Los Angeles

Our Favorite LA Salon Is Coming To A City Near You

Spoke&Weal

Spoke & Weal salon's cult following and swift expansion across the country testify to the effectiveness of of co-founder Jon Reyman's dry-cutting technique. So is his ability to somehow style my unruly mass of mane into something manageable. The man works miracles. Working to evolve the salon industry's traditional methodology of cutting hair while wet, Reyman and team are going against the grain and cutting hair while dry, as it falls. Which he feels is just a more logical, evolved way of cutting. Spoke & Weal cuts often take less than 45 minutes and Reyman is upfront about how he trains his team not to act as a client's therapist, but to give them 'the best haircut of their life.' Which, as I sort of mentioned above, is the truth. I had a chance to connect with him, while he chopped into my previously untamable locks, about his approach, the current expansion into new markets and how they've grown such a dedicated clientele. Read on for our discussion, below.

You started Spoke & Weal in San Francisco. Who is your clientele there, and why that city to start?

San Francisco was a good jumping-off point. We opened fresh without any roots or name in a city that none of us lived in. Christy Dylo, our master stylist and trainer, moved from Minneapolis on faith that we could do what I said we could. This happened pretty quickly. We did not, and have not, done "studies" or SWAT analysis. Its been more a Field of Dreams situation: if we build it, they will come.

I first heard about Spoke + Weal through a few influencer friends in the wellness space. What is it about the brand that is attracting so many beauty and wellness influencers, especially in Los Angeles? How does this ‘insider favorite’ status take form in other markets?

We don't “go after people” we let our work speak for itself. We want guests who genuinely want to see us and appreciate our work. I think our relaxed relationships (meaning no formal trade or sponsorships), but definitely appreciating the support influencers and social media provides for spreading our work and the word, helps create more intimate relationships with all our guests and especially those who have established themselves as influencers. We work hard to make it easy for people.

We are also not celebrity-driven. We just want to do excellent work for people who want it. We always want to understand our success and exposure comes from our talent and drive and not from a once-removed resource. Our attitude is try us, if you love us great, if you love another place better, great, we want you to be happy.

We are the go-to for people who are looking for alternatives in every market we are in.

Tell us about your dry cutting technique? Why haven’t other salons been doing this? Is this part of why you think you’ve been able to so successfully enter other markets

We believe wet haircutting is antiquated and inferior. I can spend fifteen minutes cutting hair dry and it will be better than a four hour wet haircut. Better meaning, the length and density of hair is managed more carefully, clearly and refined. Hair will be softer and more modern looking.

Wet cutting is the least important part of the haircut. It’s the gross-moves part. The initial chopping of the block. The actual refinement and definition takes place in the dry cutting.

Other salons have been trained under older methods. They are stuck in the past cutting small sections and blunt lines. They cut length to manage density (enter heavy layers). Cutting dry we can cut blunt lines, layers, manage length and density more perfectly.

Yes, we are successful because we give better haircuts in less time. Our haircuts “grow in” not out, they last longer. We have created a language that is simple, that helps us deliver what our guests are asking for. We are driven by giving guests the best haircuts in the world.

You started Spoke + Weal after working for years as a master trainer at Aveda. How have you woven clean beauty into your own brand and how are you still working with Aveda products?

We use Aveda in our salons. We want natural eco-concious products that still deliver the results we are looking for. We want performance, results, and environmental awareness to be embedded in our services.

As the ‘talent’ how have you so successfully been able to map out this beautiful growth strategy? Did you find and MBA to help you on a consulting basis, or take on a co-founder who has grown brands in the past?

I do not want to be the most important person in the room. The business is not built on my success but built on the success of the team and our ability to collaborate. We have created clear cutting, color, styling, and culture systems. We stay flexible and strong. I surround myself with people who are capable. My business partners compliment me, and one another, perfectly. Our master team members and educators, Dell Miller, Lindsay Victoria, Jay Braff to name a few have contributed in ways we would have a hard time quantifying. Building Spoke & Weal has always and will continue to depend on the entire teams commitment and sacrifice.

Does technique remain the same, regardless of place, or are your stylists taking different approaches in places like Los Angeles and Nashville, or New York and Chicago?

