Travel Tips both Professionally & Personally

Having been exposed to a bit of our beautiful planet by plane, train, ship, canoe, kayak, car, bike, or solely my legs, both personally and professionally, I have learned a few tidbits that might make your journey a bit more comfortable and even save you from having to spend unnecessarily.

IMG_5844.JPG

While I do not claim to be an expert or know everything when it comes to healthfully transporting myself and my belongings, I was recently bestowed the title “professional traveler” by a dear friend of mine. So this one is for you, B, as well as anyone who is curious about ways to ease travel professionally and personally and infuse their next journey with a few of my favorite practices.

  1. Carry an empty glass or stainless steel water bottle with you so that you can fill it up once you pass security. In the airports I typically depart from I have a routine where I usually go straight to the water fountain after I pass through security. This saves $$, time, as well as can be said to be more environmentally friendly as you are not purchasing a plastic water bottle but are instead refilling your reusable bottle. Remember, if you ask politely the flight attendants will more often that not fill up your bottle if you get low during a flight.

  2. Wear/pack your most comfortable walking shoes. If you will need to dress up during your trip either for a business function or for an event, make sure to pack comfortable "fancy" shoes that can withstand more than the few steps you anticipate taking. Wearing uncomfortable shoes can most certainly be in the way of staying completely present and enjoying your new surroundings, especially if you will be walking a lot. It might not be the time to try out your “cutest” uncomfortable new shoes. This almost always leads to frustration, blisters, and discomfort. Not to mention it might be annoying to your fellow travel companions as they will hear about it from you!

  3. Invest in compression socks. It might sound a bit cuckoo but they help increase circulation in your legs, reduce the risk of swelling, and in the prevention of a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and blood clotting especially when you are flying longer than three hours. If anyone takes a second glance at you putting them on, smile and feel good knowing you are helping your circulation.

  4. Be mindful of your tummy. In the past when flying transatlantic, more often than not, I would arrive to my destination with so much joy and excitement while at the same time quite uncomfortable with an unexplainable bloated belly and the need to lie down. It was a bit embarrassing to say the least! Although I experimented numerous times, I never ate the same thing therefore I could never isolate what was hurting my tummy until one time I ate quite light, I semi- fasted, and I arrived feeling great with no bloat and need to be horizontal. What a relief! While recommending to fast during a long journey might be a bit much with your individual circumstances, I do recommend tuning into your body and seeing how best you can support yourself throughout whether with lighter food, more water, less caffeine, etc., etc.

  5. In continuation of number four, always be sure to pack plenty of snacks that you like! You never know whether or not you will be delayed at an airport and if so, for how long plus airports tend to be quite pricey. Also, remember that most airlines give you the option to request a vegetarian meal if that is what you would like. Just remember to file your request prior to 24 hours of your departure time. I have found the following snacks easy to transport and munch on:

          • Carrots

          • Apples

          • Almond butter

          • Nuts

          • Dried fruit

          • Berries

          • Protein bar (no or low sugar!)

          • Homemade sandwich

          • Granola

          • Instant miso soup (ask for hot water at any coffee shop for a warming snack)

  6. Move as much as you can. Planning ahead by choosing the aisle seat or having a long layover sets you up for many opportunities to get moving. Whether you walk from terminal to terminal or you get up on the airplane to stretch, make sure to do it. Your entire body will be relieved and will silently be saying “Thank you! It has been a while since I moved around!” When you land at your destination, if at all possible, try to aim for at least a 20 to 30 minute walk outside. This will help you feel a bit calmer and “grounded” so to speak. Also, feel free to pack an exercise mat with you, especially if you will be on the road for a few days. It feels so good to stretch out after a long day of being on the go. Light weight and easy to transport, I recommend this mat for travel.

  7. Make sure you pack a cosy scarf. It is even better if it can be worn with the majority of your outfits. This habit has been cultivated over the years and is one that one of my older brothers always giggles and comments about. He doesn’t laugh about the scarf per se but what can be done with the scarf! Tee-peeing or making a teepee with your scarf to ensure that you are blocking as much light as possible so that you can comfortably fall asleep and rest en route is essential. If you forget your scarf, an airplane blanket can do but it is always recommendable to have a scarf especially when you feel a little cold at a business function and/or event. 



