I have a life long fight with my weight. In addition to this the last few years added other health issues like diabetes type II and depression. The cause: lack of exercise, too much volunteering beside my work, dealing with many customers and more. I have ups & downs, but I constantly try to improve my health and change my habits with healthy ones. It is not easy and I needed help. In 2009 I went to a Health Center in Romania. Meanwhile, I found out there is a similar Health Center Retreat right here in BC (British Columbia), Canada. Going to Silver Hills came at the right time for me. I needed again a change in my lifestyle and I did not have the power to do it. At Silver Hills I was able to start a new lifestyle.
I first heard about Silver Hills Guest House & Spa from a friend. Then I heard more about it in different flyers or event presentations. Silver Hills was presented as a place where you can go and relax, but also a place where you can reboot your lifestyle. One day I checked out SilverHills.ca website and I found out they have a 25% discount for 2013. That was something! I did some more research on the web, visited Silver Hills Facebook Page and I signed up in the same day. The cost varies between $1500-$1800 per person depending on a single/double room occupancy for a full 12-day program. You can stay as many days as you can. Sometimes there is a shorter 7 day session. The full session includes all food & 6 spa treatments of your choice. Generally, there is one session per month, excluding December.
A bit of history: Phil & Eileen Brewer – who run the Silver Hills Guest House & Spa with their team – were the ones who started the Silver Hills bread, back in the 80’s, as they needed a healthier bread for their health retreat. The bakery was sold later and they focused only on the Health Center.
Silver Hills is located in the beautiful Okanagan, in Lumby, BC, 50 km. east from Veron. I had to fly from Abbotsford to Kelowna and I was picked up from the Kelowna Airport by a Silver Hills representative. We got to Silver Hills (in Lumby, BC) just in time for supper. I liked the room, very clean, cosy and with everything you need for a good stay, including air conditioning. Wi-Fi is also available for free. I needed internet as I still had to manage my business from there. Also this way I could stay in touch with my wife. My wife is my best friend & supporter, she gave me all her support while I was there, helping with some of my business stuff while she went to her two part-time jobs. I got a good rest and I entered Silver Hills’ program next morning. I liked the program from the beginning.
The food at Silver Hills is exceptional! The breakfast is at 7:30 am, lunch at 12:30 pm and dinner at 6:00 pm. I enjoyed the tasty, fresh & veggie food. All food is very nice arranged & is appeals to your appetite! Did you know you can have such a variety of vegan food? Everyday we enjoyed different food themes like: Greek, Mexican, Chinese, Hungarian & more. Fresh salads are always present. Every lunch has a healthy desert.
Here are some of the foods I enjoyed there: Roasted Red Pepper Soup, Empanadas, Minestrone Soup, Tofu Benedict, Savoury Scones, Spanakopita, Tzatziki, Avocado Salsa Salad, Vegetable Root Bake, Yam and Sweet potatoes, Red Pepper Aioli, Phyllo Samosas with int Chutney, Crepes, Home Made Waffles, Arizona Salad, Lettuce Wrap, Firehall Pasta, Coconut Muffin, Coconut Millet with Fruit, Glazed Fresh Fruit Tart and much more.
Silver Hills has its own garden and it provides fresh vegetables & fruits according to each season. For example, in June we had fresh asparagus, tomatoes and potatoes.
The latest Silver Hills Cookbook is titled “Spa Cuisine” and includes most recipes that we tried there.
The Walk & Exercise Program
Before I came to Silver Hills I did not realize how important is walking. A consistent walking program can make such a big difference to your health. You can lose weight, build muscle, engage all your body in activity and more. It is recommended to take at least a 40 min walk a day.
Silver Hills is located in the middle of nature. You can hike the hills around it, walk the trails, breath fresh air in the forest, enjoy the beautiful scenery at “The Lookout”. You can also go for a walk beside Mable Lake (aprox.10Km.) or hike to a waterfall (“The Cascade”).
At first I could walk just short distances, but day after day I started to walk more. Some afternoons we also played soccer: it was a fun way to do more exercise.
Being at Silver Hills you can socialize, make new friends and enjoy a healthy atmosphere. Silver Hills team is also like a family and you can feel at home here.
The Spa Treatments
Silver Hills provides spa services: massages, facials, foot rejuvenation, cosmetics, hot stone massages, salt glow, herbal mud wrap, detox wrap & more. Silver Hills uses Aveda products in their treatments.
You can use the hot tub, infrared sauna, steam room and the exercise equipment room.
The Health Lectures & “Cooking Extravaganza” Class
After dinner, there are short 30 min. health lectures introducing the benefit of a healthy lifestyle through good breathing, drinking plenty of water, exercising, eating the proper food. The presenter is Phil Brewer, Silver Hills’ Director.
Silver Hills recommends the ideal diet: 70% carbohydrates, 20% fat, 10% protein. You can have a healthy diet by having a variety of vegan food. What I liked was the fact that Silver Hills does not impose you their own health program. Instead they show you the benefits and the choices you can make.
The first three evenings include a “Cooking Extravaganza” class, a unique opportunity to master the fine art of cooking, healthy, vegan-vegetarian. Both Eileen & Phil Brewer present cooking tips.
The Results & Continuing The Program At Home
After my first session at Silver Hills in June 2013 I lost about 10 pounds and my blood sugar went down from 11 to 8.5. I put some muscles and my general health improved.
In July there was a discounted 7-day session and I was able to go back, this time with my wife. She also enjoyed the program and we had nice walks on the hills. I hope to get back to Silver Hills again soon!
After my second session I lost another 5 pounds and my blood sugar went down to 7.5 and I also decreased my depression medication.
Continuing the exercise & healthy lifestyle at home it’s not easy. It takes time to adjust your schedule, make new habits, make changes in your diet. It is important to take it slowly and to not give up. Find a time in your program when you can go for a walk. If some days you can’t make it, don’t give up, you can continue the next day. It is a good choice to have a vegan or vegetarian diet, though it takes more time and it is more expensive to cook this way. I noticed that if I eat vegan my blood sugar goes down and I feel better.
Daily life has its challenges. My health journey has ups and downs, but I am decided to continue. I was able to keep my daily walking program. I missed only 5 or 6 days in the last 3 months. I can walk longer distances now. Many times I walk with my wife: we hike some nice trails, we walk the dykes or we walk in town. Lately I started to walk for about an hour, I cover approx. 5 km.
If you need a quiet place to relax while enjoying healthy & tasty food, great spa treatments & invigorating walks, go to Silver Hills Guest House & Spa! You will not regret it and I am sure you will want to go back!
Article by Lucian Mihailescu
All photos by Lucian Mihailescu, except where otherwise specified.