Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for your Healthy Boo

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You want to know how to mix it up this Valentine’s Day and you only have, like, 24 hours to get a gift that kills? No prob. Ditch the flowers (is it just me, or is it a bummer to receive a $100 arrangement and have to then cram it into the compost not even a week later) and embrace gifting outside of the Hallmark holiday box. The following are our favorite, sexed up gifts to give your boo TOMORROW.

Soooo get reading and prepare to hit ‘one day shipping’ on Amazon ASAP. Valentine’s Day gifting solved below.

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Sexy Cannabis treasures

For us, somehow no-booze January has rolled into barely drinking February. Which means Wine Wednesday has become cannabis treat Wednesday (hmmm not the same ring to it), and that we are now totally buzzed-treat experts. Spice up your Wednesday, Feb 14 with our February faves, Dosist Arouse or Passion pens and Sensuali-Tea.

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Last minute Vday Getaway

Grab your boo and hop in the car headed south/north/east/west for a night at a gorgeous resort for spa, sunsets with a horizon and all the room service. From Los Angeles, we’re thinking destinations like Terranea, El Encanto or my favorite wellness getaway in Northern California, 1440 Multiversity.

@Seedlip

@Seedlip

Your new favorite spirit

Oh you’d rather stay in? How about gifting the UK’s beautiful, zero-proof spirit Seedlip and whipping up a couple of sultry, warming cocktails like any of these stunners put together by Food & Wine.

@DedCool

@DedCool

DedCool

Scents are personal, sure, but when chosen well it can be one of the best-received gifts. And there’s not all that much at risk when shelling out sub-$100 for a cool kid fragrance from LA’s indie olfactory darling DedCool. Of the five varied scents, we’re suckers for the original number 01, but they're all beautiful.

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Luxe Fitness Tracker

We discovered the Nokia Steel HR when hunting for the best new trackers for 7x7, and cannot get enough. It's chic, tracks not just steps, but heart rate, sleep quality and one charge lasts nearly two weeks. Just in time for Vday, the brand has released a rose gold version.

@foxandbond

@foxandbond

This bangin’ jewelry from Fox & Bond

So jewels might not be the first thing you think of when pondering gifts for your healthy SO, but they should be! We’re pretty sure gifting an F&B Ombre Ring from Fox & Bond will earn you some serious ‘thank you’ cardio!

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Wine all the time

Stocking your partner's wine fridge, wine cellar, or stash with a regular wine subscription is a sure-fire way to appear thoughtful when really it's  a gift for yourself as much as it is for them. Brands like Dry Farm Wines only work with natural wine producers, and some of the smaller subscriptions like Wine Trees seek out producers with minimal eco-impact.

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Powerdot

This new ‘muscle stim’ gadget is the ultimate recovery tool. It’s hot off of the presses, so your boo will be one of the first to delight in the twitchy, delightful benefits of pre-workout, post-workout or massage muscle stimulation.  

SF Babe Katey Yurko on Her Healthy Faves for 2018

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One of the things on our cleanse list this month is releasing things that don’t make us feel awesome and challenged and appreciated and like we’re living that high vibe life. The benefit of any purge? Creating room for more of the good stuff: practices and relationships that enrich and inspire. Which brings me to our guest contributor and founder of awesome, positive, real talkin’ women and wellness-focused site The Violet Fog, Katey Yurko. One of my favorite new friends and inspiring member of the W+A tribe.

Katey, take it away!

-- -- --

I am STOKED to be a guest on Well + Away! Margaux has enlightened me about many new things in the wellness space so I am so happy to share MY personal favorites for the new year! Feel free to connect with me over my site or on Instagram- find me at @TheVioletFog. I LIVE to connect with other like minded women! Men, too, but we are a site full of girl talk. ;)

My Wellness Faves Taking Me into 2018

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1. GUA SHA TOOLS

Holy moly-- this practice is not only effective but it feels SO GOOD. With rose quartz tools (pictured above) you basically make upward motions on an oiled up face to increase circulation and ward off premature aging. In Ancient Chinese medicine, they believe that aging and bad skin comes from a lack of circulation. When circulation isn't in top form, collagen production can break down. Sagging happens. Breakouts happen. Gua Sha facials take TWO minutes and make such a difference. And not only is it good for skin health, it legit gives you a temporary FACELIFT in seconds. You'll love it. You can read my full article here or just skip to the video.

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2. VEGAN DELIVERY SERVICES

I will be honest. I'm a health nut who does NOT want to put in a lot of effort cooking. I'm just not super confident in the kitchen and although I know the basics- it's not enough to eat as healthy as I would like to. Using a vegan meal delivery service has saved me: 1, time. 2, money. and 3, a lot of health issues. Eating clean makes ALL the difference in how I feel and when I have healthy food already prepared for me, I am more likely to make healthy decisions. There are plenty of food options out there but my favorite is Thistle- an organization I’ve worked with throughout 2017. You can see my first article here on why I love them. If you are a health nut like me- food delivery services are an awesome resource. I promise.

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3. APRICOT OIL

I have always been a HUGE believer in oils. I truly think they are the fountain of youth and the best way to get nourishing ingredients into your skin. My favorite thing to do is a layer of oil and then a thin layer of moisturizer on top to really trap it in. Apricot oil is one of my favorites- it is SO HIGH in vitamin A (which our body needs but doesn't product naturally!) and is so gentle it works on every skin tone. It's anti-inflammatory and when you wake up in the morning after using it you just feel so soft and glow-y. It's incredible. I have gotten many friends hooked on it! You can see my full article here.

4. WELLNESS ESCAPE

I don't have set plans on where I am going to travel. I do have themes around the kind of travel I want to do though and those are: nature, wellness based, and unique culture. I am a very "play it by ear" kind of gal. This year, I would love to do a wellness retreat somewhere in Oregon. I am in love with that state. The people, the greenery. I could live there! I find that a lot of their beauty companies are more on the natural, earthy side- as opposed to more labby and high tech (which I also enjoy.) One shop I’m crazy about is Fettle Botanics in Portland. They have all these elixirs, oils, herbs, and spices. I have an immunity tincture from them that I use all the time. They’re huge on Eastern Medicine healing and in just one trip there you can learn a lot.

I also love Oregon-based Seagape Soaps. It's basically a trip to the Pacific Northwest coast in the shower. They make minimal makeup, balms, and of course- soaps. They are incredibly clean. My favorite product is their healing balm, which another Violet Fog writer recommended to me. It’s incredible! 

Come say hi anytime on www.VioletFog.com or at @thevioletfog on Instagram.

