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Finding Simplicity and Serenity in the City

October 2010

By Rachel Kaye, New York

New Yorkers love to indulge. From dining out for most every meal to quick cab rides for the sake of wearing high heels, New Yorkers do not hesitate to make sure their needs are well met. However, with the economy still on shaky ground it is important to take care of one’s self with a bit of frugality.

I recently made the trip to Spa Castle in Queens because I was hearing rave reviews from friends. For $35 I spent the day relaxing at the many saunas, tubs and pools. Among myself were families and their children (children under 2 are free), couples, and groups of girlfriends taking the day off to relax, swim, and soak. Some people chose to bring a picnic from home, others were found at the many healthy food stands, sipping on smoothies or eating fresh sushi. Not only is the price a quarter of your average hour-long massage, but for a family on a budget they can take their children and save on childcare. The place is so big, there really is room for everyone at every age.

In my day pack to Spa Castle, I had a fresh copy of “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall. This book is on the New York Times Best Seller List and also came highly recommended by two avid runner friends. I will admit, I’ve never been a constant runner, but feeling unable to afford a gym membership or yoga classes, I decided to give it another go. This book would be my introduction into becoming a successful runner. In the book, the author sets out to find an isolated tribe in rural Mexico, the Tarahumara Indians - whose people are known to run for extended lengths with little or no rest - and learn their techniques to improve his own running.

While McDougall advocates for barefoot running, I can’t, and most urban dwellers would agree. However, running in flat shoes, like Keds, provide a similar experience as those of the barefoot runners. Running barefoot or in Keds, actually aids in preventing foot pain. I have to say that anytime I’m visiting my parents in Santa Cruz, California, I intuitively prefer to run on the beach barefoot. Now, with reading this book, I am beginning to understand why.

Another secret behind the strength of the Tarahumara Indians lies within their diet - a seed called Chia. I know what you’re thinking, is this the same as the famous Chia Pet from the 80s infomercial? Yes it is. However, long before the Chia Pet was the chia seed, indigenous to South and West Mexico. Known as a super food for centuries, when consumed this tiny seed offers a boost in energy and stamina. It also assists in hydration and prevents carbohydrates into breaking down into sugars. These are just a few of the medicinal attributes. Because of the success of “Born to Run,” Chia can be found at Whole Foods in Union Square. My friend Bryson drinks it almost everyday because he believes it keeps his energy level up for long days spent in his art studio. As a New Yorker, we are always looking for an extra boost to sustain our active schedule. After all, we are infamous for burning the candle at both ends.

As the cold season approaches, I always keep a pack of zinc lozenges in my purse. Known for boosting the immune system, this vital mineral can prevent and decrease the duration of a cold. Whenever I feel rundown, I pop one in my mouth and hope for the best.

Also in my bag of remedies is Yogi Ginger Tea. It's perfect for after-dinner digestion and soothing a sore throat - and it tastes good.

One last goody is Home Health Rose Water spray. When my skin feels dry, I give myself a spritz to hydrate my skin. It is essential in the dry season. I always keep an emergency bottle in my purse for on-the-go.

I think so often we are bombarded by gimmicky products with an ingredient list of unknowns. Retreating back to simplicity is the easiest and most effective way to feel better. Not only do you feel better internally, but your feel better mentally because you aren’t being persuaded by flashy merchandise.

In a time when most of us are in a penny pinching state of mind, less is more. If most New Yorkers can live in less than 1,000 square feet, we can pare down some of our other essentials. Simple running shoes, simple supplements and a book to learn from. Oh, and a day at the spa every now and then.

Another secret behind the strength of the Tarahumara Indians lies within their diet - a seed called Chia. I know what you’re thinking, is this the same as the famous Chia Pet from the 80s infomercial? Yes it is. However, long before the Chia Pet was the chia seed, indigenous to South and West Mexico. Known as a super food for centuries, when consumed this tiny seed offers a boost in energy and stamina. It also assists in hydration and prevents carbohydrates into breaking down into sugars. These are just a few of the medicinal attributes. Because of the success of “Born to Run,” Chia can be found at Whole Foods in Union Square. My friend Bryson drinks it almost everyday because he believes it keeps his energy level up for long days spent in his art studio. As a New Yorker, we are always looking for an extra boost to sustain our active schedule. After all, we are infamous for burning the candle at both ends.

As the cold season approaches, I always keep a pack of zinc lozenges in my purse. Known for boosting the immune system, this vital mineral can prevent and decrease the duration of a cold. Whenever I feel rundown, I pop one in my mouth and hope for the best.

Also in my bag of remedies is Yogi Ginger Tea. It's perfect for after-dinner digestion and soothing a sore throat - and it tastes good.

One last goody is Home Health Rose Water spray. When my skin feels dry, I give myself a spritz to hydrate my skin. It is essential in the dry season. I always keep an emergency bottle in my purse for on-the-go.

I think so often we are bombarded by gimmicky products with an ingredient list of unknowns. Retreating back to simplicity is the easiest and most effective way to feel better. Not only do you feel better internally, but your feel better mentally because you aren’t being persuaded by flashy merchandise.

In a time when most of us are in a penny pinching state of mind, less is more. If most New Yorkers can live in less than 1,000 square feet, we can pare down some of our other essentials. Simple running shoes, simple supplements and a book to learn from. Oh, and a day at the spa every now and then.

Health & Fitness
New York

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