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Top 5 Travel Destinations for Foodies Who Love to Eat Healthily

5 best destinations for healthy food in the world

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Ask anyone what they love most about travel and I would wager a bet that food is one of the top three things on their list. It completely makes sense - food encapsulates places in such a unique way. It’s sensory, it’s social and it’s an insight into local culture. The trick however, especially when travelling long term, is balancing experience with indulgence.

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You could take the French approach; when asked why a country so famed for pastries and decadent treats contains so many thin and elegant women, the response is to “eat only half as much as you think you should.” Alternatively, try these destinations below, where healthy and delicious are practically synonymous.

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 5 best destinations for healthy food in the world

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Hoi An, Vietnam -

“An equal balance of sweetness, sourness and saltiness” is that answer I received when asking a Vietnamese chef the key to what makes the food in Vietnam some of the tastiest in the world. Hoi An is the ultimate melting pot of East and West. The historical reason for this being the occupation of Vietnam by the French for over 100 years. Vietnam may now be independent, but the remnants of this time period still echo through the streets of Hoi An, with its stunning architecture and phenomenal cuisine.

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The flavours of lemongrass, chilli, mint, peanuts, seafood and fried shallots of traditional food remain strong, but combine this with the best bread and sauces outside of France and the result is nothing short of magical. The Vietnamese also know a thing or two about eating healthily. On the street stalls and menus of Hoi An you’ll find crisp, fresh and incredibly flavour-balanced salads, beautifully steamed fish wrapped in banana leaves, tasty stir fries topped with fried shallots and garlic, and delicious fruit based treats.

Don’t miss these places…

Mango Rooms - for sensational, spicy seafood

Central Market Food Hall - if you're brave enough to eat like a local, you'll be rewarded with some of the most amazing street food specialities and the BEST atmosphere in town!

The Original Taste of Hoi An Walking Tours - absolutely brilliant, especially when you are new to the cuisine and overwhelmed by choice.

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5 best destinations for healthy food in the world

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Southern Italy -

I hear you asking already, how can the home of pizza and pasta be a heathy food destination? But herein lies the key mistake, Italian cuisine is not all about pizza and pasta, not truly. If you haven’t heard of the Seven Countries Study, I highly recommend that you check out the Mediterranean Diet. In the briefest of summaries, researchers looked into the influence of diet and lifestyle on heart disease (amongst other things) and the findings were strongly in favour of the Mediterranean Diet, where people were living the longest and had the lowest rates of heart disease.

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These findings were incredibly surprising because the Mediterranean Diet promotes many foods that are high in fat. It’s all about the balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids - if you’re interested in more detail check out the references below. The kind of foods we’re talking about are olive oil, nuts, leafy greens, oily fish (like salmon and sardines, etc), and a moderate intake of red wine, dark chocolate and full-fat dairy. I don’t know about you, but that list sure has my mouth watering!

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The trick therefore when travelling in Italy is to stay away from the touristic pizza and pasta bars and instead head to the local delis. The experience is rewarding in so many ways; you'll eat some of the most sensational picnics of your life, you’ll get to interact with locals in an authentic way (and isn’t that the point of travelling?!) and you’ll know you are doing your body a favour at the same time.

Don’t miss these foods…

Aubergine dip / Grilled asparagus / Bruschetta / Baked brie / Stuffed olives / Olive oil / Filled mushrooms / Semi-dried tomatoes

5 best destinations for healthy food in the world

Ubud, Bali -

If you are a vegan, a raw foodie, a vegetarian or just plain into tasty, innovative, healthy food - look no further than Ubud, Bali. What Ubud offers in oodles is cafe culture; think green smoothies, comfy couches, whole coconuts, funky alfresco style dining and the ultimate raw vegan fare. Add to this that it’s at a fraction of the cost of dining out back home and it makes complete sense why health-conscious foodies are flocking to Ubud in droves.

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The health food revolution has hit Ubud in a way unlike any other destination and it’s the place to explore the latest food trends, from juice-fasting to 10-course degustations of locally sourced, organic produce.

Dont miss these places…

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Alchemy - for the best raw vegan food around, in a beautifully designed space

Bali Bundha - for cheap delicious kombucha straight after yoga across the road

Lavacore - for sensational degustations made from local organic produce

KAFE - owned by the Yoga Barn, but situated in town, go here for the best brunches

Ubud Raw Chocolate Factory - need I say more?

