On the NYC Event Scene: Wellness Tips, Vegan Food and Yoga

Wellness tips, vegan food and yoga – those were the magic words that got me excited to attend Nourished Retreat’s third event in Manhattan on April 27th. Offering a full day of programming (the event ran from 10am-6pm), the Spring Forward Retreat was packed with seminars with actionable tips to live healthier lives, demos and over 20 wellness vendors offering items ranging from skin care to healthy snacks.

We first attended the morning yoga session with Bridget Riepl, Founder of the NJ Yoga Collective and the VibeWell Yoga Festival, where we quickly learned that our bodies were long overdue for some stretching TLC. Before beginning the session, Bridget spoke about an interesting topic, which I never thought about before: the overwhelming idea of self-care. This self-care movement, which is supposed to be beneficial to us, has now become stressful as we try to prepare healthy meals, make time for beauty treatments, meditate and fit in exercise classes – all in the same week. She encouraged us to move away from “self-care” during the practice to “nourish” which feels warmer, inviting and specific to you as an individual.

After yoga, we had some time in between our first panel event, so we stopped by a hydration station to pick up coconut water from Harmless Harvest, indulge in beauty-boosting teas from Choice Organics and fuel our post-yoga session with protein bars from Nuttzo. I also sampled nut milks from Three Trees and was excited to see that this brand is gum and filler free, so you better believe that I stocked up on the $1 off coupons that were up for grabs on the table.

After that, it was on to the marketplace. There were so many great vendors, but here are the ones that stood out the most to us.

Hojaverde – This brand serves up the most delicious chocolate I’ve ever tasted, and I’m not overexaggerating. After buying 6 bars (yes, you read that correctly), I still kept visiting the station to sample more and more, with my favorite being the cacao nibs + coffee. What makes this chocolate special is that the cacao beans are gown in the Amazonian zone of Ecuador from soil that is distinctive to the region, which gives it an extraordinary flavor and aroma.

Realm Concept Market – Sourcing ingredients directly from Morocco, this Afro-Latina owned brand offers 100% organic skin care products that feel and smell amazing. My sister and I sampled some of the goods and went about our day, but had to return to the table and purchase some of the products because it left that much of a lasting impression on our skin.

Everripe – Move over Daily Harvest, this brand offers pre-portioned, plant-based ready-to-blend smoothie packs in four delicious flavors. All the ingredients are freeze-dried and organic. I sampled all of them and it was hard to choose a favorite, but I ultimately took home the Greens With Envy which contains pineapple, almonds, peas, mulberries, spinach, plant-based hulled hearts, bananas, chia seeds and chlorella. A pack of 2 retails for $14.

Nourished by Nadia – I recently spent around $30 for a bottle of elderberry syrup and was surprised to see that Nadia sells a DIY Elderberry kit for $10. Made with organic ingredients, all you have to do is boil it with water and a sweetener of choice, and you have your very own immune-boosting tonic without the hefty price tags you see in the supermarket.

Sabrosa Vegana – This brand offers vegan Latin American food, served up with gorgeous edible flowers. Guests were able to order up a feast of plant-based goodness, which included everything from arroz con gandules (pigeon peas) to empanadas.

In between marketplace visits, we attended a few of the panel events. One favorite was Sustainable Living with Erica Blesiada featuring Janet Spiexio of Sustainable Haus where we learned:

  • The glossy coating on plastic bags is made from animal fat. Invest in reusable totes for your groceries, since it’s sustainable and cruelty free.
  • Just because a plastic bottle says its BPA free, doesn’t mean it’s safe. Brands often replace BPA with other harmful chemicals. Invest in a reusable bottle.
  • By buying organic you are supporting organic farmers and increasing the demand for toxic-free food. Invest in organic when your budget allows – it’s not just a healthier food option for yourself, but for the environment as well.

We also enjoyed the Getting Regular and Getting Pregnant seminar with Lisa Paladino, CNM, IBCLC where we learned:

  • How to heal digestive system imbalances with foods and gut healing herbs such as marshmellow root, calendula and ginger.
  • Things to do to help support our body’s ability to detox such as eating at least 6 servings of veggies, drinking half your bodyweight in water and eating blueberries and high fiber foods.

We left the event with a gift bag filled with the most yummiest healthy treats (which we’ve since devoured and shared with others). We can’t wait for the next one!

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