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New Zealand South Island Guide – Vegan Eats, Van Life & Hiking Recommendations

New Zealand quite literally took my breath away at every turn. It is without a doubt one of the most stunning places I’ve ever laid eyes on. Highways are gorgeous simply because the green pastures go on and on into the distance, rolling hills turn into glaciers and gigantic lake’s, that are so turqioise they look like they belong in Aruba, hug the roads for miles.

This January, Mike and I hiked and camped our way through some key places in the South Island. In case you like the idea of van-lifing it around NZ too, here is a little guidance showing how we divided our time:

  • 2 nights Queenstown
  • 2 nights Milford (or 1 in Te Anu and 1 in Milford)
  • 3 nights Wanaka → including Mount Cook visit
  • 1 night Arrowtown
  • 1 night Queenstown

With plenty more to see, we will 100% be back as soon as we can. Here are some of our foodie highlights with a little list of fun activities we highly recommend.

Queenstown (recommend 3 nights)

Food

  • Vudu and Bespoke kitchen – owned by the same people with similar menu’s, both are worth checking out. Their pancakes are unparalleled, and the creamy mushrooms at Vudu are such a healthy, unusual spin on a savoury vegan brekky. Bespoke serves a vegan blueberry scone at the counter which is 100% worth it.
  • Yonder – Amazing vegan corn fritters and a delicious DIY breakfast burrito platter. Don’t miss this one!
  • Franelli’s Italian – They have an entire vegan menu that would make a non-vegan unsuspectedly enjoy a “cheesy” meal. We went here twice! Highly recommend the calzone, alfredo fettucini, napolitana gnocchi and arancini balls.
  • Caribe – best burrito I have ever had! Not strictly Mexican-style, more Carribean. Bursting with fresh veg flavours and just the right amount of spice. Cassava chips are a treat as well 🙂
  • Halo – Didn’t make it here but menu looked very vegan-friendly and accomodating.
  • Fergburger – always has about a 40 min line around the block – But! We left dissappointed. Granted, they probably aren’t famous for their vegan burgers 😉 it just was a little underwhelming so not sure you should rush to it just because the line is so long. HOWEVER, Mrs Ferg gelato has plenty of amazing vegan sorbet’s which are delicious!

   

Activities

  • Hike Ben Lommond all the way to the summit if you can. Unforgetable and the best type of challenge.
  • White water rafting in the Shotover River
  • Onsen hot pools – perfect if you’ve done a few hikes/activities and are looking for some relaxation with a view.

Milford Sound

Food

  • Milford Sound lodge – you can camp here or stay in-house (much more expensive, but cabins look beautiful). The restaurant here is really good with a dietary key and a couple of vegan options. Mike says his espresso was the best coffee all trip. Kicking myself I didn’t try it!

Activities

  • Kayak tour along Milford – Roscoe’s Kayaks
  • Hike to Lake Marian *favourite hike all trip
  • A bunch of 10-20 min short loops to see some waterfalls

   

Wanaka: (recommend 2-3 nights – can use this as a base to get to further north places and just do day trips to them, below)

Food

  • Big Fig – best coffee, great dinner and 1-2 vegan options for breakfast
  • Food trucks – the best vegan dumplings! Burrito van is also great

Activities

  • Hike Rob Roy Glacier Track
  • Hire bikes and ride around lake Wanaka, see Wanaka Tree
  • Go for a dip in Lake Wanaka – fresh!
  • Day trips to Blue Pools on the way to Haast, Fountail falls, Mount Cook and/or Lake Tekapo

  

Mount Cook: (day trip from Wanaka or 1 night)

Food

  • The Cafeteria in the shopping/hotel centre is actually pretty vegan friendly. I had a curry and Mike had a burger.

