5 Vegan Cafes or Juice Bars you simply must visit in LA

Dr.J’s Vibrant Cafe

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Price range: $11 per bowl

Favourites: Carob brownies, Curried potato bowl, Minced Chunks Spring Wrap

THIS IS THE GREATEST THING I’VE EVER DISCOVERED! OMG the people there are SO NICE, the cafe is AMAZING, the food is absolutely TOP and everything about this place is simply the best. I LOVE going there so much, and it was one of the greatest experiences ever! I particularly loved just how filling and huge those bowls are, perfect for my giant appetite! Their food is also extremely tasty and flavourful!

Suncafe

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Address: 3711 Cahuenga Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

Price range: $12 average meal, though some are more and some are less.

Favourites: Lettuce Taco and Garlic Bread

OMG, I went there to check it out cos it was organic and the raw taco completely blew me away. I never imagined raw food would taste so good. This shop can freaking make ANYONE a fan of raw vegan food because of the way they prepare it! I LOVE their Sunchorizo, their vegan version of a sausage. It tasted so spectacular that I savoured every last bite. Also, their garlic bread without butter IS SIMPLY AMAZING, I don’t think anyone can tell the difference!

Cafe Gratitude

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Address: 639 N Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004

Price range: Between $8-13 on average

Favourites: Fortified

Unfortunately this cafe is a bit hard to get to without a car, like you really need to be able to drive there, and I was lucky to meet up with someone who was happy to go with me. But, it has absolutely amazing food! Absolutely delicious vegan food that they put in surpreme tasting sauces and it actually made me like bean sprouts, and I NEVER like them! I LOVE their desserts, all the dairy free desserts taste just like those with it.

Juice Crafters

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Address: 702 S Spring St, Los Angeles CA, 90014

Price Range: About $7 per juice

Favourites: Cleanse Guru #12, Greenest #3

WOOOOW their juices were so amazing! I never would’ve imagined a green juice with celery would taste so divine, yet it does, with only apple being the sweetener! Seriously their cleanse juice has to be one of the greatest things ever, made from coconut water, cucumber and pineapple juice. I also LOVE their aloe vera water.

Panini Stop

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Address: SE corner of 7th and Spring St (next to Juice Crafters)

Price Range: $5 per panini

Favourites: Vegan #4 and #5

I LOVE how there’s a panini place right next to Juice Crafters and they opened pretty early (9am) compared to many others, so it was nice to get a bit of food in after drinking my juice. I absolutely love their vegan paninis, it was so simple to make, yet the taste was just amazing. I LOVE that they don’t use any unhealthy ingredients in those, only balsamic vinegar and olive oil just gave it such rich taste.

Why I chose to eat Healthy on Vacation

“Health is happiness.”

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(Fortified from Cafe Gratitude)

I think unless you’ve truly been through something that makes you fear eating unhealthy, and that it may put yourself at risk, you probably won’t understand. Most people will probably say, it’s a vacation so you should eat whatever you want.

Perhaps sometimes, fear is really a great driving force to keep us eating healthy. I fear about my heart palpitations all the time, I know that it was a lot worse when I ate unhealthy, so in a way, I feel that eating healthy is a life saver, so that’s why I would NEVER put myself at risk. I guess those who has never experienced something they felt may threaten their life, they wouldn’t be as scared as I am, but I really have grown to fear unhealthy food, to the point where if I ate it, I would feel as if I’m gonna “die” or something!

Well, let me ask: What if, you could eat whatever you want, and that it was healthy and delicious? I think people still has the misconception that vegan food simply doesn’t taste as good. This is not the case! I tasted probably the best garlic bread ever, and it had NO BUTTER. That proves that food can be just as good vegan. Raw food can taste amazing too, if you prepare it properly!

That’s why I loved vegan, organic cafes so much. The food there is usually very health oriented, but it’s like, these cafes spend their entire existence figuring out how to make veggies and fruits taste good, so their vegan dishes are always very tasty. At least from my experience, every single vegan cafe I went to had brilliant, tasty food.

I think that when you’re immersed in an environment like that, you kind of have no option but to eat healthy, and that’s one of the best feelings ever. I enjoyed feeling like I didn’t have to look long and hard to find something healthier.

