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Go on a different kind of crawl this summer

In a city like Chicago, summer pub crawls are commonplace. We drink, we walk, we drink, we walk, we wake up with a hangover. That is, of course, unless you are crawling with Jessica Marie El-Assaad, in which case, you’ll wake up refreshed and feeling better than ever.

That’s because Jessica Marie has developed a new type of neighborhood crawl, the wellness crawl. Jessica’s business, CHEW (Complete Health Education and Wellness), leads tours through health and wellness locations in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

Jessica Marie, a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition at Columbia University, was inspired to create an alternative to a pub crawl after she was invited to one in the spring of 2009. She loved the idea of getting out and socializing, but thought it would be fun to mimic the concept in a way that didn’t inspire a hangover.

“I said, ‘Tours are so great. Let’s make it a wellness tour,’” Jessica Marie says. ““The tours are like a tapas; they can taste everything and see what they like.”

Jessica Marie also felt it would be a great way for people to become introduced to health-related businesses if they are not as familiar with working out and eating healthy.

“Wellness can be intimidating, or confusing if you’re not in the field,” Jessica Marie says. “I want people to feel good about it. I want people to learn that it’s really welcoming and open.”

Tours are every Wednesday through Sunday at 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. They start at the Green City Market at Clark and Menomenee. Each tour lasts 3.5 fours and ends at the Whole Foods at Kingsbury and North avenues. Stops along the way include: Infuse Yoga, Starfruit Cafe,  Lululemon, LUSH, Karyn's Raw and Balance Health + Wellness.

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