Adventure Saturday: Tips For a Long Healthful Life

Today’s Happy Note: Spending time with family!  I normally only see my mom’s extended family at Christmas so it was nice to get to see a few of them in the summer, even if only for a day.

Good evening dearies!  I hope it’s been a wonderful Saturday.  I had an Adventure, of course!  I went a bit upstate on the train to see an aunt, two cousins, and my grandfather.  They were here for a wedding (I didn’t go to that; we just had lunch and spent the afternoon together).  We wandered around town, munched on the most amazing pita (so pillowy!), and admired the beautiful grounds and history of the hotel-manor they stayed at.  It’s funny; as much as I despised growing up in the suburbs, I enjoyed myself very much this afternoon.  The small-ish towns along the Hudson are wonderfully endearing and a nice break from the city. I absolutely feel in love with the city, but at times it can be overwhelmingly busy and distant.

I probably walked about two miles today and might go for another walk in a little while, or do some dancing/yoga.  I used to take dance classes at school and I am really missing it. I wonder if there are any local, inexpensive community classes near me? Dancing and yoga remind me of one another.  While I love running, I think they might be more soothing forms of movement for my spirit.

Photos from the Adventure:

Who might this be?  That’s my grandfather!  He’s 95 and a half! Doesn’t look it!  He is an amazing man who has exemplified healthy ways of living since his boyhood in rural Iran.  He has a very powerful internal drive that I have yet to find in another person.  At 95, he still writes papers, read, communicates with friends and family members scattered around the world, attends conferences, and participates in tremendous charitable activities.  He has truly been heroic.  I wanted to take a few minutes during our visit today to ask him how he has maintained vibrancy and health for almost a century.  I’m sure random genetics play a role, but so do our habits and choices.

Without further ado, I present “Baba’s tips for 95 years of healthy living”:

  • Don’t overstress!  In fact, understress if possible.
  • Always keep your mind working in different subjects; for example Baba has been both a mathematician/engineer and a literary/poetic scholar.
  • Stay away from too much alcohol.
  • His super-foods: walnuts, raisins, plain yogurt, lentils, pomegranate juice.
  • It is important to eat these things — and other healthy things — as a child.  Childhood health affects the rest of your life!
  • Always stay active.  Baba has done many activities, games, and sports his entire life.  As an eight year old boy, he found a tennis ball.  This was his only toy.  He kept himself active and entertained by bouncing it around.  Favorite childhood activities: broad jump, high jump, pole vault, and volleyball.  He actually played on the volleyball team at Tehran University as a setter.  Throughout his adult life he has loved racket games — tennis, squash, and racquetball.  He still plays tennis and walks (we probably did about a mile together today).  In fact, he beat me at racquetball two years ago (I was trying)!
  • He has had a lot of sadness and unhappy events in his life.  Overcoming these and persevering anyways has been a very powerful force in shaping his mental capacities.
  • A multicultural lifestyle with diverse interests and connections keeps you healthy because you are constantly learning.  He speaks five languages and is still quite proficient in three of them.
  • Creativity is a “secret” to old age.
  • You have to learn to be satisfied with very little.  Western materiality is destructive to our health.  Being satisfied with little nurtures our spiritual selves.
  • Tea can be “as delicious as a special meat dish.”
  • His vice: sweets!  A little dessert makes us happy and nurtures our souls.
  • He has always rewarded himself with little things.  For example, when he was a teenager, raisins were a special treat.  If someone gave him a handful, he would parcel them out over several days.  Each time he completed a long paper or complex math problem, he would reward himself with a single raisin.  Other rewards: pencils or paper.
  • He is critical of extravagance.  Instead, he believes powerfully in charitability.  He has established a school for 440 poor girls in Iran who otherwise would not receive an education.  He endows the entire establishment (teachers, classrooms, uniforms, sports and games, etc.)  He has a powerful belief in the ability of education to extend and enrich our lives.
  • The entire world can take a hint from more simpler ways of living — that would prevent a lot of bloodshed.
  • His favorite meal: yogurt with jam and walnuts, good bread with chevre.

So there you have it!  Living to 95 years from the expert.  He has an older brother who is either 97 or 98.

I didn’t take any interesting food pictures while I was out because I didn’t want to have to explain the blog.  I did, however take pictures of a major dinner fail:

My blender failed in the middle of smoothie-making!  Grrr.  I can’t get it to work now at all.  Perhaps it overheated?  I didn’t eat all of the above mess, but did eat out the frozen berries and some of the liquid.  It was actually quite tasty!  Better flavor than most of my smoothies for some reason.  I remedied this little failure with some comforting OIAJ…

Nature’s Path hemp oats in a Naturally Nutty Vanilla Almond Butter jar with a handful of trail mix and a serving of TJ’s chocolate covered pretzels!  I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a serious statement: NN Vanilla Almond butter is the best nut butter I’ve ever had. It truly is amazing.  It does have some sugar, but only 5g.  The flavors just work wonderfully together.  It tastes like a really premium vanilla almond frosting.

