Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Interview: Plant Based Traveler

If you have not heard of Plant Based Traveler, let me be the first to introduce you to Dana & Lou's beautifully curated travel show on vegan - yes plant based, cuisine. I admire people who pursue their passions even if it seems like a wildcard, out of the ordinary. In fact I think those are the best stories to watch + unfold. The chance to explore the world while seeking out delicious good food, communicating with makers, chefs, and people of all walks of life seems like a dream come true. Of course this is the theme of many travel shows - you interact and learn about a culture through their cuisine and stories. 

However Plant Based Traveler expands their niche by being kinder to the environment through our palates and discovering plant-based cuisine throughout the world (literally) Through their The City Speaks mini-doc series they explore a city through vegan food while developing more long length episodes (the first episode will be linked at the post of this post). Follow Plant Based Traveler on Vimeo, Instagram, and Facebook
Who are you & What do you do?
Hello, I’m Dana, co-founder of Plant Based Traveler, a new online vegan travel show. I currently live in Berlin, Germany with my boyfriend, Lou, and together we travel the world, capturing as many plant-based stories as we can. Currently I am also taking German classes, running the occasional pop-up restaurant and spending as much time outdoors as possible!

How did Plant Based Traveler come to fruition?
Lou and I had always been really passionate about food and travel and when we couldn’t be exploring a new city we really enjoyed watching shows like Anthony Bourdain and The Mind of a Chef. However, once we went vegan those shows started to lose their luster. The food they were showing was no longer appealing to us and we thought maybe there were other people out there who were looking to see a new perspective on travel. Lou happened to working a production company in NYC and I had recently decided to quit my job and so like that we decided to start our own company.

Tell us you vegan/plant based story – what motivated you?
I actually found veganism when looking for a cleanse to do after quitting my job in New York. I was exhausted in every sense of the word and wanted something to kickstart a new healthy lifestyle. I stumbled upon Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet and started a 30 day cleanse that had me abstaining from alcohol, gluten and all animal products. By the end of the month, I had spent so much time researching veganism that there was no turning back. Once I learned about atrocities happening on factory farms and the destruction that animal agriculture is doing to the planet, it seemed hard for me to just treat this like another fad diet.

What message do you wish to convey with your show?
We hope that “Plant Based Traveler” inspires people to not only question the way that they currently travel, but also change how they engage with the world every day of the week. We want to share stories from all over the world, so that people can see how easy it is to be vegan and break down the stereotypes of what a typical vegan looks like.

Besides your show, what projects are you working? Do you celebrate the seasons (i.e. eating seasonally)?
I am always in the kitchen. I try to post new food pictures on our Instagram account every day, which definitely helps me stay motivated in trying new things. I try to eat as seasonally as possible though I am a sucker when it comes to tropical fruit, especially mangos!

Do you have a morning routine?
My morning routine is quite simple, before anything I like to drink at least half a liter of water. Then I usually either make a quick smoothie or a bowl of oatmeal, and then bike to German class.

What do you do on your time off?
When the weather is nice, one of my favorite things to do in Berlin is to enjoy the green spaces. There are so many different parks in this city and one of my favorites is Tempelhof – an airport turned communal space that is perfect for biking, picnicking or flying a kite!

You’ve traveled extensively, what are some of you favorite places (this can be food/fashion/in general)
One of my favorite cities will always be Barcelona as it is where I studied abroad while in college and where Lou and I met. It was the first city I lived in outside of the United States and where I really caught the travel bug. I think it’s a great city for other people to visit too, as the architecture of the city is incredible with the Sagrada Familia, Park Guell and all of Guadi’s other works. And then the food is fantastic – just google The Boqueria and you’ll be in awe!

Top 5 Necessities (can be culinary, clothing, makeup, etc.) for travel and/or health
1.     Stay hydrated! I always have a lot of water with me, and water-rich foods like grapes, cucumber, or orange slices.
2.     Pack many layers: the worst thing is getting to a place and realizing the weather has taken a turn for the unexpected and you are left wishing you had an extra sweater or a tank top.
3.     Download podcasts: In Europe, buses are definitely the cheapest way to get around, but they can be long! Just last weekend I took a bus to Warsaw, which was 9 hours! To make sure I don’t get bored I usually bring a book and load my phone with podcasts. I love The Moth Podcast, This American Life, and Invisibilia.
4.     Get a map: I find a paper map is the best tool in getting situated in a new city. 
5.     Power Converters/Chargers: All of my work is on the computer or on my phone, so I always double check that I have all the needed cords and cables that will keep me charged up!

