Turning your business trip into a leisure trip

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Ah, business trips. Meet-and-greets, business cards, handshakes, conferences, and an airtight schedule keeping you from having any fun. Awesome. 

While business travel will never have the same appeal as an honest-to-goodness real vacation, there are ways you can hack your trip to ensure you can enjoy some time to yourself. Here’s how you do it. 

1. Create downtime 

People love to lean on the whole “I’m way too busy with work” argument. We get it, you’re busy, but there are still 24 hours in a day — that’s 86,400 seconds of time to divvy up. Even if you’re taking an hour to go back to your room and recharge between meetings, you should use that time for yourself. Brew a cup of coffee, read a book (remember books?), go for a walk, and explore the neighborhood near your hotel. 

Image: pixabay/ahundt

2. Stay an extra day to sightsee 

So, you’re in a town you’ve never been to before for a 10-hour long conference on the importance of customer retention. Every town, city, state, and country has something special lurking beneath the surface — your job is to seek out that special something and make it a point to visit before you leave. Whether it’s taking the elevator to the top of the tallest building in the state or eating at a city’s most famous restaurant, going off the beaten path for even just an hour will take your mind off customer retention. 

Image: Hilton Garden Inn

3. Turn your quick snack into a memorable meal

We all know how it goes when you check into a hotel after the longest flight in the world. You’re irritated, tired, and hungry. However, your options are usually limited to fast-food from a burger place or worse yet — a vending machine. 

What if you could have a gourmet meal at your hotel? Enter the recently enhanced food and beverage offerings at Hilton Garden Inn. You can get everything you want, from a handcrafted cocktail created by a mixologist (hey, it was a long flight) to fresh hummus and veggies, small plates, and other delicious entrees. No need to curb your hunger with chips or candy bars –  you can get the good stuff just as easily. Plus, whether you arrive in the wee early morning hours or at the stroke of midnight, Hilton Garden Inn offers quick and delicious options, from healthy salads and sandwiches to coffee and locally-sourced wine and beer. 

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4. Meditate

Did you know that mindful meditation can actually decrease both anxiety and depression while heightening your sense of empathy and self-awareness? That’s right—meditation might actually make you a more self-aware person, which is a pretty good souvenir to take home after a long business trip. The best part about meditation is that it can be done almost anywhere. Whether you step outside during lunch or schedule 20 minutes before bed, meditating can increase your mood and turn your business trip into a spiritual enlightenment getaway. 

Image: pixabay/rawpixel

5. Meet up with an old friend

No matter where you go in this country, you can find a friend. Let’s say you have a conference that cannot be missed in an exciting city — it’s time to put out some feelers and hang out with someone who isn’t presenting a four-hour long speech on risk management. Before your big meeting, connect with your old college friend for breakfast at your hotel. Getting out of the business world for just a few hours will clear your head, while turning your business trip into a social event.

Finding a little room for fun on your next business trip is not only good for your mental health, but it’ll help with productivity and professionalism while making the experience memorable. When you’re on the go, you should treat your stomach with the amount of care you treat your mind, so check out the food and beverage offerings at Hilton Garden Inn and plan accordingly. 

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/12/13/turn-business-trip-into-vacation/

Are veggie burgers and cheese-less pizza the solution for a sustainable future?

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Eco-conscious consumers may want to practice portion control before chowing down on that cheeseburger.

Recent studies about the environmental impact of agricultural industries like meat and dairy have produced worrying statistics. Widely cited research suggests that red meat products are responsible for as much as 40 times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions compared to vegetables and grains. The dairy industry is a culprit as well, with traditional dairy farming contributing to greenhouse gas emission through cow manure, feed production, and milk processing. Practices within both industries can contribute to soil degradation, water waste, and harmful runoff.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals outline top-priority objectives for tackling global issues like climate change, food waste, and sustainable agriculture. Major corporations and small startups alike are taking steps toward making these goals realities — and a few companies are specifically focusing on responsible consumption.

Here’s the good news: You don’t need to pare down your diet to carrot sticks in order to make an impact. Maintaining an environmentally friendly lifestyle is less about going completely meat-free, and more about responsible choices. Below are four organizations proving that an eco-conscious lifestyle is easier than you might think.

Beyond Meat

Companies like Beyond Meat want to ensure that carnivorous consumers can have it all: Big, juicy burgers and a sustainable diet. The company produces plant-based products that look and (more importantly) taste like real meat. Beyond Meat’s burgers are so realistic that some grocery stores have even started stocking them in the meat aisle.

Much of the meat industry’s environmental impact revolves around problematic livestock practices, which is why plant-based foods are a more sustainable option. Companies like Beyond Meat can help mitigate many problems inherent in the meat industry — without asking consumers to completely forego their beloved burgers.

Sabra

Sabra’s Plants with a Purpose initiative is a program launched in 2016 that combats food deserts — or areas/neighborhoods that lack access to fresh, healthy, and affordable fruits and vegetables. According to the company’s estimates, more than 23 million Americans live in such deserts. Many of these families ultimately end up turning to less environmentally conscious (and not to mention, less healthy) meals simply due to lack of access and affordability.

Image: sabra

Plants with a Purpose establishes organic work-share gardens in locations like Richmond, Virginia, where Sabra’s Gold LEED certified hummus-manufacturing facility is headquartered. Alongside community education efforts, these types of gardens help improve urban agriculture in underserved communities. 

“This is the land of plenty, but there are plenty who lack far too much including access to the necessity of fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Sabra CEO Shali Shalit-Shoval on the Sabra website. “As a brand dedicated to creating a fresh new way of eating and connecting, we are uniquely positioned to help address this very real and sometimes surprising challenge facing communities across the country.”

Daiya

“Find your happy plate,” riffs plant-based foods brand Daiya

Much like Beyond Meat offers a burger alternative to consumers who crave their daily dose of beef (but want to skip the side of guilt), Daiya offers a slew of dairy-free foods that taste about as close to the real deal as possible: We’re talking pizza, mac and cheese, and even gooey grilled cheese sandwiches. Better yet, the company ensures that every step of their supply chain — from the way ingredients are grown to packaging materials — are sustainable.

Image: daiya

The brand offers a variety of dairy-free dishes for eco-conscious consumers and for people with dietary restrictions. Their products are also free from common allergens like gluten, soy, eggs, peanuts, fish, and shellfish. On Daiya’s website, the company also provides a variety of plant-based living tips and recipe suggestions for getting the most out of their products.

Worldwide demand for milk products is skyrocketing. While the dairy industry is evolving in its own right, companies like Daiya that provide plant-based alternatives are another option for environmentally savvy consumers who hope to cut down their carbon footprint.

Beauty Without Cruelty

It’s not just what we put in our bodies that can have a detrimental environmental impact: What we put on our bodies counts, too. The cosmetics industry is often a perpetrator of ecologically harmful pollutants like some preservatives (including parabens and triclosan), microplastics, and UV filters.

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A member of the Vegan Society, BWC makes beauty products that are 100% suitable for vegans and vegetarians; in addition, the brand uses recycled materials and responsible sourcing methods to minimize its environmental footprint. Their products range from hair and skincare treatments to nail polishes and makeup. Many of the company’s products are fragrance-free and others are gluten-free, too, for consumers with particularly sensitive skin.

Living an eco-conscious lifestyle doesn’t have to be tedious or difficult. With the rise of sustainability-focused startups as well as concerted efforts from established brands, the bar for responsible consumerism is being raised every day.

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Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/12/06/companies-reducing-meat-consumption/