Living forever
THE GAME OF MY LIFE - Bill Velasco () - January 2, 2012 - 12:00am

A blessed New Year to all readers of The STAR.

2012 brings the chance to do new things better, or just differently, specially after the constant eating, sleeplessness and escaping during the holiday season. Now, it’s time to come back down to earth, and face what needs to be done: be better for ourselves and the people around us.

In his book, “The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick”, bestselling author and vegan Gene Stone examines the lifestyle of certain individuals and communities who don’t experience chronic illness, fall prey to major diseases, and generally live much longer than the average person. Though his initial subjects were not selected through a technically scientific method, the substance and research of the material are illuminating and helpful.

Stone lists 25 secrets, many of which either evolved naturally or were discovered and forgotten. Though a few will be impossible to replicate in our country, most are easily doable, even for Juan dela Cruz.

For example, chicken soup (or the closest Filipino facsimile, arroz caldo) has anti-inflammatory properties, slows down the production of mucus, and contains “druglike agents that resemble those found in modern cold medicines.”  Brewer’s yeast, found in the foam on your beer, may seem unsavory taken in its raw form, but has tremendous benefits.

“Yeast contains almost no fat, starch or sugar; its excellent protein sticks to your ribs, increases your basal metabolism, and gives you pep to work off unwanted pounds,” wrote nutrition pioneer Adelle Davis back in the 1950’s.  The University of Munich even discovered that 80 percent of subjects with acne responded positively to a yeast treatment.

Garlic, historically known as the stinking rose, has been used as far back as 3000 B.C. to treat fever, inflammation and injuries. Of course, this is now accepted, even though many people find its smell repellant. Vitamin C, which we already know as a catalyst in the body, is now recommended to be taken in megadoses every day, simply as a means of maintaining optimum health. 

Naturally, Stone also delves into the physical aspect of staying healthy. Among those he interviewed for the book, some standouts mentioned lifting weights, running, taking cold showers, napping and stretching as effective means of avoiding disease and prolonging life. 

Strength training has been discovered as a practice dating back thousands of years, even during the times of ancient Egyptians and Chinese, who used bags of sand and rocks as primitive weights. Of course, this is supplemented by studies pointing out the ill effects of prolonged sitting and even watching television. Prolonged inactivity during the day, even if you exercise regularly, is harmful in the long run. Running, of course, is in a second boom in the Philippines after its heyday in the late 1970’s. Ancient Greek physician Galen concluded that the body craves movement, and running was one of the world’s first forms of exercise.

Stone also makes the obvious point that cold showers were once the only option in bathing, but many cultures use cold waterr for their healing regimens, and some even find standing under waterfalls meditative. Cold showers improve circulation, strengthen the skin and invigorate the body, though the discomfort may be hard to overcome at first.

Many of the book’s chapters also point out spirituality, having many friends and strong family ties as sources of longevity and health. Having less stress also decreases the workload of internal organs, especially the heart. Being in a positive atmosphere also adds to discovering and pursuing one’s purpose in life. 

At the end of the day, we all wish for one thing most of all, to live long lives with our full faculties and abilities, to be able to enjoy the company of the ones we love. That is also a great wish for the new year.

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