    The above are but a few ways I continue to move about both professionally and personally while supporting myself in feeling my best! How do you stay well and at ease while traveling?

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki | Finland


Prior to visiting Helsinki late March, early April many friends and family members were baffled at our desire to travel further north for a few days as usually this time of year everyone is craving sunshine and warmth! Although we still crave that (as I type this it is snow/blowing outside!), the days spent in Helsinki proved to be bright, sunny, and totally enjoyable. 

Below I have linked a few neat places that we checked out and are highly recommendable if you find yourself in the Finnish capital. 

TO SEE / TO DO

> See the White Cathedral. Tuomiokirkko (Cathedral)

> Walk by the Sibelius Monument, a monument erected for the famous Finnish Composer.   

> Take the ferry to Suomenlinna

> Visit the Rock Church / Temppeliaukio Church

> Walk through the beautiful, Hietaniemi Cemetery  

> Get your sauna on at Löyly

> Go swimming outdoors in the sea pool at Allas

CAFES / RESTAURANTS

> KUUMA. Cosy cafe where the green smoothie, avocado toast, and coffee are aplenty. 

> YES YES YES. A great veggie place with mocktails, naan, and live music. Not certain if they have live music each day but they had a lovely D.J. singing. The decor and environment is colorful and inspiring.

> DATE + KALE. If you are wanting a bowl or a juice, a smoothie or even a beauty bite this place is for you. Co-owned by Anni Kravi who is the queen of making delicious and beautiful plant-based pørridge (she even wrote this awesome book), DATE + KALE is an extension of her creativity and smarts.  

> The Cock. A must-try! From the eclectic menu to the difference between the ground and basement floors, we thoroughly enjoyed our experience at The Cock. 

> GIWA. The finest South Korean food in Helsinki.  You can try the traditional Bibimbap dish in a dolsot (stone pot) which keeps the dish warm the entire time you are eating. It was delish! 

> Roots. If you venture towards the Kallio neighborhood this is a great cafe to check out. It was recommended to us by my friend, I, who lives down the street from it and even met us there for a cup of coffee. 

> Cafe Regatta. The cosiest cafe right on the water. The day we were there, we walked right up - from the water! Yeah, it was frozen over so we took the scenic, scenic route. It was fun!

IMG_3470.JPG
 Green smoothie + yogurt, KUUMA

Green smoothie + yogurt, KUUMA

IMG_3633.JPG
IMG_3536.JPG
IMG_3606.JPG

If you are visiting Helsinki maybe these suggestions will point you in the right direction, however, I hope you will find a few neat places of your own!

Hasta pronto :) 

Six plant based cafes to check out in Copenhagen, Denmark

One of the first things I do when I find out I am going to visit a new town is scan the plant-based (okay, solely vegan!) cafes.  Whether it is the neighborhood green smoothie joint or the hole in the wall that serves the most delicious and creative plates each day, I am down to trying any and all. You never know what you might be introduced to and who you might meet! 

Recently I was visiting with a friend and she asked me if I knew of any yummy, primarily veggie, vegan cafes in Copenhagen. I  replied with an enthusiastic y-e-s! and starting spouting out names and characteristics of cafes I am known to frequent. Below are just a handful of plant-based cafes to check out in Copenhagen. !Que disfrutes! And be sure to report back as well as share with me the names of new veggie places I can try and add to my list. 

1. Morgenstedet

A cosy veggie cafe in the heart of Christiania known for using new and different, fresh ingredients each day. Go with an open mind and your tastebuds will thank you! If the weather is nice there is space for you to sit outside and if not, feel free to get hygge (untranslatable Danish word for cosy; enjoying life's simple pleasures) indoors. Make sure to bring cash, last time I did not bring any and had to return at a later time - they did not take mobile pay or cards as of June 2017.

IMG_0280.JPG

Located: 

Fabriksområdet 134
1440 København K

 

2. 42Raw

42Raw has an array of items on the menu to choose from.  Depending on what you are in the mood for - you might try their brunch (served until 14:00) with banana pancakes w/agave syrup, sweet potato fries, their 1/1 glutenfree bread, avocado & hummus, and granola bowl or their New Orleans juice with beetroot, ginger, and apple. However you decide to order, rest assured that you cannot and will not go wrong - everything is delicious!

