September 06, 2022
222: The Blue Zones Lifestyle Principle with Dr. Michelle Tollefson

Today, Dr. Michelle Tollefson reveals how blue zones help us live a better life. Join us in this episode and start living a healthier lifestyle! In this episode, you will learn: What are the blue zones, and how can they help ...

Today, Dr. Michelle Tollefson reveals how blue zones help us live a better life. Join us in this episode and start living a healthier lifestyle!

In this episode, you will learn: 

  • What are the blue zones, and how can they help us live healthier and happier lives? 
  • What lifestyle habits do people in the blue zones practice that contribute to their longevity and health?
  •  What is the Thriving Through Lifestyle Medicine Immersive Wellness Experience?

Other episodes you'll enjoy

About Dr. Michelle Tollefson 

Dr. Michelle Tollefson is a physician and associate professor in the Health Professions Department at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. She teaches in the Integrative Therapies program and is the current secretary of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.

She worked as a private practice obstetrician and gynecologist, until leaving to work with Poudre Valley Health System as a medical director and director of Women’s Wellness Education. She is a certified wellness coach, guest faculty for Harvard, and author of online continuing medical education for the Harvard Institute of Lifestyle Medicine. She is passionate about women’s healthcare, lifestyle medicine, and teaching people to lead healthier and happier lives.

Dr. Tollefson is a graduate of Creighton University, where she received her Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Medicine degrees. She completed her obstetrics and gynecology residency at the University of Missouri in Kansas City and received her board certification in this medical specialty.

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[00:00:00] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: If you think of gardening, you're doing so many different types of movement. You're bending over. You're planting, you're harvesting, you're taking care of it. You're out in nature, which is so good for health. Costa Ricans are really known in the blue zone for their gardens, especially in small towns. And they're trying to really bring that back.

[00:00:13] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: When you go into San Jose, in some of the larger cities. 

[00:00:17] Maya Acosta: You have more power over your health than what you've been told. This is the Healthy Lifestyle Solutions podcast. I'm Maya Acosta, and I'm passionate about finding healthy lifestyle solutions to support optimal human health. If you're willing to go with me together, we can discover how simple lifestyle choices can help improve our quality of life and increase longevity in a big way.

[00:00:41] Maya Acosta: Let's get started. Dr. Michelle Tollefson reveals that the key to a long and healthy life is adopting the lifestyle practices. So the people living in the blue zones. In today's episode, you are going to learn about the blue zones and how they can help us live healthier and healthier lives. Also we'll learn about the lifestyle habits of the people living in the blue zones that can contribute to that longevity and health.

[00:01:09] Maya Acosta: Finally, Dr. Tollefson will speak with us about her Thriving Through Liifestyle Medicine, Immersive Wellness Program that she's putting on this year in Costa Rica during the Thanksgiving week. So stick around, we're gonna learn more and as always the full bio and the links for each of my guests can be found on the website,

[00:01:31] Maya Acosta: All right. Welcome back to another episode of the Healthy Lifestyle Solutions podcast. I'm your host Maya Acosta, today we're talking about one of my favorite topics. The Blue Zones and as a matter of fact, once you hear Dr. Michelle Tollefson speak about the blue zones, you will understand a little bit more what lifestyle medicine is all about.

[00:01:53] Maya Acosta: And Dr. Tollefson has been on the show before. So I'm gonna put a link in the show notes to episode 166, where she shares her story of surviving breast cancer, but also how she's become very passionate about women's health. She is boarded in lifestyle medicine. So Dr. Tollefson is a Physician Leader in lifestyle medicine.

[00:02:15] Maya Acosta: She is going to also talk about an Immersive Wellness Experience that she has put together. In Costa Rica, Thriving Through Lifestyle Medicine and to give you a little bit of information of what you can expect, she will give daily morning workshops on whole health, wellbeing, and lifestyle medicine through engaging interactive presentations and discussions.

[00:02:37] Maya Acosta: And she will guide you through assessing where you are on your well-being journey and how you can take the next steps. In addition, she will share the latest research on lifestyle medicine, what you can learn from how the Costa Rican blue zone communities live, and evidence-based practical tools to help you continue to optimize your health after returning home.

[00:02:57] Maya Acosta: This sounds so exciting. And we're gonna hear more about Dr. Tollefson in the blue zones. Welcome Dr. Tollefson

[00:03:05] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Oh, thank you so much for inviting me back. I'm excited to share this information with you and your listeners. So thank you so much. 

[00:03:11] Maya Acosta: Thank you for being here now. You just came back from Costa Rica.

[00:03:15] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: I did my family just got back about three or four days ago. We returned from Costa Rica and had a wonderful time. We were there for about two and a half weeks. Costa Rica has become a family favorite location of ours. When we went there, the first time we realized that we just fell in love with the people with the plants with the biodiversity, with the animals and really the culture of the amazing Costa Ricans and wanted to continue returning.

[00:03:40] Maya Acosta: Now, this is fascinating that we're talking about the Blue Zones, Lifestyle medicine, and just Costa Rica in general. I do say on my show often that before I met my husband, I literally had one foot in the states and one foot in Costa Rica. I was actually, I had a plan in place to relocate to Costa Rica and so, oh my goodness.

[00:03:59] Maya Acosta: Yes, it was the destination where I found myself. Now here's another thing that's really fascinating that I never share. I went to one place where, you know, the thermal baths that you can have experience yes. Near some of the volcanoes. Yes. Yes. I went to one particular resort that gives you like a daily access to those pulse.

[00:04:17] Maya Acosta: And I remember having this meditative experience and what I visualized, and that was probably in 2005 was having a retreat center in Costa Rica that incorporated all these kind of modalities that we speak about today when it comes to lifestyle medicine 

[00:04:35] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Yes. Yes. Oh, those baths are amazing. 

[00:04:38] Maya Acosta: And I thought, you know, going to Costa Rica to experience yoga and meditation and just overall wellness and healthy eating.

[00:04:45] Maya Acosta: And at the time, I didn't know about lifestyle medicine. I didn't know about the power of plant-based foods. I mean, there was just so much, I didn't know, but I knew one thing and that, that Costa Rica has something magical to offer all of us. 

[00:04:58] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: It really does. It really does, you just feel something different when you're there and then I think the first time I visited it was just, how can I take what I've learned. It was like seeing lifestyle medicine truly in action learning, really just seeing it lived and then feeling that for myself. And I thought, how can I take what I've learned and what I've experienced and help to make that continue to flow into my daily lifestyle when everything gets crazy, being a mom of three busy kids and how can I continue that?

[00:05:23] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And then also as the professor in me and the doctor in me said, ah, I want to use that immersive experience so that I can teach others. Cause I knew before I had the lifestyle medicine, I had the lifestyle medicine academic knowledge, but it's one thing to know it. And there's one thing to experience it and to say, just like you said, even though you didn't know lifestyle medicine, maybe the literature at that time, you knew how it felt, you knew that it felt right when you were eating a lot of plant-based foods when you were moving more, when you were in that relaxing environment. So that's, what's made me say, I need to take, take people to that area. 

[00:05:53] Maya Acosta: Yes, And I think this is gonna be the first time we talk about the blue zones on my podcast, even though I sort of always reference, but going through details of what the blue zones have in common is something very exciting that you're gonna talk about now, the last time I was in Costa Rica was before the pandemic and I remember being not quite in a Coya, but very, very close to that area.

[00:06:14] Maya Acosta: I had walked to the water and I don't remember, I was just kind of exploring the area and I knew about the blue zones obviously then, and then I found myself walking with this older gentleman because he had walked 10 miles from where he lived in search of his dog. And he had been speaking with the locals that everyone knows him.

[00:06:36] Maya Acosta: The man must have been over 70 years old, but Dr. Tollefson his body, he was walking around without his shirt. His body was so toned and in shape that he looked like he was 46 or even younger. And he offered to walk me to my hotel because it was just like the, both of us on this as, you know, very unkind of rough roads out there in Costa Rica and the whole time I'm thinking, oh my goodness, I'm walking with someone that will be considered as centenarian over time. Yes. In the blue zone. A healthy man moving naturally in his environment. So. 

[00:07:13] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Very beautiful to see. Yes. Beautiful to see.

[00:07:15] Maya Acosta: So I know that you have a presentation for us. Is there anything else you'd like to share with us before you share your presentation?

[00:07:21] Maya Acosta: And for those that are listening to this conversation, I invite you to visit the link that I will also provide to the video so that you can see the beautiful images that Dr. Tollefson will share with us.

[00:07:33] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Oh, thank you so much. No, I'm, I'm happy to get started and just to note at the very end, and then also in, in the speaker's notes, I'll give my email addres and any of you are welcome to reach out. If you have questions about today's presentation or questions about the immersive experience. And just one other note is that I don't speak on behalf of the blue zones company. If you see blue zones written with all caps or capital B and Z, then it usually is the blue zones company, which is Dan Buettner, his company, an organization.