Everyone is trained on and required to master our techniques. How they use these is up to their individual creative process and consultation. Our pro’s have brands within our brand. We believe the diversity of what we offer, and our collaborative culture, makes us collectively the technically-strongest salon in the world. We are enormously committed to culture. We fail forward. We are constantly striving to challenge ourselves and each other. We communicate clearly and invest heavily in protecting and cultivating our culture. This is what our company retreats and monthly meetings are about. In our organization, culture is everything. Hence our mission.

For those without a Spoke + weal in their city yet, how do you advise customers ensure their stylists are taking the best care of their hair and giving them the best cut possible?

I would ask if the hairdresser is able to cut dry. Find a hairdresser that has committed to continued education. Communicate clearly and bring in pictures. We hope to be in your city soon!


This LA Esthetician Turned her Home Spa Business into Downtown's Biggest Spa

I met up with DESUAR Spa owner Deisy Suarez to learn how this former home-spa esthetician transformed a grassroots operation into downtown Los Angeles' largest day spa. On the day we met, downtown LA's busy farmers' market had DESUAR's block sectioned off to cars, so I hopped out of my Lyft, grabbed a green juice and organic berries along the way, and followed signs for the spa into a commercial building. I wandered down a flight of stairs and after turning a corner discovered what felt like a massive spa-speakeasy.

High, exposed and metallic ceilings, gently lit candles and Moroccan Thuya wood appeared throughout. I met up with Deisy in the relaxation room, where they serve tea and sparkling wine, where she handed me off to one of her colleagues for a massage on Deisy's favorite amenity - DESUAR's Himalayan Salt Bed. It was a dreamy treatment, in a gorgeous space that felt both totally urban and a million miles away. 

Here is how Deisy built her dream spa:

Tell us about DESUAR Spa and how you came to the spa world?

"DESUAR Spa is a 4,400 square foot day spa located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. We have eight treatment rooms, one of which includes a Himalayan salt bed, in which we offer massages, facials, scrubs, wraps, slimming treatments, waxing, spray tanning and soaks. Our style is speakeasy-meets-industrial with a Moroccan twist. Our goal is to provide the best relaxation and also cater to the diverse community of Downtown Los Angeles.

I completed my massage program certificate at the National Holistic Institute in 2010, then attended Marinello School of Beauty acquiring my esthetician license in 2011. I opened a “home spa” offering facials, skin treatments and other beauty services out of a room in my home. In 2015, the home version of DESUAR Spa grew too big to operate out of a small space, and I started looking for commercial space."  

How did you know you were ready to make the jump into opening your own space?

"It was tough to find the right space and a landlord that was willing to take the risk and lease to me. My home business was flourishing and that’s when I began scouting for a bigger location, but I couldn’t find a landlord in Downtown LA who was willing to lease a space to a single, female Latina who had this dream of opening a spa. All they hear when I said 'spa' was 'massage parlor' and they just did not have interest in knowing more about it. It was around this time that I got married, and though he doesn’t have knowledge of the spa industry, with him in the picture, landlords were more receptive of renting to me. To some degree, at least with regard to obtaining a lease, my husband legitimized my business."

 

Did you raise money, or take it on solo?

"This has been a solo venture. I wanted to build my first spa without outside investors. My husband helped me build the spa, carrying wood and drywall up 12 flights of stairs, adding air conditioners, and finding water supplies. He secured business loans that he personally guaranteed, along with his pension and car to help get us the amount of capital we needed.  We worked seven days a week, 12 or more hours a day to secure our new location and cover the crazy buildout costs. We were denied by the city three times for permits thus making the process more grueling and more expensive, but we did it."  

How did you develop your clientele?

"From opening my home spa until now, I’ve always used the best products, found the best training, and have a true passion for what I do. I also posted ads in every local newspaper, dropped my menu to every Downtown LA building, attended and participated in every local networking event. We got our vehicle wrapped to advertise the spa, and I then spent many evenings driving around the local area, parking in strategic locations as a way to advertise. I encouraged my clients to leave reviews for me on every site; took advantage of any technology. Creating strategic partnerships with local businesses has also really served me well to this day. Relationships are very important. It is a challenge to get clients in the door but once I do, it is my goal to make sure they leave with the most positive impression."

How did you come up with the treatments?

"Coming up with spa treatments was the fun part! I traveled South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa to soak in all that I could. I looked into everything, including a 700-year-old Turkish Spa in Downtown Istanbul with the 5" water bugs,  to learn about spa culture across every culture. My dream was to offer the most effective healing treatments, no matter how far I had to go to find them."

