In Feature Stories, June 2021 by Raleigh MagazineLeave a Comment

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#SelfCare isn’t selfish, it’s a necessity—so you can be the badass you were born to be. Feed your body and soul with our roundup of Raleigh’s wellness best bets—from fitspo to food to hydration, hemp and more. As Parks and Rec’s Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle would say, “Treat yo’self.”

By Melissa Howsam & Lauren Kruchten

Rawsome Eats 

Human connection and conscious consumption in the form of natural, unprocessed foods are at the core of Raleigh Raw’s values. #FuelTheHustle with tasty and mindfully made smoothies (with housemade plant- based milk; also served in bowl form), cold-pressed juices, wellness shots, gluten-free oatmeal and the cafe’s signature poke bowls—serving up a colorful array of raw fish, vegan protein, fruits, veggies and 

Self-Care Spa

Blue Water Spa’s exceptional aesthetic medical technology makes it one of the best in the game, and board-certified plastic surgeons Drs. Michael Law and Alexandra Schmidt are dedicated to making you look and feel your best through cosmetic and reconstructive services and treatments such as Botox, CoolSculpting, facials, laser hair removal and laser skin tightening, to name a few. 

Hydration Station 

Hydrate or diedrate, as they say. Cotton mouth? Vertigo? Body aches? We feel you. Whether you’re suffering from a hangover, recovering from a hard workout or rebounding from a cold, Hydrate Medical’s IV hydration treatments can help you bounce back. All you have to do is sit back, relax and let the IV hydration drip much-needed hydration and special vitamins quickly into your body. Call it a pampering sesh, if you will.


Start your pampering sesh at The Umstead Hotel and Spa by indulging in a couple’s (or solo) massage, followed by a rejuvenating spa treatment and a dip in the serene pool. Then while the evening hours away with an exquisite dinner from James Beard semifinalist Steven Greene at the hotel’s restaurant, Herons, before tucking into a luxurious room overlooking the 3-acre lake or gardens. You’ll never want to go back home.

Recovery Sesh 

Stretccchhhhh out those sore muscles at Midtown East’s StretchLab via one-on-one or group stretches with a highly trained team of “Flexologists” (aka expert stretchers), who can guarantee you’ll leave feeling loose and relaxed. In addition to easing tight muscles and stiff joints, StretchLab’s sessions also help improve your range of motion and flexibility—you’ll be able to touch your toes in no time.

Outside Oasis 

Wednesdays are for wellness. Soak up the sunshine while you get your body moving during Wellness Wednesdays at North Hills’ Coastal Credit Union Midtown Park via a variety of fab local fitness partners (think Camp Gladiator, YoBa Studio, Midtown Yoga, Heat Studios and more) that promise to make you sweat, stretch, shed and so on.

Spirit-Free Sipping

Killjoy’s nonalcoholic drink menu lets you savor thoughtfully crafted cocktails without all the negative side effects (see ya never, hangovers!). Liquor is swapped for spirit-free mixers like kombucha, cactus tonic, Topo Chico, and even cold-brew coffee and black tea—proving that you don’t need alcohol to enjoy a night out with your pals.


Everything on The Fiction Kitchen’s menu is either vegan or vegetarian, but you would never notice (or care) because it’s that damn good. Think crispy fried mock chicken and waffles, a seitan brisket protein bowl, and lion’s mane “crab” rangoon, to name just a few “I can’t believe this is made from plants” options. If you’re looking to decrease your meat intake but still want to eat great food, this is the place for you.

Freeze Frame 

Who knew that sitting in extreme cold could have such positive effects on the body? After just two to three minutes in one of iCRYO’s whole-body cryotherapy chambers, you’ll notice a boost in energy and relief of muscle or joint pain. iCRYO also offers cryo facials, compression therapy, body sculpting, an infrared sauna and more. 

Start the Week Strong 

Eat clean, feel clean. Clean Juice serves up only real ingredients—no GMOs, harmful pesticides, hidden additives or high-pressure pasteurization (HPP) added. Treat yourself to one of the eatery’s healthy acai bowls, salads, juices, toasts, wellness shots or smoothies, and your body will thank you for the clean and delish nutrish.