What is one organization/foundation you support or is close to your heart?
As I have only been vegan for a year and after watching Cowspiracy the major environmental organizations are now out the window, so I find myself still in search of the foundation that aligns with all of my beliefs. Until I find the perfect one, all my support goes to the animal sanctuaries around the world. Their work is never ending and I really admire their dedication to giving dignity back to those who have lived their whole life imprisoned.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I don’t really have a 5-year-plan at the moment, so hopefully I will be happy and healthy and doing work that keeps me inspired!

What are your ideal places to travel or, where would you like to travel?
There are so many places on my travel list right now! Since I’m living in Berlin, exploring Europe is top of the list – I would love to go to Vienna, Budapest, Lisbon, but then when it comes to exploring the world seeing more of South America is really important to me. Lou and I spent 3 months in Peru in 2014 filming the first episode of Plant Based Traveler and I would love to get to explore other parts of the continent.

Dream Vision Board: what would your ideal day consist of?
My ideal day would consist of time with friends and family with lots of sunshine, preferably on a beach somewhere. Oh and lots, and lots of fresh fruit!

One piece of advice:
Never stop looking for the life that will make you the happiest.

Watch the first episode which is in Cusco, Peru (Lima is also on the way, which is also where my mother hails from) and the City Speaks New York trailer that capturing how diverse but uniquely beautiful New York is. All episodes here

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Iced Lavender Lemonade Tea

I really love using lavender in edible creation. My goal is to cultivate lavender. as in keep it alive and healthy. I used to buy potted lavender from Trader Joes but somehow they wouldn't make it very long, but the more I understand the simple roots of gardening I think California's sun is too intense for plants.

On the topic of warm weather, hydration is very crucial with the temperatures many are experiencing. I remember once in Culver City I had a wonderful lavender lemonade. It was floral, sweet, & refreshing. I didn't have but one lemon on hand but I did have culinary lavender and a lemon meringue tea from Art of Tea. The tea is a blend of green rooibos, orange peel, rose petals,  cornflowers - all of it organic. Blended with raw unfiltered honey and you have a drink that makes the summer slightly bearable.

iced lavender lemonade tea #glutenfree at

2 cups of unfiltered water
2 tablespoons of lemon meringue tea
1 tablespoon of edible organic lavender buds
1 tablespoon of raw honey I used clover honey
juice of one organic lemon
+ 3/4th cup of cool water

  • First, make the tea - steep 2 cups of water with both the lemon meringue tea  & lavender buds so they infuse. Let it sit for 20 minutes or so
  • Remove steeper, since you'll be adding a little more liquid to if you need to transfer the tea to a bigger cup do so.
  • Add the juice of a lemon & honey and stir until it dissolves. Add the remaining water and then taste, maybe you want it a little sweeter (up the honey) or add more water it its too sweet
  • Once you're content place the lavender lemonade tea in the freezer or add ice cubes and enjoy

// substitutions
if you don't consume honey you can use maple syrup,  raw sugar, vegan honey, or liquid stevia
feel free to add berries or chia seeds
if you dont want to heat up the honey you can freeze the tea first & then blend the honey + lemon

Monday, August 3, 2015

"I hold you tight like rain, Sunshine on a rainy day"

I am trying to journal more in the physical sense. Thoughts to pen onto paper - even if its several minutes a day. I seek this solitude with my mind like a chamber of dreams you unlock & explore.

I am spending more time devouring books, inhaling their words and exhaling my dreams. This year I want to accomplish sixty, it isn't the number that counts but the transportation of a book, or the cathartic experiences you eschew. I simply wish to dedicate more time involved with literature

I am trying to feel more and expect less in the realm of art. Not focusing on the endpoint - rather absorbing what I am doing: lost in the blending and formation of colors, saturation, & waking up early to revel in the light of the morning; how kind it is for painting.

Still I dream, and when I do I dream of cabins and candlelight, picking fruit off the vine - fingertips bruised with the juices of fruits; the same hues I try to capture. No images can compare to the sensation of physical experience. Yet it fuels creation in our search to capture our dreams and memories. The stories that exist inside our head that we wish to convey, pass down, recreate.

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