May Lindstrom, founder of the wildly popular natural skincare line that bears her name, is an expert in the power of plants. She’s been fussing around with flora since an early age, initially planning to be a chef before unexpectedly entering the world of beauty. While struggling with a serious chemical sensitivity that regularly left her with blistered hands, Lindstrom started exploring the healing properties of certain plants, first for her own use and soon for private clients also suffering from extreme skin issues. Word of her custom concoctions spread quickly, inciting the beautiful botanist to officially launch her plant-driven line of products in 2014.
Two years in, Lindstrom has gone from a one-woman show (she recalls, in the company’s infancy, mixing potions on her porch with her infant daughter strapped to her chest) to overseeing a team of twelve in a proper Los Angeles studio. A sourcing savant, the natural-beauty guru can wax lyrical for hours on the benefits of every ingredient in her products, and she selects the food for her family’s meals with equal enthusiasm (eggs come from the chickens she raises at her East Los Angeles home). That said, she’s not one to deny herself the occasional doughnut, either. “Everything in moderation, including moderation!” she affirms. We can think of no one better than Lindstrom to share a rigorously vetted guide to healthy (and less healthy) eats, beauty destinations, and wellness experts in Los Angeles, plus her favorite gluten-free pancake recipe.
This spot, which is a couple of miles from me in South Pasadena, offers super inexpensive shiatsu and acupressure massage. Every therapist is wonderful, and despite the frequent language barrier my body always sighs with relief the moment I step through the door. The massages are no joke, and a bit tough, but I love that! 1118 Fair Oaks Avenue, South Pasadena, CA 91030; (626) 799-2669
I’m totally addicted to traditional Korean spas, which are inexpensive and effective. Just $20 gets you in from morning until late night, and most serve super yummy Korean food (I can live on spicy tofu stew and soothing seaweed soups), so you really can stay all day—and dine in nothing but a robe! I’ve been going to Olympic Spa in Koreatown for nearly a decade. They have a killer shiatsu massage and the traditional, super aggressive, and amazing Akasuri scrub. 3915 W. Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90019; (323) 857-0666
I also recently started frequenting Hugh Spa, as it’s a bit quieter and darker (a plus). They are known for their Customized Detox Herb Steam (aka the vaginal steam!). I haven’t tried it yet, but I have friends who swear by this treatment to help with painful periods. 1101 S. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90006; (213) 365-1268
I love the little sanctuary that is Willow Spa, and their Enzyme Bath is a must-try. Developed in Japan for Olympic athletes, this dry bath combines finely cut wood shavings, rice bran, and fruit and vegetable enzymes. You are buried up to your neck in this stuff and it gets HOT. You feel like a flower bulb waiting to bloom. It’s amazing. 3127 Santa Monica Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90404; (310) 453-9004
I’ve been seeing the most spectacular woman, who has also become a good friend—she’s a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist who treats the body as a whole. I went to her the first time while researching cosmetic acupuncture, and I ended up getting an entire body and mind tweaking. She’s awesome. 8300 W. 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048; (323) 653-3344
Dr. Berlin is my chiropractor, and he’s a magician. He specializes in pregnant women, and I met him through my midwives while carrying my daughter four years ago. I’d always been a massage nut who ignored chiropractic, but he changed that. Now that I’m expecting again, I’ll be there at least once a month until the little one is born. He may even attend our home birth! 6221 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 518, Los Angeles, CA 90048; (323) 549-0070
Elf Café in Echo Park is a vegetarian restaurant that doesn’t feel like one—everything is so hearty and rich and spiced, and it’s really an experience. 2135 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026; (213) 484-6829
Maccheroni Republic is another one of my treasures. It’s directly across the street from Grand Central Market and one of the best Italian restaurants in the city. It’s really simple, classic, perfectly executed, fresh Italian—and cheap! They have the best burrata around. 332 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013; (213) 346-9725
I just discovered Amara Kitchen, which serves the perfect Californian breakfast—avocado toast and perfectly done little bowls of nutritional goodness. If you’re entertaining someone who’s on a total health kick, this a good way to go. My daughter is gluten-free and they have gluten-free pancakes, so it’s a win there! 519 N. Avenue 63, Los Angeles, CA 90042; (323) 255-2220
My husband and I have been going to Auntie Em’s Kitchen the entire time we’ve known each other—I think we went there on one of our first dates. They do delicious weekend breakfasts and have a great bakery. 4616 N. Eagle Rock Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90041; (323) 255-0800
This little hole-in-the-wall is my favorite sushi restaurant in the city. They have only one sushi chef, Ichi, and when he goes to Japan they just close the restaurant because there’s no one else. It’s fresh and delicious and so special. On a quality level, it’s as good as Nobu or any other high-end place, but it’s hidden away in a strip mall. 633 S. Arroyo Parkway, Suite 1, Pasadena, CA 91105; (626) 395-9977
Craft has the best steaks in the city. I’m mostly vegetarian, but if I’m going to go for a steak, this is really the best. 10100 Constellation Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90067; (310) 279-4180
Trattoria Farfalla in Los Feliz is a sweet, cute Italian place. It’s great if you’re going to a concert at the Greek—you just hike up the hill afterward. 1978 Hillhurst Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027; (323) 661-7365
And Nobu Malibu is fantastic. I live on the east side of town and never get to the ocean, so it’s also a good excuse to go to the beach! But it’s not just a scene; it is actually spectacular. 22706 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265; (310) 317-9140
This place is great because they have gluten-free options, so I can bring my daughter. And it’s fun because you kind of make your own doughnuts—you can put peanut butter and bananas and Skittles and fresh or dehydrated strawberries and whatever else on them. 5107 York Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90042; (213) 995-6191
The warm aroma of pancakes on the grill always brings me back to my childhood. When I was growing up, my dad made the most incredible hearty buckwheat pancakes every weekend. I’m from deep in the country in northern Minnesota and we had a wood-burning stove, so a hot pancake felt particularly cozy. When I learned I had a wheat allergy and could no longer eat the pancakes I had known my whole life, I set out on a mission to re-create them so I could share with my own family, including my gluten-free little girl. I taught my husband this recipe, and now he’s the man in charge of the grill on Sundays—and once again I know it’s the weekend by the richness of the air and the steaming stack of goodness on my counter.
1 cup buckwheat
1 cup organic cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup maple syrup
2 cups rice milk
1 cup blueberries
Coconut oil, for griddle
Butter, maple syrup, and sliced blood oranges, for topping
Mix dry ingredients thoroughly in a big bowl. Make a well in the center and crack eggs into it. Lightly stir the eggs inside the well, then add remaining wet ingredients. Stir until lump-free, then fold in the blueberries.
Melt coconut oil onto a cast-iron griddle. Pour batter in ⅓ cup portions onto hot griddle and cook until pancakes are brown on both sides.
Top with butter, maple syrup, and sliced blood oranges!
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