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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 πŸ™‚

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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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ˜‰ :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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰

 

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 πŸ˜‰

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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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