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longevity

Happy people stop working, but never retire or quit

By | BUSINESS, longevity | 2 Comments

Michiko Itosu has been running a rainwear shop in Okinawa, Japan, for the past 65 years. She has been working nearly every day from 8 am – 8 pm, taking vacation only during the New Year holiday. Her daughter and granddaughter also work in the shop, and the two of them speak fairly good English. When I stumbled upon their shop in downtown Naha, I discovered three friendly women eager to talk to me. Ironically, I was equally interested in learning longevity secrets from this 91 year-old shop owner.

Japanese 91 year old woman Michiko Itosu - Version 2When I asked her about her secret to good health, she said, “work every day and eat vegetables.” But I could tell by the look on her face that Michiko wasn’t really working. She enjoys helping people select rainwear. It’s not work to her. The smile that’s molded into her face is genuine. She helped me slip into several different raincoats, demonstrating the best way to snap and belt each one for the best look.

Do you spend the majority of your time on activities that you’d do regardless of whether or not you got paid?

For years, researchers and journalists have been curious about healthy old people in Okinawa. Reporters interview them for feature articles and longevity experts poke at them, literally, as they try to uncover the secrets to a long and healthy life. Some of the elderly seemed to be annoyed by Westerners like me walking around with a camera, while others were friendly.

Most of the exceptionally old people I interview say they enjoyed their work which they talk about as if they’re talking about a hobby they love. Whether farmers, teachers, doctors or artists, they’ve got a treasure chest full of stories. Most talk more about how they help people rather how much they earned. It doesn’t mean that they’re less motivated. In fact, they can accomplish more over their lifetime simply because they live longer. Turtles can win races against rabbits.

Do you love what you do enough to do it the rest of your life?

If not, consider putting a plan in place to change soon. When you do what you’re passionate about every day, not only will you enjoy life more, you’ll naturally reduce your stress. It’s so much easier to get up each morning when you love what you do.

Okinawans are known for living exceptionally long lives. Coincidently, the Japanese language has no word for retirement. If you visit the island, don’t be surprised if your taxi driver is in his 70s and the hotel concierge is in his 80s. That was the case for me. When I traveled to the island, I saw working elderly people in many places. When I asked their ages, most of them proudly told me. One taxi driver happily shared his age. At a red light, he pulled a case out of the center console showing his recognition medal of honor for more than 50 years of safe driving.

In the US, birthdays are happy celebrations up until the 21st. This celebration is the first legal toast with alcohol, the welcoming elixer to surviving the rat race. Many Westerners avoid talking about their age by the time they get to their 30s or 40s. When asked, they may pull out the “I’m 29 again” groaner to avoid revealing their age. If you took a poll on their favorite day of the week, more would say “Friday” than “Monday.” The US even has a restaurant in honor of the last day of the work week: TGI Fridays!

Short-sighted American companies often target “over the hill” people as the ones that need to be weeded out. This is justified, in part, due to the high cost of health care and the lower life expectancy of Americans compared to other first world countries. CIA Life Expectancy. Unfortunately, this results in a lot of great experience and wisdom getting extracted from organizations prematurely. Lots of great workers are put out to pasture, unwillingly, just as they’re reaching their prime.

IMG_8847 Okinawa rain wear shop owner (smaller)Even after 65 years of helping people in and out of raincoats, Michiko still likes to help people stay dry in the rain. “Years ago people bought more rainwear because they rode their bicycles,” she told me through her granddaughter who translated. Michiko, along with her daughter and granddaughter, work together selling rainwear 7 days a week.

“Today, lots of the young people go by car, so they only want umbrellas,” she told me. She has adjusted her inventory to meet their needs. Regardless of your age, you can make adjustments if you want to remain relevant in your field.

Many centenarians have habits that keep their minds sharp. They adopt new ways to remain proficient in their chosen field. Many centenarians in longevity hot spots never really retire from the work and activities they love. Although they may leave one employer or even close their business, they continue to share their talents and find ways to add value to society. They’re not quitters.

Have you mistakenly felt that you’re too young or old to be happy with your work? 

