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Diet Not Always Key to Longevity
A round of applause, please, for Margaret Ellen Moores, a Canadian woman who recently made headlines, and not just because she reached her 106th birthday.
No, what made Margaret’s story so great was in the gleeful way she has lived her own life to acquire all those 106 years, at least when it comes to her diet.
We’ve all hear the stories about people who lived to ripe old ages by existing on salads and spring water. We’ve all heard that if we want to live beyond the expected 78.3 years we’d better load up on the salads and spring water, too.
Then along comes Margaret, hitting 106 years and getting there eating sweets, salt beef, pizza and French fries.
You go, girl. I mean, ma’am.
She’s not alone, either. The story about her mentioned these other examples of centenarian diets:
Elizabeth (Ma Pampo) Israel, who lived to be 128 years old in the Dominican Republic, attributed her longevity to her diet of eating lots of dumplings and drinking bush tea.
Brazilian Maria Gomes Valentim, who died at age 114, credited her longevity to coffee, bread and milk.
Gertrude Baines, 114, said she enjoyed life's simple pleasures such as crispy bacon, sweets and Jerry Springer.
Of course, cases like these are the exception, not the rule, and as such should not be taken as an example for the rest of us. You hear that sort of thing a lot when people are trying to justify something they shouldn’t be doing:
“My grandpa smoked six packs of Camels a day for his entire life and was still playing the tuba when he died, so I ain’t worried about cancer.” Failing to mention that Grandpa died of smoking-related heart disease.
“I can drink all I want. Great-aunt Heloise drank a pint of gin every day and she lived to a ripe old age.” Of course she lived to a ripe old age. She was pickled.
“Cousin Burford watched Jerry Springer every day and still got his GED.” Aim high, Burford. Aim high.
The fact is, some people live longer than others and regardless of what they eat and what they watch on TV. I know people who live abstemious lives with the stated objective of living as long as they can. They deny themselves all kinds of pleasures and wear themselves out with exercise toward that end.
That’s all right, for them, I guess, but I couldn’t do it. A life given over to a Spartan diet and physical punishment doesn’t strike me as much fun. In fact, it sounds miserable. Why would I want it to last longer?
Margaret’s explanation for her longevity was that it simply wasn’t up to her, but to a higher authority.
"He put me here, I suppose, and that was it. I had to stay till I went," she said. "After being to the door a few times ... He told me to go away, there was no place there for me yet."
I think the idea is to live as well as you can with the time you have – and by living well, I don’t just mean bacon and chocolate and parties. I mean in being a decent person, too, and working hard. Have a good life and figure that the length of it isn’t your call.
Although just to be sure, I think I’ll go get a pizza and fries. But I’m skipping Springer. Life’s too short.
© 2011 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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