Monday, December 26, 2011

Android Vermont Eats App is Here

Android users rejoice! The Vermont Eats app is now available in Android format—and as an individual app (yay!) not within "Sutro World" like on the iTunes store.

So it is easy to get your copy of Vermont Eats and start enjoying the over 400 sources of great local food and places to eat.

Apple® device users—an updated Vermont Eats will be available soon—stay tuned.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Puglia Italy App—The Green & Local Side

Travel guide apps are an easy addiction with photographs and descriptions that draw you into other lands and cultures. Via the Puglia Travel Guide app, I have just traveled to Puglia, the southeastern region of Italy which has plentiful sandy beaches along the Adriatic and Ionian coasts.

While not a green travel app, the Puglia Guide has many listings for travelers wanting to go green. In the Puglia Guide you can learn which towns have farmer's markets, find agriturismo rural farm lodging or you can explore the restored trulli, stone buildings with conical roofs made from limestone specific to Puglia, including the Trulli of Alberobello, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Bread lover's and local foodies should not miss the bread from Altamura made with locally grown wheat which made news a few years ago when the locals chose their traditional bread over McDonalds—a great story!

Travel to Puglia either virtually or for real—either way you will be happy to have the Puglia Guide.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Celebrate Food Day October 24th Every Day

Food Day, on Monday October 24th, is fashioned after Earth Day and promotes healthy, safe, and affordable food with the goals of reducing diet-related diseases, supporting sustainable farms, limiting subsidies to big agribusiness, expanding access to healthy food, protecting the environment, curbing junk-food marketing to kids and supporting fair working conditions for food and farm workers.

With over 100 partner organizations including The Real Food Challenge, Food Alliance and Slow Food USA, there are hundreds of Food Day events planned all over the country—check the Web site to find a local event.

Created by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit consumer advocacy organization working for more than forty years on nutrition and food safety, Food Day’s advisory board is comprised of notable food advocates including author Michael Pollan, former Texas agriculture commissioner Jim Hightower, publisher Maria Rodale, chef Alice Waters and doctor Dean Ornish.

Vermont visitors and residents can find local, organic and artisan foods with a finger stroke using the new App, Vermont Eats within the Sutro World free app on iTunes®, enjoying the principles of Food Day everyday. Local and organic food businesses are also featured in all the Traveling Naturally guidebooks and apps available at the Traveling Naturally Web site and iTunes®.

Support Food Day and sustainable food systems—eat local and organic—better for you, better for the environment.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Foodie Heaven In Vermont

LIVE today on iTunes, the free Sutro World App contains Vermont Eats.

Vermont Eats: The Essential Green Travel Guide App is a tour de force of the great, green, groovy food scene in Vermont.

Vermont Eats is a localvores delight, with over 400 entries, 1500 photos, all searchable by price, region and type of business including farmer's markets, artisan cheeses, farm- to-table restaurants, micro-breweries, pizzas, gluten-free foods, vegetarian options, organic farms, health food stores and thirty more categories—all easy-to-find with built-in Google maps and regular updates.

Vermont leads the country with the highest number of farmer's markets, artisan cheesemakers and breweries per capita. It also has the most certified organic farms, maple trees and more local dollars are spent on local food in Vermont than anywhere else in the country.

Whether a visitor to the state or a resident, Vermont Eats will change the way you travel in the Green Mountains—you can eat your way through the state supporting local foods and farms leaving a small footprint as you go. Vermont Eats lets you locate hard-to-find farmer's markets; search for vegetarian, gluten-free, raw and vegan eateries; discover sources for locally grown meats and eggs; pick-your-own organic berries; drink fair-trade coffees and eat fresh-baked breads.

Vermont Eats—a must-have for both residents and travelers—your mobile device won't want to leave home without it!

To purchase go to the FREE Sutro World app on iTunes®. Download it and within the App find Vermont Eats listed alphabetically under North America, click on it, buy it, ENJOY it!

$2.99—Available immediately on iTunes®—available on Android soon

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tour de France Vermont-Style

The Tour de Farms is an annual fund-raising event for three non-profits—ACORN, Rural Vermont and the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition—all working in their own ways to make Vermont more sustainable and healthy.

Held this year on Sunday September 18th, the bicycle event begins and ends in Shoreham on the western side of Vermont. There are three route choices varying in length—10, 24 and 30 miles long. All routes go by various family farms which will be offering food tastings from seventeen Vermont producers and NOFA-VT will be cooking pizzas on the Orwell Green.

Sample the Tour here.

The Tour ends on the Shoreham Green for AppleFest, a harvest festival with food, music and crafts.

The Tour costs $25 for advance registration, $50 on the day.

The Tour is sponsored by American Flatbread, Earl's Cyclery & Fitness, Wolaver's Organic Beer and Vermont Fresh Network.

Excerpted from the upcoming App Vermont Eats: The Essential Green Travel Guide—available soon on iTunes.

Photo courtesy, Bicycle Marathon by Vojko Kalan

Friday, September 9, 2011

App Mania

Busy, busy, busy here producing The Essential Green Travel Guide series of Apps. Green Venice is live and selling swiftly!

Next up is Vermont Eats—a tour de force of the great, green, groovy food scene in Vermont. Vermont Eats has over 400 entries, 1300 photos, all searchable by price, region and type of business including farmer's markets, artisan cheeses, farm-to-table restaurants, micro-breweries, pizzas, gluten-free foods, vegetarian options, organic farms, health food stores and about thirty more categories—all easy-to-find with built-in Google maps.