 Smoothie 

Smoothie 

Located:

Pilestræde 32
1112 København

 

Waterfront Shopping
Tuborg Havnevej 4-8
2900 Hellerup

 

Frederiksberg Centret
Falkoner Allé 21
2000 Frederiksberg

 

3. Simple RAW

I visited this cafe quite often in the spring and I was very happy to see that since I had last visited them (a year prior) their menu was more varied and uber creative. There are bowls (YUM), noodles, and yummy treats to finish off the meal. There is lots of seating and space to feel cosy and comfortable. 

 Poke bowl

Poke bowl

 Cosy seating 

Cosy seating 

Located:

Gråbrødretorv 9
1154 København K

 

 

4. Souls

I visited this cafe just last weekend and fell head over heels for their viking bowl, picture below. With the different tastes and textures, I felt happy trying something new and totally enjoying myself. It was not my first visit nor will it be my last. They have breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner so feel free to pop by any time. 

 Viking bowl

Viking bowl

 Matcha latte

Matcha latte

Located: 

Melchiors Plads 3.
2100 København Ø

 

5. The Organic Boho 

Although this cafe is tiny it packs a mighty punch - the menu is colorful, nutritious, and indeed delicious! Whether you go for smoothies and a side of sweet potato fries with your gals or treat yourself to one of the burgers you most certainly will enjoy yourself. And as a bonus, when the weather is nice, you can sit outside as I was doing when I took this picture.

 Green smoothie 

Green smoothie 

Located:

Gothersgade 5
1123 Kgs. Nytorv, Copenhagen

 

Prinsessegade 23
1422 Christianshavn, Copenhagen

 


6. Cafe N 

I would be remiss to fail to mention this cosy little cafe nestled in Nørrebro. It is often best to reserve a table if you know you would like to dine there. It is quaint with warm sips, burgers, and even brunch. A must visit!

 Enjoying the nice weather with a juice outside Cafe N

Enjoying the nice weather with a juice outside Cafe N

Located:

Blågårdsgade 17
2200 Copenhagen

 

BONUS!!! 

7. Copenhagen Nice Cream

Want to try a delish vegan ice cream option? Look no further than Nice Cream. You can get an ice cream sammie or even a little cup with their homemade seed granola put on top. If you are in the market for vegan ice cream, you will not be disappointed.

 Mmm!

Mmm!

Located: 

Enghave Plads 10
Copenhagen, Denmark 1670

 

Elmegade 30
Copenhagen, Denmark 1670

 

So there you have it six, well six plus one veggie/vegan cafes to check out while either visiting or living in Copenhagen. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do and that you keep me updated on your veggie cafe finds around the city too.

Cheers to delicious plant based creativity, nourishment, and continuing to share the deliciousness plant power with friends and family!

 One of my sweet gal pals visiting, kombucha in hand!, after brunching at Simple Raw.  Love & light amigos!

One of my sweet gal pals visiting, kombucha in hand!, after brunching at Simple Raw.

Love & light amigos!

Seattle, Washington | USA

At the beginning of this year I spent a couple of days in Seattle. What was supposed to be the last stop of a San Diego, California > Portland, Oregon > Seattle, Washington road trip, ended up being a travel by plane three day refuge from snowy weather. On the road, a few hours north of Sacramento, it became obvious that it would not be possible to make it by car to Portland and ultimately to Seattle. 

Seattle was fresh and bright. I was given a list of recommendations, thanks Hannah!, and was prepared with warm clothes. On the last evening the Seahawks played in their home stadium. While I am NOT a fan of professional football, the game was on in the background, and of course, I cheered for number 89! 

Included below are a few To Do's, For Funs, and places To Eat.

To Do:

1.  Visit Public Market Center. There are a lot of fresh veggie food stalls as well as fish, cheese, and other specialty products. Walk around and see what goods they have.

