Satisfying ‘So[u]l Sips’

What happens when a struggling student wants to find a way for locals to be able to access “healthy, delicious and affordable vegan food”?  The Bushwick plant-based restaurant Sol Sips; brainchild of entrepreneur Francesca “Sol” Chaney who is just 21 years old.

While studying at Brooklyn College, the pre-health profession/anthropology student Chaney – who was also working as a doula – found that juggling her busy life was not exactly conducive to accessing healthy vegan food.  So she began by making her own meal on-the-go smoothies which gave her more energy. Also, in 2015 – while working at her cousin’s apothecary – she started making herbal tea blends and elixirs to enhance her own wellness.  Thereafter she presented her Sol Sips drinks to the community and has since developed her own signature twist on these beverages.

In 2017 she was presented with opening a local pop-up café, but this went on to be way more than a 3 month stint, becoming her permanent home with her nutritionist mum Emeli as her partner.

What is now offered includes healthy vegan staples for reasonable prices between $7-15 such as: vegan omelets, soups and wraps (as well as the beverages).

Ways to Reduce Waste

We can all help the environment in so many small ways without really feeling the impact in our own lives. How can we do this? We can consider the things that we throw out, reuse, recycle and purchase and try to make reductions wherever possible. Each of these steps can make a huge difference on landfills like the Bridgeton landfill if you think about it over a one week or one year (or many year) pattern.

Make sure that you purchase items that have been recycled whenever you can. This could include paper goods, clothing and more. You will help to reduce the impact that your purchases make on landfills.

Another creative suggestion is to clean with natural products. Rather than buying floor soap, tile cleaning, toilet bowl cleaner, counter cleaner and more, you can find ingredients in your house for natural cleaning supplies. You won’t be buying plastic bottles and purchasing more things that need to go into landfills.

New York’s Social Wellness House

spaThere is now a social wellness house in lower Manhattan.  For those who want to chill out in a healthy non-alcoholic way, this is the place to go.  Get a manicure, listen to a lecture on wellness, meditate, have a massage or enjoy a Pilates class at one venue.

Set to open early next year Gradient Architecture and Bower is designing the space with the view to letting patrons “realign, expand their thinking and connect with like-minded others.”

Meanwhile for those who want to get into the swing of things now but would like to combine it with their work time, the Financial District is offering a new co-working office whereby members can take fitness classes at an in-house studio.  Of the company providing this – called Primary – co-founder Danny Orenstein explained that they “wanted to bring a lot of wellness amenities right in arm’s reach [adding that] People are realizing the shared office space isn’t one size fits all. We’re trying to provide something that feels really refined and fits in the wellness model.”

New York Nirvana

mindfulnessEstablished by Ellie Burrows at the end of 2015, MNDFL seeks to facilitate meditation for people. Together with Lodro Rinzler (Chief Spiritual Officer and Partner) the ground floor of an 1837 Greenwich Village townhouse has been “transformed into a cozy modern cocoon.” Homepolish interior design was also part of the equation.

At this center, you will find represented the four principal thoughts of Tibetan Buddhism along with Shambhala, Theravada and Zen. One can also take classes in Vedic and Kundalini.

It was created to give people the opportunity “to feel good.” Self-described as “New York City’s premier meditation studio.” Offers a slew of “expert teachers from a variety of traditions offering simple techniques in an accessible manner.” The meditation room is open when there are no classes for the public “for self-guided practice.”

So, book your cushion at 10 East 8th Street, New York, with prices as low as $10 and find a space to breathe today.

Saying Goodbye to S.A.D.

bahamasBetween four and six percent of Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder – S.A.D. A further 10 to 20 percent “may experience a mild form of winter-onset S.A.D.” According to the US National Library of Medicine, “some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, have little energy, and may also feel depressed. Though symptoms can be severe, they usually clear up.” So for those in New York who want to escape the winter blues, what better place to do it than the Bahamas?

A great place to go is between Christmas and News Years, which offers the vacationer the perfect climate.  Indeed, leaving New York’s dreary winter behind is not only good for those encountering any elements of S.A.D., but can be beneficial for anyone who likes a bit of sunshine, rest and relaxation. It’s also a good idea to go before the weather really gets bad as, according to meteorologist Jeff Smith, “some snow and a light mix of precipitation arrived in parts of the New York area ahead of much colder temperatures and gusty winds.”

The cold weather is known to have a negative impact on a lot of people. Being in the sunshine sometimes just makes things seem better, as it is actually brighter. Indeed, according to Laura Geggel, staff writer at LiveScience, “Cold temperatures can influence our thoughts and decisions without our even knowing it, experts have found…Hot and cold temperatures affect the way people judge others all of the time. For instance, compared with when a person is holding a cup of hot coffee, a person holding a cup of iced coffee tends to see others as interpersonally colder, according to a 2008 study in the journal ‘Science.’”

Of course, for those who need to do something even while they are relaxing, they can enjoy a whole slew of other health-enhancing activities in the near vicinity. One of these is swimming with dolphins which is actually used as a therapy in some places. Known as Dolphin Assisted Therapy (DAT), a 2005 study undertaken by a group of academics at the University of Leicester found that “symptoms improved more among this group [those swimming with dolphins than the others] who swam in the same area but did not interact with dolphins.”