Vermont Eats will be live within two weeks so stay tuned for the launch date. A must-have for both residents and travelers—you won't want to leave home without this App!

Monday, August 22, 2011

LIVE on iTunes It's Venice: The Essential Green Travel Guide!

YAY—the date has arrived! Venice: The Essential Green Travel Guide is LIVE on the iTunes store—the only green guide to Venice.

For only $1.99 you can see great pictures of Venice, find all the health food stores and markets in Venice, learn where you can bike, camp, kayak and do yoga, as well as see videos of boat races, bars and restaurants serving local foods, pigeon-loving tourists, and the first woman gondolier in the history of Venice.

Next up—Vermont Eats: The Essential Green Travel Guide app—coming within a month.

Happy green traveling!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The First App! Available in Two Weeks!

Stay tuned for the launch of the new App 
Venice: The Essential Green Travel Guide on the iTunes store—should be in about 2 weeks! Hooray!

The App includes new listings and many more photographs than the print version, Venice:Traveling Naturally in the City of Water, and has easy-to-use maps with each entry—an especially important feature when traveling in the maze-like city of Venice.

The launch price is $1.99—cheap if you are traveling to Venice and a tiny price to pay for the vicarious pleasure of traveling through Venice if you are not able to visit in person.

Stay posted for the release date!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Spanish Liquid Sunshine from Soler Romero

Most people don't realize that Spain, not Italy, is the largest producer of olive oil in the world. Organic olive oils are becoming increasingly available and one of the largest producers of organic olive oil in Spain is the family-run Soler Romero.

Situated in the Spanish province of Jaen in the southern region of Andalucia—the largest olive and olive oil producing area in Spain—Soler Romero uses only its own olives and does not buy from other farms or cooperatives so as to maintain the strictest control over the quality of their oil. They compost and recycle all the scraps and waste from their olive groves.

In business since 1850, Soler Romero was the first olive farm in Jaen to follow organic farming practices and was also the first to receive organic certification from the USDA in 2002. They also are certified organic by the European Union, Japan, and China as well as the local organic certification area for the region of Andalucia.

The estate's more than 1500 acres produce 700,000 pounds of olive oil every year from the picual olive variety, high in antioxidants, which makes the oil stable. Every stage of the process is performed on the estate, including processing the olives within two hours of harvest making for a very low-acidity oil— 0.10 percent (to be considered extra virgin an oil must be below 0.80 acidity). Soler Romero chooses an early harvest time, between mid-October and mid-November, which they feel results in the perfect oil made with ideally ripened olives.

Soler Romero olive oil is available in Spain, and also in the United States as well as other countries—including the UK, Canada, the Netherlands, Russia, Japan, China and Korea. If you live in Portland, Oregon (or are visiting) you can find Soler Romero oil served at Higgins Restaurant. Badger organic health balms and creams uses Soler Romero organic oil in their organic body-care products.

For more information about Spain's organic olive oils see the Green Earth Guide, Olive Oil: An Olive Oil Lover's Guide to the Organic Oils of Spain, with listings of forty organic oils and tips on having olive oil tastings. Use the Guide to help you tour through olive groves and estates, sampling Spain's liquid sunshine as you travel through Spain.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Local and Organic Table in Dublin Ireland

The Farm—the name conjures a bucolic scene with hay and fences—but this farm is in the heart of downtown Dublin near Trinity College and Grafton Street. The outside of The Farm is unassuming with a sandwich-board announcing the day's specials. Inside, rather than rustic, worn-pine tables and chairs, you will find a seemingly upscale restaurant with white cushioned chairs.

Don't be fooled by the decor. The Farm lives up to its name, serving fare made with local and organic ingredients. The Farm burger is made with organic Irish beef, topped with cheddar cheese, organic bacon and a side of salad or fries. Other meats offered include free-range chicken, organic salmon and duck. Vegetarians can enjoy a variety of dishes and diners looking for gluten-free choices will happily find a number of potato options (it is Ireland after all).

The Farm also offers organic wines and has one of my favorite Spanish wines from the Aranleon Bodega. On our evening there we  enjoyed delicious duck, beef, goat cheese, salads and some mighty fine fried potatoes.

The Farm is conveniently located with generous hours—a great place to take a load off of tourist-treading, weary feet and to nourish hungry bellies with organic and local Irish victuals. Prices for starters range from 6 to 10 euros, entrees from 16 to 27 (the highest end for organic sirloin steak).

The Farm, 3 Dawson Street, City Centre South, Dublin 2; Tel: 01 671 8654/8323; open 7 days from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Finally! A Portable Glass Water Bottle

My choice of portable water bottle is a perpetual conundrum for me.

Plastic has the longest list of undesirable features. For starters I honestly can't stand the taste of water sitting in plastic. Then, beyond taste, there is the issue of the plastic chemicals leaching into the water causing all sorts of potential health problems. While bisphenol-a (BPA) is the newest culprit on that list, the issues of plastic-leaching containers has been around for decades. Over thirty years ago I worked for the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) where in the early 1980s a brilliant scientist named Walter Hang (who now works for Toxics Targeting) released a ground-breaking report about HDPE plastic (commonly used in one-gallon water jugs and milk containers) leaching into water and milk. While true that harder plastics seem to leach less than softer plastics, the recent BPA reports have shown that all sorts of plastics have potential problems. As if that weren't enough, there is the perennial predicament of the environmental consequences of plastic manufacturing and disposal. So while plastic bottles are light and seemingly easy, they fail as a good choice on many other counts.

