09 Oct Eating for longevity – lessons from a 95 year old bright spark
I am jumping up and down about the fact that my newest client is a 95-year-old woman who lives in Fairfield, Victoria! To be honest, I have never in my wildest dreams imagined living that long, and especially in such an organised, supported and wholesome environment. It has opened my mind to a whole world of eating for longevity because I am a party to her diet, and to her habits. And so, I feel like I am starting to build a mental map of what it takes to live so long!
And to be true, I am not sure there is a ‘one size fits all’ approach to nutrition (but I am also not sure if there are not certain underlying principles like protein and blood sugar etc). However, it is fun to observe what this lovely lady, whom I am calling Ally on our blog eats on a daily basis.
The importance of connection
The other important factor is LOVE I think. Her daughter and her daughter’s husband moved Ally from Sydney to Melbourne maybe 8 (??) or 13 (??) or 5 (??) years ago. They got her set up in an apartment just a few doors down from where they live (and on the other side of the road). This means that Ally’s daughter can pop in a few times a day for a chat and a catch-up. It seems like a truly delightful arrangement! Her son (who hired me) lives in Darwin and comes down a few times a year to stay in his house in Clifton Hill. They seem like such a lovely family.
Connection is so important. Sally, Ally’s daughter told her carer that Ally needs 5 – 7 conversations a day to remain sharp. It is such an interesting number! The carer remarked to me that she wasn’t sure she would have 5 – 7 conversations some days, and I definitely feel like that quite often in my digital marketing job!
One of my jobs is to drive Ally to her physiotherapist appointment on Fridays. She goes and does a strength workout every week! It is so organised.
Eating for longevity
My main job though, is to cook for Ally and to keep her company. One thing I did notice about her attitude towards life is the fact she is open to all sorts of new foods and flavours. Her current carer (I will be caring for Ally temporarily) cooks all sorts of curries, stews and things, and Ally enjoys them. I think that this openness to experience has contributed to her healthy aging.
Of course, I don’t know a LOT about cooking for longevity, however, I do have some constraints. She can not eat Vitamin K, because she takes a medication that interacts with it.
So, I didn’t talk a lot about what she DOES eat day to day. Here are some brief observations:
- she eats a slice of cheese every day and two slices of bread (but no butter)
- she eats meat at most meals (except breakfast)
- she eats granola for breakfast
- she snacks on dairy yoghurt and lots of berries (of any sort – blueberries, raspberries and blackberries)
- She drinks a glass of wine with dinner every night
- She is open to new experiences where food is concerned
- she drinks decaffeinated tea and coffee
- She loves macadamia slice (with a layer of caramel) and has some every day after lunch
- Marmalade is liquid gold (hehe)
I am sure I will notice more habits over the next three weeks, but these are the items I have noticed so far!
A fun and lively adventure
I guess we are all interested in eating for longevity to some extent. And while I do think that each of us has a different body that requires different kinds of nutrients, it is oh, so interesting to observe what Ally eats in her daily life. There might be a chance of ongoing work. I would love to be around to help celebrate her 100th birthday! How amazing would that be!!