Healthy Spa Travel Becoming A Popular Option

Not all that long ago, ask just about any travel agent about “Spa Travel” and they would probably not have known what you were talking about. Hotels have had spas and nicely equipped exercise centers for decades. Cruise lines promote spa treatments on ships at sea almost as much as shore excursions. Chains of fitness centers around the planet have had a focus on health for a while. But the arrival of spa-focused travel is an entirely different animal and one that looks like it will be around for quite some time.

Not really fitting in any particular category, spa travel can combine adventure, budget, wilderness and even air travel to make a new lifestyle-oriented option that can be an excellent choice for people of all ages.

A recent survey found that travelers “are now more interested in traveling to spas specifically for programs like stress-reduction, fitness and weight loss,” notes Susie Ellis, president of SpaFinder Wellness, a service that connects those seeking a healthy lifestyle with its worldwide network of wellness providers in a MySanAntonio report.Just how popular is spa travel? Agents surveyed reported that spa travel bookings increased 37 percent in 2011, a “healthy” growth in and of itself. But that number nearly doubled for 2012 with agents reporting a 68 percent growth in the number of clients choosing spa travel last year.

Better news: spa travel can be a real value-oriented choice with many agents reporting discount pricing on spa vacations. If the idea of centering travel on spa services sounds like something for older travelers, think again. The 26-45 age group is now most likely to book spa vacations. Another Hot spa travel destination? Mexico. Recovering from drug lord-induced bad press, this destination has some of the best deals around.

“The results are a clear indication that more travelers are deciding they simply can’t afford exhausting, unhealthy vacations,” concluded Ellis.

But what is spa-focused travel?

The bloggers at Traveling Mamas inspire women to explore the world via vacations with the kids, girlfriend getaways or romantic escapes. One option to make that happen is a spa vacation as we see in this video– in addition to their library of information – on the topic.

[Photo credit – Travelingmamas]

Vegan meets soul food at Souley Vegan in Oakland, California

Craving the comfort of southern style cooking but don’t want the meat? Or maybe you just want a healthy option to soul food? Souley Vegan in downtown Oakland, California, can provide you with exactly what you’re looking for.

Owner Tamearra Dyson, a vegan since she was 16, grew up eating soul food. Her goal was to adapt the food that she loved into a healthy, vegan alternative that everyone could enjoy. According to Casey Capachi of, some of the menu items include BBQ tofu, vegan macaroni and cheese, potato salad, cheese-less cheesecake, and yams baked with agave and organic raw sugar. They also have a Cayenne Lemonade, a tasty southern-themed cocktail.

Souley Vegan is located at 301 Broadway at the intersection of Broadway and 3rd in downtown Oakland, California.

Loews Hotels help kids eat healthy, build a better lunchbox

Loews Hotels is helping kids eat a little healthier (and give parents some piece of mind.) To celebrate the 20th anniversary of its Good Neighbor Policy, the hotel group launched the “Build a Better Lunchbox” program to promote healthy eating habits and raise funds to support projects in local schools.

Loews Hotels across the U.S. are hosting fundraising events where children and parents will have the opportunity to learn how to build a healthier lunch together, and at the same time support community schools through, Loews’ newest charity partner, a web-based not-for-profit that supports local school projects for individual sponsorship. As the first national hotel partner for, Loews hopes to raise more than $200,000 in total for in 2010.

At the events, each child will receive a specially created Loews Loves Kids lunch bag, an organic cotton lunch bag filled with a coupon for a nutritious berry smoothie at a Loews Hotels, healthy lunch and snack recipe cards, fruit-shaped silly bands, crayons and a $20 donation card for

Loews Hotels is also partnering with Driscoll’s, a family owned company that has been growing berries for more than 100 years, to educate and introduce kids to the wonderful world of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries grown by independent farmers.

What’s in the better lunchbox? We asked Loews for a few of their healthy recipes for kids and received some delicious options! Keep reading for more…
Whole Wheat Turkey-Hummus Wrap Ingredients:

1 Large whole wheat tortilla

¼ Cup Hummus (see Hummus recipe)

¼ Cup crumbled Feta cheese

½ heart of Romaine lettuce

1 4 ounce package of sliced turkey


1. Cut half inch strips of lettuce using all lettuce.
2. Warm tortilla slightly to make easy to roll.
3. Spread hummus over half of the tortilla.
4. Sprinkle feta on top of hummus.
5. Distribute cut lettuce evenly over hummus and feta.
6. Place sliced turkey over lettuce.
7. Roll the tortilla from the edge closest to you half way through, then fold up both ends and roll the rest of the way.



1 16 oz can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans

1/4 cup liquid from can of chickpeas

3-5 tbsp lemon juice

1 1/2 tbsp tahini

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp Chopped parsley


Drain chickpeas saving the liquid from the can aside. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until smooth. Place in a serving bowl; create a shallow well in the center of the hummus. Add a small amount (1-2 tablespoons) of olive oil in the well. Keep refrigerated.

Very Berry Smoothie

Makes 2 cups


1 ¼ cup Driscoll’s strawberries and blueberries

¾ cup full-fat organic vanilla yogurt

½ cup freshly-squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon wheat germ

1 tablespoon agave nectar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Place all ingredients into a blender.
2. Whirl until smooth.
Garnish with a strawberry and serve with a curly straw

Eat-‘Em-Up Fruit Kabobs

Makes 8 Kabobs


1 soft, unsalted pretzel cut into eight (8) cubes

8 cubes smoked Gouda (or a child’s specified favorite!)

8 Driscoll’s strawberries

8 cubes ham (optional)

8 Driscoll’s blackberries

8, 12-inch bamboo skewers


1. On each skewer, thread one cube of pretzel, cheese, strawberry, ham and blackberry.
2. Repeat with remaining skewers.
3. Can be served with various dips, if desired.

Healthy travel: a tip list

You can never have too much travel advice, in my opinion. You can have bad travel advice, but the folks at online travel news site eTurboNews have compiled a great list of tips designed to help you keep your arteries unclogged and your spine in alignment while you fly or road-trip this summer. Nothing new or ground-breaking, but definitely worth repeating.

Part of the list is dedicated to finding more nutritious alternatives to fatty, sodium-laden airport and airline fare. Since childhood, I’ve possessed a deep phobia of airline food, so I’ve always brought my own in-flight meals. Now that tight-fisted domestic airlines are depriving passengers of even a bag of pretzels, all the more reason to hit the grocery store the day before you travel. If you frequently travel last-minute, make sure you keep a stash of healthy snacks, such as unsweetened dried fruit, granola bars, or nuts in the pantry so you can grab-and-go.

There’s good advice, too, on little things you can do to avoid tweaking your back or neck, and preventing those unsightly varicose veins. I would add that deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a much more serious, life-threatening issue on long-haul flights. Get up once an hour and take a lap around the plane, and move your legs by doing some stretches in your seat. Happy, unbloated, limber travels!