Activities

  • Stop along the way on the drive and admire the blueness of Lake Pukaki
  • Hooker Valley Trail – Hike to a lake with small broken away glaciers floating in the water

 

Arrowtown: (day trip or one night)

Food

  • Provisions of Arrowtown
  • Remarkables Lolly shop – vegan-marked section!
  • Amisfield winery vegan degustation – they nail this! They are so accomodating it’s like they get asked to do this 20 x a day (maybe they do?). Seriously, it was that good. Worth every penny – great food, service, wine, setting, vibe.

 

Activities

  • Do a lap of the street in Arrowtown to see the cute shops and architecture
  • There are some short-medium hikes around here you can check out that range 30-90 mins

Our Vegan Wedding – 10.03.2018

I am finally sitting down and writing a post on my favourite day to date. I suspected that the elation I felt when Mike got down on one knee would be matched if not surpassed by our wedding day, and everyone told me “it’s the best day of your lives”… and still, nothing quite prepared us for it! How can it? It really is unparalleled and indescribable. You feel like a king and queen for the day, everyone is so, so overwhelmingly happy for you, and you get a whole 24 hours to blabber on about your great love.


Mike and I decided to get married on the tropical island of Kauai because it is halfway between our two homes – Canada and Australia. We visited here a few times en route to seeing our Canadian family, and fell head over heels in love with everything about it. The scenery, the vibe, the people, the food, the animals, the activities, it felt like us in island-form if that makes any sense at all. And so it was decided, Kauai it would be.

We had 92 friends and family make the journey from all over the world. We felt very lucky and this of course, made it so special for us.

We began the long weekend with a welcome drinks at the St Regis overlooking Hanalei Bay, where the Mai Tai’s were flowing. Friends tell me 6 months later, they cannot even look at a Mai Tai on the menu! It was a white welcome party, and I came dressed in a black and colourful For Love & Lemons dress with green velvet shoes from Shoes Of Prey. We had the best time!

   

 

 

 

 

Two days later (time to recover from the welcome, tactical) I woke up and it was our wedding day. My bridesmaids and I made a healthy, low salt veggie-based dinner the night before (no fluid retention!). I watched my best friend’s wedding with my best friend in bed with a face mask and went to sleep early. In the morning, after cuddles with my mum, we had green juices delivered from the best juice spot in town – Akami Juice. I had then arranged for a yoga session with my girls on the lawn of our place, overlooking the ocean. It was a little cool but the rain held off (as it did all day!) and we had a grounding practice where I was able to really centre and connect with myself, so I could take every micro-moment in.

         

When we were done, we had fruit and nuts spread out for snacks during hair and makeup. I was the last to sit in the chair. Old school favourite tunes were playing in our bedroom, and I was just chilling sipping my green juice watching the women in my life get beautified. I felt so happy. I gifted each of my girls a necklace with the letter of their name printed on it, and chose gold, silver or hammered finish to suit each one.

          

All of a sudden, every 30 mins or so my best friends would pull out a small gift and note, little trinkets my husband-to-be had collected for me to open on my wedding day. My favourite was a book on Happiness, he had bookmarked quotes he thought were relevant, and woven them in to his messages. Each of the gifts were special and meaningful, and I was absolutely shocked by the sentiment. I am very sentimental so he knocked this out of the park! I also had prepared something for him which I gave to him the night before when he left for his hotel.

   

Then it was my turn in the chair and I had my hair curled wavy with a small loose braid pinned to one side, and my makeup applied bronze and glowy. I was ready! We shared a glass of bubbles in our robes, cheers’d, giggled and then in the blink of an eye I was in my magical wedding dress and veil, gliding down the staircase.

          

Mike’s getting ready pics were amazing, so I just thought I’d include them… He practiced his vows in front of the most epic view of Hanalei, made up handshakes with his groomsmen to do as they walked down the aisle, and virtually became a boy band in their photo’s at the St Regis.