What is your next goal for the spa?

"We have been blessed with an incredible therapist team, who we recruited using online posts and social media, who meet strictest standards of spa education and service. Now, with the team in place, I’m excited to soon introduce our own product line and open more locations nationwide and worldwide."

What advice would you have to any current therapists or spa managers looking to open their own facility?

"My number one piece of advice is to dedicate yourself to your craft by constantly studying and improving yourself. You must be dedicated and always learning. Our business evolves and grows so much every day and the only way to stay ahead is to be ahead. Surround yourself with good people who will encourage you and help you grow."

Santa Monica's Drive-by Facials are No-Frills Perfection

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Fast facials are quickly replacing luxury day spa visits for the millennial set. We're more interested in results over pampering, as evidenced by the proliferation of drop-in and slightly more affordable facial retailers cropping up across New York and Los Angeles. 

The other week I discovered that Santa Monica's Montana Avenue is one of the ultimate incubators for testing and growing these drive-by pore cleansing purveyors. I checked a few of them out to see just what can be done in the span of a mini appointment. Here is the scoop on some of the buzziest fast facials in LA's most wellness-obsessed beachside community. You better believe these quickie facial chainlets are coming for your town next, if they're not already there! 

If you have 10 minutes:

Dermalogica is Santa Monica’s original quickie facial purveyor, offering a range of aptly named Express treatments that take 10 minutes. A technician asks what skin concerns or requests there are, offers an option of around six facial themes ranging from hydration to peel, and then dives into a super quick treatment targeting specific issues. All Express treatments are $15, which can then be applied to products if any are purchased.

If you have 12 minutes:

Bulletproof Labs on Main Street offers seemingly every machine-based biohack available, including a cryotherapy facial device. Cryotherapy is said to aid in cell rejuvenation, improve skin tone, reduce signs of wrinkles and promote skin tightening. Bulletproof performs its cryo treatment across the face and neck, which in addition to the above reported benefits, can also reduces puffiness and inflammation to help reduce eczema and acne. Treatments are $50, and package pricing is available.

If you have 15 minutes:

Laser facial empire Skin Laundry’s very first laser facial location is located in Santa Monica, and still acts as an incubator for new treatments including a new ‘mini Fraxel’ that is only offered at the Montana Avenue location. This and every other location offers a signature dual laser treatment, administered by registered nurses in private rooms. The first part of the lightning speed treatment is a YAG laser said to deep clean the skin, followed by one pass of IPL on a low setting, said to stimulate collagen production. There is zero downtime and Skin Laundry has most faces out within under fifteen minutes. Treatments start at $65 per appointment.

If you have 45 minutes:

Since opening in 2013, Facehaus has treated over 50,000 faces at three drop-in facial studios across Los Angeles. Having just opened a location on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica this June, the new kid on the block might be the tipping point that makes Santa Monica's Montana Avenue officially Facial Row. Facehaus offers 30-60 minute treatments bookable by the type of results preferred and performed in an open, sterile-chic and spa-like space. A signature Facehaus treatment costs $65 for 45-minutes of straight to business facial work. Boosts like extractions and oxygen can be added for a $10 fee.

LA’s Best Vegan Ice Cream, Better Than AC

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I popped by Brentwood Country Mart last week to grab a cup of dairy-free ice cream and accidentally spent around 45 minutes in the Goop shop smelling every bag of their very temptingly packaged new bath salts and then (prob on a slight bath salt high) seriously considered buying the entire apothecary merchandise thinking I could transform my tub and vanity games into GP’s. Which, thankfully, the staff ignored me out of doing. But back to the ice cream. I walked around the corner from Goop into Sweet Rose and ordered one scoop each of the vegan versions of dark chocolate and coconut, and left realizing I had just spent almost $10 on a one scoop of ice cream. Which made me think, ‘wow I could have just gotten an entire pint of Vegan Vixen or Van Leeuwen for that amount’. So in the spirit of totally overpaying for one of life’s great simple pleasures, here is a rundown of my favorite, overpriced-but-WORTH-it vegan ice creams in LA:

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Sweet Rose

A medium cup runs around $9, and the selection of non-dairy flavors like dark chocolate, bergamot basil and horchata coconut is small but mighty. There is normally a rotation of around four seasonal flavors, all of which taste like heaven. The place gets overrun with neighborhood kids and their carpool moms between 3-4pm, so plan accordingly. $4.50/scoop.