2. Take a ride up the Space Needle. Incredible view on a clear day. 

3. Walk around the neighborhood of Ballard. There are loads of cute little cafes and shops to check out.

4. Explore Capital Hill. 

5. Check out Alki Beach. There was a sidewalk just alongside the beach where you can walk and walk.

For Fun:

1. Dandelion Botanical, Ballard. If you are into herbs, ayurveda, apothecaries, and special treasures like these check this place out. I had a great experience. 

2. Olympic Sculpture Park. I  did not have the opportunity to see it up close but I hear it is very neat.

To Eat:

1. Chaco Canyon, 8404 Greenwood Ave N. There are a few locations and I visited the Chaco Canyon on Greenwood. Chaco is a vegan cafe with a lot to choose from as well as an extremely nice staff. At unique, fun-loving cafes like this you cannot go wrong!

2. Athenian Seafood Restaurant and Bar, at Pike Place. The view was lovely and the service was great. Even though it is a seafood place they were accommodating and creative, they even made the Reuben veggie (i.e. sans the roasted corn beef)!

3. Cactus Restaurant, Alki Beach. Delicious Mexican food. I tried the Butternut Squash Enchiladas and had enough for dinner. 

4. Bacco Cafe, Pike Place Market. Recommendation. The steamy black coffee and eggs benedict were delish. 

5. Top Pot Donuts.  It was hard to choose only one donut.

6. Rachel's Ginger Beer. My friend, Alan, introduced me to Rachel's Ginger Beer. I tried the Blood Orange Hoddy Toddy. It was just what I needed on this cold winter day.

May this give you insight into a few neat things to see/do/eat while in Seattle. Of course, I did not have the chance to catch it all so next time I visit - I will try new things. Have you been to Seattle? Do you have any recommendations?

Be well :) 

 

Amsterdam | The Netherlands II

I wrote another brief post on Amsterdam a few week ago. However, it only touched on a coolie cafe to try. This post details a few of my favorite things to do, see,  and eat in the lovely city of canals.

TO DO

1. Rent a bike! Oh what a joy it is to see a city on a bicycle. If you don't feel confident enough yet on the bike, before you pull out of the bike shop make sure to practice the hand signals for left turn, right turn, and stops. Be sure to stay to the right, be alert of your surroundings, and go at your pace. It can be a little intimidating if you have never ridden in a city before, especially during rush hour but I know you can do it!

I have experience with two different companies in Amsterdam and I highly recommend both.  The second one was exceptionally understanding when I accidentally dropped the key to my locked bike in one of the canals. Picture: a beautiful sunny day, locking the back bike wheel then stumbling with the key to next thing I know the key is sinking into the oblivion of the dark canal! I did not have a cell phone to contact the bike shop either. I was somewhat relieved when I looked up and an Irish couple had seen the entire situation... We looked at each other and said "Did that just happen?!" Long story short I met a lovely Australian girl who helped me big time. M, I hope to see you again!  And remember, these things happen! (My bike locked to hers in the picture above).

Bike Company #1: We Bike Amsterdam, link: http://www.webikeamsterdam.com

Bike Company #2: A-Bike Vondel, link: http://a-bike.eu

2. Visit the Anne Frank House. http://www.annefrank.org

3. Visit the museums. The Rijksmuseum is famous as well as the Van Gogh Museum. https://www.rijksmuseum.n and https://www.vangoghmuseum.nl

4. Visit Tinkerbell, Spiegelgracht 10, 1017 JR. If you have nephews or nieces or are looking for toys for a little someone special, you won't be disappointed because it is the best toy shop in town. https://www.tinkerbelltoys.nl/service/about-tinkerbell/

TO SEE

1. Take a canal tour.  I know, I know you must be thinking "Really, Why? It is so touristy!" Despite this sentiment, I feel that the two times I took a canal tour - one in the dead of winter and another during the most beautiful part of summer- it was immensely enjoyable. (This might be because of my love for water and boats but still, I highly recommend it!)  The views of the crooked houses and commentary by the knowledgeable boat captain teach you the history of the city as well as give you an orientation of the city by water. I recommend this company: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/what-to-do/activities-and-excursions/excursion-finder/see-amsterdam-canal-tour

2. Vondel Park. This is one of the coolest parks I have ever spent time in! Try the coconut water straight from a coconut from the food truck called Aloha Juice.  https://www.facebook.com/ALOHAJUICETRUCK/ The outdoor garden cafe called VondelTuin is lovely. http://devondeltuin.nl We tried Vondelpark3 and enjoyed that too. http://www.vondelpark3.nl

3. Jordaan. The neighborhood is poppin' with loads of cool cafes and shops. 

4. Museum Plein. Near the Rijks Museum, Van Gogh Museum, and home to one of the I Amsterdam signs. In the summer kids go in the fountain and splash around. It's cute!

