Spring Clean Your Diet

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IMAGE VIA

Seasonal change often bring about renewed energy and the urge to purge all signs of winter hibernation. This year, commit to spring cleaning your diet and dial back the sugar to feel lighter throughout the season. Sugar is the leading cause for concern in the modern American diet (averaging 126g a day!) and is the traceable origin of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Refined sugar found in sodas, candy, and desserts are the obvious culprits, but often it hides in foods that don’t appear sweet like breads, pastas and cereals. Scant in nutritional value, sugar can lead to hormonal imbalance, mood swings, unhealthy skin and spikes in blood sugar levels that trigger intense energy crashes. 

To curb sweet tooth syndrome, Dr. Michael Feigin suggests weaning from sugar slowly to avoid headaches, fatigue and lack of focus. Aim for eliminating one sugary drink, snack or meal a day. Replace your chocolate bar with a bowl of naturally sugared juicy strawberries, or kick your daily vanilla latte for a creamy avocado smoothie. With endless options for fresh, in-season produce, ‘tis the season for healthy eating. As energy levels soar, skin glows and weight falls by the wayside, your saccharine cravings will slowly fade and you may find that you don’t miss them one bit.

{WELL ON THE ROAD} Hope McGrath

Hope Mcgrath
Transformational Coach, Intuitive Healer, Style Consultant

Most recently in: Ethiopia

The one snack you can always find in my carry on is: Bananas and granola bars!

Tell us your in-flight ritual: I love books and journaling, so I get excited that I have to stay put and relax into reading or writing. Plus I love reading some favorite fashion magazine and catching up on a movie. I can barely sleep on planes so I have all sorts of things to keep me occupied. Traveling with kids keeps me busy too.

How do you conquer jet lag once you've arrived?  It's all about pushing through and trying to stay in tune with the time zone in which I've landed. I don’t do caffeine, so I need to rely on my wellness tools to keep me awake.

Describe your workout on the road style: Unless I’m swimming, my workouts are the long daily walks sightseeing on the road. I don’t make an extra effort to seriously work out except for doing yoga on my own. If I don’t do yoga regularly, my back is a hot mess. If there happens to be a pool in my hotel, I will swim daily, but for yoga, I love the website DoYogaWithMe. The great videos are perfect for when I want to take a class my own time and in my own place.

How do you keep sickness at bay? Eating as healthy as I can and keeping up with my vitamin supplements. If I feel sickness coming on, I swear by Sambucol, the Black Elderberry syrup. My whole family didn’t get sick all winter because we take Black Elderberry. Lots of water too!

What's your 'go-to' restaurant item when traveling? I would go for Thai food first if it's available. I love all varieties of asian foods, especially all the fresh herbs and vegetables.

What do you do to stay grounded? Meditation and connection to my mindfulness spiritual practice. Yoga. Journaling. Nurturing friendships and family relationships. Practice daily gratitudes.

What is your preferred method of staying connected with loved ones? I’m old school. I just pick up the phone and call people when I really want to connect. Email and text is fine for brief communication, but I love the phone. I keep on reminding my single friends that there is not relationship in the world that can blossom via text. I also believe in the power of the handwritten note. So I still send postcards on occasion. How we communicate is everything.

Hope is based in NYC and works with her clients in person and via Skype. She hosts visioning parties throughout the year, which can be found on her website. You can follow Hope's journey via Instagram.

Forest Bathing: Japan

PHOTO ©PRAVASSA

PHOTO ©PRAVASSA

Japan -- The average American spends 87% of their time indoors, which contributes to our high stress levels, lack of vitamin D and depression. In Japan, scientists found this to be a serious problem among their culture too and in 1982 coined the term Shinrin-yoku or as you may have heard it: Forest Bathing. In the past three decades Shinrin-yoku has been studied and confirmed as an effective treatment for both physiological and spiritual rejuvenation. The art of forest bathing requires you to leave your smart phones at home and fully engage all your senses in nature in a mindful way. Smell the trees, hear the crunch of leaves underfoot or sit and watch as the animals come out to play. Anywhere from a few hours to a few days will have positive effects on your health and well-being. Sixty-seven percent of Japan is covered in forests and with trails devoted to Shinrin-yoku, going direct to the source has never been so fun.

Want to experience Japan for yourself? Join our October group journey or request a customWELL itinerary from us. 

Green Bamboo | Thailand

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IMAGE VIA

A small nondescript wooden Thai house down a little Soi off the eastern wall of the Old City in Chiang Mai leads to you to Green Bamboo. A favorite of ours for years, as both the structure and the products used within are local, organic, and sustainable. With only a handful of beds and therapists, walk-ins are a thing of the past. Luckily you can make a reservation via email. 

