Skip to content

The Day Spa in Havana to Forestall Alzheimer’s: Pedicure, Dominos, Social Interaction and “Genetically Original” Food (not genetically modified)

June 4, 2013

What are the recommendations for remaining “brain fit”?  That’s the term that the AARP created to describe the 5-point approach to forestalling the inevitable decline in mental agility.

AARP’s holistic approach to brain health is rooted in five pillars: eating smart, being fit, working your mind, socializing and stressing less. AARP Brain Fitness powered by BrainHQ offers great ways to work and engage your mind.


Let’s look at that list:

eating smart,  no GMO products passed my lips for 21 meals.

being fit,   I walked at least 90 minutes a day

working your mind,   I played dominos and practiced Spanish for a week

socializing  I met four new people every day.  I’m in touch with them by email even six months later.


stressing less.   Hey… it’s Havana …

I had the opportunity to travel to Havana to deliver a series of workshops in April 2013.  In return, I was given the equivalent of a series of four “day spas.”  




Pedicure $5


No genetically altered materials in this pie


Nutricious food — When do you want to start transforming your body?


That avocado was picked off a tree two days ago.


Music is part of the daily life … live music. I didn’t hear more than one hip-hop or rap production for five days… and then some teenager put on a P.Diddy lyric and blasted his neighbors in Old Havana on Brazil Street. Oh, well…


Visiting homes in the neighborhood engaged the socializing aspect of the AARP brain fit program


Note the bottles of water: The Havana water system is contaminated, somewhere, so the locals boil the water and then keep the bottles cool in the frigo.


Can you believe the wall-to-wall sofas and over-stuffed chairs? I was in this family room with 14 people and there was room for five more people. I practiced my elementary level Spanish talking with a former principal of a high school — two hours of conversation. My brain never felt so well-exercised. AARP also recommends learning a new language to stave off mental deterioration


A typical kitchen. The natural gas water heater is above the stove. This is a gas-powered home. No GMO products pass through this kitchen.


Pork medallions, vegetables from a local garden, the yellow root vegetable is yucca


I observed the owner of this home, a former teacher, tutoring local kids in the afternoon. They practiced some English with me and I was part of the local life. Better than Disney World.


I wanted to see the design of homes, the interiors, the architecture of this area that is frozen in the 1970s. “Okay, let’s go see one of my friends from university,” my host told me. We walked for fifteen minutes and we were in this home that has two kitchens. Fascinating.

eating smart,  

being fit,  This is Havana, a walkable city.  I met with a professor in the heart of Old Havana, so i walked from the Plaza of the Revolution to the Capitolio and then down one of the streets that runs parallel to Obispo Street.  After the meeting ended at noon, I was back at the Foreign Languages department for a 1 pm. seminar.  that was two hours of walking that day.  With a step every second, 60 steps per minute, 3660 steps per hour, I had over 7000 of the recommended 10,000 steps that day.

working your mind,

socializing:  This was a tour of the neighborhood.  I went for a walk with my host and he didn’t use a phone (although he carries a mobile with him) to connect with relatives.  “Oye,” he said to a passerby, “Old Carlos esta en casa?”  

“Creo que si” was the reply.  So we wandered down a side street to the casa of Carlos el Viejo.  That’s the social component of the AARP brain fit program. 



stressing less:   This is Havana… I didn’t pick up a mobile phone or touch a keyboard for a week.  No tweets,no “follows” and no likes on my laptop, no phone calls.   
















































































































TO learn more about the Havana day spa lifestyle, visit connergorry’s blog.


From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: