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When you buy a vacuum cleaner or toaster oven, a car or even certain toys, there’s an instruction book, a user manual that comes with it and it gives specific instructions as to what that machine needs so that is will operate at peak efficiency for the longest possible. Well, isn’t that what you want from your body, for it to operate at peak efficiency for as long a time as possible? But, in Western Culture when we have a baby it’s just handed to us and we’re supposed to know what to do to keep it healthy! In times gone by (and certain other cultures) the elders were the user manual, as humans lived in tribes and villages and communities and the esteemed role of the elders was to teach the children the ways of their people. But in today’s ‘modern’ experience, new parents are usually alone, left wondering what to do. The baby didn’t come with a instruction manual!
With this in mind, I decided to write a user manual for humans with an intention of empowering boomers and seniors with sound, reasonable, impartial and common sense information for better health and happier living. I look at solid research and studies regarding the evolution and health of our species, which has evolved over 200,000 years as hunter/gatherers and farmers. 200,000 years of eating a mostly plant-based diet with perhaps onbly 10-30% of nutrition being animal protein. (There are exceptions to this around the planet, but on average, humans evolved more as plant-eaters than meat eaters.) It is only in the past 100 or so years that we have radically changed the way we eat (whole food vs processed food, emphasis on plants vs emphasis on animal protein), the way we move (moving all day vs sedentary lifestyle), and our levels of stress (short-term life-threatening situation vs chronic stress).
In my opinion, it is hubris to think that we can ignore eons of evolution without expecting consequences. And, the unfortunate consequences are things like 69% of the American public is overweight, and rates of diabetes, heart disease and cancers are skyrocketing.
Consider this… no experienced dog owner would give a dog dark chocolate because it’s toxic to the canine species. But homo sapiens can eat chocolate, thank goodness! What is toxic toour species are chemicals like calcium disodium EDTA or propylene glycol (anti-freeze!) to name just two frequent offenders. Do you think your human immune system can identify that chemical? It does not. And the typical response is inflammation of some kind. Doesn’t it make sense that there is a connection between the way humans eattoday and the way humans ate even just 150 years ago? One simply can not and must not put aside the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of our species as it has been honed over the millennia. The modern conveniences that purport to make our lives easier are making us sicker! A diet of fast food puts you in the fast lane to disease.
“Embrace the idea that you’re old enough to have a past and
young enough to have a future!”
The human being has been honed, over 200,000 years of evolution, into a sophisticated bio-chemical feedback system housed in an electro-magnetic field. Don’t believe me? Those bio-chemical reactions are happening all the time. When a nursing mother hears any baby cry, her milk lets down. When we laugh, a cascade of happy neurotransmitters like seratonin and dopamine are released that make us feel good. And if you don’t think you’re an electric machine, consider what happens if a person’s heart stops. Doctors shock it back to life with a defibrillator, just like what we do with a dead car battery! With regard to being a magnetic creature, it is physical law that electrical fields generate magnetism. It’s measurable.
There is so much conflicting information out there on food, diets, health and wellness. Fat is bad for you. No! Fat is good for you! Nuts are fattening. Stay away! Nuts are one of the keys to longevity! It’s so confusing and doctors offer little help. In allopathic medicine, which is what we also refer to Western Medicine, the goal is to eliminate the problem – typically with a pharmaceutical solution. Functional or Integrative doctors practice a different kind of medicine. These doctors are like detectives, looking to figure out the root cause of why you have a problem. For example, I was a gym rat for decades. Then, in my 50’s I started having pain when I exercised or exerted myself in any way. The pain was accompanied by exhaustion. More than one allopathic doctor had no answer and, in the same breath, would tell me my thyroid medication was doing its job and all was well. And I felt awful and I was depressed and having panic attacks. Anti-depressants were prescribed and therapy suggested. Today I know that these symptoms were all due to my auto-immune thyroid condition because now that my thyroid is properly managed by a functional medicine doctor and I no longer have muscle pain, exhaustion or debilitating depression. A large part of my healing was a result of lifestyle choices I made. From fundamentally changing the way I eat (a process that took about three years!) to living my life in a way such that I move frequently (walk, bike, chores) and I do whatever I can to avoid and/or manage stress, I make choices that support the health of the machine that is my body.
Learn how to say no when asked to do something that will create a problem for you. Say no to the kids’ requests for baby-sitting, if it really is not convenient or you’re really not up to it. Don’t turn your world inside out in order to accommodate someone else’s problems. It’s not selfish to care for yourself. I help people all the time. BUT, and this is IMPORTANT, I love myself more. I have learned that taking care of myself actually makes me more available to my loved ones, not less. When presented with someone else’s problem for which I have no control, I have learned to love and use the expression, “Not my monkey, not my circus!” More importantly, the world will get on if I (sometimes) put my own needs before another’s. It’s self-preservation and it’s a skill worth mastering for your own health and well-being.
The Art of Living Longer A User Manual for Human Beings™ focuses on the principles of intentional aging as well as the current research, science, tips and tools on how to achieve a healthier, happier, and maybe even longer, life.
© Anne Goldberg The Savvy Senior 2019