Living the simple life - healthier?

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Living the simple life - healthier?

Postby Braininvat on September 21st, 2017, 7:11 pm 

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/21/healthier-life-free-modernity-doctors-technology-exercise-herbs

I wonder how far he will be able to go with this approach, and how long. I note that he is in England, a mild climate with plenty of rain where it is easier to have such a varied herb garden.
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Re: Living the simple life - healthier?

Postby Serpent on September 21st, 2017, 9:57 pm 

The size of the herb garden should present no problem for anyone in North America. We can grow pretty much every medicinal herb - hell, half of 'em were discovered by our own natives - if not all outdoors, then on our windowsills, or vertical hydroponics or whatever.
But that's not really the basis of a simple life, is it?
You want to reduce stress, exposure to harmful radiations and chemicals and fumes; toxic food and water, work, entertainment and medication.
That simplifying can get really complicated.
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Re: Living the simple life - healthier?

Postby Braininvat on September 24th, 2017, 11:42 pm 

In some respects, I admire his approach to staying well very much. I would well imagine that, for most people not saddled with hereditary ailments, an active muscle-powered life with good food, clean air and water, and low stress would get many to at least age 70 without really needing much from a doctor - maybe the occasional stitches from an RN or the setting of a bone or a midwife to handle uterus refugees. Pitted against that kind of simplicity is the extraordinary lobbying power of the pharmaceutical industry and the nearly universal assumption that the body simply cannot heal itself without high-powered chemical interventions. We just have so much to learn about augmenting the natural healing abilities of the human organism.
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Re: Living the simple life - healthier?

Postby wolfhnd on September 25th, 2017, 12:22 am 

"Better living through chemistry" was something the drug culture of the 60s and 70s co-oped from corporate propaganda as a bit of cultural commentary. One more example of how foolish it is to equate natural and healthy. That said the cavalier manner in which doctors dispense drugs is a national disgrace.
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Re: Living the simple life - healthier?

Postby doogles on September 25th, 2017, 7:37 am 

Braininvat » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:42 pm wrote:In some respects, I admire his approach to staying well very much. I would well imagine that, for most people not saddled with hereditary ailments, an active muscle-powered life with good food, clean air and water, and low stress would get many to at least age 70 without really needing much from a doctor - maybe the occasional stitches from an RN or the setting of a bone or a midwife to handle uterus refugees. Pitted against that kind of simplicity is the extraordinary lobbying power of the pharmaceutical industry and the nearly universal assumption that the body simply cannot heal itself without high-powered chemical interventions. We just have so much to learn about augmenting the natural healing abilities of the human organism.


Braininvat, I applaud you. You’ve almost taken the words out of my mouth.

I’ve personally observed a few of my peers (people over 70 or 80) who just sit on their arses every day, doing absolutely nothing except watch TV, get fed and waited upon for their needs, get free indulgence in every aspect of their lives including GP visits, subsidised or free pharmaceuticals, visiting Occupational Therapists (OTs) and suggested OT added fixtures to homes, Physiotherapists, day care occasional carers for showering; outdoor drivers for occasional needs; free walker frames, wheelchairs, mobile scooters and mobile chairs: free ambulance services when they fall over and can’t get up (often, and all.of them are too overweight from indulgence for family members to keep lifting up).

All of the above is AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE in a country (Australia) which currently has a national debt well above our needs.

My own personal experience is that any attempt to advise these friends that they need to try to at least walk further each day independently, or with their walkers, results in failure. It seems that if anything involves personal effort, it’s a non-goer.

Understandably, like you, I applaud anyone who attempts to live “an active muscle-powered life with good food, clean air and water, and low stress.”

Like you, I believe that current medical teaching and practice is based too heavily on pharmaceutical company business investment. With countries like the USA and Australia, at least, the spending so much on Taxpayers money on welfare means less money is available for independent research. During my time at the University of Queensland I could see where researchers needed to find non-taxpayer-funded sponsors because of reductions in taxpayer funds.

I also agree that we have much to learn about healthy lifestyles.