The next light-weight option is aluminum. I do not use aluminum cookware or anti-perspirants made with aluminum—any substance that might contribute to my already challenged memory I try to avoid  as best I can. So needless to say, sipping water from an aluminum bottle is not high on my list.

Then there is stainless steel, or at least what we are told is stainless steel. Some may say I am too picky, but I suspect that a lot of what is sold as stainless steel is not, but rather mixed with metals that I would rather not be drinking from.  That, coupled with the metallic taste, makes stainless steel a tempting but non-option for me.

This leaves me with glass or gourds. Sadly, gourds are not practical. Glass would be perfect were it not for it being heavy, highly breakable, and difficult to find the correct bottle shape for both drinking and cleaning (that is, wide enough to clean, but narrow enough to drink from comfortably without dripping everywhere).

You can see why walking out of the house (or lodging when I am traveling) with a water bottle poses such a dilemma for me.

I am happy to report that I have found the answer to my quandary. Based in neighboring Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the Bamboo Bottle Company has designed a water bottle comprised of glass, BPA-free plastic and bamboo.

This is how it works. The actual bottle is made of sturdy glass (made with 51% recycled glass) which can hold hot or cold beverages— a huge advantage over plastic. The mouth of the bottle meets my requirements—wide enough for easy cleaning, while appropriately-sized for dripless drinking. The BPA-free plastic provides the nuts and bolts of the bottle, keeping the glass in its protective and insulating bamboo casing. The components disassemble for cleaning—you can hand wash the glass bottle or put it in a dishwasher (the plastic parts can go in the dishwasher as well, but keep the bamboo sleeve out of the machine and even the sink—simply wipe clean with a damp cloth for the longest life).

The Bamboo Bottle holds just over a pint (16 ounces) of liquid and has a thermos-like feel to it. With the top on, the bottle is 10.25 inches tall and 3 inches in diameter, just making the size-cut for my small hands.

No plastic or metallic after-taste or leaching—check. No exposed, breakable glass—check. Reusable, low-impact materials with a long-life span—check. While close to perfection, I do hold out hope that some day the plastic parts can be made from a sustainable, non-polluting material (the company says they are aiming for plastic-free in the future). Until then, I will be happy with my Bamboo Bottle and cross the search for the perfect water-bottle off my to-do list.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Organic Burgers in New York City

Hankering for an organic hamburger in New York City?

You can find the largest variety of organic burgers in New York at BareBurger, with two locations in Manhattan, one in Queens and one opening in Brooklyn this summer. BareBurger's generous menu includes many foods that are 100% organic and they are good about making the appropriate distinctions between organic, natural and grass-fed. BareBurger serves meat, vegetarian and vegan burgers, as well as other dishes. 100% organic meats are beef, bison, sausage, and the vegetarian burger and vegan portobello mushroom burgers are 100% organic. Pasture-raised, hormone- and antibiotic-free meats are elk, ostrich, lamb, chicken, and bacon. All the cheeses served are rBGH-free (growth hormone-free), three of which are 100% organic. All the milk, butter, eggs and ice cream are 100% organic as well, making for some fine old-fashioned tasting milkshakes. The meats at BareBurger come from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, with the exception of the bison and elk which come from Montana. They offer a few bun options and for people needing to avoid gluten, they offer a lettuce-wrap (100% organic!). Peanut allergy sufferers take note: the french fries are cooked in peanut oil.

The Green Table, tucked in the middle of Chelsea Market, the renovated former Nabisco biscuit factory on West 15th Street, specializes in organic and local foods from area farmers. They serve organic meat as well as organic vegetables and beverages. The farms they purchase from include Hawthorne Valley Farm, a biodynamic farm in upstate New York, Flying Pigs Farm, Old Chatham Sheepherding, and many others. The beef for Green Table's burgers comes from Wrighteous Organics in Schoharie NY about 175 miles north of the city and is distributed by Dickson's Farmstand Meats, an organic and natural butcher a few doors down from The Green Table in Chelsea Market.

Local Food Lesson Learned: one of my traveling companions wanted to trade out the spicy tomato chutney and fresh kim chi served with the burger for lettuce and tomato—not possible, at least not in April. Since The Green Table specializes in local and seasonal fare, fresh tomatoes are not available this time of year in New York. Even though it made my companion a little grumpy, I was delighted at this clear ideological line. As consumers we have gotten used to having what we want, whenever we want it (like an organic hamburger in New York City). Fresh, young spring greens were served with the burger and my friend had the chutney on the side. The rest of us enjoyed the kim chi (crunchy and fresh, not long-fermented) and the tomato chutney slathered over our burgers resulting in savory, spicy, perfectly cooked burgers. Vegetarians can find a number of organic dishes at The Green Table too.

And while we are talking about organic milkshakes, if you are visiting the Metropolitan Museum (5th Avenue and 82nd Street), you will be delighted at the relatively new food concession stand/van parked outside. Cake and Shake serves up cupcakes, savory cakes and milkshakes made with organic ingredients (if you can not eat cow-dairy or wheat/gluten, I am afraid there is nothing for you to enjoy), open seven days a week.

