“High Vibe is an extension of me — the way I want to live my life, " Bob Dagger said. "I love nature, so there are plants and crystals throughout our space. I want the things that are a part of the earth. We are a country store in the city. " Bob Dagger arrived in New York by way of Vermont as a photographer in the early 1990s. His interests transitioned to jewelry, and then music. Yet his final career path was decided when his girlfriend fell ill, and they chose to eat only raw foods, hoping the dietary changes would be more effective than traditional medicine. Dagger, as he is affectionately called, was never planning on having a health food store. When people started asking why the couple was looking so well, however, he and his girlfriend decided to market some of the products from their apartment in the East Village. After extensive reading, Bob began to lecture on the benefits of raw food and soon realized that he was onto something greater. He moved his business to the basement of a nearby building where he had been working on his music and jewelry. "Back then, it was referred to as the health food speakeasy. " For a time, High Vibe was the only one of its kind across the country. Today, Bob continues to do his research, basing his products on science, facts, and experience. "I would have laughed if someone said to me that I would still be doing this some thirty years later. "
It is not always easy to satisfy a dessert craving and stay healthy. Baked goods are often packed with sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. At Protein Bakery, the Manhattan Sideways team found treats that were both delicious and healthy. Stephen Lincoln, the founder and owner, has designed his recipes to attract health-conscious customers who still want a tasty brownie, blondie or cookie. The black and white patterns on the wallpaper of the bakery help to create a room that looks slightly like an optical illusion, drawing intrigued customers (like members of the Manhattan Sideways team) into the store. Stephen began Protein Bakery in 1999 and opened this location on 19th Street in 2016. When we sat down to speak with him, we learned that while on his journey to lose weight, he found himself constantly looking for a healthy snack to satisfy his hunger. Unable to find one, he decided to create his own. While working as a fitness instructor, following a new fitness regiment, and eating his own healthy snacks, Stephen was proud to reveal that he had lost eighty-two pounds, and has continued to keep the weight off. Baking in the same kitchen since 1999. Stephen uses his own whey protein concentrate, which is "richer and better-tasting than a lot of other commercially-available protein powders. " All of the products used are gluten- and preservative-free. In order to add flavor to his snacks and pack in even more protein, Stephen will sometimes add walnuts, peanuts, and coconut. Though he started off locally, Stephen has expanded his product line and now ships across the world.
What began in 1978 as a block association established by single mothers with the goal of providing services and activities to children in the neighborhood, has now become a thriving community center. In this very colorful building, enrichment programs that focus on food, health and the environment are offered on a regular basis. They also run the Organic Soul Cafe and provide rental space for events. Before it became a community center, this building was home to Ahawath Yeshurun Shara Torah Synagogue. In 2015, Sixth Street Yoga Junction opened on the third floor, offering affordable vinyasa-based yoga for all levels.
I have been a vegetarian for decades now, and I always welcome new information from those far more knowledgeable on the subject than I. Live Live has been my greatest discovery. In addition to being incredibly well versed on everything healthy, they are absolutely delightful to engage in conversation. Since 2002, Live Live has been “specializing in raw, organic, live and vegetarian health products. ” They have a large selection of books, and the natural products that they provide for the face and body all smell and feel great, as their philosophy is “put things on your skin only if you can eat it. ” From nuts, to dried fruits, to chips and chocolate, I have tried so many different raw snack foods that I have not had before and each one has been exceptional. Live Live is constantly looking for ways to improve lives as they travel all over the world to find the best items to stock their shelves. In addition, they have nutritional consultations, detoxification and fasting programs.
Roy Badal’s small shop in the heart of Chelsea is everything one could hope for in a wellness store. The shelves are chock-full of healthy products, and customers are expertly advised by Roy and his business partner, Mariana. They have dedicated themselves to gently encouraging others towards a better lifestyle. Roy came to the United States from India in the early 1980s. Having been raised on a nutrition-focused diet, he wanted to share his approach to eating with people in New York and opened three health stores over the years. Health Food & Vitamin City, which came to West 23rd Street in 1986, is the last remaining location. Roy was eventually joined by Mariana Niculescu, who emigrated from Romania in 1990 and met him while shopping at his original store on Broadway. Through the years, a warm relationship developed. “Today, we are like family, ” Mariana said. Roy and Mariana stock an abundance of products in their modest space. As Mariana pointed out, “everything is on top of each other, ” but that’s okay, because she is always there to advise and direct people. The key word at the shop is “natural, ” with plenty of recognizable items as well as a plethora of new ones. There are natural cosmetic and body products, herbs, grains, nut butters, an assortment of honey, teas from A to Z, protein shakes and powders, extracts, vitamins, cleanses, gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free and wheat-free products, and, of course, vegan options. Mariana described her devoted clientele, who have been visiting for decades, as “lovely people. ” “We are survivors, thanks to our customers. They love us and we love them. ”Roy has gained a reputation for being quite knowledgeable about the items that he sells in his store. According to Mariana, “He knows everything about herbs. He is like our doctor in the neighborhood. I have followed him for many years — I have listened and learned from him. He is my guru. ”