Healthy St Maarten – It’s a Movement
By Kerry Biddle on 16th October, 2015
By Erica D Cannon
For years, St Maarten has been known as a haven for indulgent cuisine and all-night parties. For the last two years, however, St Maarten is breathing in new air. Now it’s all about fitness and healthy living on the friendly island. As both residents and tourists become more health conscious, St Maarten now offers a greater variety of healthy food and world-class fitness activities. Interested in eating healthy and staying fit while on the island? Then check out the following for healthy living.
Top carrot. Top Carrot puts health on top of their list.
This island favorite specializes in fresh fruit juices, smoothies, and healthy, Mediterranean cuisine. Owners Peter and Lydia Bonev started Top Carrot under the stairs of a building just a mile down the road from their current location. Eighteen years later, the location may be larger – offering everything from books to yoga mats – but the experience is still cozy and personal.
And just like those first few years, Top Carrot still offers daily specials including vegetarian quiche, fish, and vegetarian favorites like sweet potato pie or stuffed peppers.
Roland ‘Ras Bushman’ Joe runs the only truly vegan restaurant on the island
Freedom Fighters Ital Shack (www.sxmfreedomfighters.com)
A visit to Freedom Fighters Ital Shack, the only completely vegan restaurant on the island, is truly an experience. Visit for the food, but stay for the animated conversation and amazing company. Roland ‘Ras Bushman’ Joe and his lovely wife Raisa will make you feel at home as you enjoy a daily special in their delightful, hand-painted restaurant that is reminiscent of a tree house.
Every day Raisa prepares organic dishes and fresh juices from fruits and vegetables grown locally on their farms (one of which is built into the mountain behind the restaurant). Be sure to check out Ital Shack on Saturday nights after 7pm for ‘Redemption Night’, offering healing soup and a live DJ.
Fit Foods SXM (fitfoods.sx)
This restaurant is a new addition to the island, focusing primarily on delivering organic, ancestral-inspired dishes direct to your door (minimum of five orders for delivery). Catalina Ahlip, fitness expert and competitor, founded Fit Foods to fill a hole she found in St Maarten’s culinary offerings. Shying away from empty carbs, Fit Foods’ dishes emphasize lean cuts of grass-fed, organic meats, and fish; non-GMO, locally grown fruits and vegetables; and plenty of nuts and beans. Catalina invites us all to celebrate and enjoy life through real food!
Breathe Yoga SXM (www.breathesxm.com)
Lawyer turned yoga teacher and life coach Erica Danielle started Breathe Yoga SXM in January 2013. Focused on non-competitive practice for every type of body, Breathe offers yoga classes, monthly workshops, and private lessons (villa, studio or beautiful outdoor locations) in a number of different yoga styles. Erica has a keen eye and is able to help students of all levels push their personal boundaries.
On weekday mornings classes overlook the beach at the Simpson Bay Resort and Marina in Pelican Key; evening and Saturday morning classes are taught in a studio in the heart of Simpson Bay.
CrossFit sXm / aXylum (www.crossfitsxm.com)
In March 2013, seven friends made the trip to Miami to complete Tough Mudder, a 10-12 mile obstacle course through mud. After the course, the group was interested in finding the best way to train for these sorts of challenges. They were introduced to CrossFit and a way of life. By May 2013, the group had set up their own box (CrossFit lingo for gym) on the island.
Classes are offered seven days a week. New to CrossFit, sign up for their three-day foundation course, then jump right into classes. If you’ve been doing CrossFit for a while, simply register for classes online.
Now it’s your turn. Join the movement.