The Green Table, Chelsea Market, 9th Avenue between 15th & 16th Streets, New York; Tel: 212 741 6623; open Monday to Wednesday 11:30 to 9:00 pm, Thursday & Friday 11:30 to 10:00 pm, Saturday 11:00 am to 10:00 pm, Sunday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.

BareBurger, 535 Laguardia Pl. (south of Washington Square Park between Bleeker and W. 3rd St. on the edge of NYU) 
Manhattan; and 514 Third Avenue (between 34 & 35th Streets), 
Manhattan; open 11 am to 11 pm, till midnight on Friday and Saturday and open at 10 am on Saturday and Sunday; and 33-21 31st Ave, Astoria, Queens; and coming in the summer of 2011—Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Table of Slow, Local Food in Cambridge

Green travelers (or residents) visiting the Boston-Cambridge area looking for excellent food can indulge at Henrietta's Table. Chef Peter Davis has been on to the virtues of local, seasonal ingredients and slow-food for over fifteen years, well before the current trend.

Situated in The Charles Hotel, in the southwestern part of the Harvard Square area,  adjacent to the John F. Kennedy Park, Henrietta's has indoor tables and seasonal outdoor seating. Its full bar serves organic and specialty liquors, with house-special cocktails made without mixes, but rather with real ingredients. The strawberry-basil Mojito has chunks of fresh strawberries and chopped basil complementing the traditional mint and lime juice.

Henrietta's serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is busy at all three meals, so it is advised to make reservations. Henrietta's is especially known as the go-to place for business breakfast meetings, so be forewarned that breakfast can be the hardest time to find a seat.

The menus include vegetarian as well as meat and seafood dishes using local and organic vegetables, organic beef from Maine, New England seafood and antibiotic-free chicken. Entrees start at $13.00 for lunch and $15 for dinner. It is very easy to eat gluten-free at Henrietta's as long as you pass on the basket of delicious breads. The staff is friendly and helpful and the tables are full of happy eaters—enjoy.

Henrietta's Table, One Bennett St, Cambridge, MA 02138; Tel: 617-661 5005; open for breakfast Monday to Friday from 6:30 am to 11:00 am, Saturday 7:00 am to 11:00 and Sunday 7:00 am to 10:30 am; for lunch Monday to Friday from 12 noon to 3:00 pm, on Saturday and Sunday brunch is served from 12 noon to 3 pm; for dinner Sunday to Saturday from 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Green Dublin on the Cheap

There are numerous possibilities for traveling green in Dublin. Enjoy the green at almost every turn—here is a sampling of some of the cheapest options.

Organic eats are available at the Dublin Coop, a GMO-free zone, with a large variety of fresh produce, dairy, groceries and cleaning products. The Coop has a cafe serving organic and fair-trade coffees and treats. Dublin Food Coop, 12 Newmarket, Dublin 8; Tel: 01 454 4258; open only Saturday, Sunday and Thursday—Saturday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, Thursday from 12 noon to 8:00 pm. On Sundays there are specialty markets such as crafts and flea-markets during which you can also make regular Coop purchases.

The Temple Bar Food & Farmer's Market is held on Saturday mornings in the colorful Temple Bar neighborhood in the center of Dublin. Here you will find wonderful organic cheeses, breads, fruits, vegetables and prepared foods. Temple Bar Food Market, on East Essex and other streets in Temple Bar; open Saturday 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.

For rock-bottom priced green lodging, there are some hostels in Dublin powered by renewable energy.

Kinlay Hostel implements a number of green strategies to reduce energy use and to minimize waste. Its electricity is from wind energy. It offers dorm rooms as well as private rooms. Rates range from 15 to 33 euros/per night per person depending on room choice and time of week (higher rates Friday and Saturday). Kinlay House Dublin hostel, 2-12 Lord Edward St, Temple Bar, Dublin 2; Tel: 1 679 6644; Email:

At the Avalon House hostel the hot-water is solar-powered. Other amenities include WiFi, baggage scales and bike rentals for 12.50/day. Twelve-bed dorm rooms as well as singles are available from between 10 to 34 euros/night. Avalon House Hostel, Avalon House 55 Aungier Street Dublin 2; Tel: 1 475 0001;Email:

In addition to hoofing or biking around the city, you can walk the labyrinth and gardens at Dublin Castle, Castle Street, Dublin 2. You can also enjoy St. Stephen's Green, a 22-acre park in the heart of Dublin with 2-plus miles of paths—open until dusk.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Olive oil: an olive oil lover's guide to the organic oils of spain

The new Green Earth Guide to the organic olive oils of Spain is now available on Amazon!

Olive Oil: An Olive Oil Lover’s Guide to the Organic Oils of Spain
is for any connoisseur or lover of olive oils. Passionate about olive oil, Dorian Yates, author of the award-winning Green Earth Guide series to traveling naturally and ecologically in Europe takes you on a tour of the abundant, fresh olive oils produced organically in Spain. Olive Oil includes historical and cultural information, growing and processing techniques, as well as full listings of over forty oils. Her mouth-watering guide to Spain’s organic olive oils makes you want to break out the dipping bread and start tasting.

