Healthy Guide to Austin, TX

Austin is known for it’s music scene, UT football,  the “Keep Austin Weird” liberal flare, and breakfast tacos. All valid notorieties. What it’s becoming more and more known for is it’s place in the wellness world. Whole Foods started in ATX and there are more natural food products and brands coming out of Austin than I can keep track of (EPIC Bar, Chameleon Cold Brew, Yellow Bird Hot Sauce, Siete Family Foods to name a few). Furthermore, Austin hosts PaleoFX every year and is considered the 8th friendliest vegan city in the United States. Eaters of all types can find plenty of wholesome restaurants, cafes, and food trucks full of organic, local, and nourishing food (with many gluten-free options). This list is for wellness seekers living in Austin and weekend travelers looking for a few healthy joints in the capital of Texas. It’s full of my personal, go-to places in Austin for food, drink, movement, and beauty. By no means is this list complete! I stil have places I want to check out and taste. This guide is a work in progress and I’ll keep it updated to reflect new and awesome spots around town.

* indicates my favorites, don’t miss ’em

Photo via Picnik Austin

Healthy + Gluten-Free Eats

Austin has a new restaurant open up each week, so if I’ve missed a spot, forgive me! I’ve only noted restaurants I’ve been to myself, enjoy, and trust. I intentionally left out places that use low quality ingredients, lots of added sugar or “real food” joints that use highly inflammatory oils in all their food. If I’ve missed any of your favorites, let me know. Eat up and enjoy!

*Picnik Austin

Food trucks and restaurant serving real food goodness. You never have to question quality, ingredients or integrity. This place makes me so happy. 

  • Their brussel sprouts, almond flour chips and guac, and chicken tenders are must eats
  • My favorite dessert I have EVER had (including all desserts before I went gluten-free) is their Butter Blondie, I hoard those things in my freezer
  • Small portions at food trailer with limited options
  • Consider ordering drinks half or quarter sweetened, they tend to come much too sweet for my liking

*Curcuma

Beautiful plant based food truck on E. Cesar Chavez. 

  • I love their sweet potato toast and golden milk lattes
  • Thoughtful, conscious food
  • Love supporting the female founders of this adorable truck

*Sway

The yummiest Thai food in the city. They indicate gluten-free options throughout their menu. Dr. Christine Maren recommended this place to me and I’m so glad she did!

  • We bring all our out of town guests here and enjoy every time
  • It’s not a wear your yoga pants type of place, but it’s not a “put a full face of makeup on” either
  • Their outdoor patio is lovely when weather permits
  • Not super vegan friendly, but very gluten-free friendly (many options)

*Juice Society

My favorite organic juice bar in Austin. Many juice/smoothie shops (in Austin and everywhere) use added sugar, juice concentrate, and fillers I’m not comfortable with, but they keep it real. This spot is 100% plant based and really yummy.

  • I love their cashew bowl
  • They have a local, organic farm 25 miles away from the city… so cool.
  • Great selection of organic, cold pressed green juice
  • Pass on their Activated Lemonaide, it contains agave (which is over 75% pure fructose)

*Tacodeli

You can’t come to Austin without inhaling a few breakfast tacos. You can find them everywhere but I usually only go to a couple places because of their commitment to quality ingredients. One of my favs is Tacodeli.

  • TacoDeli uses organic corn (which means NON-GMO) for their chips and tortillas.  Any place that doesn’t specify they use organic corn is using GMOs in their food (95% of corn in the US is GMO)
  • You can easily make their tacos corn-free by requesting your tacos in a cup
  • I love getting an early start with a walk on the green belt and wrapping up the morning with some breakfast tacos at their Spyglass location

Flower Child

An impressive, trendy salad joint that just opened up at The Domain. I love their pickled onion.

  • Accommodates all types of eaters and makes gettin’ greens in easy
  • I wish this real food joint wasn’t so far from my eastside hood, it’s a commitment to journey up to The Domain

People’s RX (Deli)

I get my compounded thyroid medicine here and never mind picking up my prescriptions. Why? Because they have a cafe where I can get a delicious sandwich on grain-free bread! So rare.

  • This is a pharmacy with a tiny cafe and health food store with quality supplements galore
  • They sell so many natural products (some that I can’t find at Whole Foods) as well as pastured meat and bone broth
  • It’s not a sit down spot and not all locations have a cafe

The Steeping Room

The Steeping room deserves credit for being one of the best restaurants I’ve been to for accommodating every single type of eater. Planning a breakfast with your paleo, vegan, and budget  concsious friend? I have and this is where we end up.

  • They have tons of gluten-free options including yummy pastries
  • I love their tea selections
  • Locations all over ATX

True Food Kitchen

Real food and all types of eates accomodated. Great staff that goes above and beyond for food allergies. However, I’m updating my overly enthusiastic desciption of this restaurant after learning they use grape seed oil as their primary cooking oil (which isn’t the worst… but sure isn’t the best). I like this spot and think their grass-fed burger is amazing. 