Instead of regular smoothies, I drank juice instead. I usually can’t make juices at home because I have no juicer, but I find juices are just as good. There are juice bars everywhere in the city and that’s always great because you can easily get a green juice.

I think many people believe that a green juice must taste horrible because it has vegetables in it. My juicing experience is that it does not taste bad, even the ones with celery taste amazing. If you really can’t stand bland juices, try one with some apple in it. It’s crazy but by the end of the trip, I got a juice with nothing but vegetables and still appreciated the taste. I think your taste buds really do change and adapt.

I never believe that we should put our health on risk just because we’re on vacation. I don’t want to feel guilty afterwards, or feel as if I need to work it all off. I enjoy feeling good about myself, and encourage all of you to do the same.

How to find Healthy Cafes

Just type in google the location you’re going, and “organic vegan cafe” afterwards or before. There should be listings that show the closest restaurants and cafes. That’s how I managed to find a lot of them.

How to Stay Safe in LA

LA is a wonderful place, but that doesn’t mean it’s all safe. Here are some safety tips on getting around LA!

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  • First and MOST important thing: Trust your instincts, intuitions and fear. You are given them for a good reason – to help you stay safe. If you get a gut feeling telling you something feels off, trust it and do what you can to avoid it. This is the most important thing that will keep you safe!
  • Don’t go walking on the streets until at least after 10am.
  • Do not bring all your important valuables, money, cards, and jewellery in your bag, thinking it’s the safest. Someone could just snatch it, you’d be better off leaving a lot of the stuff in the hotel.
  • Do not give them ANY eye contact. If you do, it shows that you’re interested and they are likely to take what they’re doing a step further.
  • Simply walk as fast as you can ahead without looking at them at all.
  • Do not respond to people who are acting suspicious.
  • Try and be aware of who’s behind and in front of you. Try and keep a certain distance between anyone.
  • Do not wear expensive jewellery or show that there’s valuables in your purse, bag or pocketbook.
  • Try and be where there are more people.
  • Don’t go into a dark place like tunnels and such.
  • There will be quite a few beggars saying they’re homeless and need money, I simply shrugged and said I really didn’t have anything (which was true).
  • Take note on when shops open because as they do, more people appear on the streets and it becomes a lot safer.
  • Avoid going out late at night for the same reasons.
  • If you see a crazy person yelling, screaming or cursing, try and move away as fast as you can, and not provoke the person. They’re probably not angry at you (but at the entire world), but will do anything to let the anger out.
  • If you’re going to Hollywood, do know that people there are very aggressive with asking for tips, so if you don’t want to feel pressured, try not to take photos with them or take their things.

Tips on how to Explore by Yourself

Are you afraid of going exploring by yourself? Perhaps you are like me, you have little or no sense of direction, you have something on later and you’re scared to death that you’re going to get lost. This was exactly how I felt, but for some reason, it turned out so amazing that I wanted to explore more.

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1) You need a good quality, accurate map. My advice is to buy one, or get one that’s clearly printed. It will be your life saver!

2) Try not to fret too much about finding your way back. I know that I can’t reverse directions in my mind. What I do is, I just go there, have fun, go anywhere and not think about where I am. At the end, I will find what street I’m on, then look at the map and figure out how to go from there.

3) Give yourself some time, and be sure you have water.

4) If you’re really unsure of where to go,

5) While you’re walking, see if you can remember your surroundings as much as possible, because later on, you may find that you’ll recognise certain places. That way, you’ll know if you’re heading the right direction back.

6) There’s no one set way to go. You don’t have to follow 100% the way you came. Just know that streets do connect!

7) Focus on a large building where you can instantly see, such as it has a special name, sign, logo etc, and look for that when you’re finding your directiosn.

8) Go suss it out before you need to go. If you are meeting someone at a certain time, and you don’t know how to get there, I recommend that you go a day early (even if it’s just to find the bus/train station) to figure out where you need to go. Believe me, sometimes you can accidentally go the wrong direction and it takes about 30 mins to come back.

The biggest thing I must tell you is: TAKE A CHANCE! Before this, I absolutely dreaded the thought of me going off on my own to find a place. Now, I just want to bring on more adventures and after this, I feel that I can find just about ANYTHING. I feel unstoppable, like nothing in the world can stop me.

