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).

Hedvig Hricak’s Approach to Cancer Treatment

As Chairman and 95th President of the Department of Radiology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Hedvig Hricak is no stranger to helping cancer patients.  Patient Sal Rozzi met up with a doctor at the hospital after getting a “doom and gloom cancer diagnosis” somewhere else.  A doctor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center however, told he would be fine; that was 11 years ago. The hospital is at the forefront of creating new therapies and approaches to cancer and Hricak herself has made great strides in diagnostic imaging used to evaluate prostate cancer.

Some of Hricak’s work at the hospital is focused on customizing the imaging procedure to the individual patient.  In 2002 she was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies society.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is now operating a new facility in Bergen County and cancer treatment that will be offered there will be just as cutting edge. According to the center’s Physician-In-Chief Dr. Jose Baselga:

“We are making great progress. The cure rate for cancer is going up, and is going up fast. The amount of chemotherapy that we are giving to our cancer patients is going down.”

Rozzi’s story and experience at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is perhaps thus not surprising after all.

New York and Mental Health Education

New York is to become the first state in America that will require schools to have mental health education on the curriculum. The requirement – that will become law on July 1, 2018 – will be put into practice in elementary, middle and high schools from the start of the 2018-19 academic year in September.

A member of the board of New York State’s Mental Health Association, Karl Shallowhorn said:

“Frankly, we need this and we need it more than ever I believe. Students will be more knowledgeable, and so will their teachers, about what to look for if a person is in need of help … it will also normalize the topic of mental health.”

It is hoped that this new law will give students the tools to recognize the signs of mental illness, either with themselves or friends/family.  The law was instigated by The Mental Health Association in New York State (MHANYS), which found that “the first signs and symptoms of mental health problems begin, on average, at about 14 years of age.”

NYC: Healthy Place to Grow Old

While New York City has also been well-known for being a financial world center, according to a recent Huffington Post article, it also has a great track record of “medical science and healthcare.”  Earlier this month, at the Merrill Lynch Offices, a Financial Wellness Symposium was held.  What was unique about it was that it brought two issues together – financial success and medical care.

With a focus on aging, the longevity economy was discussed as well as the financial health of New Yorkers within both individual and urban regions. These are important matters to address given that within the next decade, around 20 percent of New York City will be in the ‘elderly’ category.  Hence becoming increasingly ‘age-friendly’ is crucial. We must realize that our financial and personal health are “bound up in medical as well as financial institutional transformations.”

Another way of combining these two concepts is via the home sharing endeavor created by the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens. Since its inception more than 20 years ago, it has gained a reputation – nationwide – of becoming “an affordable housing opportunity that can provide financial relief as well as companionship. Both hosts and guests benefit from reduced housing costs and the possibility of companionship to offset the isolation and loneliness experienced by many living alone.”

Blink and You’ll Miss It

That is, unless you’re off to Washington Bridge’s bus terminal looking to up your fitness level.  Having just moved in, Blink Fitness recently had its grand opening ceremony to mark its newest gym, actually inside the bus terminal.  This marks Blink Fitness’ 63rd location and according to Rose Severino, club manager:

“We are very excited to open our doors to this location at GWB, bringing our Mood Above Muscle philosophy to the Washington Heights community.  We’re sure that Blink will become a healthy, happy hub of activity in the neighborhood.”

To get the youth of Washington Heights motivated, 50 lucky people associated with Fresh Youth Initiatives will be the recipient of a free one-year membership, valued at over $10,000.  The gym will have top quality strength and cardio equipment as well as spaces for training and stretching.  In addition, gym users will be able to call upon the service of certified personal trainers. This was very much welcomed by Eileen Lyons, Executive Director of Fresh Youth Initiatives who said that the non-profit was:

“excited to welcome Blink Fitness into the community, and especially appreciative that they are promoting wellness in Washington Heights.  Their generous donation of 50 memberships to Blink Fitness will enable our own staff, who work hard every day investing in youth and families, to stay fit and healthy.”

