Meet Silja Danielsen and Phil Torres
BY FURTHERMORE / AN EQUINOX DIGITAL PUBLICATION • OCTOBER 20, 2017
This is an excerpt from Life, Awakened – a series of videos and articles that promote harnessing the power of sleep for those in pursuit of an active, healthy lifestyle.
Los Angeles-turned-New York City residents Phil Torres and Silja Danielsen are truly citizens of the world. While the power couple may be currently based in Williamsburg, you’re just as likely to find them hiking in the Amazonian rainforests, boating on the Norwegian fjords, or running along Nicaraguan beaches. As a biologist and conservationist, Torres goes where science takes him, whether it’s studying bees up close at Elizabeth Garden in SoHo or leading treks in the Peruvian jungles. His fiancé, Danielsen, also travels the globe as a model and ensures the couple is well fed, with her healthy eating digital platform Silja From Scratch. Here, the couple shares how they fuel their packed days, prepare for long flights, and prioritise restful nights in their DUX bed.
How does science influence your everyday lives?
Phil: “I have the most fun job in the world. I get to spend time in the field discovering new species and I also work in science communication—on TV shows, shooting images for scientific magazines, and giving talks. Contributing knowledge to the world while furthering your own personal exploration is pretty exciting.”
Silja: “For me, I like to play the role of scientist by experimenting in the kitchen. I’m always trying to find hacks to make classic comfort foods healthier, whether it’s using alternative pastas like lentil noodles, or sweetening a dish with natural ingredients such as dates instead of sugar. Playing around with different flavors, textures, ingredients, and techniques is the best way to build kitchen confidence. For example, something as simple as eggs can be transformed with a little salt and low heat. Suddenly, soft scrambled eggs take on a whole new level and you realize you never needed butter or extra oils.”
How do you start your days?
Silja: “At home, we have floor-to-ceiling windows, which we don’t black out so that we can wake up with the sun. One of the first things we do is drink a tall glass of water with a few squeezes of lemon to help wake the body up.”
Phil: “Every morning we work out together. We loving taking HIIT classes at Equinox like MetCon3 or hopping on adjacent treadmills. Silja can run for miles, whereas I’ll hit the weights after one or two.”
What’s your go-to breakfast?
Phil: “Silja’s oatmeal. If you haven’t had it you’re missing out.”
Silja: “I make a sweeter version topped with pears or sometimes a savory one with a poached egg and Norwegian cheese. We’ll also drink one cup of coffee in the morning, which I call my Viking coffee. It’s prepared black with cardamom, collagen powder, and sometimes I’ll add maca root powder as well.”
What do you do for recovery?
Phil: “I make sure to stretch. I’ve found it’s extremely important as you get older. Doing 10- to 15-mile hikes in the Amazon carrying heavy photography gear is very taxing on the body, and it wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t spend time taking care of my body, foam rolling, and getting enough sleep.”
Silja: “In addition to good sleep, infrared saunas have been a game-changer for me. They help relax and rejuvenate tired muscles and decrease inflammation. I like to go for a 30-minute session at HigherDOSE in SoHo, but I also have an infrared wrap (it looks like a sleeping bag) at home, which I’ll hop into immediately after a long flight.”
How do you stay fit while traveling?
Phil: “We try to be outdoors as much possible. In the Amazon, you see a set of species during the day that’s completely different from the wildlife at night, so going into the field at all hours keeps you on your feet. It’s important to stay active and healthy because if you get tired you can’t see as much as possible or take advantage of being in such an amazing part of the world.”
Silja: “You take for granted how much walking around, exploring, can be a workout. I’ll go for a run in whatever city I’m in—it’s the best way to immerse yourself in local culture.”
What’s the most important part of your travel routine?
Phil: “Hydration is key. I make sure to drink plenty of water to prevent headaches. It’s also important to pack a nutritious meal before the flight, since airport food is not something we’re generally excited about. Whatever city we’re traveling in, we look for a local healthy spot from which to source our next meal before getting on the plane so that we’re always prepared.”
Silja: “I’m flying cross-country and back next week in 24 hours for work and so being prepared is essential. I like the healthy Brazilian food that can be taken to-go from Market Ipanema in SoHo—they’re like my food family. Another trick is adding a few drops of anti-inflammatory tinctures to water to drink on the plane. Tweefontein Farm makes fantastic ones like turmeric and echinacea that they sell at the Union Square Farmer’s Market.”
What’s on your travel bucket list?
Silja: “We’re planning to go to Italy for our honeymoon and Japan is also up there.”
Phil: “Any place that has fantastic local markets for Silja and allows me to do jungle time.”
Optimal health is an equilateral triangle of fitness, nutrition, and sleep. Furthermore and DUXIANA have partnered to bring you a series of articles helping you prioritize this triangle and optimize your performance as a result. Read all of the articles at Furthermore here and prepare for an awakening.