The Link Between ‘Healthy Eating’ and Yoga

The Link Between ‘Healthy Eating’ and Yoga

As the popularity of yoga grows, it seems to be accompanied by an onslaught of ‘healthy eating’ ideologies and the simultaneous rise of vegan, vegetarian, organically-conscious lifestyles.
While it may seem that every second yoga studio is now all of a sudden expanding and exhaling coffee machines, fruit juicers, tables, chairs and funky hipster tunes from the depths of their cashew-nut strewn duffel bags, the trend of new health food cafés emerging in cohorts with yoga studios (and vice versa) has far deeper-rooted sit bones than you may think.

Yoga teaches us to slowly but surely begin to allow only the positive, healthy, and beneficial thoughts and beliefs to enter into and pass through our minds. It makes sense, so, that in order to propel these thoughts into action and help our bodies manifest them outward into the world, we must enlist the help of the fuel which we take in – the catalyst for these reactions, interactions and experiences; our food.

External Influences

The food we ingest has just as much an effect on our minds and bodies as the experiences we ingest, and vice versa – the relationships we have, the environment in which we live, conversations we engage in on a daily basis, and our senses (the yogic concept of ‘Pratyahara’ explains more about this). It’s not often that these aspects are displayed in parallel to one another, and yet they are eternally intertwined and so integrally linked that we very often find ourselves feeling the effects of an imbalance in one area without being able to pinpoint exactly which or where it is.

It is precisely this awareness and ability to correctly identify where we are suffering a surplus or deficiency of energy – be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual – which yoga helps us to cultivate.

“Healthy Eating” and Yoga


The increase in popularity of veganism, vegetarianism, and health food based diets and cafés amongst yogis (a title I think it’s fair to give anyone who frequents a yoga studio on a regular basis) therefore can be seen as a means to further engage with their practice of yoga; to deepen the connection to both our bodies and minds, and to nourish all those relationships, exchanges, and actions that can only successfully be carried out when sufficiently balanced.
By ingesting naturally sourced, uncontaminated and organic foods which have not already been processed or passed through their own experiences and external influences (many mass-produced products/animals/animal-related products), we are minimising the processing and energy which our bodies and minds must expend in doing so. This and the fact that most organically-sourced products have a very nutrient-dense composition means that most (if not all) of our required daily intake can be obtained from a balanced diet of good-quality natural produce.

I’ve avoided this topic for a while as this balancing of energy is something I’ve struggled with a great deal myself, yet which has drastically improved since becoming deeply engaged with my yoga practice and observing a vegan diet. It has honestly changed my entire perception not just of veganism but of ‘healthy eating’ as an entire concept, and also made me realise that there are many reasons why more and more people are choosing to further engage with it – this link with yoga is just one of many.

Conscious Living

The fact that yoga studios are now using this branch of yogic thought to further expand their businesses and create great cafés, great food, and great atmospheres for like-minded people to socialise and communicate I see only as a good thing, serving as a great means of exposure for the yoga side of their business and if nothing else a great way to promote a healthier, more conscious lifestyle.

Serenity Eco Guesthouse, Canggu, Bali

 

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Serenity Eco -Guesthouse, Jalan Nelayan, Canggu

I’m not going to lie. I could base myself absolutely anywhere in Bali and still probably end up wanting to stay forever. Even if anywhere meant the little shack on the beach just 150 metres down the road from Serenity Eco Guesthouse in Canggu.

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

 I took a taxi from the airport in Denpasar to Canggu, which took all of about 40 minutes once the driver had calmly arrived 30 minutes late and then proceeded to search the entire car and car park for a further 20 for any sign of his misplaced keys. This was my first encounter with the legendary workings of what they call ‘Bali time’, and let me tell you – it’s a real thing, people! 12388317_10153233258303483_515787682_n

40 minutes late here? An hour behind schedule there? “Sorry mate, I got carried away in the surf! Have you seen it today?”,Oh, yes, we are running late today. How would you like your eggs?”

Nearing Canggu, according to the signs I observed, I tried to commit directions and landmarks outside the window to memory in an attempt to get my bearings for when I rented my motorbike (60k IDR per day from Serenity, but available at a lot of nearby rental-sheds too).

Finally turning onto Jalan Nelayan in Canggu, we pulled up outside the bamboo thatched roof and awning of Alkaline Café, the line of motorbikes parked up outside overshadowed by a large timetable outlining a yoga-schedule for the day, and signs. My kinda place, I thought happily.

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Serenity Eco Guesthouse was everything I’d hoped it would be – and more. Initially only booking in for 3 nights, I ended up staying well over a week and making friends that I am still in contact with even now having returned home.

Maybe it was the fact that up until then I’d been staying in communal hostel rooms of up to 18 people, but the single room at Serenity was perfect. They also have double, privates, and a larger shared backpackers dorm. I splashed out on the single room. Spotlessly clean, secure, and cool even though there was no air con – December in Bali meant it wasn’t entirely necessary.

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Free breakfast and then other meals (not included) at the vegan/vegetarian Alkaline Café were honestly so delicious I was spoiled for choice every day, with the signs around affirming how to ‘Let Food Be Your Medicine’ really reassuring me that what I was getting was good, fresh, organic, and healthy concoctions of both western and Balinese dishes. My first time to try vegan ice cream was genuinely a very pleasant surprise, and I made sure to try almost every flavour of Alkaline’s homemade nice-cream.

