If you like coconut-kale smoothies and hot yoga, but without the breathless, too-good-to-be-true promises that often accompany such things, there’s a website for you: Well + Good Los Angeles. It’s a spinoff of the 4-year-old Well + Good NYC.
Founders Melisse Gelula and Alexia Brue made their names applying journalistic rigor to topics such as where to suss out unprocessed juice, how to safely bike the streets of Manhattan and which yoga studios to hit while summering on Long Island.
“Wellness used to get, in the mainstream media, a lot of eye rolling,” said Gelula. Well + Good aims to bring seriousness to the topic — to a point. “I mean, this isn’t about finance,” Gelula quipped, “unless you’re talking about how much it costs to Spin.”
Well + Good reads like the slightly more down-to-earth sister of Gwenyth Paltrow’s Goop.
So far, the Los Angeles site has produced a handful of stories: lists of the best indoor cycling and yoga studios, plus write-ups on M Café's juice “happy hour” and Tracy Anderson’s fall fitness program.
Well + Good’s New York and national edition subscribers exceed 200,000, according to the company. But it remains to be seen how Angelenos’ appetite for it compares. In any case, Well + Good’s L.A. debut provides a good excuse to survey some of the other sites vying for L.A.'s wellness-minded readers:
Mark’s Daily Apple
Mark Sisson is a former distance runner, triathlete and Ironman competitor based in Malibu who’s built a mini-empire promoting his “primal” approach to fitness. It’s all about the Paleo diet, barefoot walking, and tips for better aligning yourself with your environment – i.e., no screens after dark. Sisson is a bit like the swashbuckling, macho version of that friend who secretly gets up at 5 every morning to spin and eats steamed kale for breakfast but credits her figure to “a good metabolism, I guess?” Which is to say, he makes it all look fun, but in fact his way of life takes more discipline than most possess. This is a man who considers a spoonful of coconut butter a dessert. Still, his blog provides good inspiration for anyone looking to get more attuned to the abundant nature that surrounds us.
The Kind Life
If the meat-centric Paleo lifestyle isn’t your thing, perhaps you’d prefer the Kind Life, actress Alicia Silverstone’s vegan lifestyle blog. Silverstone won me over with her 2009 cookbook, a chatty tome full of surprisingly delicious and easy-to-make plant-based foods. Her website expands on that concept with recipes for seasonal treats such as peach sorbet and meat-free barbecue fare. There are also sections on vegan-friendly parenting, “animal love” and green living. At times the posts can sound like advertorials (a recent one on Zabada cleaning products is a good example), but Silverstone makes up for it by throwing in occasional clothing giveaways.
They say you can’t please all of the people all of the time. But if there’s a wellness website making a valiant effort to defy that adage, it’s Greatist. Looking for low-carb breakfast ideas? Or maybe you love carbs and want a recipe for healthful whole-wheat bread. Money-saving tips? Best new water filter? Green juice recipe? Beer recommendations? Greatist has all this and more. The average health and fitness enthusiast could spend hours here. The single-minded yogi or CrossFit devotee looking to drill down will probably end up frustrated by the wide-ranging content. Los Angeles-specific workouts or food tips crop up occasionally, but Greatist’s greatest strength is its broad appeal.
Q by Equinox
So, yeah, this is a fitness blog run by the luxury gym chain Equinox. But as lame as that sounds, Q stands on its own as a resource for exercise and nutrition information — with a bit of Hollywood flair. The site features interviews with celebrities such as Kate Hudson, Mark Wahlberg and Jessica Alba about how they keep fit; an “ask a trainer” section where Equinox pros answer queries about best exercise practices; and inventive nutrition articles, such as a recent spread of recipes using protein powder by L.A.-based chef Meg Hall. Equinox’s monthly membership rates might be out of reach for many, but at least we can look at its blog and feel like part of the in-the-know elite. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what most of these sites offer anyway? They’re aspirational windows to the sculpted, sugar-free, glowing creatures we could become … if we spent less time on the Internet.