   

The Ceremony

      
When we picked the teak forest at Na Aina Kai I was conflicted. My only thing I ever imagined as a younger girl was getting married in a garden. I didn’t ever dream of my dress or the decor, but I always assumed it would be a garden. The forest, in one way or another was indeed a garden, but it was much more dramatic, and perhaps more “wintery” than I had hoped for. Yet something within me wanted it. When we were both in that space together, scoping out locations, we both knew that this was where we would begin our lives together as husband and wife. There was something so enchanting and ethereal about it, the air so fresh and crisp, the stillness so calming. It just felt right. So, i departed from my original visual I had and just rolled with it! I am so happy I did that 🙂 If you are struggling with what you expected and what you have found, go with your gut, visualise yourself now not what you may have anticipated.

    

My mum walked me down the aisle and I wouldn’t have it any other way. She was by my side as we walked down to a soloist singer and guitarist sing Cold Play’s Magic. I remember being really worried I would feel awkward walking down the aisle with all eyes on me – but I didn’t. I barely noticed anything except Mike at the end of the aisle surrounded by the sun-soaked tall trees. I remember feeling calm and certain, and that’s all I could have ever hoped for. We had an “unplugged” ceremony, meaning the only camera was the professional photographers, and I really think that brought everyone in to the present moment.

There were so many epic moments during our ceremony… We had a chance to close our eyes and centre ourselves as soon as I arrived; we were given an opportunity to turn to face our guests and look each of them individually in the eye one-by-one; our celebrant spectacularly cracked open a coconut with nothing but a rock so we could share the coconut water straight from the shell, he then poured some out for those who couldn’t be with us; members of our family from all over the world brought a small amount of water from each of those countries that meant something to us and these were poured into a huge shell which we washed each others hands with, symbolising purification through forgiveness and how vital forgiveness is; We wrote our own heartfelt vows and I saw Mike cry for the first time ever; the sun came gleaming through the trees in so many special moments; We placed our hands on each others cheeks and went forehead to forehead, with our eyes closed, whilst the officiant spread seeds all around us; I surprised Mike with an inscription in his ring; we kissed a kiss which felt like time stood still; And most magically of all, we became husband & wife.

         

We walked up the aisle to “Love never felt so good” by Michael Jackson and were whisked away to spend a few mins just the two of us post ceremony (see pic of us kissing above). I highly recommend that, hello’s can be had later.

       

We then went off for photos through the different areas – the forest, hilltop, gardens, and later on, in time for sunset, the beach and some more ocean view areas. In these moments we just debriefed and pinched ourselves, whilst the photographer and videographer snapped away. It was really nice quality time and we drank it all in.

              

 

The Reception

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We arrived at our reception to our guests nibbling on a vegan charcuterie station and finger-food appetisers. The bar was open and the signature cocktails – SaMai Tai and Mike-ito’s were flowing. Kombucha was on offer for those who didn’t want to drink. We walked in to Romeo & Juliet’s “Young Hearts Run Free” and went straight to the dance floor, where we told our wedding party and family to kick it off with us. After a little dancing and some warm congratulations and hugs, my brothers took the the microphone to begin MC-ing the night. They were hilarious! At this point, I finally got to taste some of the snacks 😉

Charcuterie Station

Roasted and Raw Vegetables

Artichoke Heart Baba Ganoush

Hummus

Mushroom Pate

Kalamata Olives

Savory Nuts

Grapes

Dried Fruit

Assortment of Crackers and Bread

Waitstaff Passed Vegan Appetizer Menu

Taro falafel pita, cashew preserved lemon aioli, shredded lettuce, Kauai fresh tomato, pickled jalapeno

Fresh okara, caramelized shiro miso, julienne garden vegetables, shiitake, toasted sesame, wonton spoon

Hamakua mushroom poke, ogo, green onion, Hawaiian chili pepper

       

Guests were able to find their seat thanks to a huge greenery backdrop that had vegan leather luggage tags pinned to it with their name and table name. Each table was named after beaches that meant something to Mike and I. When they got to their table, they would see their personalised menu to locate their seat. The luggage tags also had a cute “love travels” motif with our initials included.