Your choice of daily yoga class is only a small bit extra if you stay in Serenity, and the Ashtanga and Vinyasa flows proved both a challenging and refreshing change from the rather monotonous self-practice flow I had become accustomed to on my travels. A special ‘Yoga for Surfers’ is available too for those more inclined to be found on Batu Balong Beach than the yoga studio in the early hours, 150 metres down the road and only a short distance away from the popular Old Man’s, which really is the place to be during any visit to Canggu, no matter if you stay on past happy hour or not.12386743_10153233255198483_419303146_n

The staff were extremely helpful and friendly during my stay and I honestly couldn’t recommend them more – they even took care of me during an extremely rough dose of the 24-hour Bali-Belly bug, which floored me for over a day and meant I couldn’t even leave the guesthouse – DON’T eat at the dingey warungs down by Old Man’s!!

Serenity really caters for the needs of all travellers – proximity to the beach and local nightlife suiting those more inclined to surf for the day, or party at night, whilst the yoga classes schedule meant there was never long to wait before the next class. There were also a few families staying there which I thought was brilliant, the quiet surroundings catering for both young and old, whatever the daytime priority may be. As for me, I partook in all of these activities and more, exploring the local area everyday on my motorbike and returning in the evening for a relaxed chillout by the pool.

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Surf n’ Turf at Batu Balong Beach, Canggu

I really hope I can return to Serenity soon and partake in more of the yoga and meditation sessions- I made friends in the area too who showed me around many of the cool spots aswell as Old Man’s, such as Deus’, Pretty Poison, Betelnut, Café, and Crate, to name but a few (more on the Cafés of Bali HERE).

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My taxi on to Ubud at the end of my stay I shared with one of the many friends I’d made at Serenity, yet we parted ways on arrival as our itineraries differed slightly.

 Serenity recently uploaded this video online and it’s made me nostalgic for the time I spent there, and also made me more determind and eager to return as soon as possible!!

Until then,

Hati-Hati, and Namasté!!

 

 

 

Useful links:

Serenity Eco-GuesthouseFacebook/Twitter
Old Man’s Canggu – Facebook
Betelnut Café – Facebook
Pretty Poison – Facebook

12 Breakfast Bowls of Bali

12 Breakfast Bowls of Bali

Leagan Gaeilge anseo/Irish version here

Although there would be more than enough public houses and restaurants with bars around the main areas of Bali to allow for a kind of makeshift ’12 pubs’ and drunken fulfillment of the Irish reputation for being fond of alcohol, this year my gaze has been less-hazily drawn towards the woolly-jumper clad throngs of merry-makers congregated expectantly outside the various pubs that no longer let them in, but towards something else entirely. It’s the one part of any day in Bali that gets massively overlooked and deserves a whole lot more attention, purely because the breadth of possibilities and flavours it encapsulates is so vast I get excited just thinking about the options and places I’ve yet to try and discover.

I’m an early-riser anyway, and it’s no secret how fond I am of my porridge, but the expanse of healthy and delicious breakfast-food options available in Bali has taken things to another level entirely.

Aside from the fact that I’ve never actually successfully completed a real 12 pubs let alone attempted explaining the concept of it to a Balinese locaility where a Bintang with dinner is considered a luxury, I’ve decided this year to take my proximity to all of these delicious menus to my advantage. The sheer amount of health-food cafés and restaurants along almost every street boasting organic and fresh ingredients and original recipies with bowls of fruity, nutty, and tasty goodness have led me to compile this list of 12 of the most impressive and delicious “Breakfast Bowls” I’ve encountered thus far – ‘Breakfast Bowl’ in this sense being used to describe the coconut-bowl-servings available in nearly all of these establishments of varying mixes of fresh fruits, granola, nuts, berries, seeds, muesli, oats, yoghurt, nut butters, chia and acai blends, coconut milk, water and juice mixes and spinach infused with yet more fresh fruit on top….the list of deliciousness goes on.

 While I’m aware I’ve probably only barely touched the tip of the mint and lime-infused iceberg of breakfast bliss, and that there are still (hopefully) many many mornings I’ve yet to wake up to these bowls of happiness, my festive countdown this year has come in the form of these brightly coloured and elaborately decorated bowls of fruit and health foods, as follows (in no particular order)…

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12. Nagu Bomb – Betelnut Café, Canggu

-Dragon fruit, mixed berries, coconut milk, granola, strawberries, banana, grated coconut

You only have to glance at the menu in Betelnut Café, Canggu to understand the hype and reputation it has built up for itself among tourists and locals alike!

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11. Shelter Super Crumble with Organic Chia Seeds –Shelter Café, Seminyak

-coconut, chia seeds, banana, oats, strawberries, granola, nuts, vanilla yoghurt, stewed apple, and almond butter

Shelter Café is a hidden gem situated on a rooftop above the Seminyak branch of Nalu Bowls, looking out over a local football pitch and catering to every kind of palate imaginable when it comes to breakfast!

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10. The ‘Teahupp’O’ –Nalu Bowls,Canggu, Seminyak, Uluwatu

-spinach, green apple, granola, chia seeds, ginger, orange, pineapple, mango, banana, mixed berries, almonds, coconut water, coconut milk

The first stop on the list of Nalu Bowls, and my favourite until now! Nalu Bowls currently have 3 locations around Bali and again it’s worth the searching for this small, bright counter – everything healthy, organic, and put together right in front of your face!

