Bali, Ubud = Raw Food Mecca!

It’s been a week since we landed back in Sydney and it already feels like a distant memory or some beautiful dream that we were actually in Bali for two whole weeks.

I nearly didn’t make the yoga retreat after spraining my ankle (trying to very unelegantly jump off a boat) and Simon wasn’t 100% after he picked up the Bali belly – eating 5 chicken (well, we think they were chicken) skewers from the night markets. Enough said.

Ah well, I guess these are the parts of travelling that you gotta roll with, and there were some major highlights to make up for it. I discovered Ubud is a raw food mecca with at least a dozen raw food cafes and restaurants with a partly raw food menu or a fully raw food menu. I felt like I had died and gone to heaven! I was starting to not feel so good after a week of cooked food, dairy and food combinations I hadn’t had in over a year and my raw food snacks had long gone into my tummy. Even though the yoga retreat was LIFE CHANGING – thank you Iyan and Claude of OneWorld, it was a little difficult to communicate dietary requirements so I quite often ended up eating whatever was served as it was just proving too hard to explain that grapefruit is different to grapes and dairy means it comes from a cow.

It was amazing the difference I felt in only a few days of eating raw. And because it is incredibly cheap we were eating like Kings for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For example you can buy a kilo of organic spinach for approx $3 over there. In Sydney you would be lucky to get 100 grams for the same price. Breakfast of Raw Granola and Cashew Milk was 25,000IDR, which is approx $2.50AUD.

 We had a limited amount of time so we really tried to eat our way through all the raw food cafes on the map and take lots of photos, but only made it to about 4 of the cafe’s. And all were seriously delish, the 3 standouts for me would be Alchemy Cafe in Jalan Penestanan, Clear Cafe in Jalan Hanoman, and Five Elements which is just out of Ubud, and well worth the trip (even though we got lost on the way!), its a beautiful retreat with a beautiful fine dining menu – all completely raw! Service was impeccable with lots of little treats coming out on the house, such as the refreshing strawberry lemonade made with fresh strawberries, coconut water, and fresh limes. And the best bit was getting to meet the chef, Made Runatha, who was absolutely divine!

We also visited Bali Buddah, I had a delish raw food tasting plate which consisted of jicama – a yummy root vegetable with an apple like crunch and a touch of sweetness, semi dried tomatoes, sliced cucumber, hommos and raw crackers the size of a planet. And THE biggest bowl of salad I have ever seen for $6. It was incredibly fresh and tasty. And the staff everywhere were always so obliging.

 Alchemy was also top notch in freshness, and serving sizes, with an extensive salad bar and the best spinach quiche. Plus they had a fridge I wanted to take home with me, it was stocked with freshly made coco-biotic, kimchi, cultured vegetables, kale chips, delectable raw chocolates, energy bars and desserts, such as the Cloud 9 and mint swirl cheesecake. We totally pigged out there. And it cost next to nothing. They also have well stocked shelves of raw cacao, tahini, raw sweeteners, raw nuts and herbal supplements to buy.

You know one of the things I love about Balinese people is they are always so happy and have time for a chat, they are very peaceful and centred people, with a strong sense of community… I think having a strong religious focus in their culture really helps this, I think something that is missing from parts of our society today.

 The other thing I delighted in seeing was everyone had something to do, there is still lots of manual labour and there were lots of little local shops and petrol stations where you can fill up your scooter out of a vodka bottle (for approx $2) that were run by family. There is something to be said about localisation instead of globalisation. Its the way forward as it keeps the local community employed and benefits the local economy. I truly hope Bali doesn’t fold to the few big corporations that seem to own everything these days at the expense of making alot of people unemployed.

On a side note we noticed, maybe not so much in Ubud but while we were on Gili, how many overweight young children there were. Food manufacturers have well and truly got their claws into the market over there, MSG and TBHQ is in EVERYTHING, I mean even a plain packet of chips has MSG and TBHQ in it… crazy. I even stumbled across white bread dyed green..yum, double whammy with the food additives.

Enough of the deep stuff! I have lots of photos to share with you so here they are – I hope this inspires you to take a trip to Ubud sometime if you haven’t already been, it will delight your senses and your tastebuds!

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