Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Clean Flame



I forgot to mention in my last post the one thing that these super youthful octogenarians here have in common -- other than living in a mellow, sunshine-filled environment and never suffering from a cold and miserable winter. It is that they all take responsibility for their own health. They do everything right in that sense!

Exercise and diet. And a good attitude in life. They understand that stress and negativity affect your health as much as processed foods and a couch potato lifestyle.

Herr C., a spry Swiss gentleman we met several years ago when he was camping with his wife is now a widower in his early 80's, but he still spends his winters in Mexico and walks the beach with us every afternoon. Big Dog and I are astounded that he continues to keep up on these 5 or 6 mile walks. We talk about a wide range of subjects during our walks -- he has a very curious mind! A former physician, he doesn't smoke, drinks in moderation, eats in moderation, walks a LOT, kayaks, camps, travels the world and is his own person.

Too often the elderly give up control and let their children dictate what they should and should not do. I think that's the death knell. Keep your independence! At least until you lose your mind and when that happens, maybe you can lose the independence, too.

Mr. G., our landlord who lives with his Mexican wife in the house next to us is an incredibly young 85. When he told us his age, we just about fell over. Last year, we saw him out on the ocean trying to learn to stand-up paddle. He takes his boat out (by himself) to fish. Most people who spend a lifetime in construction seem pretty beat up by the time they start getting Social Security. Not Mr. G.!

"My father owned a candy store when I was really young, so I was always into the candy. And I think that's why I was such a slow learner all during grade school," he told us one evening over wine, tostadas and sunset. Today, he is very conscious about what he eats. "I try to avoid junk food, processed foods. Here in Mexico, I can get raw milk inexpensively so that's what we have. Did you know that homogenized milk is bad for you? The process they use to homogenize milk makes it so that it clogs your arteries more easily."

That was news to me, but he is about the only octogenarian I know who is NOT on blood thinning meds, so maybe he's got something there.

Eating as much raw foods as possible, a nice variety, never using a microwave and not getting too phobic about the "bad stuff" are his keys to health. "You also need to build some immunity to junk, too, you know." Like, the occasional greasy, lard-fried churro!

We talked about the recent gluten-free craze and how people who go gluten-free feel so much better not because they've eliminated gluten, per se, but because they're eliminating almost all processed foods. Factory-made foods have too much crap, whether they are harmful additives, GMOs, or overly processed grains.

"Too many people don't think about how they eat, how they live, and then just take drugs that will cure symptoms but never the cause of the problem."

He was echoing all of my thoughts on the matter! Our body houses our spirit -- it's a holy temple -- and yet many of us treat it like a junkyard or garbage dump with a lifetime of terrible habits and then a bunch of drugs. So, yes, make sure you are getting fresh fuel for your "fire," but also make sure it is burning clean.

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