[00:07:58] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: He has the amazing blue zones books. So I'll be talking about the blue zones along with some of their research, but I'm not officially representing their company today. All right, thank you. Great. Okay. Let me share my screen 

[00:08:11] Maya Acosta: And on my end, most likely I'll mute myself just so that I, cuz I'll be paying attention too.

[00:08:17] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: That sounds great. That sounds great. Okay. So today I'm eager to share with you information about lifestyle medicine and the blue zones and how they overlap, but especially Costa Rica's blue zone. And I really want you to be able to take what you're learning today and hopefully use some of it to lead a healthier and a happier life.

[00:08:38] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And then at the end, I'll share some information about that blue zone experience that we referenced just moments ago. So, a little background about me in case you haven't watched the other episode. So I'm the one there standing on the right. This is my family from a picture just earlier this week when we were in Costa Rica, but I'm an obstetrician-gynecologist.

[00:08:56] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: I'm a Lifestyle Medicine expert, a professor, an author of a few books. I'm, I'm the Executive Board of the American College for Lifestyle Medicine, as well as the nonprofit organization paving the path to wellness. I'm a mom to those three sweet kids there on that picture and also a breast cancer survivor and thriver.

[00:09:15] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So for those of you who are looking at the PowerPoint images or who might see them later, I put a lot of my own pictures from my family's recent trip. I tried to take some pictures that showcased what I'll be talking about today while also being very respectful of not getting closeups of somebody's face without their approval or getting some distance photos.

[00:09:32] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So you might see some of my family members in there helping to me to make this story kind of come alive for you today, as well as some pictures that I took in the blue zone, as well as in some of the areas surrounding it along the I'll show you in a, on the map, a bit of the area surrounding the blue zone and side of it as.

[00:09:48] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So the blue zones, I'm hopeful that after today, you'll learn about the blue zones and be excited to go pick up some of the different blue zones books. So Dan Buettner, he has the original blue zones book from his research with national geographic. I think it was about like 10 or 12 years ago now where he and a team of researchers trying to find the communities where people were living the longest.

[00:10:07] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So they were looking for people who were in their, in their nineties, who were in their hundreds and they really did this academic research looking for these communities. And what they found is when they found these centenarians or these people who were living long lives, that they were living longer and healthier.

[00:10:20] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: It's not that they were finding many people who were a hundred, who were in a nursing home though. Some of them may have been, but they were really finding people who were living and living very well into their older ages. And so it was that health and that longevity, they identified five blue zones throughout the world.

[00:10:39] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And so the five areas that Dan Buettner and his team of researchers identified are Okinawa Japan,Sardinia Italy, Ikaria Greece. We have one blue zone in the United States, which is Loma Linda, California near the population of the Seventh-day Adventist community. And then the one that I'll be speaking about today is on the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica.

[00:11:03] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So Costa Rica is the blue zone that I'm most connected with the one on the Nicoya Peninsula and what I want you to understand right now is that when we talk about the blue zones, we're talking about a way of life for those people who are in their like nineties and hundreds, or probably more about like the lifestyle that they have lived, things are changing now.

[00:11:23] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And so we often don't see the exact same practices that maybe they grew up with, or we're seeing an influence of some of our, unfortunately our standard American diet kind of creeping in, but I'll be talking about that area that's circled on blue. And in fact, that's, I believe how the blue zones got their name is that Dan Buettner, some of researchers were circling areas on the map that had these pockets of longevity of health.

[00:11:43] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And so you'll see on that left hand side, the map of Costa Rica left hand side is Nicoya Peninsula,and Guanacaste. So that will be the area that when I reference the blues zone of Costa Rica that I'm referring to, that not that the rest of Costa Rica isn't fabulous and has their. Great aspects of health as well, but we'll be focusing more on that region in the left.

[00:12:02] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And then it's interesting to understand the history of why we think Nicoya is a blue zone, is one of those pockets of health and longevity that Tosherega Indians were the original were the original indigenous people there. And. It was part of Nicaragua. Originally, it wasn't always part of Costa Rica, but it was very separate.

[00:12:22] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: It was separated from the main body of land that you see there in Costa Rica. So that separation that it was harder to travel to probably allowed them to retain some of their indigenous traditions that were very healthy, that focus on maze on corn, the focus on eating a lot of whole foods and focus on eating a lot of plants, uh, doing manual labor even after we've become so with modern cars and taking us everywhere, but they retained many of those original traditions longer.

[00:12:49] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: We think that a lot of that's what influenced the longevity and the health on the right is somebody who's one of the descendants of the Chihuahua Indians and they're known for their pottery and for their use of corn and maze. And so we saw him doing some pottery work there and felt honored to be able to connect with somebody from their community.

[00:13:07] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: But that blue zone is that area will be focused on today. So the blue zones have taught us that the people who live in the blue zones, they're not necessarily a hundred because they were saying when they were 50, I'm going to live to be a hundred. What can I do? They weren't like me always reading the latest literature or always setting the latest books.

[00:13:25] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: They were in an environment that really. Made it easy to live lifestyle medicine. So their physical environment and their social environment both supported their healthy lifestyle. So as you can see on the left hand side with that picture, if you're looking at this slides, there are a lot of Hills hilly regions.

[00:13:44] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And if you look at the blue zones, many of the five blue zones have a lot of mountainous regions or Hills. And so there was a lot of climbing up and down, a lot of physical activity. You weren't just taking a car to get from one place to another you're climbing those Hills. You were doing that physical activity every day.

[00:13:59] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: You were surrounded by a lot of plant based foods. And so fruits, fresh fruits and vegetables and beans and things that were from the earth. So they were surrounded by that environment. So it's not like they said, oh, I need to go to the gym. And I need to exercise every day so I can get to be a hundred it's that they were gardening it's that they were working in the field it's that they were walking.

[00:14:18] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: To their neighbors houses. They just lived lifestyle medicine and everybody in the community did it wasn't that they were the only one who was choosing to eat a lot of plants. It was just what everyone did. Everyone went to bed and got a most, everyone went to bed and got, uh, many hours of sleep every night and prioritized sleep.

[00:14:33] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So it was their, their social surroundings and their environment. So when we think about the blue zones, what I always think about too is not just how can I have myself do healthier lifestyle behaviors, but what can I set up in my environment that can my physical environment and in my social network, my social support environment that can support healthy lifestyle behaviors.

[00:14:52] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And, and Dan Buettner goes into that in further depth in his blue zones book, which I encourage you. I encourage you to check out. So lifestyle medicine and the blue zones. The reason I got so excited about the blue zones, even before traveling to any of them is because a lot of what I had been looking at in the literature for years and years and years aligned with the research we were seeing in the blue zones.

[00:15:15] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And so I kept seeing that alignment of literature and it makes sense if you look at the people who are living the longest and you find commonalities, even though they're, they live in all different parts of the world, different cultures, you see these commonalities. And so what they found were they may just be associations, but they look, they saw it aligned with the medical literature as well.

[00:15:33] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: That shows that eating a lot of plants that moving more, stressing, less prioritizing sleep, having strong interpersonal connections, that it helps to prevent treat, and sometimes reverse chronic disease. So the lifestyle medicine pillars were really seen being at work in the blue zones. And so the literature from both of those fields, just intertwines beautifully.

[00:15:53] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So Dan Buettner and the Blue Zones have what they call The Power Nine. So they looked at all of these different characteristics of people across the blue zones of these pockets of populations. And they pulled out Nine Key Principles. And once again, dive into this in Dan Buettner's books, but The Power Nine, the first is a Plant slant.

[00:16:10] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So it's not that these are necessarily vegan or vegetarian communities, but they eat 95 to a hundred percent plants. When you look at their overall diet of these groups of people with longevity and health, the population in, and some populations don't eat any meat, but most of them four out of the five do or did eat some meat, but it wasn't the centerpiece.

[00:16:29] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: It wasn't our giant, steak in the middle of our plate. Like so many Americans eat. It really was seen as being more of a, something for celebration or to be used as something a little on the side, a little fish or so a little meat on the side. So definitely a plant slant. 80%, the 80% rule or Hara Hachi Bu an Okinawa mantra that reminds them to stop when they're so mixed about 80% full.

[00:16:53] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So I know our portion sizes have changed so dramatically in the United States. If you look at what portions were like years ago versus what they are now. So being mindful that they don't overeat, they often stop eating after dinner and don't start eating again until breakfast the following morning. So just really that thought of eating, but in moderation moving naturally.

[00:17:11] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So as I was mentioning, they're not going to the gym all of the time. They were just moving naturally throughout their day. They were in the blue zones and research looks like they were probably moving or they probably move on average about every 20 to 30 minutes, just because they're environment prompts them to do so.

