Healthy Aging - Take a Cue From the Greeks!

The Greek Lifestyle/eating which I would like to emulate for my own healthy aging:

  1. Lots of fruits and veggies (preferably fresh from the farmer's market or garden)
  2. Yogurt
  3. Lots of fish and nuts
  4. Olives and olive oil
  5. Healthy grains
  6. Goat's milk products
  7. Wine! (in moderation - I'll try to stick to red since white is higher in sugar)
  8. Sleeping until I wake up naturally (I already do this!)
  9. Social eating (I need to do more of this!)
  10. Great sleep and rest during the day
  11. Lots of natural exercise like walking (I need to build more errand running on my bike!)

My dear gorgeous, healthy and always fabulous-looking Greek-heritage friend, Kirsten and I had a lovely time the other day having lunch at the cafe at our favorite grocery store (Berkeley Bowl!) and then had fun running into each other while shopping. It was a day off for me and we had been trying to get together for a while so we decided to tie it in with my grocery shopping trip. We love to talk about food and even took a cooking class together while we were at Rancho La Puerta last Spring.

While we had our leisurely social lunch (so Greek!) we were talking about the Mediterranean way of eating and how she's starting to move back to it. We were talking about how we obsess about food these days and she's been realizing she's just happy and healthy eating the diet of her ancestors. Although I'm not Greek (I'm Polish and German), I was thinking a lot about the Mediterranean way of eating and while I shopped and decided to buy some clams to cook that night. Right now I'm on an anti-candida protocol which is pretty strict, but other than being sensitive to gluten and dairy and trying to keep my sugar intake low, if I ever get rid of this candida, I'm looking forward to eating a more diverse diet.

The day after we met, Kirsten shared with me an article she remembered reading long ago about the Greek diet and I was inspired.  The article starts by talking about a man who moved back to a tiny island in Greece (from the states) to live out his lung cancer diagnosis. Getting back to the fresh air, socializing with friends, sleeping late, napping, working in the garden and the Mediterranean diet is the reason (he thinks) he was still alive many years after his diagnosis. He never had any cancer treatments and although I would not necessarily recommend that, somehow it worked for him and it says a lot about the Greek lifestyle. I've been eating a lot of saturated fats recently and although I've been feeling pretty good and am losing weight without even trying, I think I'm going to start shifting back to more healthy fats like olive oil rather than so much coconut oil and having avocados with my eggs rather than bacon or sausage (that's the German in me) - and lots more fatty fish (will I EVER like sardines?). My hubby isn't too social, but I love long leisurely meals with friends, so need to start scheduling more of that too. 

As I prepare for the upcoming 3rd Act retreat (I hope to see you there!) and as I hear more and more friends starting to talk about retirement plans, I'm thinking a lot more about healthy aging and this article couldn't have come at a better time. So there you go, thanks to a healthy social lunch with a friend, I'm inspired and BTW - I had the Ahi salad with seaweed for lunch that day. No wine since I've cut down on the sugar for my candida protocol, but once I'm rid of the candida, I'll be going back to drinking red wine a few times a week!

Here is the article:

 

 

SF Gate Article - How Skinny People Stay Skinny

I'm always saying that The Healing Farm | Retreats and eventually The Healing Farm focusses and will focus on practical wellness solutions to build into your everyday life. Even though (according to this article) I'm about 20 pounds overweight right now, my focus in working with Chris Kresser and everything I've done in the past few years for myself has been about reducing inflammation in my body to reduce my chronic pain and health conditions - and doing so through practical means (like an elimination diet) that have (so far) worked in alleviating some (if not most) of my symptoms.

That doesn't mean I don't want to lose that 20 pounds, darn it! But given my age (almost 50) and my history with fluctuating weight, it's just not my focus right now since overall, I feel good and mostly chronic condition free. However, whenever I've talked to my husband and my close friends who have NEVER struggled with their weight, I'm always fascinated by the fact that they have never had to think about it. My husband and my very good friend have slightly different experiences in that my husband doesn't even think about food. He simply eats for sustenance. He eats when he's hungry. My good friend on the other hand has very sensitive taste buds and is a great cook. She loves food and wine, but has never struggled with her weight. She's always said she simply eats until she's full and then puts it aside. She'll even choose not to eat dessert if it isn't completely worth it taste-wise! I've NEVER had that kind of willpower.