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                              9. Raw Vegan Grain-free Porridge Bowl- Atman’s Kafe, Ubud

-coconut, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, almonds, pumkin seeds, dried fruits, raisins, bananas, palm sugar, coconut water

Easily my favourite bowl on the list! I returned to Atman’s Kafe a few days in a row but wasn’t able to make myself order anything else! Perfect hearty fuel to get you through a power yoga class at the Yogabarn!

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8. ‘The Breakfast Bomb’-Crate Café, Canggu

– Banana, almond milk, muesli, cashew nuts, strawberries, extra banana and dragon fruit on top!

You will feel cool and like part of the gang just sitting at this café. Trust me. Endless breakfast options, all written on the wall in permanent marker because, yknow, that’s hip and stuff…

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7. ‘The Hulk’- Eden Café, Canggu

-spinach, cashew milk, banana, avocado, green apple, bee pollen, granola, strawberries

Easily the most affordable option on this list, Eden Café is an extremely friendly and health-orientated little place, every option packed to the brim with nutrients and hidden healthy boosters. (I added in a scoop of my own peanut butter, but shhhh).

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                                     6. Chia and Mixed Berry Bowl –Avocado Café, Canggu

– chia seeds, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, banana, cashew milk, strawberries, muesli, coconut, coconut milk

Another to add to the list of amazing Canggu cafés is Avocado Café. I especially liked the decor in this place and it was really usefully situated right at the top of my road!

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5. ‘Super Tropical Bowl’- Garden Kafé,The Yogabarn, Ubud

– seasonal fresh fruit with lime, raw muesli and live probiotic yoghurt

The Yogabarn’s very own café is an amazing place to refuel after a tough Power or Bikram yoga session, and with wholesome, organic and freshly prepared juices, you’ve no excuse not to pack the fruit and veg along with your yoga mat.

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Site/Facebook/TripAdvisor

 

 

                                 4. ‘Uluwatu’ – Nalu Bowls, Canggu/Seminyak/Uluwatu

 dragon fruit, banana, papaya, coconut milk or apple juice, strawberries, coconut, raspberries, granola

Back to Nalu bowls again for this one, the ‘Uluwatu’! You can’t see it in this picture underneath all the extra granola but the smoothie blend is a deep beautiful shade of purple from the dragon fruit…unbelievable!

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3. Vanilla Almond Quinoa Porridge – Shelter Café, Seminyak

– Organic quinoa, vanilla, coconut milk, cinnamon, banana, berries, mixed nuts, almond butter, fresh almond milk

This was just as delicious as it sounds. Absolutely every ingredient alone is mouth-wateringly tasty and so combined it made for pure porridge heaven. I’d absolutely love if the Builín Blásta started doing dishes like this….

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                                              2. ‘Tropical Bowl’- Betelnut Café, Canggu

-dragon fruit, cashew milk, pineapple, watermelon, mango, grated coconut, chia seeds, granola, cashew butter, coconut water

Betelnut delivers yet again with another bowl of deliciousness, the addition of cashew milk to this one and a heap more fruit on top making it almost preferable to the famous Nagu Bomb Betelnut has become famous for. Almost.

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                  1. ‘Maverick’s’ – Nalu Bowls, Canggu/Seminyak/Uluwatu

-acai blend, mixed berries, mango, banana, almond milk, chia seeds, strawberries, coconut water, shredded coconut meat, granola

Our last stop is back in Nalu Bowls again, for a taste of their own special secret acai blend. I’m still not entirely sure what exactly it contains but it’s purple, super tasty and incredibly healthy!

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12 Babhla Bricfeásta na mBeatha i mBali – The 12 Breakfast Bowls of Bali

*LEAGAN BÉARLA FAOI – ENGLISH VERSION BENEATH*

 

12 Babhlá Bricfeásta na mBeatha i mBali

 

Cé go mbeadh a ndotháin tithe tábháirne agus bialanna thart timpeall na n-áiteanna is mó i mBali le ’12 Tithe Tábháirne na Nollag’ a chríochniú go héasca agus cáil speisialta na nÉireannach a bheith ‘in ann ól’ a comhlíonadh go héifeachtach, i mbliana is i dtreo eile agus níos soiléire uilig atá mo shúile caite seachas ag dreamanna i ngeansaithe bailithe taobh amuigh na tithe tábháirne nach ligeann isteach iad a thuilleadh. Is cuid ríthábhachtach don lá i mBali é an bricfeasta, ar a ndéantar an iomarca neamhaird agus a chuireann sceitimíní orm fiú ag smaoineamh ar an oiread féidireachtaí, roghanna, agus áiteanna atá fós ann le thriail agam.
Is maith liom fhéin ag éirí go moch ar aon chaoi, leite agus torthaí úir an lae caite ar bun, ach níor smaoinigh mé riamh go mbeadh an méid seo féidirtheachtaí bricféasta timpeall orm anois, ag tógáil an béile is fearr go céim níos airde ná mar a bhí sé ariamh.

Cé nach bhfuil ’12 pubs’ críocnaithe agam i gceart riamh, ná coincheap an rud é féin mínithe go cuí go daoine áitiúla anseo nach bhfuil an dearcadh céanna acu nuair a thagann sé don alcóil in aon chor, tá beartaithe agam i mbliana an dúshlán seo a ghlacadh agus turas a dhéanamh timpeall ar na háiteanna is fearr Babhla Bricféasta a fháil i mBali, seachas pionta Bintang.

