We all know the importance of staying healthy especially while traveling in places where it can be difficult to control your diet and where you are constantly subjected to all types of foreign bacteria, different sleeping patterns, drastic changes in temperature, etc. To ensure our immune systems are always top notch we load up on spices.
Spices are powerhouses of nutrition. They are packed full of antioxidants, offer major nutritional benefits without calories, and are easy to pack which means that they are perfect to take with you on your travels. Two of the healthiest spices that we try to consume every day and that we always pack when we go traveling are amla powder and turmeric.
Smoothie bowls have taken the world by storm and are by far the hottest food trend out there. They come in all kinds of flavors and can be found pretty much anywhere in the world. We had our first experience with this creamy delight a little more than a year ago in Koh Lanta, Thailand. We fell in love after the first spoon full and has ever since kept seeking out smoothie bowls everywhere we go. Bali has so far proven to be the place offering the biggest variety of these delicious bowls and this is also where we got the idea to start making our own. We’ve made all kinds of smoothie bowls with berries, tropical fruit, different kinds of plant based milks, and, of course, chocolate. Our favorite so far has been this amazing and protein packed smoothie bowl with chocolate and peanut butter!
One of my favorite things to enjoy is a huge bowl of creamy avocado pesto pasta! It’s an exciting version of a classic pesto and it only takes a few minutes to prepare, but the best part is that it is packed full of vital nutrition! I normally make it with penne or rigatoni but you can use whatever kind of pasta that you prefer.
The pesto only takes a few minutes to prepare and since I’m always hungry I normally start to heat the water for the pasta on the stove before I start with the sauce. However, you can make the pesto in advance and even keep it in the fridge for a few days before using it as well.
This soup has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. It’s easy to prepare and it can be eaten all year around. It can also be a good way to use up any vegetables you might have laying around before they go old.
The base of the soup is broccoli, leek and soup but you can add pretty much any vegetable in it. Personally I love adding eggplant, zucchini and carrots in it but anything that can be boiled and blended can go in it.
One of the most fascinating aspects with Penang is the bustling and colorful little India. It covers the area of about 4 X 4 streets and is packed full of shops selling saaris, Bollywood movies, Indian pastry and jewelry. It is also home to quite a few very authentic Indian restaurants. Thanks to Penang’s influence from Southern India and particular Tamil Nadu, most of these restaurants are Pure Vegetarian, which in other words means that this little India is a vegan paradise!
South Indian food differs quite a lot from the northern Indian cuisine in the fact that less meat and dairy products are used (hence the vegan friendliness). Also, the curries are in general lighter and not as thick as a typical northern Indian curry and they have a few special dishes that you rarely find in the northern parts of South Asia (see below).
Celebrated as the arts and cultural center of Bali, Ubud is a traditional town filled with museums, temples, and amazing restaurants. Located amidst the mountains, the weather here is cooler and the rice fields are abundant. Best of all, it’s a vegan food lover’s paradise! Home to a creative raw vegan food scene and a thriving yoga community, it is easy to understand why some people get stuck here and eventually end up calling Ubud home. In fact, we were those people.
The first part of day three lead us through the magical rhododendron forest that has made Mardi Himal so famous. We did the trek in October which means that we didn’t actually get to see the flowers in bloom but the place felt no less magical. It would be cool to return and do the trek in spring to witness what some people, including our guide, claim to be one of the most beautiful stretches in all of Nepal.
After the rhododendron forest the landscape quickly got more barren and rockier, the wind picked up, and it got noticeably colder. A few hours after we had left Forrest Camp we made it to Badal Danda where we had more dhal bhat and enjoyed some warming tea. We were also lucky enough to catch a few glimpses of the magnificent views before a thick fog that would follow us for the rest of the day rolled in.
During the last stretch of day three we followed a ridge through very barren terrain. Sometime in the late afternoon we arrived to High Camp, the highest located camp on the trek, and what would be our base for the next two nights.
We spent the evening planning for the coming day and our final ascent up to Mardi Himal Base Camp. This ascent can be done in a few different ways. You can choose to go to either the first viewpoint (located about a third of the way) or the second viewpoint (located halfway to base camp) and then turn back and walk all the way past High Camp down to one of the lower camps. The other option, and the one we chose, is to walk all the way up to base camp which takes between 2 and 3 hours. By doing this you get to enjoy some of the most awe inspiring views in the Annapurna region before you return to High Camp where you spend an extra night before descending.
Nepal has long been a mecca for mountaineers, trekkers, nature lovers, and anyone looking to experience the great Himalayan mountain range up close and personal. There is a wide variety of treks to choose from in Nepal and there are two main points from where you can start your trekking adventures. The first one is Kathmandu where you’ll have access to the Kathmandu Valley and more isolated treks that require a bit of traveling and even flights (Mt. Everest included). The other starting point is the picturesque lakeside town of Pokhara which is located at the foot of the Annapurna Mountain range with treks like Poonhill, the Royal Trek and the beloved Annapurna Base Camp (ABC).
Pokhara is also the starting point for a newer and less explored route to the magnificent and very underrated Mardi Himal Base Camp. The Mardi Himal trek officially opened in 2012 with teahouses and a clearly marked route all the way to the top, but it has been in use by locals and adventurers for long before that. It is a beautiful 5-7 day trek that takes you up to an altitude of 4,500 meters (14,700 ft.)