Longevity* 03-22-2013

“I have come so that you may have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

In the first church I served in Montana I encountered some of the most long lived and healthy people that I had ever met. I met a man named Bob G. who was 101 years old and played a mean game of golf. I was a beginning beginner and he walloped me good! I would put too much muscle into the drives and they would go off into the trees. Meanwhile, Bob couldn’t hit the ball very far, but it was always straight as an arrow.

Another woman I met was an 87 year old widow named Ann L. Ann was simply incredible! She had a huge flower garden and always brought fresh flowers to the church. One time I went over to visit her and I noticed all of her extensive fences had a fresh coat of paint on them. I asked, “Who helped paint your fences?” “It was just me and the Lord,” came the reply. Ann also turned out an amazing number of quilts. Each winter she would make 15 to 20 quilts—hundreds of hours of work!

I was curious about these old timers’ longevity and vitality, so I asked them both in private about their secret elixir. Amazingly, they both told me the same thing. First, they exercise every day. Ann starts the day at 5:30 AM with yoga, which she claims averts genetic health challenges. Then she always does some manual labor—chopping wood, gardening, painting etcetera. She had a large ranch, which required a lot of upkeep, and wonder of wonders, she maintained it herself! Bob walked at least two miles every morning pushing his wife, who had cerebral palsy, in a wheelchair.

I had read a number of articles about the fantastic effect of exercise on the human body—that if there was a drug that gave all the positive effects of regular exercise we would call it a “wonder drug.” So, the first part about regular exercise made sense to me. The second part, however, surprised me. Ann and Bob both said they eat four or five small portions of food a day, just enough to fill a small plate. And Ann was vegetarian. Yet, I hadn’t heard about a connection of vitality with small portions of food. So, I looked into it… There are numerous health sources who say virtually the same thing:

1) Your digestive organs are your vital organs—if they go you go.
2) Most people over-burden their digestive organs by eating large portions of food.
3) If a person eats smaller portions, fasts one day a week, or turns one daily meal into a liquid meal such as a soy and banana shake, it gives the overworked digestive organs a needed rest.
4) When the digestive organs are not working on digesting food, they have an innate restorative function, which promotes longevity.
5) As a result of less food intake, the body also often reaches its most efficient weight, so the heart and joints are not encumbered with additional stress.

So, there you have it from Bob and Ann!