Healthy Happy New Year New York

With it's hot dogs, greasy pizza, bagel bombs and bars that don't close until 5am, New York City might not seem like the healthiest destinations in the world. However, with the introduction of Citibike this year, bike lanes popping up everywhere, amazing parks (my favorite is the High Line), yoga studios and more and more restaurants serving organic cuisine, New York is certainly undergoing a healthy make over. Here are just a few of my favorite healthy spots.

Sweat it out
Once a month, my friend and crafter and I take a pilgrimage to the in the East Village. Sitting in the saunas on a cold winter's day is not only relaxing but a vital part of a healthy regime. Our skin is probably the most under utilized organ of detoxification. Nearly every toxicant studied is excreted through sweat. Believe it or not many health insurers in Europe actually routinely pay for saunas. Many studies have shown levels of substances such as pesticides, mercury, solvents and other xenobiotics are significantly reduced after sweating. If you are looking to get the most out of your detoxification at the baths, than help your liver out by forgoing the vodka.

Stretch and Breath
I was heart broken when my beloved Om Yoga closed in June 2012. Fortunately my teacher Brian Liem took refuge along with some of my other favorite Om teachers across the street at to form Now Yoga at the Shala. They’ve recently just made another new home by Astor Place. Whether you practice at Now Yoga, the Shala, another studio or at home, yoga is an important part of a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally. Yoga improves digestion, sleep, respiration, back pain and blood pressure. What is even more amazing is yoga's ability to help improve areas of the brain such as the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, which can atrophy due to stress and aging. Improving these areas, strengthens your memory and problem solving abilities.

Nourish your Body
When following a special diet, eating out can seem like a daunting task. Luckily this has been becoming easier in New York. One of my favorite places to grab a quick bite with my friend and therapist and Lyme specialist Ruschelle Khanna is Hu Kitchen. Their menu is mostly dairy and grain-free and they use only grassfed meats and organic poultry. I usually get one of their tasty bowls or chocolate chia pudding if I have a sweet tooth. Many conditions benefit from avoiding grains and dairy including asthma, acne and multiple sclerosis.

Clear your mind
Meditation and mindfulness practice may be the key to a healthy lifestyle. It has been shown to help lower blood pressure, curb addictions, and improve depression and anxiety. Moreover it can help with pain and inflammatory conditions by reducing inflammation. Studies have shown that meditation actually limits the expression of genes associated with inflammation. New York is abundant with many different centers offering various styles of meditation. Since moving to Brooklyn, I frequent a few places in Crown Heights. When I'm in Manhattan, I often take a cushion at MNDFL at their Greenwich Village location which is a quick walk from my West Village office.