Sunday, November 9, 2014

Key to longevity

My grandparents on Mama's side lived to be 97 and 100.  When someone lives to that age, it makes me stop and ask how they maintained their health.  One of the things that stands out is how much physical labor they did.  Grandpa did a lot of walking, too.  I love to look at the terrain feature on Google Maps.  It shows a range of hills near where my grandparents lived.  Grandpa loved to walk "the hills."  I think that kept his heart in good shape.  They eschewed tobacco and alcohol, and I think they gave up coffee in the Depression (an unnecessary expense--they could teach us all a lesson on what it really means to cut costs).  I think about the pastured beef and milk from pastured cows.  But don't be tempted to imagine it was an organic paradise; why, they used DDT to kill bedbugs!  I think about the minerals they got from the homemade sorghum and especially the nutritious turnip greens which they consumed frequently.  There must be something to those greens.  I got around to washing some I had picked, and I cooked them last night.  They just needed a little cornbread, so when we had some of the leftovers at lunch today, I cooked some hushpuppies to go with them.  They were delicious.
Eat your greens!


  1. This is a good one. I also wonder what adds to age. Especially now since I am THERE. (ha) But many seniors do start too late to watch their health, many patterns learned early STAY.
    BUT I do think the exercise took care of a lot of the 'wrong chemicals' (DDT) used. My dad always said 'sweating was washing the body from the inside out. I always thought he had something there, but he died at 69. (oh)

  2. DDT is not that damaging to humans. I remember reading about a human experiment conducted back in the 50's or 60's and all the participants were still alive in the 1990's. Couldn't find any reference to this study on the internet.
    I have also seen the connection between hills and health. Grandpa also grew kale which usually stays edible for a longer period of time than turnips. Don't forget the muscadines and figs they consumed. They didn't have figs when we knew them, but I saw figs in earlier pictures where they lived on Loving Hill. I also visited a lady in Cabarrus County who looked to be in her earlier 40's. During the course of our conversation, she mentioned that she had lost her husband shortly after their 50th wedding anniversary.
    Gardening is an activity that seems to be associated with healthy aging as well as dancing. One volunteer that helped me with the county fair got married at age 90 and was still out and about at age 102. He lived to 104. They met at a senior dance and he always gardened.