If you’ve ever gone to the health section of a bookstore, chances are you’ve browsed through at least one of Dr. Elson Haas’s eight best-selling books on nutrition. The 64-year-old started his medical career as a “country doctor” in Bolinas in 1974 and a decade later took over an established holistic medical center in San Rafael, which then became the Preventive Medical Center of Marin. In addition to offering words of wisdom to adults in search of better health, Haas teaches awareness of anatomy and nutrition to kids through music, comic books, super-stylish anatomical T-shirts and socks, and his website, seasonsstudios.com.
1 Why Marin? We have the perfect blend of nature, culture and open-minded people. Here, it feels like anything is possible.
2 If you were stuck on a desert island with only three things to eat, what would they be? For me, the top three would be salmon, apples and a green, such as broccoli, kale or chard. Can I have a fire pit and a cooking pan?
3 What’s your guilty pleasure (food-wise)? Wow! That’s a tough question for a foodie like me. I would have to say chips, salsa and guacamole.
4 Did you make any New Year’s resolutions last month? I always have goals and plans that I write out extensively at my birthday time in August and at the New Year. It covers all aspects of my life, including health, work and relationships.
5 What’s your favorite drink, and where do you like to drink it? My favorite drink is my morning cocktail of water, some juice, Power Pak nutrients, trace mineral drops and some greens. I like to drink it in my kitchen.
6 Favorite restaurant in Marin? I have several. I love Guyamas in Tiburon, The Garden Restaurant in Novato and Cal Gang Thai at Northgate.
7 Biggest health pitfall you see with your patients? The challenge for all of us is making change — from stressful, unhealthy lifestyles to better habits, which creates better health results. First, we need to acknowledge what is needed to improve our health and then put that plan together. I love that aspect of my work, as well as teaching and reaching teens and young children about healthy living and what it takes now to be healthy adults. Remember, your health starts with you.
8 Is there a cheat sheet for health? Personally, these are the keys for me: chew food well; eat mostly vegetables; exercise regularly; eat light at night; and, when I’m hungry, I first drink water. For others, it could be stress reduction and improving their personal environment; attitude shifts; taking their trace minerals and other nutrients; enjoying their friends and family; feeling gratitude; and laughing more.
9 What is the single most important thing when it comes to staying healthy? While there are many keys — such as diet, exercise, good sleep and managing stress — the most important, I would say, is keeping a positive attitude and loving yourself.
Mimi Towle has been the editor of Marin Magazine for over a decade. She lived with her family in Sycamore Park and Strawberry and thoroughly enjoyed raising two daughters in the mayhem of Marin’s youth sports; soccer, swim, volleyball, ballet, hip hop, gymnastics and many many hours spent at Miwok Stables. Her community involvements include volunteering at her daughter’s schools, coaching soccer and volleyball (glorified snack mom), being on the board of both Richardson Bay Audubon Center. Currently residing on a floating home in Sausalito, she enjoys all water activity, including learning how to steer a 6-person canoe for the Tamalpais Outrigger Canoe Club. Born and raised in Hawaii, her fondness for the islands has on occasion made its way into the pages of the magazine.