Tag Archives: Raw food

Gimme SOMA More!

I will probably spend the rest of my trip craving Soma’s Sweet n Simple with Grilled Tempe….vegan brownie…oja rejuvenation….date and flax cheesecake crust…live pad thai….PacJohn, the charismatic owner….the didgeridoo jam sessions…and the guaranteed new friends at every sitting.


Soma probably doesn’t have more than 20 seats but they will always find a place for you to sit.  The welcoming community atmosphere welcomes Ubud’s short term visitors, seasoned ex-pats, and health conscious locals. PacJohn/Johnny, the owner is always there full of energy, playing instruments, joining a party for a meal, and eager to share his passion for sustainable, local, intentional food.  Not only does Johnny have impressive knowledge of the benefits of superfoods and the physiological benefits (and detriments) linked with diet, he also has local contacts for anything health-minded you could want in Ubud.  From Traditional healers, to tarot card readers, yoga festivals, and music jam sessions…he knows what’s up. 


As for the food.  Ohhhh, the food.  Why is Soma ahead of the game compared to other ‘organic’ ‘vegetarian’ ‘raw’ food establishments? Because it focuses on the flavor as much as the health.  More often than not, when restaurants focus on the health side of foods they are able to get by on just that….Soma goes one step further to make dishes that are not only impressively creative in terms of ingredients (often raw and vegan, always organic and local) but it puts together flavours with exquisitely unique flare to awaken the taste buds.  There is so much thought put in to everything from a simple crust to the drizzle of coulis that every bite is a masterpiece. 


So the menu is great, the atmosphere is intoxicating….the price.  At first glance—100,000 IDR! That was the most expensive meal I’d had in Bali…by about 90,000….first, 1USD is about 9500 IDR….second, for 11ish dollars I got a coconut, a warm elixir beverage, a salad and open faced sandwich, and a decadent vegan brownie…any food of the same quality and taste in North America would be at least 5 times that cost.  I came to the conclusion at that moment that I wasn’t eating anywhere else until I left Ubud (I’d already spent days eating from Warungs and hawker stalls) because my body deserved it after months of rice cakes, pies, and ‘free food’ bin leftovers.  I have never had so much energy, my stomach feels slimmer and less uneasy, and I miraculously feel less bloated in the [what feels like] 1000% humidity of Bali. 


Definitely a MUST go to in Ubud if not for the food, the atmosphere and unreal people.   Where do you find this slice of heaven?  On Jl. Dewi Sita half way between Monkey Rd and Jl Hanoman. 


Yogini Life

The grass is always greener…the whole time I was in Oz/NZ all I could think about was how cheap and awesome Asia would be…then on my flight to Bali I started to realize all that was awesome about Oz and NZ….what gives. Anyway, while I was on the 6 hour flight trying reallllly hard not to succumb to the scheme that is 3 dollar in-flight soft drinks I had a lot of time to myself and my thoughts….dangerous, I know.

I started to think about what I wanted from Bali, Asia, this trip…I came to the conclusion that although I wasn’t pulling an ‘Eat Pray Love’ (the new adjective for ‘finding oneself through extensive travelling’), I wanted to have more than a tan to show for my time. After all this is working out to be a projected 15k+ investment in the end….to say I have no tan lines and ate lots of curry would be a bit disappointing. Yes, there is the experience…but the experience you get is only what you put in. I don’t have unlimited funds, but I do have a heavy abundance of time and effort. I put the guide book aside (which I’d been reading cover to cover daily) and wrote a list of what I wanted to do in Asia.

The list is long and doesn’t include getting tanned and wasted on beaches…Fun will be had, but perhaps less belligerent fun with better decisions…. That being said, I sat back and wondered what I really wanted from Bali…was it just the novelty of ‘bali’…did I want to party? Surf? Hike?…I wanted to do yoga. I realized quickly that its not really a part of the local culture as everyone that goes seems to be a tourist and studios have ridiculous local deals that aren’t even utilized (like a 10th of the price!)…but there’s something about practicing yoga that reminds you to be humble and accepting, to drop the ego….and to breathe. Mostly, that it’s not a competition, and as my teacher yesterday said, “life must be a balance of effort and surrender”.

Basically eluding the notion that we can’t get too addicted to success…that mastering a posture and only doing it to be great at it isn’t enough, once mastering, we must push ourselves once again. It made me realize that maybe I had gotten to a point of ‘success’ with Oz and NZ…It had become easy. I am an expert, I like being the expert…I like being right. Who doesn’t? Anyway….I have gotten a week unlimited at Radiantly Alive, a gorgeous studio with 2 rooms, and plenty of classes from Flying Yoga to Radiantly Alive Vinyasa, and tons of guided meditation….only set me back 40 bucks as opposed to the 90 dollar 10 class pass with the famous Yoga Barn and I have LOVED every class and instructor. Nevermind the fact that Bali’s ridiculously hot and humid climate makes every class warm for juicier poses. I have had some of my best practices ever…I attribute it to the fact that I have nowhere else I’d rather be…which makes me think about how we have the power to be successful if we are choosing to be present and focused in whatever we’re doing wherever we are…If you’re there and you aren’t leaving you might as well utilize the time fully-right?

Pretty much everyone I practice with is creating their own retreat for either a week or month like I’ve chosen to do (for a week). Going to 1 meditation and at least 2 classes a day. I hurt like hell, but I’ve done my first unassisted handstand, I’ve done hanging belt restoration, Flying Yoga (acro/thai massage), yin, level 2 vinyasas and more. All of the instructors are foreigners…but they all know their stuff. Jose, who does Vinyasa, Iyengar, and hanging belt restoration is one of the best instructors I’ve ever had, and Samuel can guide even my busy mind into a deep meditation. The only thing local about the studio is the front desk staff…but the attitude of Yoga is very much in line with that of Bali, and has in fact made me feel Radiantly Alive, as it would claim. I feel no need to ‘Facebook’…I’d rather be at meditation..I spend my hours between classes chatting (or trying to ) with the locals trying to find the best food while guzzling coconut water and discussing what color of sarong I ‘have’ to buy before I leave.

Also I’ve discovered Soma….I will write a post on it individually…but its basically Edmonton’s Noorish (Tons of raw, vegan, g-free options, elixors, fresh fruit smoothies…a link to the yoga community…free range, local ingredients) at a tenth of the price. It’s funny how North America has created an image around healthy food that it has to be ridiculously overpriced making it pretentious and trendy. I read an article about fasting where the author (paraphrased) said that fasting makes him re-evaluate why we eat….continuing on to say we eat to nourish our bodies with essential nutrients, not for the caloric needs…that will come naturally… And more importantly not for emotional need or taste…Food that tastes ‘so good’ is our way of associating food with emotional benefit which we should be getting from activity, and sociability…not food. Understanding how your body can function without the food helps to center the attitude towards food…we should all respect our bodies as much as we would a Lambourghini….and we wouldn’t put Regular fuel in one if we had one, so out of respect for ourselves, and the desire to live the healthiest, longest life possible we should be putting premium products into our system. That being said, I still love food….the taste, the calories, all of it…it’s just an interesting take on fasting and food.