Is ag breathnú ar an méid caifé, bialanna agus áiteanna sláintiúla agus orgánacha ar fud na háite atá an cinne déanta agam an liosta seo a chuir le chéile de roghanna torthaí, cnónna, agus cómhabhair úra eile atá feicthe agam go dtí seo. ‘Séard is ‘Babhla Bhricféasta’ ann sa chás seo ná babhla déanta de cnónna cócó agus líonta le meascáin éagsúla de thorthaí, cnónna, sú, granola, coirce, íogurt nádúrtha, síolta, bainne agus im almóinne, spionáiste, rísín, meascanna sú ….leanann an liosta ar aghaidh.

Cé go dtuigim nach bhfuil agam anseo ach tús agus go bhfuil fós neart babhlaí Bali agus roghanna eile le triail agam go fóill (tá súil agam!), i mbliana tháinig mo chomháireamh síos don Nollaig fhéin i bhfoirm na babhlaí galánta, sláintiúla seo a leanas….(gan aon ord áirithe).

 

 

 12. ‘Nagu Bomb’ – Betelnut Café, Canggu

-Dragon fruit, meascaithe, granola orgánach, sú talúin, banana, cnónna cócó gratáilte

Tá cáil faoi leith bainte amach ag Betelnut Café i Canggu le turasóirí agus daoine aitiúla maraon, agus níl ort ach an biachlár a fheiceáil le tuiscint go bhfuil sé tuillte go maith acu!

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11. ‘Shelter Super Crumble le Síolta Orgánacha Chia’ – Shelter Café, Seminyak

-Cnónna cócó, síolta chia, banana, coirce, sú talúin, granola, cnónna, úll stobhta, agus íogurt vanilla, im almóinne
Os cionn Nalu Bowls ar Jayan Drupadi, is seodín rúnda ar an díon é Shelter Café in Seminyak, ag breathnú amach ar pháirc peile agus ag freastal ar gach saghas charball nuair a thagann sé don bhricféasta.

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10. An ‘Teahuppo’, Nalu Bowls – Canggu, Seminyak, Uluwatu.

-spionáiste, banana, bainne cnó cócó, úlla glasa, almóinne, síolta, uisce cnó cócó, granola, agus sméara meascaithe.
An chéad stad ar an liosta de ‘Nalu Bowls‘, agus an ceann ab ansa liom go dtí seo! Tá 3 suíomh ag Nalu Bowls i mBali faoi láthair agus arís is fiú an cuardach a dhéanamh le teacht ar an gcuntar beag gealgáireach – gach rud sláintiúil, orgánach, agus déanta os comhair d’aghaidh!

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9. Leite Amh Cnó Cócó (Vegan Raw Grain-Free Porridge) –Atman’s Kafé, Ubud

-cnó cócó, síolta flax, almóinne, síolta chia, gallchnó, banana, rísín, síolta puimcín, siúcra palm, torthaí tirim, agus uisce cnó cócó
Go héasca an babhla is ansa liom ar an liosta, d’fhill mé ar Atman’s Kafé  don bhricfeasta cúpla lá ina dhiaidh a chéile ach ní raibh mé in ann aon rud eile a ordú! Breosla teolaí sláintiúil roimh rang íoga láidir sa Yogabarn!

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8. ‘The Breakfast Bomb’- Crate Café, Canggu

-banana, bainne almóinne,  museli, sú talúin, torthaí an dragúin 
Mothóidh tú mar cheann de na ‘cool kids’ cearta is tú ach ag suí sa chaifé seo. Liosta le háireamh de roghanna bhricfeasta, iad uilig scríofa le marker ar an mballa, mar, yknow, sin an chaoi a dhéanann siad inniu é…

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7. ‘The Hulk’- Eden Café, Canggu

– spionáiste, avocado, úll glas, bainne cashew, granola, sú talúin, banana, pailin beacha
Go héasca an rogha is saoire ar an liosta, is áit beag, cairdiúil agus dírithe ar an sláinte í Eden Café, chuile rogha ar an mbiachlár líonta le cothathaigh agus vitamín rúnda.

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Suíomh/Facebook/TripAdvisor

 

6.  Chia agus Sméara Meascaithe –Avocado Café, Canggu

– síolta chia, smeara dubha, sméara dearga, bainne cashew, bainne cnó cócó, cnó cócó, cnónna cashew, banana, sú talúin, muesli
Ceann eile ar liosta mór fada na caiféanna in Canggu, thaitin Avocado Café liom go háirithe mar gheall ar na maisiúcháin taobh istigh agus an suíomh breá congarach don bhóthar…

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5. ‘Super Tropical Bowl’- Garden Kafé, The Yogabarn, Ubud

– torthaí séasúrach le lime, muesli úr agus íogurt nádúrtha beo
Is áit foirfe í an Garden Kafé ag an Yogabarn athbhreosla a dhéanamh tar éis rang crua Power nó Bikram Yoga. Chuile rogha pacáilte le torthaí agus ábhar nádúrtha eile, níl leithscéal ar bith agat ach do chuid torthaí is glasraí a thabhairt in éineacht le do mata íoga!

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Site/Facebook/TripAdvisor

 

4. ‘Uluwatu’- Nalu Bowls, Canggu/Seminyak/Uluwatu

-torthaí dragúin, bainne cnó cócó, banana, papaya, cnó cócó, granola, sú talúin, súanna craobha

Ar ais go Nalu Bowls arís don cheann seo, an ‘Uluwatu’. Níl tú in ann aon rud a fheiceáil faoin granola breise ar bun sa phic seo, ach is dath corcra láidir atá ann ón dragon fruit…dochreidte!

