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Ashley Koff Headshot

Feeling Deprived? Need Energy? Eat, Drink Organic & Be Merry

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This past weekend could have been a recipe for disaster and dissatisfaction. I was thrilled to join a panel of the amazing Dr. Greene (Feeding Baby Green), Anna Getty (Easy, Green, Organic) and Anni Daulter (Organically Raised) at Whole Child Whole Planet Expo to help parents navigate better food choices for their kids (and themselves). However, my participation meant the dreaded red eye to NYC so that I'd make NYC Grows with events and booths from my friends at Nature's Path, Organic Valley, and Rodale (Organic Gardening magazine and Maria Rodale's new book -Organic Manifesto). Let me be clear, for all reasons health and sanity, after age 30, I made it a core policy to not take red eyes. And that said, what unfolded, with a little help from my own AKA flight kit tips, proved to be one of the most energizing experiences. It had everything to do with my prep and my recovery being organic fare, even the AKA flight kit remedies are organic too. Gee, I bet Mother Nature never knew that her bounty would be promoted as the solution to red eye travel recovery.

During the day at the expo, I made a point to switch between water and Olade (an organic beverage, sweetened with stevia and with some electrolytes to help me achieve actual hydration) and coconut water (rich in potassium, this is Mother Nature's hydration too). I also stopped by the Nuttzo booth and made a concoction featuring Santa Cruz organic applesauce and the delicious nuts, legumes, and flaxseeds of Nuttzo - for a complete eating occasion. Prior to leaving LA, I took a quick shower (I'd managed to get a mini-run/ walk in with Rerun and who wants to travel dirty) and applied organic coconut oil, left on my Intelligent Nutrients conditioner, and applied Tata Harper's organic skincare so that my skin was hydrated and protected for the flight. Next, grateful for a ride to LAX, I treated my driver (and good friend) to a delicious meal at my local restaurant, Axe, for an organic farmer's market plate and organic mint tea. Having an early meal that satisfied and the warm tea got me ready for the flight both physically and emotionally. After passing security, I reached into my AKA flight kit to grab organic Natural Calm and a Traditional Medicinals herbal and, yes, organic, teabag. I headed to Starbuck's and got a large hot water to which I added my potions as I prepared to board. In-flight, I popped my LifeShield immunity (mushroom) supplement from New Chapter (I never miss this but especially not on a flight day), drank my tea / calm, put on my Bose silencing headphones, and ordered up some classical tunes. On arrival, I had water with Ultima Replenisher as I headed into the city. Let's be honest, I didn't feel amazing, but I didn't feel awful either. Thankfully, I got a wink or two more of sleep, got a shower (repeated my organic skin and hair care regime) and headed off to NYC Grows.

For the next 48 hours, the ability to eat, drink, apply, and discuss organic made a clear difference for how I felt on a rainy weekend in NYC (that and getting to stralayoga.com - oh Tara, what a great class!). It started at Gusto Organic - truly the greatest thing since sliced bread - whether it was a greens juice, an empanada, a hempanada (For gluten-free folks and those that are just hemp-interested), or the most delicious salad and tea - the organic fare (and affordable pricing) at the first 100% certified organic restaurant in NYC proved once again how NYC does it right when it comes to food and atmosphere. My trip also included stops (ok two stops) at Candle Café and Candle 79 for the most delicious organic and vegan fare - including an amazing wine and desserts that left us all wondering if it was not only possible to eat there everyday but ready to make our reservations for Thanksgiving and Holiday dinners which Benay at Candle 79 told us are some of their busiest days, best menus, and that the community of people who attend make the experience all the more loving and beautiful. I learned that they deliver food too (guess what Dr. Oz eats on the days he films) and are also working with the schools to create more organic plant-based options (shall we call this Jamie Oliver 2.0?!). Even the little spots, the Little Owl for example, had organic fare that surprised and perfectly sandwiched a morning of talking organic, toxin-free skincare on GMA Health (see link) an afternoon of meetings in the West Village.

Yes, I did go back to Gusto again before I left town. But since I live uptown, it was a meal at Fig & Olive - yes organic of course, and a tea from Le Pain Quotidien, another organic spot, that set me up right for my return trip late in the evening to LAX and to a day of patients in LA the next morning (followed by an organic dinner at Akasha - NYC isn't the only place that gets it right with food and atmosphere).

Now, I still don't recommend that anyone take a red eye. But I must confess that for as good as I felt, as I feel this week on my return, it seems far less daunting. Better takeaway lesson? Organic makes me feel better - I'm not a randomized controlled double-blind study, just one person who knows that organic from head-to-toe, inside and out, keeps me energized for optimal health and happiness.

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