 

 

We Just Discovered Healthy Cruising and are Obsessed

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Outdoors-y Cruising is the New Glamping

A travel-savvy friend recently took a cruise on one of Viking’s new ocean ships from New York to Puerto Rico, raving about it enough to convince me to pen a Spas at Sea story for RobbReport based on her trip. It also inspired me to try to find a healthy, sea-bound holiday for myself. With the generous help of the Viking Ocean Cruise PR team, I booked a fourteen night sailing through the Norwegian fjords, from London to Bergen, to health and millennial-hack the AARP set’s favorite way to vacay.

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True to expectations, my fiance and I were the youngest couple on-board. Which translated into a surprisingly blissful setup: complete lack of iPhones at meals throughout every dining room, zero laptops in public spaces and no rude conference calls in random places getting in the way of my seafaring zen.

But what about the food? And surviving for 14 at sea with just my fiance and our 900 silver-haired new friends? And what did we do all day? Read on!

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Dining

Meals were leisurely and a nice way to meet some of the crew - many of whom were in our peer set. The kitchen teams consistently went above and beyond to accommodate my dietary restrictions at all restaurants onboard. While the standard buffet items at the Star’s World Cafe were upgraded versions of continental fare, the kitchen team customized all meals for us making it a bit like private dining - especially because we were one of the very few couples to hit the dining rooms 'late night' - after 8pm.

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Activities

My fiance and I easily found ways to age-down the scheduled activities in port stops or DIYd where they weren’t active enough for us, and filled our sea days with gym, reading and spa. A lack of city access while cruising the North Sea wiped out any of my normal weeknight FOMO at home, making it easy to turn in early for another day of exploring (the midnight sun, on the other hand, I never fully adjusted to…). Small fjord town ports were light on fjord-chic shops or temptingly scene-y happy hours, which made it even easier to get ourselves out into nature via hike, kayak or ATV to soak in the fjords from above, below, in and around. Unpacking once and waking up to new wonders of nature almost every morning  never grew old.  

But what did we do when we got off of the ship?

The Trip

Day 1 + 2: London! Highlights were East London Juice Co, Dishoom Shoreditch and White Cube

Day 3: Edinburgh - Highlights included turmeric lattes at Burr & Co, the most filling veggie lunch in town at Henderson’s Vegan and the National Gallery. Accidentally happened upon a whiskey flight at Scran and Scallie, which turned out to be the best part of the afternoon.

Day 4: Sea Day - After sleeping in and reading through Scottish author Jenni Fagan’s Panopticon, I hit the gym using audio workout app Aaptiv followed by the steam/sauna and snow grotto in the LivNordic Spa. The bartending team at the onboard World Cafe made me my first of many custom smoothies using my BYO Sun Warrior protein powder. A leisurely lunch, hot tub time with almost 360 degree sea views, an even more leisurely dinner and after-dinner scrabble matches topped off the first sea day.

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Day 5: Orkney - Not really knowing what the differences between the included tours and ‘optional’ (read: $$) ones were, we signed up for the included tour not realizing it was one long scenic drive. Fine for those who aren't super mobile, less so for those with endless ants in their pants. Three hours total in the back of a coach with limited legroom is not my idea of an adventure, no matter how knowledgeable or charming the tour guide (ours was both). We saw just one of the sites we wanted to see (Stones of Stenness, older than Stonehenge!) and should have rented a car to explore on our own. Lesson learned.

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Day 6 + 7: Two sea days, one was a surprise after a visit to the Shetland Islands was canceled due to a combination of wind and a slowing of one of the engines. While relatively rare, this is part of cruising. More time for steam/sauna/cold plunge!

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Day 8: Lofoten: I was unsure of which excursion to book, and a planned hike was sold out by the time I tried signing up, so I DIY-d a six-mile hike in Tromso. After fretting over a car rental and the cost of taxis in Norway (insane at the current conversion rate) a local guide pointed us in the direction of an amazing hike, 10 minutes from where we docked. It was free, beautiful, there was nobody else in sight and I met a family of adorable sheep.

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Day 9: North Cape: I opted to sign my fiance and me up for an ATV tour of the North Cape area, the northernmost point in Europe and the coldest place I've ever visited in summer.  The tour itself was a rainy and scenic ride through town and up the mountain to ridiculous viewpoints of the fjords below and moon-like terrain surrounding us, but some issues that happened with the ship at the dock cut our excursion time in half. Despite the hiccup, the visit itself was a blast and the only way I would want to do the North Cape.

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Day 10: Tromso: After hiking and ATV-ing, we felt ready to take on a Husky trek on the outskirts of Tromso. An orientation introduced us to the  working dogs, as well as puppies and teenage dogs who were going through a sort of finishing school for sled dogs, and prepared us for the logistics of strapping ourselves to these super strong animals trained to pull-pull-pull. The trek itself was the most adorable resistance training-meets-cardio I've experienced.

Day 11: Geiranger: I am not the best at maps, and probably should fine tune those skills before renting a kayak and trying to DIY my own fjord-by-kayak excursion of the Geirangerfjord and its De syv søstrene (Seven Sisters). The trip was magnificent and it was surreal to look up at massive waterfalls from the inside of a tiny kayak, but the 6 km ride that turned into 14km due to a faulty navigator made for some sore shoulders the next day.

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Day 12: Sea Day: Snow grotto all day! And a facial, with a side of Scrabble and tea. Spa and Scrabble day in the middle of the Arctic Circle is now my preferred way to unplug. 

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Day 13: The Troll Church hike instantly sold out to the tour group, so we hopped on another hike to a local waterfall which was lovely but could so easily have been DIY’d and saved tons of time with slow bus ride and a funny, too-long lunch stop at a roadside dining hall for tourists. Lesson? Research in advance what they most popular excursions are and book them as soon as they open up.

Day 14: Bergen: So happy we added a few extra nights here! Ate lunch and a couple of dinners at delightful and sweet Dwell vegan restaurant - which has amazing food and healthy drinks list. The museums are huge and beautiful and wonderfully organized - we devoted a whole day to exploring the buildings of the glorious Kunsthall. Another day was devoted to following Ingrid Williams’ NY Times 36 Hours In story that was hugely helpful and totally walkable. It’s also how we found the gorgeous apparel shop T-Michael, where T Michael himself helped book us a dinner table at Bare Vestland’s upstairs dining room, an eatery with some seriously glam ambience. Pre-dinner, we spent 30 minutes in the attached bar, it wasn’t nearly enough to soak it all in.

All in all, I'm a cruise convert. Viking's ocean cruises visit some ridiculous destinations, and I would argue that visiting them by ship is the only way to do it. I was Googling 'Viking Cruises 2018' as soon as we got to the airport in Bergen waiting for our plane home. I cannot recommend the whole experience enough, and can't wait to do it again.

The Only Detox Guide You Need for a Clean AF 2018

@Goop

@Goop

There is nothing we love more than a solid, slightly depriving but wholly delicious and all-encompassing cleanse. The way our gut feels, the way our workouts are on point, the mental acuity that comes from it all, and of course the taste of the first glass of wine or piece of pie post-cleanse. But doing a DIY detox is, at least for us, an overwhelming and unnecessary prospect. Knowing what to cut, what to add, how to make our now limited arsenal of ingredients taste amazing and how to stay inspired throughout an entire 30-ish days? Yikes.