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Site/Facebook/Tripadvisor

3. Leite Almóinne Quinoa agus Vanilla – Shelter Café, Seminyak

– quinoa orgánach, almóinn, bainne almóinne, vanilla, cinnamon, banana, sméara meascaithe, cnónna meascaithe, im almóinne, síolta
Bhí sé seo comh blásta is a bhfuaimníonn sé. Bheadh chuile ábhar leis féin dochreidte blásta, agus mar sin iad uilig curtha le chéile bhí cóisir i mo bhéal an maidin áirithe seo…ba bhreá liom dá dtosódh an Builín Blásta plátaí mar seo a dhéanamh…

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Suíomh/Facebook/TripAdvisor

2. ‘Babhla Thrópaiceach’- Betelnut Café, Canggu

-torthaí dragúin, bainne cashew, granola, cnó cócó, uisce cnó cócó, anann, mealbhacán, banana, cnónna, papaya, síolta chia, im cashew
Tagann Betelnut chun tosaigh arís le babhla blásta eile, an uair seo le bainne cashew agus tuilleadh torthaí ar bhun, atá beagnach níos fearr uilig ná an ‘Nagu Bomb’ cáiliúil atá ag Betelnut anois. Beagnach.

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1. ‘Maverick’s’- Nalu Bowls, Canggu/ Seminyak/Uluwatu

– acai blend, sméara meascaithe, mango, banana, almóinn, sú talúin, granola, bainne almóinne, uisce cnó cócó, cnó cócó
An stad deirineach atá againn ná Nalu Bowls arís agus an blend acai rúnda agus speisialta atá acu. Nílim cinnte fós go díreach céard atá istigh ann, ach tá sé corca, dochreidte blásta agus íocsláinteach!

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Suíomh/Facebook/TripAdvisor

Nollaig Shona daoibh!!!

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-BÉARLA – ENGLISH –

12 Breakfast Bowls of Bali

 

Although there would be more than enough public houses and restaurants with bars around the main areas of Bali to allow for a kind of makeshift ’12 pubs’ and drunken fulfillment of the Irish reputation for being fond of alcohol, this year my gaze has been less-hazily drawn towards the woolly-jumper clad throngs of merry-makers congregated expectantly outside the various pubs that no longer let them in, but towards something else entirely. It’s the one part of any day in Bali that gets massively overlooked and deserves a whole lot more attention, purely because the breadth of possibilities and flavours it encapsulates is so vast I get excited just thinking about the options and places I’ve yet to try and discover.

I’m an early-riser anyway, and it’s no secret how fond I am of my porridge, but the expanse of healthy and delicious breakfast-food options available in Bali has taken things to another level entirely.

Aside from the fact that I’ve never actually successfully completed a real 12 pubs let alone attempted explaining the concept of it to a Balinese locaility where a Bintang with dinner is considered a luxury, I’ve decided this year to take my proximity to all of these delicious menus to my advantage. The sheer amount of health-food cafés and restaurants along almost every street boasting organic and fresh ingredients and original recipies with bowls of fruity, nutty, and tasty goodness have led me to compile this list of 12 of the most impressive and delicious “Breakfast Bowls” I’ve encountered thus far – ‘Breakfast Bowl’ in this sense being used to describe the coconut-bowl-servings available in nearly all of these establishments of varying mixes of fresh fruits, granola, nuts, berries, seeds, muesli, oats, yoghurt, nut butters, chia and acai blends, coconut milk, water and juice mixes and spinach infused with yet more fresh fruit on top….the list of deliciousness goes on.

 While I’m aware I’ve probably only barely touched the tip of the mint and lime-infused iceberg of breakfast bliss, and that there are still (hopefully) many many mornings I’ve yet to wake up to these bowls of happiness, my festive countdown this year has come in the form of these brightly coloured and elaborately decorated bowls of fruit and health foods, as follows (in no particular order)…

  12. Nagu Bomb – Betelnut Café, Canggu

Dragon fruit, mixed berries, coconut milk, granola, strawberries, banana, grated coconut
You only have to glance at the menu in Betelnut Café, Canggu to understand the hype and reputation it has built up for itself among tourists and locals alike!

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Facebook/TripAdvisor

11. Shelter Super Crumble with Organic Chia Seeds – Shelter Café, Seminyak

-coconut, chia seeds, banana, oats, strawberries, granola, nuts, vanilla yoghurt, stewed apple, and almond butter
Shelter Café is a hidden gem situated on a rooftop above the Seminyak branch of Nalu Bowls, looking out over a local football pitch and catering to every kind of palate imaginable when it comes to breakfast!

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11. The ‘Teahupp’O’ – Nalu Bowls, Canggu, Seminyak, Uluwatu

-spinach, green apple, granola, chia seeds, ginger, orange, pineapple, mango, banana, mixed berries, almonds, coconut water, coconut milk
The first stop on the list of Nalu Bowls, and my favourite until now! Nalu Bowls currently have 3 locations around Bali and again it’s worth the searching for this small, bright counter – everything healthy, organic, and put together right in front of your face!
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Site/Facebook/TripAdvisor

9. Raw Vegan Grain-free Porridge Bowl- Atman’s Kafe, Ubud

-coconut, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, almonds, pumkin seeds, dried fruits, raisins, bananas, palm sugar, coconut water
Easily my favourite bowl on the list! I returned to Atman’s Kafe a few days in a row but wasn’t able to make myself order anything else! Perfect hearty fuel to get you through a power yoga class at the Yogabarn!

