Romantic Dinner In Bali

The other night, Shelby and I decided we were long overdue for some fine dining. Don’t get me wrong, the $4 pad thais usually do the trick, but after 3 months of traveling, there comes a time where you just really need to treat yourself. Although we’d splurged on a few nice dinners with friends and family in Japan and Hawaii, we’d yet to have a romantic dinner to ourselves since we left home. So after finishing up the day’s adventure, we hopped on our scooter and headed down to Jimbaran for a much needed date night at Opia.

To say our expectations were met would be an understatement. As soon as we walked in the front door we were greeted with our choice cocktails and mocktails . We were then led down a gorgeous corridor where we caught our first glimpse of an impeccable zen water garden. The floors and walls were all a pristine white and a matching runway split the water to a panoramic chapel overlooking a small crater and Jimbaran Beach.

 

Reliving the runway days at @opiabalidining

A post shared by Have Camera, Will Travel 🗺 (@robert_lib) on

The entire restaurant was basically a cliffside luxury retreat. Similar to Bali’s rice paddies, it was terraced off into different sections. There were 2 different patio sections, a covered dining area, a few bars, an outdoor eating section, a green area, an indoor dining space and 2 separate cabana areas, one with a swing for good measure. Each space came equipped with sprawling views of the surrounding hillsides. It was easy to see why it’s a popular destination wedding venue.

 

After finishing up the grand tour, we ordered our first round of drinks and appetizers;  the Jon Snow cocktail and the Beef Rendang are absolute must tries. For the entrees, we went with the Dirty French Duck and the Black Pasta & Crab. The black pasta was perfectly smothered in a parmesan and mixed seafood pesto and had an actual crab on the side. This was honestly one of the best dishes I’ve ever had, let alone since we left home 3 months ago.

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For dessert, we opted for a final round of drinks (tequila was involved this time), a decadent chocolate concoction and a no bake mango cheesecake that came layered in a clear glass. Unlike Shelby, I’m not a huge chocolate fiend, but I thought the cheesecake tasted even better than it was presented, which is saying quite a lot. Once we wrapped up dessert there was nothing left to do but sit back and enjoy the live music.

Maybe it’s because we don’t treat ourselves very often while we’re traveling, but our dinner at Opia is certainly one we’ll never forget. The food was incredible and the setting was better than anything we could have imagined on our own. Regardless of if you’re staying in Jimbaran, Ubud, Seminyak, Canggu or Amed, I can’t stress enough how much I’d recommend making the trip to Opia for a date night while you’re in Bali. If you do go, take my word for it and order the Beef Rendang, Black Pasta & Crab and No Bake Mango Cheesecake. You won’t be disappointed.

As you may have guessed from the title, we had ourselves a day today! For starters, I woke up to day 2 of what I can only assume to be Bali Belly. If you’ve had it before then you know the drill. For those that don’t, I basically spent the better part of my day rushing in and out of bathrooms and the first thing I felt like doing after getting out of bed was taking a nap. Not ideal to say the least.

Luckily I was only really bed ridden until lunchtime and still had plenty of time to enjoy my day in the afternoon. After finishing the brunch Shelby had brought back from town, we both decided to do a little yoga in front of our villa. Feeling a bit ambitious, Shelby decided to finish with some handstand practice and asked me to spot her. After a few sets it was my turn to give it a go and Shelby’s turn to spot me. If round 1 went according to plan, round 2 was a disaster. I didn’t quite catch myself when I kicked up for my second set and as a result, my legs began to over rotate. Once I felt myself falling, I bailed from the handstand to avoid crashing down onto my back.

Realizing I was falling, Shelby stepped into the line of fire to try to catch my legs. Unfortunately, the only thing she caught was my foot to her face. She immediately dropped down to the ground and covered her nose with her hands. A quick check revealed that her nose wasn’t broken, but was still a bit bloody and tender to the touch. Shelby’s taken the liberty of blaming this one on me, saying that I kicked her as I was falling; however, I’d like to point out that the job of the spotter is to prevent one from falling in the first place. Either way, we were off to a good start for the day.

But after a few hours of editing photos and taking a few more at this incredible eco lodge, we’d all but forgotten about the rocky morning and decided to head into town for a little acro yoga. Now I know where your mind might be heading, but don’t worry, acro was actually smooth sailing. And afterwards we went to grab dinner and finish up some work before heading home. This is where the real fun started.