Centenarians didn’t get to their age by saying, “I’m too old to do this or that.” Many of them work well into their 80s or 90s doing what they enjoy. It keeps them alert and gives them a reason to get up and moving each day. Age itself is rarely the limiting factor in any country. Although there are laws which regulate minimum ages of doing things, there are very few things you can’t do because you’ve passed a legal maximum age.

Work satisfaction is one of the secrets of some of the world’s oldest people, and ironically, many are humble gardeners or laborers who are physically active every day.

Smart people sit at desks all day, while wise people get their hands dirty. Although educated women with desk jobs typically earn more money and have longer fingernails, they tend to lead more sedentary and shorter lives. Don’t be afraid of dirty short nails. If your work involves low-impact physical labor much of the day, you’ll probably be better off in the long run.

Whatever you do, don’t retire to a sluggish lifestyle. A sedentary retirement often leads to boredom, lethargy, depression, and a downturn in health. Even if your work is relatively sedentary, it still causes you to do things you wouldn’t otherwise do.

Do you leave work each day with a healthy sense of satisfaction and well-being?

Some jobs are better for your health than others. Jobs that expose you to toxins, or require you to do sporadic shift work, put you at high risk of injury, or require you to sit at a desk all day, are likely to have a negative affect on your health. If your job is causing too much stress, what good is it doing you or your loved ones? Resolve the issue or find a different job. You’ll be much better off in the long run.

Health is the greatest form of wealth, but unfortunately many people don’t realize it until they’re facing illness. Although your income can affect the range of options you have in life, your economic status is no guarantee of happiness or health.

If you have a full-time job, you probably spend about half of your waking time getting ready for work, thinking about work, commuting to or from work, and of course, working at work. You give your best energy each day to your employer or customers, and your family and friends get your leftovers at the end of the day. Does this routine sound familiar? Doesn’t it make good sense to use all this precious time, your life, contributing to a product or service you believe in?

Are you passionate about your work?

One of the greatest regrets many people have late in life is that they didn’t take more risks to do what they really wanted. You probably know a few people who found a way to turn their passion into their source of income. They don’t even think of their vocation as “work.” If you’re already doing work you love, keep doing what you’re doing. But if you’re not satisfied with your job, consider finding one or two mentors who love their occupation, and ask for their guidance as you transition into more fulfilling work.

Don’t stress too much over any particular job. Be creative and put together a plan for your future. One of the best ways to reduce your work pressure is to keep your living expenses as low as possible. Use your time off work for retraining or making other changes that will help you to reposition yourself, if necessary. Or volunteer or take on a part-time job doing what you love. This alone may open new doors for you.

Remain positive through transitions. Knowing that you’re working toward a better future should help to give you the extra energy you need to get there. You may not be able to make drastic changes quickly, but if you plan carefully, get training as needed, you can find a way to support yourself while expressing your talents and interests at the same time.

What’s the point of burning away your days doing things that feel meaningless? Doesn’t it make sense for you to enjoy your work, get along with your colleagues, and be in an environment that’s conducive to good health?

Do happy people tend to find ways to like their work, you may wonder? Or is it that people who do the work they love tend to be happier? What I’ve noticed is that happy people who live exceptionally long lives never really work, retire or quit. They wake up every day and do the things that bring them a lot of pleasure and just enough income to meet their modest needs.

11 Equipment Essentials for Easy Everyday Exercises

By | Biking, clothing & accessories, cooking, gardening, laundry, longevity | 2 Comments

It’s easy to fall into a sedentary lifestyle, especially if you rely on a car to get around. But don’t worry, you don’t need to go out and buy expensive equipment to become more active. There are countless ways you can assimilate more activities into your daily life. It’s best to introduce small changes over time. You don’t need to go out of your way to exercise or go to the gym. There are many alternatives that are much more practical.

people walking

72-year-old Phil Woods is on a 2,700-mile mission (25 miles/day) to inspire older adults to walk more

Why exercise anyway? Many centenarians have spent decades doing activities that keep them up and moving around on a daily basis. But the activities not necessarily strenuous in the way you may think. You don’t need to join a gym or participate in a team sport in order to exercise.

