Tag Archives: coconut water

A Guide to Vegan Eating in Puerto Rico

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been coming to Puerto Rico to visit my family for years. Although the island is known for not being vegetarian-friendly, I’ve found ways to keep my diet–even when I’m surrounded by meat eaters! Here’s how I do it.

Keep Your Eyes Out for Health Food Stores

Surprisingly, there are tons of health food stores in Puerto Rico. If you’re staying in Dorado, I can recommend three that exist within a 10 mile radius, including Verde Natura, Essential Organics, and Armonia. They tend to be tucked away, however, so you need to keep your eyes peeled. My favorite health food store in Puerto Rico is Dora’s in Manati–although I know this is a bit far for most who visit and stay in San Juan. If you’re staying in San Juan, however, check out Superfoods in Condado or La Buena Mesa de Oscar in Rio Piedras, which also has a vegetarian cafe right next to it!

Stock up on These Puerto Rican Treats

Plantains: Sorry, I’m not talking about fried plantains or plantain chips (that’s not to say I didn’t have one during my trip…uh oh!) I’m talking about boiled plantains with no grease added. Plantains not only help with digestion, they also are high in calcium and have been proven to help improve brain functioning. Try blending some into Abuela’s plantain soup!

Avocados: Avocados in Puerto Rico are so delicious. They tend to be bigger and juicier than the avocados you find in the States. Not only that, you can find them anywhere. My aunt has a tree full of avocados that has been growing for years—talk about local! They’re also sold at about every fruit stand that you can find. This made eating very easy for me. Whenever my family planned to go to a place that I knew wasn’t vegetarian-friendly, I would always sneak in an avocado to add to a bed of lettuce and tomatoes. And with all the essential fatty acids, half an avocado was just enough to make me feel full and satisfied.

Cold Coconuts (Cocos Frios): It’s not rare in Puerto Rico to see a coconut stand while driving on the local roads. These are as fresh as they can get! Open one up and you’ll get a great dose of coconut water to keep you hydrated on a hot caribbean day.

Check out Places with Vegetarian Options

 Casa Lola, Condado: Being that I have the most awesome family in the world, my cousin picked this place out with me in mind when he invited my family out to dinner. In addition to the normal Puerto Rican foods (fritters, pork, seafood, etc.) this restaurant offered some great salads and vegetarian options. I started my meal off with a salad and had a vegetarian platter with chard, asparagus, mushrooms, and vegetarian beans. Yum!

 Café Berlin, Old San Juan: Although a little bit tofu-heavy for my taste, this little gem in Old San Juan has a full vegetarian menu with gluten-free options along with fish and meat options. I had the vegan “meatloaf” (made with rice, beans, and vegetables) and a house salad. Perfect for ending a night of strolling the cobble stone streets of the historic neighborhood.

Get Moving!

There are so many places to get your sweat on in Puerto Rico. I definitely recommend taking classes atIt’s Yoga Puerto Rico in Condado. The studio is better than any New York studio I’ve been to and is just a walk away from the beach!  You can also experience the beautiful scenery of the island either by running or hiking outside. On the days where I didn’t practice yoga, I would either hike or run in the nearby neighborhood, where I would frequently see reptiles, coquis, and beautiful greenery. Some great places to go hiking include el Yunque Rainforest and El Torro Negro State Forest.

I hope this helps you on your next trip to La Isla del Encanto!

Smelling the flowers at el Torro Negro. Such beautiful greenery!

ALANA’S FEEL-GOOD COCO MOCHA

 

When the summertime hits, sometimes all I want is a sweet chocolatey milkshake. But there is no need for me to run to the next hormone-filled, mucus forming concoction available at the nearest diner or Starbucks. No, no. I’ve got something better. I call it the Feel-Good Coco Mocha because it tastes like a Java Chip Frappucino but has an extreme amount of feel-good nutrients that will leave you with a feeling of awesomeness instead of a sugar crash. Perfect for a post-workout or for when you just need a pick-me-up. I promise—you will be hooked!

Ingredients

1 cup of coconut water (if you want to make a larger portion, add regular water or almond milk as well)

2 tablespoons of chia seeds soaked for 10 minutes

1 heaping tablespoon of almond butter

¼ avocado

1 heaping tablespoon of raw cacao/carob powder

1 pinch of vanilla extract

1 pinch of liquid stevia (optional, if you want a little more sweetness)

Ice (optional)

Throw it all in a blender and hit blend!

What’s Great About the Coco Mocha

Coconut water: Coconut water is extremely hydrating, and contains the electrolytes potassium and magnesium. Magnesium is extremely helpful for reducing stress and belly fat, whereas potassium is great for rehydration.

Chia Seeds: I know I talk about chia seeds all the time, but that’s because they are AMAZING. The tahamurara tribe drinks water with chia seeds to fuel up for 3 day, 50 mile runs (check out the book “Born to Run” if you want to learn more about them).  The seeds absorb water, giving the smoothie a thicker texture and making it more filling.

Cacao: Cacao is a nutrient-rich superfood. Who would’ve though chocolate could be so good for you?  Cacao also has magnesium, along with serotonin (which is often deficient in those suffering from depression). In addition, it has more cancer-fighting antioxidants than green tea, red wine, and goji berries combined!

Carob: Although not as nutrient dense as cacao, carob powder is a great source of calcium and has less caffeine and calories than cacao. Both forms of chocolate have excellent cancer-fighting properties.

Avocado and Almond Butter: Tons of fatty acids to keep you satisfied and to keep your skin glowing and radiant!

Not to mention, its absolutely DELICIOUS, if I do say so myself. ;) Enjoy!