5. Pulitzer Hotel, Prinsengracht 323, 1016 GZ. I love exploring hotel lobbies and the Pulitzer is no exception. Check out Pulitzer's Bar and if you like cocktails, definitely splurge and get one for yourself. It is a classic bar!  https://www.pulitzeramsterdam.com

TO EAT

1. Zest, Raw Cafe, van Baerlestraat 45 hs Visiting this cafe was such a treat. The freshest ingredients, a variety of raw dishes to choose from, and a lovely outdoor seating area. What more could you ask for?! We had the Chocoholic and Protein Power smoothie, the pad thai, and the raw living soup. http://rawfoodcafeamsterdam.com

2. von Kerkwijk, Nes 41. Having visited this restaurant numerous times (even being the last party before they closed for the evening!), I can say they are a happy crew. The menu has great dishes to choose from - even if you are a vegetarian or vegan and the deserts are seasonal and delicious! http://www.caferestaurantvankerkwijk.nl/eng/11.html

3. Spanjer & Van Twist, Leliegracht 60 1015 DJ. Sitting outside next to the canal, you can sit for hours watching the boats and skiffs float by. One of the best places to relax, visit, and watch the Dutch on the water. https://www.facebook.com/SpanjerenvanTwist/

4. Restaurant d'Vijff Vlieghen,Spuistraat 294-302, 1012 VX. Delicious food served in a wonderful ambience. I quote the website of the restaurant in that "the restaurant is a true culinary museum, where you can dine underneath 4 original works of art of the famous Rembrandt." Little did I know! http://vijffvlieghen.nl 

TREAT YO' SELF

1. Koan Float, Herengracht 321, 1016 AW.  Have you ever heard of "floating?" It is a relaxing treatment where you submerge yourself in water that is densely concentrated with salt so that you get the sensation that you are floating. You can turn the light off or keep it on and just float around with yourself. I am open to trying alternative therapies and relaxing treatments so it was my first time "floating" and I enjoyed it. Although I will say, I prefer a nice, warm bath. http://koanfloat.nl/?lang=en

I hope this short inventory of fun activities to do in Amsterdam peaks your interest and inspires you. Feel free to leave comments about your favorite spots in Amsterdam and tag MyNaturalBeet if you visit any of the above.

Lots of love & light,
Cook

Bridgetown | Barbados

My time in the Caribbean was amazing!! It came at the most perfect time too - justo despues sitting for a bar exam. Barbados is a beautiful country.  What brought me here was a dear friend of mine, N.  We met while we both lived in Spain. We were in the same Spanish class and instantly had a special connection. It had been five years since we had seen each other!  N is kind, warm-hearted, and has a calming aura.  N and her beau, A, showed me the ins and outs of the island. We saw a Davis Cup match, the Gold Cup Horse Race, and were even able to match a Polo match.  We shared and taught each other recipes, talked long into the cool breezy night, and mainly enjoyed the time that we had together.  Below is a glimpse into the beauty of the island and a few To Dos!

IMG_0863.JPG

Beach day at Pebbles Beach

IMG_0864.JPG

Before dinner at Cafe Sol (http://www.cafesolbarbados.com), a lively Mexican restaurant with a picturesque view

IMG_0967.JPG

My first polo match

To do

1. Go on a catamaran tour. It is a beautiful way to see the land from the water. 

2. Visit Holder's Farmers Market and get a tea or coffee at The Market Cafe.  You can even buy freshly brewed Kombucha and incense! It is a lovely place to spend the morning. 