This is a really wonderful, empowering feeling and it will make you feel very independant too.

Travel Tips: Staying Healthy, the Plane Ride and Places to see in LA

I’m back from LA! OMG that was seriously an experience of a lifetime! I’m going to be writing about travel tips and such this week because that’s all that’s on my mind right now.

Plane Trip

Virgin America

Wear something comfortable, not jeans with belts (because they make you take it off and it’s a pain!). Be sure if you’re taking a laptop, don’t put it at the bottom where it takes a long time to get out, because you will need to take it out for security.

Don’t put anything in your pockets.

Bring headphones and food on the plane, particularly for a national flight, because they make you buy everything on those.

Eating and Drinking

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(Curried Potato bowl – Dr J’s Vibrant Cafe)

Eating healthy does cost, and I advise you to at least put $40-50 on meals each day on the trip, that’s not including the hotel fee.

Do a search on organic cafe near where you are, because I’ve noticed that usually, organic cafes are vegan or plant-based.

Look for juice places. They cost up to $8-10 each, but are well worth it because of all the nutrients they hold. Usually these juice places also have smoothies. I recommend starting the day with a green juice (trust me, they taste AMAZING!)

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Go to Dr.J’s if you’re in downtown, LA. Go to Cafe gratitude and Suncafe if you’re around the Hollywood area.

Book a hotel that’s close to at least one healthy cafe that you can go to every day.

If you are staying for a long time, you may wish to bring a portable fridge and hire a hotel with a mini kitchen, or bring your blender/juicer.

Be sure to look for markets around as even up a few roads, there’s a market selling gorgeous fresh fruits and vegetables.

Places

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Downtown, Los Angeles

Downtown is a brilliant shopping place and you get these districts for fashion, jewllery, toys and such where you can buy really cheap stuff for about $1-2, and they’re all wholesale prices. You’d never be able to find stuff like this anywhere else, or at least I haven’t been able to find them!

Downtown was also where I stayed (Stay at Main/Cecil Hotel).

China Town – If you want to see some lovely buildings, buy Chinese food and things, go there. You can easily walk there from Main St.

Hollywood

If you take the Metro train (red line) to Hollywood, Highlands, you get off and the entire street is filled with fun. There are characters dressing up and you can take photos with them (but you need to be prepared to tip them), and there’s that amazingly beautiful Chinese cinema and sourvenir shops everywhere. (Bring money!) There’s also a stairway you can go up if you go go slightly right after you get out of the train station (there are lots of shops all around too) and up there is a brilliant viewing place for you to see the Hollywood sign, but it’s very small so if you are taking photos, you probably can’t get much.

Universal Studios

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Take the red line on Metro train and stop at Universal station and find that tall, black glass building and walk up, there’s a bus to take you to the city walk and universal studios. The citywalk is free and there’s a place you can do indoor skydiving (FLYING) for about $40 per minute and I know that’s expensive but for once in our lives, I believe we need to FLY! Going in the universal studios does cost a bit, so do bring money with you! The citywalk has plenty of awesome things to see and shops to look at.

Santa Monica Beach & Pier

Wow, that beach was absolutely amazing, thanks to Sue and Bob for taking me there. It even had an amusement park on the beach with roller coasters, Ferris wheel and other fun things. It’s great to shop, have a great meal and have some FUN there. There’s of course the beach where you can roll in the waves.

Things/Places you must Experience

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Ifly – If you always wanted to fly, this is your chance.

Dr J’s Vibrant Cafe – One of the most best cafes I’ve been to, with the nicest, most amazing staff EVER and food that tastes like a piece of heaven.

Cafe Gratitude – Another amazing cafe with DELICIOUS foods that are healthy!

Metro Train – It can be a little bit of a challenge to find the train station because there’s really no large signs to say, except you have to see it in front of you. But once you know where it is, it’s very easy to get around.

Hollywood Sign – Seriously, you just have to take at least one photo of yourself near the sign.

Horse riding – Sadly I couldn’t go as it was hard to get to and not enough time but you can go horse riding around Hollywood. Sounds like the most fun thing ever.

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