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You are designed to stay fit

January 25, 2011 Aging, Context, Diet/Insulin, Videos 4 Comments

Georgina easter

This is Georgina Easter – she is 100 years old and here she is at her fitness class. She is unusual! But actually she is more “normal” than I had thought. We are designed to be like her and not like my mum.

This is Rosalie – my mum – then aged 80 in a nursing home unable to walk – mainly paralyzed by strokes who has been physically helpless since her late 60’s.

These two pictures show two pathways for aging.

It is likely that Georgina Easter’s process of aging STOPPED at about 80 or earlier. My Mother’s did not.

Here is the context that we now all need to consider – the biology of aging – the template of life – does not track my Mum it tracks Miss Easter and here is the biological “Normal”.

Screen shot 2010-12-10 at 11.14.41 AM

Source Dr Michael Rose

When we end our time of reproduction, the process of aging slows to a crawl or even stops. This is what our biology is set to do.

If we are a hunter gatherer – like say the Kitavans – you may die as a child, you may die in child birth, you may die of an infection or a snake bite or in a conflict – but if you don’t you will live until your 80’s or 90’s and then one day, still active and still a contributor, you will just die. You would look like this as an elder – a village chief.

Source: Jussi Reikki

Just as the Chief is the Normal for our human biology and for his people – My Mum is more Normal for us than Miss Easter. Let’s just explore this a but more and then I will answer the big question as to why we don’t age normally as a larger group.

Screen shot 2010-12-10 at 10.41.37 AM
Source Govt of PEI Common Health Indicators 2002

Most of us face not a life like Georgina but like my mum – nearly 10 years of it before we die.

This is the PEI numbers and Michael Rose’s Template put together. There is a huge gap between our biology and our experienced reality.

The consequences are immense. Most of us will share much of my mum’s life – unable to do much for ourselves and so dependent on either a nursing home or an exhausted family. PEI is already creaking because we need more nursing home beds. Each bed costs the state about $36,000 a year before any treatment.

We then tend to die of lingering chronic diseases that consume vast resources.

Screen shot 2010-12-10 at 11.03.24 AM
Source: Ibid

Cancer, heart disease and stroke offer most of us a lingering, expensive and helpless death. Only 3.7% of us die of pneumonia. We can cure that so we live on to die of cancer instead (but this is another conversation).

Coming up fast behind this is Type 2 Diabetes that makes many of these diseases worse and that has its own complications.

Screen shot 2010-12-10 at 11.39.42 AM
Source: PEI Govt Diabetes Trends 2000 – 2006

But you say Cancer, heart disease and strokes are “normal” Is the diabetes epidemic normal?

Well they are no more normal than Typhus and Cholera were in London in 1840. They are normal because we all have them – but like London back in 1840 – they are normal because we all live in a toxic place. Then it was toxic place defined by not understanding sanitation – today it is a toxic place because we do not understand food and our biology.

Georgina offers a clue when asked for her secret.

Georgina Easter’s advice is: stay away from nutrition-free fodder and keep fit.

“What’s my secret? Keep away from junk food,” said the centenarian, from Chaddesden, Derby.

“I also do a bit of gardening, I cook every day and I am going to have liver and onions tonight when I get home.”

Yes our modern diet, how and when and we get our food is central to the issue as clean water was back in 1840. We are being poisoned by our approach to food as they were being poisoned by their approach to water.

Our biology moves much more slowly than our culture. We are in effect Paleolithic People living in a Post Modern Bubble. We spent 2 million years evolving slowly to adapt well to certain foods. Agriculture is at most 10,000 years old and even for the most adapted of us from Northern European stock is maybe 7,000 years. Most people’s are not even adapted to that. First Nations people have had only 100 years exposure.

Here is the story of one who died so young because of this:

No one is adapted to the post modern agribusiness diet that has existed for at most 50 years in the US and 30 years in other parts of the world. Peoples with the least evolutionary adaptation such as First Nations Peoples, Indians and Chinese are expressing the worst health outcomes as a result.

It’s not all diet – but changes to our diet can bring on immediate and significant improvements to our health and put us on track for the more normal aging curve and all that that implies for us as individuals, as families and as societies.

There is a lot at stake. I don’t want to spend 10 years ill before I die. Do you? It’s not just about me either. I don’t want Robin to have to spend maybe her last good years being my nurse. I don’t want my kids to have to look after me. And the state will not be able to afford to look after me anyway – or you for that matter.

There are 115 Islanders waiting to get into a nursing home, a number Health PEI calls excessive. This is yesterday’s headline on PEI – the squeeze is on. That is a minimum of 4 million dollars!

You can turn this around now if you want.

