I just returned from France, visiting my mom who was undertaking yet another surgery. I spent a week with her in the hospital in Agen,we chatted into the night and it was so wonderful to be present and share with her these grueling days of pain. I have to admit, I was in a sad shape myself when I boarded the plane to Paris. I was still dealing with Lyme disease and a nasty case of whooping cough! whooping cough... that is supposed to be for the kiddies.... well, be aware, especially my fellow texan friends, there is an epidemic of this nasty disease in Texas...
On a bright note, the weather was gorgeous, I love France in the last days of summer. The french take extremely good care of their nutrition and their health and I will share with you France's 12 secrets of health to leave a long life..
.1. Adopt the hunter-gatherer menu (as demonstrated by my friend Pat in our Maine farm)
My friend Pat gathering lunch ingredients
Morning: green tea rich in antioxidants, fresh fruits, one boiled egg every other day, 1 slice of multi grain bread with a spoon of raw honey,or a goat milk yogurt
getting ready to milk the cow
Lunch:start every meal with 2 large glasses of water
meat only 2 to 3 times a week, preferably lean meats, turkey, duck, chicken
fish twice a week, seasonal fresh vegetables, preferably steamed, avoid salt and use coriande, fennel, garlic powder, pepper. for desert, fresh fruits in season.
Mid afternoon snacks: fresh fruits,dry fruits, apricots, prunes,almonds, walnuts
Dinner:Don't forget your 2 glasses of water, eat light, cabbage consome is a great protector of our cells, salad with its B9 vitamin and fiber with walnut oil.If you are not the type to exercise, a slice of cheese and bread and baked fruits.
If you are the active type, you can add white chicken meat,egg,or fish and fresh fruits with rice, excellent as a protector against breast cancer.
Not only the ingredients are important, but also the manner in which they are prepared. Avoid saturated fats, eat natural products if the are available to you. It is critical that you take time to eat, eat slowly, it will help with fighting weight gain.
.2.Don't eat until you are full.
One of france's famous nutritionist advises "intermittent fasting" one day a week, in lieu of 3 meals, only eat once on that day and drink a lot of water throughout the day. you will feel less tired and more energized. Restricting your food intake stresses your organism which in return will increase its defense mechanism and will protect against aging.
.3.Take in your vitamin D
Hard at work in Thailand, taking in my Vitamin D
Vitamin D is critical against loss off calcium, reinforces our anti-bodies, helps against flues and auto immune disorders , slows down our brain cells aging process. My favorite way to take vitamin D: straight from the sun! fatty fish,eggs,will alsp provide Vitamin D
.4. Vive la Sieste! Let's have a nap
The ultimate french summer activity...a little nap.
A well deserved nap following our ascent to Kilimanjaro
Sleeping is the key to good health, it allows the organism to regenerate itself, and we should get 7 to 8 hours of sleep.Lack of sleep (my case, i have the worst sleeping habits) will lead to irritability,stress,chronic fatigue, insomnia which will induce over eating. A nap (less than 30minutes) has a positive effect against cardio vascular accidents. Exercising and sun exposure are a critical regulator of our biologic clock.
-5- What about sex?
Ah L'Amour!! We french are so romantic, l'amour being the essence of life. Let's look at the medical side of love. According to british psychologist, David Weeks, one should have sex 3 times a week.This will retard the signs of aging...now I know why my dearest girlfriend whose name I will not mention looks like teeny bopper!! A healthy sex life will reduce drastically cardio vascular deceases, it will also protect against cancer.
Quietly reflecting on nature, in the midst of Cambodian forest
It is a well known fact that severe emotional trauma can trigger cellular changes that lead to cancer. I have very sadly seen the effect in my close family. To face the daily demands and stress, one should stay Zen. We should find our own way to relax...yoga, meditation,breathing. Meditation has proved to boost the immune system, lower blood pressure.
My meditation is nature, I quietly observe nature, breath, becomes one with my environment.
-7- Don't overdo it!
Stress is the worst accelerator of the aging process. The highest, the level of stress, the more the brain cells will be damaged. The worst case scenario is when negative emotions such as anxiety, anger, sadness last a while and one falls into a negative repeat pattern. We must absolutely try not to rehash negative thoughts, since the higher the level of strew, the worst it will affect our brain cells and our thinking process.
We need to detox our environment as we constantly use chemical products in our daily life. A few things will help for a more toxic free life. In the kitchen, choose packaging and utensils in glass, stainless,ceramic. Avoid plastic bottles and packaging.Choose pans without teflon. Use natural cleaning products. When having clothes dry cleaned, aerate the clothes for a few hours, the best choice is to go to an organic dry cleaner...beware they are quite expensive. Go for natural cosmetics.
-9- Exercise your brain
As we age, we loose neurones.The logic is to exercise our brain to stay alert, avoiding loss of memory.We need to read, think, stay informed, learn something new: a musical instrument, computer program, this will strengthen the brain. Habits and repetition act as a poison to the brain. As we age, we must take risks. Changes is beneficial to the functioning and alertness of our brain. the better trained our brain is, the more we will be able to postpone neuro degenerative illnesses.
Enjoy the company of your friends. Having firneds, enjoying a social life,have a preventive role against illness. Studies have shown that isolation leads to a shorter life. In a word, to slowdown the age factor, you should enjoy 3 types of social interaction: family and close friends- our support, our source of joy, our shoulder to lean on, then our acquaintances, neighbors...we exchange ideas, have a good laugh, enjoy spending a little time together.Lastly, we should meet new people along the way, of different ages, different cultures, different social level. This new exchanges will boost our brain
Work is beneficial, as we meet new people, deal with new situations, must keep alert.The worst possible situation is to stop all activities upon retirement day. we should view retirement as a time to experience life.
-11- Don't drink and smoke
No need to add anything to that topic. Except that the great news is (as least for me who loves my good Bordeaux wines...) Life expectancy will increase by drinking 2 glasses of wine each day. Wine being rich in antioxidant, reduces cerebral and cardiac accidents.
Exercising is the best way to delay the aging effect. It is suggested to exercise at least 30minutes per day, 5days per week. In terms of energy spent on a particular sport MET/HOUR (amount of energy spent per hour)
I love outdoor exercise. In the summer I swim every day, walk, bike . In the fall, I usually go on an annual trekking trip, winter skiing and cross country skiing and walking. I cannot stand to exercise in a gym, I tried with a trainer, by myself, but just cannot find the motivation. So, in lieu of going to a gym during the week, I walk when I can and take the stairs instead of the escalator.
THAT'S IT! the 12 points to a good health. Thank you for "Le Point" in depth article.
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