Many centenarians were relatively poor for part or most of their lives. Many of them did, and still do, rely on walking, biking, or public transportation as their main mode of transportation. Some were farmers or laborers. Others have never worked outside the home, but raising a family, cooking, cleaning, gardening or participating in community activities have kept them moving around day after day for many decades. These activities are surprisingly simple, but profoundly beneficial over time.

Here are 11 equipment essentials that can help you live a more active lifestyle:

1. Walking shoes. A good pair of comfortable shoes is one of the most valuable investments you can make in your health. Walking is especially important if you work at a computer or have a desk job where you sit for numerous hours each day. Your body tenses up if you sit in one place for too long. If necessary, set a reminder alarm to go off every 30 minutes or so and get up to walk around and stretch. If possible, take a few breaks throughout the day to walk for 15 minutes or more. If possible, go for a brisk walk during lunch and after work. If you want to increase the intensity of your walk, pick up your speed and jog or run for part of the time. Women especially need to be reminded to wear comfortable walking shoes as often as possible. KEEN has lots of great choices on boots, shoes and sandals. High heels may be ok for some special occasions, but as these models demonstrate, heels are not appropriate attire for walking. Here’s why . . .



2. Broom. Sweep your floors. Clean your home. The next time you feel annoyed by the fact that cleaning is one of those jobs that never ends, think about some of the benefits. Be thankful for your home and the fact that you have the mobility to keep it clean. When you clean your home, you have opportunities to kneel down to clean things on or near the floor, lift buckets full of water, and stretch upwards while cleaning door trim or vents. Why pay for a membership to a sweaty gym when you can workout for free in your own home? Do cleaning exercises instead.

3. Drying Rack. When you hang your laundry up to dry, you get more exercise than you do when you toss everything in the dryer, especially if you’re bending over to lift items from a laundry basket and reaching up to a clothesline. By hanging your clothes up to dry, you reap numerous benefits. Washers and dryers increase the wear and tear on your clothes. When your clothes aren’t soiled, use the gentle cycle on your washer and skip the dryer. This also helps to cut back on your electric bill. The less time your clothes spend in the dryer, the better. Laundry exercises are much more practical than the bending and stretching exercises you do in an aerobics class.

Laundry Study Shows Americans Have Few Hangups

4. Music. People go to Zumba, in part, because they can feed off the energy of the music and the people around them. But you don’t need to go to an exercise class to listen to music that energizes you. Download some workout songs that you like and listen to them often, like when you’re cleaning your house or hanging up clothes. When you wear headsets, not only do you cut off other people, but you may even put yourself in danger if you’re out walking and don’t hear the honk of a car. Use them cautiously.

man walking up stairs5. Stairs. Whenever possible, use stairs and escalators instead of elevators. Even if an escalator is moving, you can use it like a staircase. Keep walking. If people are in front of you, excuse yourself and ask if you can pass by. In many cases, escalators give you a little extra exercise because the rise is typically a bit higher than standard steps. The best part about stairs is that you don’t have to pay for them. If you get out on a regular basis, you’ll find staircases in many places.

6. Cast Iron Cookware. Trade in your teflon and aluminum pans for cast iron. Cast iron pots, pans and muffin tins typically weigh a few pounds. So you get a mini workout every time you lift them, rinse them out or store them in your cabinets. Teflon and aluminum add toxins to your food, so it’s better to avoid them anyway. When you cook at home you have a much better idea of what you’re eating. So remember that it’s not enough to just buy cast iron cookware. You also need to get into the daily habit of cooking healthy meals at home in order to benefit. My kitchen is well stocked with Lodge Cast Iron Cookware. I pump iron every day.