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8. ‘The Breakfast Bomb’- Crate Café, Canggu

– Banana, almond milk, muesli, cashew nuts, strawberries, extra banana and dragon fruit on top!
You will feel cool and like part of the gang just sitting at this café. Trust me. Endless breakfast options, all written on the wall in permanent marker because, yknow, that’s hip and stuff…

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Facebook/ TripAdvisor

 

7. ‘The Hulk’- Eden Café, Canggu

– spinach, cashew milk, banana, avocado, green apple, bee pollen, granola, strawberries
Easily the most affordable option on this list, Eden Café is an extremely friendly and health-orientated little place, every option packed to the brim with nutrients and hidden healthy boosters.

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6. Chia and Mixed Berry Bowl – Avocado Café, Canggu

– chia seeds, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, banana, cashew milk, strawberries, muesli, coconut, coconut milk
Another to add to the list of amazing Canggu cafés is Avocado Café. I especially liked the decor in this place and it was really usefully situated right at the top of my road!

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5. ‘Super Tropical Bowl’- Garden Kafé,  The Yogabarn, Ubud

– seasonal fresh fruit with lime, raw muesli and live probiotic yoghurt
The Yogabarn’s very own café is an amazing place to refuel after a tough Power or Bikram yoga session, and with wholesome, organic and freshly prepared juices, you’ve no excuse not to pack the fruit and veg along with your yoga mat.1931892_10153243943753483_1150289886_n

 

 

4. ‘Uluwatu’ – Nalu Bowls, Canggu/Seminyak/Uluwatu

dragon fruit, banana, papaya, coconut milk or apple juice, strawberries, coconut, raspberries, granola
Back to Nalu bowls again for this one, the ‘Uluwatu’! You can’t see it in this picture underneath all the extra granola but the smoothie blend is a deep beautiful shade of purple from the dragon fruit…unbelievable!

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Site/Facebook/TripAdvisor

 

 

3. Vanilla Almond Quinoa Porridge – Shelter Café, Seminyak

– Organic quinoa, vanilla, coconut milk, cinnamon, banana, berries, mixed nuts, almond butter, fresh almond milk
This was just as delicious as it sounds. Absolutely every ingredient alone is mouth-wateringly tasty and so combined it made for pure porridge heaven. I’d absolutely love if the Builín Blásta started doing dishes like this….

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2. ‘Tropical Bowl’- Betelnut Café, Canggu

-dragon fruit, cashew milk, pineapple, watermelon, mango, grated coconut, chia seeds, granola, cashew butter, coconut water
Betelnut delivers yet again with another bowl of deliciousness, the addition of cashew milk to this one and a heap more fruit on top making it almost preferable to the famous Nagu Bomb Betelnut has become famous for. Almost.

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1. ‘Maverick’s’ – Nalu Bowls, Canggu/Seminyak/Uluwatu

-acai blend, mixed berries, mango, banana, almond milk, chia seeds, strawberries, coconut water, shredded coconut meat, granola
Our last stop is back in Nalu Bowls again, for a taste of their own special secret acai blend. I’m still not entirely sure what exactly it contains but it’s purple, super tasty and incredibly healthy!

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Site/Facebook/TripAdvisor

 

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Indonesian Company….Ubud & The Yogabarn

Is that the hum of a juice blender I hear or the Om of the latest yoga class finishing up?

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Chances are strong it’s either one. As I sit here in the Yogabarn in the heart of Ubud, Bali, in the middle of monsoon season with the rain pelting down on the bamboo and banana leaf- awning overheard, I can’t help but wonder at myself and at how far I’ve actually come in the past few months. Not just physically and in the ‘other-side-of-the-world’ sense, but mentally, spiritually, metaphysically…I’ll stop before I get too airy fairy altogether.

Up until now my blog has served as a way of keeping track of my journey – my literal journey, starting in Cambodia and continuing on up through Vietnam, all the way back down again and through a painful yet fascinating 30-hour stopover in Singapore as I headed on towards Indonesia. I’ve documented various aspects of places I’ve travelled, aspects of travelling alone, travelling with a group, travelling as someone who never thought she’d be able to and praciticing yoga along the way, whilst also trying to be funny and lighthearted in whatever way I can to keep people at home engaged and informed, instead of merely using the blog as a platform to show-off pictures and stories of faraway lands and living through the medium of social-media ‘likes’.

Since arriving in Bali, however, I haven’t posted a single thing. Zilch. Zero. Less than that. I’ve yet to string a sentence together to sufficiently describe this place; the atmosphere; the people; the food; the attitude and general way of living; the sheer contentedness and ease and peace of mind I’ve felt….even this description falls short. I don’t even know where I’m going with any of this.

Do I have to be going anywhere? Bali has shown me that I don’t. Yoga in Bali has helped me call this into question, and realise that instead of constantly looking forward, aiming to get somewhere, do something, be something and somewhere other than what and where I am right now, I have every right and capability to occupy my current space, to be where and who I am in each moment and to stop wishing otherwise.

I’m here, I’m now, I’m content… that’s all I can be sure of.

