On day 4 we began our run in the Monkey Forest town Padangtegal. This was a magical experience that began with appreciating how amazing Bali is in the morning.

If you work out outside in the mornings, you probably enjoy how you can watch your city or town waking up. It’s fun to see how sleepy your home is around you. I like that it gives you a chance to notice the little things like how green everything is after it rains, or to notice sounds you might have otherwise slept through. This is true in Bali too. Well, the locals are up let me tell you, but you can still appreciate rising with the sun in the morning. It just feels crisp and alive with greenery everywhere. Ahh I miss it.

But the funny thing that we were expecting and totally came true is that we ran into monkeys all over the streets! Absolutely everywhere. Which was exciting for us but not so much for the locals as they were picking through trash, running across the street jumping from tree to tree and generally being pests. This explains why locals are not quite as in love with them as we are. But since we don’t have to live with them year round, it’s hard to view them as pests. They are just so cute!

After our run, the group joined back together for another yoga session. We worked on single leg balance moves like tree pose, warrior III, eagle pose, and different lunge variations. Check out our moves!

After working up a sweat and then slowing it down with some yoga, it was time to move on to my other favorite thing – food!

Today we enjoyed a green smoothie from Nurdi made with all local ingredients. You haven’t had a green smoothie until you’ve had it in Bali. Their produce is just so amazing. I’m obsessed. So while we sipped on our delicious breakfasts we also listened to a nutrition talk from Matt. Nutrition was our theme of the day actually so everything we did was focused around that.

I really love hearing about nutrition from his perspective because he uses science to show that food is fuel and we can use it to make our bodies feel good, just as they were meant to. He talks about how eating clean, vegan foods is the best way to go because our bodies are able to process these foods just as they have for centuries. And how you can use this type of food to help you if you’re going through any health issues like autoimmune disorders, hormone changes, or really anything else. And even if you’re not… who doesn’t want to feel good, right?

Matt’s talk was the perfect intro to our next activity – a raw vegan cooking class at Sayuri! I know, the irony – raw vegan cooking. But there’s a lot to learn about this healing way of eating and it tastes so much better than you can even imagine. And Sayuri Tanaka – the owner of Sayuri – actually calls it un-cooking, if that helps pique your interest haha. So with that in mind, we all buckled up our seatbelts and got ready to learn more about food.

The reason we chose to take our class from Sayuri is that she has the most awesome philosophy on food. She believes in its healing powers and uses her restaurant as a force for tapping into food’s energizing properties. Her food is raw, mostly gluten-free, simple and amazing. And yet it’s not simple at all because she incorporates Ayurvedic principles, Chinese Traditional Medicine and Macrobiotic principles. She really believes that we are what we eat and makes sure everyone is on the best path for health and happiness with her food.

In today’s cooking class Sayuri shared why and how raw food can be used to help heal the body. She also taught us how to make things that we all could see ourselves making and eating back home – nut milk, raw zucchini noodles with marinara sauce, superfood snack balls and raw cheese.

If you ever have a chance to eat at Sayuri you’ll be blown away. Her menu is filled with tantalizing new recipes that I guarantee you would not have had anywhere else. She loves to twist comfort and favorite foods to make these beautiful dishes that are surprising in the best way. She also makes a point to use local fruits and vegetables which are often quite exotic. Annnnd she has a sweet tooth so at any time you can find a full case of 10 different cakes, cookies and truffles that are all raw, have healthy ingredients and are delicious!

Balinese Fruit

After spending some quality time with Sayuri, we went back to our villa for a fruit cutting and tasting demonstration. This was really fun because we learned how to make beautiful designs with our fruit (which was beautiful already) and it gave us a chance to enjoy the ever exotic Balinese fruit I so love. Think pineapple, bananas, mangoes, passion fruit, papaya, jackfruit and durian (yes it really is stinky).

We even got to try some fruits a lot of us had never had before like longans which are related to litchi if you’ve had that before, rambutan, which is this hairy looking fruit that has a sweet and sour taste to it, mangosteen which is a crowd favorite since it somehow combines the flavors of strawberries, peaches, and vanilla ice cream, and a personal favorite – snakeskin. Snakeskin fruit is scaley like a snake, so maybe that’s where the name comes from? But it’s soooo sweet, so tart, and so juicy. Totally addictive.

Lastly, Nurdi and Wayan, both of whom work at our villa, brought supplies for us to make our own Canang sari (offering baskets). This was really special because they were so present everywhere around us. The average Balinese compound requires about 15 small square daily offerings (Canang) to be placed in strategic areas around the home and family temple.

The items placed in these baskets are intentional as everything has a meaning. Typically you’ll find white lime, red betel-nut, and the green sirih or gambier plant. Each of these represents a major Hindu God of the Trimurti – Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu.

On top of those you’ll find four flowers that symbolize sincerity and love:

  • White petals in the east of the little box for the God Iswara;
  • Red for the fiery Brahma in the south;
  • Yellow flowers – usually jepun, or ‘frangipani’ – for the God Mahadeva in the west; and
  • Blue or green for cool Vishnu in the north.

And on top of that, you’ll often also see a small-denomination banknote that completes the sari, or selfless essence, of the offering.

Winding Down

After our offerings, everyone enjoyed a lovely vegan dinner and retreated to either their reading spots or the pool. Did I mention that Bali jungle sounds are the best white noise machine money can buy? Zzzz….

High of the day: Eating all the fruit! How often do you get to eat so many exotic fruits at one time??
Low of the day: Failing really hard at the intricate weaving of the baskets ha