At some point, each of us must take personal responsibility for our own health — even if that means moving Heaven and Earth to accommodate our specific needs.
No one knows that better than Extra Space Storage collaborator Kat Waldrip, founder of the company Wander Life Coconut Creamer. Kat tells us that while traveling in the Caribbean in 2015 she found that local food sources didn’t often accommodate her no-dairy, no-gluten dietary restrictions. Especially when it came to her morning coffee.
Rather than giving up coffee while she traveled, the Austin native created her own dairy alternative and felt so compelled to share it with others who might benefit from it, she left her successful sales job to start Wander Life. She now ships her coconut-based, non-dairy creamers from her 900 square-foot Austin home to customers around the world.
See and read more about Kat’s amazing story here.
Although travel is what started this entrepreneurial journey for her, Austin remains in Kat’s heart. Wander Life partners with charities and other organizations in the city to help residents live healthier lives.
In keeping with Kat’s spirit of giving back, and helping you get and stay healthy, here are nine Austin area health-focused restaurants, health shops and opportunities to get active.
Restaurants and Cafes
Blenders & Bowls
The first acai cafe in Austin, Blenders & Bowls is opening its third location in early 2017. Co-founders Kara Jordan and Erin Downing started their company as a food truck, eventually joining the space at Wanderlust Yoga downtown for their first brick-and-mortar location. Their key ingredient, a Brazilian superfood called the acai berry, is loaded with antioxidants and goes perfectly into smoothies and granola bowls.
Vinaigrette, in South Austin, has some of the tastiest salads you’ll find anywhere because the chefs source their food from a nearby farm in Bastrop, Texas. The cafe’s focus on farm-to-table eating ensures that all ingredients are as fresh and full of their natural nutritional value as possible, as well.
Casa de Luz
Any discussion of healthy dining options in Austin must include Casa de Luz, the city’s first organic, gluten-free community-style dining spot. In fact, Casa de Luz’s founders warn not to think of their spot as a restaurant, but as a place to learn healthy dietary practices:
“Casa de Luz is not for everyone. It may take a few visits to get our taste buds back from the salt and sugar we have become accustomed to eating at ‘restaurants.’ Casa de Luz uses only whole foods, no sweeteners or refined oils. Our oil comes from the seeds and nuts we put in the recipe.”
Tiny Taiga on East 11th Street specializes in healing and healthy items from the forest. This includes foods such as chia seeds and raw chocolate, natural skin care products, and even some excellent teas and essential oils.
“The point is to be conscious,” shop owners say. “Pay attention. Ask questions. Truly desire to feel good, and to be healthy AND happy. And be willing to work a Tiny bit for it.”
Wheatsville Food Co-op
A community-minded business, Wheatsville Food Co-op donated more than $80,000 in 2016 to 10 local nonprofits. The co-op has two locations — on Guadalupe St. and S. Lamar — and has been an Austin institution for more than 40 years. You’ll reliably find organics, local produce and meals prepared in-store here.
Born from an Indiegogo campaign to create the first zero-waste, package-free grocery store in America, in.gredients on Manor Road has found fans from well outside of Central Texas. Besides being zero-waste, the store sells local produce that was grown sustainably. Feel good when you shop here, then feel good when you eat the meals you’ve made.
Opportunities to Get Active
Founders Steven and Elsa opened Eastside Yoga in 2009 to bring yoga, health, wellness and meditation to East Austin — and they’ve won scores of fans along the way. Eastside Yoga now has nearly 30 teachers to guide students through yoga and mindfulness practices, and the team organizes some cool events throughout the year (that Hawaii retreat sounds especially nice!).
Austin Rock Gym
As Austin Rock Gym prepares to turn 20 next year, it can begin to take stock of the thousands upon thousands of people who have learned how to climb in its gyms over the years. In January, the south gym closed, but the North Austin gym off N. Lamar Blvd. is still welcoming new and veteran climbers.
Hike Mount Bonnell
Do512 recommends a hike up Mount Bonnell early in the morning — you’ll be rewarded with an astounding vista of the sunrise. The hike to the top only covers about a third of a mile, but that’s a lot of stairs. If you’re working up to that level of fitness, keep this spot in mind as a personal reward. It’s pretty satisfying to stand on a peak and survey the Colorado River as it reflects the morning sun.
Images by: ©f11photo/123RF Stock Photo, Bryan Burgos, ©wavebreakmediamicro/123RF Stock Photo