During a recent stay at the Aldeia da Fonte Hotel, on the island of Pico in the Azores, I had the opportunity to sit down and have dinner with the hotel’s owners, Dr. Antonio Simas and his lovely wife Sonia. Both impressed me deeply with not only their knowledge of human wellness, but also the way they physically embodied the wellness ideas. The couple is brimming with vitality and warm hospitality. They offer a unique perspective as both hoteliers and health professionals.
Antonio explained that while the human genome is thousands of years old, humanity continues to evolve and our rate of physical evolution has been far, far exceeded by the civilization we have created. The miracle of our time, our technology, is not without its hazards, stresses and dangers. We now have more people in certain cities than once existed on the entire planet just a few hundred years ago. Our medicine continues to solve health problems that have plagued humanity for the length of its existence. Yet, new ailments have begun to spring in us. These are products of our modern way of life as much as our televisions, cell phones and automobiles are. Your body cannot tell the difference between the stress of a traffic jam and the stress it once felt being chased by a predator. We were never meant to undergo the daily stress that modern living foists on us. Just as the processed food we often eat and the pollutants raging through our environment can have a horrible cost over time, so too can this stress.
Traveling to Pico gives one a chance to return to the kind of life that we evolved from over thousands of years. Physically, Pico is roughly the size of the island of Malta. Malta is thronging with over 300,000 people, whereas Pico has only 15,000. This fact should give an idea of how calm and relaxing a place it is. If you get in a traffic jam in Pico, it’s likely to be comprised of one car and a herd of cows. While there are cars emitting exhaust, it’s a tiny percentage compared to almost any other place inhabited by humanity. There is little industry in the Azores and almost none in Pico. The Azores are one of the most isolated and remote places in the world. How many toxins are we breathing, drinking and eating everyday living in cities? Having just come from Pico, I can say that I physically felt a difference spending time there. My body responded with some of the most restful sleep I have ever had and I found myself breathing easily and well. It was as if my organism was trying to absorb every bit of the calm and purity of this magical place.
The island of Pico is surrounded by clean water populated by fish that have absorbed fewer toxins than most of the world. It also is a green island, one of the most verdant places I have ever seen, and the entire landscape exudes clean fresh air. The legendary cheese, butter and beef of Pico come from cows that spend their lives free-ranging on lush grass and herbs. I believe that these foods not only taste better, but are better. The mountain ranges and the beautiful sea provide ample opportunities to exercise our bodies the way our DNA intended. We can take a break from the stresses that afflict us in our offices, cars and apartments. We can eat healthy, natural food that makes us stronger and rather than weaker. We can get away from the countless pollutants that may be slowly killing us. We can go to Pico.