Friday, April 12, 2013

Spring 2013 Florida Trip - Roland's Raw Food Family Adventure in Florida

My wife, son, and I started our spring 2013 trip to Southern Florida with a long drive. Along the way it was invigorating to slowly feel the warmth returning to our skin and to see flowers blooming and palm trees. It took about two days of driving to reach southeastern Florida to our hotel in Deerfield Beach. The hotel was very nice and overlooked the Atlantic Ocean. The town and hotel was devoid of any raw food, so we left during the day.

Every morning during this trip we enjoyed a breakfast of fresh mango and green smoothies that we made in our hotel room. Yes, we brought our Blendtec blender with us!

Day 1 in Florida: Tuesday, 19.March: Morikami Japanese Garden; Dinner at Hippocrates Health Institute

We first visited Morikami Japanese Garden, a beautiful Japanese style garden with a large pond, lush garden, and traditional Japanese house. Our son loved seeing an iguana sunning himself on a stone, and running through the Japanese house.
That evening we visited the world renowned Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach. I have personally wanted to visit this health center for a long time. It is definitely on my top 5 list of health rejuvenation centers of the world. I have heard the HHI’s director Brian Clement, speak on several occasions and was very impressed by his seemingly firm grasp of creating true health, mainly through a raw foods lifestyle.

We ate dinner at Hippocrates. There was a large salad bar style buffet with organic salad, many kinds of sprouts (many legumes, pea, sunflower, etc.), radishes, red peppers, beet sauerkraut, a sprouted rice casserole dish, and some other foods. All of the food is organic, and mostly raw (the rice might have been cooked), and there is very little if any fruit. There was just tea and purified water to drink. The foods are designed for their clients, who travel from all over the world to cleanse and detoxify during a usual three week stay. People, who stay here, come here to heal themselves of various diseases through natural methods. HHI offers a large array of healing methods, and clients are monitored by on staff physicians. I felt the lack of fruit and sugar after dinner and can imagine that eating this way would take a large commitment to one’s health. The grounds are a large 50 acres and awash in lush, subtropical foliage.
Day 2 in Florida: Wednesday, 20.March:  Butterfly World; La Vie En Raw Café; arrive at Tavernier hotel
We checked out of our hotel and visited Butterfly World in Coconut Creek. This is certainly one of the best butterfly gardens I have visited since the whole park is based on butterflies, insects, birds, and plants that nourish them. The park consists of many elements like an aviary, a glass building tropical rain forest, gardens, vines collection, a pond, parakeet feeding aviary, a café, an insect museum and zoo, a plant nursery, and a gift shop.   
The admission price was high, but well worth it. Our entire family enjoyed seeing some of the most creative and beautiful animals and plants of nature. I took so many photos of plants, since there were so many amazing flowers to see. 

Our son chased after the butterflies and fed the parakeets. We could have stayed there all day. Alas, we had to leave since we had to drive to our new hotel in Tavernier.
Along the way, we stopped at La Vie En Raw Café in Coral Gables. It was a nice little café and the owner was friendly. The service was a bit slow and understaffed. However, I am happy when I can dine at a dedicated raw food restaurant. The raw cinnamon rolls, although small, were very tasty.

Then we drove to the keys and finally check into our hotel in Tavernier. I felt at home here since it was quiet, no noisy city, surrounded by forests and water, our room was a huge suite with 2 bedrooms and full kitchen, and we awoke to the sounds of tropical bird calls. 
Day 3 in Florida: Thursday, 21.March: Daytrip to Key West; Food For Thought Natural Marketplace; Key West Tropical Forest & Garden; Key West old town

Day three was a long day since we drove about three hours each way to Key West and back as a daytrip. I wanted my wife and son to experience Key West’s uniqueness that I had enjoyed on several trips before. 

In Marathon we stopped at a delightful natural marketplace called, Food For Thought. To our delight there were many raw foods in the store and there was a nice little organic café, fresh produce, and interesting books. We stocked up on some nice organic, raw chocolate bars here.
The Key West Tropical Forest & Garden was a wild forest and large pond. A group of birdwatchers were excitedly viewing birds in the trees with binoculars. Our family enjoyed playing the outdoor xylophone instruments.

In Key West, I enjoyed seeing how many of the historic homes were hidden behind tall walls of palms, bamboo, trees or other vegetation that gave the old town a natural appearance, almost like being in a forest.

There were no raw foods here, so we walked the shop lined streets, and had our photo taken at the “southernmost point in the USA” monument.

Day 4 in Florida: Friday, 22.March: Rest day; Beach at hotel; Beach at Harry Harris Park 

Today we had a lazy morning, ate watermelon, and eventually made it to two beaches. The hotel’s beach was small, but nice. It was roped off so one could not swim out too far. This for safety reasons I suppose. I really wanted to swim further out. So, I did not swim here. I picked up lots of trash that I noticed all over the sand. Mostly bits of plastic. I placed in the trash can nearby.

Then we visited a county beach nearby, where our son played with children at the playground and at the beach. I swam in the enclosed waters which seemed odd, but did feel safe. I swam a lot.

Day 5 in Florida: Saturday, 23.March: Beach at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo, FL; Begin drive to Maryland; 4th Generation Organic Market & Café in Boca Raton

This morning we woke up to find we all had sunburn from the day before. That is what happens when one confronts one’s body with intense sunlight for many hours after being hidden from for six months.

Along the drive back home, we stopped at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. This place was a delight! There were three beaches, and I swam a two of them. Our son enjoyed playing at the beach too. The beach was very natural with mangrove shrubs everywhere and seaweed growing in the water. The water was intermittently warm and cold, but mostly warm. 

After driving for hours, we reached 4th Generation Organic Market & Café in Boca Raton. This natural marketplace was very nice and included a nice little deli counter with seating. We ordered a lot of raw foods that we ate there. The foods appeared to be mostly vegan, with many raw foods as well. We enjoyed the Green Machine and Berry Island drinks, Enchilada Sticks, Salad with Guacamole, Falafel, and desserts of Banana Cream Pie, Blissed Out Brownie, Raw Chocolate Almond Bark, and the three Macaroon flavors. 
We had fond memories of our Florida Raw Food Experience as we drove back to Maryland. Our happiness jolted back to reality as we encountered the cold snowstorm in Virginia that night and the slow moving traffic. It was still worth it!

Have you had a nice experience visiting a raw food store, café, or restaurant? Tell us about it.


Geri said...

Well, Roland, just made a somewhat long comment, but it won't show...just saying how great photos are and thanks for sharing...beautiful family...Son has gotten SO big!! Looks like you did find some good food there...and what beautiful birds, palms, flowers, water!!! Hello to Nako! All best...Geri B.

Roland & Naoko said...

Hi Geri, Thank you for your nice comment on my blog! I wish your family all the best too! Roland Oehme

Joeadams said...

I enjoyed your healthy food travelogue. The food photos came out great!

- Joe (Joe Adams)

cm punk said...

this is such a nice and useful information for us...i appreciate urs word........Yachts In Miami

Margarita said...

Thank you for sharing! That was a wonderful trip.

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