Healthy Breakfasts from Around the World




In India, food is as synonymous with healing of the mind, body and soul, as it is with health. "Ayurvedic medicine is the oldest form of whole-body healing, which began in India, thousands of years ago. The Ayurvedic system of eating is more than just food. Warm, quality ingredients, served in a calm environment, is a must. In the Ayurvedic tradition, starting your day with breakfast helps rehydrate the body, and sets a nourishing base, from which to approach the day. A balanced morning meal can consist of rice, stewed fruits with warm spices, such as apples or pears, mixed with cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, plus simple grains, such as boiled oats with tomatoes, ghee, and cumin, topped with shredded coconut," explains Linden Schaffer, wellness travel expert and founder of Pravassa. 


Another of Schaffer's top pick for healthy international breakfast is Vietnam. "Here, breakfast is the most important meal, and the primary energy source for the day. Throughout Vietnam, street food is popular, with certain stalls becoming famous for crafting one, perfect dish. The dish is made very early, the process begins around 2:00 a.m. for a 6:00 a.m. opening and when it's gone, vendors pack up and go home. Pho, a noodle soup, is Vietnam's traditional breakfast. Find the right vendor, and you'll be reward with handmade, gluten-free rice noodles, bone broth, spices such as cinnamon, clove, fennel and star anise, all of which have anti-inflammatory properties, onions and ginger. Pho is served with a side of fresh herbs and greens, such as mint, basil, bean sprouts, cilantro, and some chili. You can add as much or as little as you want, depending on your palate." 

Want to try these breakfasts for yourself? Book a customWELL adventure to India or join Pravassa's upcoming small group trip to Vietnam


Original article appeared in Reader's Digest. Read the full article here.

{WELL ON THE ROAD} Lena Franklin

Photo: Renee Choi for Pravassa©

Photo: Renee Choi for Pravassa©

Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapist & Meditation Instructor

Most recently in: Thailand and Cambodia. I could go on and on about SE Asia, it's an intoxicating mix of spiritual power and natural beauty. 

The one snack you can always find in my carry on is: You’ll always find organic dried fruit and raw almonds in my carry on. First of all, I’m a savory and sweet kind of gal. But this combo also gives me the protein and fiber I need to stay energized and nourished while flying.

Tell us your in-flight ritual:  I use my flight-time for spiritual practice. It’s fun to think about flying as a built-in time for your own inner meditation retreat without iPhone interruptions! After settling into my seat, I begin applying my favorite essential oils. Lemongrass oil refreshes my mind and releases any negative energies and Frankincense keeps my immune system up and spiritual intentions alive. Then, during flight I usually set aside periods of time for mindfulness meditation practice (attending to my breath, thoughts, body sensations and emotional currents) and loving kindness meditation (sending loving kindness to myself, all those traveling beings on the plane and in our world!). And plenty of water!

How do you conquer jet lag once you've arrived?  The best tip I have is to force your sleep schedule to align with whatever time zone you’re in, and asap. Getting your body on schedule allows you to avoid long term jet lag. Your brain’s melatonin will adjust more quickly…allowing for more enjoyment as you’re diving into new experiences. I also make sure to ingest plenty of fresh greens to replenish my mind and body by seeking out salads, smoothies and sautéed greens. I drink plenty of water, avoid large amounts of alcohol and find time for meditation in the mornings.

Describe your workout on the road style: As a former college athlete I've had to shift from a hard-hitting workout regimen to the softer side of movement. I’ve learned how to listen to what my body needs to stay fit and strong. My vinyasa yoga practice keeps me lean and toned while on the road. I’ll either find a corner in my hotel room or practice outdoors. I also find that good old fashioned crunches, push-ups and squats are fabulous portable workout practices that keep me in-shape on the road. And, I LOVE to walk! Walking through a new city without a particular destination or purpose gets my blood flowing while my keeping my inner wanderluster happy.

How do you keep sickness at bay? Sleep! While traveling, I get on the cosmic cycles of sun and moon ~ rising with the sun and winding down when the sun sets. Making sleep a priority is a non-negotiable for me to keep sickness at bay. I also eat plenty of citrus while on the road to ensure I’m getting enough vitamin C.

