Happy Birthday to My Healthy 87 year-old Mother!

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Today is my mother’s 87th birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom! I’d like to dedicate today’s podcast to you.


God bless my mother, she’s in terrific health. Knock on wood, at age 87, my mother doesn’t have or has ever had any major illnesses, and she isn’t on any medications. In today’s world, that’s unheard of. She isn’t frail; she’s strong and vital. Even she hasn’t fully appreciated her good health until she heard my podcast on treating cognitive decline and hearing about the struggles of subjects in their 60s and 70s. To which she declared, “I think I’m in pretty good shape!” And she is.


Through the years she’s taken good care of herself and it’s paid off. She has her challenges — we all do — but overall she’s in very good health.


This past winter, she went outside and shoveled some light snow in cold temperatures and was elated! She couldn’t get over how amazing she felt. She sounded invigorated, talking to her on the phone. It was the combination of what I call, moving vigorously, raising the heart rate and working up a sweat — related to the 3rd Body Basic, Keep Moving — and getting some fresh air that did the trick. Indoor air can get stale in the wintertime when windows and doors are closed and heating systems recycle air with dust and other contaminants, relating to 5th Body Basic regarding breathing.


Throughout my mother’s life, she has always been physically active and has enjoyed being physically active. She has a lot of energy. In her late 70s she still had very toned arms — more than some young adults — from washing windows, digging and gardening in the yard, and doing other housework. It demonstrates that you can develop muscle tone from any activity — and at any age — without following a formal weight training program. You just have to keep moving your body and muscles, again, related to the 3rd Body Basic, Keep Moving.


When she was 81, my mother’s blood pressure went up and her doctor wanted her to start taking blood pressure medication. I explained to her that doing a kidney cleanse could help, relating to the 6th Body Basic of clearing waste. Kidneys blocked with stones signal the heart to pump faster in order to move the same volume of blood through the kidneys’ fewer filters to maintain the blood. To her credit, at age 81, she did the kidney cleanse, and in combination with changing her mindset in order to minimize stress — relating to the 7th Body Basic and feeling good — her blood pressure went down and she didn’t need to take blood pressure medication. She doesn’t take blood pressure medication today.


She has strong bones. A few years ago she fell and was laid up for two months in the winter — one of her ribs had a small fracture— but she recovered fully. She also had a small fall a few months ago and, other than feeling a little sore, she had no injuries. Through the years, she’s taken calcium and magnesium supplements to strengthen her bones, but all the heavy-lifting activities she’s done throughout her life has also strengthened her bones, akin to weight training which is scientifically proven to strengthen bones. Again, related to the 3rd Body Basic, Keep Moving. Also related, she’s always had very strong teeth.


There was a time a few years back when she would get a cough every winter, and one year, it developed into pneumonia. She didn’t have that problem this past winter, though. I got her a salt lamp to put next to her bed while sleeping to purify the air. Salt lamps filter out dust, which she’s allergic to. And she sprinkles Himalayan pink salt on her food and cooks with coconut oil. Both kill viruses. I mention all of these things in The Simple Seven book.


My mother cooks everyday and has for all of her married life beginning in her twenties. She cooks and eats healthy. At dinner, there’s always a salad and at least one vegetable. There’s always fruit in the refrigerator: apples, oranges, bananas, and berries in season. She has a sweet tooth like many of us, but keeps it to a minimum. She avoids foods that give her an upset stomach, like tomato sauce or eggs, which she’s determined that she’s allergic to. She takes an anti-mucous pill every day to manage a mucous problem, one of her few problems. She takes fish oil pills to strengthen her memory and thinking, as well as an herbal product. All of these things relate to the 1st Body Basic, Eat Fresh Food.


A few years ago, for the first time in her life, my mother started drinking coffee — just a half cup in the morning. She said she liked the flavor of a particular blend, and maybe she also liked the morning ritual that most of us enjoy, as well. But the coffee became too acidic for her and was upsetting her stomach. She tried drinking tea, instead, but didn’t like it. She’s always loved hot chocolate but the processed mixes were upsetting her stomach, too. I’ve introduced her to drinking cacoa with coconut oil and a little sugar as an alternative to hot chocolate, and she likes that. All relating to the 2nd Body Basic regarding drinking beverages and staying hydrated. Not one of her strong suits, she does her best to drink enough water.


Last summer, she suddenly seemed to start having problems with allergies and bug bites gardening out in the yard. She was having welts on her face and arms. It turned out that she'd been exposed to a weed killer that she’d just started using for the first time. So, this summer, she won't be using any weed killers. Plus, she’ll wear long sleeves, gloves, and a hat for good measure. I suggest staying away from all products that have chemicals, including household cleaners and beauty products and I talk about it in the book.


My mother’s an avid reader. She devours biographies. There was a time when she used to watch a lot of television, but now she only watches shows with music, as she loves music. So, all very positive, relaxing, and enjoyable relating to the 7th Body Basic and doing what makes you feel good.


My mother’s sleep pattern isn’t always regular, with regard to the 4th Body Basic and getting enough restful sleep. Sometimes she’ll wake up around 3 AM and be up for the day but she'll need a short nap around 3PM. This happens less on days when she moves around a lot, helping her to sleep longer and more sound through the night. Moving vigorously balances sleep hormones: melatonin, which tells our bodies when to sleep, and adrenaline, which tells our bodies when to wake up in the morning. The elderly tend to sleep less than the approximately 8 hours of sleep that all adults need, perhaps for the same reason of physical inactivity. 

 

Finally, my mother taking care of herself has paid off with her appearance. Maybe she has good genes but she’s never looked her age. Shes's always looked ten to twenty years younger. She’s never worn makeup, very natural. She's an Italian beauty. Your appearance, what you see on the outside, is a reflection of what’s going on on the inside. I talk about this in the Look Good Chapter of The Simple Seven book. My mother is proof positive because she’s beautiful.


So, to sum up: Mom, keep it up! You’re doing a terrific job! From all your children, we wish you a very happy birthday today and 87 more to come! We love you very much.

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