  • When they ask whether you would like kale or sweet potatoes as your side, say both. They are so good!
  • Tip: the kale is not gluten-free unless you specifically ask for it to be (bread crumb toppings)
  • Ask for your food to be cooked in olive oil o coconut oil, they can accomodate this way for most dishes
  • Fun place for happy hour and a lovely lunch spot midweek
  • Hard to eat strict AIP here!

Thai Fresh

If I’m feeling lazy or haven’t organized my life enough for dinner to happen, this place become a dinner option.  It’s casual, tasty, and easy to eat gluten-free.

  • They make eating gluten-free easy and tasty
  • This is not the most nutrient dense option on my list, but their hot, coconut covered shrimp are worth it

*Dai Due

This restaurant with built in butcher shop and homemade everything is one of my absolute facorites in Austin. Service is wonderful and caring (so important for those of us with food allergies), food is excellent, and they don’t use any crap oils. Not a gluten-free restaurant but they are very accomodating whenever I voice the need for a gluten, soy, and nightshade free meal. Not a great place to bring vegan friends.

  • They only use regional ingredients so every single dish is made from seasonal, local ingredients
  • “We cook predominately with Texas olive oil, animal fats from hogs, beef, chicken, and duck, and organic butter” – can I get an amen?
  • My husband and I can’t get enough of this place… and neither can the rest of our city, make sure you make a reservation!
  • I’ve eaten AIP here (with many questions and substitutions) and didnt have a problem

*Sweet Ritual

…Is the sweetest treat, in ATX. This ice cream shop prides themselves on being allergen friendly and I am always grateful for that whenever we pop in. Yum! Anything with chocolate typically contains soy here but they have many other soy-free options. 

  • The best dairy-free, chemical-free ice cream in town (soy-free)!
  • Has gluten-free cones (but not soy free)
  • They sell “Unicorn Poop” ice cream, YESSSSS
  • I also like local favorites Lick (storefront) and Nada Moo (sold at Whole Foods)

Salt & Time

When we first moved to Austin we lived within walking distance to this spot. On Wednesday nights they do half off wine bottles and we were regulars. This is a no frills farm to table spot with amazing local meats (pasture rasied but not 100% grass-fed), pickled produce, and a hoppin’ bar.

  • Best charcuterie board in town, order the pickled bits too
  • I’ve made monsterous claims that their burger is the best I’ve ever had… I order it with no bun, bacon and extra pickles (it sells out most nights)
  • I regularly hit up their butcher shop for BBQs at home
  • Some awesome servers and some who need to cheer up

East Side Pies

This is THE SPOT for GF pizza in Austin (Via31 is good too but doesn’t do a thin, crispy crust). Plus, they use local ingredients from farms around central Texas. Pizza isn’t a health food, nor is this a health food joint, but it is a great place for a gluten-free indulgence. 

  • The best gluten-free pizza I’ve ever had. Thin and crisped to perfection.
  • I prefer takeaway because there isn’t much room to sit down (although they do have a few locations)
  • No, gluten-free pizza is not a health food but if you want GF pizza, this is where you should get it

Snap Kitchen

My grab and go, go-to in ATX (walk in, walk out with food)! Real food prepared meals and %100 gluten-free. I usually stop in here on my way to the airport for #byoaf (bring your own airplane food).

  • Fresh food with clear labels for paleo, vegan, and you can read all ingredients on each box
  • Easy and great to throw in your bag before the airport, a hike, or a picnic outside
  • You can be in and out within 5 minutes if you’re quick to choose what you want
  • Can get pricey, but quality convenience isn’t cheap

Vox Table

Farm to table goodness. Call ahead if you have severe food allergies and they will accommodate- pretty cool!

  • Eating at restaurants while managing food allergies is tough stuff, but Vox has always been accommodating and easy going about making meals that work for me
  • Delicious oysters and cocktails, bacon and eggs, and bunless burger

Wild Wood Bake House

100% gluten-free bakery that makes any allergen struck belly happy. All the foods you can’t find gluten-free anywhere else, including baked goods, breads, queso, and lasagna can found here.

  • Fun fact: I almost never leave without a sweet treat from here
  • It’s great to be able to go-to a restaurant and choose from the entire menu, not just the gluten-free starred items
  • Remember that just because a spot (any spot, not necessarily calling this one out)  is committed to gluten-free food, does not mean it’s a health food joint

Notable:

Koriente (I find it difficult to be soy-free here, most of their sauces include it), 24 Diner (an ATX fav, somehow it hasn’t captured my heart), Mongers (seafood), Blue Dhalia.

