“Your body is a unique and complex entity… think of a custom-built car, not an assembly-line production and treat it accordingly.”
This is the story of two women… and the key to your health and energy.
So, what is the secret of living to 100 years and still being active, engaged, and mentally sharp?
Last month we went to South Australia to celebrate Aunty Dorothy’s 100th birthday. She’s an amazing lady, sharp as a tack, energetic, bossy, and very deaf. Fortunately, her eyesight is so good she doesn’t even need glasses, so we write
our greetings and questions on a white board and then she answers us verbally. She had no problems reading the congratulatory messages from the Queen, Governor General, Prime Minister and local MP’s and then chatting to us about them.
I don’t know how Aunty Dorothy ate and exercised throughout her life, but I can tell you three secrets that she knows now, and that we should learn from her if we want to measure our life in energy and happiness:-
- Nurture Your Relationships: make an effort to connect and interact positively with people around you each day. Loneliness, bitterness, and regret sap the joy from your heart and the health from your body. Aunty Dorothy focuses on the good in people and always remembers that she has faults too when she feels offended. So she keeps reaching out to people and learning from them;
- Pay Attention to Your Own Body: by all means study nutrition styles, exercise regimes and the like, but don’t be a slave to them because not everything will suit you. Aunty Dorothy’s question about food and activity is: Does this make me feel more or less energised? She isn’t driven by ‘what she ought to do’ as much as by ‘how does this make me feel’.
- Simple Things Make a Difference: most of us don’t need more complexity in our lives, we need less. For Aunty Dorothy that means focusing on the things and people she values, and letting other things go. As she says, “At 100 years old, I try to remember that each day is a gift and spend the energy I do have on things that matter: like bringing joy and encouragement to others. A lot of activities just don’t matter in the long run.”
A friend and client called me and asked for my advice. She’s in her 30’s, vegan, active, and uses ‘superfoods’ (cinnamon, turmeric, chia seeds, goji berries, blueberries etc.) to boost her health and energy.
While I was away in January she had some stomach and energy issues and found a herbalist who prescribed some herbs and tea. Some of her symptoms had diminished, but she was feeling worse overall. It turned out that the underlying problem had been exacerbated by this particular herbal treatment, but because everything she was taking was ‘healthy’ and ‘natural’ she never stopped to think about how these things made her feel.
Unlike Aunty Dorothy, she didn’t pay attention to her body’s response to the herbs, tea, and turmeric, and other foods which were inflaming her stomach lining. The more salad and superfoods she ate, the worse she felt because these foods did not agree with her condition and body type – so with each meal it was as though she was scraping a wound rather than giving it a chance to heal.
She definitely didn’t like my Traditional Chinese Medicine prescription (mostly steamed vegetables with no oil or spices) but when I showed her what was going on in her stomach, why the superfoods made her feel worse, and how she could heal the inflammation by following this diet for a few months, she understood what she needed to do… and enjoyed almost immediate improvement.
Why this Matters to You…
Aunty Dorothy has never really tried to be healthy… she’s just followed the principle that she wants to feel as energetic and unaware of her body as possible, so she eats mostly fresh food, in moderation and moves regularly (an upbringing and life on a farm made that fairly easy).
She’s never gone in for superfoods or liver detoxes, much less weight training or marathon running… and I think most people should follow her example. The truth is that one type of eating or exercise does not fit everyone and you can make yourself sick by following trendy generic advice.
Your health and energy are the most precious resources you have. Please don’t squander them chasing after cultural prejudices and fads. Get some personalised advice from professionals who are willing to provide ongoing monitoring and pay attention yourself as to how your chosen regime is making you feel. Once you are tuned into your own body, you can be your own best doctor because you’ll know the difference between giving your body a healthy challenge and causing additional stress.
That’s why, at Bing’s Natural Health, we don’t just take your history the first time you come and visit – we ask questions and check how you’re doing every single visit. We want to know what has changed and how you’re feeling, and what is going on in your life, so that together we can help you celebrate every milestone birthday with joy, energy and alertness.
Chinese Medicine Dietary Therapy and Food Therapy