Before I go any further, I’d like to point out that Bali has its fair share of questionable roads. Some of them are super bumpy with potholes, others have blind corners without much wiggle room along the way and some tend to abruptly drop off into streams or rice paddies. In our case, the road back to our new place has all of these lovely features.

Since we were driving back  in the dark, I decided to proceed extra cautiously along the dicey road. So much so that I actually lost my balance while driving the scooter and we tipped over into the rice paddy below us (I know this may sound counterintuitive but it’s actually harder to control scooters if you’re going too slow).

Fortunately, our 3 or 4 foot drop was heavily cushioned by the soft mud and neither one of us were hurt. Unfortunately, this same mud made picking the scooter up and getting it back up to the road that much more challenging. Not to mention, we were now both covered in mud. After about 15 – 20 minutes of fumbling around with various combinations of pushing and pulling, we finally managed to lift the scooter back up over the ledge and onto the road. Not going to lie, I felt pretty ridiculous during all of this and an F Bomb was dropped fairly early on.

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As frustrating as this ending to our day was, we 100% needed it to happen. Dinner had brought about one of those pointless states of mutual agitation that happen every so often and something this absurd was the perfect way for us both to snap out of it. Almost immediately after we’d pulled the bike out of the mud, we both began laughing at the situation. I mean what else can you really do after something like that happens? Especially on top of the morning we’d already had.

This perfect ending to a not so perfect day was a beautiful reminder not to take everything so seriously. Even when we go on vacation, we sometimes get caught up in focusing too much energy on things that won’t really matter in the grand scheme of it all. But if you’re willing to look at these temporary setbacks as opportunities to reset your frame of mind, it can help you truly enjoy each day that much more.

 

24 Hour Fast

Fasting, especially “intermittent fasting”, has recently become somewhat of a trendy thing to do in the nutrition realm, but fasting is nothing new. Going prolonged periods of time without food has always been a large part of the human experience and has played a role in our evolution; whether it’s fasting during the typical overnight period, during more extended periods of food scarcity, or for religious/cultural reasons.

What is new is that we are starting to realize we can take advantage of different forms of fasting and use it like a tool to further our health and wellness. We now have clinical data indicating that fasting and or intermittent fasting helps to regulate blood glucose levels/insulin sensitivity, control blood lipids, manage body weight, decrease inflammation and improve cognitive functioning. Basically, it’s the wonder drug that literally requires doing nothing and spending no money.

You may be wondering how this is possible, well, let me explain what happens in your body during a fast.

While fasting affects everyone differently, the same essential processes are happening within the body during a time of caloric restriction. Firstly I’d like to point out that when it comes to fuel and energy, the body is constantly using both fat and carbohydrates simultaneous, it just may be burning predominantly one or the other depending on what you are doing. During a fast, your body will first burn through its stores of carbohydrates in the blood stream and then the stored muscle glycogen, then it will slowly shift to burning predominantly stored fats in the form of ketones. This energy utilization shift is one of the main reasons for the numerous health benefits of fasting, it is often referred to as being in a state of “ketosis”. You may have heard of the “keto” diet, this diet essentially aims to simulate the effects of fasting while still getting calories (since most of your calories are coming from fat sources on this diet).

But ok, why do we want to be in Ketosis? You ask…

There are several reasons, as seen below, but the main being that ketones burn more efficiently and more cleanly as a fuel source for our bodies. Think about carbohydrates as fossil fuel, they produce a lot of energy and they’re cheap, but they can do some damage in the long run to the environment (aka our bodies). Now, if carbohydrates are fossil fuels, ketones are the clean energy sources like wind or solar, they might take more effort to get but they don’t producing pollution. Now, when I say “pollution” in this case I’m referring to the production of free radicals when we burn energy in the body, these pests are responsible for chronic inflammation which can show itself in many ways in the body, a few most common ways being: arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, Crohn’s disease, cancer and Parkinson’s.

So maybe now you can see why reducing the production of inflammation may be good for us, and this bring us to the other health benefits of fasting that ultimately result from reduced inflammation.

