My grandmother lived to be one month short of 102 years.
To our family’s amazement, she was a spry and healthy senior citizen until the last year of her life. That year, a bout with pneumonia weakened her immune system, but certainly not her spirit.
Grandma didn’t have a lot to say while I was growing up. She preferred to stay in the background while the rest of the family chattered on. But when it came to her growing up years, she could bend your ear with tales of her girlhood on a farm, and I believe this sturdy farm girl discovered the ticket to longevity.
Grandma Lois grew up as a farm girl with pastures of grazing cows, chicken coops, and vegetable gardens as her playground. Orchards of peach, pear, and apple trees were a part of the colorful landscape. Pigs, chickens, and turkeys roamed the farm where they had access to fresh air and good food.
Located on Lopez Island in Washington State, this farm raised everything a family needed to grow and thrive. It was also a “working farm,” as Grandma called it. She and her seven siblings had daily assignments to keep things running efficiently.
When it came to mealtime, food was prepared from what they could glean from the land. Whole fat milk, and garden fresh vegetables and fruits were staples. What a far cry from how many of us get our meals these days!
What couldn’t be consumed fresh was canned for later use—even chickens. Kidding aside, Grandma loved to shock me with stories of processing chickens and canning them whole. I’m still trying to figure out how you’d stuff a whole chicken into a canning jar!
Pictured: Ham Skillet, Photo by motherrimmy.com.
Deep Roots in Natural Living
When my grandmother eventually married and moved to Seattle’s Magnolia Hill, the farm girl in her was deeply ingrained—she couldn’t shake off her roots from a natural, holistic lifestyle. Her backyard was abundant with fruit trees, vegetable beds, a long row of raspberry bushes, and glorious flowers. She maintained a rich and natural way of life despite living off the farm.
Grandma kept fit by walking the hills of Magnolia carrying bags of groceries from the small town store, raising my dad and his sister, cleaning house, and tending her extensive garden.
Pictured: Grandma Lois on her 101st birthday with her great grandchildren, Jason and Lauren.
Grandma’s Secret to Longevity
There are many factors that contribute to health and longevity. But looking to my grandmother as an example, I believe nutrition from unprocessed foods could possibly contribute to living a longer life. Foods produced free of pesticides, hormones, and preservatives support a vibrant and healthy body, mind, and spirit.
The story of my grandmother’s life illustrates that the quality of the foods we eat, along with living an active life, can make a difference in the state of our health over the long term.
Grandma ate everything from full-fat milk, beefsteaks, a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, and eggs still warm from the hens as she grew up, and she continued her holistic lifestyle until the day she died.
At age 50—almost half the age of my grandmother when she passed—I’m finally getting the message. I believe the key to living a healthful life is simplicity. Here are the lifestyle tips I’ve learned from Grandma that I’d like to pass on to you:
- Cook and eat fresh, organic foods whenever possible, preferably from your own garden.
- Find physical activity you enjoy. (Though Grandma didn’t really think about having to “exercise;” it was a natural part of her life.)
- Don’t take life too seriously; take life in stride.
There you have it: the secret to longevity passed down by my grandmother. She would know, wouldn’t she? After all, she lived to one month short of 102.
Ready to start living and eating like Grandma? Shake it up with this delicious frittata! Not counting calories? Use whole eggs, or half whole eggs, and half egg whites. No kale? Spinach works just fine. And don’t forget, always choose organic whenever possible.
½ cup onion, finely chopped
2 cups mushrooms, finely chopped
2 cups kale, finely chopped
12 large egg whites, whipped with a whisk
½ tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
1/3 cup low fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Preheat a medium sized non-stick skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray.
- Add onions, mushrooms, and kale. Cook for 5 minutes until tender.
- Remove from heat and add cheese and thyme. Stir to melt cheese into the vegetables, then spread evenly over the pan.
- Add egg whites and season with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until eggs are cooked through.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a student of American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own. This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
*Frittata recipe reposted from http://motherrimmy.com/easy-egg-white-frittata-with-kale-and-mushrooms-recipe/