Buy the book and start tasting the over forty delicious oils listed in the Guide. Some of them are available in the United States, others you will have to travel to Spain to enjoy.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Raw Food in Unlikely Places

Cigars and raw foods do not seem a likely combination, but un•dun' breaks the mold. Tucked back in the corner of a small shopping plaza in downtown West Lebanon, NH, un•dun' advertises low prices on cigarettes and cigars, while selling some of the healthiest products available—organic and "live", or raw, oils, beverages, snacks, and superfoods.

un•dun's  healthy food department has recently outgrown its original jam-packed location, and has now expanded into the adjacent storefront offering a much wider variety of foods and supplements. Here you will find made-in-Vermont, fresh kombucha tea on tap, refrigerated sprouted flours, beverages and special "live" treats. "Live" or raw food products as well as high-quality nutritional supplements cover the rest of the store, which also offers an oxygen bar.

The new store, called undoo', is open the same hours as un•dun'. Raw foodies will be thrilled at undoo's selection, which differs almost completely from the other stores in the Upper Valley selling health foods and supplements, making its specialty that of organic, raw/live foods. undoo' also sells gift items—jewelry and body-care products.

For aspiring beer masters and wine makers, undun' has added home-brewing equipment and supplies to their offerings.

For more information about raw, or "live" foods see Traveling Naturally's Traveling Raw post

un-doo', Seminary Hill Plaza, 1 Main St, West Lebanon, NH 03784; Tel: 603-790-8129; open Monday to Wednesday and Saturday 10am to 6pm; Thursday to Friday from 10am to 7pm; Facebook pages:  undunnh and Un Doo

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Organic Chai for the Caffeine Vermont

Always on the search for divine, but caffeine-free beverages (as opposed to decaffeinated which usually have a tiny amount of caffeine—enough, sadly, to set me off), I have happily found my replacement for chai tea, a particular favorite of mine.

As I have been working on my new Green Travel App for Vermont foods and eateries I have found some wonderful products, including much to my delight, Chai Wallah. Tucked away in southern Vermont, Neil Harley uses his experiences as a chef and world traveler to create authentic chai teas and spices. Chai Wallah is certified as an organic processor, since they use only certified organic and fair-trade spices and teas grown by indigenous farmers around the world. Without Neil and his expert blending, my chai would not be the same.

The recipe is simple—brew up a pot of Rooibos tea (pronounced roy-bus), a South African legume tea. My favorite brands are Equal Exchange and Chai-Wallah, both organic and fair-trade.

To the Rooibos tea add 1 teaspoon of Chai-Wallah's Chai Spice-Only (sans organic teas).

I let it steep and then,  hmmm…. enjoy with no ill-effects. Thank you Neil for making a tremendous chai-spice blend for those of us who need to (regrettably) abstain from caffeine. For a milky version add your favorite organic milk (cow, goat, soy, rice or other).*

If you are on the road and want to enjoy some of Chai-Wallah's offerings you can find their products at the Brattleboro Food Co-op in Brattleboro, Vermont, where they sell the dry mixes in the bulk department and serve freshly made Chai-Wallah at the deli, available with soy or cow's milk.

*The soy milk I recommend is Vermont Soy Plain soy milk which is prepared from Vermont-grown, organic and GMO-free soy beans. The Unsweetened "flavor" has no sweeteners or flavors and has the highest protein content so also the highest isoflavone content—phytonutrients which some women find helpful with their menopausal symptoms.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Wanderweg—The Magic of Walking in Switzerland

The Wanderweg (W’s are pronounced like V’s in German) is the term used for the more than 31,000 miles of walking trails in Switzerland. Walking the Wanderweg is a common Swiss past-time and it is quite usual to see Swiss hikers of all ages on the trains heading to or from their hikes with rucksacks and walking sticks in hand.

The Wanderweg is posted with orange signs to keep you on course and every so often there will be directional signs with estimated time and kilometer distances. Consider that while many of the routes on the Wanderweg are roads of various sizes, there are also numerous stretches that are mere foot- or sheepworn paths through a field or pasture, or even a lawn!

Take your time. Never be in a rush when starting out on a new Wanderweg route. Much of the fun and charm have to do with the adventure of making your way through the beautiful landscape. Another wonderful aspect of the Wanderweg is that it is not just for recreation and sightseeing. The Wanderweg is practical. If you have figured out your route—you can walk to your destination be it clinic, store, attraction—no need for cars, or public transportation. Or for variety you can take advantage of all options, walking one direction and taking public transport for your return, or walking both ways, but taking different routes. A word to the wise—be prepared for steep walking—both uphill and downhill—Swiss walking is not for the weak-kneed.

One of the pilgrimage-walking routes to Santiago de Compostela (St. James Way or Jacobsweg in German) in Spain goes through the Fribourg area of Switzerland. See the Swiss site for Santiago routes in English.

Excerpted from the Green Earth Guide: Traveling Naturally in Switzerland

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Go Really Green—Camping in Switzerland

When the weather is amenable, camping is an inexpensive and environmental option. In Switzerland there are numerous campgrounds, but camping outside of designated camping areas is forbidden (verboten).

Two Web sites provide campsite information for Switzerland, available in German and English and can be searched by region: and The Swiss Camps site lists thirteen campsites that rent tents (tent is zelte in German). A few sites offer regional camping information—for the Valais area; for the Berner Oberland area; and the Interlaken area

A cross between camping and hosteling is Schlaf im Stroh (Sleep on Straw), for which you need a sleeping bag and a desire for a farm experience. Some of the two hundred and forty farms participating in this program also offer camping, guest rooms or dorm-style accommodations. Prices range from 20 to 30 CHF/person/night. The Web site, offered in German, French and English, is searchable by region using a map or list; Web:

There are hundreds of alpine “huts” across the Swiss Alps. Short and long term hikers can take advantage of these—most are open only in the summer and early fall, while a few are open in winter and early spring. Often local food is served—from homemade butter, jams and breads to vegetables and traditional muesli. Founded in 1863, The Swiss Alpine Club manages the three hundred plus huts. Visit for a map showing hut locations. The site is in German and French, but easily searchable under French “Chercher une cabane” or German “Hütte suchen”—click on the map and then click on any red “hut” dot for more information about that specific hut location.