So we turn to the experts who develop and fine tune their own cleanses year after year to give us the best recipes, meditations and workouts from which to design our own extra-customized Franken-cleanse of sorts - built from the things that help optimize gut health, fitness, mental well-being and take as little time as possible.

So what are we bookmarking on our browsers and pinning to the fridge this year? Read on:

@ToneitUp

@ToneitUp

Love Your Body 2018 Series, Tone It Up

As exciting as discovering new, up-and-coming cleanse programs or nutrition and fitness ‘challenges’ are, we always end up back at Tone It Up when looking for commit to something for more than two weeks. The recipes are easy to make and useful for getting out of a flavor rut (normally marinara, taco seasoning or tahini sauce on everything). New recipes for the January challenge include almond butter and cookie shakes, tofu cacciatore and chocolate protein donuts. An accompanying set of daily workouts and encouraging blog posts make the Tone It Up challenge equally immersive and accessible. If you’re the kind of person who like social support, you could spend an entire day on Instagram reading through motivational posts tagged #TIU.

@Goop

@Goop

 Annual Detox, Goop

The more restrictive - no caffeine, gluten or soy on this detox - and slightly more time intensive recipes of the Goop detox make it sort of like the older sister with a private Pilates instructor and wine cellar to Tone It Up’s beach vibes and rose on ice. Goop’s Detox may be a bit more advanced user, but that might be what is so special about it. It’s not trying to meet anyone and everyone ‘where they are’. The women behind this program are living healthfully year-round and are stepping it up with the annual detox to squeeze every last drop of wellness possible from a 30-day program. Recipes like a sweet potato pancake with coconut and berries and a simple sunbutter satay will be in heavy rotation in the W+A kitchen.

@UrbanRemedy

@UrbanRemedy

Metta-Morphosis Program, Urban Remedy

If you’d rather not with the whole cooking thing, or you want to do a shorter and more intensive cleanse, Urban Remedy’s Metta-Morphosis provides juices, nut milks, wellness shots, tinctures, warming soups and texture and flavor-packed salads as part of a three or five-day program. Called a ‘mind and body transformation’ by UR, the program includes prepared meals as well as meditations and movement videos. As far as delivery cleanses go, it’s so much more satisfying than a juice-only cleanse, and the beautiful colors in the food and mind-body focus of the program overall make it easy to stay inspired throughout.

@Sophie.Jaffe

@Sophie.Jaffe

Learning to Release, The Philosophie

Something that these cleanses don’t really talk about but that can a huge part of starting the year fresh is letting toxic shit go. Sophie Jaffe of The Philosophie has a powerful, thoughtful blog post on the importance of ditching relationships, beliefs and practices that just aren’t doing it for you in the new year.

@SimpleHabit

@SimpleHabit

31-Day Fresh Start Series, Simple Habit

We love this one because it’s 100% focused on the mental components of a detox. Want short, theme-specific meditations served in the style of a 31-day program? Simple Habit’s 31-day Fresh Start Series has new year’s themed meditations including Foundations of Mindfulness for beginners, as well as Find Happiness, Start Your Day with Gratitude, Living Your Truth, Sleep Patterns, Better Self Control and others. Most meditations are between 5-10 minutes.

@CodyApp

@CodyApp

Journey to Handstand, Kino MacGregor and Kerri Verna via The Cody App

Yes, keeping up with a normal fitness routine is already a time and energy-consuming endeavor. But you know what? This is January when unhealthy distractions are at their least invasive. So why not try to pick up a new physical skill during the month? It can give a cleansing routine more structure, and just be plain old fun. Nothing feels more self-loving and juicy than the January flow of meal prep on Sundays and a little bit more on Wednesday nights, meditation in the morning before the work day, regularly scheduled workouts and new skill work in the evening before or after dinner. The Cody App videos are for the most part sub-30 minutes and a productive cap on the day.

@Scribe

@Scribe

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, Margareta Magnusson

This Northern European take on decluttering, inspired by the morbid but practical ‘what kind of stuff and how much of it do I want to leave behind for my family to deal with,’ is at the top of our detox reading list this month. If you’ve already KonMari-d, give yourself a refresher and check out how the Swedes do it.

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Best vegan restaurants in SF, our favorite clean prix-fixe meals and digital workouts

If you’re on the road this month, these resources should give you a leg up on your healthiest year yet.




 

Healthy Weekend Plans to Kick off your 2018 Resolutions 

Courtesy @caligirlgetsfit

Courtesy @caligirlgetsfit

Oh hey, 2018! Now that we’re all living our wellness resolutions to the letter: eating lean and clean, going to the gym 5x/week, meditating 4x/week, Marie Kondo-ing everything and sleeping 8.5 hours a night (right??) - what is left to do on the weekends? If you’re local to California, here are our picks for inspiring, local wellness events this weekend. And wherever you are, check out the launch of our favorite new, game-changing fitness and wellness app Everfit!

Jan 5-7

Bay Club: Fitness Open House | daily
Free for members and a guest
Have you had a Bay Club membership and let it sit there, unused, while you galavented from holiday vacation to family celebrations to January 4 ‘ohmygodmyinboxiscrazzzzzy’? Then make a point to stop by this weekend’s Open House festivities at all Bay Clubs from Northern California down to San Diego for new class previews (foam roll, HIIT, Plyojam)and light bites from onsite Cafe Vida. //  All Bay Club locations 

Jan 6

Mattress Firm: Be Well, Sleep Well fair | 10am - 3pm
Free
Take a one-on-one “upgrade your sleep” assessment (with the chance to win a new mattress) and learn some fit tips from local pros while munching on healthy snacks. Sleep specialists will be on-hand to talk neck support, ideal temperature between the sheets and the quality of your current mattress to ensure you have all the comfiest tools to optimize your sleep resolutions. And because who can sleep well if tomorrow’s healthy meals are unplanned, local blogger Cali Girl Gets fit will be talking meal prep and serving her favorite energy bites. Icing on the wellness resolution cake is a fitness Q+A with trainers from OrangeTheory Fitness, as well as an invite to take a free post-fair class at the nearby FiDi location from 11:45am – 12:45pm. Additional sips and snacks will be provided by organicgirl.  //  Mattress Firm Nob Hill, SF

The Pad: Power then Restore with Bryant | 2-4pm
$30
Bryant Resch is leading an hour of high charged, high vibe power yoga followed by a restorative practice designed to help you relax and reset. For us, 2018 is all about recovery, so we’re all about deepening our yin yoga practice!  //  The Pad, SF

Yoga Flow: New Years Resolution & Detox Flow with Libby Murfey | 6-8pm
$30 in advance, $35 day-of
Libby’s detoxifying and intention-setting flow class is meant to solidify 2018’s commitment to breathing in goodness and exhaling toxicity. Lots of twists and balances are used to embrace challenge (and sweat).  //  Yoga Flow, Union Street, SF

Where to Book the Best Vegan New Year's Eve Dinners

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No matter where you’re slipping on your sequins, chances are you’ll probably need a few bites before the big countdown. In our humble opinion, this is not the night for a protein shake chugged over the kitchen counter while last-minute RSVPing to a friend-of-a-friend’s sister’s rager. A beautifully prepared sit down meal among those who love you most, along with besparkled atmosphere and festive flourishes, is our favorite way to send off the year and look ahead to the next. Here are some of our favorite choices for where to dig into the last meal of 2017.