[00:17:23] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: They're taking care of grandkids or they're garden. Also downshifting. So that's that being able to minimize stress or everyone has stress, even in the blue zones, how do they deal with stress in a healthy manner? And when we look at the blue zones, we see that all of these communities have a way or rituals or certain routines that they do that help them to downshift, whether that's regular napping or kind of a time to downshift during the afternoon, it might be, we see that faith communities are very strong within the blue zone.

[00:17:51] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So that's a recurring theme that they've seen. And so that may help people downshift as well. There's a way to downshift and then purpose. We see that purpose is associated with probably about an extra seven years of longevity of somebody can identify a strong purpose. When we look at the blue zones, we see that the people living long, healthy lives, that they can identify their sense of purpose.

[00:18:10] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: They know why they wake up in the morning that per DaVita or plan DaVita, why I wake up or why I get up in the morning is something, what they say in Costa Rica. That plan DaVita, why they live. The other four, three of them have to do with connections. So connection is such a part of these communities. They didn't often find people living alone, a 90 year old or a hundred year old who was living alone.

[00:18:30] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Usually they were in communities with their families, with generations. And so you would see the younger generations helping to care for the older, for the centenarians. But then also a lot of the older people in the communities, the elders were caring for the grandkids and caring for the younger. So it both, they were all generations were benefiting and, and you so would find intergenerational housing or homes where you were nearby.

[00:18:52] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So a lot of families lived close in communities, so that community was really strong. So, family loved ones first. So family is very important. We see across the blue zones as well as, as I mentioned faith. So belonging that faith community, we see that thread as well, finding the right tribe. So living together or not living, but being connected well connected with supportive friends.

[00:19:14] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Not that everyone needs a hundred friends, but just at least a few close friends. And then they saw a theme throughout the blue zones, too, that people were either drinking wine in the afternoon in moderation or drinking, more like coffee, teas, water, sometimes wine, they were drinking wine. It was in moderation.

[00:19:30] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: It was with friends and with a meal as part of a way to relax and to gather. And so they noticed that this was the type of beverages they're consuming, not a lot of dairy, not a lot of sugar sweetened beverages, but really these other types of beverages. So those are The Power Nine that Dan Buettner highlights.

[00:19:46] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: But what I'd like to do is I'd like to dive into each of some of these pillars more deeply, so nutrition and give you some information from the blue zones for my travels, as well as for my background around lifestyle medicine. So the Casado is the typical Costa Rican lunch, which has beans and rice that are usually side by side.

[00:20:03] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And this is found at most restaurants in Costa Rica that you can choose this among other things. They also have Gallo pinto, which I believe means speckled rooster, where they mix beans and rice, and they are seasoned deliciously. And that was one of the things I took a cooking class when I was there. And I said, I want to learn to make, beans and rice that taste as delicious as what I had eaten before in Costa Rica, because I tried at home after returning last time and I couldn't do it, but I'm determined this time, probably this weekend too, to try making it a lot of times, they use cooked plantains, a lot of fresh fruit.

[00:20:33] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Oh my goodness. The fruit there is absolutely amazing. And some salad, often coffee or some fresh juice, not our sugar sweetened juice that we have here often in the United States. But that fresh juice from really ripe sweet fruit sometimes have meat, but it's usually not the centerpiece, but Costa Rica, if we look at the traditional and the indigenous.

[00:20:51] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Diet and the diet of any of the centenarians, some meat was included, but once you know, it, wasn't the centerpiece blue zones, about 95 to a hundred percent plant based and they often have black beans. So a focus when you look at all of the blue zones is that they often include beans about a half cup to a cup.

[00:21:07] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: A day is the kind of typical recommendation, but beans and in Costa Rica, they love black beans. That was what I was like. I teach me how to cook black beans. Like you cook black beans, but they sometimes will have them at every meal traditionally. And at most restaurants you can still get beans. And sometimes they're mashed, sometimes they are with rice.

[00:21:23] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So they're separate often with a lot of delicious spices. Sometimes they serve their food with egg. With homemade tortillas that Yucca traditionally and maze plantains are often used. So I am whole food plant based, but I do think it's important to understand that in the blue zones, it, it isn't just plant based though.

[00:21:41] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: It is easy to find your whole food plant based recipes or dishes, but that they did include and still do include some meat. If you're looking at the slides, they is a picture of one of my meals that where you can see the beans and the rice and the vegetables and the pick a deal where they mix all the vegetables there and season them deliciously, also their traditional beverages, they're known for their coffee.

[00:22:01] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And then when I'm there, I love their Pipa Fria. So if you're driving around, sometimes you can find on this, a lot of places on the side of the road, someone will have a Pipa Fria, which is a young sweet coconut, and they take their large knife and cut off the top of it, put a straw on it and you can drink it.

[00:22:14] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: It's delicious. It's usually served cold. And then once you're done, you return back and they cut off the top of it and then usually take part of the coconut so that you can scoop out the fresh coconut inside and eat it. And it is. Amazing. So eating a lot of fresh whole fruits and vegetables and whole foods is just really central to their diet.

[00:22:33] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: A lot of different choices. Things can be served in a lot of different ways. And just some other examples, if you're looking at the pictures of some of their delicious meals, but fruit really surrounds you, it's easy to see why having fresh. Local fruits and vegetables is part of their culture. You drive through the different towns and you see the roadside sands of people selling all different, fresh fruits that just look delicious.

[00:22:54] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: You see trees with it, hanging off of it. You see Marketside stands where you can stop and buy fresh fruit for really reasonable prices. They even have some different fruits that I had never tried before. One of them is Rambotan and it's this red firm fruit that has these like little green, like lime green, electric, green little hair projections.

[00:23:12] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And when you twist or when you open that hard outer, or that firm outer layer, the tough outer layer, it's almost as like nature's candy or gummy bear. It's this delicious sweet fruit that has this pit inside. And so we would buy those by the bag full at the farmer's markets. And, the roadside ends. The fruit stands and take those home with us.

[00:23:30] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And they were delicious papayas, mangoes, plantains, pineapples, starfruit dragon fruit, just so many things. So many things to indulge in. Also a lot of what people have eaten in the blue zones. And in that Costa Rican blue zone comes from a right around them. It comes from locally. So they're not in fact when we were there, we went to a grocery store and I had an apple and I was like, oh, I was disappointed by that apple.

[00:23:51] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And I thought, why am I eating an apple here in Costa Rica? They have all of this other amazing fruit that has just been picked. Why would I, you know, I'm just used to buying fruit, not always thinking of how fresh it is or where it came from, but this is a little restaurant that my husband and I stopped by on a long drive, this tiny little restaurant.

[00:24:05] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: We were the only ones there. And when I went to use the restroom, I found this beautiful garden in the back and it said welcome to my garden. And so this woman took our order, went back, picked some different things from her garden and used things from her garden. Cooked us this fresh meal and then served it to us.

[00:24:20] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So often in Costa Rica, eating is not really fast. It's not like McDonald's, you need to plan for some time because the food usually is it's whole food that they're cooking and that they're serving up fresh. And it's absolutely amazing in the cooking class that I went to because I'm really trying to figure out how I can take what's in the blue zones and how I can bring it back here and implement it in my life.

[00:24:41] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And I knew after trying last time to cook that I wanted to do some cooking classes. So that'll be part of the experience when we go down to Costa Rica with a group, but also I took, cooking class with my family. We went out and picked the fresh, picked up pineapple. We went to the garden and picked some fresh spinach and other things that we used in our recipe.

[00:24:57] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And then also I noticed that she had Aloe and other different plants that she had used for their medicinal properties as well. So that was exciting to talk with her about the culture and the use of those. It wasn't that they were anti-medication, but it was how can we use some of these different natural foods as medicine or different plants in conjunction?

[00:25:15] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So during that cooking class, I learned that even though their food isn't spicy, like hot, spicy, like your mouth on fire, they cook with a lot of spices. My daughter, they gave my daughter a whole, a bulb, I believe it's called of garlic. And we were like, she needs to cut all of those, like the whole thing.

[00:25:29] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: That's all going to go in what we're making. And they said, yes, And it was delicious. I would never have thought to add that much garlic. And anyway, they do amazing job with seasoning things. And also my kids were really excited. They got to make hand, make corn tortillas and then throw them on the griddle.

[00:25:43] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And so I get busy and as I'm on my swim just have to power through my day. And I don't take time to get my kids involved, but what, this really reminded me of this, when I return to the United States, I need to have my kids involved and get my spouse involved. How can we come together as a family? Because it really is a family event.

[00:25:57] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: There really is that cooking it's people coming together in this beautiful outdoor kitchen to have the experience of cooking together. It was an experience being able to cook with these three amazing women who taught my family how to prepare their traditional dishes and then to serve it. And just that coming together in community, which is an amazing thing.