Whether camping or not, take advantage of the remarkable walking trails, the Wanderweg, that wind through Switzerland.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Slow Food Spain

Last week, "alive" food. This week slow….. and not as in eating snails (even though that is the Slow Food logo) and sloths, but rather, slow as in the promotion of whole food meals prepared fresh from local and seasonal foods.

In Spain, the Slow Food Farm-to-Table project, called Km 0, certifies restaurants serving local, organic and indigenous foods that have come from farms less than 100 km (62 miles) away. Close to sixty restaurants around Spain have been recognized as Km 0. The highest concentration of Km 0 restaurants are in the Catalonia and Basque regions. The rest are scattered around the country. A couple are listed specifically in the Green Earth Guide to Spain—Kimpira in Valencia and Gaia in Sevilla.

Founded in Italy twenty-two years ago, the Slow Food movement mission is five-fold—to defend food biodiversity, safeguard the environment, advocate sustainable agriculture, protect small producers and their communities, and foster the gastronomic traditions of the world. Within that broad purpose, Slow Food has many projects including Farm to Table/Km 0 and the Ark of Taste. For restaurants in Spain to be accepted in the Km 0 program they must serve at least 5 dishes on their menu made avoiding GMO foods and with a minimum of 40% ingredients from local producers and 60% from foods that are organic or identified in the Ark of Taste project. The Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity Ark of Taste project catalogs and promotes indigenous foods at risk of extinction. More than 900 foods from fifty countries have been identified so far. In Spain this includes seventy-nine foods—some olive oils, olives, fruits, vegetables, herbs, cheeses, meat, fish, grains and wines. Restaurants are reviewed annually to make sure they are maintaining compliance with the Km 0 requirements.

Thanks to Slow Food España for administrating the Km 0 project and for providing the list of Km 0 participating restaurants. To find the Spanish restaurants approved as Km 0 visit the new 2010-2011 list of restaurants, organized alphabetically by city:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Traveling Raw

“It’s alive!” my teenage son jokingly howled as he took a bite of food we were sampling at a restaurant recently. There was no monster from the black lagoon or flies in his soup, but rather a medley of “raw” dishes prepared to gourmet standards at New York City’s One Lucky Duck café near Union Square.

"Raw food" usually conjures a pile of uncooked vegetables—or "rabbit food" as some people like to refer to it—but that evening we were eating tortillas, spicy Thai wraps, lasagna, chocolate ganache and almond-buttercup ice cream. Our meal was varied in its flavors, textures, scents and presentation. Other than the Mediterranean salad and the chunks of avocado in the delicious guacamole that came with our tortillas, nothing we ate could have been remotely described as “rabbit food” (although I have nothing against “rabbit food.”)

While the term "raw" provides a short, quick description of uncooked food, it is not the most accurate term for the burgeoning world of foods prepared below 118ºF. The term "live" is much more apt as it properly describes the important elements of this style of eating, where the enzymes, nutrients and beneficial bacteria of foods are kept vital and accessible when prepared below temperatures that destroy these essential compounds.

Live-food is more than salads and juices. Live-food involves understanding ways to make food more digestible and assimilable. This means knowing how to unlock nutrients and generate healthy fermentation. Nuts, for instance, become much more digestible when raw nuts (those that are not roasted) are soaked for one to four hours. Legumes, such as lentils, are best soaked and slightly sprouted, as are seeds—making them "live" as if for germination.

Many cultures use natural fermentation as a food-storage tool as well as to create healthy foods eaten daily such as traditional sauerkraut or kimchi—a term referring to countless variations of fermented vegetables and spices, considered a traditional, staple dish in Korea. Live-food chefs and devotees have developed a variety of techniques and recipes which successfully transform piles of raw vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds into gourmet meals, both delicious and satisfying.

Skeptics might question the ability of live-foods to satiate, but research has found that live-foods nourish the body more efficiently than their equivalent in cooked food. For example studies have shown that soaking and sprouting can increase the nutrient content of beans, nuts and seeds by 300 to 600 times.

In addition to increased nutrients, live-food meals are usually free of common allergens such as gluten, eggs and cow-dairy. However people with nut allergies might find the diet challenging since many live-food recipes rely on nuts. There are variations on the live-food theme and not all live-food advocates are vegan (animal-product-free). You can find live-food enthusiasts who consume raw fish, raw meat, and cheeses and milk from unpasteurized milk, but many live-foodies stay clear of animal products and so the diet tends to be suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Live or raw food is not a new concept. Cultures all over the world utilize aspects of live-food production and have done so for millennia including the aromatic (some would say stinky) cheeses made from raw milk in France and other countries, Korea’s kimchi, traditional kefir (fermented milk) in Eastern Europe and Middle Eastern countries, Himalayan gundruk (fermented vegetable leaves), countless local, small-batch fermented beverages around the globe from beers to kombucha (fermented tea), and of course the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables in tropical climates. Some of the basic components of the health-acclaimed Mediterranean diet involve live-food with its emphasis on local, fresh fruits and vegetables, olives and extra virgin olive oil.