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Pressed Juicery

Honestly, this is more of a sugar splurge more than anything else. I mean, you’re walking into a juice shop with 10 flavors of green juice and ordering soft serve. Sure, no refined sugars are used in the process of making either the Freezes themselves (sweetened with dates) or the toppings like an amazing cacao drizzle that solidifies once it hits the frozen ice ‘cream’, but they taste pretty decadent. Flavors include a classic vanilla, chocolate, strawberry almond and matcha. $5.95 per 4 oz serving with toppings.

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Craig’s

I feel very strongly that one can never go wrong with a night at Craig’s. Unless you’re on a cleanse, I suppose. Martinis/vegan bolognese/hard-to-find wines/celeb sightings - it’s all right there. But most importantly, they serve a non-dairy ice cream made from a blend of coconut and almond milks brought in daily by a local vendor whose name they will not reveal. I think there are normally two or three flavors in rotation, but the signature peanut butter cup kills me with its richness and sweetness, so much so that I don’t even listen to the other flavors available on any given evening. $11 per massive bowl of ice cream

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Van Leeuwen

I really enjoy indulging in letting anyone/everyone who mentions Van Leeuwen know that I used to make almost nightly ice cream runs to the first Van Leeuwen truck on 75th Street and Broadway, 100 years ago. The thoughtfully designed but modest ice cream truck continues to service it’s OG artisanal best in flavors like vegan Sicilian pistachio, vegan honeycomb made without honey, salted caramel and chocolate chip cookie dough. And then when I moved to Williamsburg, so did the truck (nice of them), and then I eventually moved back to LA and thankful they already had four brick-and-mortar locations here ready to appease all of my Sunday treat cravings. $6 per scoop/$11 per pint.

For a full rundown of all of the vegan frozen desserts in LA, this awesome LAist post is pretty handy. And for a deep dive into Pressed Juicery’s Freeze, Passport to Friday had a wonderfully detailed post here.

 

SoulCycle's New HIIT Class is Murder, in the best way

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Right after our first set of intervals, as I gasped for air amid encouragement from instructor Laura Crago, I thought well, gym cycling classes are toast. After more than a year in a development by a team of master instructors, SoulCycle launched its new SoulActivate class on Tuesday, February 27. And it is a bitch (but in that I DID IT AND NOW I CAN DO ANYTHING kind of way).

Less about the sweaty playfulness and clubby choreography that put SoulCycle on the map, the hour-long, HIIT-style Activate class is the answer to critics who say Soul rides aren't scientifically optimal training for the cardiac system—a number of competing gyms and cycling studios have long focused on "smarter" programming that centers on increasing heart rate and strength training. Now, with an aggressive studio expansion and a following of veteran riders who could complete the traditional SoulCycle class in their sleep, the company is upping its game with the addition of this endurance-building class in studios throughout the Bay Area, New York, and Los Angeles.

The class begins as usual, with a warm-up song and a series of climbs and sprints with the brand's signature tap-back and push-up movements. At about minute 20, though, things took a more serious turn.

An extended weight-training session gave our legs a break but worked our arms using multiple, heavier weights than Soul's traditional rides. And then our instructor sprang it on us that we were in for some gnarly HIIT.

"This is how Olympic athletes train!" Crago shouted, pumping us up. "Pushing your heart rate as hard as you can, followed by real rest, is proven to make you a stronger rider, make you faster, make you better."

At what would have been halfway through a standard SoulCycle ride, we began a series of six intervals, turning up the resistance on our bikes until it felt like pedaling in quicksand. We spun as hard as we could for 20 seconds, then took a one-minute rest, our legs completely still, our chests heaving. After each run, Crago marked the number of sprints we'd completed on a whiteboard behind her; after the first, my legs felt thoroughly worked, my lungs like they were going to explode; after the sixth and final run, I felt like someone really should be handing me a medal.

