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monkeys

3 monkeys in the Monkey Forest, Ubud

I just finished reading my Hanuman book. My Chinese astrological sign is the year of the monkey, and I love monkeys of all sorts. In Ubud, Bali, I visited the Monkey Forest, where I met these 3 cuties eating fresh fruits and all raw foods: leaves and fruits.

hanuman

Hanuman at the Hindu Temple in Singapore

Hanuman, the white monkey, is sometimes represented in blue, as at this Hindu temple in Singapore.

The film Avatar, which I loved, made me ponder if the beings on Pandora were related to Hanuman. The blue monkeys were connected to all of nature, had respect for all life forms, and listened to their ancestors. For me, Pandora was a beautiful representation of Eastern culture evolved from Hindu and Buddhist religions.

Hanuman embodies virtue, bravery, wisdom, knowledge, mercy, power, humility, and all that’s good including good health, modesty, altruistic deeds, and overall positive energy. A reminder that one way to feel happier is by eating more raw food, thinking positive thoughts, continuing to grow and acquire knowledge, practicing humility, and making time to give back to our communities and to help others.

Ani's workshop overview

Ani's workshop overview

Ani Phyo’s Raw Food Kitchen at Mom Tri’s Villa Royale, Thailand: 2 min, 41 sec

Watch video

This is an overview of the workshop I taught in Thailand at Mom Tri’s Villa Royale in Phuket. It was edited and posted immediately after the workshop on January 24, 2010. This video ends with a view of the beautiful sunset over the ocean. The end to a perfect day.

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an organic cafe in rice fields

an organic cafe in the rice fields

My friend and raw model Anthony told me to find Sari Organics in Ubud. I was ecstatic to finally find it on my 2nd visit to Ubud. I had one of the best medicinal herb salads ever, made with organic herbs from the fields and also gathered from the forest. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend this afternoon than chilling with my good friend in the middle of rice fields with a beautiful view and a bounty of delicious, fresh foods.

rice fields

the walking path along the rice fields

We had to walk a good 15 minutes or more to get to the organic cafe in the middle of the rice fields. An amazing journey with an organic treasure at the end. And walking is always the best exercise.

compost

composting

I even came upon a compost pile on the way. Someone was eating durian, I can see the rind in the heap.

satay

Wayan and Carol enjoying road side satay and rice

I had been fasting the prior day and earlier this day only because some nuts I’d eaten didn’t digest very well. Our driver Wayan and Carol were starving, so they pulled over at a road side satay stand to enjoy local snacks. I like this photo, and we can imagine the satay to be vegetables or tofu for our purposes here….though, as you all know, I’m no fan of unhealthy processed fake tofu meats.

gazpacho

Gazpacho

I was thrilled to find an amazing vegan and raw food soup on the menu at the St. Regis, a 6 star resort in Nusa Dua. This wasn’t just any gazpacho…it was green, and topped with a deliciously refreshing Bloody Mary Sorbet.

the ocean at Nusa Dua

the ocean at Nusa Dua

Nusa Dua is a resort area at the south eastern end of Bali. This beach is full of white sand, and the water is the most amazing turquoise I’ve ever seen. My photo doesn’t even begin to capture the color of the ocean.

Ani Chris Carol at Nusa Dua

Ani Chris Carol at Nusa Dua

2 friends met up with me in Bali. Chris, the surfer, is my best friend from freshman year in college. That was a long time ago! And Carol’s my drum and bass dancing ballerina who keeps me up dancing late at night back in LA. The best of friends, sunshine, blue ocean, and hot weather. These are the main ingredients fueling my bliss.

grocery in Bali

grocery in Bali

It’s rainy season in Bali, so it downpours buckets of rain for 20 minutes to a couple hours almost every day. It’s warm, so I don’t mind it. On my first rainy day, I decided to visit a local grocery store, where I found a new fruit called salak. It grows on palm trees.

selak

salak fruit

This is salak. It has a brown snakeskin that’s really thin. You peel it away to find what looks like garlic cloves inside. These pods of fruit contain a small seed, and taste sweet and tart at the same time.

selak peeled

peeled salak fruit

The meat of the salak fruit is not juicy, but rather dry and firm. It has a texture similar to a pear, but not as firm and crisp, smoother in texture, and dry. Interesting texture and delicious flavor.

rambutan

rambutan fruit

This brightly colored, hairy fruit is a rambutan. I love lychees, and the rambutan is very similar in texture and flavor. Rambutan is very cheap in Bali. I  bought a big bag for about 50 cents. The rambutan, even at the grocery store, is always covered in crawling ants. I guess this means there’s no pesticides on the fruit, a good thing.

Here in hot, muggy Bali, I live off fresh tropical fruits (durian, salak, rambutan, mango, papaya, pineapple, and banana), and enjoy only occasional greens when I find them. Back home in the States, I had been cutting back on my sugar intake over the past several months. I was concerned about eating so much fruit. But, my body is thriving on this raw food fruit diet. Combined with swims in the warm ocean, walking everywhere, and the sunshine, all this fruit is making my body leaner. I like this effect.

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