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Crossroads, Los Angeles

A 6:00pm, five-course seating for $75 makes it easy to have festive meal on the early side and finish in time for any new year’s revelry across town. A later six-course seating at 8:30pm for $95 is a swell option for celebrating with a tummy full of plant-based decadence and a midnight toast, if celebrating with a civilized meal with friends and family is more your style. Menu items include buckwheat blinis, beet and farro tartare with Crossroads’ famous yellow tomato ‘egg yolk’ and a chestnut and porcini ravioli with a sage butter.

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V-Eats, Dallas

For a more casual start to your New Year’s evening, Dallas’ V-Eats has a $40 prix fixe menu full of veg-only comfort food. A four-course NYE meal is served at three seatings at 5:30, 7:15 and 8:45pm. Dishes include a French onion soup, ‘calamari’ and a spinach with Hen of the Woods mushroom ravioli with sage butter.

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Little Octopus, Nashville

Nashville’s super chic Little Octopus is serving a four course veggie and non-veggie menu on New Year’s Eve for $75/pp. Making an appearance on basically every list of ‘best in the South’, this is the ultimate crowd pleaser destination for a group of vegans/omnivores/design nerds/burger fiends/those with allergies. The veg meal option kicks off with a glass of Champagne and features a vegan miso cassoulet entree.

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Soul Tavern, Miami

Oh, you’d rather fly by the seat of your pants sans-reservation in Miami? Soul Tavern’s no reservations policy and a la carte menu makes it easy to pop in for a bite on your way to South Beach festivities. Everything on the menu, from hemp-crusted edamame cakes to jackfruit gyoza to naughty gnocchi and soulful ramen are all 100% plant-based.

If you are looking for other restaurant recs for the last night of 2017, let us know below. Happy almost new year!


 

The Perfect Fitness Apps for Holiday Travel

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I'm back east this week, celebrating the holidays with in-laws in suburban Pennsylvania. While I'm squeezing in some local workouts: Orange Theory Fitness and Corefit, both in Wayne, I'm also dusting off some my favorite fitness apps for when it's too cold to leave the house. For the price of one boutique fitness class (often less), you can get access to nearly a bazillion expert-led workouts via app and web. I've been a believer ever since I tried out what felt like allll the fitness apps under the sun as a contributor to 7x7's 2017 Wellness Guide

As someone who is regularly trying new workouts in new places (and who generally just craves variety when it comes to fitness), finding consistency among the trend-chasing has been a challenge. The following five digital fitness platforms are my new at-home and on-the-road go-tos, helping me not only with consistency but also to push myself further on solo workouts. 

Aaptiv

The only app with no visuals, Aaptiv also happens to be the most natural to use. Audio-based and covering three main categories: run (tread + outdoors), strength and yoga; Aaptiv covers the bases for a general workout regimen from beginner to pro. Propping up a phone or tablet at either a home or public gym can be awkward for me, and I've found that Aaptiv's audio instruction model played over a motivating background soundtrack is simpler and allows more focus for the workout at-hand. Class difficulty is color-coded, and the instructors vary in style from pretty chill to all-business. To download, use code WellandAway for a month free.

Zenrez

Handy at home for last minute workouts, Zenrez is an amazing tool for finding day-of boutique fitness and yoga, especially when traveling, and at a nice discount. When there’s not enough time pre-trip to research all of the local fitness studios, Zenrez is an easy way to browse and book into classes nearby. Starting at 9pm on workout-eve, the Zenrez system populates with available classes to book the next day at discounts of up to around 30%. It's also a fun way to explore new studios at home.

Fitplan

I am always curious to know more about the workout routines behind the physiques of Instagram's most followed fitness personalities. While I think we all know that genetics (and sometimes a medical tweak or two) can play a part as much as diet and exercise, it’s impossible not to wonder, for instance, ‘What would happen to my ass if I tried Jen Selter’s personal workout program for 30 days?' Fitplan provides the tools to find out just that with 30-90 day programs for Full Body Blast, Summer Shred and of course Jen Selter’s Lower Body and Booty Guide. Each plan is a subscription that you commit to for a specified duration, and daily workouts are broken down into reps and sets with a short demo video showing each move. Use code WELLANDAWAY30 for a month free.

Cody App

I love, love, love Cody App and the insane amount of variety they offer. I started with Kino McGregor’s Ashtanga bundle, then moved into her handstand bundle, then into a little Acroyoga series binge one weekend when my fiancé obliged, and then into Ashley Galvin’s flexibility series - my new favorite. Cody has been around for four years, but somehow it’s new to me. And it's forever changed my at-home and hotel room workout routines. It’s great for traveling to places that don’t have the exact style of yoga or fitness classes you’re looking for, so instead of spending $20+ on a class, you can spend the same on a series of classes with people like Kino. Cody recently went subscription-based, which means all subscribers have access to the entire gallery of workouts. New users can enter code WELLANDAWAY for 30% off of their first purchase.

Gixo

The newest app on this list is Gixo, a new SF-based app that is sort of similar to Aaptiv, but with scheduled virtual classes. You can sign up for classes on the half hour, and most are between 15-40 minutes. The coaches are good, and it's a departure from other apps to be able to communicate in real time with a virtual instructor.  The workouts are all intended for all-levels, so there isn't an option yet for beginner, medium advanced. I'm still exploring Gixo, and while it hasn't knocked Cody or Aaptiv out of the top spots on my rotation, I'll be watching them to see what features they launch next.

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Have you tried any of these apps? What did you think?? Let us know in the comments below. 

Playing Tourist on the Napa Valley Wine Train

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As a general rule, I'm an off-the-beaten path kind of woman. When touring friends around the Napa Valley, we'll skip Mondavi and Silver Oak and for Ancien and Covert Estate, and at lunch choose Yountville's Redd Wood over Bottega. When it comes to non-drinking activities, which in wine county translates to 'things to do that include wine plus something else', we'll hit trails around Napa and Yountville instead of a hot air balloon ride or a roundtrip journey on the Napa Valley Wine Train.