Massage places are a dime a dozen in Thailand and you’d be hard pressed to find a bad one. What differentiates Green Bamboo from the others is their approach: using certified organic fair-trade products. After changing into the traditional Thai Massage outfit, treatments begin with a warm foot bath, where slices of bergamot are used to scrub your feet clean. Small rooms with mats laid out side-by-side, separated by hanging curtains offer a barebones approach to decor, but that's okay as you're there for the intense deep-tissue work. Thai massage is not for the faint of heart as you are poked, prodded, and pressed until your muscles begin to relax involuntarily. Our favorite massage stretch - right wrist in the therapist left hand, right ankle in her right hand with her feet pressed onto the small of your back - pulls your limbs in opposing directions, effectively bending you into a side bow. We are now walking taller because of it. 

COST: 375Baht($10.60)/ THAI MASSAGE                                LENGTH: 90 MINUTES

Breathe In

Breathing in Nature | Pravassa©

Breathing in Nature | Pravassa©

I was first introduced to my breath about 20 years ago, when I started practicing yoga as a stress reliever. No matter the studio I walked in to: Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Anusara, or Iyengar, one constant thread was this teaching of "returning to your breath". Years later when I decided to launch Pravassa, I was faced with a totally new life on the horizon—that of an entrepreneur no less. Just thinking about all the new challenges I would face overwhelmed me: How would I establish myself? Would I run out of money? What if I failed? These paralyzing questions and creeping doubts would (and sometimes still do) keep me up at night. It was in those early moments that I knew I needed to find a way to breathe again without gasping.

Today, I have found a great online resource that allows me to stop, breathe, and find my center in short 2-minute increments thanks to BreatheAware. This easy to use online platform helps you change breathing habits in a mindful way. The best part: I was able to adjust the program settings so that a reminder is sent to me via email or text at the time(s) of day of my choosing. With so much on my to-do list, this automatic reminder to stop and be mindful helps to sustain me throughout the day, but carries me into a calmer place. - Linden Schaffer

Take a few minutes today and try BreatheAware, then get your own monthly subscription

Join Pravassa and BreatheAware this December in Costa Rica as performance enhancement coach Ed Harrold leads breathwork in a tropical setting, which promises to help you hit the reset button.

How One Woman Turned Her Love of Wellness Travel Into A Full-Time Job

IMAGE VIA THE LIFESTYLE EDIT

Thank you to the team at The Lifestyle Edit for coming to chat with our founder about her journey into wellness travel. Want to get the entire story and some tips and tricks that you can start to use today? Get Linden's new #1 bestseller Living Well on the Road. Out now!

From The Lifestyle Edit:

If you’re looking for a holiday to regroup and recharge, Linden Schaffer is the woman people call. We’ve all had that experience where you get home from a holiday, only to feel like you need another trip to recover from the first one and that’s where wellness travel comes in. Gone are the disorganized, over-scheduled itineraries. Through Pravassa, Linden offers everything from mindfulness and meditation getaways in Vietnam to trips to Japan to study the art of Zen from people in the know that you’d never be able to track down on your own.

HER WEDDING WAS THE LIGHTBULB MOMENT FOR THE CONCEPT: I was working in fashion at the time but the idea was the coming together of all my personal loves – what I was doing outside of my career like traveling and doing yoga, working out, learning to eat better and cook more, those kinds of things. I was ready to leave fashion.

THE TRANSITION PROCESS: I’m very organized, very type A. I’m interested in taking risks but the idea of failure can be scary. Having nothing in New York is tough.

ON STARTING A BUSINESS IN AN AREA SHE’D NEVER WORKED IN BEFORE: I think there’s an advantage in not knowing anything about the industry that you are going into, because it’s easy to disrupt it.

Read the full article here.

{We're Obsessed} Living Well on the Road

“You deserve a foolproof wellness plan that will meaningfully modify your lifestyle, help you stay healthy (physically, mentally, & socially), and allow you to stand up for your self-care, even when you feel you don’t have time.”
— Linden Schaffer

Stressed out? Eating badly? Sleeping with your phone rather than your partner? Great news, one small change can put on the path to wellness.

Travel + Leisure has already hailed it, “A travel health essential the pros swear by.” Pravassa founder, Linden Schaffer's debut book publishes TODAY! It's the new must have playbook for anyone that wants to start and maintain a wellness routine while traveling. Scientifically backed data lays the ground work, Schaffer's real world experiences keep you entertained, and the wellness checklists make it easy. 