In the United States live-food has been promoted for decades by health enthusiasts such as Ann Wigmore and Max Gerson who have advocated eating live-food as a form of cancer prevention and treatment. Other live-food proponents past and present include Weston Price, DDS, Norman Walker, Gabriel Cousens, MD, Victoria Boutenko, Donna Gates, David Wolfe, and numerous brilliant chefs. Naturally detoxifying, some health benefits that have been associated with live-food diets include weight loss, increased energy, reduction of inflammation, and longevity.

Before you start experimenting with live-food cuisine on your own I suggest going to one of the restaurants listed below to see what a live-food meal can be like. You might be surprised at the fresh, clean sensations, the spectrum of flavors and the lack of post-meal gut distention. That said, be forewarned that meals in restaurants specializing in live-food are not cheap. Live-food requires a huge amount of prep time and uses perishable foods including avocados (big in live-food menus). Anyone who has tried to keep a bunch of avocados on hand to ripen knows how challenging and potentially expensive that can be.

If you are experimenting at home be apprised that live-food represents an utterly new way of preparing food that takes a bit of adjustment. It is not simply replacing conventional products with organic, or processed with unprocessed. Your kitchen world shifts to soaking (a large part of raw food prep) and planning ahead (not a bad thing). Equipment needs change from pots and pans to blenders, food processors and a dehydrator—the last being the most foreign to many kitchens and cooks.

You will also have a radically different grocery list. Stocking the pantry will be expensive at first, but once you have the basic foods, you will find it less expensive than meat-based diets or processed foods. The most challenging is keeping fresh greens on hand in the winter. Kale is one of the healthiest and most economical, lasting a fairly long time in the fridge. Easy live-food dishes to begin with are salads, smoothies (made with fresh, raw ingredients only—not mixes), and blender-made soups.

Vitamixers are the gold standard for live-food preparation but are expensive running in the $500 range. If you already own a good blender or food processor those will work. An electric coffee grinder, such as the compact model made by Braun, is good to have on hand for grinding seeds. When looking for a dehydrator—if you get that far—the key is to look for one with adjustable temperature controls and a thermostat since you want to keep items below 118 degrees. Some dehydrators have no controls and dehydrate at temperatures too high for live-food preservation. The Excalibur is the most popular dehydrator among live-food chefs with a price tag around $200. A less expensive option is made by Nesco for around $70.00.

Chefs and restaurants devoted to live-food menus are few and far between, at least outside of California and Hawaii, so travelers trying to adhere to a live-food diet may find it challenging when on the road. Even large cities like New York have less than a handful of restaurants specializing in live-foods. See the resources at the end for some of the raw food restaurants in the United States and the UK.

Entering the realm of live-foods can be exciting and health rewarding, but also frustrating and challenging. While many jump in with both feet this can be overwhelming unless you are fully prepared with the proper basic foods, equipment and determined commitment. For others it is helpful to go easy and gently, building your live-food repertoire, discovering the dishes you love and hate, and listening to your body. This last being the most important—listen to your body, unearth what you hunger for and what truly nourishes you.


Boston area
Prana Café serves all raw, organic, vegan foods. Prana, 292 Centre St., Newton Corner, MA; Tel: 617-527-7726; Web:; open every day from 9 am to 4 pm, open for dinner Sunday to Thursday from 5 pm to 9 pm, Friday and Saturday from 5 to 10 pm.

The Organic Garden Café has a mostly raw/live-food menu. Organic Garden Cafe, 298 Cabot St, Beverly, MA 01915; Web:;open Tuesday to Thursday from  9 am to 7:30 pm, Friday and Saturday from 9 am to 8:30 pm, and Sunday 9 am to 7 pm.

The Revitalize Café serves all raw, vegan dishes using locally grown produce. The café does not use products that contain gluten, soy, refined sugars, honey, grains, mushrooms or animal products. Dishes available to eat in or as take-out. Revitalize Café, Tannery Marketplace, 50 Water St., Newburyport, MA; Tel: 978-462-0639; Web:; open 7 days a week, Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 7 pm, Sunday from 12 noon to 5 pm.

Experienced live-foodies will be sad to learn that Alissa Cohen’s Grezzo live-food restaurants in Boston and Newburyport are now closed.

Catch a Healthy Habit serves raw, vegan, organic, gluten-free foods. Catch a Healthy Habit Café, 39 Unquowa Road, Fairfield, CT 06824; Tel: 203-292-8190; Web:; open Monday and Tuesday from 8 am to 3 pm, Wednesday and Friday from 8 am to 7 pm, Thursday 8 am to 6:30 pm, Saturday 9 am to 7 pm, and Sunday 11 am to 6 pm.


Help Yourself is an extremely environmentally conscious restaurant serving mostly, but not exclusively, raw foods. They make excellent juices and use local coconuts. On Mondays they host an organic food market. Help Yourself, 829 Fleming Street, Key West, FL 33040; Tel: 305-296-7766; Web:; open every day from 8 am to 4 pm with an organic market on Mondays from noon to 7 pm.