But, I've recently learned that the Wine Train has new management and they've  begun mixing it up with crazy things like driving the train to nighttime concerts at some of Napa Valley's grand dame wineries. So, for the first time maybe ever, I chose the road most traveled - far from the hidden gems on that less beaten path - and set my GPS to Napa's number one tourist attraction to check out the new Wine Train and celebrate a friend's birthday.  

After an easy drive north from SF, we queued up for our 5pm boarding time with a group of visitors from all over, dressed in a wide interpretation of Wine Train Chic. Lesson 1 of the day: don't stress about the dress code - nobody else knows what to wear either and it's hard to go wrong. There were stilettos and bandage dresses (okay those actually did seem a little out of place), there were Tommy Bahama shirts, some cowboy boots and plenty of business casual. 

Once we boarded and found our seats in the Wine Train's version of the VIP room, the Vista Dome, servers poured glasses of bon voyage sparkling for the entire train, and we got to know our table-mates. The Vista Dome is a beautifully restored vintage train car with an extended domed glass ceiling for uninterrupted views of our 18 mile journey up to Charles Krug. Lesson 2: the train is great but the Vista Dome is the place to book if you really want to soak in the views. It's about a $50 upgrade from standard seating but it's worth it to have the full experience.

We had complicated-ish dietary restrictions that were shared with the train's team in advance: vegan for me and vegan-ish ketogenic for my birthday-celebrating friend. We had three courses and an additional glass of wine during the 90-minute journey north. Lesson 3: the food is better than the off-the-beaten path crew gives it credit for. The vegan, gluten-free option was lovely and thoughtful, though because it was pretty much straight up roasted vegetables, I definitely ate a protein bar alongside my entree. 

At Krug, we disembarked to total darkness and mini-festival setup. Artisan pizza truck here, wine stations there and white lights strung from tree to tree. We found a 50th birthday celebration, loads of boomer-age fans of the bands playing who followed them when they toured the first time around and something I never thought I would see at a wine train shindig: LOCALS. We made new friends, enjoyed some throwback tunes and went in with a 'when in Rome' attitude to wine drinking. The pours were large and we were so thankful that the train was driving us home. The bands: someone from the Eagles, another from Flock of Seagulls and the lead singer from Kansas to name a few - were stoked to be there. After a couple of hours of drinking and dancing at Napa Valley's oldest winery, we boarded the train for our return trip to the station while sipping espresso and talking about our dream for a yoga train day (Vinyasa yoga on one car, healthy vegan eats in another and DJ-d yoga at a beautiful winery... note to Wine Train team, lmk if you need any help planning!).

The ride back seemed longer (we were more buzzed than we'd anticipated), and also quieter because the locals who had taken the train up had cleverly called ride share services to take them home. Lesson 4: You can totally take the train up and call a car to get to any of the hotels up-valley. 

After returning to the station, we checked into our downtown hotel, passed out, and slept right through our early morning hiking alarm. Whoopsie! Instead, we grabbed a couple of expertly made almond lattes from Miminashi's new counter service window and headed back to the city. 

Next time you're pouring over Google and group email threads about cool things to do in Napa, consider going off the beaten path all day and then topping it off with an evening on the Wine Train for a touristy-fun way to celebrate with friends. 

 

 

Dream Wellness Escape: Scottsdale's Best HIIT, Mid-century Digs and Cold Plunge Recovery

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While I'm currently wrapped up in extra puffy Patagonia, en route (after some serious delays) to chilly Pennsylvania, I'm day dreaming about a recent winter trip to sun-drenched Scottsdale. The opening of mid-century stunner Mountain Shadows in Scottsdale's Paradise Valley is what inspired a trip to the desert, but the active adventure around every corner is really what put the area on my list of new favorite wellness escapes. 

The just-opened desert resort with mod-glam rooms, weekly SUP yoga and a house Tesla that regularly shuttles guests to the trailhead at Camelback Mountain and Sanctuary Spa, is the ultimate home base for an outdoorsy long weekend of self-care. And because all it takes to get me jazzed are are the words 'nighttime SUP' and 'soaking tub overlooking the mountains', I decided to try my hand at the mid-century outdoor retreat.

Originally opened in 1959 as a desert escape for Hollywood jet-setters including Lucille Ball and Elizabeth Taylor, the original Mountain Shadows hotel was purchased by Marriott in 1981 and then shuttered in 2004. After years of sitting vacant, the resort was demolished in 2014. This past spring, backed by new owners who know a thing or two about operating mid-century heritage hotels (they also own downtown Scottsdale property Hotel Valley Ho), Mountain Shadows reopened it as a sprawling mid-century desert dream, complete with a buzzy pool scene and three-par golf course. Cap the day off with a nightly Champagne sabering and toast; because that's how desert dwellers cool off.

Nearly every local I spoke with on a recent visit said they start their day as often as possible with a mountain trek. Likely because the trails are stunning, but also because going at any other time is advised against—this is the desert after all and can get up to 120 degrees in the peak of summer. So, after a cold-pressed green juice from an onsite juice bar, I began my first morning with a 6am, 4.5 mile trek up the Sonoran Preserve with a guide from local outfit Arizona Outback Adventures. After getting scooped from Mountain Shadows, we hit the road for a 20 minute drive to the trailhead—which interestingly had the fanciest trail bathrooms I've ever seen—and started our hike up the mountain on the 'Gateway Loop' trail. After a heart rate pumping uphill climb and a few stops for photo opps at the top (as well as lessons on flora and fauna along the way) we ventured back down in time for lunch and recovery spa treatments.

And as far as hearty healthy meals and 'wtf-amazing spa treatments' go, Scottsdale is impressively innovative. Each day, I treated myself to post-hike spa time to melt sore muscles and prompt a speedy recovery. (What even is a winter getaway without some serious sauna action and bodywork, right?) I explored a combination of acupuncture and cupping at Scottsdale classic Well & Being Spa at the Fairmont Princess, and a combo of craniosacral therapy and hammam (human car wash as I like to call it) at the Mediterranean-inspired Joya Spa down the street from Mountain Shadows at the Omni Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Montelucia. Both felt so decadent and restorative. The icing on the cake was a meditation/B-12 shot combo at Second Nature Clinic's new Thursday night 'Zen Lounge'. As many afternoon and evening meals as possible were eaten at anti-inflammation eatery True Food Kitchen, the Bay Area newcomer that started in Scottsdale. After the yin-yang combo of activity and recovery each day, the best part was a soak in Mountain Shadows' soaking tub with a view (inside every room).

