“But my grandma smoked and drank whiskey until she was 90…” Heard that before?
I was in the supermarket the other day and I overheard the clerk telling a customer that she hopes she’ll age like her mom and have the same level of energy. Then the customer responded with a typical generic answer like, “you have to stay active”. Then the clerk agreed. I think most people would agree with this exchange, or at the very least chalk it up to mindless banter.
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard people make comparisons about their life or lifestyle with someone else in their family. In fact, I’m sure I’ve done this at some point. But I now realize how ridiculous it is to make that comparison. I’ll tell you why! I often ask people; do you know your stock? They look at me funny and ask what I mean. Here’s what I mean:
You are not your ancestors
Choose your options:
‘My (mother/father/grandparent, etc.) lived to be (INSERT AGE) with no (cancer, diabetes, auto-immune, etc.) so MY chances are good!
Did you pick your parent or grand parent? Depending on your age, your parent is either Gen-X (1961 – 1981) or a Baby Boomer (1946 – 1964). If you’re a Boomer or Gen-X then your parents, and certainly your grandparents, had ZERO exposure to GMO’s. Which means they grew up in a time when food was just called food. There was no distinction between organic, pasture, industrial etc. They ate what was in season from their geographic location, rarely went out to eat, and many kept their own gardens. Some may have even raised a few animals (chickens, rabbits, etc.). If they were in a rural area you could also throw a pig or goat into the mix. And even in cities they often could go to the local butcher and get fresh, locally raised meat. So, if you’re a Baby Boomer or Gen-X, unless you are mimicking how your parents/grandparents grew up, then you can’t compare your expected longevity with theirs.
Food was simpler
Admittedly, many seniors today (75+) are now eating a diet filled with overly processed convenience foods. But they were not raised that way. They had decades of consuming ‘real’ food. Now, look at their parents and their parents… When we look deeper into their lineage we start to understand that they had very simple diets and were not exposed to a fraction of the pesticides, herbicides, molds, mycotoxins, fungi etc. that we are exposed to on a daily basis.
And, I’m not even talking about environmental toxins, I’m just talking about the toxins found in our food. Now compare that with Millennials (1981 – 1996), and Gen-Z (1997 – present). Their parents are most likely Gen-X or Boomers. The latter two generations were exposed to real food for some portion of their life but for a large part of their life they opted for fast and convenient food. The idea of take-out, frozen meals, and coffee houses grew in popularity. These habits and worse ones continue now and get passed on to their kids (Millennials and Gen-Z).
What about you?
So, what’s the quality of your stock vs. your grandparents stock? If your grandparents are starting off with “good stock” where does that leave you and your kids? Each generation since that of your grandparents has seen a deterioration in food quality and safety.
The point of this blog is to address the question about why comparing our longevity to our ancestors is faulty at best. Their eating habits and ours are completely different. Hopefully you are someone who wants to explore alternate options when it comes to food, like eating organic and clean. So, if grandma smoked and drank whiskey and lived to 90 (which btw, is NOT THAT OLD), you can bet her diet for much of her life was “just food”. You might want to consider doing the same!
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