[00:26:13] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: All of those whole foods. So things aren't packaged in fluorescent colors, you're getting those nutrients and things from that plant rather than from just things that are made in a plant though, of course, you can find those as well in Costa Rica as our senior American diet has. Come in. As I mentioned before, the coffee cost Ricans are known for their coffee.

[00:26:29] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And so we are able to go through the fields and learn about the coffee process. My son was picking some of the coffee and learning about the process and he even tried his first cup of coffee over there, which I think had enough milk in it that he liked it. But though we learned that the Costa Ricans, if you can drink your coffee, black, that is the true way, but I still need, I need some almond milk or some cashew milk in my coffee.

[00:26:50] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Optimal. But not sugar sweetened beverages. So we got to see that process in work. Also, one of the things I noticed is that they savor their meals. They savor their time together. We needed to be mindful of not setting up our dinner reservation or our time for dinner, so that we would be rushed to the next event because it's a process.

[00:27:09] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Nobody rushes tries to rush you out and move on to the next table. It's a different pace. And so slowing down to savor food saver, celebrating saver, being in community, which is a good reminder, a good lesson to me. If you're seeing the pictures as a picture of a caption monkey that I saw down around Manuel Antonio.

[00:27:26] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And I love that he, I forget what these fruits are called or what they're kind of an oilier feel. I don't remember the name, but we just found this caption monkey. And he just was enjoying one after the other. And when he moved his hands away, he was like have orange on his fur. And it was like, he was just savoring this.

[00:27:41] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And so that's how I feel when I'm eating fruit and Costa Rica. Like I just wanna savor it. I just wanna eat all of the fruit that I can before I leave and to try not to rush it. As I mentioned, our Sierra American diet has seeped into Costa Rica. I was sad to see this taco bell Avio and Pura Vita outside.

[00:27:57] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So it makes me sad to see that I understand that that's what's happened, but I do feel really good knowing that Costa Rica has these roots and that they are such a mindful people, such a peaceful people. They have really worked to on their biodiversity and on supporting the planet, supporting their environments, their plants.

[00:28:16] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And they're working on trying to make sure that the indigenous traditions and the beautiful way of life is not lost. And so groups such as Dr. Louis Allen are Dr. Luis Aguilar. No, I'm sorry. Dr. Louis Allen, who is the President of the Costa Rican Association for Lifestyle Medicine. He took my family and I to visit this old bull fighting ring, which they were making into a garden.

[00:28:39] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And so that they could work with the local community in the schools and to get them gardening again, cuz gardening is really a central part of their communities. And so they're working. There are amazing people, just like I find in the Lifestyle Medicine Movement here in the United States, there are amazing people in the Lifestyle Medicine Movement in other countries.

[00:28:52] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And so there's so much hope, so many exciting things that are going on. And my goal is just to take what I've learned in Costa Rica and what I've learned from these indigenous communities and from people who are now a hundred years old, what they've been doing throughout their lives to learn from those things and to go back to our basics and to really be mindful of me.

[00:29:10] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: I'm not going to go, I'm not gonna give away my cell phone. I'm not going to, you know, I'll still eat at Panera. Sometimes I can choose my healthier options. I'm going to take what I can and remind myself of the simplicity of if I can eat from food from a farmer's market. That's in season, that's from nearby to experiment with different foods to get my kids trying different foods that I don't usually eat to put a big fruit bowl on the center of my counter end and to have fruit visible, to eat more plants and less food that comes from a plant.

[00:29:36] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So physical activity in the US, many of you know, we are so sedentary or it's so easy to be sedentary. As I sit doing zoom meeting after zoom meeting, I can often sit. And not move for a long period of time, but in the blue zones, they're physically active every 20 or 30 minutes or so their environments just prompt them to move.

[00:29:52] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And so they aren't usually going to gyms like this though. I did see a couple, so I snapped this picture, but they don't usually go to these gyms. It's the walking up and down those Hills, it's just a part of their life where they're physically active. You can see the Hills and maybe it doesn't look as impressive as it did when I was driving in my car and shot these, the pictures, if you're seeing the pictures, but they are Hills.

[00:30:09] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And what's amazing is that you will see people in their seventies, eighties, nineties, who are walking up these Hills probably faster than I would walk up these Hills. They are in great shape. They are moving. When I got out and needed help with directions, I got out and talked to somebody who he looked like.

[00:30:22] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: He was probably a centenarian who was on his horse, who was pointing me in the right direction, making sure that I got to where I needed to go. So they walk, they walk from home to home. They walk from round of places to pick people up from school. And they have cars, but they don't just don't use them as much.

[00:30:37] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: They're not used as prominently as they are often. You can see those Hills they're out there gardening. So a lot of gardening, if you think of gardening, you're doing so many different types of movement. You're bending over, you're planting, you're harvesting, you're taking care of it. You're out in nature, which is so good for health.

[00:30:50] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So Costa Ricans are really known in the, the blue zone for their gardens and the gardens, especially in small towns. And they're trying to really bring that back. When you go into like San Jose in some of the larger cities also it's might be hard to see if you're looking at the picture, but there's a picture of a woman who is mopping her front floor area and she's facing away.

[00:31:07] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: I wanted to always be respectful of their privacy, but I wanted to show you. So impressive how they even older people are doing manual chores. Like it seems like their porches are always immaculately clean, much cleaner than my deck, but they're doing a lot of manual labor where they're mopping or they're out there.

[00:31:22] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Cutting. I think I only saw one lawnmower, but they're out there doing manual labor. So I, I think of me needing the remote to control my TV. And I, I try to think of ways and the blues and will encourage you. If you read their books to think of ways to make life harder or to make things a little more challenging for yourself, maybe you can get up and change the channel on your TV.

[00:31:38] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: I don't even know if you can do that anymore, but what can you do to get a little bit more physical activity or when you're doing laundry, think of it as it's not just laundry, I'm getting my physical activity in riding bicycles, a lot of people riding bicycles, whether it's for work, whether it's just out and about, you see a lot of people that are just out and moving around.

[00:31:54] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: You also see soccer fields in front of, or near many churches. So it's central to the towns. When you go through little town after little town, after little town and the big towns, you find that there's a central area, like a field where often. Playing soccer. And then there's usually a church nearby as well, but physical activity and joy in movement is part of their life.

[00:32:14] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Not that I have to go to the gym and I need to exercise, right? They're just physically active. They're moving around. They're seeing families and friends down the street. They're playing soccer, which is their number one sport or they're surfing, which is their number two sport because there are great ways there though.

[00:32:25] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: I'm not a surfer. I'd rather take a leisurely stroll by the beach. And you often see groups walking together just as Maya mentioned that you see many older people strolling or in groups or in couples. I would go out in the morning sometimes to look for shells with my son. And we would often see older men and women walking couples, walking together and younger ones as well, just out enjoying nature and out enjoying physical.

[00:32:49] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Now they have a lot of eco-tourism as well. So it's not that most Costa Ricans are ziplining every day, right? But Costa Rica is known for their eco-tourism and being respectful of the environment, which I love. So from thousand foot water slides to zip lines across the forest to horseback riding and kayaking and swimming and thermal pools, all of those different things, there's tons of opportunity to get outside and to enjoy nature and to do movement.

[00:33:11] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: That feels right for you. I think that was one of the things when I was there, this time was really that joy of movement of doing a zip line. Last time I was there, I couldn't do it. Cause I had just recently had one of my surgeries after breast cancer. But this time I was able to do the zip line and just that joy of moving the joy of really being in your body, being present in.

[00:33:28] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So even though taking what I can learn from what they do in their movement, what I can take back to my life here, even though I can't hike to a waterfall every day, though, I would love to, they're beautiful with my family. I need to get my family and I outside walking more, just get up and walk. And sometimes I feel like I don't have time to go for a long, but I need to just get out there and move for a few minutes, because if I can get going off often, I'll continue it.

[00:33:49] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: I need to be mindful of getting more activity throughout my day and not sitting here hour after hour. So standing up and moving in between and then really finding movement that brings you joy. So they move and see, they have joy in movement, joy of getting outside nature, and you can tell they are a joyous people doing movement that you enjoy.

[00:34:06] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And so for me, that's doing Zumba in front of my bed in the morning is my most joyful type of movement, but trying to look at what you enjoy and then continuing to add more of it. Now with stress. You're not surprised by the us. Most people are under a tremendous stress. Many of our doctor's visits are related to chronic stress, many physical problems, many mental health problems.

[00:34:26] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: It's normal in our society to say, oh, I'm so stressed and people, it's almost like it's a. Can be said with pride sometimes here, our high pressure fast-paced society overworking, trying to get ahead with material goods. That's just kind of the society that we live in here in the United States. And not that that's all bad, but it's just what we're surrounded by.

[00:34:45] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And I think that I didn't even realize it until I traveled to Costa Rica and then saw that change. I felt that change. I felt that difference just as soon as you get off, we were actually going through through customs and through the, um, checking our passports and we noticed they were talking to us about what's your job.

