Inspiration from a Lifelong Vegetarian
– Writing and Photos

If you want a truly once-in-a-lifetime decadent experience, from having coconut oil and coffee poured onto your body to being given a hot shower while lying down, head over to Spa Velia in downtown San Diego! It was fun walking through downtown, surrounded with people and cars, and then feeling calmer within moments of stepping into Spa Velia in the award-winning Gold LEED Certified building, the Columbia Center.

The spa owners already belonged to a green spa network, but wanted to go more earth-friendly and organic and to attract guests that wouldn’t necessarily get a body treatment for fear of chemicals or non-vegan products. All the body care treatments Spa Velia offers are vegan, and everything is medicinal and holistic, based on traditional Chinese medicine.  Everything in their body care, massage and wax services is organic; their skin care is not completely organic, but many natural products are used.

After a stressful few weeks, the timing was perfect to try out the newly-launched “Organic Coffee Confection” body care treatment. I received my delicious treatment by the person who created it, Jessica Lang, Massage and Body Care Director. She also created the new organic menu, and was very friendly, as were the other employees.

First I was drenched with heated non-GMO organic soymilk which is said to soften the skin. Next I was scrubbed and coated with exfoliating bamboo coffee and blackstrap molasses. Then I was wrapped into what Lang called a “vegan burrito” with a mylar blanket, allowing organic botanicals to sink into my skin to “firm, repair, nourish and tone the complexion.” I enjoyed the molasses facial mask and soothing scalp massage. Receiving a hot shower while lying down definitely added to the unique and refreshing treatment. In the end, I was covered in organic coconut and ginger oils and left smelling good enough to eat, with softer skin, and much more relaxed.

It was nice talking with Lang, a flexitarian (a vegetarian at times), who’s supportive of the veggie lifestyle. She describes herself as “fully a vegetable lover” and blogs on green living.