After spending a week at Serenity Eco-Guesthouse and Yoga, I genuinely didn’t want or feel the need to leave Canggu and the surrounding areas in any way. The three main beaches and surfing spots I grew to love are easily accessible via various narrow, windy streets that are best navigated by motorbike, which are available to rent from reception at Serenity and also from a huge array of places along the mainstreets. I would happily have stayed there exploring as I did every day after my yoga class, swim, or surf lesson, settling in different chillout spots and cafés for the remaining two weeks of my travels, yet Ubud and the Yogabarn were calling, as so many of my recent new aquaintances and Google Search results had recommended.

Ubud is…the Templebar of Bali. Without the booze. The ‘creative’ and ‘artsy’ centre of the small island is renowned historically for it’s temples, arts and crafts and traditional fare, yet more recently for it’s yoga, holistic, and healing retreat centres, the more expensive of which embody everything you’d imagine from a soul-searching American tourist desperate to follow Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat. Pray. Love. kind of spiritual path in a tendency to lean towards the excessively naff and moneymaking kind of superficiality.

That being said, the Yogabarn is actually the most incredible place I’ve ever stepped foot in. For any yoga practitioner (I still find it difficult to use the word ‘yogi’ without thinking of Star Wars), no visit to Bali would be complete without at least coming to see it. The grounds themselves are enormous, and have a commune-like atmosphere and positive, healthy vibe that is honestly as infectious as the chants and repetitive mantras I encountered in my first Kirtan Yoga session the other day (more on that experience later). This variety in itself is one reason to visit and stop in for at the very least a class or two, the going rate to stay here being slightly overpriced for anyone on a budget such as mine. Again however, I seem to have struck lucky in my choice of accomodation. Despite the lack of wifi in Detri Inn hostel, it’s cheap, cheerful, clean, and more importantly is situated literally twenty metres away from the entrance to the Yogabarn, a happy accident that I still refuse to believe happened by chance.

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The Yogabarn restaurant Garden Kafé is a must to try during any stay here too, every single option packed to the brim of the coconut-bowl servings with nutrients and health foods so fresh you nearly have to clean the organic compost from them yourself. Atman Café located a few minutes walk away too is also an extremely delicious and yet again healthy option, and has totally revolutionized the way I think about porridge for good – something I genuinely never thought could ever happen. I’ll be returning home with a wealth of knowledge on making healthy, raw and vegetarian dishes aswell as new ideas and motivation to make them.

I feel Serenity Guesthouse in Canggu was also a gold mine of a find accomodation-wise, as it included everything and more that the Yogabarn in Ubud has to offer, at a fraction of the price, whilst also providing a balanced choice of nightlife versus retreat and holistic medicinal pracitices, classes, and information all within walking and biking distance of a beautiful beach. Honestly, the only reason I left Canggu was to experience Ubud, and I’m already looking into ways to get back there…

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I leave Ubud in the morning to meet a family member down in Seminyak, and while I’ll be sad to leave the soothing and medatitive environment that is my current proximity to the Yogabarn, I’ll be sure to take with me the lessons and experiences I’ve had there and around the Monkey-laden streets and lively centre of Ubud. Until then….

Useful Links
Serenity Eco Guesthouse & Yoga
The Yogabarn Ubud
Yogabarn Garden Kafé
Atman Kafé Ubud Facebook

Excess is Easy – Yogahub Dublin, and the Benefits of Regular Practice

A poem I wrote here early last month inspired by the changes I’ve experienced through regular yoga practice has led me to further explain my new obsession with yoga!

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Excess is Easy 

Excess is easy. That much I know for sure. Too much, too little, too often. It is one of the easiest things to let ourselves indulge in the safety of the extremities. It takes courage, balance and practice to remain upright in the midst of it all, and stay grounded in the middle of chaos. Being aware that there will always be limitations, and things we cannot do – yet along with these limitations will be good things; positive and progressive possibilities with every new movement.

Yoga and the Yogahub in particular have helped me achieve some of the balance required to walk along the narrow space between these extremes I used to bounce between.
Already on my way through a slow but steady recovery, a regular, daily yoga practice added into my daily routine proved the missing link between the confused streams of thoughts that raced through my head on a daily basis. The breath being added back into my conscious flow of thought aided to bring me back to the now, to the moment of what is happening as I speak, as I write, as I sit here.

It reminded me that it is ok to occupy the space I have been given on this earth, within the often disagreeable walls of my body. It is ok, and perfectly acceptable to be myself, to be in my own skin, and to allow myself to enjoy being within it, even if I’m not always it’s biggest fan.
The Yogahub provides a healthy and friendly atmosphere for me to learn all of this, and to relearn it as required – because balance is not something you can achieve once and expect to be able to attain again at the click of a finger. Even though it is always fairly accessible, there is a constant upkeep and awareness required to maintain it – much like the physical balance required to ride a bike.

In the monthly unlimited membership I took out at the beginning of September with the Yogahub, I not only found this kind of strong balance in daily practice and attending classes, but it was a stable balance. Stable enough to maintain for a prolonged period of time.The variety of classes available, styles and flexible timetable really allowed me to personalise my practice and accomodate for all levels and intensities, to suit how I was feeling on a given day. Each friendly face glows with a welcoming smile as you step foot inside the doors, whether for a random drop-in class or a scheduled flow, the delicious HappyFood vegan and vegetarian café providing the perfect pre or post – class fuel to help your body move through the hour.