For a slightly more hardcore approach to the activity-recovery duo, or one better suited to getting up and out after dawn, Scottsdale's downtown fitness scene is like SF's brunch scene: legit and serious. About 10 minutes from Mountain Shadows, downtown's BODI gym is a combination of bootcamp and Crossfit with you and 60 of your closest friends. Instructors range from former NBA dancers to Nike master trainers. I left drenched in sweat, and skipped the BODI team happy hour for a visit to neighboring Balunsd for some recovery time. Here, I indulged in the cold plunge studio frequented by elite athletes, bodybuilders and those popping by casually from the gym next door. It works just how it sounds: inspired by Nordic ocean bathing, you hop into a miniature cold pool and sit in it as long as you can stand. For me that was four minutes, but for the experienced (including new friends I met while fearing my internal organs were shutting down), it can be closer to 20. The pain was worth it, and everything including my tweaky lower back felt born again.

For some help in planning how to continue new healthy habits picked up in the desert, Well & Being Spa's Fitness Prescription is an in-depth approach to make it a regular thing: a Bod Pod body fat measurement and Basal Metabolic Rate test to assess a baseline, and customized fitness and nutrition recommendations to achieve wellness goals. Pro tip for carrying that wellness vibe back home? Nab some of the Red Flower bath salts from Mountain Shadows soaking tubs on the DL for a DIY retreat throughout the holiday season. // Mountain Shadows rates start at $239. 5445 E. Lincoln Dr., Paradise Valley (Scottsdale). www.mountainshadows.comwww.experiencescottsdale.com

Have a Healthy Hanukah with Barry's Bootcamp Trainer Nichole Peterson

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There is perhaps no carb-ier holiday than the eight potato-, noodle- and chocolate-dreidel-soaked nights of Hanukkah.

But before we strap on our yoga pants for family festivities, we asked trainer Nichole Peterson of Barry's Bootcamp SF, how she manages to stay fit while feasting through the holiday.

How can we put some healthy spins on Hanukkah's signature dishes?

"I have been a vegetarian for over 10 years and so many of the dishes are veggie-friendly at Hanukkah. Unfortunately, they are also starch-friendly, dairy-friendly, and saturated fat-friendly. I try to bring a seasonal salad (strawberries, goat cheese, walnuts, spinach) to the party to mix in with all the yellow foods we devour. If not a salad, I'll bring cooked Brussels sprouts or a cauliflower dish. I find people are actually relieved to see veggie options on the table. If I'm cooking and can get away with it, I like cooking with coconut oil rather than butter, and I use Greek yogurt rather than sour cream or cream cheese.

The thing is, Hanukkah festivities only happen once a year and there is no way I'm going without some kugel—everything obviously in moderation! I eat a small snack before I go to the festivities, so I don't load up at dinner and am able to enjoy the meal along with everyone."

Where do you source dishes in SF that you'd rather not made at home?

"If I'm looking for some amazing starters for my guests—bagels and lox!—I go to Wise Sons Deli. My go-to for cooking any healthy meals is the farmers market. It's such an easy way to get fresh delicious ingredients while shopping local and supporting your community."

How do you keep from sitting on your butt all week?

"I always prioritize workouts. My favorite thing to do Hanukkah morning is to lead the siblings in a beach boot camp workout, and it's fun to add a little friendly family competition to the mix. We pick a spot on the beach that we have to run at least a mile to and then everyone participating gets to pick a movement they want to add to the mix. Think 10 push-ups, 15 burpees, 25 v-ups, 50 air squats, and 100 mountain climbers."

Any tips for getting an extra burn to make up for all of that kugel?

"My boyfriend's family plays a wicked game of Cutthroat—it's the most intense round of white elephant you could ever participate in, with lots of sweating, laughs and some tears. That always gets my heart rate up. But if you're looking for something a little more cardio-centric, I try to walk between the lull of dinner and the family hang out, it gives me a moment to chill out and almost always gives me an excuse to walk the dog!"

Happy Hanukkah!

The Well + Away Holiday Gift Guide 2017

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Our Favorite Healthy Gifts

Already missed out on monogram timing and slow boat shipping and are now looking for the perfect gift that you can give ASAP? Successful procrastination is a skill we honed over the years - though truth be told learning to avoid this last dash is currently topping 2018’s resolutions list. So in the spirit of disguising procrastination with really, really good gift giving, here are our favorite health-focused goodies that can be express-shipped to friends and family in time, whether you're celebrating the 12th or 24th.

Beauty Junkies

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WHYLD
We met Lauren of WHYLD when W+A friend Katey Yurko of Violet Fog introduced us this summer. At that time, she had just one killer product: a Youth Activating Elixir (YAE to her devoted IG following) full of wildcrafted marula oil, watermelon, black currant, pomegranate, crambe and chia seed oils. We started using it at night, then during the day, and now can’t get enough whenever, wherever. Bonus points for this being the highest quality serum you can find at this price point. $76, whyldskincare.com

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Drunk Elephant Gift Sets
Drunk Elephant’s super clean skincare has been on our radar for awhile, but it took a beauty editor at W mag saying it was the only beauty line she purchases for herself to finally get us to try it for ourselves. The Vitamin C serum is a cult product, as is nearly every other individual product, but the real show stopper gifts are the ridiculously packaged gift sets that will blow any other beauty set set you’ve ever given or received right out of the water. Starting at $18, www.drunkelephant.com

Chill Chicks

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Mondo
Who knew that THC-laced turmeric lattes would become our go-to after-work drink of the season? Even though Mondo is produced to be for 'full body relaxation with a gentle cerebral invigoration', we've mostly been taking it in place of a post-dinner glass of Pinot. No matter when you take it, though, these Venice-chic jars of a cannabis, coconut oil and cacao butter formula serve up an awesome dose of anti-anxiety. Pricing dependent on dispensary, www.mondomeds.com

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Lucky Box Club Subscription
If you really want to surprise someone with some high brow cannabis gifting, Lucky Box Club’s customizable monthly box delivers a curated set of THC and CBD edibles, topicals and flowers from indie vendor partners. A clever new customer flow lets you choose whether you're into a variety, just edibles or anything in between, as well as how much product you want hitting the doorstep each month. Classic membership starts at $150/month, luckyboxclub.com

The Hostess

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August Morgan cocktail napkins
Erm, so this isn’t 1,000% health-focused, but just look at these little linen cocktail napkins! A moment of sharing adorable cocktail napkin delight when handing a drink to friends and family is a sure way to make your hostess friends feel awesome and spread the cheer. Which is what self-care is all about, right? The playful, colorful and sweet designs are nearly endless. $38/set of four, augustmorgan.com/

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Lite + Cycle candles
As part of a story we wrote in winter of 2016 for our friends at VegNews, we uncovered the best vegan and clean-burning candles. Our favorite producer of the bunch was LA-based Lite + Cycle, and this year’s favorite scent is Vetiver. In addition to beautiful, complex scents that would feel right at home in your fancy friend’s third vacation home’s bathroom, the packaging feels like dressed-up-downtown and the price point feels like a steal for the quality. Lite + Cycle candles are crafted with pure essential oils often from wild-grown sources, and use renewable biodegradable materials, soy waxes, and unbleached cotton wicks. Starting at $62, liteandcycleshop.com/

