Russell Mariani is a Health Educator and Digestive Wellness expert who has been in private practice since 1980. He is the co-founder with his wife Megan Moore of The Center for Functional Nutrition in South Hadley, Massachusetts. He is the author of the book, Principle Eating, The No Diet Way to Complete Health and several other health-related books and ebooks. He can be reached at 413-536-0275 and via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Isn’t that what we all want? To live younger longer? To avoid the ravages of chronic illness and disease? To be healthy and happy, creative and productive to a ripe old age?
The residents of Okinawa, Japan are world famous for their longevity. More centenarians (people living to be over 100 years old) inhabit the many tropical islands of Okinawa Prefecture than any other place on earth. What then are some of the secrets to their healthy longevity?
An attitude of gratitude; for the gift of life itself and all the wonders of nature including healthy foods and socializing with friends. One woman aged 103 said it this way: “We live together, work together, play together, laugh together, cry together.”
Have an active physical lifestyle. Walking, biking, yoga, tai chi. Sitting on the couch causes many health problems. The body was made to move and dance!
Participate in enjoyable activities. Follow your bliss! Let the beauty we love be what we do. Singing, dancing, painting, gardening, cooking…
Letting go of the past. Common to people experiencing healthy longevity is a youthful vitality that defies their numerical age and many healthy centenarians report that they do not dwell on mistakes or tragedies from the past. They do not forget the past but they wholeheartedly forgive the past. They embrace the present with joy and gratitude and curiosity. They never stop learning.
Intermittent fasting. This is one of the key longevity habits. This can be as simple as not over-eating as a general rule. In Japan the principle of Hara Hachi Bu goes back at least one thousand years and it translates roughly to “stop eating before your stomach is full.” It is a combination of calorie restriction and mindful eating. When you eat slowly and chew thoroughly you will eat less and get more nutritional benefit from the food you eat. By eating less as a rule, you put less stress on your digestive system which frees up more energy for the rest of your body.
Avoid chronic stress. This includes some obvious things like not smoking cigarettes and moderating any caffeine and alcohol consumption. It also includes the chronic stress from overwork and worrying about things we have no control over. Oxidative Stress can be triggered by processed foods and junk foods. So the Okinawan approach is to consume a diet of nutrient-rich, anti-oxidant rich whole foods prepared in traditional ways. Naturally fermented foods like miso soup and kim chi, with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and beans, fish and other fresh sea foods.
Get adequate sleep and rest every day. Go to bed early and get up early. Restorative sleep is one of the most important longevity habits. By being mindful during the day, avoiding the sources of chronic stress, engaging in enjoyable physical activity and not over eating as a general rule and eating less at the evening meal in particular…all these things contribute to the body’s ability to maintain it’s equilibrium or balance. And when the body is in better overall physiological balance, deep restorative sleep is the norm and not the exception. Waking up refreshed is a key to living a long and healthy life!
Prioritize Happiness. The Japanese have a saying: Shindo Fuji. Literally translated it means: Body, Earth, not two. In other words, what the earth is and what a human being is are fundamentally the same thing. Think about the most magnificent ecological paradise you have ever witnessed in person or have seen in a movie or documentary. Air so fresh and clean you can taste it. Pure water flowing in lakes, rivers, streams and waterfalls that you can take in your cupped hands and drink without hesitation or worry. A diversity and abundance of plant and animal life that fills the environment with natural music and song from sunrise to sunset. A healthy vibrant ecosystem is nature’s way of expressing happiness. And since human beings are a part of that natural ecosystem no less than the trees and birds and rivers, it is a traditional belief of the Japanese people that human happiness is a direct reflection of the happiness in nature. As we sow, so shall we reap. Prioritizing Happiness in the human realm depends upon Prioritizing Happiness in the realm of nature. When we make the health, vitality and happiness in the natural world our number one human priority, we secure the health, vitality and happiness of ourselves and the entire human family.
Living younger longer simply comes down to this: we live our lives in a spirit of generosity, kindness and compassion where we honor the earth and each other…
To learn more living younger longer and other essential topics, please read my book: Principle Eating: The No Diet Way to Complete Health. (published in Spring, 2020)
Russell Mariani is a Health Educator and Digestive Wellness expert who has been in private practice since 1980. He is the co-director with his wife Megan Moore of The Center for Functional Nutrition in South Hadley, Massachusetts. He is the author of the book, Principle Eating and several other health-related books and ebooks. He can be reached at 413-536-0275 and via email at: email@example.com The website is: www.thecenterforfunctionalnutrition.net