Peaks Resort & Spa: Dr. Safdi Teaches How To Live Longer Well
The Telluride Ski Resort and The Peaks Resort & Spa in Mountain Village are hosting week-long wellness intensives titled “Live Longer Retreat.” The Big Idea is to support your annual resolution to get really healthy and therefore live longer well. In the last quarter of 2018 what progress, if any, have you made?
Using an evidence-based, scientific approach to health and longevity and featuring an experienced staff of medical professionals, personal trainers, Pilates and yoga instructors, dietitians, and chefs, all focused on your unique wellness profile, each Live Longer Retreat is one-of-kind in the U.S.
The intensives, limited to only 10 – 15 participants, include personal consultations, hiking, spinning, yoga, Pilates, talks and demonstrations related to nutrition, cooking classes, and more. The next program takes place September 23 – September 29.
The Live Longer Retreat is led by Dr. Alan Safdi, a world-renowned internist and gastroenterologist with encyclopedic knowledge of mind-body wellness and preventative medicine. Dr. Safdi also has a gift for delivering evidence-based medical findings for healthier living in easily digestible sound bytes.
The first intensive took place August 19 – August 25. My husband, Clint Viebrock, attended. Clint, a former Marine, pilot, solo sailor, skier, runner and biker, has rarely, if ever, participated in group activities, including an exercise or wellness program. So what did Clint, generally a lone ranger, think of Alan Safdi’s week-long intensive?
Scroll down to find out – and to check out endorsements by other participants of different demographic profiles.
Feel free to sign up now to participate in the next Live Longer Retreat – or call 1-877-448-5416 for further information. Go here for further information, go to Dr. Safdi’s Telluride Longevity Institute.
Why in the world would a healthy and active almost 80-year-old man want to spend nearly a week learning how to live longer? For that matter, why would a woman in her 30s or a couple of empty-nest lawyers devote a week and a lot of sweat to this endeavor?
Let’s start with the title: “Live Longer Retreat.” It doesn’t say just “stay alive longer.” At various moments throughout the week Dr. Alan Safdi emphasized the science which documents the decade of debility and illness that the average American endures in the waning years of his/her life. The point was also made that one’s fitness (or lack thereof) in the middle years is a predictor of what lies ahead, for good or ill.
As for me, my primary impetus in getting involved was to be an observer in order to write about the retreat for Telluride Inside… and Out. Unbeknownst to me, my wife Susan, in setting this up, had told Alan I probably wouldn’t feel the need to get fully engaged with the program. I’d probably be bored. Alan begged to differ.
Here’s the daily schedule for Monday through Friday:
0900 Dr. Safdi lecture;
1400-1600 four 25-minute workout sessions, two options for each session, including weight and resistance training, yoga, stationary bike spinning, swimming, Zumba;
Time for a shower, an opportunity to either rest and relax, or enjoy a half hour Hypnotherapy and relaxation class;
1800 (ok, 6 p.m. for you civilians) Dinner, followed by another lecture.
Excited about the program yet? Truth be told, despite my friendship with Dr. Safdi and the rich schedule, I still thought I could get what I needed by “dipping a toe” from time to time.
Then I showed up for Sunday’s opening night dinner (delicious, satisfying and healthy!), stayed for Alan’s introductory talk and was just about hooked. However, I’d reserve judgement until tomorrow.
Monday morning I rode my bike to town, took the Gondola up to the Peaks in time for the wonderful breakfast – notably fruit, steel-cut oats, granola made in the Peaks’ kitchen, not the cheese-filled omelettes with bacon and sausage one might expect for a typical breakfast at a high-end hotel. I stayed for the morning lecture, reluctantly rode home to walk Henry, our new puppy, instead of joining the group on its morning hike. Turned out that was the last event of the week that I opted out of.
What sealed the deal? In a word: Everything!
The meals prepared by Chef Matt and Chef David and the kitchen staff at the Peaks were delicious and adhered to Dr. Safdi’s concept of tasty, nutritious plates with the emphasis on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These were not hair-shirt meals; they were universally varied, satisfying and palate-pleasing. And none left us feeling heavy or lethargic at the end.
The lectures were heavy with science, but not at all pedantic. Dr. Safdi spoke simply and eloquently about the benefits of a plant-based diet; the dangers of diets loaded with added sugar, saturated fats and excessive salt; the value of a life with time allocated for an active exercise program. He also shared surprising information about where American lifespan fits in the world of developed countries. (Hint: the American lifespan lags many of the developed nations, and worse, it carries with it about a decade of debility at the end.) We Americans are eating our way to cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease. And, as Alan explained, science shows it doesn’t have to be that way.
Exercise regimes were varied and appropriate for the range of people participating in the program and, given that we were hiking in the Telluride area, also scenic and as challenging as one was willing to make them.
As for the sessions with the Peaks Spa staff, I can only say they somehow managed to come up with exercises we could take home with us that still managed to push our comfort zones.
I bike regularly, yet I found spinning classes with Ellen Bator challenging, but I was encouraged by her smile and the fact that she was pushing herself along with her students. In addition, in the pool Ellen gave me one tool, then helped me implement that tool, so this old guy who has spent years sailing and swimming off the boat, can now swim without depending only on my arms. Thank you, Ellen.
My wife, Susan, is an accomplished yoga teacher, but there are psychological reasons that sometimes act as barriers to learning when one spouse attempts to teach the other spouse. Gayle Worth was able to get past some of my resistance, and I found the yoga sessions too very valuable. (Now perhaps I can open myself to what Susan can teach me.)
Deb Madaris is a long-time friend, but I had never worked out with her. Focusing on a fit ball and exercise bands, Deb designed a program I am now using at home to increase my strength and flexibility.
So there you have it: One action- and information-packed week in August confirmed the fact that I was on the right track with regard to lifestyle, diet and exercise, but it also gave me a needed push to up my game with the goal being to really LIVE in these late decades of my life.
I must not neglect to mention that besides Alan Safdi and the staff of the Peaks Resort and Spa, an integral part of this positive experience was the varied group of people with whom I spent the week: we talked, shared and supported each other.
The closing dinner at 221 South Oak – which offers a robust plant-based menu in addition to its regular menu – was poignant, with all of us sad the week was over. We had one last meal at breakfast Saturday morning with most of us in attendance. With promises to keep in touch, declarations about keeping the program in our lives. that really was an end-of-summer camp moment.
Though a bit sad the intensive ended, I am excited to get on with it and am already incorporating the the tips I learned into my daily life.
Alan, you were right: you reeled me in. And I’m looking forward to more bike rides with you.
Henry was happy when I returned home to share his days. He is just five months old, so there are lots of years to stay active for him. Are you with me, pup?
Here are some quotes from my fellow participants and new friends:
“Loved the whole program. To receive the information, taste the excellent food and to observe how to create it was unbelievable. To actually put all this info into action was the total package. Informative, creative, EBP, and completely attainable. Very Empowering.”
” I would love more lectures from Dr. Alan. More about Primary Food and BMs.”
“All doctors should be enrolled.”
” Dr. Alan is a walking medical library. The program is fantastic. The food was as clean and nourishing as the fresh mountain air. Those who do this program will feel like new people upon completion.”
“Alan Safdi walks the talk. Very empowering.”
“Finally, a roadmap to not only a longer life, but a more enjoyable and vigorous life. Dr. Safdi doesn’t preach; instead he offers information, alternatives and encouragement. His lectures are filled with straightforward, research-based information, supported by his experience and his example. The week was time well-spent, and we are headed home with a lot of food for thought.”
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