Pictured: My grandma who lived to almost 104! with our Papito.
In October I read an inspiring article about a Greek war veteran who, as the article’s catchy title implied, “Forgot to Die.” It was a story about how lifestyle, not just food and exercise but other factors, affect our quality of life, how we age, and when we pass. Moraitis, the Greek-almost centenarian, was diagnosed with lung cancer in the United Stated and given 9 months to live. That was in the 1970’s! Thirty-five years later, in his home - the island of Ikaria, Greece- he (and other healthy centenarians) explain their secrets to a healthier, longer life.
Below is the advice I took away from Moraitis, not only on forgetting to die but remembering how to truly live.
- Wake up late and take naps
- Don’t wear a watch or be dependent on your cell phone
- Find a community. Think less “me” and more “us”
- Use more dried herbs as medicine: marjoran, sage, mint, rosemary and dandelion. Add lemon and honey to taste. Herbs are rich in polyphenols, antioxidants and act as mild diuretics.
- Get to know your neighbors
- Eat a Mediterranean-based diet rich in olive oil, vegetables, beans, and wild greens, and low in dairy (except for goat’s milk) and meat products and moderate in alcohol intake (normally wine). This diet is naturally low in saturated fat, high in monounsaturated fats, high in antioxidants and fiber, and most importantly, absent of sugar and refined flour. Goat’s milk is easier to digest (less lactose) and high in serotonin.
- Sleep more
- Sex more
- Walk more
- Plant a garden and become more self-suficient. New Yorker’s grow tomatoes and cucumbers from their fire escapes all the time!
- Connect with people and have fun with family and friends
- Don’t go home to sit on the couch
- It’s as important HOW we eat- slow down, relax and enjoy your meal
- Stop micromanaging food
- Define your life meaning/ plan de vida/ Ikigai- what is your reason to wake up in the morning?
- Healthy habits ARE contagious, so.. spread the word!
Every challenge is an opportunity. Consider the wise words of Moraitis and his fellow centenarians as an opportunity to be healthier and happier now.
Happy Christmas, holidays and/or time-off, and all the best for 2013!
Bushwick Nutrition will be back in January. Follow me on Pinterest for details on all the xmas goodies and more tricks for healthy eating while traveling.
Thank you Mateo for forwarding the story. Reference: Buettner, D. The Island Where People Forget to Die. New York Times.