7. Bike. The bike is one of the most efficient forms of transportation. Not only is it a great way to get around, it’s also good for you. Why buy a stationery bike that doesn’t go anywhere when you can buy a real bike that can take you places? By biking more you may be able to save money by using your car less. Be sure to get a bike that suits your size so you’ll be comfortable and safe when you ride. As you find more ways to use your bike, you might want to add some accessories, such as lights, a basket or a rear mount bike rack, so that you’ll use it more often. I love my Wald basket and bungee cargo net combination for quick errands. Bike riding helps you maintain balance and endurance. If you want a cardio workout, ride your bike in a hilly area or pedal faster. Remember to wear a helmet and a good pair of biking gloves.

8. Public Transportation Pass. People who rely on public transportation are more likely to walk more. If you own a car, do what you can to rely on it less and less over time. If you don’t live near a public transportation stop, consider driving to a commuter parking lot and finishing your commute on public transportation. If this isn’t practical, you may be able to find other ways to use public transportation. When you plan trips, look into your options of traveling by bus, train or plane instead of taking your own car. Next time you travel, see if you can manage your trip without renting a car. The less you rely on a car, the more active you’ll tend to be. ClipperCard

This CAR Game Will Drive You Crazy

old man woman gardening9. Trowel. Grow your own vegetables. Gardening helps you connect with nature and it has the added benefit of supplying you with of food. Even if you don’t have a yard, you can use a trowel to do basic gardening with potted plants. When you have plants inside or outside your home, you’ll get a little more exercise as you water them, repot them from time to time and swap them around to different locations in your home. If you have access to a balcony, porch or yard, you can grow more and get more exercise as you kneel down to do some weeding or bend over to cut clippings from your herb plants.

10. Sportswear. Wear comfortable sports attire as often as possible. This makes it easier for you to stretch and flex. Do more of this every day. If you get any resistance at all, you want it to come from your muscles, not your clothing. Depending on the type of work you do, you may be able to find lots of great sportswear that can double as casual wear for work. This makes it easier for you to walk, bike or stretch before, during or after work. Columbia Sportswear

11. Water bottle. As you increase your physical activity, make sure you stay hydrated with water. Avoid all drinks that contain high fructose corn syrup. If you head out for a walk, take a large water bottle with you. Fill it with water or a fresh juice drink. Drinking some extra water or fruit juice is a great way to flush your body and curb your appetite.

Drink Distilled Water to Detox and Defend Your Body

You don’t necessarily need to make these specific changes to your lifestyle. What is important is that you think about the simple things in your daily routine and, over time, make minor changes to incorporate more activity. Seek activities you enjoy. If it isn’t fun or rewarding in some way, it will be difficult to maintain anyway. As you find ways to be more active every day, you’ll find that there really is no need for you to do something silly like run on a treadmill in your garage.

Although running, weight lifting, or high-impact sports may be good for your heart, they tend to be damaging to your knees or other body parts that get overused. Most centenarians report that they were active throughout their lives, but typically not in highly strenuous activities. They’re more likely to work out in their garden than in a gym. They’re more likely to be walkers than runners.

Some people are so lazy, they don’t even exercise good judgment. Alfred E Neuman

Seek ways to add practical activities to your lifestyle. The more movement you incorporate into your daily life, the better off you’ll be in the long run. Active living every day is much better for you than irregular binge workouts a few times a month.

Alliance for Biking & Walking logo

WARNING: Old people and frogs may trigger culture shock

By | GO, longevity, love, parenting | 3 Comments
Eric Chen Lorraine Wei Eddie Toastmasters

Lorraine with Naigui Chen (wearing a tie)

When I first met Naigui Chen in China, he introduced himself to me with his English name, Eric. I was immediately impressed with his fluency in English, but even more so with his hospitality and kindness.

My husband and I had recently moved to Shenzhen and decided to join the nearest English-speaking Toastmasters club. Eric happened to be the president of this club, Eloquence of the Elites (EOE). My husband and I became good friends with Chen and many others in the club.

At the end of summer 2013, my husband and I moved back to the US and, coincidently, Chen moved to Indianapolis for the MBA program at Kelley School of Business.

A few days ago, I received this note from Chen . . .