In the next series of posts I will be talking more:

  • The Bottom Line – a quick overview of what is best not to eat and best to eat and why
  • Showing you the best research out there on our evolutionary journey and our relationship with food
  • Why so many of our food myths are just that – for instance a calories is not just a calorie – why sugar is the optimal way to add fat – why meat is important – why cooking is important
  • Lessons for parents
  • Implications for our food system and opportunities for us too

Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. […] If we were to go back to eating a diet that was comprised of the traditional foods – mainly real meat and real fish and seasonal plants and fruit, we would be the ancestral groups most likely to “heal”. Even better, we stand a chance of doing what the Kitavan Chief has done. Plateau our aging in mid life. […]

  2. Turenne says:

    This article is so totally refreshing… I am so happy I stumble upon your post on Google+.
    I appreciate reading your point of view here. I always felt it so sickening to hear all the time that it is normal course of life to be sick as we aged… Well, it is nice to read diffrentlty, particularly now. Lately in caring for my mother I had to fight health professionals ignoring obvious negative effects of medication, because supposedly NORMAL AGING COULD BE THE CAUSE OF HER RAPID DEGRADATION OF HEALTH IN THE SHORT PERIOD OF TIME while she was on medication for the first time…

  3. Stephen Pate says:

    Thanks for the research. We are what we eat but if we eat the wrong foods, our bodies will be at war with the junk we ingest. The wear and tear of getting rid of the toxins causes bad health.

    When I first became disabled, which was caused by earlier polio and exacerbated by the stress of trying to become wealthy, I learned that the Mediterranean diet reduced death by heart attack and stroke which as statistically the big killers. Essentially, the diet is fruits and veggies with small amounts of fish and meat. Olive oil substitutes for butter and the chemical butter substitutes. In rural Southern Italy and Crete, where people can’t afford to kill animal to eat them except at Easter and other special occasions the rate of CHD is less than 10% of North American and European rates.


    Whole grains, olive oil, nutrition rich vegetables, fruits, nuts and very little red meat, butter, potatoes – the exact opposite of our diet.

    I lowered my blood pressure, bad cholesterol and weight to within 10 lbs of my ideal weight. I was able to start walking again and did silly things like join a rock band and play music in bars at midnight.

    It’s very hard to stay on the Mediterranean diet – restaurants don’t serve much that qualifies. It takes work to prepare healthy meals. Eating habits of those we know are not likely to encourage it. Temptation and bad foods are everywhere.

    Thanks again for the article. I’ll wait for the rest in the series. I don’t agree with what seems to be the premise that disability is avoidable. Some people are genetically blessed with good health and a sudden late death. That is a very small part of the population. How we age – healthy or not – is partly genetic and that code is locked in at conception.

    • robpatrob says:

      We are all different Stephen as you so rightly say. So for some of us our destiny is set – good or bad. The core premise of this work is that we have been shaped by millions of years of development – so there is a “best fit” for how we live. The closer we fit this, the more healthy we will be.

      What got my attention here was the aging part of this. We are designed to age as fit people and our “decline” is designed to plateau. The evolutionary part of this is simple for any parent to understand. Kids take up to 25 years to mature fully. Who has to carry the load? The parents! Why human females are the ONLY primate who has menopause. Chimps will have babies until they die of old age. The tribe has to have a surplus of capable adults who work.

      So with this in mind the next question is when do we plateau? Today if we get to 85 in good health, we se that many of us stop declining and can coast until we die at 90 or 100 or 100++. With the best fit to our ideal life, Michael sees the possibility of the plateau moving back to our ideal. The closer we are in heritage to Hunter Gatherer, the earlier this can be. For 1st Nations People this might be late 40’s early 50’s. For Scots and Irish like me – mid 50’s early sixties. That is where I am settling now – about 10 years younger than I was before I started this.

      My aim and an aim for all is to live out our later years as capable and independent as possible. On PEI now the average man is deemed to be completely disabled by 65 – in other words dependent on others for all his needs and lives for another 9.7 years. This is close to the norm in Canada. This is a burden on his family and society and not the best for him – as it is largely avoidable. This is where our health care system will fall over if we do not understand this and find ways of changing this trajectory.

      For me it starts with me. my mum has been utterly dependent since 40 and my dad died a wreck aged 55. I don’t have the best heritage and I am determined to do my best to spare my wife and kids from what this has meant for me.

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What is the Missing Human Manual All About?

Do you want to age well? Most of us do. If you are my age, 60, this is more important a question that if you are 30. But most of us would not wish to have heart disease, cancer, dementia when we get old.

Most of us think it is normal that we will get ill like this.

But science today tells us that this is not "Normal". Our evolutionary past designed us to be active and fit until we drop dead. Why? Because raising human children takes so long. Mature adults had to do most of the hard work enable us to invest up to 25 years in our kids.

We are designed by our evolution to reach a plateau of fitness in mid life. So why do most of us not live like this?

We don't because, we have strayed away from the best way of living that fits our evolution best. Our culture has got too far ahead of our biology. We eat foods that make us ill. We have lost our social identity and power and that makes us ill. And we have lost touch with the circadian rhythms of the Natural World, and that has made us ill too.

We have lost our fit with our true nature.

This site will be a Manual. It will show you what the best fit is. It will show you the science behind this. It will share with you some methods for getting your fit back with your true human nature.

So welcome to the "Missing Human Manual" . I hope that we can help you and I hope that you can help others as a result.

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