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Your Fail-Safe Guide to Healthy Hotel Travel

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Traveling is one of life’s great adventures – a chance to explore foreign cities, meet new people, and try out alternative lifestyles. Whether you travel for work or pleasure, you probably know that exploring new territory can be as thrilling as it is occasionally draining. Why is that? For one, it gets us out of our routine…for better or for worse. We might escape the cares and worries of our daily life, but can also slack on fitness routines and healthy eating plans. But that’s the trade-off, right?

Well, not necessarily. More and more people are deciding that travel shouldn’t necessarily make us throw out healthy practices. Key to this is the ability of hotels and other accommodations to provide services and amenities that support healthy eating, fitness, mindfulness practices, and the like. But finding such places can be tricky.

Here are 5 sources to help you pick a hotel with the best healthy amenities to keep you fit and happy, even on the road:

Hotels with outdoor fitness amenities (Reuters)

 “StayWell” Hotel Rooms: Keeping You Healthy in Vegas (Forbes)

Hotels that offer yoga classes, fitness experts, and more (Well&Good NYC)

How to have a “green” hotel experience (Greatist)

Turn Your Hotel Room Into A Healthy and Budget Friendly Kitchen (Living Harvest)

 

So next time you find yourself away from home and in search of accommodation, keep in mind the kind of healthy amenities you’d like to find in a hotel. There are so many great offerings these days, and it won’t be hard to stay healthy and happy while you explore!

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18154748891333272199Are you ready for a healthy Vegas vacation?

The first of their kind in the world, Stay Well Rooms at the MGM Grand in Vegas are furnished with a number of amenities designed to maximize health, wellness, and relaxation. From dawn simulator alarm clocks, to state-of-the-art air and water purification systems, to aromatherapy, Stay Well rooms provide an unprecedented opportunity to have a healthy travel experience — even in Las Vegas. Designed by real-estate pioneer Delos Living, in conjunction with the Cleveland Clinic and Dr. Deepak Chopra, Stay Well will change the way you think about travel and hotel rooms. Learn more or book your reservation here.

Are Juice Cleanses Healthy? Why Some Wellness Experts Worry

Screen Shot 2013-07-12 at 10.21.56 AMWe won’t beat around the guava bush: Juice cleanses are crazy hot right now. But are they really as good for us and our over-worked digestive tracts as they sound? Or is it a tad more complicated than that? We asked a handful of New York City wellness experts to weigh in.

The Nutritionists

“Most often, I find that people who gravitate to cleanses are seeking a quick-fix for weight loss, or they’re looking for a quick detox—a clean-up of their diets without having to think about it too much,” says Marissa Lippert, a registered dietitian and author of The Cheater’s Diet. The problem? Surprise! Most see a return of the weight when they re-incorporate carbs, even healthy, complex ones. “It’s essentially a false sense of security and weight loss for a very short period of time,” Lippert says.

True, seconds Cher Pastore, R.D. She says people absolutely should not expect lasting weight loss and should keep cleanses short: “I believe a one- to three-day juice cleanse can be a part of a healthy eating plan. Any longer, I wouldn’t recommend it.”

The Acupuncturist

Traditional Chinese medicine puts an emphasis on balance, so in general, we don’t use fasting medicinally, because it is considered extreme, says Jill Blakeway, M.Sc. L. Ac., clinical director of the YinOva Center. “However, there is an old Chinese saying: ‘Grains are for energy, meats are for strength, and vegetables are for keeping the body clean.’ So a short period of fasting using vegetable and fruit juices can be cleansing.” Eating a simple diet gives your digestive system a rest, says Blakeway, but ultimately the job of detoxification is left up to specific organs. “I usually suggest acupuncture to support the organs of detoxification, such as the lungs, large intestine, bladder, and kidneys. Massage can also be helpful to enhance the flow of lymph, skin brushing is helpful to people who are cleansing,” she says.

 Read how an M.D. weighs in on this subject at Well+Good NYC >>

 

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Chia Seeds Take Over the World!

chiaheart-article-chia-seedsWe’re declaring it: Chia seeds are the new avocado.

The formerly obscure seeds beloved by ancient civilizations are now a superfood staple of modern urbanities. Lauded for their omega 3s, fiber, and protein, chia seeds are fast becoming a culinary darling among healthy types. Warning: If you haven’t been offered a chia smoothie yet, your chia-free days are numbered.

And it’s not just the seed form that people are flipping for. Chia seeds are now found in nearly every section of the grocery store—including the beauty aisle. You can find chia bars, chia oil, and chilled chia snacks. Innovative chefs are adding it to their menus—witness the Chia Seed Muffin, one of Pain Quotidien’s most popular bakery items (which online recipe writers love to try to replicate). Just how did this happen?

HISTORY

Chia’s got a rich history, starting with its pre-Colombian past as a food that fueled Aztec warriors. And, in Born to Run, Christopher MacDougall explains how the long-distance Tarahumara runners of Mexico chowed on chia. The backstory lent itself to awesome possibility—and marketing with mass appeal.

WHO IS CHIA FOR?