In addition, over on Fifth Avenue, NeoU just opened up.  This relatively new concept in fitness – hitting the gym as a nightclub – is really becoming popular and New Yorkers have been given the opportunity to engage in “all out dance-cardio sessions powered by fat balls and kombucha.”

Behind the scenes are Nathan Forster and Michael Alfaro are taking the whole concept to the next level with NeoU.  This “boutique setup and feel with a basement that has a garage-y, CrossFit-style vibe (Forster and Alfaro opened their first box in 2010 in Miami)—plus, three other open-space studios. Expect programming to be constantly changing, including boxing, yoga, bootcamp, and plenty of booty shaking. (The dance cardio divas of Vixen will have a residency there and famed DJ Steve Aoki curated a playlist for its kickoff classes.)”




2018: New York’s Wackier Wellness Waves

If 2017 wasn’t wacky enough in New York with weird and wonderful wellness trends, 2018 will surely not disappoint.  According to a list recently published by Well and Good, we’re taking it to the next level.

Some of the weirder ideas include: moon sound baths with a tracking of lunar cycles for more targeted “predictions” for horoscopes, a drink of moringa (a complete protein plant) to fight anti-aging (as it supports longer telomere compounds).

Then there are the pretty tame suggestions of home workouts being better than those that happen at a fitness studio.  But it’s not just putting on a workout video.  It’s a streaming workout where companies like Peloton are bringing the workout into your home.  Get on your bike and enjoy the spin classes without having to worry if you’ve shaved your armpits.

It’s cheaper too.  Given that a cardio trampoline can be purchased for a mere $100 with training sessions beginning at as low as $10, there’s no longer the excuse that it’s too expensive to get trim.

And let’s not forget nutrition.  Nut milk yogurts seem to be all the rage as they are bursting with probiotics and protein without any of the oft-problematic dairy issues.

The only comment left to make is, dare we ask what 2019 will look like…?

Medicaid Bill for Health Clinics at School

NYS School Boards Association and Whitney Young Health Center representatives joined Assembly member Felix Ortiz for a press conference to request NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign a Medicaid bill affecting school-based health clinics.

Fighting Back Against Cancer

Getting a cancer diagnosis is devastating. Dealing with the new life one has to face thereafter is equally traumatic.  Making appointments, going through chemotherapy, telling loved ones – there is so much to encounter, and it all comes at once.  When one is the main caretaker for a family member dealing with cancer, or having to face it themselves, it seems like a very dark non-ending tunnel.

But thankfully, a lot has changed over the years and there really is hope.  There is support.  There is better (and less traumatic) treatment.  There are also many organizations throughout the nation that have been there for thousands of people facing this same issue.

James Donovan, Goldman Sachs has unfortunately seen loved ones (a good friend and a brother) fight the battle against cancer.  Through the years that Donovan was there for these people, he found tremendous support via the Dana-Faber Cancer Institute. Established in 1947 by Sydney Faber, today this foundation has expanded to be able to support 450,000 people each year.  As well as getting backing from both the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dana-Faber still needs more.  As such, it seeks out donations from individuals and other related-foundations to supplement its research and clinic funds.

James Donovan found this Institute to be a great place to start for those who want to “do something” in the battle against cancer.  As a member of the Board of Trustees now, he advocates for backing this foundation as a first step.

Cancer does not have to be the end of the line.  There is a way forward.  There are many cancer survivors who have benefited greatly from the support of the Dana-Faber Cancer Institute and other such foundations over the years.

NYC Health+Hospitals Appointment

Mitchell Katz, a Californian public health leader, has just been nominated by Bill DeBlasio to be the next CEO and President of NYC Health+Hospitals.  Should this nomination be approved by the Board of Directors he will replace Stanley Brezenoff, the current CEO, who is commending the appointment.

Katz will be leaving his current position of Director of the Los Angeles County Health Agency (a new agency that serves as an umbrella organization for the city of LA’s health services, public health and mental health departments in an effort to provide “more integrated care and programming within LA.”)  During his time there he: established the organization’s ambulatory care network, got rid of its deficit and oversaw the implementation of Orchid, the electronic health system.