^

Costa Rica

Guest Heretic Jason Prall of The Human Longevity Project ~ Part 2

Jason-Prall-Blue-Zones-on-Nutrition-Heretic-Podcast.png
Jason Prall is on the Nutrition Heretic with the Human Longevity Project

Jason Prall is on the Nutrition Heretic with the Human Longevity Project

Welcome back to the second part of our interview with Jason Prall of the Human Longevity Project. Last week Jason shared the dietary wisdom we can glean from the world’s oldest inhabitants. Today, he’ll tell us about the meaning of life for people living in the Blue Zones and the most surprising takeaways from his film. You can go watch his film for free starting May 7th click here to sign up.

Jason has traveled the world for the last 15 months, to all the Blue Zones (Costa Rica, Greece, Italy, Okinawa) - and interviewed the world's leading researchers, doctors, experts, authors, etc... on building true health, healthy aging, and longevity.

Jason Prall is a Longevity and Optimal Health Practitioner who works remotely with individuals around world to provide solutions for those struggling with weight loss or suffering from complex health issues that their doctors have been unable to resolve.

You can learn more about the Human Longevity Project through their website.

Great Resources From Jason Prall:

The Human Longevity Project

The Human Longevity Project

Highlights from today's episode:

09:25 ~ Parallels between the Frenching Your Food summit and the Blue Zones.

10:48 ~  What people will find most surprising about the Human Longevity Project.

17:16 ~ How people can start applying the principles they learn in the film without getting neurotic and setting up the very stressors that they want to avoid.

20:39 ~ In Praise of Slowness.

25:12 ~ Steps to creating community for those who don't have one.

36:12 ~ How American culture has made it difficult to reach out to others.

44:11 ~ The role technology will take in longevity.

Thanks for listening! Please share this episode to help spread the word. You can also subscribe to get updates about new episodes and get a copy of The Nutrition Heretic's S#IT List: 7 Health Food To Avoid Like The Plague in your inbox by clicking here.

Guest Heretic Jason Prall of The Human Longevity Project ~ Part 1

Jason-Prall-Human-Longevity-Project-on-Nutrition-Heretic-Podcast.png

Jason Prall is on the Nutrition Heretic with the Human Longevity Project Jason Prall is not only a Longevity and Optimal Health Practitioner, he is the writer, director and producer of The Human Longevity Project. We talk about why Cuba should be the next Blue Zone despite the fact that Cubans eat a diet high in pork fat. You can watch his film for free starting May 7th, click here to sign up.

Don't miss part 2 of the interview where Jason tells us about the lifestyle  and mindset of the world’s oldest inhabitants.

Jason has traveled the world for the last 15 months, to all the Blue Zones (Costa Rica, Greece, Italy, Okinawa) - and interviewed the world's leading researchers, doctors, experts, authors, etc... on building true health, healthy aging, and longevity.

Jason Prall is a Longevity and Optimal Health Practitioner who works remotely with individuals around world to provide solutions for those struggling with weight loss or suffering from complex health issues that their doctors have been unable to resolve.

You can learn more about the Human Longevity Project through their website.

Great Resources From Jason Prall:

The Human Longevity Project

Highlights from today's episode:

03:50 ~ Historical context of the Blue Zones.

08:20 ~ The role of animal protein in traditional cultures.

16:07 ~ Why  Cuba is not a Blue Zone.

18:45 ~ Cultural culinary traditions and adapting to the environment.

41:45 ~ The role of microbiota and why you can't take the moral high ground.

48:32 ~ How context, lifestyle, and community build a framework that exists around the world.

Thanks for listening! Please share this episode to help spread the word. You can also subscribe to get updates about new episodes and get a copy of The Nutrition Heretic's S#IT List: 7 Health Food To Avoid Like The Plague in your inbox by clicking here.

The Real Costa Rica?

Costa-Rica-Waterfall.jpg

OK. So we returned from our Costa Rica trip five weeks ago and, FINALLY, I’ve found some time to share both the disappointments and gems we encountered down there.

Costa Rica is a beautiful country hailed for its eco-friendly attributes — lush rain forests, mountains, and pristine beaches. But it is equally ridiculed for its boring, even awful, food. In both cases, we encountered major disillusionment, but luckily that led to discovering lots of friendly people and off the beaten track experiences.

The first disappointment was that while Costa Rica certainly had beautiful rain forests, dramatic mountains an gorgeous beaches (particularly the one where we stayed), it was far from environmentally conscious in so many ways. First of all, darn near everything is packaged in plastic. I understand that Costa Rica is a poor country. So fine, there is no opportunity to recycle all that plastic, but burning it by the side of the road? Well, that was the view driving along the highway every night after sundown — men standing over burning garbage (plastic and all) pushing it around with a stick. It smelled awful! And I don’t even want to think about the estrogens and other endocrine disruptors that were in the fumes these poor people were inhaling.

