Conversations with Centenarians
I find centenarians fascinating.
My Acadian ancestors have a long history of living past 100 – Dad’s uncle, Laurent was 103 when he died and my mom’s uncle, Claude was over 100 too. Tante’ Milly was 99 and many others were in their late 90s as well.
I just love reading news stories about 100 year milestones. Whenever I do, I’m always looking for that infamous question “What do you attribute to your longevity?” The answers almost always make me laugh and more importantly, I’m yet to hear a centenarian attribute their longevity to “eating clean” or “restrictive dieting”.
Rather, some of my favourites include:
“Good genes and perhaps bourbon, water, and Cheetos while watching 5 o’clock news.” Edith Atkinson 106
“A vodka martini a day, no cigarettes, and hard work.” Andy Medema 101
“Be happy and have plenty of cups of tea.” Margaret Young 108
“Eat breakfast. It’s what keeps me going.” The 110-year-old also recommends snacking on dark chocolate, bananas, and ice cream, as well as shovelling snow for exercise.” Erna Sahn 110
“Potatoes some way, every day, and lots of bacon.” Ruth Benjamin 109
“Don’t take any baloney.” Florence Bearse 100
“I love playing cards, doing crossword puzzles, and reading to help exercise my mind,” Edith Mathieson 101
“My secret to a long life has been staying away from men. They’re just more trouble than they’re worth.” Jessie Gallan 109
“No children, less stress, and a daily spoonful of honey” Bernice Madigan 115
“Snacking on chocolate, sleeping for days on end, and never getting married,” leandra limbreras 127
“The ballroom dance instructor says tapping his toes keeps him “mentally, physically, and spiritually active.” John gumbine 100
“A nightly G&T”– Pauline a Dunhill 104
“A daily glass of red wine and vegetables from his own garden.” Francisco Olivera 113
“Junk food and the “occasional glass of Merlot” – Frances Prus 100
“Bacon, eggs, daily bowls of Breyer’s ice cream, and peanut butter M&M’s. She also recommends Pond’s Cold Cream for a youthful complexion.” Imogene Young 104
“Eating tons of fresh veggies and berries.” Christina Kislak 100
“Don’t worry about the little things if you can’t do anything about it” Jo Sutherland 107
“Downing three bottles of Miller High Life and a glass of whiskey every day.”- Agnes Fenton 111
“Treat people right and be nice to other people the way you want them to be nice to you,” Gertrude Weaver 116
“Starts each day with oatmeal, fruit, and a cup of tea and ends with fish and vegetables and does 7 push ups every day” Duranord Veillard 110
So, why do I share this? Firstly, because I find the answers hilarious. Secondly, because if we define health by a long fulfilling life, then that restrictive diet isn’t necessary.
In fact, in many cases, I believe that the stress of restriction and the mental toil will have no benefit to our physical health or our longevity.
Our genes, where we’re born, our lifestyle- these will all have a greater impact on our long term health first and foremost. And yes, eating nutrient dense food as often as we can will help us to be healthy and energised but there’s no need to do so at the expense of giving up all the foods we love. Health is so much more than what we eat. Nourishing our heart, mind and spirit will have lasting benefits and very much affect our eating habits as well.
And so, move your body in ways you love, enjoy your fresh veggies and fruit, ditch the guilt over that GnT or Ice cream and be kind to each other and enjoy each day the best we can.
Most importantly, be kind to our elders – they’ve got so much to give.
So, before you go on that next diet – why not give something different a go? My Empowered Eating course is all about being your healthiest – but without giving up the foods you love. Sound good?
Grab a copy of my 10 Empowered Eating principles and get started today.