30.5.09

To Live a Long Life


I am reading an article in National Geographic right now on "the Secrets of Living Longer" where it interviews super old people in the 3 cities in the world with the highest average of long living people. Loma Linda, CA, Okinawa, Japan, and Sardinia, Italy. Here's how all these amazing old folks live to such high ages and maintain beautiful and fulfilling lives.

Sardinians:
  • deeply honor family. regularly dining with extended family and living in close proximity of family.
  • drink red wine. one glass a day reduces the risk of heart/cardiovascular disease.
  • marriage. the married couples in this community take on an equal amount of work and stress. egalitarian, woop!
  • eating fresh healthy veggies/dairy products: home grown fruits and veggies. zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, fava beans, (may reduce risk of heart disease and colon cancer). milk from grass fed sheep, pecorini cheese, which like fish contributes protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • staying active. they work with their hands until the die basically, raising fruits and veggies and animals, building stuff, and being cool. awesome!
Okinawans:
  • finding purpose in living. "reason for living", for some this means exercising and doing yoga, for others fishing is their life, and other others it is living to take care of and give to others. acts as a buffer against stress and diseases like hypertension.
  • keeping close circles of friends. a lot of older people will live close to their friends and will meet up at a set time everyday to chat, eat and laugh. Moai: a mutual support network that provides financial, emotional, and social help throughout life. hey yo, communal living!
  • lean diet: tons of veggies, tofu, miso soup, a little fish. "hara hachi bu: eat until your stomach is 80 percent full." high antioxidants in their foods.
  • faith in a higher being/beings.
  • daily rituals: morning prayers, tea with friends, lunch with family, afternoon nap, sunset social with friends, and before bed a cup of sake with infused mugwort.
  • pride found in family.
Loma Linda Adventists:
  • faith/health emphasis: spiritual and physical healthy going hand in hand.
  • Healthy food balance: their faith encourages vegetarianism, forbids smoking, alcohol consumption, and eating biblical unclean foods like pork. discourages consumption of meat, rich foods, caffeinated drinks. They eat lots of grains, fruits, nuts and veggies.
    habit of consuming beans, soy milk, tomatoes, and other fruits lowers their risk of developing certain cancers. Eating whole wheat bread, drinking 5 glasses of water a day, and consuming 4 servings of nuts a week reduces risk of heart disease.
  • taking time off: they choose to honor the Sabbath one way by relaxing on Sundays, not doing any work and enjoying time spent with their family and close communities.
  • spiritual Community: they attend church on Saturdays, enjoying a sanctuary time and socializing with other church members relieves stress.
  • Average Adventist lives 4-10 years longer than the average Californian. dang.
  • celebrating Life, Family and Community
of all the old folks interviewed, not one of them was mean. Rather they were all super sociable and jolly. They all loved their communities, loved the world, loved to take care of their physical bodies, minds, hearts, and spiritual bodies.

So everyone, love those around you, learn to value them, respect them and honor them in how you live. Be in community with others, whether this means getting married one day and starting a family or simply living in community with other beautiful beings like you. Believe in something greater, whether it is God above you or an uncritical love that can expand to all beings. Treat your body with respect and take care of it. Work with your hands creating things that give value to living whether it be through growing your own food, taking care of the land and animals, or through craft and art. Even just working on your house or car, or mowing your lawn. Let it have value. Enjoy time off, let yourself have fun with the people you care about, laugh a lot, and drink a glass of wine at the end of the day. woo!

Sounds good to me. Cheers to living a long and fulfilling life.
(notice how "success" was not mentioned in any of these people's view of living a long and beautiful life. interesting.)

2 comments:

Allie said...

Fascinating! I'd like to move to Sardinia!

mieletcannelle said...

I think it's interesting that most of these are very collectivist societies, as opposed to the more individualistic mindset many others have. I also think it's interesting that living in an individualistic society, that we tend to break down these tennets into "eat more fish" and "have a glass of wine a day" instead of looking at the fact that they all holistically interact. You can no more take the long meals shared with family out of the equation than you can the omega 3's. An interesting article!