Get your copy today and begin Living Well On the Road.

{WELL ON THE ROAD} Linden Schaffer

IMAGE: RENEE CHOI FOR PRAVASSA©

IMAGE: RENEE CHOI FOR PRAVASSA©

Linden Schaffer
Founder and Director of Pravassa

Most recently in: Thailand and Vietnam

The one snack you can always find in my carry on is: Justin’s Classic Almond Butter squeeze packs. I carry a few of these single travel size packets in case of emergencies - they pack a protein and fiber punch. Plus I always have a refillable water bottle, which I’m constantly sipping from.

Tell us your in-flight ritual: I almost always travel with a carry on only, which means my under the seat bag has to be efficient. The first thing I do before I fully settle in is use a lavender wipe to cleanse my entire space: arm rests, tray table, window, seat belt, even the overhead air vent. I then apply a salve to my upper lip and hands. Next I take some doTERRA On Guard essential oil, which is a blend of orange, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary, to help boost my immunity. Then out comes the eye mask and cashmere scarf, which doubles as a blanket and pillow barrier before I settle into sleep.

How do you conquer jet lag once you've arrived? My conquering jet lag routine starts at home before I board the plane. I make sure to eat a nutrient rich, protein heavy meal before I depart. I do not eat airplane food, which gives my internal system a rest and means I’m hungry by the time I arrive at my destination. If it’s morning upon arrival, I shower, eat breakfast, and spend the day being as active as possible. If it’s evening, I’ll have a light healthy snack and head straight to bed, being sure to keep the curtains open so that I can rise naturally with the sun.

Describe your workout on the road style: At home my routine is a mixture of cardio, strength training, and yoga. On the road, I follow the same principles, but the activities will take different forms depending on where I am. Since I’m always scouting wellness travel opportunities or on the road with Pravassa’s wellness travelers, I get my exercise by bike riding, climbing mountains, hiking, participating in city walks or in a yoga class. If for some reason I cannot do any of these things, I take 20-minutes and turn my hotel room into a fitness studio.

How do you keep sickness at bay? Washing your hands is the most important thing you can do. In addition to that, I take or eat probiotics daily and make sure I get plenty of sleep. Sleep is key for keeping your body healthy and for getting it back on track should you come down with something.

What's your 'go-to' restaurant item when traveling? My diet is mostly vegetarian so I stick with this on the road as much as possible. The first thing I do is ask about the specials, which is the freshest food available and go from there.

What do you do to stay grounded? I try to spend as much time outdoors as possible. Luckily I tend to travel to warm places, which makes it easy to spend the majority of my day’s outdoors. Feeling the sun on your skin and breathing in fresh air always helps to keep me present, grounded, and with a smile on my face.

What is your preferred method of staying connected with loved ones? FaceTime. It’s the best invention for someone who travels a lot. Actually being able to see your loved ones while you’re away makes it easier to connect on a deeper level and feel like that person is there with you.

When not traveling for Pravassa, Linden is based in NYC. Her first book, Living Well on the Road, with foreword written by actor and author Andrew McCarthy is out March 16th. You can follow Linden’s journeys via Instagram.

Vietnam Changed My Life

Vietnamese Street Food | Pravassa©

Vietnamese Street Food | Pravassa©

Renown chef Anthony Bourdain criss-crosses the globe in search of food and flavors. Yet it seems he loves his job because each time, he has a #changedbytravel experience. In an interview with Conde Nast Traveller, he opened about some the highlights of his life on the road, talked about why Vietnam changed his life, and spills on airline food.

Read the interview here.

Keep Your Ego in Check

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IMAGE VIA

Ego. Defined in psychoanalysis as "the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity". It can be our worst enemy or our greatest strength and often times we need to consciously keep it in check.

Success Magazine asked 6 entrepreneurs how they keep their ego in check. Everything from setting lofty goals to standing behind your ideas came into play. Here's what our founder, Linden Schaffer had to say: "By reminding myself of the impermanence of it all. It is important to stop and celebrate the victories as well as stop and examine the failures. Neither is permanent and both make you a better person." 


Read the full article in the March 2017 issue of Success Magazine.

 

WANT MORE TIPS FOR HOW TO START OR MAINTAIN A WELLNESS ROUTINE AT HOME OR WHEN TRAVELING? PICK UP a copy of LINDEN SCHAFFER'S NEW BOOK
 LIVING WELL ON THE ROAD OUT MARCH 16TH.