Sarah Britton | My New Roots | meltingbutter.com Healthy Copenhagen Travel Guide

My New Roots Copenhagen Guide: Sarah Britton on Traveling for the Health Conscious

(This My New Roots Copenhagen Guide by Jenny Nguyen-Barron first appeared in ForbesLife. Click here to read the original)

There’s a movement afoot in food tourism. Travelers who live by that wholesome mantra “you are what you eat” are looking for destinations that provide a healthier, eco-conscious offering. And the Danish city of Copenhagen, known as one of the world’s greenest cities, is leading the charge by offering a plethora of options for eating, drinking, shopping and sleeping that leave us feeling like healthy, energized and responsible travelers.

We decided to dig a little deeper into Copenhagen’s healthy side in an interview with Sarah Britton, the Copenhagen based founder of the award winning healthy food blog My New Roots (which is arguably the most visually mouthwatering food blog around!). We talked about her take on healthy travel, what makes Copenhagen such a progressive green eating city, what it was like to work at NOMA Test Kitchen and she even guided us through her top 6 Copenhagen hotspots that are perfect for the health conscious traveler.

JENNY NGUYEN-BARRON: You’ve travelled around the world a lot with My New Roots. In your opinion, which cities around the world are the healthiest when it comes to access to healthy food options?

SARAH BRITTON: I think that the healthiest cities are ones that have a climate where food can be grown nearby. All Californian cities have that going on for sure, and the availability of fresh produce really shines through in the supermarkets and restaurants there. I found this about Bali too – the local food there was absolutely amazing, so fresh and beautiful! That being said, New York also has amazing options, as does Toronto and London, based on the fact that there are just so many people in those cities who want to eat well!

NGUYEN-BARRON: Copenhagen is quite advanced when it comes to green living and climate strategy – it won the 2014 European Green Capital Award by the European Commission for example. Would you say that Copenhagen was also one of the more progressive cities for green eating?

BRITTON: Copenhagen has come so far in the six years I have lived here, it’s astounding! I think this is due to the fact that Danes are really into local foods now, thanks to NOMA and restaurants that focus on wild and foraged foods in their menus. Once we realized how many health-promoting and powerful foods grew on our doorsteps, it has kind of spiraled into a trend of eating fresher, more sustainably grown produce. Danes spend more money per capita on organic food than any other country in the world. And they cook. I think that is very important in the health of a nation – families making food instead of relying on pre-packed convenience meals and going out to eat all the time.

NGUYEN-BARRON: What would you say is the most important lesson you learned at Noma Test Kitchen?

BRITTON: I think the most important lesson I learned there was that where there is a will, there is a way. Working with almost exclusively local and wild-harvested foods seems limiting, but it is truly amazing what we could make from the things that were around once we expanded our minds and saw obstacles as an opportunity. The one I remember the most was our Nordic tempeh: a fermented brick of yellow split peas. As tempeh is traditionally made with soybeans, we were so proud to create this staple food out of completely Danish crops.

NGUYEN-BARRON: Are you seeing any emerging health food trends that we should be paying attention to?

BRITTON: One health food trend that I can see becoming more mainstream is fermentation. Many restaurant menus, farmer’s markets and gourmet grocery stores are selling more and more naturally-preserved staples like sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi and so on. This is great news, as fermented foods are a wonderful addition to a healthy diet. I have also seen an increase in the use of tea in foods, and most specifically matcha green tea as an ingredient in baked goods, smoothies and breakfast dishes. Heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables continue to be popular, as do the wild and locally-sourced ones. And one trend I am really happy to see catching on is healthier fast food! Salad bars seem to be popping up all over North America and Europe. Finally!

NGUYEN-BARRON: Can you name the top 5 meals you’ve had around the world?

BRITTON:

  1. Mediterranean lentils and roasted beet carpaccio at Elf in Los Angeles, California.
  2. Geymeh Stew with Green Rice at Camros Organic Eatery in Toronto.
  3. The incredible raw vegan salads and smoothies Alchemy Café in Ubud, Bali.
  4. Enchiladas con mole and quesadillas de calabaza at Gracias Madre in San Francisco.
  5. Wild mushroom and truffle risotto dished out from the inside of a giant parmesan wheel at Mas Provençal in Eze, France.
NGUYEN-BARRON: How do you stay healthy while traveling?