Brain and Body Boost 

Bridging the gap between mental and physical health is Current Wellness, a community-oriented space offering mental health counseling, wellness coaching and movement classes under three formats: Tidal (strength and interval training classes), Flow (yoga classes) and Immerse (dance fitness classes). And with the wellness center’s compassionate, empowering teachers and a positive environment, you can rest assured there’s zero gymtimidation.

Sweet Releaf 

CBD is the answer to (most of) your problems. It’s been proven to reduce chronic pain, anxiety and depression, and may even benefit heart health by reducing blood pressure and preventing heart damage. Hemp 2 Heal offers CBD in multiple forms, including capsules, edibles (gummies and chocolate) and tinctures, plus topicals like balms, creams and lotions. It’s high time you get on the CBD train.

Smooth Sips 

Blend it like Beckham with Blend Raleigh’s healthy shakes that seriously taste like dessert. Flavors include cinnamon roll, chocolate-covered strawberry, blueberry cheesecake and mudslide, and each clock in at about 24 to 30 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and less than 250 calories. Energy drinks are also on offer, making Blend the best place to stop in before and after a workout.

Clean Eats 

Stay healthy and happy by fueling up with Happy + Hale’s signature bowls and salads, which are just as filling as they are delicious. Faves include the Bueno Bowl with herb-roasted chicken and brown rice, the Hale Caesar with Buffalo cauliflower and coconut bacon, and the Thai Chicken Crunch with Thai chile chicken and kale crunch mix. Wash it all down with a vibrant gluten-free and vegan smoothie.

Zen Your Space

Not only do plants spiff up your home, but they can also be therapeutic and help reduce stress (#PlantPower). All the more reason to head to Logan’s Garden Shop to peruse its array of unique houseplants for whatever type of light you may get in your home—artificial light included. We’re rooting for you and your thriving new plant corner!

Your Week’s Sweat Sesh

Mondays, namaste in the studio and sweat out the weekend with 100 to 105 degrees of blissful vinyasa-based My Hot Flow and My Core Flow (hot flow with a mix of mat-based ab work) at Midtown Yoga ( On Tuesdays, kick your body into gear at Burn Boot Camp (, offering 45-minute classes that combine strength and HIIT—never repeating the same workout twice. On Wednesdays, we Mega (! Raleigh’s first Lagree fitness studio (a multifaceted workout that combines resistance training and cardio) challenges your body with two workout options: Megaformer (“Pilates on steroids”) and Megatramp (a 45-minute cardio trampoline class). Thursdays, go hard core at CORE Fitness Studio (, where instructors are on the ready and determined to help you meet your fitness goals with their D.I.G. MO—determination, intensity, guts. And Fridays, our hearts pulse for Pulse Pilates’( plethora of Pilates classes for “every body,” including Barre, Bodhi (a workout for balance, strength and flexibility), Cadillac (a special piece of equipment that tones every muscle group) and more.

Wind Down

Un”wine”d from the hustle and bustle of it all with some time outside, a glass of wine (natch) and a good book at Vita Vite Midtown’s monthly #VVBookClub. May clubbers delved into the world of The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré. Stay tuned to @vitaviteraleigh for tales of June… 

Read On

Turn the page on health with Easy Low-Cal Vegan Eats(available now for preorder and dropping July 27), the inaugural must-read cookbook by Raleigh vegan and gluten-free recipe creator, blogger and ’Gram sensation Jillian (Jill) Glenn of viral Peanut Butter and Jilly fame. Scoop Glenn’s craveworthy healthful content—endorsed by the likes of DeVon Franklin and Good Morning America!—via 60 sub-400-cal-per-serving flavor-packed recipes, from breakfast treats (warm apple cinnamon pancakes, please!) to plant- and protein-packed lunches and dinners to indulgent desserts. And be on the lookout for her second book, Easy Low-Cal Vegan Baking (nom nom!). 

Pedal Perfection

Whether you’re “two tired” and need a cycologist or just wheelie love ridin’ a bike, Citrix Cycle is here for it. Like a chain reaction, those orange bikes stationed all over DTR are on a roll, having already reduced carbon emissions by over 10 tons this year alone. Roll on, Raleigh.