You can also read our other blog - (18 awesome that will make you want to visit Bali)

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5 best destinations for healthy food in the world

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Kangaroo Island, Australia

Eating locally is both an environmental and health food movement. It is a huge phenomenon in Australia at the moment and cottage-food producers are popping up everywhere, showcasing a wide array of artisan goods. Kangaroo Island is my destination of choice to sample this; you’ll find untouched beaches, wildlife on your doorstep and one-of-a-kind farm and cellar door producers.

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One of the benefits of eating locally is minimising how processed the food you consume is, therefore cutting out preservatives, additives and all of those nasties. It also helps significantly to reduce your carbon footprint, because the food requires far less transportation to get from its source to your plate. I recently used the WWF Carbon Footprint Calculator and was astonished to find that aside from international flights, food choices make the highest impact on my carbon footprint. It’s well worth a look - I’ll pop the link below!

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Farming has been a major industry on Kangaroo Island for many years, yet its just in the last few that the gourmet produce has really started to evolve. Seafood is the obvious speciality, in particular whiting, marron and oysters. Also available are locally made honeys, wines, sheep cheese, gin, olive oil, wine and numerous other cottage food goods. There’s also specialist lavender and eucalyptus farms. Oh and did I mention that this Island is one of the most beautiful places on Earth? Well, there’s that too.

Dont miss these places…

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Island Pure Sheep Dairy - for amazing cheeses and yogurts

Clifford’s Honey Farm - the honey range is diverse and delicious, but even better is the homemade honey ice-cream!

The Oyster Farm Shop - an authentic farm-gate (or in this case boat-gate?) experience for the freshest seafood you’ll find anywhere

Kangaroo Island Spirits - ok, perhaps not “healthy”, but the local produced Wild Gin and Mulberry Gin are an absolute must try

The Figgery - where the sticky figs are to die for!

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5 best destinations for healthy food in the world

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Kerala, India -

Ok, so this one only applies if you like your food hot. And I mean HOT. Kerala is famous for its spicy curries and crispy masala dosa (crepes filled with curried lentils and topped with chutney.)   It’s a fabulous place for pescatarians, vegetarians and vegans alike because most traditional dishes do not include beef or pork for cultural and religious reasons. Chicken and seafood are used sparingly, due to their expense, but you can easily have a gourmet Indian adventure without any animal products crossing your path. In fact, most travellers you meet in India are temporary-vegetarians for the duration of their trip, because it’s the easiest way to reduce the likelihood of “Delhi-Belly”.

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The best food in India is often found on the street, where you get an experience as well as flavour. To stay healthy choose places that are frequented by locals and only eat food that’s piping hot. A must try when in Kerala is the state’s signature dish, sadhya. Translating to banquet, a sadhya is served on a banana leaf and will include a small sample of a wide array of dishes (usually around 20!) including curries, rice, pickles, dhal and yogurt. It’s served at cultural festivals and is eaten sitting cross legged on the ground with your fingers - foodie travel doesn’t get more authentic than that!

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No trip to India would be complete without consuming a steamy cup of chai at least thrice a day either. Chai in India is nothing like the stuff you can make from powder back home. Chai is street food and is made by repeatedly boiling milk, tea and spices until the flavour is just right. Purchasing and watching your chai getting made is an amazing interaction in itself and you’ll soon find yourself becoming a bit of a chai connoisseur, noticing the difference between regions, towns and individual vendors.

Don’t miss these foods…

Sadhya - traditional banquet served on a banana leaf

Masala dosa - curried lentils or chickpeas served with a thin crepe and chutney

Kulfi - pistachio icecream

Chai - sweet, milky, spiced tea

Lassi - a yogurt drink often flavoured with mango or coconut which is great for cooling down after a hot curry!

Puttu and kadala curry - a breakfast speciality of rice and coconut balls served with a black coloured curry with chickpeas and banana

Chemmeen curry - Kerala’s famous prawn curry, beware, it’s HOT!

Further information:

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5 best destinations for healthy food in the world

 

For more on the Mediterranean Diet - I’d recommend Dr. Michael Mosley’s book The 8 Week Blood Sugar Diet

 

 To calculate your carbon footprint - http://footprint.wwf.org.uk/ (UK)

 By Lisa Somerfield

 Follow my adventures on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/lfsadventures/

 

 




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