After a brief reprieve sprinting on a lighter load, we rolled into a second set of intervals. I think I laughed as Crago announced what was coming—I'd barely finished that last set alive. (At this point in the class, a normal 45-minute ride would be over and I would be halfway down the street grabbing protein waffles at Project Juice.) But she wasn't joking, and we instead embarked on a series of eight sprints, 20 seconds each with just 10 seconds off. I honestly don't know how I made it through, but once we moved onto our final sprint song, I was high on my own oxygen and would do whatever she asked.

It's important to note that this class is definitely not for noobs: SoulCycle recommends riders take at least 10 standard classes before signing up for Activate. For experienced riders who already incorporate SoulCycle into a weekly fitness regime, the brand advises taking the new class about two times per week. For myself, I think once a week, as a way to really test and push my cardio system, is plenty ambitious.

Prices vary per market, more info at soul-cycle.com.

LA’s Vegan In-N-Out is in Chinatown (and it’s better than the real thing)

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@burgerlords

It’s called Burgerlords. Across the street from a small framing shop that W+A art insider friends swear by, is Chinatown’s vegan-friendly burger joint Burgerlords. Orders get placed at an outdoor, fast-food styled walk-up window, behind which housemade vegan (and meat) burgers, and vegan animal-style fries called ‘lord of the fries’ are made. A handful of picnic-style tables sit in the middle of Chinatown’s Central Plaza for messily (and delightfully) stuffing thousand island-drenched fries, vegan burgers and cheeseburgers into your face. You can go nearly healthy with a traditional vegan burger on a lettuce wrap, or go full treat meal with a double vegan cheeseburger on a traditional bun with a full order of lord of the fries.

 @burgerlords

@burgerlords

It’s fun, worth-the-drive downtown detour for made-from-scratch burgers that are 100% our new favorite veggie burger in town. Fun fact: the whole Burgerlords concept stemmed from a Tumblr. Yup.

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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!


 

True Food Kitchen and the Benefits of 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.

Parsley Health's $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

The Best Digital LA City Guides

We've pushed out the timeline a bit on our LA VitalGuide, so in the interim, to get a fix of healthy LA - here are some of our favorite digital LA city guides.

Goop's LA Wellness Weekend Itinerary covers all of our favorites in a long weekend format. Clean vegan eats, massage, surf lessons, old school gym time and a healing tonic or two.

Skinny Confidential's LA Mini Delites is a mini guide focused on food that mentions the best after-dinner activity in LA, the Magic Castle.

And who better to recommend city-wide vegan eats than Chef Tal Ronnen of West Hollywood's Crossroads?

VitalGuide mini: Los Angeles

Crossroads on Melrose

VitalGuide mini: Los Angeles

As we head into the final stages of production on the Los Angeles VitalGuide (pre-order live!), we thought now would be the perfect time to share our first VitalGuide mini edition. As often as we can, we will share the tip top of the iceberg of a favorite city. This handful of city stops are a small selection of our fave detour-worthy destinations.

Breakfast

A Votre Sante - 13016 San Vicente Blvd, Brentwood
Tucked away on the outer edge of the residential-feeling Brentwood Country Mart, A Votre Sante has been adored as the ultimate casual, healthy brekkie spot by celebs and civilians for years. Whatever you do, order at least one blue corn banana pancake.

Lunch

Crossroads - 8284 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood
Tal Ronnen's power vegan spot is booked up nightly by healthy Hollywood and food bloggers. Lunch is a touch less busy, giving you a leg up on scoring a coveted booth for devouring the kale Caesar.

Dinner

Gracias Madre - 8905 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood
Bring enough friends to try everything on the menu at this plant-based WeHo take on Mexican dining, and nab a table outdoors for the ultimate in casual glam ambiance.

Sweat

Sweat Garage - 801 North Fairfax, Hollywood
The interval-heavy workout here varies each class, but the focus on hardcore strength and cardio are always at the heart of each session. Intervals are split between treadmill sprints, lifting/bodyweight work, and other drills to keep the cardio coming.

Practice

YogaWorks Venice - 2215 Main Street, Santa Monica
Yes, we know YogaWorks is a chain, but it all started in Santa Monica. And yogis Vinnie Marino and Christa Cahill are just two of superstar instructors who call this studio home. Packed classes are a touch cult-y in the most fabulous way.

++Airport tip: Plant-based Cobb salad at Larder at Tavern, Tom Bradley terminal; Starbucks new Evenings concept serving wine and craft beer also at Tom Bradley. And don’t forget your Moon Juice dusts on the way out of town!