[00:34:59] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And we were using a little bit of Spanish, but talking to us about some of their fruit. And anyway, it's just a different pace, less of a focus on material goods. Their homes are usually much smaller and simpler. They spend much more time outside. So I love maybe I'm of open kitchens and time in the garden.

[00:35:15] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: A lot of time with others. I don't think they feel that pressure to have the latest gadget. When I was able to go into some of their homes, they're not as cluttered. It made me feel like I wanted to come back and simplify because I have a lot of. Stuff, a lot of stuff that I don't need. And I don't feel like I need all the latest gadgets, but I just realized I have a lot of things are in my house and it's calming.

[00:35:34] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: It's relaxing when things are simpler and. Let's see, okay. Also in the blue zones, they typically have routines that help them to deal with stress in healthy ways. So we noticed when we were in Costa Rica, that people would just stop and pull over on the side of the road to enjoy the sunsets. They didn't seem as pressured to like, hurry, hurry, hurry between different things.

[00:35:54] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Or you'd see people just gathered outside of stores, just chatting in different groups more so than I typically notice in the United States. Of course, that huge connection with nature. In fact, it's interesting. If you look at the five blue zones, they're all closer to the equator than they are to the poles.

[00:36:08] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And I wonder if that's because of the climate where they're able to be out in nature more. I'm not sure, but there's definitely that nature connection when you're in Costa Rica, it's typically in like the eighties, seventies or eighties, it's beautiful year round. And even though we were there in the wet season, it usually just had some showers in the afternoon.

[00:36:22] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Also they care about at least in the coast, they care about nature. So tremendously we saw hardly any litter. Even my nine year old said, there's no graffiti here. And there is, then we became mindful of it. We started looking, we did see some graffiti somewhere, but. You can find hardly any litter and hardly any graffiti, at least outside of like their main cities.

[00:36:40] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: It's just that connection with nature, that intimacy with nature, the connection with their land, with their indigenous, their roots, their culture is just beautiful to see also their work life balance. We talked to many guides that we had on our trip, and many of them would talk about their families.

[00:36:55] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: They'd talk about their hobbies. They were talking about how they were eager to go home and to do their fun events. There was a celebration coming up in Guanacaste and that they were going to celebrate and the people would come together for a couple weeks of celebration. That was just starting as we were leaving.

[00:37:07] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: They said they will rarely work extra hours if it means that they'll miss a social event. So just that love of spending time together in a community. And that really helps to decrease stress and then the, the stop and smell the roses. Stop and look at the vegetation. Stop. Just that ability to pause. As you can tell, I'm a fast talker.

[00:37:25] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: I like to talk about a lot of things. I get a lot in, but just when I go to cost Creek, I feel like there's that pause? And then also other things that help them to de-stress just that laughter and humor people in cost are, are just a joyous people. They love to celebrate. They love to have fun. And so as I, and they're also parting the other pillars of healthy eating of physical activity of prioritizing sleep and all that makes stress easier to manage.

[00:37:48] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So as I left Costa Rica and was working on coming home to Colorado and in that airplane, I was thinking, how can I bring some of that feeling back home? Cuz it's so easy just to start going, going, going again. And I wanted to make sure I stayed focused on my purpose because that's connected with less stress that I find time to relax, that I practice mindfulness yoga to spend time in nature and to find ways to bring nature in if it's just some rocks or a beautiful branch that I find just to bring that inside or more plants and to remind myself of the value of connecting with people and with experiences rather than material goods and clutter.

[00:38:25] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Sleep is another pillar that we see in the blue zones. And so I love the slots because I think that if I were an animal, I would not be a slot, but I want to become more like the sloth where I am calm all the time and where I am, am move in a slower pace. But in the United States, we are typically sleep deprived, sleep deprivation.

[00:38:43] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Insomnia is just chronic and rampant in the United States. Often people will brag about the lack of sleep or not needing much sleep or working overtime and not being able. Sleep, but in the blue zone, sleep is prioritized. In fact, it's found that most of the people in the centenarians and the blue zones, they're typically sleeping about seven to eight hours a night, which aligns with the latest lifestyle medicine and expert guidelines on sleep.

[00:39:03] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So they are getting their sleep. In fact, we saw the sloth the last time we saw wanna do a big yawn and then just relax. And I thought, oh, that's just beautiful during the day and the heat of the day. And then also we saw this other sloth up really close this time. And I was worried about being too loud.

[00:39:18] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: I like, oh, I wanna get a picture. So they're so cute. And when my, I was telling my son, having them look, the sloth opened its eyes and looked at us and I thought, oh, he's gonna turn away. Or now he's going to go. And then he just closed his eyes and went back to sleep. And so just beautifully sleeping and prioritizing sleep of not feeling that pressure to get up and to do everything.

[00:39:37] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And then also once again, they are in an environment that makes that physical activity that they're in nature. They are eating healthy foods. They're in community, they're have less stress. And so that supports healthy. Are better sleep as well. And then also in Costa Rica, the sun goes down around six 30 or so, and seems like it rises around five 30 or so bright and early in the morning.

[00:39:56] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And so they don't have the latest necessarily have the latest sleep number beds or the latest apps, but they have an environment where the sun goes down and then it's that time for either being together in community, wrapping up the day and then going to bed and sleep is prioritized. And so I slept very well while I was in Costa Rica.

[00:40:13] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: I probably would've slept even better. Had my six year old and nine year olds not been ready to get me up. As soon as the sun went up and they heard the Howler monkey, or they heard a bird or something wanted to get out and see if they saw a Toucan or a Macaw, but they take time to rest when they need to rest.

[00:40:26] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: They seem like they listened to their body. Relaxation is honored. And so I think just trying to take what I learned and to bring it home as much as possible so that I could try to incorporate that and remind myself to continue to prioritize. Social connection is the last pillar that I'll mention. And then I'll briefly discuss happiness in Costa Rica, but social connection is very obvious when you are in Costa Rica.

[00:40:48] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: One of the things I love seeing when I'm in Costa Rica are the leaf cutter ants. They're so cool. I feel like I'm in part of like a national geographic movie or something. And I took this picture cause I saw the little, the ants marching along in there carrying their piece of the leaf and they go, they just work so beautifully together in a team and they're United and you can see these paths through the forest or wherever they are working to work together in a team they're together.

[00:41:11] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And so in Costa Rica, I really get the feeling that people love to connect. Whether it's with tourists like myself or whether it's with other Ticos, whether it's worth with other people from their community, there are just deep connections and it doesn't feel artificial. You can sometimes tell like, oh, I feel like they're just, cuz I'm a tourist.

[00:41:27] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: They feel like they have to talk to me, but you really get this genuine sense that they want to know more about you, that they want to work with you. They want to learn about you. That they're thankful that you are coming to learn more about their culture and about their country. Their homes are often close together with multiple generations.

[00:41:42] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So as I mentioned, their homes are usually smaller and simpler than we have in the United States, but often close together. And so you see that community of people gathering together in community, often, multiple generations are together. These are some little monkeys that I saw when I was in Costa Rica, but they often will be multiple generations who live close together, who are taking care of one another outside of many of the schools because they go to school at the same of year, because it's not traditionally their summer, but you see many people who look like they're probably grandparents waiting for the children to get out of this.

[00:42:13] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: School and then walking them back home, the elders are honored and respected among the Costa Rican blue zone communities. Growing older, isn't seen as, so something bad where you need to erase the wrinkles and dye those gray hairs away that I have rather it's seen as something to be celebrated, that wisdom and really honoring the wisdom and the beauty that comes with age.

[00:42:31] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: I saw multiple generations connected. I saw men gathered together to play. I'm not sure if it was chess or checkers or different games. You'd see them just standing outside business. It's just beautiful to see that community in this. I didn't wanna go up to anybody's gathering and take like a specific picture of it, but I was driving by one of the last days and this group seemed like they were facing.

[00:42:48] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Probably wouldn't find if I would've taken a picture of them, but this is just what you see. You see people coming together in these groups and communities celebrating. I don't know if it was a birthday. I can imagine it was probably a birthday or some. Who knows maybe a religious milestone. I don't know, but just to see these people coming together and joyously celebrating, whether it's on the beach or by a waterfall or near their homes, when we heard the horns honk, it's interesting.

[00:43:08] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: It wasn't often, like if I hear a horn honk in the United States, it's like somebody needs to move or there's something needs to be done. I'm on alert to. Whereas we'd hear these quick little honks in Costa Rican often. It was the people saying like, hello, hi, giving like a friendly little honk or otherwise it'd be like, they'd honk it.

[00:43:21] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: It would be their quick little honk letting us like, no, you go ahead. And it's very odd. Like they just want us to go, like, it's not my turn, but just that sense of community and connection is just beautiful to see also very connected to their faith families. We saw these churches in, I think every town we went to and it was even when we went to and visited some people's homes, they would often say like, my home is right by the soccer field.