Our wedding “vibe” changed over the course of planning. It went from pretty garden party vibes to more neutrals and metallics. One thing I always wanted it to be was romantic. Even though we were on island, I didn’t want it to be beachy, and thought being by the beach was enough. I don’t know what you would classify my end look as, it turned out to be white washed tables with a beige runner, white plates, dark gold cutlery with amber goblets and sand coloured knotted napkins atop the menus. We also had a big greenery installation hanging from above which brought some of the lusciousness of the nature surrounding the see-through marquee inside. Wild bunches of gum leaves and dark greens, whites and pops of deep purple flowers speckled the table in various sized vases accompanying candles, matching the purple/mauve font of the signage. We had a mix of cafe and fairy lights covering the roof of the clear tent for the nighttime, and of course, lots of lights for the dancefloor.

We scattered our speeches throughout the night, so no more than two people spoke at a time. It was good that way, we felt, so every speech got the attention it deserved. We laughed and cried so much! I loved every word spoken. I also made a speech, which I am glad I did. If you’re contemplating it as a bride, I definitely say go for it! The look on your husband’s face is 100% worth it in the moment, and everyone hangs on your every word :p

     

Plated Vegan Dinner Menu

Salad Course

Kailani farms mixed greens, Hanalei taro and Okinawan sweet potato croquette, roasted and pickled beets, Hawaiian salt candied macadamia nuts, avocado, lemon vinaigrette

Assorted breads and vegan coconut butter

Entrée Course

Lawai mushroom risotto, shiitake lemongrass curry broth, roasted local mushrooms, haricot vert, fresh herb salad, macadamia nut butter

Pho, compressed hoisin tofu ravioli, vegan pho broth, bean sprout, pickled jalapeno, jade pesto, charred lime

In case it isn’t apparent, we had a vegan wedding! No animals were harmed – and even though it was challenging at times, we persisted. Sure, I worried what my guests would think or say but at the end of the day we really didn’t want to inject money into something on arguably the most important day that didn’t feel us. The day had to reflect who we are. We also went plastic-free. We had people who have never eaten a non-meat meal, licking the plate (you know who you are!). The only mishap was the coconut butter that was served with bread, so many guests thought this was white chocolate and ate it whole 😉

We had a photo booth lined up, however unfortunately, it was cancelled last minute due to unforeseen circumstances. In a frenzy, we decided to use a gold backdrop with gold-sprayed palms for people to take polaroids against. This was fun and I ended up really liking it, however I will say, I didn’t really see any of the polaroids as guests took them! Either way, it was great to have that kind of experience for everyone to enjoy.

After Mike’s speech we went straight into cake-cutting. Rihanna’s “Birthday Cake” was played and we shimmied our way to the dance floor. We cut a small piece, fed each other, and kissed. Our wedding cake, which was three tiers of coconut cream deliciousness was also completely vegan. Cake was accompanied by a delicious shaved ice station, a nod to a Hawaii favourite and perfect for the heat. As expected, everyone ended up pouring vodka over their dessert!

 

 

 

 

 

After the cake we went straight into our first dance which was Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea”. It’s a classic, it’s timeless and it felt appropriate given we were by the sea, Mike loves the sea, and no ocean has ever come between us :p We had so much fun with it, and actually did dance lessons to prepare. Once Mike dipped me, Bruno Mars “Treasure” came on and everyone poured onto the dance floor. The rest is kind of a blur! I did all the traditional things – bouquet toss, garter throw – there was lots of twirling, picking me up, congo lines and more.

     

At the end of the night I changed into a comfortable white jumpsuit and we all piled into busses that took us to the after party at a tiki bar in town, the Tahiti Nui, where the night kicked on.

   

Mike and I stayed the night in the St Regis and had an amazing view of the whole of Hanalei. In the morning, we dressed up in our matching two-piece pineapple-print outfits and headed back to our family home for the week where we hosted a recovery brunch of bean, scrambled tofu, purple sweet potato and veggie breakfast burrito’s, chia puddings, fruit and fresh juices.