Los Angeles
Planet Raw is an exclusively live-food restaurant using all organic ingredients with the exception of its Thai coconuts. It prides itself on its sustainability practices including the use of biodegradable packaging, beeswax candles, clay-painted, non-toxic walls, and environmentally-friendly cleaning products. Planet Raw, 609 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA, Tel: 310-587-1552; Web:; open 365 days a year, Sunday to Thursday from 9 am to 11 pm, Friday and Saturday from 9 am to 12 midnight.

New York City
One Lucky Duck and Pure Food and Wine are partner restaurants sharing a kitchen. Pure Food and Wine is a fancy, expensive restaurant serving lunch and dinner. One Lucky Duck, around the corner from Pure Food and Wine, is the funky sister serving desserts, smoothies, juices, and all lunch menu items from Pure Food and Wine. All dishes at One Lucky Duck are available to eat-in or take-out. Pure Food and Wine, 54 Irving Place (at 17th street, 1 block east of Union Sq.), NYC 10003; Tel: 212-477 1010; Web:; open for lunch from 12 noon to 4 pm, dinner from 5:30 to 11 pm.
One Lucky Duck, 125 E. 17 St, NYC 10003; Tel: 212-477-7151; Web:; open 7 days a week  9 am to 11 pm. Also at Chelsea Market, 425 W. 15 St (or enter on 9th Ave.), NYC; open Monday to Friday from 10 am to 9pm, Saturday 10 am to 8 pm, Sunday 10 am to 7 pm.

Caravan of Dreams serves organic, natural meals and half the menu is live-food. Caravan of Dreams, 405 East 6th St. (at 1st Ave), NYC; Tel: 212-254-1613; Web:; open Sunday to Friday from 11 am to 11 pm, Saturday open until midnight—lunch and brunch are served until 5 pm.

Rockin’ Raw serves live, organic, vegan food employing a variety of cuisines including Peruvian and Creole. Rockin’ Raw, 178 North 8 Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211; Tel: 718-599-9333; Web:; open Tuesday to Thursday from 12 noon to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday from 12 noon to 11 pm, and Sunday from 12 noon to 10 pm.

Beets Café serves all raw dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Beets Living Foods Café, 5th Street Commons, 1611 W. 5th St., Suite 165, Austin, TX 78703; Tel: 512-477-2338; Web:; open Monday to Wednesday from 8 am to 8 pm, Thursday and Friday 8 am to 9 pm, and Saturday 10 am to 9 pm.


Vermont Fiddleheads Café serves smoothies, juices, sandwiches, desserts, kimchi and other fermented foods, that are all vegan, organic and local when possible, with free WiFi available. Vermont Fiddleheads Cafe, 18 Worcester Village Road, Worcester, VT; Tel: 802-223-2111, Web:; open Open Tuesday to Friday 12 noon to 6 pm, Saturday 12 noon to 4 pm.

London, England

Vantra Restaurant serves mostly, but not exclusively, raw foods. It is 100% vegan and most ingredients are organic. Vantra, 11-13 Soho Street, W1D 3DJ, London, UK (near the Tottenham Court Rd tube/subway station); Tel: (011 44) 20-7287-6060; Web:; open Monday to Saturday from 12 noon to 11 pm, Sunday from 12 noon to 8 pm.

Vitao Restaurant serves mostly, but not exclusively, raw foods. It is 100% vegan and most ingredients are organic. Vitao, 74 Wardour Street, W1F 0TE, London (near the Leicester Square tube/subway station); Tel: (011 44) 20 7734-8986; Web:; open Monday to Saturday from 12 noon to 11 pm, Sunday from 12 noon to 9 pm.

The InSpiral Restaurant serves mostly, but not exclusively, raw foods. It is 100% vegan and most ingredients are organic, including 100% organic cocktails at the bar. InSpiral, 250 Camden High Street, NW1 8QS, London (Camden Town tube/subway); Tel: (011 44) 20 7428-5875; Web:; open Monday to Thursday 10 am to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday 10 am to 2 am, Sunday 10 am to 11:30 pm.

Raw Food Health Centers

Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center, Dr. Gabriel Cousens;

Hippocrates Health Institute, founded by Ann Wigmore & Viktoras Kulvinskas;

Raw Resources

Supercharge Me—The Movie, by Jenna Norwood; Web:

Ani’s Raw Food Essentials: Recipes and Techniques for Mastering the Art of Live Food, by Ani Phyo (Da Capo Lifelong Books 2010)

The Body Ecology Diet: Recovering Your Health and Rebuilding Your Immunity, by Donna Gates (Body Ecology 2006), Web:

Green for Life, by Victoria Boutenko (North Atlantic Books 2010); Also by Victoria Boutenko: 12 Steps to Raw Foods; and The Green Smoothie Revolution

Living Raw Food: Get the Glow with More Recipes from Pure Food and Wine, by Matthew Kenney & Sarma Melngallis (William Morrow 2009)

Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine, by Gabriel Cousens, MD and the Tree of Life Café Chefs (North Atlantic Books 2003)

Raw: The Uncook Book: New Vegetarian Food for Life, by Juliano Brotman and Erika Lenkert (Regan Books, 1999)

Raw Food/Real World: 100 Recipes to Get the Glow, by Matthew Kenney & Sarma Melngallis (William Morrow 2005)

Also by Matthew Kenney, Everyday Raw; Entertaining in the Raw; Everyday Raw Desserts

The Sunfood Diet Success System (North Atlantic Books 2008); Superfoods (North Atlantic Books 2009), both by David Wolfe; Web: Web: