Our very best friend and business partner (besides each other and Sebastien and Jordy) is named Owen. As he would say, “in a past life,” (he has had many past lives) he literally owned and ran American Health Magazine. He also had Psychology Today, Mother Earth News and Spy Magazines. Our business with Owen was not magazines but, Airbnbs and decorating his Hotel (from another life). Work or no work, January in New York can be a depressing time. The holidays are over, it’s a new year and it’s dark at 4pm. People, especially O, start reflecting on their “past lives.” Around this time every year, Owen would get restless; sick of everybody around him in the small Upstate NY town. Everyone seemed to be eating fast food, drinking beer at the hotel bar, acting lazy and not performing to their maximum capacity both physically and mentally. As a result, Owen who is like the ‘Wizard of Oz’ and always conceiving grandiose ideas said, “Ah, umm, we should do “American Health Week.”
Even though he wasn’t a doctor or personal trainer… the man was definitely well educated on the subject from publishing all those issues of American Health and Psychology Today magazines. They covered everything from Why do Yoga vs. Spinning to MEN-O-Pause for men, to which vitamins you should and shouldn’t take. He knew a thing or two on becoming the best version of oneself. In the spirit of the New Year, for sport I’ve decided to share our “American Health Week” experience. Similar to the film Fight Club, it consisted of a few basic elements for those of you interested in subscribing.
No bread, nothing fried and nothing fast. We didn’t ever go to extremes of being vegan or vegetarian just light healthy fare. A lot of salads and bone soup. At one point I think I thought I was going to turn into a salad. Lol Side Note: Anybody that knows Nando and I knows about our bone soup. We always have a pot of it on the stove. Beef or chicken. We swear by it. Whether we are in warm Florida or NY… year round its great. If you are sick or weak or lacking in nutrition or just want to be really healthy… make bone soup. We add plenty of onion, garlic and a dollop of Whole Fat Greek Yogurt. We actually substitute Greek Yogurt (it must be whole fat) for mayo and sour cream. Ok… back to American Health Week with the Big O…
Obviously accompanied the improvement on diet was zero alcohol. We typically would enjoy a glass of wine or two with our dinner break at the hotel and are no strangers to happy hour. There was not time for parties. This was a rush job so we spent intense hours trying to get it ready for guests. That was part of the program: Work long days, work really hard and don’t stop moving. Keep busy. Idle time leaves room for unnecessary food consumption, plopping yourself in front of the TV, distractions and laziness.
Owen is always saying and doing eccentric things. He said something during this week that I hear in my head every time I do stairs… “Never just walk up stairs.” Some expert in his research for a health piece told Owen, “Run up the stairs. See the stairs as a workout opportunity.” Previously, Owen made me laugh when he went stomping up stairs wearing what we call his clunky “rocking shoes” He claims they are a special posturepedic invention. It wasn’t until our “training” and him actually explained his reasoning for attacking the stairs that I realized he wasn’t just odd… we agreed. Nando and I are those people that run up the escalators and seldom take the elevators. So, there we were, changing our routines and habits and making new ones.
Books on tape
We listened to books on tape while we worked. Owen loves Shakespeare along with all the greats. His Audible library is huge. We would bumble around working and listening to whatever the day’s flavor was. It became addictive. Owen even got headphones that could go underwater in order to listen to the books while swimming. Swimming with Steven King… how fun.
Owen’s father Ben lived to be 93. He attributed it to his daily swimming routine. Obviously having good genes will help. Naturally, Owen chose to do daily laps as his go to exercise along with his “stair running.” Swimming is so good for your lungs and blood flow and mobility of the body. Nando loves to swim as well. He did that or he got roped into my faves… Zumba, Carmen Electra Strip Tease Aerobics or Ballet. Well Nando didn’t do any ballet because he has two left feet. No matter what, we had to put in a full exercise hour daily. * There is an adult ballet class here in Winter Haven that I plan on attending this winter.
No Time Frame for American Health Week existed. The duration was definitely longer than a week. It was like AA… one day at a time. Each day it got easier and we got healthier. Skin improved. Figures improved as did attitudes along with a healthy competition. Nando and Owen both got weighed at the beginning and they had a bet going on who could lose the most weight. I can’t remember the outcome. Owen will say himself of course. When it was time…we had champagne to celebrate our health and the fact that we had finished the hotel.
Note: I spent what I believe to be my formative years working on and off with Owen. He taught me so much by following me around as I “dressed” his properties; educating me on many subjects such as American Health, how to Bulldoze, Fashion and Fishing. Life in General.
He believed that a big part of what kept him healthy was having Jake, his Golden Retriever always by his side. Jake was like a service dog, before they really coined the term. Owen has always been ahead of the trend and the times – hence the magazines.
Owen had always known the plan, once the hotel was decorated and we were bikini ready, Nando and I were leaving him for the remaining winter in Florida. Days after arriving in Polk County, we got a call from Owen. “Ah.. Um.. Sally, what airport is Winter Haven closest to? Jake and I are coming for the weekend.” He missed his teammates.
Mr. American Health flew down to Winter Haven and conveniently contracted some unknown “sickness” called, “He was too ill to fly back to NY.” Consequently he and Jake had to begin “American Health Week pt. 2” – A month on the Eagle Lake farm running the hotel via FaceTime, listening to books, fishing off of the dock, and sneaking Nando’s mom’s cookies with fresh orange juice.
So, Here’s to your American Health Week …..
Xo Sally & Nando DC