…And that’s about it! Woah! Can’t believe I finally got to share all that with you. And really can’t believe it’s all over. It really feels like an incredible dream. Even six months on I remember it so vividly. I’ll forever hold these memories close to my heart.  

My words of advice are pretty straight-forward, but I hope they help any brides-to-be. Don’t let planning get in the way of the love you two share, and don’t have the mentality that it’s only the bride’s special day. I mean, it’s funny to joke about, but really think what your groom would enjoy too. If he doesn’t seem interested, short-list everything and then approach him with only 2-3 options for final say. Nobody wants to see your pinterest board except you, your mother, your wedding planner and mayyyybe your maid of honour, if you’re lucky!! Get a wedding planner if you can, especially if it is a destination wedding. Ours was invaluable. Make your special day reflect you. As I mentioned, a vegan wedding in a place away from my home was not easy, but it was us and it was worth it. Find a superstar wedding planner who honours your choices!

I said all the words I needed to say to my husband in my vows, my wedding speech, my letter the night before and card on the day, and of course, to his handsome face every single day since 🙂 But i’ll sign off with this,

Mike – It was the best day of our lives, but every single day since has seen me fall more deeply in love with you. Thank you for being my partner through it all!

Endless love, light and health to you all!

Thank you for reading <3

 

A breakdown of the finer details:

  • My engagement story
  • Dress: Steven Khalil
  • Shoes: Shoes of Prey – can make your own vegan leather shoes!
  • Earrings: Marlena DuPelle
  • Engagement and wedding rings: Midas Jewellers
  • Something blue, borrowed & old: Sapphire & gold ring of my grandmothers
  • Grooms Suit and groomsmen:
  • Bridesmaids dresses: Bec and Bridge
  • Venue: Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens, Kauai
  • Colour Scheme/Decor: romantic, metallics and neutrals, lush greenery, hint of boho
  • Flowers & Decor: Steven Boyle Design
  • Contemporary flavours catering: Food & Drink
  • Entertainment: Live music for ceremony and canopy hour (Pancho Graham), DJ for dancing into the night (Kustom Sounds)
  • Cake: Kawaii Designs, Hawaii
  • Wedding favours: Luggage tags Heart Carved Tree
  • Invitations: The Little Press
  • Officiant: Kelvin Ho
  • Hair & Make up: Mia Moriguchi
  • Photographer: Bayleigh Vedelago
  • Videographer: Lemon Tree Film House
  • Wedding Planner: Moana Events

A Vegan-Foodie’s Guide to Noosa

We just love Noosa – we can’t visit often enough! It’s got the most beautiful main beach, some cute pockets of smaller beaches, farmers markets galore, a laid-back, healthy and happy vibe and definitely some cafe’s to hop to and fro. But I will say, not sooo many vegan options unfortunately… yet. My best recommendation is to book that nice restaurant anyway, call ahead, and let them know you’re coming and would just love a plant-based dish. Most will be happy to accommodate given adequate notice! As for this list, here are some great daytime cafes in and around Noosa to check out on your next stay…

Noosa Health Bar Acai bowls – Definitely the best Acai we found!

Blended coffee – We love the coffee here, but prefer the Acai from the health bar above…

Elixiba – Maroochydore – Not in the heart of Noosa, but definitely worth the visit every single time. They have it all! 100% plant-based healthy food, treat foods, cocktails, mocktails and elixrs. Divine.

Sunspace – an Organic cafe that serves breakfast and lunch and dinner, not too far out of Noosa! Gorgeous Vibe.

Cafe Nurcha – Maroochydore – great stop to make from the airport. Well worth the detour! It is 100% vegan with smoothies, burgers, pizza, tacos, salads, desserts… and a great health food supermarket and crystal shop attached.

New Earth Cafe – Coolum – I’ve been here numerous times, and not one dish or dessert has dissapointed. Come hungry and leave content!