Now, maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t expect the country that kicked Starbucks out and is at least sort of embracing sustainable energy to be completely overrun with European hotels, ugly condos and Wal-Mart! Some of this expansion seems to be relatively new in the Jaco area, but nonetheless, it was a shame. While these places seemed to provide some jobs, in many (if not, most) cases, the development left many natives homeless. To boot, prices were totally jacked up! I’m from New York City and would never pay their inflated prices there, which made it a little difficult to get totally comfortable with paying their often ridiculous prices for simple services. But as much as possible, we tried to at least patronize the mom and pop establishments which often still were “overcharging”. Seeing as they were living in such an expensive area, it was easier to know that they would get 100% of profits instead of seeing it shipped back to the US or Europe.

We were also shocked to learn that it was really difficult to find native handcrafts — at least where we were. In fact, the Canadian woman who stayed in the apartment upstairs from us has been visiting Costa Rica every year for seven years and learned from friends who own a souvenir shop down there that most of the so-called Costa Rican handcrafts come from Thailand! Yes. And the Thai artisans who manufacture these goods are so in tune the Costa Rican fauna that they’ve sent wood carvings of bears with salmon down there bearing a “made in Costa Rica” sticker. So we never ran into the limited edition bear with salmon carving, but this piece of information explained why I thought the wooden products looked distinctly Asian.

This lack of reasonably priced and authentic Costa Rican souvenirs made gift shopping really difficult. It was further complicated by the fact that there was a virtual absence of nice food or toiletry items in any of the stores. That brings me to Costa Rican food, which I’ll continue with later.


About Adrienne Hew

Adrienne-Hew_BlackWhite.jpg

Adrienne Hew is a Certified Nutritionist and the Nutrition Heretic Podcast Host, but is best known online as an author of the Amazon Top 100 Bestseller 50 Ways to Eat Cock: Healthy Chicken Recipes with Balls! Receiving a certificate in Chinese dietetics in 2002 and her degree as a Certified Nutritionist in 2004, she has helped many clients and workshop attendees to decode their own health dilemmas by understanding the inconsistencies in conventional nutritional dogma. She currently resides in Hawaii with her husband and two children.

What they don't tell you about renting a car in CR

Car-Rental.jpg

As a developing nation, Costa Rica is often promoted as a nearby, cheap and safe tourist destination. So when I booked a two-week Thrifty car rental for a mere $200, I wasn’t so surprised. But standing online at the rental agency, we quickly noticed renters standing at the desk were infuriated by the news they received.

It turns out that Costa Rica has an obligatory insurance policy that is not posted anywhere and you may only learn of ahead of time, if you book through a travel agent who specializes in the region. The rules and cost of this insurance apparently vary from one rental agency to another, but here are the basics you must know.

1) There are 3 tiers to the insurance program.

2) The most expensive, which costs US$40/day on an compact-sized vehicle covers darn-near anything that might happen to your car short of deliberately setting it on fire. So seriously consider this if you’re planning on doing lots of adventure driving as anything off the main highways is not only unpaved, but likely to involve flying rocks or cattle crossings.

3) The next tier at US$25/day is what we took. This covered damage to another driver’s car (if one were to be involved) or replacing a tire or broken window. At this price, the cost was essentially the same as renting a car in Western Europe.

4) The least expensive option cost US$20/day. It relied primarily on your US-based credit card’s insurance (CDW) and only pays for damages resulting from an accident. In this scenario you must foot the bill and await reimbursement, at least according to Thrifty.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m proficient in Spanish, but before leaving the parking lot, the Thrifty agent came to our car window and warned us that there is a police scam to be aware of. According to the agent, police sometimes stop Gringos on the road claiming that they violated some local traffic law. They will then ask you to pay the hefty fine on the spot. NEVER pay the fine directly to the cop in cash!!! What you need to do is ask the cop for his/her name. If they really are trying to con you, they will usually give up and let you go. If you really did break a law, they will give you a ticket which then you pay at any bank (and I think post office).

Keep in mind that the above insurance options vary from one company to another, each one stating that each option covers something different. While we were there, other travelers told us that they were offered only 2 options or even a 4th option. Many people (understandingly) consider this surcharge to be a government monopoly. It was very frustrating to experience this as our “Welcome to Costa Rica”, but we were able to put it behind us. And quite frankly, if this is what the government needed to do to feel “powerful”, then I hope it works for them. I just needed some rest and relaxation.

Some people hire taxis or vans to get around the country. This is fine, but keep in mind that not many towns (unless you’re in a really built-up touristy area) have restaurants or well-stocked bodegas where you can buy your food.

This can also be really pricey if the taxi isn’t based in your town and needs to travel 1/2 hour to pick you up. Furthermore, with the taxi option it’s much harder (I’d presume) to explore and take detours off the beaten track. If it’s anything like Europe or the States, I’m sure many drivers down there would gladly take you to their friend’s overpriced gift shops, making their commission from whatever you buy. So you may want to take that into consideration, but personally, exploring on our own is what eventually made the trip down there worthwhile.