[00:43:43] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: That's by the church or my home is behind the church or the side of the church or the soccer field. They really have this coming together in communities. So at the center of the communities are the soccer field where the kids can play or people, adults can play and move where they can celebrate together.

[00:43:55] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Often there's a community center, maybe some where they can gather together or like a park, but really that sense of community, whether it's that faith community. Whether it's that faith community or a friend community just coming together. So reflecting on with leaving Costa Rica, I thought I need to prioritize these connections.

[00:44:11] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Of course my family, I traveled with them, but being connected with those in Costa Rica and those who I love, and then also the people there, I thought I need to be friendlier when I I'm not unfriendly. But when I go to the grocery store, I don't always have like a long conversation with the person who I'm doing checkup.

[00:44:26] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: I thought I need to be more open to connecting in a way that uplifts both of our happiness. Not that I need to stand there and talk for an extra five minutes that would upset the people who are behind me in line, but how can I connect with people, even if it's just a smile or just that acknowledgement, there are humans together on this same planet sharing this space and this journey.

[00:44:43] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So I'm gonna try to stay more connected with my family, prioritize those connections rather than material goods as well, you know, prioritize connections more moving forward. And then also what's really interesting is there are the five blue zones where we think of longevity and health that Dan Buettner identified.

[00:44:59] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: He also has a book called the blue zones of happiness, where he's looked to identify along with other research teams. I'm not sure exactly who's involved, but he's looked to identify the places on earth, where people are the happiest, according to all these different metrics. And it's real interesting. He dives into the research in his book, write, encourage you to read, but he talks about the blue zones of happiness as being Denmark.

[00:45:21] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Singapore. I don't know if he includes Boulder, Colorado or not. That's near where I live. And I know that it's always one of the kinda the happiest places. I'm not sure if that got included in his latest list or not, but Denmark, Singapore, and then Costa Rica. So Costa Rica is a double, has a double. They have the longevity and the health blue zone, and they're also a happiness blue zone, which is awesome.

[00:45:40] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And I think that's too why people just feel something special when they're there it's that they often say Pura Vida, or like I would Zipline over to the next station. Somebody would say Pura Vida, or I'd walk into a store pro Vida, I believe translates to pure life or a simple life, or just that way of life.

[00:45:52] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And it's different in Costa Rica that, that planned Vida, having a purpose, a reason to live adds about seven years or more to your life. So that longevity and happiness. And so this slop reminded me. I don't believe those are roses. I think they're kind of like pinkish colored leaves, but it reminds me.

[00:46:07] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Stopping and pausing and slowing down to smell the roses, to smell the flowers, to enjoy nature and to enjoy life coast together. They're also well known for their chocolate, which I don't know if there's any research, but I think that probably contributes to their happiness as well as somebody who loves good chocolate.

[00:46:22] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And so it's so fondly go on these and see the cacao fruit that you're looking at. The pictures of my son is holding. The gentleman who was doing the tour with us Tileo, I believe is his name. He did a coffee tour and chocolate, but walked us through the whole process. And my son got to grind. I don't know the chocolate.

[00:46:39] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So it like the nibs and dis smaller. I forget exactly the whole process. Obviously I need to do the tour again, but Tileo and the other people in his family were. So amazing. They genuinely wanted to connect with our family, with the kids. It was just beautiful to see, even though we had the language barrier, my kids were learning their Spanish, they're learning in their school and we were trying our best to communicate.

[00:46:58] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: But I think that being blessing focused, being, wanting to connect with others, being thankful for what you have, whether it's me being thankful that I got to have probably the best freshest chocolate of my life or a chocolate drink. Without all of the added sugar and stuff that comes along with it, typically in the United States, just being grateful for those experiences.

[00:47:15] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And that is connected with happiness. The spiritual focus that we see among the blue zones of happiness, they have a spiritual focus, and we think that that spiritual connection is important. We see less cardiovascular disease with people who are connected spiritually, less depression, less suicide, better immune systems.

[00:47:31] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So some interesting research around spiritual health and wellbeing. Stress relieving the prayer or attending religious services is often linked to a beautiful perform of stress relief. And then I think it's interesting if you, within cost review, you kind of hear people talk in a way of about God or higher being is in control, or it seems like it helps give them peace and acceptance of whatever is going to be, you know, it's not in my hands.

[00:47:53] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: I don't have to make the whole world. Right. Which means I feel like I need to make everything right. At least seem to have this peace and this acceptance in a guiding power or a faith. And that, that faith, that longevity, the moving slower giving time for self-reflection and mindfulness is just a beautiful thing to see and is connected with happiness as well.

[00:48:12] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: They very blessing focus. There's a lot of research on gratitude on focusing on blessings, focusing on what we do have rather than what we don't have. As I mentioned. Costa Rica, their homes are much smaller and typically simpler a much less consumerism driven economy, their government, their support, so that everyone kinda has that basic healthcare and some other things, but just that very blessing fo focus of like I have what I need and everybody has what they need and we help take care of our community.

[00:48:38] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Costa Rica is the most peaceful country in central America. They're a peaceful democracy. And I think just that attitude, that attitude in Costa Rica we think is connected with their happiness. And it reminds me too, that I need to be very mindful of my attitude. And then of course, in Costa Rica, they're engaging in healthy lifestyle practices.

[00:48:53] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: We know that healthy eating, eating a lot of plants, getting a lot of ments sleeping well, staying connected with other socially and stress management that that helps to support happiness too. In Costa Rica is doing that. And then fun, fun, fun, fun. This is a country that loves to have fun. They want you to have fun.

[00:49:10] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: They love experiencing fun. You can hear people laughing and joking. And so my, first of all, I never thought I would put a picture out on anything where I would be in my bathing suit or a picture of me where I would be in mud. But if you happen to be looking at the pictures, I am covered in mud head to toe, one of the different thermal pools, like Maya mentioned, she had visited.

[00:49:27] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So this was one where they had, they warmed the mud and it was very soft. It wasn't like, I would imagine mud, like anyway, it wasn't like yucky mud. It was nice mud. And they had paint brushes. And you would paint yourself with the mud after being in a sauna, a natural sauna, and then you would rinse off in cool water.

[00:49:41] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: It was refreshing. And then you would quickly get in one of their warm pools. And so I'm with my daughter in one of those warm pools. And we took a selfie after, after getting that mud off of us, but happiness, it reminded me being there makes me happy. It makes me happy. And it makes me realize how important it is for me to look for moments, to be mindful, to be grateful for moments that I had together and to look for ways to increase happiness, to increase experiences and that connection with others to slow down and to remember to engage in the healthy lifestyle behaviors.

[00:50:11] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So that's it for like the main part, the presentation on the blue zones. I'd love to just really briefly mention this experience that I'll be helping to lead along with a company called Educando, which has 20 or more years of experience with leading these immersive type of educational events. But I'm in charge of the educational part.

[00:50:29] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So as you may remember, I'm a professor and a physician, and I love, love, love teaching. Like I can write I'm an author. That's okay. I can do some research. That's okay. I love connecting with people and telling them information to help educate. Like, I really believe that that's my purpose in life to help my kids, but then also just to help people live healthier, happier lives.

[00:50:48] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And also recognizing I am not a totally healthy person either. I still am on that journey. I still have struggles and everything. So I love using the struggles I've had as a cancer survivor. Just one of the places we'll be saying is in the blue zone, one is a little. Side of the blue zone. We're going over there over Thanksgiving week, this November.

[00:51:06] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So if you want to celebrate Thanksgiving with me, I would be grateful for the opportunity to connect with you. We're going to be the two areas where we'll be the two hotels where we'll be staying here. The two resorts are the areas you're looking at. The slide deck in red. The first is apply a Hermosa, which is very close to Liberia, which is the small airport.

[00:51:24] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: San Jose is the big airport. The capital, the, the big airport Liberia is the small airport where I can go directly from Denver to Liberia. And it's about a five hour flight from Denver though. I know it's less from Texas, but Playa Hermosa. And so that's a beautiful area right by the beach. And then we will be, we'll be driving.

[00:51:41] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: I think it's about two and a half hours or so down into deep into the blue zone, which is that the bottom dot that's in deep on the Nicoya peninsula. Punta Islita is the town that we will be staying at at hotel. Punta Islita, but you can travel to other areas. Like when I was there this last time, I also traveled to Arenal, which is in that, that pinkish area.

[00:51:59] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And that's where the beautiful volcano and more of those thermal hot Springs. So the ones I went to this time. We're actually by a different volcano. And then also I travel down to Manuel Antonio park where you can see all the monkeys and the two cans and some wonderful wildlife in that park as well.

[00:52:14] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: But we'll be staying up where those two red dots are as far as what people can expect. We're staying in the most beautiful places that I've ever beautiful, beautiful places. As far as a place to stay. These are two sister hotels Punta. The one at Punta is li will be where we are at first deep in the blue zone.

