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In my quest to find an answer to the question “ How can I keep from, getting old?” I stumbled upon the book “Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples” by John Robbins. The core of this book is the study of four cultures that have a history of producing long-lived people. Specifically, it looks at the Abkhasia of the Caucasus, the Vilcabamba or Ecuador, the Hunza and the centenarians of Japan. It also discusses the China Study in some detail, which was the largest anti-cancer prevention study ever undertaken. In short, the book discusses what these cultures have in common and provides informed opinions about the reasons they are able to achieve extraordinary longevity.
It was interesting reading and experiencing a kind of change of perspective about getting old as something to be avoided at all cost. This book explores aging in a healthy and natural way, and we see intimately into the lives of people who experience aging as an exchange: of wisdom for innocence, and valued experience for muscle tone.
I’d like to share what I took away from this book.
- Have a positive attitude toward aging that is lacking in our society. People in these societies cherish their old folks. There is a preservation of the social role of older people in the family and the village community. The psychological comfort of the elderly, due to the higher rate of inclusion in the affairs of the family and village, is greatly increased. People of this age are respected. Old people are invited to family celebrations, where they are given a place of honor. These societies are trying to protect their older citizens from stress, and are committed to providing better living conditions, nutrition, and care than those societies with lower rates of longevity.
- Are in denial. Centenarians have very low level of anxiety, and are often “in denial” about the fact of aging. 80% of centenarians surveyed believe that they are not very old. Centenarians seem to have triggered a defense against awareness of the fact of aging and the inevitability of death; they think they will live forever!
2. Essentially every organ and cell in the body has a vitamin D receptor. More than 200 genes, and some have estimated up to 2,000 genes, are directly or indirectly regulated by it.
3. A deficiency of this hormone is related to poor calcium regulation and a variety of diseases, including osteoporosis, osteomalacia, poor cardiovascular function, muscle weakness and spasm, depression, various types of arthritis, various types of cancer, especially breast cancer with calcified precancerous lesions, inflammatory bowel disease, tooth and gum disease, chronic fatique syndromes, and various autoimmune disorders, including diabetes type 1, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis.
4. Three-quarters of U.S. teens and adults are deficient in vitamin D. Medical doctors are routinely testing for deficiency in circulation.
5. In doctor’s office the D3 measured in circulation is the prehormone 25-dihydroxy-cholecalciferol, called calcidiol, and not the cholecalciferol or ergocalciferol that we take as a supplement, the actual effective hormone is 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol, or calcitriol, which is not routinely tested to determine Vitamin D3 deficiency.
6. Long-term use of common medications are producing nutrient deficiencies associated with many common disease processes. Cholesterol lowering drugs called statins are now the most widely prescribed drug in the world. Cholesterol is required to make Vitamin D. Therefore, anyone taking statins can be expected to have a deficiency in it. Other commonly prescribed drugs that may cause nutritional deficiencies and vit D deficiencies are oral contraceptives, estrogen replacement drugs, anticonvulsants, diabetic medications, high blood pressure medications, anti-inflammatory NSAIDS, beta-blockers (hypertension and asthma), antidepressants, and anti-anxiety benzodiazepines.
I lived near the Black Sea my whole life until I moved to Texas. All of my summers were spent on the beach. I was working on my tan very hard from May until August. Pale and pink was avery bad look in my circle. Tan lines were a bad thing too – that’s why I didn’t have a swimming suit! You could call me and my friends nudists, but we weren’t part of a cultural and political movement advocating and defending social nudity in private and in public . It was simply vanity – to have bronze skin everywhere, no white spot allowed.
Every year, every summer, I did it again and again. I liked my tanned, golden-bronze look. It was so disappointing when it started to fade every fall – I hated being pale, so not pretty. When I got lucky and started to work at a very fancy fitness club for very rich people, I saw this big shiny silver thingy, my first tanning bed. It was a miracle! I could be pretty, bronze and without tan lines, all year round. And, it was free; employees had to be tanned to advertise the new service, as it was the first tanning bed in the whole city. We were saying that tanning beds were very safe and good for the skin; that they had filters to remove dangerous UVB/UVA rays and were therefore much better than the sun. People loved it, and it was working non-stop.
At that time there wasn’t a lot of information about the connection between premature aging, skin cancer and ultraviolet rays. We heard something, we read something, but really didn’t believe it. How could something that makes you look and feel good be dangerous? No way!!!!!