Not sure why, but I was feeling guilty about everything I ate today.  I didn’t have anything “bad” for me at all, but I do think I wasn’t eating mindfully.  Need to work on that; not because I’m trying to be obsessive but because my mind and body feel best when I have a clear, conscious relationship with food.

Any fun Adventures from today?  Adventures tomorrow? I have plans for a long run, yoga, and possibly a movie!

See you tomorrow!

PS — Go enter the most awesome giveaway ever here!  Evan is giving away an ice cream maker!

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Maggie
    Jun 12, 2010 @ 21:23:55

    LOVE these tips. We could all learn a lot from them 🙂


  2. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    Jun 12, 2010 @ 21:27:56

    ok the tips are amazing

    “A multicultural lifestyle with diverse interests and connections keeps you healthy because you are constantly learning. He speaks five languages and is still quite proficient in three of them.”

    and the “You have to learn to be satisfied with very little. Western materiality is destructive to our health. Being satisfied with little nurtures our spiritual selves.”

    Wow. So profound. What a forward thinker, what an amazing man, You have great genes Caronae!

    thx for finding me on twitter!



  3. Sarah
    Jun 13, 2010 @ 00:58:13

    What a legend your grandfather is. Thank you so much for sharing those tips, and I found them very inspiring to read. Our elders have so much wisdom to offer, and I often wish my grandparents had lived longer so that I could have learnt more from them. I love the idea of treats nurturing our souls, and your own idea of dancing doing a similar thing. After my recent thoughts on spirituality I am so grateful for insights like this, which are helping me to develop a spiritual side. You’ll do yourself and your family proud in this life, I just know it!

    I absolutely love your outfit by the way, you look gorgeous my dear 🙂

    Sarah x


  4. Joanne
    Jun 13, 2010 @ 07:16:03

    You have some seriously awesome genes in your family. Your grandfather looks like he could be in his 70’s! I am amazed.

    Sounds like one super fun fam-filled weekend. And good food filled weekend! Gotta love OIAJ!

    I have those days too where I feel guilty about food. Like yesterday. I felt guilty for eating strawberries. STRAWBERRIES. Is that not insane?


  5. Lauren @ BIOCHEMISTA
    Jun 13, 2010 @ 10:06:34

    Wow your grandfather seems like a wonderful man!!!!!! Great post, I LOVED reading all about his tips for a long healthy life!


  6. dmcgirl37
    Jun 13, 2010 @ 10:28:13

    I loved reading your grandfathers tips 🙂 He seems like an insightful man!

    Dana ❤


  7. shesarunner
    Jun 13, 2010 @ 14:47:13

    Your grandfather sounds like a very wise man, and such a kind one too! I think it is wonderful that he is so charitable and enjoys the simple things in life. Thank you for sharing all of his sound advice.

    I love living in the city, but I often wonder if I will move to the suburbs later in life. Bigger and less expensive housing is very tempting to me, because I like to have a lot of space. It’s not about material things or anything like that, it is just comforting to me to have room to spread out…a floor space to do a yoga DVD and room for my cat to run around and play. Right now, we are kind of cooped up in my small apartment. But at the same time, I can’t imagine being out of the city- it is really great living here. The area in your pictures looks very lovely. I’m sure it is a beautiful place to walk around.

    I was a dancer when I was a kid and I absolutely loved it. I always regretted stopping, but I guess I could start again if I really wanted to. I recommend giving it a try! Community classes would be a good place to start.


  8. Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine
    Jun 13, 2010 @ 14:52:01

    Your grandfather sounds like an amazing man! You’ve definitely got some good genes there.

    I totally agree about the eating mindfully thing. It’s not about planning meals in advance, it’s about appreciating food while you’re eating it. I think I lose track of that sometimes when I eat something just for the sake of eating it…I feel far better when I really sit down and am present while eating!

    Hope you’ve had a wonderful Sunday!


  9. nora reza
    Jun 13, 2010 @ 16:13:33

    Dear Caronae,

    I loved your blog, and i loved hearing of your day with my dad and my daughter ahna, my sister shari, and nephew arman. i am glad you learned so much from baba jun! he has a lot of wisdom.

    ahna said you run 6 miles to the village for yoga and back. wow!

    love you,

    aunt nora


    • caronae
      Jun 13, 2010 @ 16:27:59

      Thanks for stopping by my blog Aunt Nora! It was a very nice day. Babajoon is in excellent shape. Yoga with Ahna has been tons of fun! Miss you.
      xoxo Caronae


  10. theemptynutjar
    Jun 13, 2010 @ 18:07:10

    the pretzels in the nut butter jar look great. good list.


  11. Kate
    Jun 13, 2010 @ 19:15:19

    oh my gosh! i love that list! it totally made me smile so thank you for sharing it.

    have a lovely weekend ladybug!


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