Healthy Architecture: Dr. Art Mollen & Taliesin West

Last Wednesday, I had an unfortunate nasty nine-hour layover after my flight from Guaymas, Sonora and before my red-eye flight from Phoenix, Arizona to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It could have been bad, but it turned out great. I dreaded being trapped in an airport conference room for hours on end. Thankfully, I connected with some new friends and was invited to attend an event at Taliesin West in Scottsdale.

When I left Sky Harbor International Airport, I felt liberated! As I drove towards the McDowell Mountains, good memories returned. Debbie and I were last in Scottsdale exactly two years ago for the Javelina Jundred.

Taliesin West is the former “winter camp” of the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. The 45,000 sq/ft home is a desert masterpiece and is now part of the non-profit Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. The grounds were beautiful and made even nicer when they were bathed in the late afternoon sun. It was 90 degrees F when I arrived at Taliesin for the event.

We got a fabulous tour from a wonderfully enthusiastic guide. She walked us throughout the various buildings that make up the “home.” The artwork was fabulous. The stonework was amazing. All the wood and stone came from the 600 acre property that Wright had purchased for less than $13.00 an acre (average). Wow, what a spot! With the mountains as a backdrop, Taliesin blends right into the land, which is a signature of Wright’s architecture. I could say a lot more about what I learned on the tour (e.g. there is a fireplace in EVERY room), but I wouldn’t do it justice. You have to visit for yourself.

In the gift shop, I learned a bit more about Wright. One DVD playing on loop caught my eye. It was about the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, which Wright designed. Apparently, getting the museum built was a colossal struggle. It is now considered a masterpiece of architecture and was way ahead of its time.

I was smitten by Taliesin. It is a fabulous place to visit. The location was perfect for the speaker, Dr. Art Mollen, a noted Phoenix area physician, author, and athlete. Mollen is founder of the Mollen Clinic and several other ventures. I was so happy to hear someone speak about health and fitness from an all natural point of view. He isn’t big on medicines and he promotes healthy living and longevity by stressing three points. You have to have good habits and do these three things. I paraphrase:

1) Diet – healthy eating habits with low animal protein (e.g. meat, poultry, fish, dairy, etc.) intake.
2) Exercise – every day active aerobic movement.
3) Positive mental attitude – speaks for itself

This makes so much sense to me. I’m vegan, so I’ve got number one covered. I exercise every day, so two is taken care of. Three is probably the biggest struggle for me, but I think I’ve got it licked. Mollen cited a study he did of centenarians, people who have lived to 100 years-old or more. He learned so much from them. Speaking of centenarians, the New York Times did a nice piece on the milestone recently. I also read yesterday that the current record holder, an 114 year-old woman, passed away this week. RIP. Mollen also cited the China Study, which I have blogged about before and stresses how the Western diet is responsible for many of the diseases that shorten our lives (e.g heart disease, diabetes, etc.). Hearing Mollen speak was a pleasure.

Mollen is an active runner and triathlete, so he walks the talk. I’m going to track down one of his first books, which he said is fittingly titled: Run for Your Life.

So, on a beautiful evening, my hellish layover turned into a wonderful affair. Bravo.

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