Hi Lorraine, I went to a nursing home to help move someone to a different facility because his health is deteriorating. It was the first time I saw such a thing as nursing homes. It’s so sad. On the way back home in the car, I cried my heart out. And then I thought about the Chinese belief of children taking care of their old parents is a good thing. It’s such an emotional time for me. I don’t think I will ever forget it. I thought I might share this special experience with you.

Thank you so much for sharing this story with me Chen. It means a lot to me! It’s the American way. Many people have compartmentalized lives. Can you please tell me more about your experience?

old people

Absolutely. My friend is a hospice consultant and I went to help him move a patient from a nursing home to an assisted living community for Alzheimer patients. What really shocked me was the dining room full of patients, people at the end of their lives, away from their children and taken care of by staff. In China we don’t have many of these. The children are supposed to take care of their parents no matter what happens. Although nursing homes are starting to appear in China, most people don’t send their parents to those places because of the social stigma. Seeing all these patients was just too strong an emotional impact for me. The good news is when we got back today, there were volunteers coming in to teach songs. Music made most of the time a little more tolerable for me.

When I heard Chen’s reaction to American culture, I immediately thought about the Boiling Frog Syndrome.

If frogs can be content in hot water, can seniors be content in retirement homes, apart from their families? Turns out that many seniors in retirement homes are happy as long as they feel connected to other people, regardless of whether or not they’re family. Pets and even social media sites such as Facebook also provide a satisfying sense of connection. AARP

Another factor that affects happiness in old age is a person’s perception. People who are happier in their younger years are likely to become even happier as they age. People who are irritable in their younger years are more likely to become grumpy old people. The same applies to health. People who are lively or athletic at a younger age tend to be healthier as they age. Our characteristics tend to become more exaggerated over time. Wouldn’t it be it great to know now How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free?

One of the things I like most about Chinese culture is the sense of community. In the daytime, you see the elderly pushing their grandchildren in strollers. They park the buggies and congregate in parks to talk with friends as the toddlers play. As the kids get older, you see grandparents waiting for their grandkids outside schools at the end of the school day.

Go Away! And Other Good Advice Parents Should Give Kids

In the subways you see all ages, young and old, moving about together to their next destination. These grandparents aren’t in wheelchairs. They stay active because they have purpose. Many of them also do the shopping and prepare meals for three generations. This aspect of Chinese culture, some gerentologists say, is one of the reasons why Hong Kong (with similar traditions) touts the greatest percentage of centenarians in the world. China Daily

In the evenings you see the elderly dancing in the parks or walking arm in arm with their spouses or adult children. It’s common to see an old person hanging on to their adult child for support, but very rare to see anyone in a wheelchair.

Since returning to the US, this sense of community and connectedness is one of the things I miss most about Chinese culture. Although I wasn’t anyone’s child, parent or grandparent there, the people in my neighborhood who recognized me would smile at me every day, acknowledging my presence. I really like that about them.

But it was also shocking to me that Chinese women my age would choose to live with their in-laws and/or adult children and derail their careers while their husbands had the opportunity to advance in their jobs and, in some cases rumor has it, have affairs with younger women.

The Chinese ladies I befriended would twist their arms around mine when we walked together. And both males and female friends rub shoulders while eating a meal or talking together. Even as a foreigner with very limited language skills, I felt closely connected to many of my Chinese friends physically, mentally and even spiritually. Humans are humans in every race. I didn’t expect it, but the end of our going away party when we said goodbye to some of our closest Chinese friends, several of us fought back tears.

If you move a native Chinese senior to an American nursing home, he might fall into deep depression. Or if you told an American senior that she was responsible for taking care of her grandchildren and cooking for her adult children every day, she may feel cheated out of her restful retirement years. It all depends on the person and his or her expectations. You’re Only Old Once, so you might as well make the most of it.

