Embracing the Right Path at 70:
Hey there, folks, Gary here, and I've got to say, it's a thrill to celebrate my 70th birthday this October.
As a three-time mountain-biking Masters world champion and someone who's had a whopping 50 years of full-time experience in medical nutrition, sports medicine, and rehabilitation, I reckon I've earned the right to share some insights on healthy ageing with you. So, let's dive into the nitty-gritty of it.
Anti-Ageing, or Healthy Ageing - Which is the Right Term?
First off, let's clear up a bit of terminology. The idea of being "anti-ageing" is a bit, well, absurd. We can't halt or reverse the natural ageing process - we all get old and, eventually, we move on. So, what makes better sense is the concept of "healthy ageing." It's about embracing the years with grace and in good health. Don't you think that's the way to go?
You Are What You Eat:
You've heard the saying "you are what you eat," and, well, it's truer than ever as we age. Surprisingly, very few people die of old age these days. Instead, I think a whopping 90% of deaths result from a combination of malnutrition and medication side effects.
Here's the deal: as we get older, our need for essential nutrients like fats, oils, fat-soluble vitamins, and high-quality protein actually increases. Unfortunately, these vital elements often decrease in our diets.
What's even more perplexing is the popularity of adopting a vegetarian diet under the false belief that it's the healthier option. Paradoxically, this often leads to accelerated declining health, increased morbidity, and early departure. Don't believe everything you hear and read in the popular press - You are better to listen to the wise words of someone with 51 years of working full-time at the coal-face of health, and without the influence of those who pay for the advertising!
Life's a Toxic Existence:
When I test a people, for nutrients and toxins, there are few people these days who aren't being affected by toxins such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic, let alone the thousands and thousands of man-made chemicals that are released into our environment and added to our food. Put simply and plainly, these are not good for us, nor for the rest of life on this precious planet.
Ageing brings a natural reduction in energy expenditure due to a declining basal metabolism and less physical activity. That's just part of the package.
Toxic Medication Side-Effects:
On top of that, we're increasingly turning to potent medications as we age, which come with their own set of metabolic and toxic effects. If there is one thing to do to improve longevity and quality of life, that is to reduce and eventually eliminate the need for all medications. After all, one of the best predictors for longevity is the absence of the need for medication!
Most of the Decrements Associated with Ageing are, in Fact Preventable:
What we often mistake for the consequences of growing old are, in reality, the result of declining nutrient intake, reduced energy, and medication side effects. This collectively leads to ageing-related malnutrition. Sure, it's inevitable that we'll slow down and eventually pass away, but there's no reason why we can't live to a ripe old age, free of disease, and go peacefully in our sleep when the time comes.
Just One Thing: Life's Decline is a Merry-Go-Round!
As malnutrition gradually sets in, instead of dealing with the root causes, starting with improving the nutrient-density of food, the elephant in most rooms, people take the advice of their doctors and turn to patent medicines. Sure, symptoms are plastered over, but the subtle disease processes that lead to full-blown ailments such as dementia, arthritis, heart disease, and cancer percolate away. The more these set in, the less active a person is, the less they eat, the more they cut out the good foods, and the more medications they are prescribed - It's a very unhealthy merry-go-round!
So, what's the solution to all of this? It's the complete opposite of what we've been doing. To ensure healthy ageing, we must:
Decrease Processed Foods: By the simple act of preparing meals from fresh, raw ingredients, preferably organic, we eliminate most of the toxins that play havoc with our health.
Decrease or Eliminate Grains and Sugars: Sugar is pro-inflammatory, and bugs and even cancer cells thrive on it, so a diet that is low in foods made with grains and sugar is inherently good for your health. Root vegetables, squash and pumpkin, beans and peas are excellent sources of carbs.
Increase the intake of nutrient-dense foods: A well-rounded diet should include high-quality sources of red meat, eggs, fats, and oils. These provide the essential nutrients you need to stay healthy as you age.
Don't forget the vegetables: While high-quality protein and fats are crucial, vegetables should also have a place on your plate. They provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that can further boost your overall health.
Don't snack between meals: For most of us, as we get older, two nutrient-dense meals per day, without snacking between, will suffice. And, if you are not hungry, don't eat. As a rule of thumb, do not eat until hungry, wait an hour, then eat! Become an efficient fat-burner.
Here's a Super Healthy Tip:
Most days I'll have a nutrient-packed Super Smoothie, as either a delicious and sustaining meal, or as an extra meal during the most physically and mentally challenging days. You can learn about the Super Smoothie here, including how to purchase its ingredients:
In a nutshell, the key to healthy ageing is to feed your body the right nutrients. Embrace a balanced diet that includes all the essential components your body needs to thrive as you grow older. Healthy ageing is not a distant dream; it's well within reach, and it all starts with what you put on your plate.
So here's to many more years of being physically active and mobile, staying in fabulous health, and ageing gracefully! Cheers!