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This month’s wellness news, buys and curiosities:


Fresh Air Inc.

We’ve long known that our buildings are making us sick. Poor indoor air quality, linked to various severe illnesses and lower work performance, is a concern for many in-office employees who may be affected by exposure to air pollutants in sealed-in buildings with bad ventilation. (Notably, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency just published a guide to indoor air quality). A company addressing this issue in Canada is Toronto-based Blade Air. The company’s indoor air quality technologies, such as UV-C supplemental air sanitization, HEPA air purifiers and electrostatic HVAC filters, are now used in thousands of school boards, and government and heritage buildings throughout Canada. This includes Toronto’s Distillery District where the company says its electrostatic filters performed 2¼ times better at capturing live bacteria than what was there previously. Blade Air was co-founded by chemical engineer Joe Fida, who was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list of the brightest young entrepreneurs.

Open this photo in gallery:Blade's HEPA Air Purifier in action.

Blade's HEPA Air Purifier in action.Handout


Licence to laugh

Our relentless pursuit of self-care is ripe for ridicule. Witness the success of Wellmania, a Netflix series based on Wellmania: Misadventures in the Search for Wellness, by journalist Brigid Delaney and starring Australian comic Celeste Barber. Barber gained notoriety on Instagram by poking fun at celebrities and their wellness-fuelled social-media footprints with her brand of cheeky humour. (In one post, she split-screens herself in the same almost-naked and mud-covered pose as Gwyneth Paltrow but without the glossy, photo-edited finish of an A-lister). Illustrator Aisha Franz is seeing the satire in this generation’s self-obsessed self-care culture, too. Her new book, Work-Life Balance (which follows up her bestseller, Shit is Real) satirizes “the comic absurdity of contemporary work-life and wellness culture.” About the humour in the book, Franz says it was a happy accident. “When I decided to make a book about thirtysomethings trapped in the contradictions of the promises Western society makes, I didn’t think of it as a humour book, but there was no other way – I couldn’t help but make it funny,” she explains. “There’s a duality at work here: The promotion of self-care as a concept could help encourage some people to access it more consistently and use it as a coping mechanism but it simultaneously comes with a whole tool kit you need to buy, fostering this high-pitched extreme of consumerist culture.”


Snack happy

Promising younger-looking skin, healthier skin and nails, and more flexible joints, the market for wellness products containing collagen is expected to reach US$16.7-billion globally by 2028 – a staggering sum that prompted Canada’s brand of ready-to-go frozen smoothies, Blender Bites, to add a new collagen frappes to its lineup: Caramel Collagen. Founded by entrepreneur Chelsie Hodge in 2016, Blender Bites are for frazzled folks craving a quick hit of nutrition. Just add liquid to Blender Bite’s superfood frozen “pucks,” a breakfast-on-the-go with flavours like Vanilla Bean-Bio or Mindful Mocha, made with organic fruits, veggies, probiotics, and even lion’s mane mushroom. While the merit of functional food is debated, the Vancouver brand is successfully expanding into the U.S. market. Available through retailers such as Loblaws, Sobeys, Whole Foods (and soon) Walmart, Blender Bites retail for $8.99 to $9.99. Other popular flavours include Power Berry, Green D-Tox, Liquid Sunshine and Daily Defen-C.

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Chelsie Hodge, CEO & Founder of Blender Bites.Handout


In-house style

Fans of Vancouver’s luxe fitness facility House Concepts can now work out or relax in the company’s new brand of unisex athleisure wear, called HOUSE iD. The new line is touted as an “interchangeable collection” of technical apparel and loungewear that will take people from the gym to the home, and all the places they might stop in between. “We sit at the intersection of fashion, design and sport,” says House Concepts founder Lauren Gillespie, who is opening two new fitness facilities, one in Toronto this year and another in Seattle in 2024. The new line of apparel, designed in Vancouver and manufactured in Los Angeles, is divided into “sport” garments (technical apparel geared for any type of workout) and “sweats” (comfy but stylish loungewear meant to function as you move through your day). The apparel ranges in price from $67 to $258 and is available through

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The new line is touted as an 'interchangeable collection' of technical apparel and loungewear that will take people from the gym to the home, and all the places they might stop in between.Handout


Luxury circles

For those who can afford the ultimate wellness escape, consider the Euphoria Retreat in Mystras, Greece. If you swoon over phrases such as “meaningful life changes” and “emotionally cleansing processes,” this destination spa and resort will spoil you without judgment. Of note, a five-day retreat is on offer with shaman and TedX speaker Johnson Chong, and author and functional medicine nutritionist Karin G. Reiter. (Both have led talks and workshops for major corporations such as Facebook, Nike, Google and Amazon.) The resort, which is located next to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and Byzantine village of Mystras, is slick and well-designed and boasts a 3,000-square-metre spa, which is carved into the ground, spans four levels and includes a spherical pool with a domed roof and cylindrical pool floor. Not just pretty to look at, it’s kitted out with hydrotherapy jets, too.

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Euphoria Hotel retreat. in Mystras, Greece.Stavros Habakis, Visual-Storyteller/Euphoria Retreat