 

Health Foodie Guide to NYC

Many of you may not actually know this, but I used to live in New York. Back then, I was a very different person, excited by very different things (insert martini and dance emoji)! Nevertheless, NYC holds a very special place in my heart for two reasons: firstly, it was my dream to live there and I got to do it with my incredible best friend, so I have 1000s of fond memories made there! Secondly, my brother and his wife (and baby-on-the-way) still live there, so I get to go back often. Now, I have a third reason to add to the list, my oldest brother just got married there… So, you could say the love of NYC runs in the family!

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(My brother and I mins before he walked down the aisle)

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(My brothers wives, my sisters!)

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(The beautiful Bride and Bloom ;))

Which was the reason for my most recent visited… Having not been back since I really changed my life around, this time, I wasn’t looking for exotic cocktail lists or the best NY slice… it was all about the plant-based, healthy dining scene. And let me tell you, what a scene it is! I literally did not have enough meals in the day to keep up with extensive list I had been recommended and had researched. New York is bursting with trendy health hubs! So here is my must-see list that I have compiled, with a few on there that I didn’t quite get to myself (for you locals or those with more time)…

Happy travels!

To Dine in:

Blossom – I was so pleasantly surprised here, we had such an interesting and mouth-watering spread for lunch – vegan caesar salad, mushroom “scallops”, “fish cakes”…

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Avant Garden – upscale but not overly fancy, best to make a reservation. Insane plant-centered meals that make veggies the star of the show!

ABCV or ABC Kitchen – I have been to ABC kitchen previously, but this time had to try their vegetarian version, ABCV. I love the vibe, and the menu was interesting. I only made it to breakfast (I recommend the mango smoothie bowl) but I think lunch would be more impressive!

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The Butcher’s Daughter (below) – go here for those vegan pastrami sandwiches / cheese toasties you likely have to (or want to) skip whilst visiting NYC. This place makes them vegan-ized, healthy and so tasty! The toasty is insane. I also really enjoyed the adzuki bean bacon 🙂

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Inday – this place is literally bowls of heaven! Cute bowsl, cute drinks, cute vibe. Not 100% vegan but tonnes of options! So healthy!

Sun in Bloom – it can be difficult to source savoury plant-based options… this is a great spot for a vegan breakfast/lunch if you are in search of one in Brooklyn. You can have lunch for brekky too, so I tried their collard wrap burrito, definitely add avo! Their tofu scramble was also very tasty. I don’t recommend their acai smoothie though :

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Cafe Clover – I didn’t get here, but my brother recommends it for a nice evening out. Looks really interesting and has a few veg options.

Westville – an old favourite of mine I used to go here a lot, even when I was less health-conscious. I couln’t go past “market plate” whereby you can choose 4 sides and turn it into a divine, veg-filled plate!

Urban Vegan Kitchen – didn’t make it here but looks like my kinda place!

Souen- organic, macrobiotic restaurant that serves up delicious Asian-inspired dishes. Easy, well-priced, bursting with flavour.

Hearth – we had a big family dinner here and they had several vegan options for us! Great for large groups or a night out. Lots of veg!

Double Zero – no need to miss/crave cheese on a pizza when the toppings are this tasty! Cool vibe, would be great for a date night and a drink of vino too.

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On the fly:

Pressed Juicery – not only good for a quick juice fix but also for all fruit soft serve with the best toppings like raw nuts, vegan choc chips, nut butter etc.

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Juice Generation – In Equinox, good for a post-workout juice or smoothie.

Liquiteria – I was a little underwhelmed with their acai just FYI, but its a good go-to if you can’t find anything healthy as there are a few around and you can bet you can get a greens fix!

Sweet Greens – I didn’t get here, but hear it is a salad bar dream!

By Chloe – healthy-ish fast food! Hehe, it makes plant-based eating enticing for the masses. We had an insane creamy green smoothie and a small mac n cheese with mushroom bacon to share… delish!

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Taim – yummy, different flavoured falafel pockets! Great after a busy day shopping in Soho 🙂

Orchard Grocer – Reallllllyyyy wanted to go here. Please tell me if you do! They have vegan cream cheese and lox… need I say more?