BRITTON: I always stay somewhere with a kitchen and cook for myself as much as possible. And though it may sound a little extreme, I always pack dried chickpeas, lentils, brown rice, and raw organic almonds in my suitcase. Then I have breakfast, lunch, and dinner (however basic) in case of an emergency!

NGUYEN-BARRON: What’s your long term plan for My New Roots?

BRITTON: My future plans for My New Roots include a book tour, being a part of more inspiring collaborations, connecting globally by continuing the cooking classes and lectures, more chef partnerships, and improving the blog overall. And of course I am always open to interesting projects that come my way. That is just one amazing aspect of building a community online – people all over the world are constantly proposing new, exciting ideas and inviting me into their spaces for various initiatives. I am so much looking forward to 2015! 

Sarah Britton | My New Roots Book | meltingbutter.com Healthy Copenhagen Travel Guide

Sarah’s new book, now available for pre-order on Amazon

 

MY NEW ROOTS COPENHAGEN GUIDE

1. Simple Raw

I first went to this raw restaurant for brunch (which is delicious!) but they also have an amazing lunch and dinner menu, plus desserts and snacks to take away. The interior has a cool vibe and it’s easy to meet like-minded people here over a green juice.

http://simpleraw.dk/

Oehlenschlægersgade 12, 1663 København V, Denmark
+45 35 35 30 05

Sarah Britton | My New Roots | meltingbutter.com Healthy Copenhagen Travel Guide_Simple Raw

Photo: Courtesy of Simple Raw

Sarah Britton | My New Roots | meltingbutter.com Healthy Copenhagen Travel Guide_Simple Raw

Photo: Courtesy of Simple Raw

2. Botanisk Have

Copenhagen’s botanical gardens are stunning, with so many private little nooks and crannies to hide and read a book or take a nap. They also have a fantastically humid greenhouse that is wonderful escape during the winter.

http://botanik.snm.ku.dk/

Øster Farimagsgade 2B, 1353 København, Denmark
+45 35 32 22 22

Sarah Britton | My New Roots | meltingbutter.com Healthy Copenhagen Travel Guide_Botanisk Have

Photo: By Michael Button

3. Christiania

Although most people stroll down the main street and turn around, Christiania is the most beautiful area for walking in the whole city. It takes some exploring and an adventurous spirit, but the multitude of pathways through the stunning Danish forest will make you feel miles away from the city, even though you are right in the heart of it. Check out the homes all along the lake – most are built out of recycled materials, are completely off-grid and some even have living roofs!

http://www.christiania.org/

Pusher Street, Christiania, 1440 København, Denmark

Sarah Britton | My New Roots | meltingbutter.com Healthy Copenhagen Travel Guide_Christiania

A glass house of recycled windows in Christiania, Copenhagen – Photo: seier+seier

4. Morgenstedet

This restaurant in the heart of Christiania is 100% organic and vegetarian. I worked there for three years and go back often to treat myself to a delicious meal. In the warmer months they have a large garden patio open where you can sit on the grass in the sun with your food and people watch.

http://www.morgenstedet.dk/

Fabriksområdet 134, Christiania, 1440 København, Denmark

Sarah Britton | My New Roots | meltingbutter.com Healthy Copenhagen Travel Guide_Morgenstedet

Photo: Mike Linksvayer

5. Natur Poteket

This health food store is in my neighborhood, so I visit it often. It’s a small and cozy little shop that feels like a cottage inside. They sell a wide selection of dried goods, spices, tea, supplements beauty products and eco-conscious gifts.

http://www.naturpoteket.dk/

Torvegade 36, 1400 København K, Denmark
+45 32 57 27 75

Sarah Britton | My New Roots | meltingbutter.com Healthy Copenhagen Travel Guide_Natur Poteket

Photo: Courtesy of Natur Poteket

6. Baisikeli

This is the best place to rent a bike in Copenhagen. Running as an “ethical bike shop”, this place rents new bikes to locals and tourists, while collecting used bikes in the city and sends them to Africa, where the bikes generate work, education and cheaper transport for all. And since Copenhagen is such a bike-friendly city, biking is a safe and really fun way to sightsee.

http://baisikeli.dk/

Ingerslevsgade 80, 1705 København, Denmark
+45 26 70 02 29

Sarah Britton | My New Roots | meltingbutter.com Healthy Copenhagen Travel Guide_Baisikeli

Photo: Courtesy of Baisikeli

(Feature image: Sarah Britton, courtesy of My New Roots)

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