Chen is an especially kind and sensitive man. I’m sure the elderly man sincerely appreciated Chen’s help with his move. If Chen were to ever to lead a retirement home in the US or China, it would be a wonderful place to live. Chen would make sure of that. I saw his leadership skills in action in one of the best Toastmasters clubs I’ve ever been involved with in the past decade. He has the good nature and wisdom to influence the people around him to bring out the best in everyone.

frog cartoonCulture brainwashes us to expect people around us to act a certain “normal” way. When we travel to other cultures, we see people acting “abnormally.” Sometimes it seems a little strange. Other times it’s so disgusting or delightful, so appalling or appealing that it causes us to experience culture shock. Ironically, you can find micro-cultures of people, even within your own country, who aren’t doing things the way you think they should.

Many people live like frogs in hot pots, on the edge of boiling point, knowing that something isn’t quite right, but too stifled by cultural or family pressures to do anything about it. They don’t care enough to take action until it’s too late.

You may not be able to change your culture or family, but I urge you to create happiness in your life sooner than later. Check your temperature.

Meditation: The Answer to All Your Problems

What’s the one thing you need to do now to create more happiness in your life?

 AARP logo - The power to make it better.

 

 

 

How To Live Forever: Laugh More, Eat Less

By | eating, healthcare, longevity, Movies | 2 Comments

Buster from How to Live Forever filmWould you like to see rare places where age is enjoyed, admired and studied? Places where people are old or looking for ways to extend their lives? Then you’ll enjoy seeing How to Live Forever and meeting stubborn characters like 101-year-old London resident, Buster Martin, a chain-smoking, beer-drinking marathon runner.

In this film, Mark Wexler takes you on a fun whirlwind of visits giving you insights on how to extend your life. Being stubborn, by the way, is probably more likely than smoking to extend your life.

The following tips represent some of the many interesting topics highlighted in the film. I don’t necessarily endorse all of them, but I like to keep my options open. Sometimes a girl changes her mind you know . . .

Participate in contests. A contestant at the Ms. Senior American Beauty Pageant says, “I might be 75, but I’m still hot. It just comes in flashes.” Have fun staying active.

Dr Madan Kataria Laughter Yoga

Dr. Madan Kataria

Laugh at least ten minutes every day. Dr. Madan Kataria is a medical doctor from Mumbai, India, where he’s known as the guru of laughter. He’s the founder of Laughter Yoga, a club he began in 1995 with five people in a public park. Today this movement for health, joy and world peace, has grown to more than 6,000 clubs in over 60 countries. Follow these instructions for your daily laughter yoga practice: Laugh for no reason. Laugh louder. Laugh more. Start over.

Learn from older people. If you have a 90-year-old or centenarian in your immediate family, that’s good news for you because you may have inherited some of the same longevity genes. If you don’t, ask your friends if they know an elderly person or volunteer at a retirement home to find some old friends. VolunteerMatch

Dear Diary, This is the Day I Decided to Drink Distilled Water

Live Young Forever by Jack LalanneStay active and set big goals. In 1984, at the age of 70, Jack LaLanne handcuffed, shackled and fighting strong winds and currents towed (with his own strength) 70 boats with 70 people from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary, 1-1/2 miles.

“Anything in life is possible if YOU make it happen . . .  and YOU CAN,” says Lalanne.

Learn more of Lalanne’s secrets in one of his many books such as: Revitalize Your Life After 50 (1995), Live Young Forever (2009), Celebrating 90 Plus Years of Healthy Living (2009). Lalanne, who started off as a weak and sickly bed-ridden boy, died strong at the age of 96 in 2011. Huffington Post

Work out (your brain) every day. A common quality among centenarians is that they’ve kept their brains active throughout their lives. It doesn’t matter whether you work, play games or participate in mentally stimulating hobbies. They’re all beneficial.

Suzanne Somers Im Too Young For This

Take hormones. Suzanne Somers touts the use of Bioidential Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT). In fact, she’s written several books which encourage women to take hormones to remain youthful: The Sexy Years (2004), Ageless (2006), Bombshell (2012) and her latest book, I’m Too Young For This (2013).

Go on a calorie restriction diet. Calorie Restriction (CR) has been scientifically proven to extend life in animals and many researchers believe CR extends human life as well. FightAging.orgCheck out CR Society International for more information. You can probably get by just fine eating a whole lot less than you have in the past. Eat less.