[00:52:31] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: I love it. It's eco-tourism where the people from the community are the ones who are the ones who work at the resort. And so they often wanna connect and learn more about you. And often it's generations of people who have worked in this resort. So Punta Islita is very connected with the Punta Islita community.

[00:52:46] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And so this is the Punta Islita where we will be staying first followed by the man group hotel. And these are two sister hotels, which follow, even though this man group. Side of the blue zone to the north of the blue zone. It follows the blue zone's beds principles of its sister hotel and Punta Islita.

[00:53:02] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So that's the man groove hotel. These are just an example of some of their different meeting spaces. We'll be meeting inside. If it maybe starts raining too much, or we it's too windy or people just wanna be inside, or there are a lot of outdoor open spaces will be meeting at Aon. And I are capping the group at 25 people.

[00:53:16] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: We want it to be a small intimate group of people where I really feel like I can interact with them. One on one in small groups, I'll be doing education every day, probably for about a couple hours workshop education. I really want people to learn more about the blues on in Costa Rica, as they're able to experience it, to learn more, dive into the literature, I'm a literature person, but then look at practicals at tech, we take what we're learning and actually implement it, or modify our environment, physical and social environment in order to support wellbeing.

[00:53:44] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Everybody who comes with me will receive a copy of my Paving The Path to Wellness book that I co-authored with doctors, Beth Frates, and Amy Comander out of Harvard. So I'm going to bring those along, I think, in my suitcase. Oh, we'll see. And I wanna send everybody home with those, even though the actual experience isn't.

[00:53:58] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Paving specific. I wanted to send everybody home with that. Cause it's really important to me that this isn't just an isolated experience. That it's something that we can take home and really try to integrate into our lives. So I plan on a lot of discussion, a lot of interaction. I'm really helping people put together a plan for when I go home, this is what I want to do.

[00:54:15] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: This is my roadmap forward. Chef Randy Siles, who I got to meet this time and eat some of the most, I should have taken a picture of it, but instead. Ate it, it was the most beautiful salad I'd ever seen and delicious too. Chef Randy Siles. He's a Michelin chef. He's an award winning chef. He's won award after award.

[00:54:29] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And they sent me like his bio and I was like, oh my gosh, award after award, he does, like he's an ambassador for Costa Rica and cooking. He does a lot of zero kilometer cooking where everything is used from very local in fresh natural food sourced. Just amazing, amazing food. So he oversees the food at both of these locations.

[00:54:46] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: He's the one in charge of this. I think it some other hotels too. So he oversees all of the food and the chefs that cook using these local ingredients produce pick when it's ripe. He has agreed to teach at least one of a cooking classes when we're there. So from Randy Siles who's amazing. I'm excited for that class.

[00:55:02] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: I'm excited to take a class from him. And then there may be others who, I don't know if he'll teach him or maybe somebody else, but we want some, we'll have some cooking classes. Also they prepare food based on your individual preferences. So I'm whole food plant based. And I'm able to tell 'em that and that whatever they bring out will be whole food plant based.

[00:55:16] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: My husband likes eating some seafood or fish when we are. In that area. And so they will have that for him. As I mentioned before, they are not, uh, vegan, not exclusively whole food plant based, but they have amazing whole food plant based options. So people will order what they want and there will be beautiful whole food plant based options to choose from.

[00:55:35] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Here's an example because I ate my salad so fast. I had to put a, an example of one of his other salads on here. This is a zero kilometer mango coconut, be salad with a coconut vinegarette and coyote coriander. So they'll have amazing, amazing meals at these two resorts, cuz they're anyways, it's just amazing.

[00:55:50] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: But also with the cooking classes, I want it to be something that people can actually take home and do. So I don't have edible flowers maybe someday, but I don't have edible flowers and this will probably not be something that I'm making anytime soon. So I want the cooking classes to be things that people can actually take home and make though.

[00:56:04] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: I think when we're there experiencing how delicious. These whole food plant based meals or, you know, meals made like this can be, is just, is really nourishing. And then there that's my husband and my daughter and I at our cooking class learning to make those beans in the picadillo and all of us with our spices.

[00:56:19] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So the cooking classes, being able to take that home. Now, there's often two types of people when I travel. I know. So there's the people who are like, I want to go there and then I want to stay at the resort or nearby, or I want to have time in the hammock. I want to have time in the cabana, by the pool. I want to walk by the beach and I would like to drink my natural juices.

[00:56:37] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And, oh my gosh, they have the most delicious juices, the fresh juices. I don't know what combination I had there, but we'll find out if you go. But there's people who like to relax. Then there's other people who want to get out and do adventure. So this was in one day I ziplined across all of these forests.

[00:56:50] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And I also went down a water slide that is, was over a thousand feet long. I only went once. It was exhilarating and cool, refreshing enough, cuz they used that natural water coming. Deciding you have to hike up with your inner tube, but my kids went over and over. So during that day I rode a horse. I ziplined, I rode that inner tube down.

[00:57:06] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So if you want adventure, we can find adventure. And I would love to go do some adventure with you or to enjoy a glass of juice, relaxing as well. Yoga will be included every day though, I cannot do this pose. I was showing this to my husband and he said, could you ever even try that pose? And I said, no, not without trying to injure myself.

[00:57:23] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So no, this is the picture they had of yoga on. This is in the mangrove hotel. They do massages out there in like the open air outside of their spa. So maybe we'll have yoga class there, but I don't think we'll be doing that pose. But if you can do that pose, I would love to see it done because that's just absolutely amazing.

[00:57:37] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: We'll have other activities that are included like kayaking. Oh, kayaking. You can of course swim in the ocean there nearby there's surfing. You can go dolphin watching, but there are certain things that are included like kayaking, also hiking. This is Punta Islita scene from far away. So this is in the blue zone and there's the resort.

[00:57:53] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: You can see like the pyramid, but you can see how it's on that hill. So you get some climbing just going up and. If you have climbing problems, I think they have little parts that can help drive you as well though. So anyway, reach out if you need help. This is the community of Punta Islita and they have various crafts.

[00:58:06] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And so that's what I love about the Punta Islita hotel is that it's eco-tourism it's community. I forget the exact word it's connected with the community. It's meshed with the community. It's not trying to take advantage of the community, but really trying to. Work with the community to see how both can benefit.

[00:58:18] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And so they have different crafts or different activities and where you can really immerse yourself in the culture and look at their museum. And there'll be opportunities for that as well. There's a Macau recovery network that's nearby. There are night tours. Some of these are some of the frogs I saw on the night tour this time around.

[00:58:34] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So a night walk, I believe a bird hike is going to be included. So some of the things are included. You can do if you want to they're extra, but, um, a lot of different opportunities. So as I mentioned, everybody will go home with that paving the path to wellness book who comes and I'm hopeful that it will help us stay connected in community.

[00:58:49] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: I have this idea that I want us to stay connected or connect on zoom every so often maybe covering some of the paving topics or just to stay together in community. Cuz community is so important for me. And I want everybody to be able to take what they did there and to bring it back home. So this is the bowl that I had to get home.

[00:59:04] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: We had struggled with our weight limit on our suitcases coming home because I found this like handmade bowl. That was gorgeous, but it also is like, Huge. And so I brought it home and I sat, it got home and I have it filled with fruit. And just, how can we take what we've learned and bring it home into our everyday lives.

[00:59:20] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So the specifics reach out if you have questions, but it is November 20th through the 27th, eight days, seven nights. And there'll be the daily lights workshops that I'll do probably about a couple hours a day. But you can interact with me at other times, too, going down the water slide or just hanging out by the pool small group format with individual attention.

[00:59:37] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And one's gonna Educando is the company that's taking care of all of like the travel between the two hotels and all of the logistics of the hotel and the activities. And they have over 20 years of experience in doing professional learning programs in Costa Rica work with a lot of universities included as the lodging for the hotel Punta Islita and the mangrove hotel, as well as transportation between the two of those.

[00:59:55] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: It's the same cost, regardless of if there's one person in a room or four people in a room, because the cost of the room is really the biggest charge. So it's whether one person or four people are in the room. It doesn't really matter how many you put in that room, but it's the same charge. All of the daily lectures and workshops are included daily breakfast, a welcome lunch, and a farewell gathering, kayaking, hiking, yoga bird watching are all included as well as the farm to table culinary classes and coffee tasting.

[01:00:17] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: It's $4,500 for the package that includes the lodging, those experiences, breakfast and other things I mentioned, if you do a wire transfer or otherwise the credit card, there's some different. Rules with credit cards that make the cost more expensive. And we have that in other areas that in Costa Rica, too, where we chose to pay with credit card.

[01:00:33] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So please reach out if you have any other questions to either of the emails below and we'll put them in the notes, or if you wanna take a screenshot of this. And then lastly, just thank you for the opportunity to connect with you. This is what brings me the greatest joy is educating people and knowing that there will be people out there who are listening to it.