Health Benefits of Fasting:

  1. Neuroprotective: fasting has shown to increase the production of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which activates brain stem cells to repair old brain cold and create new ones! This can greatly slow and even prevent Alzheimer’s.
  2. Boosts Metabolism: short-term fasting actually increases your metabolic rate by 3.6-14%, helping you burn even more calories through the day.
  3. Improves Mitochondrial Function: the energy production centers of our cells become more efficient, which increases energy levels and prevents chronic fatigue.

  1. Normalizes Insulin Sensitivity: helps us to better regulate blood-glucose levels, which is especially important for those with diabetes or prediabetes.
  2. Promotes Longevity: gives the body a chance to repair and clean up damaged proteins via autophagy and has also been shown to increase telomere length (so cells will actually live longer).
  3. Resets Hunger Hormones: decreases hunger hormone ghrelin, so that we can get back in touch with what it really feels like to be hungry/full and listen to our bodies instead of eating out of habit.
  4. Releases Toxins and Clears Skin: fasting can give the digestive system a rest and thus the body can focus on regenerative processes like clearing toxins from the organs and skin.

Ok so how long do I have to fast to benefit?

These health benefits can been seen in as little as 12-16 hours (most often the time frame utilized by intermittent fasting) but for the best results at least 24 hours is recommended. Prolonged fasting longer than 24 hours shouldn’t be done unless you are experienced with fasting or are under the supervision of a health professional.

Fasting Protocols:

Intermittent: fast from 7pm to 11am-12pm the next day OR if you like sting in the mornings Fast from 4pm to 8am the next day

24 Hour: Fast from 5:30pm to the same time the next day breaking your fast with dinner, or from 12:30pm-12:30pm the next day, breaking you fast with lunch.

I have experimented with intermittent fasting and tools like “bulletproof lattes” that keep you in mild ketosis but keep you satiated, but I had never performed an internationally prolonged fast even though I’d read over and over again about the health benefits of doing so. I decided it was time to give it a try and recorded my experience with it. I also decided to include zero calorie drinks like green tea and black coffee on my first fast because they not only act as hunger suppressants but they can also increase the rate at which you attain ketosis (burning body fat for fuel).

My 24 Hour Fast Recap:

8:00pm previous day: last meal

7:00am: wake up, 12 oz of water

8:00am: slow jog followed by a dip in the pool which also turned my hair green, good way to start the day (I’d recommend light exercise like long walks, jogs, yoga or swimming while fasting instead of high intensity training)

9:00am: post jog, 12oz of water

12:00pm: 8oz matcha green tea with just water for antioxidants and hunger suppression

1:30pm: feeling a little tired, 8oz of water

2:30pm: I caved, 8oz black coffee for a pick me up

3:30pm: 8oz of water

5:30pm: feeling a bit light headed when I stand up quickly

6:30pm: the hunger is starting to set it, so I distracted myself with some John Oliver and more water

8:00pm: I could eat my weight in nachos right now…

8:30pm: it has finally technically been 24 hours now but I feel like it’s a bit too late to eat, it may disrupt my digestion at this point (poorly planned out) so I’m gonna try to make it until the morning

12:00pm: woke up ravenous, ate 3 pieces of emergency dark chocolate I keep in my bedside table (shhh)

+1 8:00am: bulletproof Matcha, actually not even that hungry! Whattt

+1 9:00am: first meal in 36 hours at my favorite Ubud Cafe called Mudra, I got a black bean Rosti with poached eggs and a green juice.

Overall this was a great experience, it really helped me see food as fuel rather than entertainment and how I should be using it as nourishment for my body instead of emotional gratification. Once you get in the mindset that you aren’t eating for a full day, it’s not that hard to go without, our ancestors had to do it all the time. This was also a good practice of self control and “mind over matter”, my recommendation for first timers would be to try a 12-16 hour fast first and work your way up, preferable on a day where you don’t have to do too much. I like fasting from 7pm the night before to 11am or 12pm the next day.

Shelbss

As of today, Shelby and I have been traveling together for 3 months and 4 days. While we’d traveled a decent amount before this, both together and separately, this is the longest either of us have ever traveled. And since a majority of our relationship has been long distance, this is by far the most amount of time we’ve continuously spent together in such close proximity. But even if you aren’t accustomed to a long distance arrangement, or you’ve been with someone for 5, 10 or 50 years, there are a number of things that extended travel with a partner, even if it’s just with a friend, will require.