Don’t retire. The Japanese associate negative images with the word retirement. This, along with their healthy diet and active lifestyle, are probably some of the reasons why they tend to live longer than people in most other countries, particularly in Okinawa. There is no retirement age in Japan. I personally witnessed this earlier this year when my husband and I visited Okinawa. We met countless people in their 70s, 80s and even 90s still working. Okinawa Centenarian Study

Phyllis Diller

Phyllis Diller

Treat your troubles with jokes. In her autobiography, Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse: My Life in Comedy, Phyllis Diller shares her struggles and shenanigans as the first woman of her time to rise to the top of the male-dominated comedy scene, a feat she accomplished while caring for five children and an unemployed husband. Despite the many challenges she faced throughout her life, she found a way to laugh every day. “Some people say ‘who would want to be 90,’ and I say ‘anyone who is 89,'” says Diller, who died with a smile on her face at the age of 95.

Write your autobiography when you’re in your 90s. Eleanor Wasson believes that the best part of life begins when you get past 50. She believes in free will and free choice–that we let things happen by the choices we make. She wrote her autobiography, 28,000 Martinis and Counting, in her 90s and later passed away in 2008 at the age of 100. Santa Cruz Sentinal

Set a goal to be the oldest person somewhere. Everyone gets a nanosecond of being the youngest person on earth, but very few get the chance to be the oldest. In this film, you’ll get to see Edna Parker who, at the time of filming, was the oldest person in the world at 115. Perhaps you can live to be the oldest person in your family, your city, or even the world . . .

Embrace technology. In his book, The Singularity is NearRay Kurzweil spells out his belief that we’re moving into an age of a “new civilization that will enable us to transcend our biological limitations and amplify our creativity.” Technology is used in medicine and many other industries to enhance and extend life. Soon it will be doing much more.

Say no to ice cream. John Robbins is the only son to the founder of the Baskin-Robbins empire. Instead of following in his father’s footsteps, he chose to walk away from ice cream and wealth to pursue his own dream of living in harmony with all life forms. He is the founder of EarthSave International and Board Chair of Yes! Robbins is also the author of numerous books including Healthy at 100.

Freeze your body and come back to life later. At Alcor Life Extension Foundation, cryonics is happening now. Alcor believes that “lack of legal status as a person does not imply lack of moral status as a person.” They welcome you to tour their facility in Scottsdale, Arizona, and walk among stiffs who are waiting to come back to life. If you don’t want to do business with a funeral home director, Alcor might be the alternative you’re looking for. You just might be one of the first to learn How to Live Forever.

Live until the day you die. “My boyfriend is older than me, but he can still drive at night,” said an elderly woman who still enjoys dating older men. Stay active. Get out there and keep doing the things you love to do. Laugh more, eat less.

American Society on Aging logo

 

 

Dear Diary, this is day I decided to drink distilled water

By | cooking, longevity, Natural Remedies, restaurants, water | 5 Comments

Margie opened her door and welcomed me with a big smile as if I were a friend she hadn’t seen for a while. Her sunny one-bedroom apartment was tidy. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview this lively 91-year-old.

People in Loma Linda, CA, live 4-7 years longer, on average, than other Americans. This is why I wanted to visit this quiet haven outside Los Angeles, to meet with Margie and other 90+ year olds. Loma Linda is America’s longevity hot spot. I came here to ask the same question as many other researchers.

What is your secret to longevity?

water bottle - DropInTheBucket.orgMargie spoke openly right from the start. “I’m wearing a wig, but these are my own,” she told me as she smiled and pointed to her teeth.

As I asked about her diet and health habits, she recalled different people and life experiences.

“I have the same birthday as Hitler,” she said, “April 20, and I went to his bunker.” She told stories about living in Germany for six years with her husband who was a marine and passed away 15 years ago. Then she talked about homeschooling her two sons.

She told me about her 95-year-old brother (a farmer) and four sisters, ages 93 (a teacher), 89 (a nurse and dietician), 83 (a teacher) and 76 (a nurse educator) all still living and all vegetarian Seventh Day Adventists. She had one other sister who passed away at the age of 40.

