Survival strategies of my grandmother
My grand mother has just celebrated her 70th birthday. Though she appears slim and weak, she has a strong heart and powerful mind and still she manages everything by herself. It's most important to live a disease-free life than a long life with support of medicines. What is her secret mantra?
Most amazing facts about her
- She never uses spectacles.
- She is not a diabetic patient.
- Though her memory is a little weak, she is able to travel alone even to distant places.
- She doesn’t have cholesterol or heart related problems.
- No high blood pressure.
- Just taking a tablet everyday for low blood pressure and her body condition is perfectly ok.
- Still do everything her own without depending anyone, washing clothes or preparing her favourite dish.
- She has lovely hair that makes everyone jealous. It has just a few grey patches.
What’s the secret behind her body fitness?
Both my parents have cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetics. Yet these diseases are keeping distance from my grand mother. What could be the reason? She is the mother of 6 kids. But how could she still remain strong and active even after delivering 6 kids in a row? I don’t think women of today can remain in the same health status after 3 or 4 deliveries. I have asked these questions myself several times seeking answer. Answer lies in her style of living - the same thing modern generation neglects most!
She was slim from the day I remember from my childhood
She was married in 16 and she gave birth to my mother at 17 – she says so. My mother got married at 18 and I was born one year later. So, it’s sure when I was born my grand mother was going through her middle 30’s. I could remember her appearance when I was just 4 or 5. She was slim as she is today. Perhaps her diet may be the main factor behind her present fitness. Also, her manual work of her yesterdays!
She eats only a little
Agriculture is my grand parents’ main source of income and from the early days I still remember, she didn’t pay much attention to her food. She is interested more in feeding others than herself. When she forgot herself, her age also forgot her giving her early signs of aging. But it proved beneficial in the long term. Now also, she can’t eat too much. Eating too much means giving invitation to so many diseases without any reasons.
Most recently I have submitted an article emphasizing the fact on eating less to live long. If we eat a little or moderate food, we may not be fat. Yet our body will be healthy, free of diseases and may live long up to 100 or 120. That’s the main reason why a half century back, people lived up to 110 years or more.
Her daily walk to market
20 or 30 years back, transportation facilities were comparatively low and hence, people need to walk 4 or 5 kms to reach schools, colleges, offices and markets. ‘Manjalumoodu’ market is about 5 kms away from home and she used to purchase everything from this market. She used to sell betel leaves to a shop in the market which she carries twice a week. She used to walk that long distance of 5 km with the products. She starts early morning. I think such morning walks and her frequent visits for homely purchases have given her a lot of exercise and immunity to protect herself from many diseases in the future.
Even a single second not spared for rest
What’s the case of present house wives including me? For one hour work, we take two hours rest. That’s not the case of people a half century back. That time, no machines and lot of kids. So women had to do a lot of manual work in kitchen, court yard, agricultural fields and looking after half dozen or full dozen kids. From my early childhood I have never seen her resting even for a single moment. Either she will be at kitchen or at agricultural fields. Third chance is only a daily purchase of things as refrigerators were not available that time.
Her work in agricultural fields
Since agriculture was the main source of income, she along with grandfather and my uncles worked at their own farms. They cultivated paddy, peas, banana, coconut, cucumber, bitter guard, tomato, brinjal, aracanut, betel leaves, tapioca, ground nut, sesame seeds and many other items in their fields. They had rubber plantation as well, which was their main source of income. They cultivated seasonal items according to the climate. So, her manual work was a good exercise for her. They give only less work outside to save expenses as much as possible.
Everything cultivated in own land using cow dung and charcoal
Modern generation is going far away from farming and other works which need a lot of effort and time. Instead they are buying everything from nearby markets using the salaries they get from their white collar jobs. Farming is just like shame for youth. Consequences, many new diseases through the fruits, cereals and vegetables they purchase from market.
My grand father’s family need to purchase only a little commodity from outside. They had their own rice field, tapioca and bananas. A lot of mango trees and jack fruit trees planted here and there in the fields. So, no need to purchase fruits from outside except grapes, apples or oranges. But they rarely purchased fruits from market.
I think one of her secret mantras is the food that she consumed from her early days. She also belonged to an agriculture family. My grand parents never used pesticides or artificial manures in their fields. Instead they used only charcoal and vegetable wastes from the kitchen. Also, they used cow dung from their own cattle. I think such food habits have showed its signs in my uncles as well.
They used cow dung from cattle for their farming. Also, since no gas stove at that time, fire wood hearths provided them sufficient char coal for their fields. They dig their own ponds as well and make use of government irrigation.
Owned their own poultry and cattle
There is something different in my grand parents’ home. Grand father makes tea for everyone twice a day. It’s something like a get-together when all members gather around him in the mornings and evenings in the dining hall and sit together waiting for his tea to be served.
Milk is the most abundant thing of my grand parents’ home. They had their own cattle – 3 or 4 cows enough to serve the whole family. Now also my uncles have not lost their habit of feeding cattle. ‘Cow’ is a part of their family. They used cow dung from cattle for their farming and hay from fields to feed their cows. They used to store hay for one year after annual reap. Milk and milk products were readily available always. Also, it’s said that fresh milk that hasn’t lost its warmness is healthier.