What's your 'go-to' restaurant item when traveling? There’s something soul nourishing about soup. Each country seems to have a soup specialty that embodies historic contexts and yummy ingredients from that part of the world. I gravitate towards ordering soup whether I’m savoring a bowl of pho in Vietnam, miso in Japan or spicy chicken soup in Mexico.

What do you do to stay grounded? Meditation in nature, wherever I am in the world, keeps me grounded and centered. My practice is a non-negotiable just like brushing my teeth or showering. Meditating in nature allows me to connect more deeply to myself and the culture that surrounds me. I love to practice sensory-based meditations while I travel. For example, I might sit in a park, the woods or on the beach and listen to the soundscape around me ~ birds singing, trees rustling, motorbikes whizzing, families conversing in their native tongue. Awakening our senses to the present moment experience allows us to grow roots of mindful awareness, inviting us feel grounded as a small but integral part of the world.

What is your preferred method of staying connected with loved ones? Text or email keeps me directly connected with loved ones. But my tribe also knows that I document my journey via Instagram so they love to follow me on there for cultural captures along the way!

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Lena works one-on-one with clients, provides mindfulness corporate trainings, and teaches workshops. She is leading her 3rd Pravassa wellness vacation this year to Vietnam. Follow all of Lena's journeys on Instagram.

Changed by Travel: Katie Cavuto



At ten years old I found myself in Russia. As a young gymnast, I was in Leningrad for several weeks to train. I may have been young, but this, my first international travel experience, left a substantial and lasting mark on my soul. Witnessing the way other people lived humbled me. This trip sparked in me a desired to explore the world. This was my first #changedbytravel experience.

During my freshman year of college, my gymnastics career ended prematurely. This was the catalyst for an intense identity crisis one that to this day reminds me, that with crisis comes clarity. Our struggles all have meaning if we choose to learn the lessons and surrender to journey.

Yearning to find myself, I embarked on a solo adventure through much of Europe which molded who I am today in so many ways. This trip truly solidified my passion for food, cultural cooking techniques, and the deep-rooted history of medicinal foods. Changed by travel, this adventure inspired my career and led me to culinary school, then led to my masters in nutrition.

Finally after years in the classroom, I was longing to explore the world again. I landed in Costa Rica where I led a group of students on a variety of community development and conservation projects. It was here that had a meaningful introduction to what it means to live mindfully. Stationed in rural, impoverished communities, with no more than I few changes of clothes, I found immense peace. A peace that was echoed by those we lived with. During my time here, I was present. I was happy.

One night lying in bed, the sound of the rain approaching and the sweet smell of the humid, tropical air; the rain moved across the tin roof and it sang a calming song that has stayed with my to this day. Now, anytime I get overwhelmed or detached I remind myself to appreciate the beauty of the world around me. I remind myself of the peace that exists in each moment if you quiet you mind so you can bear witness.

Travel has often grounded me during uncertain times in my life. It has gifted me the opportunity to step away from my surroundings, to immerse myself in the unknown, and to connect with my true self. I am thankful for the many opportunities that have followed since that that time in Russia years ago. I now would like you invite you to join me for my next #changedbytravel journey as I lead Pravassa’s upcoming trip to Bali this fall. Together we will reflect, reset, and be humbled by the fact that we are all connected. - Katie Cavuto

Join Katie Cavuto in Bali, September 29th – October 7th. Register here.

10 Stress-Free Travel Tips



Taking the stress out of travel is what Pravassa is known for. While most of our travelers reach their destination via airplane, the car and train can present their own set of travel-related stressors. Taking a toll on your health and well-being shouldn't be one of these things.

Hip and Healthy, an online wellness magazine based in London, released their top 10 stress-busting travel tips to implement into your routine this year. What's on the list? 

  • Don't over pack
  • Pack healthy snacks
  • Let someone else do the planning for you. 

Want to check out the full list? Read it here.

Spring Clean Your Diet



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.


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



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



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


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.