Tech Obsessed

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Aaptiv membership
We’ve been singing the praises of Aaptiv since a friend mentioned this was the only thing that could take her cardio relationship to the next level. Since our first audio-led treadmill workout, we were hooked. Classes vary by skill, with a number of different coaches using different training styles and playlists. Workouts focus on cardio (indoor and outdoor), and also include yoga, strength training and stretching. Gift subscriptions currently $79.99, aaptiv.com/gift

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Habit
So this DIY metabolism and personalized nutrition kit was our gateway drug into the world of the quantified self and biohacking. We're now obsessed thanks to Habit. The at-home testing process itself takes a little bit of psyching up - it involves chugging a 1,000 calorie, shelf-stable shake and three finger prick tests - but the results that show dietary sensitivities, a personalized ideal macro split and genetic markers for things from a predisposition to obesity to endurance sports are so, so worth it. $299 (currently $50 off, $249 until December 25 off until December 25), habit.com/home-holiday

The Yogi

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Yellow Willow Mat
We’ve been loyal to our rotation of Manduka mats for years now, but Yellow Willow’s luxe mats made of biodegradable rubber and recycled plastic bottles caught our eye with their sexy patterns (geodes, starry nights) and extra layer of grip. This is the only chic mat we’ve seen that offers slip-free support in hot yoga classes. $98, www.yellowwillowyoga.com/

The SNugglepuss

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Buffy comforter
Always trying to live with a smaller carbon footprint over here, we’ve been meaning to try a down alternative comforter but haven’t been able to find one that didn’t feel like a cheap imposter. Made from natural materials and the same technological magic that keeps North Face puffers warm, the just-launched Buffy comforter is light, warm and machine washable (that last one was a game changer for us). Oh, and their site is the cutest of any comforter maker ever. Starting at $120,buffy.co/

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Coyuchi For Life subscription
Based on how much time we spend wrapped in our sheets, we should be investing in quality, sustainable ones. But instead of spending an arm and a leg on posh sheets and having to toss them after a year or two, Coyuchi is offering a new organic sheet and towel subscription that send out new sheets every 6, 12 or 24 months. The less often the switch out, the less expensive, and they upcycle previously loved sheets. Starting at $5/month, www.coyuchi.com/

Obsessing Over: True Food Kitchen's Anti-inflammatory Dining

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After first trying True Food Kitchen in its hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona, I've become hooked to the chainlet's sit-down take on anti-inflammatory, casual dining. Serving up flavor-forward, East-meets-West cuisine that caters to vegans, vegetarians and those with gluten sensitivity, menu items are based on the dietary philosophy of wellness superstar and father of integrative medicine Dr. Andrew Weil. Located in native Arizona, and now Southern California, Northern California and 10 other states (PA, TN, CO, FL, MD, GA, CO, IL, TX and VA). 

We chatted with Dr. Weil while he was in town to get the 411 on the anti-inflammatory diet, why the Bay Area is perfect for True Food Kitchen, and his favorite dishes on the fall menu.

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7x7: For those not yet familiar with the True Food Kitchen ethos, could you give us an introduction?
Dr. Weil: The mainstream American diet is pro-inflammatory, meaning it gives us the wrong kinds of fats and carbs, and not enough of the fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices that protect us. Our menu is based on my extensive research into chronic diseases and findings that many are rooted in chronic inflammation. An anti-inflammatory diet provides steady energy from ample vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, dietary fiber and and protective phytonutrients. Optimizing for health and longevity means reducing inflammation through foods with these specific protective elements. Foods such as mushrooms and turmeric.

How did True Foods Kitchen come into fruition?
I'm a very good home cook and, despite friends telling me over the years to open a restaurant, I was never tempted to because I knew nothing about the restaurant business. But then nine years ago I was introduced to Sam Fox of the Fox Restaurant Group and ended up proposing what became the True Food Kitchen concept: A restaurant that would serve really good food that was also nutritionally correct. At first, he thought that I was talking about bland tofu and sprouts, but Sam became convinced after I cooked him and his wife dinner at my home. They actually liked it! A space opened up in Phoenix and he skeptically agreed to give the concept a trial run. From the moment the doors opened it was a remarkable success. It's very gratifying to me that the food that I've cooked and enjoyed over the years is appealing to many people now.

So excited for the Palo Alto opening! Do you think that those working in tech are particularly prone to inflammation?
We knew we wanted to be in Northern California, and I think Palo Alto will be great for us. As for the area with relation to health, I do think techies are particularly prone to the stress of information and media overload that comes with the industry. I hope the culture of True Food will be a little bit of an antidote to that. For techies, learning some principles of the anti-inflammatory lifestyle is particularly important.

Until then, what is your favorite San Francisco meal?
I've always liked the Slanted Door and Greens. They are two of my favorites. I mostly cook at home when I'm in Tucson, so in San Francisco it's great for me to go out and try things I can't get at home.

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What are some stand-out seasonal menu items?
We have an autumn salad that I think is terrific. For starters, we have charred cauliflower, roasted Brussels sprouts, and chiogga beet bruschetta with almond ricotta. Our ancient grains bowl is wonderful with its a mixture of grains, hemp seeds and miso-glazed sweet potato. (Editorial note: order it with the tofu, the best). 

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Can dessert be anti-inflammatory?
My favorite is our squash pie, a personal recipe of mine. It's vegan and full of antioxidants. The delicious whipped topping is made from coconut—it's a wonderful dessert.

How does wine fit into a balanced, Weil-approved diet?
I based the anti-inflammatory diet on the Mediterranean diet for which we have a great deal of scientific evidence as to its benefits. I tweaked it by adding Asian influences such as mushrooms, soy, ginger and turmeric. In the Mediterranean diet, wine is included, especially red wine which has proven benefits. The key is moderation. I do drink red wine and sake, but not every night. On our menu, we've tried to include organic, biodynamic and sustainable wines as much as possible.

What are some important ways people can manage inflammation on a day-to-day basis?
My greatest challenge is to convince people that there is no difference between good food and food that's good for you. Diet is a huge factor in the body's inflammation. Another way to cut down on inflammation is to avoid environmental toxins such as secondary smoke, which is a strong inflammatory agent.

Practicing how to limit stress through breathing techniques and meditation is hugely helpful. In addition, I think there are certain herbs and spices that have anti-inflammatory properties, particularly ginger and turmeric. There are some supplements you can take that have anti-inflammatory activity, but I think exercise and control over diet is the most important.

True Food Kitchen, for more information on the anti-inflammatory diet, as well as breathing and meditation techniques, visit drweil.com.

