Wednesday, January 21, 2015
I get a lot of positive comments from folks about my blog, and for that I'm extremely grateful. I sometimes wonder, though, if I should have some kind of theme to follow. I'm not one of those who puts a lot of images in my writing, because I see myself as more of a wordsmith, although images do grab attention. One of my favorite daily blogs is the one by my SparkFriend MOTHER-NATURE, whose image-filled Morning Cup of Solitude is just gorgeous to look at and to read. But that's not me.
I really like motivating and helping others, but sometimes just need a forum to let everyone know what's going on in my life. Sometimes those two ideas coincide, but other times it just sounds like I'm bragging or complaining. And that's not good.
I will try to keep the complaining to a minimum (because, really, I have very little about which to complain) and focus more on motivation and inspiration, because I need it just as much as everyone else! So....what's today's topic? I get a lot of inspiration from reading magazine articles and the articles on SP (of course). I've read a couple articles in the last two days that are connected, and might tell us something about how we can survive even the worst illnesses.
In the latest issue of Reader's Digest is an article about a man who, in the 1970's, was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer and given just a few months to live. He was in his 60's, and decided to go back to Greece, where he was born, to live out his final days. He lived on a small island called Ikaria, in a tight-knit community where people took care of each other and lived simple lives. The island is also extremely hilly, so it wasn't unusual for the residents to walk many miles of steep inclines just as part of their daily activities. They also follow a simple diet with lots of leafy greens, limited meats, goat's milk, olive oil, and locally produced wine. They drank tea made with herbs that have high anti-oxidant properties. The man's lung cancer went into remission, and he died in 2013 at the age of 98. People on this particular Greek island typically live well into their 90s.
In the current issue of People magazine was an article about the husband of Brittany Maynard, the woman with advanced brain cancer who moved to Oregon so that she could have assistance in her death, because Oregon is one of the few states that allows physician-assisted death. She passed away last November just before her 30th birthday.
I started to wonder. What if Brittany had moved to that Greek island instead of to Oregon? What if she had tried that diet that was rich with anti-oxidant laden foods? What if she hiked up those hills on a daily basis? Would she have lived beyond the terminal prognosis of her cancer?
Here in the United States, and throughout much of the developed world, our society is full of diseases that are directly related to how we live: what we eat, how active we are, and how well we take care of ourselves. However, there are areas of the world where these diseases are rarely present. Scientists have long studied these areas to find out the secrets of the residents, who typically live very long lives, with little heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and age-related illnesses such as dementia.
The results are almost unanimous: it all comes down to diet and activity. A healthy diet full of real food (vegetables, fruits, greens), healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts), and very little meat and processed foods, as well as a lifestyle that includes simple activities such as walking, climbing hills, and tending a garden, can lead to a longer, healthier life.
Sounds like something worth striving for, doesn't it?