Aside from the obvious packing skills, the portable chargers, the overstuffed backpacks, the camera gear and the constantly referenced abilities to compromise or go with the flow, theres 1 thing in particular that jumps out at me as to why the past 3 months have worked (and occasionally not worked) so well.

P a t i e n c e.

That’s right, patience. Not the latest travel hack or the sleek, new gadgets and gizmos. It’s that little virtue your grandmother probably told you about when you were 4 years old and couldn’t wait for the cookies to finish baking (or in my case, her special meatballs and red sauce). Sure, the devices are pretty useful and can make traveling a lot simpler and much more enjoyable, but at some point they won’t work quite how you expect them to. Having patience in those moments can save you a lot of headaches. This is even true if you’re just in a relationship, or just traveling alone. But if you’re like me and you’re traveling with someone else for 4 or 5 months, it’s practically impossible to do without patience. Let me show you what I mean.

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As you’re well aware by now, Shelby and I take and post a lot of travel photos. Being the photographer and videographer in the relationship, I’m typically the one behind the camera. This could mean taking pictures or shooting video, but it also means framing shots that I’ll be in front of the lens for. That’s where Shelby comes in. She’ll be the first one to tell you that she’s not a photographer, but she still ends up taking a lot of awesome photos and video for us.

So how does she do this without having much training with a camera? Patience. Not only on her end, but also from myself. When I have a specific image in my head that I’m a part of, it often involves taking a few test shots and showing Shelby how to reproduce a similar one with all the right lighting and other settings that go into it. For someone that isn’t as interested in cameras as I am, this can become a fairly underwhelming process. For someone that is as comfortable with a camera as I am, I can feel like a broken record at times. But what I’ve noticed is that when Shelby’s patient enough to listen to the instructions I’m giving and I’m patient enough to effectively communicate all of the steps that are necessary, the entire process is much smoother and we end up having fun with it.

Need another example? Maybe one that applies to the people that don’t really care about pictures and just want to travel and enjoy the world with their significant others? Don’t worry they definitely need patience too.

Yesterday morning Shelby and I went to a cafe in Ubud called Mudra (quickly becoming a new favorite; we’ll have another post about it soon enough). The plan was to have a banging breakfast and finish up some work while I learned how to make a cinemagraph. Wasn’t supposed to take more than an hour or so and then we were going to enjoy the nice weather before working out with a friend in the afternoon. Fast forward 6 hours later and we’d eaten 2 meals there and Shelby had finished a blog post and listened to a podcast while I’d stumbled through a slew of software errors and tutorials so that I could produce 1 measly cinemagraph.

If Shelby had been upset or annoyed with me for taking so long on such a beautiful day, I would have had absolutely no excuse. But she wasn’t. She was actually quite the opposite. Even when she’d run out of things to do at the table, Shelby was still patient with me because she knew that learning this skill was important to me.

The result? On top of finally learning how to make cinemagraphs well enough that I was able to make another one in less than 10 minutes this morning, we ended up eating one of the best curries either of us have ever tried. If Shelby hadn’t have been patient with me while I was being patient with the learning process, we wouldn’t have stuck around for lunch and we probably wouldn’t have ever tried the curry that we enjoyed so much.

So that’s really it. That’s our big secret. Just be patient with whoever you’re traveling with and whatever situations are presented to you. I know it’s not always our first instinct, and it’s easy enough to slip up at times, but the more you can practice being patient while you’re traveling with someone else, the more you can both focus on enjoying all of the amazing things you get to experience together, instead of pulling each others hair out.

Despite nearly 3 million Americans writing in to their government to oppose the roll back on two National Monuments in Utah, President Trump still decided to move forward with his decision to cut back the acreage of Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante by a whopping 85 and 50%, respectively, to “make way for local industry”.

Large pieces of these Monuments will be cut away, including coal-rich portions of the Kaiparowits Plateau, to be reopened for mineral leasing, mining and other non-environmentally friendly things. This would be the largest roll back of protected lands in our nation’s history and would account for more land than the whole state of Delaware.

But all hope is not lost! Environmental groups and outdoor companies like Patagonia and REI are rallying together, filing lawsuits and pushing back after this unfortunate announcement. Many Native American tribes who use the mentioned Monuments for sacred rituals are also coming together to fight back.

