Los Angeles, California may be known for its overwhelming amount of celebrities, smog, and high fashion, but it also is the home to a very well developed lifestyle that suits vegans, vegetarians, and those who seek healthy living.

On a recent trip to LA, I wanted to discover what this massive city really had to offer us plant-based beings. After quite a bit of research and recommendations from locals, I visited two of my top choice restaurants along with a beautiful yoga studio that gave me the best sweat, which also led to a decent appetite to down some delicious vego grub.

I didn’t have nearly enough time in Los Angeles to scout all of the vegan friendly spots throughout the city. Coming from a coast that hasn’t quite figured out how to support this lifestyle yet, I was stunned with my abundance of choices. Have you ever wished you had a bottomless stomach and could eat approximately 15 meals a day? I wished that, I wished it hard. Although, that is a typical daily wish for my imaginary genie…

Not all vegans are spiritual yogi leaf-eating types, and that’s totally okay. How you construct a vegan lifestyle for yourself is completely personal and up to you. However, the vision I try to create for myself is a balanced mix of food, wellness, and spirituality. That works for me, but it may not work for the vegan standing next to me. These suggestions are merely based off of my interests, but my hope is to share them, create conversation, and spark curiosity. So without further ado…

The Green Yogi; Manhattan Beach

This small yet sanctuary like yoga studio located a short walk from the beach truly captured the essence of simplicity, peace, and tranquility. Even the midst of dripping sweat to the ground and slipping on my mat, I was still in a complete stand of yoga mind. Our instructor, Amy was phenomenal. Her words were utterly inspiring, her flow sequence was challenging yet rewarding, and her encouragement toward the class was powerful. The 75-minute heated power flow was an excellent way to ward off any stiffness from travel and lethargy from jet lag. I highly recommend making a visit to the studio. Also for new visitors, you can pay $20 USD for 3 classes, and those credits never expire, which is a great deal in the realm of expensive boutique yoga studios.

The Green Temple; Redondo Beach

Green seems to be a theme in LA and I am pleased about it. This unassuming vegan and vegetarian restaurant somehow seamlessly marries the unique cuisines of Mexico and Asia all into one menu. Located on a main strip in Redondo, the small, mostly outdoor restaurant serves up delicious bowls, sandwiches, and salads full of nutritious goodness. The space is adorned with Buddha statues, bright orange and green fabrics, and a fountain straight in the middle of it all. The menu is extensive to say the least, and I had an extremely difficult time making a decision (which rarely happens for me). Eventually, I settled on creating my own Green Temple Bowl, which I was allowed up to 4 items ranging from veggies to tofu to salsa. The bowl was then dressed in their famous and divine tofu sauce, which is a must by the way. Although I’m sure you absolutely cannot go wrong here.

Café Gratitude; Multiple Locations

Despite being a chain, Café Gratitude is serving up some of the freshest vegan and vegetarian eats I have ever noshed upon. This was another instance where I had to read the menu over several times, and even ask the waiter for his recommendations and still take forever to come to a conclusion. The restaurant also imposes a question of the day to its patrons, ours being “what is a challenge that has become a joy?” The goal: to focus on what you are gracious toward, and learn to respect what comes in and out of your life. After much decision-making time, we ended up splitting the vegan bruschetta (so good), and then I went ahead with the Yo Soy Fuerte, a tempeh chorizo sandwich with all the fixins’ along with a side of roasted yams. Oh, and you can grab vegan, gluten free treats to go. Enter: cacao almond bites. Delish.