I’ve realised during my month with the Yogahub that yoga teaches me not to rush ahead – to remain calm and to accept what is happening when it does. There is no use in constantly casting your gaze forwards, anticipating anxiously things that are beyond your control. The one thing within my control is my own body – not even my mind is always controllable. With yoga, my focus is shifted back to the physical power which resides within my body, and the very fact that I was bringing this body on a daily trip in to the city centre to the Yogahub was enough to begin the positive reactions within, and aid me to maintain a comfortable and healthy distance from all extremities I used to reside in.

The people at the Yogahub eminate this contentedness and oneness with the world, hippie-style ‘tree-hugger’ labels really not being necessary or applicable in this sense – it’s just a truly calming place. The huge variety of yoga styles means that everyone is catered for, no matter what level, and each class welcomes newcomers with open arms (or elbows, knees, hips, legs, whatever you’re stretching into at the moment!!).

 In moving my body, and staying with it as it goes, I have grown more accepting of both it’s limitations and it’s strengths. I appreciate what it does for me, and I work daily toward improving it so it can bring me where I want to go, and move me all the different ways I want to move, difficult poses and balance included.

It will always be an ongoing thing – constant maintanance and awareness is what is needed, and the Yogahub has given me the strength to accept that I will need to maintain this. It requires effort and practice, yet each time now that I return to the mat and begin my practice, I feel the benefits mentally before even beginning to move.

The extremities are always going to be there, and I may not always be able to avoiding brushing off them from time to time. Instead of shying away from them and fearing the downs and bad days however, I try now to embrace them for what they are, and allow them to serve as a foundation on which to start rebuilding a new day, a new practice, and new movement. We’re only human, and I feel that limiting yourself too much in anything inevitably leads to an equalising swoop in the opposite direction, as your mind and body try to balance things out. In maintaining as level a field as possible for as long as possible, the breadth of that level is strengthened, and makes it easier to stand on.

It’s probably a good thing that the monthly membership limited me to one class per day though, as there were days where I wanted to stay and do more! On these days I had to pull myself up on the urge and remind myself that excess also comes in the form of good things. Finding and maintaining this balance is how I have come to be where I am now, and I am looking forward (but not too far!) to re-commencing my practice with the Yogahub as soon as I return home from travelling.

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Statue of The Buddha at the Royal Palace of Cambodia

#onlypositivevibes

Yogahub Dublin Website
The Yogahub on Facebook
Yogahub on Twitter

The Good Food Store!

Foodswings Reviews – The Good Food Store

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 This is actually not my first trip to The Good Food Store, but it’s the first time I’ve sat in, which I feel gives me a lot more credibility to write about the place accurately.

I got free cake with a coffee I bought last week, which I’m only seeing now that I’ve started following them on social media was being given out because it was the ‘2 year anniversary’ of their first store in Ballsbridge opening. Sweet.
This branch itself on South Great George’s Street still has the woodshavings and empty-box feel of a place that is just coming to terms with the fact that it’s long narrow interior has been bustling with activity since a rather- rushed opening – the place is extremely busy!
With their homemade selection of delicious organic salads, soups, hot pots and sandwiches, for anyone working in or around the area The Good Food Store is an absolute must-try for a quick steal of a lunch. The salads come in 2 sizes, and prices are based on weight, but really the taste of the sweet potato, spinach and cashew nut, and also the roasted veg mix concoctions will have you willing to throw your hard-earned fiver at the friendly and helpful staff behind the counter. Alternatively you can choose to fill a sandwich, roll, wrap or bap with whatever you fancy, a small hot-meat counter ensuring the freshest of cuts and marinated chicken breasts. A great selection of homemade cakes and bread also draw the eye as you debate over what goodness to indulge in, the deliciously soft chocolate fudge cake I tasted last week glistening enticingly at me as I glanced over them.

 If yelling at the friendly cashier to ‘take my money!!’ doesn’t do the trick, you can busy yourself while you queue by studying the amazing selection of organic health foods and fresh produce stocked along the walls that they also supply. Nut butters, vitamins, fresh fruit and veg, and not to mention a great selection of vegetarian and vegan products, The Good Food Store is really exactly what it says on the tin – and more, because a great deal of the brands on sale are Irish.

Being my nosy self I commented as I sat at the makeshift table area down at the back, only 3 chairs facing the deli in a bar-like setting – ‘This place would do brilliantly as a café!”
The waitress who heard me turned and smiled, saying there are definitely plans in the pipeline to expand, and that where I was currently sat was merely a provisional layout while things took off.

This knowledge delighted me, not only the fact that I was now privy to it, but the thought of coming here for a lunchdate and actually sitting in a more open-plan, chill interior surrounded by such freshness, feel-good people and products made me extremely excited, and I made sure to take a glance over the menu options again as I left to plan ahead for my next visit.
The Ariosa coffee blend used also proved delicious, another homegrown brand, and I left feeling altogether more balanced; a happy tummy filled with ‘Good Food’ proving the key to a less stressful and more productive afternoon.

Literally my only qualm being the fact that there are only a few bar-stool seats offered as a ‘sit-in’ option having been debunked and deemed a temporary issue, I couldn’t recommend a trip to The Good Food Store more highly.
Prices range from the small salad box right up to the larger filled-sandwich options, but really if you come to a place like this it’s quality you’re after, and the delivery of that quality is more satisfying than anything!

Useful links:

The Good Food Store on Facebook
The Good Food Store on Twitter
The Good Food Store