Tag Archives: wellbeing

old-man-appleYou may not want to live forever (and in fact we can’t) and you may not even want to live to 100, but as we age we may start to experience some age related challenges, or challenges from past lifestyle choices, such as sporting or job related injuries, poor diet, stress and more that we can avoid, improve on and manage better.

While there are some things we can’t avoid, and some things we have to manage as we get older, there are many ways we can live well to enjoy life as we age, especially between 40 and 80+ years old. Unfortunately in most Western countries, we do not have a longevity culture. By this we mean a culture that values older people, that strives to maintain healthy habits and lifestyle practices that best aid us in later years. There seems to be a certain ‘live as long as you can, and deal with whatever pops up’ mentality, rather than a conscious awareness and effort to actually live well, as well as possible, as we age.

We may all know or know of someone who has made it to 100 or more years old, and they are more an oddity, exception or special interest than a possibility or potential. Too often we focus on our aged population’s ill health, degeneration and disability. But a great many aged people, say between 60 and 90, are still very mobile, physically active, mentally astute and sharp, and some even still working or actively involved in their communities.

For those of us more deeply interested in living well as we age, hopefully disease and disability free, still mentally and emotionally sharp, still active in and valued by our families and communities, we need hope, we need inspiration and we need healthy examples. And all this can come from places, people and cultures in the world who live longer than anywhere else, and have more healthy, disease free elderly, even more 100+ years olds, than anywhere else on Earth.

These places are most commonly called Blue Zones, where people live the longest, live disease free, are mobile and active, respected and valued in their communities and cultures, and revered for their age related wisdom, history and longevity. And it’s not luck that they live long and strong. It’s partly genetics and largely lifestyle – the longevity lifestyle. Blue Zones like Okinawa, Japan, Greece, Sardinia, Costa Rica and others are amazing examples of traditional lifestyles that we can all draw on for inspiration and solid practises to help us live longer and stronger in the West. It is doable. It is being done, and it is amazing to see and experience.

Longevity experts, having studied these Blue Zones for decades, have identified a list of key lifestyle choices and practises common to all longevity hotspots that contribute to their longevity and healthy aged lifestyles. And we can adopt these same lifestyle choices and practices to our benefit, at any age, but especially as we get older, to minimise disease and disability, and most importantly, to enjoy life for longer – pursuing our passions, enjoying our families and communities more, and living longer and stronger because it’s possible.

We need a clearer, more compelling vision for what our life could be as we age. One that is mobile and active, energetic and passionate. Not one that accepts degeneration and disease, shutting down and depression as part of aging. We only live once – let’s make it long and strong and the best it can be. In coming posts, I’ll share more about longevity and the things we can do to live longer and stronger. Stay tuned.

 

1438113254346If I told you that the secret to health and wellbeing, to vitality and longevity, is all in your gut, would you believe me? Well, it's true! Science is discovering everyday what scientists, doctors, healers, medicine men and women, gurus and good eaters of old have known for perhaps thousands of years: that the seat and fate of our health sits in our gut.

We are literally swimming in, surrounded by and made up of trillions of micro-organisms. An estimated 100 trillion, in fact. So many that at least 4.5kg of an average adult's weight is made up of micro-organisms - and the vast majority of them are good for us, living symbiotically on and in us - covering our entire skin surface and functioning in every organ, tissue and our blood. We cannot live without these amazing colonies of organisms, which we have both evolved from and evolved to co-exist for mutual benefit.

Science is literally discovering new bacteria and micro-organisms inside and on us daily, and understanding more intimately the role these friends and foes play within us. We know that eating a healthy, balanced diet, made up of natural foods that these microbes eat and thrive on works wonders for maintaining healthy populations of good microbes. Equally so, a poor diet, made up of foods that assault and starve our internal friends, results in poor health and wellbeing.

Many cultures have understood for perhaps millennia how important a nourishing diet is for our gut health, and how our gut health influences all other systems of our minds and bodies. It is no coincidence that as humans have adopted a processed, denatured, unhealthy diet that we are, for the first time in human history, experiencing epidemic proportions of diet and lifestyle related disease - most of these directly related to poor gut health.

So what can we do? The answer is surprisingly simple and easy. EAT MORE NATURAL FOODS. Avoid denatured, chemical-laden, processed foods. Keep it real, keep it organic, local, fresh and as close to its natural state as possible. Every time we eat is an opportunity to nourish our body, to nourish every living cell and 100 trillion microbes that rely on us for sustenance. Choose prebiotic foods - foods that your existing microbes can feed and thrive on. And choose probiotic foods - foods that already contain high concentrations of beneficial microbes that we can add to our gut: fermented and transformational foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, kombucha, kefir, sourdough, fermented beverages, yoghurt and cheese, to name just a few.

With 100 trillion micro-organisms living on and inside us, how can we ever dine alone?

If you would like to know more about your gut health and the fascinating world inside us, follow me at Fermental As Anything! and Australian Kimchi Appreciation Society.

We also run regular workshops and classes on Korean kimchi, Korean and other cooking, and gut health.