3.  Explore the city of Bridgetown.  Get a little lost and see what you stumble upon.

4. Go to Pebble's Beach and play in the sand! Remember suncream ;) 

You can see the beauty for yourself, huh? 

 

In the meantime, I encourage you to do more of what you like :) :) 

Amsterdam | The Netherlands

Recently I found myself with a few hours to spare in Amsterdam. Yes! I am still pinching myself ;) 

While there are numerous fantastic museums to visit, places to see on a bicycle, and parks to ride through, I found myself riding to Yay Health Store & More. It is nestled in a sweet little neighborhood near the Heineken Experience. Once I parked my bike and entered I knew I had hit jackpot! I am a total sucker for wandering around health food stores and for trying raw and vegan treats that I have never tried before.

Since it was early afternoon and I had not eaten yet that day I decided to make my way to the cafe first.  The menu was full of tasty sounding bites -- orange-miso gazpacho, raw banana bread -- and slurps -- berry sweetness and a variety of juices -- so I decided to go with the Choco Coco Loco smoothie and the crackers. I nestled myself into a super comfortable spot and before too long the food that I ordered arrived.

After my relaxing snack break at the little Yay oasis, I browsed around the store where they had a nice selection of yoga clothes and paraphernalia. After I ventured back out and was able to enjoy some sunshine at Vondelpark :) :) 


Beautiful moments you find yourself in. Be present and bask in it!

xo

Nashville, Tennessee | USA

Hey friends! I recently visited Nashville and while there I stumbled upon a couple of uber cool places that, if you are in town, might want to check out.  Two are wildly plant-based: The Wild Cow and Graze and the other two, Fido and the Frothy Monkey, have options for both vegans and meat-eaters alike. 

The Wild Cow (TWC) is a cosy restaurant and the menu is jam-packed with oodles of salads, main courses, and bowls -- all deliciously vegan! And bonus, if you happen to be there the first Thursday of the month they donate 10% of their sales from that day to an organization in the community. Cool!

  Chocolate Peanut Butter Cayenne Smoothie, kaa-pow!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cayenne Smoothie, kaa-pow!

  Pistachio & Pear Salad

Pistachio & Pear Salad

  Cake of the day :) 

Cake of the day :) 

The Wild Cow

1896 Eastland Ave

Nashville, TN

While we were waiting for a table at TWC (our second visit when we brought friends!) we stumbled upon their sister restaurant, located just around the corner. It is called Graze and it is more of a formal bistro with a full bar. We ordered the Spice of Life and the Garden Patch juice while we waited. The Spice of Life carried quite the punch! If you have a chance, visit them for brunch -- their menu looked full of yummy dishes.

Graze

1888 Eastland Ave

Nashville, TN 37206

If you are in East Nashville make sure to pop in to either but hopefully both.

A friend of ours recommended that we try Fido out for breakfast. It is located near the campus of Vanderbilt University.  Fortunately, we were early and beat the crowd so we avoided a long wait but when we left there were many hungry Fido-fans standing in line. Overall, we enjoyed the coffee, food, and now I would like to know how to make their stewed kale -- it was warm, spicy, and tasty!

Fido
1812 21st Ave S

Nashville, TN 37212

Alternatively if you are downtown and want a coffee or a bite to eat, check out Frothy Monkey. We had a simple bite -- a strawberry and spinach salad with a side of rye toast, hummus and salsa with corn chips. If I had the chance to visit FM again I would try their rosemary honey latte. 

Frothy Monkey

235 5th Ave N

If you want to tour the city, buy a ticket and hop aboard the Old Town Trolley.  We spent a few hours on it one afternoon and were pleasantly surprised with the knowledge of the guides -- they were very humorous! and could tell you anything that you ever wanted to know about Nashville. You can hop on and off whenever like!

Marathon Motor Works

Last but not least I picked up the newly published cookbook of "one of the best food blogs" (recently voted!) in Nashville -- Nutrition Stripped by McKel Hill.  She lives in Nashville and has a stellar wellness presence. I have been following her for the past few years and was so happy to pick up her newest creation. Way to go, McKel!


May this find you...

P.S. - By far the MOST exciting thing that happened to me while in Nashville... Sending a huge hug to both of my parents!