About Adrienne Hew

Adrienne-Hew_BlackWhite.jpg

Adrienne Hew is a Certified Nutritionist and the Nutrition Heretic Podcast Host, but is best known online as an author of the Amazon Top 100 Bestseller 50 Ways to Eat Cock: Healthy Chicken Recipes with Balls! Receiving a certificate in Chinese dietetics in 2002 and her degree as a Certified Nutritionist in 2004, she has helped many clients and workshop attendees to decode their own health dilemmas by understanding the inconsistencies in conventional nutritional dogma. She currently resides in Hawaii with her husband and two children.

Costa Rican Coffee Sucks!

Costa Rican Coffee

Costa Rican Coffee

This was a major source of anxiety when we arrived. I don’t generally drink a lot of coffee, but I figured in a country known to produce excellent coffee, a sip here and there would be a nice little indulgence. Unfortunately, what we were told was the best coffee was about as good as the stuff Dunkin’ Donuts serves at 3 o’clock in the morning.

Luckily our neighbors didn’t protect their wi-fi service we were able to locate Café Milagro on the internet.

Café Milagro was started by an American (also named Adrienne), who over a decade ago was equally horrified by the lack of good coffee available within the country. All the good stuff got shipped overseas!

Unlike me, however, Adrienne decided to stay and be part of the solution. She started out by acquiring a small coffee roaster in the town of Quepos. Over time, she gained the respect of the nearby coffee growers (who by now had stopped selling her bags of nails!) and locals who would swarm around her shop to smell the freshly roasted beans and enjoy a pastry.

Today, Adrienne has a thriving business. Café Milagro is now a very popular restaurant (seemingly popular with the gay crowd for all my homosexual friends!). And she’s also opened another restaurant about half way between Quepos and Manuel Antonio — considered by many the most beautiful of Costa Ricas national parks. Her coffees are available at several restaurants and hotels throughout the country and to you through the internet! She offers organic, whole bean, ground, dark and light roast all with flat rate shipping to the US of $9.95! If you visit, make sure to stop in the roasting building next door where you can also pick up some souvenirs and learn a little about the roasting process.

Another great place we found for coffee is a souvenir shop and restaurant called El Mirador del Cafetal, located about 50 minutes outside of San Jose on the road to Jacó. It will be on the driver’s side overlooking the west coast valley. Actually, there are only two restaurants on that mountain. It is the second one — only a few hundred meters past the first one. You can’t miss it.

It turns out that this restaurant is an extension of El Cafetal Inn, a coffee plantation and bed and breakfast in Atenas (20 minutes from the SJ airport). The view from this restaurant is breathtaking! And the souvenirs were not only reasonably priced, but had an authentic, Costa-Rican made look to them. El Mirador also sells coffee beans that you can bring home, including green beans that you can roast yourself, (although not vacuum-sealed to preserve freshness, so get them in the freezer when you get home!).

For food, I’d have to say that I enjoyed the food at El Mirador more than the fare at Café Milagro. The food at Milagro was not bad, but it had a distinctly American flair. A little like Friday’s gone Latin American with some experimental concoctions based on locally available foods. Milagro also had the soy milk option on the menu which just makes me cringe since soy is NOT the health food we’ve all led to believe (read The Whole Soy Story for the dirty details of this phenomenon or wait for my blog entry under health).

El Mirador’s menu, by contrast, featured an extensive selection of Latin American favorites such as black beans with yucca fries, chicharrones and tamales at really, really good prices. Because the country has been duped into widely using industrial oils in their cooking, it was unfortunately prepared with less than ideal ingredients. I considered this, however, a small price to pay for the spectacular views and more traditional menu that afternoon. To my knowledge, you cannot purchase their coffee over the internet.

As a final note, in the town of Quepos (same town as where Café Milagro is located) facing the bus station is a place called the MegaSuper. While this store caters to the expat crowd, complete with sushi fixin’s and a few fresh vegetables (rarer than you’d think it would be down there), it also carries Costa Rica’s most famous coffee, Café Britt. Café Britt isn’t only reputed to have excellent coffee, but they have a huge variety of shade-grown organic coffee, hot cocoa, chocolates, and iced drinks in interesting flavors. Keep in mind that they export the best, so that would probably put Café Britt on top since they are also available in the airports as well.


About Adrienne Hew

Adrienne-Hew_BlackWhite.jpg

Adrienne Hew is a Certified Nutritionist and the Nutrition Heretic Podcast Host, but is best known online as an author of the Amazon Top 100 Bestseller 50 Ways to Eat Cock: Healthy Chicken Recipes with Balls! Receiving a certificate in Chinese dietetics in 2002 and her degree as a Certified Nutritionist in 2004, she has helped many clients and workshop attendees to decode their own health dilemmas by understanding the inconsistencies in conventional nutritional dogma. She currently resides in Hawaii with her husband and two children.