Trump claimed this reduction of “government over-reach” would benefit Native Americans. “We’ve seen how this tragic overreach has prevented many Native Americans from having a voice on their sacred lands,” Trump said. Never mind the fact that the tribes were the ones that had, for years, been asking the Obama administration for the monument protections. Trump’s actions are an abuse of executive privilege and if these actions are not challenged, hundreds of other National Monuments and parks will be at risk.

Our public protected lands are one of this county’s greatest treasures, to be enjoyed and explored, not developed and demolished. But we can come together as well to help rectify this injustice.

What You Can Do To Help:

  • Change your Facebook profile to “We Love Our Public Lands” or similar images to raise awareness
  • Post this article or similar ones on your Instagram Stories!
  • Write your government officials
  • Talk to any environmental lawyers you know

Donate to the groups working to oppose these measures like:

Access Fund

Grand Staircase Escalante Partners

Utah Diné Bikéyah

NRDC

Grand Canyon Trust

Sierra Club

Earthjustice

Gut Healing Blueberry Smoothie

If you’re like me and often experience digestive upset that consists of pain and bloating, or you just like smoothies in general, this recipe is for you!

This recipe incorporates ingredients to calm the gut and aid with digestion, like ginger and coconut oil, as well as those that will help to heal and protect the gut lining against future agitation, like collagen, healthy fats and vitamin C.

This recipe calls for vanilla protein powder, for people with sensitive systems I would highly recommend choosing a brand that has no added artificial sweeteners or preservatives (the fewer ingredients, the better).

Gut Healing Smoothie Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 in piece of ginger, peeled and chopped or grated
  • 1 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • 1-2 scoops vanilla protein
  • 1 Tbsp collagen powder ( I use Vital Proteins)

  • 1/4 cup almond or coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup Brazil nuts or walnuts (high in omega-3)
  • 1 cup or large handful of spinach

To Make:

Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth, enjoy it as a smoothie bowl or add water to make it less thick!

Shelbss

We hear many things when it comes to diet and exercise, making health and wellness seem much more complex than it needs to be. We also tend to create unhealthy relationships with food and exercise, often using them as a punishment and reward system without realizing it. This can lead to a host of issues, but one I’ve been noticing lately, especially in young women is over-exercising.

A healthy and balanced lifestyle should include daily movement yes, but not necessarily daily exercise. In the high stress environment that we live in today, our stress hormone cortisol can already be out of balance, due to lack of sleep, anxiety, caffeine, medications, eating the wrong foods, etc and intense daily exercise on top of all that can really get us into a pickle.

Without enough recovery time, the body cannot clear its cortisol levels. This chronic elevation of stress hormones keeps the body in continuous “flight or flight” mode, in which the body wants to keep as much fat as possible stored because it essentially thinks “winter is coming” year round. If you do cardio every day but still have that stubborn excess weight in areas like the lower abdomen, outer thighs and kidney area ((love handles), this could be your issue. Now, if you are eating the wrong foods, we must look towards the kitchen for the results you want because diet accounts for 80% of weight loss, but if you are someone who eats a healthy and balanced diet 70% of the time and exercises every day, there a some simple small changes you can make to see major improvements.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Take at least 2 full days off intense exercise each week (unless you are preparing for the olympics or the cross fit games)
  • Check in with yourself and your energy levels, and if you are really tired, replace your workout with a long walk outside (nature decreases cortisol levels)
  • Cut down on cardio (no more than 4 days per week)
  • Add in strength training into your exercise regime
  • Meditate for 5-10 minutes a day to lower cortisol levels
  • Get to bed at the same time each night (set a “going to bed” alarm just like you would to wake up)
  • Make sleep a bigger priority, we should be aiming for a minimum of 7.5 hours a night (adolescents need even more)
  • Try breathing exercises like alternate nostril breathing for reducing stress if meditation is not your thing
  • Make time for self care each week; set aside 1-3 hours a week just to do something you really love (some of my favorites include: reading a fiction book for fun, taking a hot bath with essential oils and tea or wine or going on a walk/hike in nature)

Shift your focus to a healthy mind, and a healthy body will soon follow!

If you guys are interested in some meditation or other stress-reducing techniques let me know!

