Conquer The Fear of Aging by Arming Yourself with Knowledge
When the subject of age comes up, most people think I’m forty. When they find out I’m sixty I get showered with compliments, which I love 🙂 But I still have to deal with attitudes about aging. Believe me the NUMBER sixty really gets people. The typical image is a little old, crotchety sixty-year old lady.
I may look and feel younger than my actual age, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a healthy respect for aging. In Philip Roth’s novel Everyman he writes, “Old age isn’t a battle, it’s a massacre.” Thanks for sharing Mr. Roth! I read that quote when I was in my late fifties and it hit the mark. I was terrified of turning sixty and was already feeling each year painfully tick by without that gruesome reminder. Last summer, right before my sixtieth birthday, I was staying in a beach house in Martha’s Vineyard, a resort island off the coast of southern Massachusetts. I would lie in bed listening to the waves dreading my sixtieth birthday. I imagined I was on a small boat alone out on the ocean. The sky was dark and forbidding. The boat was purposefully taking me further and further away from land and I kept thinking, I don’t want to go. Please don’t make me go. But I turned sixty anyway. It kind of blew my mind—and was very reassuring—that I didn’t turn into that little old crotchety lady overnight. I’m still the same woman. Whew!
When the Buddha left his rarified palace and ventured out in the real world he was stunned to realize that people age, get sick, and die. In my own way, I’ve had a similar revelation, only my observation was that people are aging way too fast, missing out on the quality of life, and dying ugly deaths in impersonal hospital settings, drugged up with strangers walking in and out. The reason is accelerated aging.
It used to be that when people got old they developed diseases, which used to be called “the degenerative diseases of aging.” Today children are developing heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. And people of all ages are suffering from chronic illness and even very young people look older than their years by being overweight with wrinkles, bags, sags, flab, thinning hair, tooth loss and so on.
Although there’s nothing you can do about the passage of time, there is a lot you can do about accelerated aging. I’ve spent the last fifteen years learning how to prevent and reverse accelerated aging. Since the body is constantly breaking down and building back up again, my program can be summed up as “building up more than you break down.” Space prevents me from reviewing my entire program so I’ll cover just a few things that people do to break down more than they build up are:
- Deprive their bodies of nutrition
- Extreme exercise
- Using too many stimulants
- Exposure to toxins
- Refuse hormone replacement when they need it
Deprive Their Bodies of Nutrition
If you were going to build a house you wouldn’t go to a junkyard for materials and you would be really annoyed if the contractor continually showed up without the proper building materials. Likewise, the human body requires complete proteins (all of the 22 amino acids), healthy fats, non-starchy vegetables, and complex carbohydrates to maintain optimal daily construction. Dieting, veganism, the way most people eat vegetarian diets, and especially eating factory food are some ways that you can deprive your body of building materials. If you don’t eat a balanced diet every day, you will break down more than you build up. Even if you eat perfectly two out of seven days, that leaves five days where the construction falters in your body. So you’re talking about 261 days a year that your body is floundering.
The solution is to eat a balanced diet of real, whole, living food every day, and never diet.
I was a runner for many years and sometimes didn’t eat enough food because I liked being really lean. Now I have runner’s knees. Exercising too much tears your body down and generates free radicals. I still love exercise and an intense yoga class. But to make sure that exercise doesn’t actually age me, I do several things. One is to eat the balanced diet of real food just mentioned. This includes snacks. Please do not eat processed protein bars. They are dead nutrition combined with soy protein and sugar. You are a hunter-gatherer who is leaving camp to go run off and do something strenuous. Eat real food for building supplies, fuel, and antioxidants.
Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water every day to flush toxins while you sweat and to keep hydrated. Dehydration is a major factor in accelerated aging.
Take supplements and drink green juice for added antioxidants. It’s really important to work with a clinical nutritionist to develop a supplement plan if you are an extreme athlete. For example, consistent exercise can deplete the body of magnesium, leading to arrhythmia and even sudden cardiac death. Magnesium deficiency is just one nutritional deficiency you can develop from over exercising.
Using Too Many Stimulants
This is a huge subject and one that makes a lot of people uncomfortable because stimulants are addictions and we don’t really like to face our addictions until we’re good and ready. That’s cool. I was a teenage smoker and when I quit I started drinking coffee. It took me 20 years to quit that habit. So I get it. I also understand that in our very demanding world stimulants are seductive to keep going and to quell emotional pain. So we use too much sugar caffeine, alcohol, recreational and diet drugs. But if you’re interested in reversing or preventing accelerated aging you should know that stimulants wear out your adrenals like nothing else, and adrenal fatigue is the unhappy companion to all major health issues. Quit or majorly limit your use of stimulants.
Exposure To Toxins
One of the main sources of exposure to toxins is from factory food, which contains chemical solvents, colored dyes, preservatives, synthetic vitamins, thousands of chemicals and drugs that migrate into your subcutaneous fat delivering these toxins into your system causing a cascade of free radicals that kill and alter your DNA, damage the “energy factories” in your cells called mitochondria, and promote inflammation, which is now recognized as the primary factor in all diseases. Inflammation is aging.
And seriously, aerosol bathroom deodorizer? Dry sheets? My fave, ant and roach killer with pine fragrance? Let me be the first to tell you that you can live without these “luxuries.” Toxins lodge in your internal organs smoldering away introducing a cascade of free radicals into your system.
Eat real food. Use organically produced self and home care products. And stay away from taking too many drugs. I’m not a drug basher. Some drugs from time-to-time can be helpful, but people are taking way too many. Find an enlightened doctor who you can trust not to hurt you with drugs.
Refuse Hormone Replacement When They Need It
When hormones decline, rapid aging begins. Still, there are women who say, “Hormone replacement isn’t natural.” Really ? Well, I’ll quote from Healthy, Sexy, Happy about bioidentical hormone replacement (BHRT): “For all the people who argue that BHRT is ‘unnatural,’ please tell me what’s natural about having open-heart or brain surgery, being equipped with a colostomy bag, having chemo drugs shunted into your artery, being irradiated, shooting insulin, or any of the other ‘normal’ medical procedures or protocols?”
When I recommend hormones, I don’t mean hormones made out of mixing drugs with natural substances, and I really do not mean mixing drugs with urine from tortured horses. Women are not horses so you can’t replace equine hormones in a body that never made it in the first place. These drugs were only FDA approved to treat menopausal symptoms not as “hormone replacement” though that term continues to be bandied about by doctors. Replacing hormones means to use the same biochemical compounds made by the body in the physiological amounts. That is the amount you have lost, not pharmacological amounts—a ton more.
And if you’re worried because you’ve heard of the National Institutes of Health Women’s Health Initiative(WHI), a taxpayer-funded study that was halted way back in 2000. All this study did was demonstrate that one tenth of one percent of the subjects developed breast cancer, stroke and heart disease. And every single one of the women with health issues related to the drug hormones were taking Premarin along withProvera, asynthetic progesterone. Provera (fake progesterone) was the problem, not Premarin (fake estrogen). I’m in close association with two experienced hormone doctors and a nurse practitioner who have been in practice for decades. None of these hormone experts have had incidences of breast cancer, stroke, and heart disease in their practices that were related to taking BHRT. It’s really time for women (and men) to get educated and liberated about the wonders of real hormone replacement.
Now you are armed with knowledge, so you don’t have to fear accelerated aging. By eating a balanced diet of real, whole living food; taking care to avoid breaking down while exercising; quitting stimulants; avoiding toxic exposure as much as possible; and using bioidentical hormone replacement when your own hormones decline you can build up more than you break down.
Peace, Fun, Love.
Your girlfriend in health,