Slow food (and Paleo) Guide to Calgary and Lake Louise

Posted on April 16th, 2014

This is a straightforward post to complement my longer spiels about my adventure to Skoki Lodge.


Oh Canada…

Both Calgary and Lake Louise are fantastic whole food destinations. So many of the places I checked out during my stay banged on about 100-mile-radius produce, pasture-finished meat and eating nose to tail etc. It was super refreshing. As a base for exploring the region, Calgary is great for 1-2 days and certainly some of the cafes and restaurants are worth checking out before heading off to nearby mountain adventures. I’ve included some Lake Louise information, too. Because it rocks the Rockies!

Just a quick note on Canadian service before we move on: It’s seriously the best in the world. Canadians are notoriously nice and they do hospitality with so much earnest care. Almost worth visiting just for this lovely touch.

River Café

This place is magical – a cosy, barn-like place with an open fire and a great bar area located on an island in a river that runs through the centre of town. Big windows look out onto the park (geese frolicking in the snow!) and you lose all sense that you’re in the middle of the city. I walked there from the Kensington Riverside Inn a little further up the river at sunset. I drank anamazing red from a list featuring lots of organics and ate…

Local pasture-finished Angus sirloin on an eggplant caponata with fiddleheads (fern buds that grow nearby at the start of spring) and cod served with cabbage rolls.

And… Read more

Slow Food (and Paleo) Guide to Seattle

Posted on April 9th, 2014

Seattle is a slow and whole foodie playground. Let me illustrate just how so with this example: the other night at Sitka and Spruce, a Capital Hill restaurant featuring local produce, I had one of my gut aches. When I have a gut ache I generally take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in some warm water before eating. It settles things. So I tried my luck with the cashmere sweater-wearing waiter and asked if the kitchen might have some ACJ, used for cooking purposes. “I believe we ferment our own…one moment.” He promptly arrived with a mug of the stuff, along with my glass of biodynamic Burgundy. For, while not flagged in neon lights on the menu, the entire wine list is organic, natural or biodynamic.

It would all be tediously “Portlandia”, except I was in Seattle, where this kind of eating is very unpretentious.

I love this Seattle shot... Granny on her iPhone at one of the most Portlandia joints in town (Sitke and Spruce)

I love this Seattle shot… Granny on her iPhone at one of the most Portlandia joints in town (Sitke and Spruce)

Which makes things fun for someone like me. Actually it was food that brought me to Seattle – the city is regarded as the second best restaurant destination outside Manhattan, has the second largest wine industry outside California and it’s a mecca for food bloggers. Like my mates Shauna at Glutenfreegirl, Aran at CannelleVanille and my new mate Mickey at Autoimmune-Paleo. All of us have autoimmune disease, all of us connected online, all of us wanted to meet. Ergo, a jaunt to Seattle.

In addition to a bunch of other amazing wholefood nuts I met while in town, as well as the Visit Seattle team, they helped me put together this Portlandia-without-the-pretence guide. Enjoy.

Paleo eats

* Out of the Box: A Paleo food van that pops up around the place. Fantastic fare, like pork belly with cauliflower rice…you know the kind of thing. The also do meal delivery…good for hotel room service!!

50 North (University District): A wonderful American restaurant with plenty of gluten-free options; a great place for dinner. The fish and chips are excellent [I usually opt for sweet potato fries instead of regular ones - Mickey]. The lamb burger and BBQ pulled pork sandwich (without the buns) are also tasty Paleo options.

* Sea Breeze Farm (at the U-district market Saturdays and Ballard market on Sunday, year round): Every week this farm brings their best freshly butchered meats, raw dairy, and prepared goods all raised on their sustainable family farm to the market. Buy some  Porchetta for a snack as you walk the market. [They sell the best pork belly I Read more

The Healthy Foodie’s Guide to Auckland

Posted on March 11th, 2014

Whenever I travel I like to check out and then share great low-carb, sugar-free places to eat. As well as accommodation that doesn’t have a heaving ecological footprint and are… quiet and tranquil, suitable for thyroidy types. You can catch up on my New York, Byron Bay, Sardinia and Provence guides here.


A dish from Ortolana restaurant

I was in Auckland, New Zealand recently to speak at two conferences, Fizz and Low Carb NZ, and did a bit of research, calling out on social media and consulting a few like-minded Kiwis for tips. Here’s a cut ‘n’ paste rundown should you be heading over the Tasman soon.

1. Gather and Hunt – A good website, sort of the “Broadsheet” of Auckland, with lots of suggestions for eateries on the mindful end of the spectrum.

2. The Braemar Bed and Breakfast. I came across this place via the Googles (I search “environmental eco accommodation”). It’s in the middle of the city, but in a very quiet little pocket near some great jogging/walking parks. There’s only four rooms, host John is an absolute and wonderfully eccentric delight with a map and helpful directions and tips ready to go, and a cooked breakfast (mushroom, poached eggs and spinach) is included, along with brewed coffee, the papers and the company of the other guests (who seem to be regulars). Very much a home-away-from-home. Ask for the room with the massive claw-foot bath in it.

2. Wilder and Hunt. This is a Paleo cafe located in St Heliers. Funnily, I’d heard about it and was impressed with their focus on nutrient-dense, no grain, no sugar food. Then, at the low-carb conference, the two young women who started it approached me and very humbly told me they’d opened the cafe after doing my 8-Week Program. I didn’t have time to check it out, but wished I had.

3. Ortolana. A lovely indoor-outdoor restaurant in the Britomart complex in the city. The focus is on garden-to-table dining and they even have a natural wine produced on the owner’s property. Fresh food based around vegetables and herbs picked that day. Love it.

4. Little Bird Organics. A raw food cafe in Kingsland and Ponsonby areas. I’m not always a raw food  fan, especially when travelling (raw food can aggravate Vata and raw food cafes can be a bit grain and legume-heavy), but sometimes it’s a good way to get veggies into the mix. I noticed they offer grain-free and sprouted grain stuff.

The next few recommendations came from Mikki Williden, a nutritionist and senior lecturer at AUT University.

5. The Commons on Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna. You can request a Paleo degustation menu. Read more