In case you haven’t heard, it’s 2020, a new year and a new decade. And along with that nice, even, round number comes that time of year where people dedicate themselves to getting healthy. At least for the month of January. While setting goals and making the effort to become a healthier person can be done any time of year, the start of a new year seems to go hand in hand with making a change.
Sonoma County is rich in wine, beer, bread and cheese, and let’s face it—those are all unhealthy things unless consumed in moderation. But, as surely as no one can stop at two slices of cheese or one piece of bread, there’s also a reason they sell beer in packs of six. Admit it—it’s challenging to go easy when consuming delicious things that are bad for your physical, and often mental, health. Yet for all the temptation in this county, there are also several options for kick-starting your health in the new year.
Meredith Brown is the Petaluma-based owner of Salt and Sage Nutrition. Throughout the year she teaches classes on healthy habits that include cooking, eating and the ever-chic detox cleanse. At this very moment Brown and her cadre of students are in the midst of a 21-Day Purification program that began Jan. 20 and runs through Feb. 5. The program requires abstinence from sugar, grains, dairy and alcohol—which makes for some interesting stories during the Wednesday-night meetings. But why 21 days?
“There’s a saying that if you can do something for three weeks, it can become a habit,” Brown says.
Which is what the program seeks to do—build healthy habits. Although Brown offers shorter cleanses throughout the year, she feels the longer cleanse is more effective.
“I notice when I do the 21-day program, when I get to day 10, I don’t really notice that many changes in my body and the diet doesn’t feel like it’s having an effect,” Brown says. “I usually haven’t lost much weight. But by the end of the 21 days, I’ve lost weight and I feel much better about the diet overall. The extra week at the end really seals the deal, and a lot of people tend to stick with the new, healthy eating habit after the detox ends.”
For the $295 price tag, participants get a bevy of oils, fibers and supplements—plus a cookbook and Brown’s spunky personality to help them along.
If 21 days is too daunting, never fear. Wes Coffman, who co-owns Santa Rosa’s Juice on the Square with his mother, Theresa Chavarria, has a shorter cleanse option. The juice bar offers several juice cleanses ranging from a one-day cleanse for those who wish to merely dip their toes in juice, to a 30-day cleanse (doctor’s approval required).
Located temptingly between Fogbelt Brewing Company and Cibo Rustico Pizzeria, Juice on the Square is a hip little spot with colorful and freshly made cold-pressed juices. Echoing a similar sentiment to Brown’s, Coffman says they design the juice cleanses to kick-start a person’s health as well as to help them form healthier food habits.
“It’s a good way to break a habit or routine and also create a new, healthy one where your body gets used to eating more fruits and vegetables” Coffman says, of the cleanses. “In one bottle of juice, you get two pounds of vegetables—so they’re really high in macronutrients, which gives
While he admits it’s likely less expensive to research a juice cleanse online and do it yourself, Coffman notes that juicing takes a long time and is typically very messy. To that end, he also says Juice on the Square “offers a lot of convenience and also a big variety of juices that people may not be able to make at home” in a timely fashion. They also offer delivery.
Cleansing and detoxing your body is oftentimes a big, scary and uncomfortable undertaking. There’s really nothing more terrifying than the day after you ingested four beets and forgot about it until you took a bathroom break. If it isn’t for you, that’s OK—perhaps a more magical, mystical new year habit is more your speed.
In that case, head on over to Lucky Mojo Curio Co., next to downtown Forestville. Not only is Lucky Mojo one of the funkier hidden local gems, it also offers a huge selection of candles, oils, herbs and Hoodoo folk-magic paraphernalia to get you headed the right direction in the new year.
After entering the shop and passing a plethora of lit candles featuring various saints and sinners, one can easily get lost in the shelves of oddball items in Lucky Mojo. Fortunately, staffers like Jenne Kaivo are there to help. When asked about items that might help one get a good start on the new year, Kaivo has plenty of suggestions.
While mixing what looks like a large trough of Himalayan salt, Kaivo talks about “Lucky Money envelopes” that are “really good to give people a little bit of money in the new year.” Kaivo says this can “inspire prosperity and abundance. When you give out good luck to people, good luck comes back to you.” Kaivo also points out several glass-encased candles, oils and bath crystals that one can use for “trying to start on the best path which is good for the new year.”
Lucky Mojo also has several “cast off evil” products which can help get rid of bad influences from the past year; and there’s always the burning of sage to cleanse your home.
The underlying message behind all these different “cleanse” options is self-care—which is exactly what Lindsay Kolterman, general manager and director of operations at Sebastopol’s dhyana Center, is all about. Dhyana Center’s entry into the new year kick-start is a 30-day challenge which Kolterman says is “specifically designed for self-care, as self-care is one of the main components of Ayurveda.”
The dhyana Center is offering a discounted price for their 30-day challenge; $140, down from the usual $175. This fee provides customers “one-month, unlimited access” to the Center, which includes the self-care sanctuary that focuses on “steaming, sauna, epsom salts, infrared saunas, amethyst biomats and a copper cold plunge.”
The dhyana Center is open seven days a week, from 9am to 8pm, allowing “challenge” customers ample time to get their money’s worth within the 30-day time frame. And those customers suitably impressed with the experience can become permanent members if they so choose.
Kolterman touches on the idea of self-care as a healthy habit to build, one which ultimately increases productivity as well as physical and mental health. And in the end, no matter what time of year it is, feeling good feels good. While Sonoma County offers a wide variety of hiking trails, gyms, yoga classes and zeitgeist diets, sometimes a kick in the pants via a cleanse or cleansing ritual can be a great way to slingshot oneself into a healthier lifestyle.