[01:00:47] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: We're hopefully learning from it who can maybe take one small nugget of information away to make their life healthier or happier is truly what I believe I'm on this earth to do so. Thank you for looking at some of the pictures of my family's recent experience and whether or not you're able to travel with me.

[01:01:02] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: I'm just hopeful that you can learn from the work of the blue zones. Think about reading their books, and please reach out if you have any questions about anything I talked about today, I'm happy to discuss and Maya, thank you for inviting me on your program and letting me be. 

[01:01:12] Maya Acosta: Absolutely and thank for taking me down memory lane, because I feel very connected to Costa Rica as well.

[01:01:19] Maya Acosta: And so I was just reminded, like you said, of that whole Pura Vida experience, how the people really do are eager to connect with you. And they're so real. And you automatically feel like you start downshifting as soon as you land you can feel that that coming down. So I do have one question in regards to your experience, would you recommend it?

[01:01:42] Maya Acosta: Exactly. I know that we're gonna put all the links in the show notes for people to reach out. Do you recommend people fly into Liberia and then find their way to the first hotel? Or is there transportation? 

[01:01:54] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Yeah, great questions I've flown into in and out of both airports. I recommend flying into Liberia unless it is a cost issue for you.

[01:02:02] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Cause Liberia is so close to where we'll end. So I do recommend Liberia if that's cost, if it's not cost prohibitive, otherwise, sometimes San Jose is cheaper this time. It wasn't for us, but one of the times before it was so San Jose is cheaper and you might choose to do that and then travel. You have to look at that.

[01:02:16] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: The length of the travel though, but the initial transportation to Punta Islita is not included though. We are happy. We're not going take everybody as a groups, people coming in on different planes, people probably will choose to fly in a few days early, go to Manuel Antonio, or maybe fly out a few days late.

[01:02:29] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So we're not doing the transportation from the hotels to. Airport, but we're happy. Educando will work. Roberto. There we'll work with you so that you can know how to get easily transported from one place to the other. We want you all to get down there, safe and happy and calmly. So happy to help facilitate that though, that part is not actually included.

[01:02:47] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: And then there's about a two and a half hour drive that we'll do on a bus as a group between the two, right? That's like the best way to 

[01:02:53] Maya Acosta: experience a place. I love the idea of, you know, for many years now I've had a mentality that when I travel to a destination, I don't wanna just be a tourist. I wanna connect with the local people.

[01:03:04] Maya Acosta: And this is exactly what you're doing. Yes. Is you're immersing them into that whole culture. Yes. That fosters longevity and overall wellness and happiness as well. So, and then 

[01:03:17] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: also. Yeah, no connecting with the people of Costa Rica is just, it's like the biggest gift you just, yeah. Something very special about it.

[01:03:25] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So yeah, connecting with the local people, like it's great to be a tourist to do some of those fun things like ziplining, but connecting, you 

[01:03:30] Maya Acosta: answered a lot of, so I don't really have any other question, but I love that you're also keeping it. You're keeping it at 25, which allows for relationships to build and for people to really connect.

[01:03:43] Maya Acosta: And so you're not traveling alone. If you initially are the only one going of your family, going to this destination, you have other people that you can spend time with. So 

[01:03:53] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Yeah. Yes. Yes, no. It's definitely our desire to create a community. So yes, whether you're coming alone, you will be part of the family when we arrive and when we join and all unite together, and then I hope to keep that community continuing afterwards.

[01:04:06] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: It's also a great time, too. If you are coming alone, you might want to think about inviting someone else into the same price, whether you have one person in your room or a couple people, you know, I think there's two queen beds. Roberto will know the specifics, but please reach out if I can answer questions.

[01:04:18] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: They're all connected with Roberto who knows all of the different kind of travel logistics. Yeah. 

[01:04:21] Maya Acosta: And November is a great time of the year to go because I believe that's around the time the rainy season ends. So if you go right now, my experience has been when I travel, our summertime, rain can start as early as noon and it'll just rain the rest of the evening, but November's great.

[01:04:36] Maya Acosta: So the rain slows down and we can venture and experience more outdoor. so, 

[01:04:42] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: okay. Yes, yes, yes. Yeah. November is there. I've always gone during the summer, during the rainy season. And so I'm just used to that. Like in the, I plan our activities for the morning, knowing that we might get some rain in the afternoon.

[01:04:52] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: I only had one event and I've been there for now over like a month, if you kinda add up the different days and only one thing I've had to cancel, but I have activities planned like most, every day are things to do. But yes, going in November is I've heard an ideal.

[01:05:04] Maya Acosta: Looks like a wonderful program. We will learn how to cook what the locals eat.

[01:05:09] Maya Acosta: That will be the experience with ecotourism. And I do agree with you. I have noticed that the locals really honor their land and they're very informed, especially the tour guides. Yes. And tell you so much history and give you so many facts. They're well trained in their field. And I think you had mentioned in one of your flyers that maybe a coffee plantation tour is thrown in.

[01:05:31] Maya Acosta: The whole thing. 

[01:05:32] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Coffee tasting tour with a barista, I believe in. So I'm not sure exactly what that will look like. I know that Roberto will organize that, but I think I'm guessing it would be that where we would go and see the different coffee beans and learn about that whole process and then get to taste them as well.

[01:05:46] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So I'm assuming that that's nearby. I'm not a hundred percent sure I've been to a few different ones. I don't know the distance, but I think there'll be a lot of opportunities too. Like from where we're staying, especially the Northern. The Playa Hermosa that's where like to do the zip line and that over a thousand foot water slide and everything, that location is just like a short day trip away.

[01:06:04] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: So it's like an hour or so away. So there'll be some opportunities to get off the site. And I do some different things like that if people want, or if they want to stay there by the pool and the hammock relax. That's right. My love for he by the ocean next. And 

[01:06:14] Maya Acosta: So, and also finally, what you said is if an individual cannot attend this retreat, the whole goal with what you just taught us is really looking to see how we can adjust our environment so that we foster this way of living the blue zone way of living in our home.

[01:06:29] Maya Acosta: So bringing in more healthy foods, fruits, spending time in nature in our own area, working on connecting with loved ones and downshifting has, you know, and I'm so glad that you talked about stress and downshifting. It's very hard for us in general, but what we see in many other countries, especially central and south America, is that people take that evening walk.

[01:06:51] Maya Acosta: Where they just stop what they're doing and they just go around the process and socialize. And that's something that even I myself am working towards, doing more of with, in my own community. So 

[01:07:02] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: me too, for sure. So just real briefly, if people want to check out Dan Buettner's books, he has a Blue Zones Kitchen recipe book.

[01:07:10] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: He also has the blue zones like. Original blue zones book, the blue zone solution, blue zones thrive this blue zones of happiness, or just go check out his website. It's a really cool, there's such great information videos. You can watch some of the original national geographic research. So just a lot of great information.

[01:07:26] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Wonderful there, Dr. 

[01:07:27] Maya Acosta: Thomas, I can't thank you enough. For really getting us excited about this retreat that you're doing this immersive experience that you're putting together. And I'm very excited. I think I, you know, I'm just eager to return back to Costa Rica. So thank you so much for all of this.  

[01:07:43] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: Oh, thank you.

[01:07:43] Dr. Michelle Tollefson: It was a pleasure to speak with you in an honor to be able to join you again. Thank you. Wonder. 

[01:07:47] Maya Acosta: Dr. Michelle Tollefson an obstetrician, gynecologist shares information on lifestyle medicine and the blue zones. The blue zones are areas around the world where people live longer and healthier lives. One of these blue zones is on the Nicoya peninsula in Costa Rica.

[01:08:05] Maya Acosta: The people in this blue zone eat mostly plants move frequently and have strong social connections. Dr. Tollefson shares that these lifestyle practices are associated with longevity and better health. She experiences herself during one of her most recent trips to Costa Rica. In this episode, she shared a slideshow presentation.

[01:08:26] Maya Acosta: If you would like to see the photos of this wonderful trip that she took, please check out the YouTube video of this interview. All the links are on my website, healthy lifestyle solutions. Do. Org. And this is episode 222. She has now designed an immersive wellness experience in Costa Rica's blue zone.

[01:08:47] Maya Acosta: You can join her there during Thanksgiving week to learn how to thrive through lifestyle medicine. It's always a pleasure to have Dr. Tollefson on the show. I would love to hear your thoughts about this episode. You can always leave me a voicemail at SpeakPipe that's You've been listening to the healthy lifestyle solutions podcast with your host Maya Acosta.

[01:09:13] Maya Acosta: If you've enjoy this podcast, do us a favor and share with one friend who can benefit from this episode. Feel free to leave us an honest review on apple podcast that helps us to spread our message. Thanks for listening.