Love the Skin You’re In 

Fountain of youth, found at Specialists in Plastic Surgery, PA. In your ever-elusive quest for youthful products and procedures—without the appearance of having work done—best-in-class board-certified plastic surgeons Drs. Matthew Blanton, Richard Carlino, Benjamin Wood and Sanjay Daluvoy turn back the clock via a host of cutting-edge solutions for your face, breasts and body. And for nonsurgical magic (fillers! CoolSculpting! And more!), Injector Amanda Olsen, PA-C, and Aesthetician Candace Zumbach, LE, will have people begging  for your secret. (*Cue Rod Stewart’s “Forever Young”*).

Worth a Cheers

Seltzers are de rigueur for their low-cal pro-summer-body status. But getting White Claw wasted to keep that waistline is so 2020. Swap the saccharine spiked seltzer of yore for local low-cal (and gluten-free!) Spyke (cherry lime, strawberry lemonade, mint mojito and watermelon) by Lonerider. Head brewer Joseph Wheeler brings his typical A-game to the award-winning brewery’s craft seltzers—even adding electrolytes and vitamin C to the mix to give the seltzers a healthy boost (and hopefully help prevent those grueling hangovers). Find them on draft at all Lonerider locations—or stock your beer (or, seltzer) fridge with 16-ounce cans. Take that, Truly!

Edible Relaxation

Mood? Chill—thanks to The Hemptender Dispensary’s host of innovative edibles (and wide array of premium Delta 8 THC edibles!) designed to help you max the relaxing benefits of hemp. How ’bout some Colorado Hemp Honey Raw Relief or Nova Blis full-spectrum Chill Pops. Or, our pick, the Delta 8 THC Peach Ring gummies. Chill, indeed.

Gastropub Graze

Vegetrails to you, Raleigh!  Element Gastropub, a brand-new 100% plant-based gastropub and taproom (with badass murals by local artist Serendib Creative) descended on DTR in May and is here for all your plant-powered lunch, brunch and dinner needs—from Dem’ Greenz to Global Street Food to Pubwhiches and more. And if you love brunch (who doesn’t?), belly up for some Hardcore Brunch. Whatever you do, just don’t skip on the Nicecream Funday. 

Listening Power

Looking to turn your life around? Enter local podcast One80—The Turning Your Life Around Podcast by local One-Eighty Counseling and its mammoth team of mental health experts across the Triangle. Tune in to “create inner happiness” (a nod to a recent episode name) as founder and licensed clinical mental health counselor Sarah Coates deep-dives into myriad mental health topics to help you, well, turn your life around.

Walk This Way

A green machine, Raleigh has no shortage of trails and parks to pacify you. Jaunt (bike or birdwatch) your way through the Capital Area Greenway Trail System—a network of 100-plus miles of interconnected trails linking many Raleigh parks. Or get lost (not literally—it’s not The Blair Witch Project) in the 5,500-plus acres that is Umstead State Park, with 20 miles of hiking trails surrounding three man-made lakes for all your hiking, biking, running, fishing, horseback riding and picnicking dreams—in essence, the ideal place to unplug. Or unwind where art and nature collide at North Carolina Museum of Art’s Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park, featuring incredible site-specific works of environmental art by international esteemed artists (trailside signs dish details on other points of interest: art, history, etc.), beautiful landscapes and sustainable natural areas—plus miles of Greenway and wooded trails, and a terraced pond to boot. Fun up your typical hike by stepping inside a cloud chamber; picnicking near the iconic trio of Gyre rings; or napping on the Ellipse lawn (no judgement!).;

Harmonizing Products

In the famed words of Albert Einstein, “Out of the clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony.” Harmony Farms’ owners Nancy Long, CNHP (a classical naturopathic doctor and Usui Reiki master) and Steve Long (trained as an Usui Reiki master and certified health specialist, with a psychology degree) have been dedicated to the harmony and health of the community for nearly 40 years. Pop in for advice, a plethora of healthful provisions and supplements, or a quick pick-me-up from the in-house organic juice bar. You’ll thank us.

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