So don’t let S.A.D take over your winter. Find a time to take a break. Enjoy your vacation in the Bahamas and soak up some sun!

Senior Wellness Fairs

elderlyEvery year, around Fall time, Patty Richie, State Senator, presents a series of Senior Health and Wellness Fairs.   In September and October the communities of central and northern New York are privy to such fairs at which they can access tips and tools needed to enhance their wellness.

At these fairs are free lunches, entertainment and more. This year is expected to be “bigger and better than ever.” It is a fabulous opportunity for seniors to find a way to actually enjoy enhancing their quality of life in a fun way. There will be over 50 exhibitors at each event presenting ways to improve health. And the free lunches will be prepared by the “future chefs” at St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES and Oswego County CiTi.”


NY Offices: When Environment Meets Wellness

wellnessAll employers want their staff to function well and take as few sick days as possible. But how can they have any control over that? The real estate company Colliers International believes there is a lot employers can do to enhance wellness in the workplace. Indeed, according to Keith Perske, Executive Managing Director of Workplace Strategy and Innovation for the Colliers Corporate Solutions Team, workplaces should be perceived as “holistic systems, not just panel heights and office sizes. By thinking this way, we don’t just focus on cost savings and space reduction, but on creating spaces that actually serve their purpose as tools for productivity and touchstones for culture. For this reason, we include a wellness component in all our workplace engagements.”

The question still remains though, how exactly does the real estate company fit into this? And what – in practical terms – is it doing? Perske explained: “We partner with clients to build workplaces that help people and create competitive advantages for companies. We think about workplaces as holistic systems, not just panel heights and office sizes. By thinking this way, we don’t just focus on cost savings and space reduction, but on creating spaces that actually serve their purpose as tools for productivity and touchstones for culture. For this reason, we include a wellness component in all our workplace engagements.”

There are so many things – way beyond a fitness room – a company can do to enhance workplace wellness. Offer employees healthy food choices, provide lower fat milk for coffee, make sure there is a lot of natural sunlight, boost authentic interactions. What does this do? Research has found that people just work better and are motivated to push themselves more when they are relaxed. For example, the Principal Financial Well-Being Index survey found that 40% of employees say they want to work harder and perform better and 26% miss fewer days of work by participating in wellness programs.

And when employees are relaxed, they are less likely to hate coming to work, more likely to stay healthy and thus will take sick days off less frequently.

So the more wellness in the workplace, the better productivity for the company. It just makes “cents” to care for one’s employees.

New York: Health Care System

healthcareNationwide, based on 274 regions, some of the cities in upstate New York have the most affordable healthcare according to a recent report put out by the Niagara Quality Health Coalition. Rochester came in fourth and Syracuse 19th. Conversely, Santa Cruz was the most expensive.

In addition, New York comes in at number four nationwide for encouraging the most people to sign up for coverage under the individual health insurance market. Indeed, just last year the city of New York worked heard in an attempt to fulfill one of the key goals of the Affordable Care Act.


Counseling for New York Teens

smartphoneStudents from ten public high schools in New York City are going to be given smartphone access to free and confidential counseling for mental health. NYC Teen Text was developed following a survey in 2013 on Youth Risk Behavior that revealed 27 percent of NYC public high school students feel sad/hopeless every day for two or more weeks. Of this figure, only 18 percent accessed a counselor. The idea behind NYC Teen Text is to close this gap.

It is a great idea given the amount of time teens these days spend on their phones. NYC Teen Text will have approximately 2,000 local providers of counseling services in the database. In addition, for teens that seem like they might harm themselves, counselors can work alongside the local police department to check in on them.

A substantial supporter of the program has been Chirlane McCray, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife.  Their own daughter has suffered from mental illness.  McCray pointed out quite simply that: “our goal is to meet teens where they are – and where they are is on their phones.”

One should realize however that this program should NOT be used in place of traditional one-on-one counseling, as that is very important to be face-to-face with a counselor. But it is a good start, especially for those teenagers reluctant to make an appointment with a counselor.

National Wear Red Day

heartFemale New York heart-disease survivors are sharing their stories with CBS2 for National Wear Red Day. The idea behind this day is to increase awareness about the rise in heart disease for women. February is Heart Health Month that is taking place alongside the Go Red for Women campaign.

Heart disease is the Number 1 killer for women but these days 80 percent of heart disease is actually preventable, should women be aware enough to take care of their health by eating well and engaging in cardiac-based exercise on a regular basis.

In addition, Macy’s is taking part in the fun and health promotion activity. Three Days ago which marked National Wear Red Day, Macy’s invited its customers to “shop, save and support the fight against heart disease.” For all those shoppers who wore red to Macy’s on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, they received a 20 percent off on certain merchandise as well as all items in the sales and clearance sections.

That should have really appealed to New York women who we all know, just love to shop….but hopefully now they’ll do it without dropping!