How to Live a Long & Healthy Life ©

Living a long life with Shinazy


My family is long-lived.  There’s my great-grandmothers who lived into their 90’s, their daughters lived well into their 80’s.  My mom and aunt already passed the 80s mid-point.  I’ve known all of them and I know what they did to keep tapping their toes.

When the ladies in my family ate, they ate real food.  Veggie gardens were in some corner of their yards producing food with blemishes and insect bites, arriving on the table misshapened.  The families only ate food that was locally grown and in season, we were so ahead of the Slow Food trend … but everyone was back then.  Instead of sweeping expanses of water-devouring-seldom-used-but-adds-curb-appeal lawns there were fruit trees.  These trees produced avocados, apricots, figs; I have no memory of purchasing fruit in little plastic square green baskets.
Gigs and Nana baked cookies and cakes using butter.  They fried chicken in the bacon fat that was stored in a can from having bacon ‘n eggs for breakfast almost every morning.  (Sometimes the ‘chicken’ had four drumsticks because it really was a rabbit raised by Buster, my grandfather.)  The cream used for coffee came from the thick stuff on the top of the milk bottle.  Had soymilk been invented yet?  These are my memories of real food.
I also remember rugs hanging in the back yard being beaten until every crumb succumbed and dropped to the ground.  Instead of manually beating my carpet, I have a self-propelled vacuum cleaner; so I go to the gym to ‘work-out’ in order to keep in shape.  The grand ladies in my family saw the sun rise and finished working after it set.  Me, I get my aerobic fitness from running nowhere in particular . . . would they understand this?  When I cook with my cast iron fry pan, I’m impressed that my relatives moved this chuck of metal from burner to burner as if it was as lightweight as stainless steel. 
Although I take no pharmaceuticals, I do consume a pile of herbs and vitamins: D3 for bones because I work inside without sunshine, glucosamine to keep my joints lubed, stuff for my brain, other stuff for other things, and CoQ10 …why am I taking this one?  Snake Oil was around 100 years ago, are all these pretty pills today’s snake oil?  Maybe, but I’m unwilling to stop my pill popping ways.
lifeI think family lived well given the era and resources available.  I think I do, too.  So, for me, the secret to living a long and healthy life is to do what I think will help and when the health advice trend changes, go with the flow . . . over a life time it means a moderate intake of everything. 
As I write this story, I realized there was one other major factor in their lives . . . they lived life with a sense of purpose . . . I can do that.
photos by dhaun and shinazy
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12 Responses to How to Live a Long & Healthy Life ©

  1. Will Jones

    My maternal grandmother, born in Ireland in 1889, lived to be 104. She had hers ears pierced when she was 90.I watched her dance the Irish jig at her 100th birthday party. Scones, jam, butter and tea were the staple of her diet. Lots of butter. Her philosophy? “It’s a good life if you don’t weaken.”

    • Will, I only use butter, so I hope to dance at my 100th b-day party! I love scones drowned in butter – Do you have her scone recipe?
      ~ shinazy

  2. Amen to eating right and living well, with a sense of purpose!

    • Jeanne, Although I’m crazy for butter and ice cream, I try to balance with green foods.
      ~ shinazy

  3. A good bag of potato chips is necessary for the constitution… and then. Eat fresh, local and healthy, it will become a way of life. Oh ya and dance like no ones looking.

    • Bobbi, You have tasted ‘Have A Corn Chip’? Made with nothing but corn, soy oil, soy sauce, and a dash of lime. They sound healthy – right? ~ shinazy

  4. Malati Marlene Shinazy

    The body recognizes butter as a food.

    I’m not sure, but I’d guess it processes margarine differently:

    Margarine = rancid, heavily sprayed crop oils (cottonseed, soy, cannola, safflower) extracted with hexane, infused with emulsifiers to reduce the lumpiness, mixed with bleach, to get rid of the grey color, heated and mixed again with yellow coloring so it won’t be yucky grey looking.

    Yummy, right? – ms

    • When margarine is described with accuracy it sounds like poison. For me butter and bacon fat !! Nana and Granddaddy’s food always tasted great and lived long and healthy lives. ~shinazy

  5. Mahalo for this reminder to take my apple to work with me… ~mb

  6. Our parents generation had “growing your own” hardwired in. In our modest, tract-home backyard, we had a peach tree, an apricot tree, and a vegetable garden. I loved the aroma of a hot summer day near the ripening fruit of the apricot tree.

    • I so miss Nana’s apricot tree; no apricots are as sweet as the ones from that old gnarly tree. And, the avocado that she use to pick with a tin can nailed to a long stick. Good memories. ~ shinazy