Beyond Sushi – all vegan sushi! Exotic & interesting combos for all you plant-based sushi lovers who are perhaps a little over avo and cucumber… amiright?!

Screamers Pizza – Didn’t make it here, but feel like it is a take on NYC slice (whereas Double Zero is a little more “fancy pizza”). Would love to try it!

Erin McKenna’s bakery – all vegan baked treats, missed this one, tell me if you go!

Union Square Markets vegan bakery stall – Ahhh so many options! I got a delicious corn bread scroll at the recommendation of the stall holder, it was yum!

To workout:

Soul Cycle – the vibe here is insane, I hate spin but I loved this class! Wish I could go back for more.

Laughing Lotus – Gorgeous yoga studio with great teachers

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Strala Yoga – Try make a class with Tara! So much fun

Equinox – All your gyming needs 🙂

Healthy Guide to Maui

Having just arrived home from my island holiday, I thought I would put pen to paper (figuratively) and give you all my best tips for the beautiful island of Maui. Now, I have to be honest, I do prefer Kauai – and you can find my blog post on all my fav things to eat and do here. However, I had to broaden my horizons and see another Hawaiian island (even though I would very happily chain myself to Hanalei Bay for the rest of eternity). Maui is a much bigger island, with some incredibly gorgeous golden beaches and crystal clear, aqua waters. There are so many little towns that it makes it tricky to navigate if you aren’t familiar with the island, and didn’t bother doing any research (that was me). However, after familiarising ourselves, I thanked heaven that we chose to stay at the first place we came across – which just so happened to be toward the North Shore rather than the tourist-ridden West. Don’t get me wrong, the West has some insanely stunning beaches, but they are all backed onto by huge, concrete hotels, and to me, that isn’t really the island vibe I seek.

So, my recommendation to stay is the north shore, if you are looking for something more low-key, secluded and equally beautiful. I stayed at a place that was gorgeous, but did feel a little out of the way. I stayed here because I was looking for a health retreat, but I will caveat this by saying it didn’t really live up to my expectations of that. Whilst it does have a lot of daily classes, I mainly just went to the yoga, which for the most part, was really nice (albeit slightly easier than I would have liked. But hey, that’s not a bad thing). The food was overpriced and nothing crash hot, so after the first day we didn’t go back to the on-site restaurant. The rooms, grounds and pool are really clean and lovely. It is called Lumeria for those of you interested. Just expect a nice, quaint hotel, and don’t rush to it if you are looking for a full health immersion. They did have a beautiful organic veggie garden, see the avocado tree below! Note, you must hire a car in Maui, otherwise you will be hotel-bound.

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Ok, so with accomodation out of the way, let’s get into the food!

To eat:

Maui Kombucha – Haiku – This was my fav spot so naturally, it goes first on my list 🙂 Don’t be fooled, it is not just a kombucha bar, it has some incredibly innovative vegan food. I had the most amazing gluten-free waffles with faux tuna (made from sunflower seeds, not gross processed soy stuff) and it was OUT OF THIS WORLD! Their acai bowls are also heavenly, and they have some really delicious and unusual kombucha flavours. Do not hesitate, put this at the top of your list too!

BEST EVER! "Save-da-tuna Waffles" from @mauikombucha They use sprouted sunflower seeds for the faux tuna, Aquafaba & almond flour for the incredible waffles Need to recreate

Choice Health Bar – Lahaina – Ummmm, yum! I was spoiled for Choice here 😉 :p hehe we got acai bowls here on the way to the beach over on the West side, and also bought a box of Mexican-spiced sushi rolls to share as a beach snack. Wish I could have gone back a second and third and fourth time…

Mexican inspired sushi has been a bit of a theme on this trip I'm not complaining! This spiced tempeh was delish! A quick note on soy- people often ask me if it's ok to be consuming it regularly. I have to giggle with them because really, the (phyto)oestrogens in soy is nothing compared to the synthetic & natural oestrogen found in meat & dairy (hello heavily pregnant cow).... yet people never question their intake of those food items? So yes, my answer to you would be it's fine to be consuming whole-food, organic soy products (tempeh, tamari, tofu, miso) daily. There's certainly bigger things in people's diets to worry about. You don't have to consume soy, of course, to have a nutritionally complete vegan diet, but I'd say swapping out a meat/dairy based meal with tempeh or soy milk isn't a cause for concern at all ☺️ I have a whole blog post on this "a love note to soy" if you want to read more...