Shelbss

Tegalalang Rice Terrace Video

A few weeks ago, Shelby and I went to explore the Tegalalang rice terraces outside of Ubud. Easily one of the most iconic spots in the area, the picturesque terraces and morning light made for some of the most unique landscapes either one of us had ever seen. Despite going on a Sunday, the fields were relatively empty and at times it felt like we had the place to ourselves. With the camera and the drone already fired up to take a few photos, I decided it would be the perfect spot to try my hand at a quick, experiential travel video instead of the typical recap format I used for our Peru video.

After posting the video on Instagram, I received a few questions about how I shot and edited it. While I did my best to answer them all in the comments and direct messages, I’ll use this post as an opportunity to answer some of the more frequent questions with a little more depth.

What Did You Shoot With?

As always, I used my standard setup of a Sony a6300 on the ground with a DJI Mavic Pro in the air. While I usually work with one of two lenses for the a6300, I challenged myself to only use my 35mm f1.8 lens. Sticking to this lens made for some tight shots, especially since the a6300 is a crop sensor, but that was perfect since I wanted to achieve a more intimate feeling with this video.

Now that you know the equipment I used, let’s look at the settings they were on. For my camera, I primarily stuck with 1080p instead of the 4K it’s capable of. Although this may seem counterintuitive, doing this allowed me to get a much higher frame rate (60 fps and/or 120 fps) which makes the smooth slow motion possible. This also comes in handy when I don’t want to use a stationary tripod since I don’t have a stabilizer. Since the drone has a built in gimbal and I can fly it however fast or slow I want the shot to feel, I stuck with 4K to get the maximum quality out of the shots. This is also nice because it allowed me to zoom in to effectively crop out a house or reframe the video without compromising the video quality.

How Did You Avoid Other Tourists In Your Shots?

This really comes down to 2 things: timing and setup. For starters, we got to the rice terraces around 7 am. This was honestly a little later than I wanted to arrive since the sun rises a little before 6 am, but it was still early enough that it wasn’t very crowded despite being there on the weekend. Especially since this is a popular tourist destination, going this early is crucial if you want the best chance at getting uninterrupted shots. Arguably more important, going early also ensures that you’ll get to work with soft morning light instead dealing with the harsh lighting that makes it harder to properly exposure your shots.

But even if you arrive early to shoot, you still may encounter other eager photographers, videographers and tourists that could “ruin” your shots. That’s where my setup sealed the deal. Framing the scene ahead of time and even doing a few rough run throughs means that you’ll get the shot you need, even when you only have a few seconds to get it right. And those tight shots from my 35mm lens I talked about earlier sealed the deal when it came to avoiding having other people in the background.

So there’s a brief rundown on how I made this video. If you have any more questions about it, feel free to message me directly on Instagram or leave a comment below!

 

If I’ve learned anything from dating an engineer the past three years, I’d like to think I’ve learned efficiency…or at last I’m starting to catch on. Where before I might have made three separate recipes, I realized that my weekend breakfast go-to paleo protein pancake recipe can be altered slightly to give you a host of delicious options to meet any morning craving. Once the base batter is assembled, you can divide it into two, or three, or even four separate bowls to slightly change up your pancake flavor profile by either mixing in a nut butter, cacao powder for my chocolate lovers, pumpkin if you’re feeling festive or even Matcha powder for my experimenters. So if you wake up and can’t decide which flavor you want, you can have then all, plus this recipe is grain free and paleo friendly. Start with the vanilla base batter recipe below and then add your own flavors or choose from the 3 options provided!

I always use coconut oil in the skillet.

Plain Vanilla Batter Recipe:

  • 1 cup almond flour (I use Bobs Red Mill when I’m home)
  • 4 eggs (preferably free range organic)
  • 1 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder of choice
  • Splash of almond or coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder (they’ll be ok without it, but this makes them more fluffy)

To Make:

Combine all the wet ingredients in a bowl and mix, and then slowly mix in the almond flour and baking powder. You want the batter to be runny, so keep adding nut milk until it is viscous. Once the base batter is assembled you can pick your poison from below.

Use a skillet or griddle on medium heat and pour batter into the pan in desired pancake size, flip once they start to bubble or brown on the bottom.

