Healthy eating on Ibiza
By Esther Nicklin
As global consciousness rises, more and more people are opting for a healthier more wholesome food. Many of us are waking up to the problems created by massed produced meat and dairy products. There is also growing awareness that the processed foods on supermarket shelves are not what we need to thrive, and that the health of consumers has suffered greatly due to the excessive commercialisation of our food supply. Whether it’s a health inspired diet, a fashionable fad or a commitment to conscious dining, Ibiza’s healthy eating options have expanded dramatically. Choosing an organic, vegetarian, vegan or raw food lifestyle, or dealing with wheat, dairy or gluten intolerances, has never been so easy and delicious. There’s a mouth-watering array of restaurants and shops catering to all dietary requirements, so let’s have a look at some of the options.
Ibiza has always attracted free thinkers including many who have become vegetarians after becoming aware of the dangers posed by the mass farming of livestock. Those on a spiritual path feel a sense of oneness with all living things which gives them compassion for the animals. Some reach a point where the thought of consuming an animal, mistreated or otherwise, is impossible to swallow – especially since you may also be consuming its fear and suffering. Whatever your reasons for giving up meat, it’s pretty easy to do these days as there are many vegetarian restaurants and most others on the island offer veggie dishes.
Some vegetarians have now become vegan – eating only food from plant origins and getting their protein from legumes, nuts and other vegetable sources. By definition veganism is a lifestyle excluding all forms of animal exploitation for food, clothing or any other purpose. Technically that means no leather goods, no eggs and no cheese; but not everyone goes that far. Some people are very strict about what being vegan means, but I would argue that it’s best to encourage new people to jump on the bandwagon... so let’s not push them off for wearing their leather cowboy boots.
Ibiza’s international residents have seen almond, rice and all manner of non-dairy ‘milks’ land in our supermarkets, coffee shops and eateries, as awareness of the nasty effects of cow milk and often excruciating extraction methods has increased. I personally suffered with digestive problems from my teens to my 30s. These are often caused by an intolerance to dairy, wheat or gluten, exacerbated by years of unknowingly eating these things that are bad for you. Since cutting out these foods I live without digestive pain, and am always thrilled to find a new gluten-free biscuit to dip in my organic fair traded tea, from one of Ibiza’s many health food stores.
Superfoods like acai, cacao and spirulina have taken up permanent residence in Ibiza, as summer workers top up on lost nutrients with super food enriched smoothies. It seems like every Ibiza eatery comes complete with some detoxifying juices. It’s good to remember that overdosing on chia seeds doesn’t eradicate the effects of too much partying, so the best detox is to not get too toxic in the first place. Of course superfoods are not just for the overindulgent. Adding them to your every day diet is a great way to boost your vitamin and micro-nutrient levels.
A raw food diet combines inventive cuisine with the fun of creating uncooked, nutrient-rich whole food dishes. From private chefs to raw food bars and Facebook groups, the raw food movement has taken off in Ibiza, and not because it gets so hot that we can’t be bothered to cook. Boiling your veggies too long saps their nutrients, and over-heating any food creates acidic toxins and free-radicals. These are linked to many diseases, and they also destroy the enzymes you need for digestion. So why not eat foods closer to the way nature intended – unprocessed and uncooked – to alkalize your body and neutralize excess acid.
I used to joke about ‘Prada hippies’ mincing around the organic market until I finally saw the light. Why would I want to eat what had been sprayed with pesticides or subjected to other destructive processes? Why would I buy genetically modified fruit and vegetables with DNA from other species adding unknown problems to the food chain? These artificial foods are untested, barely researched and discredited by leading edge scientists. So I started buying food at the one of the many health food stores on the island, plus I get an organic veggie box from a local farm... and my life has changed significantly. No longer searching for meal inspirations, I look in my box, sometimes Google the contents, and simply start cooking in synch with the seasons of Nature. You can also have organic veggies delivered by one of the services here on Ibiza, plus many of the health food stores sell fresh organic produce as well. So whatever your reasons for seeking to eat more naturally, there are a host of healthy alternative options here on Ibiza whether you eat in or out... Enjoy! •