Best Of Indy 2019: Health & Beauty

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Our reporters scoured the area for Central Indiana’s latest and greatest. Below, see the best in health & beauty from our 2019 Best of Indy December issue.

Plogging Group

The Swedish fitness trend of jogging and picking up trash has arrived in Indy. On the second Saturday of every month, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful teams with the November Project and a brewery for its plogging series. “It’s a full-body workout, not just cardio, but arm and core, too,” says KIB’s Ashley Haynes. Wearing gloves to keep gunk at bay, ploggers fill garbage bags with funky socks and crusty takeout containers as they jog around the brewery’s neighborhood, then exchange their filled bags for a free pint. Ploggers cleaned up public property in Haughville (Herrmann Brewthers), Windsor Park (Centerpoint Brewing Company), and on 86th Street (Big Lug Canteen) in 2019. Events resume in spring.

Rough Workout

We can’t all be UFC fighters, but we can do 50-minute boxing and HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts designed by real UFC trainers. Todd Wood opened the first local franchise of Class UFC Gym (14741 Hazel Dell Crossing, Noblesville, 317-900-7905) in Noblesville this year after he returned home from deployment in Afghanistan and wanted a facility that combined fitness and self-defense training. “It’s not about fighting. It’s about developing a fighting spirit,” says Wood. Next up is a 27,000-square-foot location in Whitestown, with childcare and additional classes like yoga.

Yoga for Everybody

Charlie Redd was a lifelong dancer looking for ways to keep moving as an adult. But yoga wasn’t on her radar until she saw a black woman on the cover of Yoga Journal at a bookstore and thought, Whoa, black people do yoga? She started taking classes, got certified to teach, began working at studios, and saw firsthand that modern yoga was geared toward a community that didn’t look like hers. She sought to create a space for people who felt excluded—all ages, black and brown, queer, and of varied body types and income levels. Haven Yoga (309 W. 42nd St., 463-207-3497) opened last year on the near-north side, and offers $10 drop-in classes and community workshops focusing on black women and other people who have largely been excluded from yoga culture. “There’s beauty in connecting with people who never thought this would be for them,” she says.

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Place To Get Lines

Ready to kick it old school? Black Orchid Barbers (355 Indiana Ave., 317-829-5740; 820 E. 116th St., Carmel, 317-829-5740) is the place for elevated cuts. Don’t be intimidated by its loud decor and even louder soundtrack. The new spin on a classic barbershop—offering hot shaves, beard trims, and fades—appeals as much to nostalgic Boomers as Millennials. But their craft is most evident in their revival of the ’90s trend “lines.” Led by owner Travis Moore, the barbers elevate the simplest of short ’dos into a geometric masterpiece. 

Place To Heal

You could pull a hamstring exploring all the new treatments for soreness around town—cryotherapy, compression sleeves, zero-gravity Neurospa chairs. The Recovery Room (200 E. 186th St., Westfield, 317-798-8130; 4654 Kilarney Dr., Carmel, 317-689-9933) is one of the few places that offers all three. In the Carmel center with the trappings of a spa, you also have free use of the vibrating foam rollers and Hypervolt massage devices. Everything at the facility is designed to reduce pain, increase mobility, and promote recovery. Logistically, it operates like a gym. You don’t need an appointment, and once you check in at the front desk, you can stay as long as you want and use whatever equipment is in the building for one flat rate ($40 day pass; $90 unlimited monthly).

Athleisure Subscription

For years, the northern ’burbs athleisure crowd has counted on Green Apple Boutique (70 N. Main St., Zionsville, 317-586-8727) to carry just about every well-known activewear brand. Alo, K-Deer, Beyond Yoga—the list is as long as your favorite pair of leggings. But Green Apple recently became one of the only local boutiques offering a subscription service (the Core Box), where customers pay a $20 fee and receive a collection of items hand-picked by stylists. Keep one thing, and get $10 off your purchase. Keep it all, and get that discount plus 10 percent off the whole collection.

Mobile Nail Salon

For a funky manicure without the trip to the parlor, Neat Mobile Nail Salon’s (317-617-0241) intricate nail art is tough to top. Veteran beautician Lindsay Wainscott’s mani- and pedi-pad pops up all over the city, but often appears at Onatah in Fountain Square and Grounded Plant & Floral Co. near Woodruff Place (where, let’s face it, you’re probably shopping anyway). Wainscott is both gentle on your cuticles and devoted to detail—she can turn a single nail into a cupcake or paint a snake stretching across all five fingers. A 45-minute session runs $35, and Neat always nails it.

Healthy Cooking Classes

Chef Audrey Barron will “unteach” you how to cook in her classes at Ezra’s Enlightened Cafe (6516 Ferguson St., 317-255-3972) in Broad Ripple. The sessions feature the gluten-free guru preparing raw foods like spicy “cheezy” kale chips, plus gluten- and dairy-free concoctions like a supreme flatbread, which everyone in the class gets to sample. Barron says a plant-based diet with a focus on fruits, veggies, and legumes is not only good for your heart, it leads to improved immunity and increased energy. The next session, “Feel Good: Holiday Dishes” on December 18, features plant-based versions of seasonal staples. Your $35 fee includes a packet of recipes to help you replicate the meals for all the carnivorous doubters at home.

Healthy Meal Prep

The busier we get, the worse we eat and the grosser we feel. So it’s no surprise that meal-prep businesses have sprung up like (heart-healthy) mushrooms. But we’re partial to the Healthy Food Café (8028 S. Emerson Ave., 317-476-2361), where you can customize your order online, set a pickup time, and grab a grass-fed grilled steak with garlic-herb green beans from the southside kitchen. An expansive menu of pre-prepared dinners promises local, seasonal ingredients, and caters to all dietary needs, from vegan to gluten-free. Some meals (like the spicy jerk seitan with broccoli) are portioned for singles, while others (roasted free-range chicken dinner with organic sweet potatoes) will feed the whole clan. If you can’t make it during business hours, you can grab quinoa and yam pilaf or custom bowls from the kiosk in front of the cafe 24/7.

Handmade Soaps

Laura Knight’s cupcake-shaped soap looks like it was plucked from an Alice in Wonderland tea party. The bestselling cactus-flower variety masquerades as a raspberry pink–crowned hunk of matcha fudge. Big Eye Beauty’s (317-956-4574) sweet-smelling suds may resemble confections more than cleansers, but the fleet of soaps fights aging with natural ingredients like green tea, castor oil, and chia seeds. Find them at Rebel Vintage in Broad Ripple for the holiday season, or online in Knight’s Etsy boutique.

CBD DeliveryService

CBD’s reputation for treating pain and improving sleep has made it a big business, but it’s not easy to know what you’re getting at the convenience store. Enter Grow cart delivery. Co-founder Rebecca Raffle employs local moms to deliver CBD products—balms, oils, gummy bears—throughout Central Indiana. They only sell products from hemp growers they’ve visited. “Not all CBD products are created equal,” Raffle says.

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Fitness Splurge

At $4,295 for a treadmill or $2,245 for a high-tech stationary bike, it’s a good idea to try Peloton’s (The Fashion Mall, 317-820-2654) products before you buy. Which is why it’s common to see shoppers at the new Fashion Mall showroom in yoga pants, sweating the details. During a 30-minute trial on either the tread or bike, you can test-drive a class from the fitness company favored by celebrities from Kate Hudson to Jimmy Fallon. For $39 per month, members can choose from thousands of on-demand classes taught by pro cyclists and live DJs, and as many as 20 per day streamed live to their living room. If you’re shy about exercising in front of all the posh passersby, head for one of the private workout rooms in the back.

best of indy 2019

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