7 ways to be planet and body friendly while in London for the Olympics.
London is this summer’s hottest destination – maybe not for the heat, but indeed for the buzz! Whether you’re heading to the UK for Olympic festivities or are passing through any time of the year, it’ll do your body and social consciousness a favor to get going with the following seven suggestions.
Run Like a Royal
What’s free and a fantastic way to stay in shape? Outdoor jogging. MapMyRun.com is the ultimate resource for not only getting in a good workout but also seeing a city from a completely different perspective. The site provides you with visual tracks that other runners have trod before. You can also create your own route, tailoring it according to your distance and terrain requirements. Check out the nearly 9,000 routes already mapped out in London.
Need a morning fix that will keep your energy levels high for the rest of the day? Sip on a refreshing and hydrating organic vegetable and fruit juice from Planet Organic. The market has a juice and smoothie bar with plenty of vegan, vegetarian and organic options to satisfy a breakfast, lunch or dinner appetite. There are locations in Devonshire Square, Muswell Hill, Islington, Torrington Place, and Westbourne Grove, so there is always one at a reasonable distance. Each location offers food, natural beauty, and health and well-being products.
London is emerging as an epicenter to the raw and vegan food movement in Europe, but before these venues were established, hailing strong were the numerous farmers markets spread throughout the city. Berwick Street Market is one of the city’s oldest. It has been running in Soho since as far back as 1778. It is open Monday-Saturday, 9am-6pm. Marylebone Farmers Market is also a fantastic market that has a something for everyone. Going beyond produce and general goods, the market has stalls offering prepared food from a variety of cuisines. Both the Berwick and Marylebone markets have organic options. Find a full directory of markets in London, check out official London Farmers Market page.
If sit-down dining is more your style, support local restaurants with your patronage and enjoy the city’s take on food fit for a health nut. Some of the standouts include:
- Saf (63 Kensington High St, London W8 5SE)
- VitaOrganic (74 Wardour Street London, Greater London W1F 0TE)
- InSpiral Lounge (Camden High Street, London NW1 8QS)
- Bonnington Café (11 Vauxhall Grove, London Borough of Lambeth, London SW8 1TD)
- 42Raw (6 Burlington Gardens, City of Westminster, London W1S)
- Wild Food Café (1st floor 14 Neil’s Yard, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9DP)
- Vx (73 Caledonian Road, London N1 9BT)
- Green Note (106 Parkway, London, NW1 7AN)
- Ms. Cupcake (408 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London SW9 8LF)
- Greenz (5 Station Rise, Tulse Hill, London SE27 9BW)
While the Olympics may be enough of a party, if you are looking to entertain or partake in a clean-eating cleanse while traveling, contact Raw Fairies, a no-cook food delivery service whose menu can be tailored to your needs. Meals include juices, salads, entrees and desserts! Rainforest Creations, too, is a healthy catering alternative that offers modern cuisine with an organic flair.
Strike a Pose
Find your inner Zen in the chaos of London and head to one of the most comprehensive studios in the city – Tri Yoga – for a £20, 2-week access to all of its yoga and pilates classes. Operating since 2000, the studio currently offers a list of bodywork therapies, including massage, acupuncture, reiki, reflexology, and psychotherapy. Find Tri Yoga in Primrose Hill, Chelsea Soho, and Covent Garden.
With locations in Notting Hill since 1993 and Islington since 2001, The Life Centre is a fixture in London’s yoga scene and draws a loyal clientele. It also cuts visitors a break, offering unlimited yoga at an introductory price of £20 for 20 consecutive days.
If you have special needs or are traveling with children, check out the Special Yoga Centre. The studio supports children and those with physical limitations, gladly offering 20% concessions to those who qualify as well as community payment classes.
Grab a blanket, a friend, and a few sandwiches and spend the day looking up at the sky rather than at a blur of traffic. London is full of green space and spending an afternoon at the park is a cheap and fuss-free way to escape the city without ever leaving it. With so many parks to choose from, Time Out London has jumped the gun and organized a directory. Check out the list of parks here, which are categorized under “local parks,” “public gardens,or “hidden oases of green,” and never bore of nature. Challenge accepted.
Reduce Your Footprint
Ditch the taxi, car, bus, metro, or any engine-run mode of transportation and opt for a cleaner way to explore the city. The London Bicycle Tour Company provides daily Central London and West End bike tours, each for £18.95. Flat Tire Bike Tours is also a popular service that offers Royal London and River Thames bike and walking tours. Get a workout and an education all at once!
Do London in style, eco-friendly style that is. The city boasts a selection of boutiques and shops with fair-trade, conscious clothing and accessories.
Equa is a small Islington boutique that sells organic, fair-trade clothing from approximately 20 different designers. For children and infants, Green Baby houses organic and fairly-trade baby and mother goods, from clothing to beauty to nursery items. The Family Tree sells lamps, shades, hooks, tables, and jewelry, all of which are made ethically and locally. The store also carries People Tree, a fair-trade clothing store in operation since 2001.
Looking for the perfect shoes to go with that fair-trade blouse? Terra Plana is a shoe company that uses recyclable products. It compensates for its CO2 emissions through donations and uses vegetable leather, leather without chromium, and its self-created “E-Leather,” which is a mix of leather and textile fibers. Terra Plana has a store in Covent Garden, Brushfield Street and Westfield.
For more brands with an eco-friendly backstory, check out the annual Eco Design Fair’s directory of designers. Each listed designer incorporates the following elements in its creations: recycled/recyclable, organically grown, fair-traded, non-toxic, low energy-consuming in production/use, and cruelty-free.
Web portals dedicated to bringing eco-friendly products to the UK are My Eco Store and Ethical Superstore. Both are stocked with just about any household appliance and clothing item. Browse through their inventories and enjoy the vast selection.