The Best SF Vegan Restaurants for Fall 2017

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@GreensRestaurant

Healthy vegan restaurants are not nearly as easy to find in San Francisco as one might think. And easy vegan brunch in SF? Forget about it! Living the SF VitalGuide every day means wading through paleo lunch spots and surprise shutterings (RIP Seed + Salt) to stay on top of the yummiest vegan sushi, biggest acai bowls and most decadent vegan bbq. The following are our fall 2017 picks for must-eat vegan and vegan-friendly breakfasts, lunches and dinners in San Francisco. Let us know what you think!

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The Plant
3352 Steiner St; Pier 3 The Embarcadero #108, 101 California St
$$$
Om
Try the basil pesto tofu scramble, Sambazon bowl (acai berries blended frozen mango and strawberries, topped with banana and granola), or any of their smoothies, juices and great coffees. The Embarcadero location is on the water with bay views. The Marina location is right off of Chestnut Street, the area's main shopping thoroughfare.

Nourish
189 6th Ave and 1030 Hyde St
$$
Vg
Bright, sweet and with recently added Nob Hill digs, Nourish Café is a perfect healthy brunch hideaway. The coconut flour and quinoa waffles taste a million times more decadent than they are, and the banh mi salad will fill you up for a day’s worth of urban adventures.

Out the Door
2232 Bush St
$$
Om
Chef Charles Phan's more relaxed spin on his popular restaurant Slanted Door's is in an off-the-beaten-path location in the Fillmore neighborhood. The menu offers plenty of yuba-filled noodle dishes and veggie sides. What OTD is missing in waterfront views it makes up for in its feel like a local vibe.

Bouli Bar
1 Ferry Building
$$
Om
No tofu or tempeh here, but the delicious seasonal vegetables and perfect Mediterranean platter make for a satisfying light lunch. Bouli's hidden location inside the Ferry Building, flattering lighting, and lovely wine list make it a go-todaytime date spot.

Greens
Fort Mason, A
$$$
Vg
For special occasion lunches with a view, book a table at this first wave vegan restaurant in Fort Mason. Dishes such as lentil, tamarind and coconut milk soup are infused with ethnic flavors. Greens has prime real estate for watching the sun set over the Golden Gate Bridge.

StJorge

Café St Jorge
3438 Mission St
$
Vg
At the edge of the Mission and Bernal Heights, Cafe St Jorge is an adorable, Brooklyn-y hipster haunt for recharging over pastries, Stumptown coffee, and a perfectly sized quinoa salads. Plus, there's free wifi.

Shizen
370 14th St
$$
Vg
Just order all the rolls (with a side of their famous ramen). If you must choose, the spicy tofuna is a good, simple start to a meal at the Mission's prettiest izakaya spot. It's impossible to order 'wrong' from the last page's specialty rolls.

@GraciasMadreSF

@GraciasMadreSF

Gracias Madre
2211 Mission
$$
Vg
The original Gracias Madre has fewer whispy celebs and oversized shades than the LA location, but the lack of glitz is made up for with a prime Mission location. Don't miss the pumpkin and cashew cheese quesadillas and avocado ceviche.

Burma Love
211 Valencia St
$$
Om
The tea salad is the star at Burma Love, but a number of curry and noodle entrees are available at this local favorite, no-reservations Burmese eatery. Wait it out at the eatery's busy bar, where drinks are made with local spirits and coconut water right from the nut.

 

This $1800 Functional Medicine Membership is SO Worth it!

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Parsley Health celebrates its first year of functional medicine in the Bay Area with an educational fete.

Parsley Health SF, the only functional medicine clinic whose offices are located within WeWork, is turning one on December 5. If you're in the Bay Area, everyone's invited to pop by that day to listen to founder Dr. Robin Berzin talk microbiomes (gut bacteria) and biohacking (DIY 'hacks' to optimize your health) while they sip on a bulletproof matcha latte. But what is Parsley? When I heard that the super-buzzy New York-based organization, a pioneering mind-body medical practice, had quietly opened a San Francisco outpost soon after its LA location, I signed right up for a full new-patient intake. As a person who works in the wellness industry, I regularly meditate, run and spend more time than normal in Bay Area boutique-fitness studios. But I haven't had an old-fashioned check up since SoulCycle hit the West Coast (ahem, 2013).

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Ahead of my visit, I filled out a mountain of new patient paperwork on personal and family health, using a digital-patient portal. During our hourlong-plus visit, Dr. Tiffany Lester reviewed my medical history (and my family's) in detail, not leaving any mind-body stone unturned, before she performed a basic physical exam. After my visit, she recommended some baseline testing (blood panels, cortisol screening) to get a data-based overview of my health.

Parsley acts as a primary-care office, and you can talk to your doctor in person or online regarding everything from testing questions to prescription refills. On average, traditional doctors' offices write a prescription for 70 percent of visits, while Parsley's doctors only write an Rx 10 percent of the time. Their goal is to treat patients holistically for total mind-body health through regular doctor's visits, dietary recommendations, vitamin supplementation and a robust health-coaching system. Rather than writing prescriptions, Parsley physicians might write a recommendation for a meditation class or acupuncturist, therapist or fitness classes.

This holistic approach to health is available exclusively to Parsley members who fork out $1600 to $1800 per year for membership. Included is an initial 75-minute visit with a doctor like the one I had, followed by biomarker testing that could include in-home tests and blood work to asses a baseline for health, and then a second 60-minute doctor visit and three additional 30-minute visits to assess progress. In practice that lengthy first session felt like a huge departure from my previous annual check-ups. The average traditional doctor spends around 15 minutes with patients, while the average Parsley visit is 50 minutes - they have time to dig into everything. After that biomarker testing, members receive five health coaching sessions over 12 months, in-person or digitally, with a staffer trained in functional nutrition to create a game plan to put into practice what the doctor recommended. Together between the Parsley team, members receive a seven-part health plan to optimize health at every level - diagnostic testing, mental health, fitness, nutrition, coaching, supplementation and coaching support. Beyond the office, members can access Parsley Perks in the patient portal that include discounts on all supplements and protein powders they sell, as well as access to wellness partners including free Headspace and Thrive Market memberships.

Just last month they launched a Parsley Assessment for commitment phobes that, for $500, packs in what would cost around $2,500 at a traditional clinic: a 75-minute intake, biomarker blood tests, a seven-part map to health, a 45-minute meeting with a health coach and access to the members-only perks program. And for those who can't get enough functional medicine support, Parsley has also launched a Premium Membership that includes additional visits with the doctor and nutrition coach, as well as 'priority visits and messaging'.

If you, like me, haven't been to the doctor in ages because you hate waiting rooms and someone throwing prescriptions at you in between the five other patients they need to see in the next ten minutes, Parsley's whole person approach might be for you. // 8am and 5pm, Dec 5th, RSVP for Parsley events at eventbrite.comparsleyhealth.com