Pumpkin Spice Flavor:

1/2 cup canned pumpkin purée for the whole batch or 1/4 cup for half the batch if you are diving it up

2 tsp of cinnamon/nutmeg or pumpkin spice flavoring from Trader Joe’s

Chocolate chips (optional)

Mix thoroughly into batter

Peanut Butter Banana Flavor:

4 Tbsp peanut butter for the whole batch, 2 Tbsp for half the batch

1 smashed banana for whole batch, half banana for half batch (or chop them up and add to pancake son the griddle for bite sized pieces instead)

Pinch of cinnamon

Mix into batter

Pineapple Flavor:

Keep the batter the same but add pieces of sliced pineapple to pancakes once you pour them onto the griddle/pan so that they caramelize slightly when cooked.

Toppings:

  • Equal parts melted coconut oil, nut butter and maple syrup sauce
  • Fresh berries
  • Canned coconut milk blended on High with maple syrup for a frothy creamy sauce

As you may already know by now, Shelby recently completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training. This was an amazing process for her and one that will no doubt enable her to further her career in the health and wellness space.

Although her practice was clearly enhanced during our time in Bali, it’s safe to say that mine was fairly stagnant. In fact, I’ve only been to 2 classes during our first 30 days in Bali. Believe it or not, these numbers are probably right on par, if not slightly above average, from my typical yoga schedule back home. So despite the fact that Shelby is coming from the perspective of a certified yogi, I feel pretty comfortable claiming that even if you don’t enjoy yoga, or you haven’t tried it but are convinced you wouldn’t enjoy it, there’s still a good chance that you’ll enjoy aerial yoga.

If you haven’t heard of it before, aerial yoga, sometimes referred to as sky yoga or anti-gravity yoga, is a form of yoga that combines traditional yoga poses with dance, pilates and wait for it… hammocks! Still a little confused? Understandable. Let’s try this again. Think yoga combined with Cirque du Soleil aerial silk/ribbon dancing. If that doesn’t sound fun to you, then you probably need to try it more than anyone else. If you’re a little intimidated by the sound of that or hesitant about trying it, I promise you can manage at least one class.

AerialYogaSunset

Yesterday morning we went to a sky yoga power core class at the Radiantly Alive yoga studio in Ubud (From a non yogi’s perspective, I personally enjoyed the overall vibe and the seemingly less pretentious attitudes of the people practicing here more than at Yoga Barn, although both are very professional environments). Apart from being an incredibly interesting and playful class, I think it’s also a great option for inexperienced yogis because of the intensity, or lack there of, when it comes to strict yoga movements.

This was the second aerial class I’ve taken and both times I never felt like any of poses were so far out of my wheelhouse that I was super uncomfortable or completely contorting my body. Could this have been because neither of these classes were my first ever yoga classes? Possibly. But I think it’s attributed more to the fact that none of the poses rely solely on your body.

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Outside of child’s pose (a rest pose), all of your movements are assisted by the hammock. Furthermore, many of your movements are hardly yoga poses at all. In yesterday’s class, we used our hammocks as swing sets and to do a set of pull-ups. The teacher actually needed to do assisted jump pull-ups, which was really interesting and potentially comforting for newer members since this could be a movement that they were better at than the teacher (not something that happens too often for beginners in yoga classes). For a lot of guys (and girls) who prefer lifting weights over yoga, pilates and other group fitness classes, these kinds of movements also help bridge that gap and break up the class so that it’s not continuous yoga for an hour or hour and a half.

As I mentioned before, these kinds of yoga classes are also really fun. Not like the I enjoy working out and being active kind of “fun”, but the oh we’re hanging upside down and swinging back and forth like ninjas kind of fun. The classes really live up to the names aerial, sky and anti-gravity yoga. At the very least, they’re completely different than any other kind of fitness I’ve ever seen.

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Last but not least, my favorite part about aerial yoga is the Savasana (the final rest pose). In a typical yoga class, you finish your practice laying on your back in a relaxing rest pose with your eyes closed. While this is incredibly rejuvenating and meditative at times, laying on your thin mat doesn’t quite stack up to collapsing into a hammock cocoon. So at the very least, I recommend trying and aerial yoga class to experience the sensation of almost dozing off into a hammock nap after some light exercise while some super zen musics plays in the background.

If you’ve already tried or regularly practice aerial yoga, I’d love to hear your thoughts on why it is (or isn’t) a good option for beginners.