The restaurant putting a vegan spin on traditional Japanese cuisine
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Fitness memberships, workout classes, wellness services, beauty appointments and more.
The term “wellness” has become pretty broad these days. From buzzy supplements to CBD-infused everything, it seems like everybody is trying to sell the word in one way or another. So, when a place comes along that embodies an authentic approach to wellness, we get pretty excited. And then, of course, we share it with you.
Well, here it is, Denver: the real deal. It’s called Honey Elixir Bar.
Jocasta Hanson was working as a bartender and studying to become a therapist when her best friend, Boulder chef Matt Lackey, died in a climbing accident on Mt. Princeton. The tragic loss caused her to experience a journey of grieving and healing that serves as part of the inspiration for Honey. Her friend’s passing was “a powerful experience of how community heals together,” Jocasta shared with Fitt. That realization inspired Jocasta to put her grad school studies on hold. “I wanted to create a place that would hold the space for those looking for a healing connection—a place to gather, or a space to celebrate,” she says. Combining this desire with her passions for psychology, nutrition, health, art, and design, Honey was born.
Honey serves a creative and carefully crafted collection of drinks that nourish—a lineup of flavorful and functional sips, from kombucha and smoothies to chai and kefir. When it comes to ingredients at Honey, you’ll see it’s all about intention. Whether you’re craving a warm cup of calming cacao or a craft cocktail infused with antioxidant-rich ingredients like turmeric and goji, this café has something to satisfy.
Honey offers healthy snacks, too. In browsing the menu, expect small plates that pack a powerful punch, like sliced apple with house-made raw nut butter, a local honey sampler with gluten-free bread, and a seasonal soup and salad. The eatery tends to rotate in some vegan sweets from local bakeries too.
But it goes beyond a healthy menu for Jocasta. She doesn’t want Honey to be just another juice bar or kombucha spot—she aims to create a space that embraces all aspects of health, from how you nourish your body to how you nurture your brain. So, in the spirit of cultivating community and connection, and in addition to serving up those healthful sips, Honey offers workshops and hosts group meetings for those sharing common experiences, like a workshop focused on how the Jun (a fermented tea similar to kombucha but made with honey rather than sugar) she serves at the cafe can benefit gut health or a group meeting for those experiencing grief from the loss of a loved one.
Thought was put into every aspect of Honey, from the way tables are arranged to facilitate conversation to the acoustics that allow the sounds of voices and music to fill the space. Good vibes (literally) emanate from its core, with words of intention lining the ground beneath the flooring. Jocasta hopes to highlight the talents of the community, too, with rotating art exhibitions and a retail space stocked with goods from local makers.
Collectively, Honey Elixir Bar is a new concept to Denver. A healthy cafe redefining wellness, and a gathering space redefining community. And with a place that packs purpose and intention in every square inch, we had to ask—why the name Honey? Jocasta shared several reasons for choosing it, but her favorite one? “Honey is alchemized sunshine,” she says. “Bees turn the power of the sun into liquid gold.”
So, come in. Share a laugh. Let this place fill you up.
I’m celebrating week 21 of pregnancy. Baby is the size of a banana or bell pepper. I don’t know why it’s so fun to compare a growing fetus to a fruit or veggie, but it gives me a much-needed laugh while I make note to avoid consuming bananas for the week. This is also ultrasound week. I’m no longer able to bring my husband and daughter to the appointment, but we understand that these restrictions are put in place to protect us. Like so many pregnant women and mothers across the world, I’m doing my best to adapt to the new norm and changes that COVID-19 has introduced to my already stressful life.
Pregnant women across various metro cities are beginning to face fears of delivering their baby without a birthing partner by their side for the duration of the hospital stay. Family members and friends may not be able to meet baby in-person for quite some time, so those special first meetings happen over FaceTime. New mommy groups switch to virtual meetups. I’m feeling the weight of it all (and I’m not referring to the extra weight I’ve gained from WFH snacking), the heaviness of the unknown that we all carry as we navigate through all of this change.
Tuning into nightly news or googling the latest COVID-19 death tolls is a surefire way to lose sleep, but we do it anyway because we want to stay informed as we wrap our heads around how much this pandemic will change our world. Maybe your anxiety and personal despair grow as you hear from a friend who recently lost their job or read about your favorite restaurant unable to keep its doors open. Canceled events, long-anticipated vacations, and temporarily closed fitness studios are not only inconvenient, but force us to reframe our attitudes.
I can hear my mother’s voice telling me to relax. She tells me that the baby can feel my stress, and that isn’t good for anyone. I begin to feel guilty about my inability to quiet the negative feelings and decide that something needs to change. We can’t change what the media reports, the pressure at work, or predict how long it will take for the economy to recover. But what if we reminded ourselves to do the best with what we have and keep moving forward—one day at a time. Amidst the chaos, we’re becoming a stronger, kinder community, and that is truly a beautiful thing to see.
The journey to my second trimester wasn’t an easy one. I suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage a few years ago. I made time for my body and mind to heal after the loss. Float tank sessions, meditation, vinyasa power flow, and frequent facials helped me connect with my body. I can’t say self-care alone healed my depression, but it certainly helped me discover the importance of self-love and repaired my self-confidence.
After many pregnancy tests and negative results, I was at peace with accepting that having another child may not be in the cards for me. Fast forward to age 37. I was shocked to see a + symbol on three pregnancy stick tests. Although I’m medically referred to as a geriatric pregnancy, my OB/Gyn said there was no reason for me to go into this pregnancy with a negative mindset. Eat healthy, stay active, and focus on being POSITIVE. Maybe the pursuit of happiness and path to personal wellness was really that simple.
On my 38th birthday, I celebrated my 20th week of pregnancy—I’ll refer to it as the “Pregnant in a Pandemic Party.” I blew out a candle on a warm chocolate chip cookie that my husband and daughter baked together. They were my only party guests, but I didn’t need a room full of people at a fancy restaurant to feel pure gratitude. People across the world continue to test positive for COVID-19. I was safe in my home with my family. I was right where I needed to be.
Although the past few weeks have brought a wide range of emotions for all of us, I’m choosing to use this extra time to self-reflect and bond with family. I’m mentally recording my five-year-old daughter as she whispers to my stomach and tells her baby sister that August couldn’t come soon enough. This is life. So perfectly imperfect at times, but beautiful in more ways than we know. We may be housebound, down to the last few rolls of toilet paper, and our hair hasn’t seen a salon in over a month. The loss of control and routine over our daily lives can make us feel like failures. Trust me; we’re not. We were never meant to get through this alone. Together, we will get through this—one day at a time.