They owned poultry as well. So, no need to purchase eggs or meat from outside. During my childhood, broiler chicken was not so popular and every home had its own hen. Since hens were given normal food they were healthy. It’s better to consume eggs and meat of hens which wander around in search of food instead of always being kept inside closed poultry firms. Fat deposits of such wandering hens are less and they provide healthy, fresh and fat free meat. At that time, since storage provisions were not there everything was used fresh, even eggs, flesh and fish which cut down many health problems and food poisoning. Now what we are getting from markets is just a byproduct of hormone injections and cholesterol components!
Less transportation services kept her healthy
My grand parents’ home is at lower level comparing surroundings and they need to travel 1.5 kilometers or climb a mountain to reach the nearest bus stop. Frequent walks have give them more reasons to keep themselves fit free of diseases. Now transportation services are available and everyone owns a motor bike or car. But that time, it was a time of a few cycles, bikes and of course, bullock carts. Now such bullock carts are also very rare to see.
Present generation depends on vehicles even for 5 minute walk while old people made it a habit. That’s the main change in life style that has occurred over years. Old people don’t have diabetics, heart diseases, cholesterol and blood pressure while they are common diseases of present generation.
My grandmother was not an expert cook. She knows to make only a few dishes. Yet no one can even dare to compete with her in a cooking competition. She seldom uses oil and spices in her preparations and won’t take too much time in kitchen. She prepares only traditional items, especially from those items readily available from fields. Only fish, they need to purchase from outside.
Her curries are so simple with fewer ingredients. Yet those dishes have her typical finger prints that we can’t imitate. How many times I have tried to make her simple dishes! But every time I have failed. Even a chutney made from coconut is so tasty. She makes simple mango curry or cucumber curry along with fish curry, almost repetitive dishes every day. Yet they hold a special taste. I think it may be due to pesticide free ingredients used in the dishes that give a distinct taste. Also, food served by her is healthy since it’s free of oils and spices. She seldom uses spices, even for a chicken curry.
Also, everything used for cooking was fresh, either vegetables from fields or ingredients purchased from market. Since refrigerator was not available in every home that time, they used to cook everything daily and so, manual effort in kitchen was also more comparing present days. Everything was grinded using manual methods instead of using mixers and grinders, even the flour for dosa and idli. They taste best also!
No electrical or electronic accessories.
Now it’s a time of washing machines, electric motors, mixers, gas stoves, refrigerators and grinders. During my childhood days, only electronic equipment available at my grand parents’ home was a radio without FM. Manual work, thus physical exercise was more. Now also, it’s well shown in my uncles’ health. They don’t have any health related problems like diabetics, cholesterol or sugar. So, my grand parents have provided them good health through discipline and responsibilities given to them at their early ages.
Tension free life and good sleep
Old people don’t have much tensions or work pressures comparing present generation. They need to worry only about their agriculture and availability of rain. My grand parents are also the same. I have never heard them worrying about anything. Instead they kept themselves always busy in something. Since, no television was there at home, they got good sleeps at night. It’s true this idiot box can make people lazy a lot! Good sleep and tension free life are the secret keys to healthy and long life.
Present condition of my grand mother
7 years before, grand father left us leaving my grand mother alone. She is now staying with my uncles still busy with some house hold work. Her health condition is perfectly ok except low blood pressure. 2 years before, she had a minor fracture in her arm which made her a little bit weak. Till then, she used to visit us regularly carrying big packets of sweets or something special from their fields. She travels by public transport, 30 kms alone carrying everything. Still she is free of diabetics and cholesterol problems.
Her hair is so lovely
She never cared her beauty. But still she loves her hair a lot. She uses only coconut oil for hair. She boils a few red single-petaled hibiscus flowers in coconut oil, filter it and use daily. My mother says, when she was young she had beautiful hair and every neighbour was jealous of her. Now also, I am surprised seeing her thick locks of hair. I don’t own thick and lengthy hair as hers and still she is complaining that her hair is not thick.
She used ayurvedic medicines most
For small diseases or bad health, she never cared her. If needed, she depends on ayurvedic medicines most now also. I think it’s also one factor among her secret mantras.
From my observations
Now a lot of money and time is spent to find medicines for aging and stop wrinkles. Yet no one is trying to look back to search some precious things from the past. Old people never depend on science and its developments for their daily requirements. Instead they believed in their efforts and manual work to move forward. Old people had a lot of time in their hand even after doing everything manually. Now, we people can’t find enough time to meet with every requirement even if we are getting everything in a phone call or finger tips. So, it’s true, we have lost some precious things of our past to attain many new goals in future. Yes, I agree science has advanced very much and human physical efforts have reduced very much. Instead it’s giving a lot of mental efforts and stress inviting many diseases and early signs of aging. Also we are supplying nothing to reduce our mental strains. So, let us travel backward and gather all those precious things to move forward again. It’s sure, they will guide us through right paths giving us a lot of guidance and positive energy!
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