shelf and walk away. It’s important to know what you are putting in your body, and I can guarantee, those weird 24-letter words are not natural. The benefit of following this rule is not only that you’ll soon have a broader awareness of food products, but also that you’ll end up eating mainly fruit and vegetables anyway. There is only one ingredient in a carrot. (It’s carrot by the way).

  1. Everything In Moderation

You are going to like this one. As much as food is fuel, it is also for pleasure so don’t be afraid to treat yourself every now and then. If you are craving chocolate, have a couple of squares of chocolate. If you feel like some carbs, allow yourself to eat some. Just don’t overdo it. The key is to know when to stop. Completing restricting yourself from certain foods is a sure fire way to make you crave it even more. When you’re ‘not allowed’ something, you think about it more, want it more and therefore you are more likely to have a massive food-coma-inducing binge fest. So as long as you are able to remain in control of the situation, don’t feel guilty for giving in to those little cravings every now and then.

So with these 5 basic food rules as a great starting point, remember to eat to fuel, eat to nourish and eat to keep your body functioning and running at its best.

Ultimately, no one knows your body better than you. Find out what works for you and stick to that. Listen to your body, take note of how it responds to certain foods and if/when you find what works well for you then continue to nourish your body in that way. A healthy outside, starts with a healthy inside.

Love Eloise xx

***DISCLAIMER: This article was originally written for and posted on the Pilot Athletic blog