She talked seamlessly about the past, present and future. “I’d like to get rid of my computer,” she said. When I asked about the wood elephants lined up in her windowsill, she had a story for each one. She got one in Germany, one in Africa, and another one at the local Goodwill.

Although I had to repeat myself a sometimes because of her hearing, she spoke with the energy and enthusiasm of someone decades younger.

“I’d like to move to New Zealand,” she said at one point. “The fruit they serve here at the Villa doesn’t have any flavor and I can’t afford to buy fresh organic fruit,” she said. “I just read a book about . . . ” and on and on she continued.

Here’s a summary of the health tips I extracted from her stories. These are some of the things she doesn’t do which she believes may have contributed to her longevity:

  • she never eats meat
  • she doesn’t drink milk (she says it causes colds)
  • she never drinks alcohol
  • she doesn’t smoke
  • she doesn’t drink caffeine (she believes that black tea is especially bad because it’s hard on the heart)
  • she avoids sugar most of the time
  • she doesn’t use fluoride toothpaste (she mentioned that baking soda and salt are safer)

When’s the last time you did a check up on your dentist? 

Here are some of her habits she believes may have contributed to her longevity:

  • she has been a vegetarian her whole life
  • she worked hard on the family potato farm for many years and she has always included a wide variety of potatoes in her diet
  • she used to be a primary school teacher, but she still loves learning, being around people and telling stories
  • she drinks homemade smoothies made with fresh or frozen fruit such as berries, banana or apple
  • she loves grapefruit juice
  • she eats soy products
  • she keeps busy and has something to do every day
  • she takes enzymes regularly (because her sister who’s a dietician advised her to do so)
  • she has access to great doctors in Loma Linda (but some of her prior doctors are dead now)
  • she is spiritually active (as a Seventh Day Adventist)
  • she has a community of friends she meets with every day (having common meals and social time with others who live in the same retirement villa)
  • she does her best to sleep well every night
  • she has been drinking distilled water for about 44 years

None of these things surprised me because many of her lifestyle habits are consistent with others who live into their 80s, 90s and beyond. But her distilled water story did stand out.

Margie Francisco 91 years old 20130728_113511

Dr Lorraine with Margie in Loma Linda on July 28, 2013

About 44 years ago, she came down with a debilitating strep/staph infection from well water in Idaho and was in and out of the hospital 32 times to treat cellulitis. This is when she decided to switch to distilled water to avoid going through anything like this again. She made a decision and stuck to it because she didn’t trust the water.

When it came time for me to leave, Margie slowly ascended from her chair and said with a smile, “this old grey mare ain’t what she used to be.” She didn’t want me to leave without seeing more of her recent artwork. She waved me into her bedroom and pulled a painting off the wall.

“You need to see it up close,” she said. “I used acrylics to paint these flowers.” Although I was impressed with the quality and detail of the painting, I was even more fascinated by her dexterity and strength as she leaned over her bed to pull a framed painting off the wall. Most Americans don’t make it to this age and of those who do, not many would be able to do this seemingly simple stretch-balance-strength task. I love being around lifelong learners with a positive attitude. I could have talked with her for days.

The day I met Margie, July 28, 2013, is the day I decided to drink distilled water. I made the switch immediately, beginning with bottled distilled water.

Over the next few weeks I did some research and learned that drinking distilled water is a great way to cleanse your body. Dr. Weil is one of my virtual doctors. When I’m looking for health advice, I often check to see what he has to say about a subject. Dr Weil drinks distilled water and uses it for cooking as well.

Got a virtual doctor yet? If not, now’s the time. 

So are you ready to chug some H2O? Water is as important to your health as sleep, but remember stop drinking liquids about an hour before you go to bed so you can sleep all night without having to get up to pee. BitofFun

After doing some research on distillers, I ended up choosing the Megahome Water Distiller. It didn’t take me long to conclude that this is the most important appliance in my kitchen.

Drink distilled water daily to detox and defend your body.

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