When we asked Nutritionist Laura Thomas about living in Britain’s third largest city, she insisted that whilst Leeds might not be at the top of our bucket list – as far as a blossoming wellness scene goes, it certainly has it’s fair share of cool cafes serving up breakfast bowls, cold-pressed juice and delicious superfood salads. So it’s not all Yorkshire puds and pies – who knew?!
“Leeds has an incredible indie food scene that’s slowly being infiltrated by the wellness bug,” she told us. “Big things are happening in this little town, and you need to check it out for yourself!”
So, according to Laura, here are the best places to eat, drink and sweat in the city of Leeds…
Nourish | Healthy Fast Food
This newly opened “healthy fast food” concept has become an overnight sensation, showing that the people of Leeds are hungry (quite literally) for nourishing, on the go food.
Everything on the menu is carefully thought out by Director and Nutritionist David Stache, and all the nutrition information is right there on the menu to help you make the most informed decision possible – vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, low GL? Don’t sweat it, it’s all clearly marked.
The menu is vast too, offering superfood breakfasts like the quinoa porridge (topped with raspberries, coconut milk, and almond butter), until 11am, then a huge selection of salads, baked sweet potatoes with all kinds of yummy toppings (like avocado, spinach, lime and mint!), tasty wraps, and exciting hot meals. Don’t forget to pick up a yoghurt pot or green smoothie on the side.
This Nutritionist recommends the superfood salad and the almond butter and chia smoothie. SO GOOD!
31 Bond Street | Leeds | LS1 5BQ
Equilibrium Health | Personal Fitness and Pilates
Equilibrium is a boutique personal training and Pilates studio bang smack in the heart of Leeds’ city centre. They keep the numbers in their group classes super low, meaning that the lovely instructors have time to make adjustments to improve your form, and tailor your workout to accommodate any niggling old injuries. They’re also not afraid to push you to your limit, ensuring you max out your workout.
Not only is Equilibrium the only Pilates studio in the heart of Leeds, it’s the only place that offers butt sculpting Barre classes (seriously one of the best all-over workouts you’ll get!). Also check out their group mat and reformer classes, and, if you’re feeling brave, take your workout to the next level and hit up a boot camp class. If you’re strapped for time, lunch classes are condensed into 45 min sessions, or maybe try a one-on-one tailored to get the best results for you!
Equilibrium Health Personal Fitness and Pilates | Cathedral Chamber | Great George Street | Leeds | LS2 8BD
Roots and Fruits | Vegetarian Café
Roots and Fruits is a Leeds institution, having served the Leeds’ community for over 20 years! Nestled in one of Leeds’ many Victorian arcades, the space is bright and airy, and just the perfect lunch spot (although they do a killer breakfast too!).
They recently revamped their menu with the help of a Nutritionist (yours truly, in case you were wondering) to increase their selection of whole, plant based and gluten free foods. The Whole Bowl is a nutritionally balanced meal of organic brown rice, chipotle black beans, guac, seasonal veg, topped with R&F’s special dairy free ‘cheese’ sauce. The jerk jackfruit tacos are a super yummy and nutritious alternative to the meat sweats. And the raw rainbow salad with almond butter dressing is on point.
Finish your meal with a gorgeous vegan cake from That Old Chestnut (http://thatoldchestnutishere.com/) – the sticky stem ginger is the stuff of dreams! @thatoldchestnutuk
10-11 Grand Arcade | Leeds | LS1 6PG
Grub & Grog | Healthy Cafe
South Leeds has a pretty bad rep. But venture down there and you’re sure to be delighted by the charming regenerated mills and factories that are now home to creative coworking spaces, a handful of little cafés, and Northern Monk Brewery. The Grub and Grog Shop has taken over the kitchen in NoMo Brew Co, serving up local, seasonal, organic, wholesome Yorkshire food, and pairing it with craft beers from the brewery.
I pretty much love everything here. They do an awesome breakfast, and the Sunday lunch is the best in Leeds, no joke. They have tons of options for veggies, vegans & omnis alike. And Check them out for Breakfast Yoga on a Wednesday morning at 7am with Helena from Sweat Yoga Fit (http://sweatyogafit.com), it’s seriously worth getting up early for!
Grub and Grog | Northern Monk Refectory | Marshalls Mill | Holbeck | Leeds | LS11 9YJ
Bundobust | Indian Street Food
It’s a no brainer that if you come to Leeds – you’ll find curry at every turn. What you might not have expected was award winning vegetarian Indian street food. Bundobust is a trendy craft beer bar, with an Indian street food kitchen, perfect for sharing nibbles with friends, tapas style; certainly not your average greasy curry. I definitely rate the Dhal and Rice – Black lentil curry cooked low and slow with ginger, garam massala & chillies. And on the side, the Kachumber Sambharo, a little salad that’s BIG on salty-sweet flavour and bitter greens. Vegan & gluten-free friendly. #toomuchspicy
6 Mill Hill | Leeds | LS1 5DQ
Filmore and Union | Healthy Living Restaurant
Filmore & Union are a local healthy living chain of restaurants and delis inspired by California’s laid back yet healthy attitude. The Leeds restaurant is in the courtyard of the stunning Victoria Quarter arcade, with its beautiful stained glass ceiling and surrounded by intricate Victorian buildings (and conveniently just around the corner from Sweaty Betty!).
Filmore specialises in gluten-free treats (the orange and lavender cake, for instance, and a decadent vegan kale brownie). But it has so much more to offer; fresh soups, green juices and smoothies, protein pancakes SERVED ALL DAY, and their signature blend of fair trade coffee for your almond milk latte.
For a special treat, check out their gluten-free afternoon tea for two.
8 Cross Arcade | Victoria Quarter | Leeds | LS1 6AZ
Rola Wala | Twisted Indian Street Food
You didn’t think you could come to Leeds and only have one curry did you? Rola Wala are actually a London transplant who focus on food with bold flavour that’s also really good for you.
I’ve worked closely with these guys and I know they take their nutrition seriously. The food is packed with metabolism boosting chilies, anti-inflammatory turmeric, and digestion aiding ginger. They use workout enhancing beetroot in their dhal, and boring white potatoes are subbed for their sweet orange counterparts (with 2000x more beta-carotene) in the gobi. Swap out brown basmati rice for cauliflower rice, and top your bowl high with the gorgeous salads and pickles for a super nutritious meal.
Trinity Kitchen | 27 Albion Street | Leeds | West Yorkshire | LS1 5ER
For incredible recipes and vegan lifestyle advice visit www.laurathomasphd.co.uk