Always ask about ingredients and oils for yourself, don’t rely on this list

Groceries/Markets

If you are looking for places to help you stock your fridge full of healthy food, I’ve got you covered. Whether you live in Austin or are staying in an Airb&b and want a home cooked meal, here are my go-to markets around town:

*Whole Foods

  • The first ever Whole Foods is downtown and a must visit, corporate offices are above grocery store (many locations)
  • I often grab a peace of wild caught salmon from their fish department (they will steam it for you) to take home to add to salad or veggies for dinner
  • Check the ingredients diligently in their prepared food — they are still using canola oil in most prepared food

*Central Market

  • An option similar to Whole Foods with everything you need (many people claim it’s cheaper, but I have found little cost difference… I do buy 95% organic)
  • Whole Foods is closer to my house so I tend to go there… but love this option as well
  • Many locations around town

Natural Grocers

  • Smaller grocery store focused on health foods and brands
  • I’ve found I can’t get everything I need from here so it isn’t my initial go-to
  • They only offer frozen meat (but it is good quality)
  • If I can’t find a small, natural food product/brand at Whole Foods, I can usually find it here

Trader Joe’s

  • Love getting what I can here but often find that produce and quality meat is lacking
  • Most prepared/frozen food is full of crap (don’t let their labels full you — read the ingredients)
  • Great parking situation makes it convenient to pop in

*Texas Farmers Market at Mueller

  • This is my favorite farmers market in Austin, and it happens on Sundays from 10-2
  • I buy most of our animal products from local farms at this market (including meat, eggs, bones for broth) + a few specialty items:
    • Smith & Smith,  pasture raised pig and chicken
    • Richardson Farm, for 100% grass-fed, pastured beef
    • McGreary Ranch, 100% grass-fed, pastured lamb and beef
    • Joe’s Microgreens
Photo via Texas Keepers

Drinks + Party

No, alcohol isn’t healthy, but living life is…

  • *Mezcalera-Tobal at Whisler’s
  • *Keepers Cidery (our favorite cidery, but a bit outside of town)
  • Midnight Cowboy
  • *South Congress Hotel
  • Austin Wine and Cider (no beer, no problem)
  • Prohibition Creamery (not dairy-free at all but unique)

Beauty/Wellness

I’ve found some amazing holistic and nontoxic wellness resources in Austin. I love the services I’ve received at all  the gems mentioned below.

*Aloe Spa

Aloe is where I go for my facials and treatments. I love their holistic approach as well as wonderful natural products options. My skin loves Aloe. Book in advance, it’s a hoppin’ spot!

*W3ll People

An ATX gem for natural, nontoxic makeup. Take your conventional makeup in and ask the girls here to help you find nontoxic alternatives- I did! I’ve also gotten my makeup done here for events and shoots and am always pleased. They opened up a second location at the Domain that includes skin services and I can’t wait to give it a try!

AOMA Student Clinic (Acupuncture)

I wanted some acupuncture but I wasn’t ready to commit to paying for it. Enter AOMA, which offers acupuncture sessions for $30 dollars each at their Student Clinic. That deal can’t be beat. Professors (who are professionals) accompany students during the sessions and oversee all that they do- you aren’t going to get pricked in the eye by a newb. I had a lot of success at the AOMA and am so appreciative of their affordable options. They also have a Professional Clinic if that option sounds better to you.

Liquid Tanks (Floating)

Floating has a plethora of amazing benefits. You can soak your sore muscles, come to meditate, detox, reduce stress, and relax. Liquid Float has always been a great experience for me! Don’t quit after one try, I’ve found that I find a floating groove after 3 or 4 floats.  I keep an eye out for Groupon Deals to reduce the cost.

 

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Move + Break A Sweat

  • *Walk the Lady Bird Lake loop
  • *Jump in Barton Spring
    • Grab some floaties from the market on your way
  • *Float Down the Guadalupe River (so.much.fun)
  • Namaste Y’all: sweat it out with some yoga
    • My favorite spots are Wanderlust, Core Power, and Black Swan
  • *Hike this trail, it’s the only 5 miler with real incline I’ve found within city limits
  • *Get your rock climb on at one of my favorite places, Bouldering Project Austin
    • Gym and sauna +coworking space included in day pass (around 17 bucks)

Delicious ATX Food (with some gluten-free options)

Austin is full of amazing food and drink, some options healthier than others. Below are some of my favorite eats that have healthy and/or gluten-free options, but aren’t necessarily health centered. My mouth is watering just thinking about some of my past meals at these spots!

  • *Thai-Kun at Whisler’s  
    • They have a special gluten-free menu
  • *Paperboy is one of our favorite spots for breakfast.
    • They have a seasonal menu that focuses on local ingredients and fresh food
    • There is only one dish that is gluten-free, it’s the best hash you’ve ever had
  • Pitchfork Pretty serves delicious, local food. Don’t miss the GF fried chicken!
  • Launderette
    • Limited menu for GF eaters, but doable (amazing salmon plate)
  • *Salty Sow
  • Justine’s has a great outdoor setup and cocktails
  • BBQ Bests: La Barbecue, *Kerlin BBQ, Micklethwait Craft Meats (haven’t found a spot that uses high quality meat)
  • Kome
    • Quality sushi without the Uchi price tag
  • Contigo “Ranch to table dining”
  • Odd Duck
  • HopDoddy Burger Bar
    • Options for gluten-free buns and grass-fed meat, vegan burgers

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2 thoughts on “Healthy Guide to Austin, TX

  1. Love this post! So many of my favorites. I absolutely love Dai Due and the burger at salt n time is my absolute fave. I just started going to Flower Child. Can’t wait to try some others on your list! Xoxo

  2. Can’t wait to try out all your suggestions Carly! Tried Picnik tonight and loved the guac w/siete chips, harvest hash, and Blondie sandwich…Y.U.M.

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