Los Angeles Healthy Eats – IBS Gut-Friendly Edition
While I was writing my healthy eating guide to Los Angeles for meandmytravelbugs.com (coming soon), I thought that an IBS gut-friendly edition would be helpful for those who have IBS and love to travel as much as I do. I’ve created it mainly because eating ‘healthy’ doesn’t always mean gut-friendly for those with IBS symptoms. Anyone with SIBO who’s ever eaten a raw salad and kombucha will know what I mean.
So, here’s a gut-friendly selection from my healthy eating guide to LA. Most of these places focus on cooked rather than raw foods, real organic options rather than processed foods, options for those avoiding gluten and dairy and/or they have the option to modify items on their menus. And if you’re not sure why this is a good idea for those with IBS, check out this blog post on eating for IBS for more info.
Bulletproof Coffee, Santa Monica
3110 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Mostly paleo-inspired cafe known for serving hot drinks with added grass-fed butter or oils that aim to boost energy.
We went here for a quick lunch stop between activities. They claim a unique cafe experience allowing you to upgrade your meals so you can ‘biohack’ your way to higher performance. Their meals are from farm to table, using only high quality meats, veggies, and oils from sustainable sources and local farms.
> Jesse: ‘Grass-fed ground beef protein bowl’ with herbed butter sauce, veg and rice, plus a ‘no-coffee latte’.
> Bel: ‘Wild Sockeye Salmon’ with herbed butter sauce, veg and rice, plus a hot cocoa on coconut milk (pictured).
True Food Kitchen, Santa Monica
395 Santa Monica Blvd #172, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Relaxed chain serving health-conscious meals, including lots of paleo, vegan and GF options.
We went here for lunch. True Foods are a health-driven, seasonal restaurant chain merging nutrient-rich ingredients with loads of flavour. Their menu caters to nearly every food preference with a variety of gluten-free, paleo, organic, vegetarian and vegan offerings. They are also very happy to modify any meals to suit your dietary needs.
> Jesse: ‘Grass-Fed Burger’ with umami mushroom, caramelised onion, arugula, parmesan, mayonnaise, on a flax seed bun.
> Bel: ‘Inside Out Quinoa Burger’ with hummus, tzatziki, tomato, cucumber, red onion and avocado, plus a ‘Bright Eyes’ juice of pear, ginger, beet, pineapple, turmeric, carrot (pictured).
M Cafe, Hollywood
7119 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90046
Simple macrobiotic food, including salads, sandwiches, sushi rolls & baked goods.
We visited this contemporary macrobiotic cuisine cafe for lunch. They serve balanced, nutritious and creative cooking that aligns with Macrobiotic principles. They serve eggs and fish as animal-based protein options for those who crave it. Their meals are wholesome, fresh and really filling. They have an extensive menu and will make most modifications if able.
We went for some healthy comfort food favourites and sampled the following:
> Jesse: ‘Avocado Crispy Toast’ made from crispy brown rice and quinoa, mizuna, lemon & shichimi togarashi, and the ‘Organic House-Made Sweet Potato Fries’ with chili, sea salt and lime, plus a cold-pressed green juice called the “Maui Wowie” made from pineapple, green apples, cucumber and a shot of wheatgrass.
> Bel: ‘Teriyaki Bowl’ with king salmon, heirloom brown rice, seasonal vegetables, teriyaki sauce & house-made pickles (pictured). I also had a coconut milk “Chai Latte” which was delish!
They’re also located in Beverly Hills so hit that up if it’s closer.
8401 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Simple, all-day cafe with a menu emphasising health-focused Californian food and happy to alter almost everything.
Hugo’s has an impressive menu of completely adaptable meals – they’re happy to swap pretty much anything as all their meals are made from scratch. They focus on hearty and wholesome meals with lots of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.
We went here for breakfast and sampled the following:
> Jesse: ‘Eggs Benedict’ of Poached eggs on toasted gluten-free flatbread with house-smoked pork loin and hollandaise sauce, served with potatoes. “Yogi Smoothie” of mango, apple, ginger, toasted almonds, almond milk (swapped out the soy milk) and yogi chai-ice.
> Bel: ‘Almond Energy’ and ‘Blueberry’ pancakes – I couldn’t decide so went with half-half. Almond Energy is prepared with nuts, seeds, quinoa, shredded coconut, puffed rice, dried cherries, cranberries and organic maple syrup, garnished with fresh strawberry slices and served with spiced organic cane syrup. The Blueberry pancakes are prepared with organic blueberries and citrus zest with a dusting of organic powdered sugar, served with blueberry syrup. I washed it all down with a ‘Vedic Latte’ of turmeric, ginger, cardamom and hint of nutmeg and long pepper with honey and steamed almond milk… very calming and a great digestive aid.
Healthy Supermarket Grocery Stores
If you’re doing the AirBnB apartment thing like us then you have lots of healthy supermarket options to stock your holiday pantry. For the weird and wonderful (think almond yoghurt, cashew cheese, bentonite clay shots, good quality protein powders and supplement brands) head to Whole Foods or Erewhon Market. If you’re just looking for a good selection of organic wholefoods and other groceries, you can also try Trader Joe’s and Sprouts Farmers Market.
In both places we stayed, we were less than a 10 minute walk to a Whole Foods, which is something we always aim to do if possible. Not only is it great for being able to prepare your own healthy, organic and gut-friendly meals, it’s also often a good marker for nicer neighbourhoods, so win-win.
LA is home to countless vegan and vegetarian places, many with a health and gluten-free focus. And while these places often have some options that are gut-friendly, if you’re still struggling with IBS symptoms, most vegan and vegetarian foods (raw and carbohydrate-heavy) will only exacerbate your symptoms – which isn’t much fun on holiday.
Some of our favourites among these plant-based restaurants were; Plant Food & Wine, The Butcher’s Daughter, Gracias Madre and Cafe Gratitude.