Paia Bowls – Paia – Your go-to acai in the area. Their acai blend is really delicious, and they offer lots of tropical fruit toppings.

Des Amis – Paia – So close to where we were staying, and a really fun tiki-vibe. We had a cocktail here and two different vegan curries, both delicious. They also play live music.

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Nuka Sushi – Haiku – This was described to me as the best sushi on the island! Lots of veg options, and they even do rice bowls with tofu and veggie sauce (as opposed to fish). Win!

Mamma’s Fish House – Paia – We missed out as they were booked up and I forgot to make reservations for our last evening! But the place is busy and always popping!! I looked up the menu and they have a nice vegan option- so don’t worry if you are vegan or feel like a plant-based meal. The location/view is a drawing card, and the vibe is sensational.

 

To stock up:

Down to Earth – Kahului – Great spot for an easy lunch from their self-serve section, they even have slices of vegan pizza! Similar to Wholefoods or About Life, they have a vast array of natural food stuffs and beauty/household products. Great stopover after your flight in as they are close by the airport. I stocked up on my fav kombucha here- GTs 🙂

Mana Foods – Paia – Oh gosh, whyyyy did I only decide to go here on my last night?! They are great because they stay open until 8:30pm making it a perfect stopover for some vegan chocolate after dinner in town :p They also have a fantastic selection of grocery items and are ideally positioned if you are staying near Paia.

Hawaiian Moons Natural Foods – Kihue – What a health food store! Picked up a bag of longan here (I love!), some delicious spicy tofu, vegan cheese and gluten-free crackers. They have everything! My mum had to hold me back 😉

 

To treat:

Ululani’s Shave Ice – Kihue – Shave, not shaved, ice is a hallmark of Hawaii, and it wouldn’t be right if by my fifth trip to the state that I didn’t finally try it!! Balance, right? We stumbled across this place, and saw a huge line and a big sign claiming it had been voted no.1 in Maui. So, naturally, we joined the cue. It did not disappoint! I assumed it would taste like an icey snow-cone, but it is so much more. It really tastes more like super-sweet sorbet. Different places offer “healthier” versions i.e. organic v non-organic, pure raw cane sugar v high fructose corn syrup and some offer sugar-free (note this place’s sugar-free meant aspartame so I emplore you to just get the pure can sugar ones!). My flavour choice was red raspberry, pina colada (which they offered to just use pineapple and coconut mixed as opposed to the pre-mixed version which they told me was more artificial, and mango. My mum got sour cherry which I definitely recommend! Let’s just say I am glad I only tried it on the last few days of my trip, or I may have gone back for more!

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I don’t think I quite nailed the activities, here so I won’t go into that too much. We did visit a few beautiful beaches – Baldwin beach, Ho’okipa beach, Ka’anapali beach, Mokapu/Ulua Beach – and the twin falls (cover photo) on the way to the Road to Hana. Given we drive on the other side of the road in Aus, I didn’t want to chance it going the full way to Hana with mum and I!! I heard they offered tours, but we ended up deciding on a helicopter tour of the island. If you do decide to helicopter here are my tips: do it first thing on your stay, as they give you some great tips for what to do in Maui on tour, and if you are choosing between going on a helicopter in Maui or Kauai, choose Kauai 😉

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So there you have my advice for a beautiful, healthy, sunny stay on Maui! I hope they are helpful. Please let me know if I missed anywhere, and if you go to any of the places I recommend!

Love & health, always…

Sami

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