Throughout the past decade, I’ve been lucky enough to set foot in various countries during my trips, where I eyed a myriad of unusual customs and intriguing traditions around the globe. However, Bali was surely one of the most remarkable spots that I’ve visited as it imbibes a fascinating character that has all its inhabitants and visitors fall under its spell in a blink of an eye.

My first trip to the southeastern part of Asia was entirely plotted by an organization named Be Unsettled after I was offered to partake in one of their exciting programs. Basically, Be Unsettled is an entity that offers those who seek composure a chance to replace their routines with a refreshing one-month retreat at some exotic locations around the world. Melding the enticement of travelling and the vigor of work, Be Unsettled hosts a handful of workshops that shed light on different fields, where vacationists can enrich their knowledge and share their experiences. For me, my speech was centered on the process of starting an online blog on digital platforms and how to bolster such project.

As soon as I set my foot in Ubud, Bali, I was stunned by its greeny environment and herbivorous nature, which, to no one’s surprise, had its dwellers follow vegan diets. So, I agreed with my like-minded peers to take part in the community’s practices by kicking off a challenge, which is to turn vegetarian during our one-month stay over there, taking a stand against the cruelty of food manufacturers against animals. However, we also agreed on acquiring our challenge some relaxations as we gave room for ourselves to feed on chicken and meat on two days per week, because one can’t simply survive the week without a bite of garlic-topped beef and saucy fried chicken, right?

For Bali’s serene atmospheres, some may favor meditation and yoga, while others might opt to delve into energy-healing studies, but on the back of my 30-day vegan challenge, I want to walk you through my experience with Bali’s local edibles and my pleasing visit to Ubud’s annual vegan festival.

As soon as I set my foot in Ubud, I was stunned by its greeny environment and herbivorous nature, which, to no one’s surprise, had its dwellers follow vegan diets.

Held every year in the city of Ubud, Bali Vegan Festival is an annual local event where the city’s inhabitants get to showcase all their vegan products for the foreigners to examine. From chocolates, burgers and hot dogs, to cosmetics and pain relief creams, all the products being offered at the festival were 100% vegan, going along the fruitarian lifestyle of Ubud’s citizenry that had it host this celebratory occasion on a yearly basis. That day, I’ve laid my eyes on a good deal of dairy-free meat-free products that did arouse my curiosity towards Bali’s nutrients, which got me thinking “Why not delve deeper into Bali’s local eats?” Such notions have ignited my desire to try a handful of local mouth-watering fruits that, later on, became a vital pillar in my greeny diet.

The uniqueness of Bali’s tropical nature is what aptly makes it veer far from its neighboring Asian countries, and their fruits are no exception with their pleasing looks, texture and taste. I started off with the Dragon Fruit, which is locally named Buahnaga. Its color is as close as it gets to flaming pink with a hard outer shell that resembles that of the dragon skin; hence its name. After slicing it and tasting its reddish flesh, it turned out to be as juicy as watermelons, but with a flavorless taste. Nevertheless, it looks beautiful, and it’s a vital element in local cocktails and chips. The following fruit on my list was the Snake Fruit or Salak as the locals call it. Its reddish-brown crust is a reminiscent of snakes’ skin, and its inners look exactly just like garlic, only bigger. It’s peeled by pinching its tip, causing its skin to be slough off, and its crunchy flesh tastes sweet as well.

Not only did my vegan diet make me feel healthier, fitter and as light as a feather, but it has also affected me on a human level.

After that, I got to indulge myself with the tasty Mangosteen, which is one of the native plants in Southeast Asia. It has a reddish-brown rind that, when squished, uncovers a handful of sloppy garlic-like seeds that taste utterly luscious and sweet. It was quite remarkable! Then, I got to lay my hands on the oval Passion Fruit. Although its size is so small that you can fit it in your pockets, it’s an eminent edible as it comprises plenty of antioxidants and vitamins. Its yellowish outer peel is tough that, similar to the Mangosteen, needs to be squished, and its seedy inners are so juicy and sweet. Not only is it an eatable fruit, but it can also be juiced and melded with other fruit juices to form an appetizing cocktail. Concluding my tasty endeavor, the Pisang Rai was the last fruit on my list. It’s basically made of small banana slices that are covered in whitey coconut and wrapped in soft tree leaves. It’s not so sugary, so you can eat as much as you want of it without feeling sated, and it’s a nice on-the-go snack to nibble on.

After residing for a month in Bali, the proceedings of that interval have had a palpable impact on me. Not only did my vegan diet make me feel healthier, fitter and as light as a feather, but it has also affected me on a human level as it drew my attention to the plight of animal cruelty, from being stored in confined cages to being tortured and mistreated for us to feed on them in the end. Seeing the whole picture and visualizing the mater from the animals’ perspective was quite insightful, which made me completely give up on meat and chicken after my first week in Ubud (turns out that one can easily survive a month without spicy meat and saucy chicken at the end of the day!) I also realized that one can fully rely on plant-based diets to supply the body with all the necessary nutritional elements, which, unfortunately, doesn’t align with the majority’s beliefs in Egypt.

So, in the end, it’s fair to say that Bali has aided me to discover a better version of myself, availing my thoughts, health and beliefs on various levels.

After residing for a month in Bali, the proceedings of that interval have had a palpable impact on me. Not only did my vegan diet make me feel healthier, fitter and as light as a feather, but it has also affected me on a human level as it drew my attention to the plight of animal cruelty, from being stored in confined cages to being tortured and mistreated for us to feed on them in the end. Seeing the whole picture and visualizing the mater from the animals’ perspective was quite insightful, which made me completely give up on meat and chicken after my first week in Ubud (turns out that one can easily survive a month without spicy meat and saucy chicken at the end of the day!) I also realized that one can fully rely on plant-based diets to supply the body with all the necessary nutritional elements, which, unfortunately, doesn’t align with the majority’s beliefs in Egypt.

So, in the end, it’s fair to say that Bali has aided me to discover a better version of myself, availing my thoughts, health and beliefs on various levels.

Ahmad Mohsen

Author Ahmad Mohsen

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