Even though I'm convinced by newish studies about  weight being influenced by a whole host of things like your exposure to toxins, what your mother's body chemistry and biology were when she was pregnant with you, etc, I do think there's something to be said about willpower and the very simple things this article suggests. Given The Healing Farm wants to cultivate practical wellness, I feel it's important to reiterate those simple things this article mentions. Weight IS a huge issue for many in this country and IS a contributing factor to many chronic conditions, so maybe it's time to revisit what this article suggests!:

Routines of participants of the Global Healthy Weight Registry

1 - Eat breakfast: 96 percent

2 - Exercise:

  • Exercise 5+ days per week: 42 percent
  • Exercise 3 to 4 days per week: 27 percent
  • Exercise 0 to 2 days per week: 32 percent
  • Don't exercise: 10 percent

3 - Scale

  • Weigh themselves weekly: 50 percent
  • Weigh themselves infrequently: 27 percent

4 - Diet

  • Never or rarely diet: 74 percent
  • Have at least one non-restrictive strategy: 44 percent
  • "Non-restrictive strategies" include listening to inner hunger cues, eating high-quality (and non-processed foods), as well as cooking at home.

5 - Food Choices

  • Chicken is their favorite meat: 61 percent
  • Vegetarians: 7 percent
  • Don't drink alcohol: 33 percent
  • Eat salad for lunch every day: 35 percent
  • Eat vegetables at dinner every day: 65 percent

6 - Breakfast

  • Daily breakfast includes fruits and vegetables: 51 percent
  • Daily breakfast includes eggs: 31 percent

7 - Snack

  • Favorite snack is nuts: 21 percent
  • Favorite snack is fruit: 44 percent

8 - Beverage

  • Soft drink of choice is a diet soda: 33 percent
  • Favorite soft drink is regular: 25 percent
  • Don't drink soda: 37 percent

Local Fresh Seafood!

I tend to order fatty fish and shellfish when I go out to eat to get my Omega 3s and B12 more easily since I don’t often make these things at home. This picture was from a lunch ordered on a coastal bike ride recently. Yum! I guiltily ate a little local sourdough with it. Who could resist with that butter sauce!!

I tend to order fatty fish and shellfish when I go out to eat to get my Omega 3s and B12 more easily since I don’t often make these things at home. This picture was from a lunch ordered on a coastal bike ride recently. Yum! I guiltily ate a little local sourdough with it. Who could resist with that butter sauce!!

Getting your Omega 3s and vital B12 through fatty fish and shellfish on a regular basis is not easy. Adding in wanting it to be local, quality and sustainably caught makes it even harder and my local Farmer's Market source often sells fish from Alaska or Washington State. Often when I'm out to eat I try to order some kind of fatty fish or shellfish knowing I don't often have it at home for these reasons.

I read this article on the KQED blog and was excited about the CSA (community supported agriculture) concept spilling into the market for seafood. Though this article is bay area specific, I would bet the concept is catching (no pun intended) on in other parts of the country as well! 

I'm going to try The Sea Forager and next time my fisherman brother is in town plan on taking him on one of the Forager Tours!

Why My Smoothie Isn't Pretty

I decided I should include a picture of my not-so-good-looking morning smoothie (recipe in last post). Funny, because the picture actually makes it look pretty good! I guess being a professional photographer helps things a bit! BUT, truthfully sometimes it comes out more green (which is pretty) and sometimes it comes out brown. I suppose it just depends on the inconsistent amounts of the ingredients I put in day to day. My good friend likes her smoothies to be pretty so she puts in lighter colored fruit so they come out bright green. She’s got a design background so pretty is important and I guess that’s true for lots of people based on this recent article about kids school lunches:

LA Times story on making kid’s school lunches more esthetically pleasing helps increase their fruit and veggie consumption!

But the reason I don’t care about what my smoothie looks like is because it’s more important to me that I get the most nutrition out of my smoothie every day. If I make this the habit that means I get a dose of omega 3, pro-biotic, antioxidants and a whole variety of vitamins and minerals every day without having to think about it (see my recipe post for detail on the nutrition). So pretty smoothie be damned, and ugly smoothie wins the day for me! Plus some “light” fruit has a lot of sugar and some even has high mold counts (go here for a list of foods that have high mold counts) so for someone who is trying to reduce inflammation for chronic conditions, this is also important. Some of those lucky people can have pretty smoothies and gluten-full food and be just fine! Lucky ducks (that’s my hubby too!)! Sigh. That’s not me.