My only negative about this thread is that the OP is merely about one person’s wishful thinking. Some evidential backing for the claims would have been useful. If I get time I may insert some references on factors associated with longevity.
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Re: Living the simple life - healthier?

Postby Braininvat on September 25th, 2017, 10:26 am 

Good post, Doogles - I didn't hit the Like button since it started with you applauding me and so a "Like" might be a bit vanity-driven. :-)

I had seen research recently on sitting (usually on the arse, as you describe), where one of the findings was that those who get up and move around every 30 minutes greatly decreased their chances of early death. I can see this has a certain conflictedness with a long attention span, unless one uses electronic media that one can pick up and move around with. I've found that is one useful quality of a tablet PC, and I have gotten used to getting up from a desk or armchair and moving around while I'm still maintaining a train of thought or just reading a long bit of text. I realize this doesn't exactly embody a "simple" life as profiled in the OP. The worst barrier to movement, for a sitter in my house, is the presence of a lazy lap cat who mews pitifully when you shift restlessly or threaten any outright change of position.
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Re: Living the simple life - healthier?

Postby doogles on September 27th, 2017, 6:00 am 

A couple of blokes named Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain investigated locations in Sardinia with a high percentage of male centenarians. They drew blue circles on a map around the villages where census data indicated a high percentage of centenarians. These blue-circled areas have now become colloquially referred to as ‘Blue Zones’.

I’m interested because I’ve only got 14 years to go.

It makes sense to me to assume that anyone who has lived to be 100 must have lived a ‘healthy’ life (almost a definition) whether it was simple or not.

Another author, Dan Buettner, picked up on the above researchers and “together with demographers Pes and Poulain, (Buettner) broadened the term, applying it to validated longevity areas of Okinawa, Japan and among the Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda, California. Buettner and Poulain, under the aegis of National Geographic, then identified and validated longevity hotspots in Nicoya, Costa Rica and Icaria, Greece.” See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Zone .

They identified some common lifestyle characteristics and some lessons about lifestyle when they profiled these centenarions

“Common lifestyle characteristics
• Family – put ahead of other concerns
• Less smoking
• Semi-vegetarianism – the majority of food consumed is derived from plants
• Constant moderate physical activity – an inseparable part of life
• Social engagement – people of all ages are socially active and integrated into their communities
• Legumes – commonly consumed

Lessons of lifestyle
• Moderate, regular physical activity.
• Life purpose.
• Stress reduction.
• Moderate calories intake.
• Plant-based diet.
• Moderate alcohol intake, especially wine.
• Engagement in spirituality or religion.
• Engagement in family life.
• Engagement in social life.”


These characteristics and lessons are enough to support the notion of a simple lifestyle in order to achieve longevity.

But I would just like to add a couple of comments.

The authors have reported only their own observations.

We should keep in mind the extensive observations made by Weston Price in his 1931 book on Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. He actually conducted skeletal and dental measurements on hundreds of individuals and concluded that people living from their own hunter/gathering, or who lived off their own cultivated food or livestock (the simple life?) scored better on every measure of health that he used, when he compared them with people living near ports in remote areas. His opinion was that if people lived anywhere near ports, they had ready access to imported refined sugar and flour products and that these were harmful if overused.

I think I read somewhere that the Greek island of Icaria studied by Bettner does not have a port.

I also remember reading a report in the National Geographic in the 1970s by an American gerontologist. I’ve been unable to relocate this reference, but the findings have stuck in my mind since I saw it. He studied 3 areas of the world that contained clusters of centenarians (similar to the above authors). The first mob was in Georgia in the Russian Caucasian Mountains. They were sprightly, ate frugally, and were mainly vegetarians. The next group lived in Nepal in the Himalayas, and the memorable aspect of these people was they over-indulged on dairy products, meats and wines. The third group lived in the Andes in Venezuela. They were somewhere in between the previous two groups in their eating habits.

The only constant factor was that there were no roads in the latter locations and people did not have cars. Moving anywhere from point A to B in steep areas requires effort whether we like it or not. The Nepal observations tend to suggest that vegetarianism is not an essential factor. That gerontologist took up jogging when he returned home.

I would appreciate it if anyone can locate the reference.
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