Live Long and be Happy!

Who says our lives must end at seventy or eighty
years of age? What about the Hunzas and Azerbaijanis whose inhabitants
sometimes reach well over 100? And the famous yogis in the Himalayas, some of
whom are reputed to have lived for even hundreds of years? From Ponce de Leon’s
fountain of youth to the Life Extension movement to Leonard Orr’s (the leader
of the Rebirthing movement) promises of immortality, the possibility of
longevity holds fascination for many of us. We know that we live longer than
our ancestors, yet death from cancer and heart disease are epidemic. Mortality
in children from leukemia is on the rise. AIDS has taken the lives of many men
and women in the prime of their lives, and is now claiming the lives of many
infants. Can we live longer than our parents and defy the lifespan which may
have been passed down through our families of origin for many generations? Is
longevity possible?

It takes all kinds. Bernard Jensen, legendary, long-lived, and
extremely vital chiropractic physician, took a very special journey a number of
years ago. He had long been interested in exploring the elixir sought by men
and women throughout history. He had heard rumors about people living to a ripe
old age of 150 or more and wanted to verify or discredit these claims for
himself. He published World Keys to Health and Long Life in 1975. In
this wonderful book, he investigates the various elements of diet and lifestyle
which have helped these people live long, healthy lives. Our favorite part is
the section in which he interviews these elderly people and, next to their
pictures, encapsulates their secrets for living so long. Cafer Baykam, born in
Caucasus and living in Turkey most of his life, was 115 at the time of his
interview with Dr. Jensen. His youngest child was 13 and he was looking to
remarry. He never had a physical examination in his life. His mother lived
until 135. He advised men never to marry before 35. Hatuk Nine, 128, was
Turkey’s oldest lady town crier, her occupation for the last 75 years. She had
a strong, full voice which “could be heard two blocks away”. She attributed her
fine health and excellent voide to a daily breakfast of one quart of pure
spring water mixed with ample lemon juice. Sirali Paryat Zemcant, 117, was
pictured on his bicycle. He had married 17 times, and was a “hard-working,
merry man” who worked like he was young. He never smoked or drank. Mahmut Sahin
Nine, 120, claimed she had never been sick and planned to reach 150. Her secret
to longevity was avoiding cities, which, she warned, made people sick. However,
some of those interviewed by Dr. Jensen smoked and drank to excess and consumed
up to six pounds of meat per week.

The hope of collective longevity. Kenneth Pelletier,Ph.D.,
well-known researcher in stress management and holistic health, set about to
scientifically investigate the secrets to longevity. In his book Longevity:
Fulfilling Our Biological Potential
, published ten years ago, he explored
the impact of evolution, fat and sugar consumption, attitude, and exercise on
longevity. In contrasting research on two groups of centenarians, one in
Hungary, another in Vilcabamba, Ecuador, the differences were striking. The
Vilcabambans generally continued working until just a few days before their
deaths, which were most often due to accidents or diseases brought from outside
the local area. The Hungarians, on the other hand, usually succumbed to
atherosclerosis or cancer. In Vilcabamba, hypertension, heart disease, and
cancer are uncommon. Like Dr. Jensen, he concluded that long life could be
attributed to a variety of different factors. He hypothesized that “the search
for longevity may eventually lead more individuals to lives of reflection, for
which the advanced ages are ideally suited”. He suggested further that
“Longevity will require a collective heightening of human consciousness”, a
reality in which fear of disease and poverty no longer have a hold on us.

Centenarian gems. A third, quite delightful book, published just
last year, is entitled One Hundred over 100 and, like Dr. Jensen’s
book, tells the story, complete with recent photo- graphs, of all the
centenarians interviewed. Reading about their dramas shows the beautiful
variations of humanity- some bursting with life, others barely flickering, some
light and cheery, others heavy and very stuck in their ways. When asked to
share their precious secrets for surpassing 100, again their responses were
like night and day. They varied from, “just being the way I am” to “Keep your
feet warm, your head cool, your bowels open, and trust in the Lord”. Some
attributed their longevity to hard work, others to cornbread, some to a
fighting spirit, some to health foods, and still others to “mind over matter”
and loving families.

What can we do to live long? So, what can we glean from all of
these centenarians’ gems of experience? Ultimately, we think that genetics and
karma do play an important role, but there’s plenty we can do to lengthen our
lives. Even though, as indicated above, every centenarian has his or her own
tips, here’s some sound advice for long life. l. Eat lightly. Those who
undereat a bit appear to live longer. This confirms the ancient yogic advice of
eating one handful of food at each meal, drinking one handful of liquid, and
leaving the third handful empty. 2. Live simply. Long-lived
people generally live uncomplicated lives. 3. Exercise regularly.
Many centenarians live rugged, physically challenging lives. They breathe lots
of fresh air and exercise their lungs vigorously. 4. Limit animal
protein
. The less beef, pork, chicken, and even dairy the better. Many
people over 100 limited their diet to few items and ingested only small amounts
of animal protein, except some form of fermented milk. 5. Do what truly
makes you happy.
Centenarians often feel useful, which gives them a real
reason to continue living. 6. Love and be loved. Surround yourself with
people with whom there is a mutual caring. 7. Be close to nature. Many
centenarians love their gardens, their animals, their trees. 8. Share
yourself in a meaningful way
. Those who serve humanity, in whatever form,
are said to be the happiest. 9. Keep your pipeline to Spirit always
open
.

Only 3,200 Americans were reported to have lived past 100 in 1969.
Ten years later, the number exceeded 13,000. By 2039, many of us might be well
on our way to being centenarians. Let’s start really enjoying and making the
most of our lives now so we’ll be ready for it!

Drs. Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman and Robert Ullman are naturopathic and
homeopathic physicians and cofounders of the Northwest Center for Homeopathic
Medicine in Edmonds, WA. They are coauthors of
The Patient’s Guide to
Homeopathic Medicine and Beyond Ritalin: Homeopathic Treatment of ADD
and Other Behavioral and Learning Problems. They can be reached at (206)
774-5599.

Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman ND MSW Written by Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman ND MSW

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