Chia’s a shape-shifter of the Safeway and a chameleon of the Kroger. (And if you don’t see them in those groceries, it’s just a matter of minutes.) It’s got a masculine or sporty side (Health Warrior bars) and a feminine side (Mama Chia beverages and squeezable Vitality Snacks). Both call to the marathon-running athlete and the health-conscious woman working marathon hours. And in between, there’s a healthy, culinary middle range. More on that in a minute.

NUTRITION PROFILE

Chia shotsChia’s nutrient density—high omega 3s, loads of fiber (5g per serving), and nice bump of protein (3g)—and its capacity to expand (and become a tad gelantinous like tapioca) provide stamina, endurance, and a feeling of satiety, says Dan Gluck, co-founder of Health Warrior. (So it’s no wonder chia’s also beloved by women looking to stay trim and away from the office cupcakes and vending machine.) It contains all 10 essential amino acids that you must get through your diet, so it’s considered a top source of complete plant-based protein; and it has an impressive amount of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

CHIA’S CULINARY CRED

Lately it’s been looking more culinary, with chefs sprinkling it on salads, bakers turning out chia muffins, and a stateside newcomer, The Chia Co., a company based in Australia. It sustainably farms the salvia Hispanica in the equatorial Kimberly region. (“It’s a latitude specific crop that grows best and achieves optimum omega 3 levels at 15 degrees from the equator,” explains The Chia Co. CEO John Foss.)

And from its harvest The Chia Co. makes Chia Shots that slide out of a skinny packet into a smoothie or over yogurt, a Chia Oil that can be drizzled over greens, and to-die-for chia pudding called Chia Pods (made from just a few all-natural ingredients) that just launched in Whole Foods. Its peppy, poppy orange packaging looks a piece with an edgy urbanite’s set of Le Creuset pots and Breville Juicer.

 

Read the rest about Chia-infused beauty products and more at Well+Good NYC >>

 

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5 Stress-Reducing Foods You Should Add to Your Diet

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 9.30.37 AMEating lunch at your desk every day will stress you out, but what you’re shoveling into your mouth also plays a role. And stress is more damaging than you’d think when it comes to weight maintenance and loss, says James Duigan, Elle Macpherson’s personal trainer and author of the newly revised and updated book, The Clean & Lean Diet.

It’s a vicious cycle: Stress increases hormones in your body that cause you to store fat (especially around your belly), and the more stressed you are, the more you’ll crave stress-boosting foods, like sugary snacks, which will make you more stressed after you eat them.

The key is to focus on eating a balanced diet of clean, wholesome foods that deliver essential vitamins and minerals. (Oh, and don’t forget to sleep.) “Reducing stress is not only important for fat loss or maintaining a healthy weight, but it’s also important for a healthy, happy life,” Duigan says.

Here are five stress-reducing foods from the Clean & Lean Diet to get you started now:

Avocados

This fruit’s creamy texture can help satisfy cravings when your body is in a state of stress, Duigan says. “Plus, all the good fat and potassium they contain can lower your blood pressure (and therefore stress levels).”

Berries

Studies have shown that vitamin C helps the body deal with stress, and berries deliver a healthy dose. They also provide you with fiber, which helps regulate blood-sugar levels. And blood sugar is seriously linked to stress levels.

Spinach

All dark green vegetables will fight stress by feeding your body its vitamins, and spinach is also particularly rich in magnesium. “Magnesium helps return your body to a calm state and improve your sleep,” Duigan says.

 

Read about the rest of these amazing stress-reducing foods at Well+Good NYC!

How to Grill Greens: A Top Chef Explains

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For most people, heating up coals for grass-fed burgers or salmon steaks this time of year is a no-brainer, but not many think to cook their greens on the grill.

Galen Zamarra, chef and owner of the acclaimed Mas Farmhouse, thinks you should. At Mas’ younger-sister restaurant, Mas La Grillade, Zamarra literally cooks everything—from tuna to ramps to romaine—on a super cool open-flame grill system, using locally sourced hardwoods and techniques like steaming, charring, and grilling.

Galen Zamarra in the kitchen at Mas La Grillade with his just-grilled greens.

Galen Zamarra in the kitchen at Mas La Grillade with his just-grilled greens. (Photo: Melisse Gelula for Well+Good)

Why does the system work well for greens? It’s quick, easy, and adds a delicious smoky flavor. (We stopped by for lunch and trust us, it’s true.)

Zamarra gave us a sneak peek into the wood-burning kitchen and an on-the-spot spinach grilling demo. Follow his instructions below, or watch the four-minute video—and you’ll become the healthy star of this summer’s backyard (or rooftop) barbecue.

1. Heat it up. “It’s important that the grill is nice and hot to start,” Zamarra says, so let it heat up while you’re mixing up a healthy batch of mojitos. “You don’t want any flame, just the radiant heat from the coals.”

2. Prep the spinach. Toss it with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl. “But don’t dress it as much as you would a salad,” he says. Just a little bit of oil will help it cook quickly.

3. Use a special bowl. You can use a wire rack, but your best bet is a stainless steel colander-style bowl that has small holes all over it. “If you put the leaves directly on the grill, they’ll just fall through. This way [with the bowl], the heat and the smoke will come right up through the bowl and cook it and flavor it.”


Read the final 3 steps and watch a video at Well and Good NYC  >>

 

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