Monday, February 6, 2012

A simple diet for a long and healthy life

The title says it all, it sounds attractive, doesn't it? Last week my uncle and his son from Italy visited me in Madrid, a good occasion to meet us, and a good opportunity to assist to one of the best attractions in the city: a football match at Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

We spent a good time strolling around the city centre, it was a cold but sunny weekend. At night, we spent some nice moments comfortably sitting at home, drinking camomile tea and chatting about the family. Especially about my uncle's father, Oreste. Oreste is a 92 years old man, very strong and healthy; he's worked his own land during his whole life and now he enjoys the results of his work, plants and hens.

I have to recognize that Oreste's sisters, Angela (my grandmother) and Rosa (my great-aunt) are equally strong and healthy. But besides admitting that privileged genetics often helps, I had to ask the typical question I am used to ask.

Gino Severini: Natura morta, 1920
What's the secret for such a long and healthy living? Is there any particular diet?

Lots of people would raise their hand to propose secrets, tips and suggestions. That would possibly ends up in balancing a good diet (Mediterranean, of course, we're south Europeans!) with regular physical activity. But this answer is not usually satisfying to me, I personally want to know the recipe to stay young and healthy forever (and beautiful too).

Well, in case anybody is interested, these are Oreste's little secrets.

  1. Only have breakfast with fruit.
    Forget about croissants and industrial biscuits or cakes. Fruit. Best if from biological cultivation; Oreste produces a big quantity of fruit, and supply himself with more vegetables from the surrounding farmers.
  2. Never drink water during meals.
    Actually he only drinks wine. Hard to believe, but I assure you that drinking water with food will not help you have a better digestion. I could not believe it, but my uncle assures me that Oreste never drinks water. Fruit and wine are enough to supply the right daily quantity of liquids. I'll have to check it out personally! By the way he mostly drinks wine he personally produces, that's lighter than a supermarket bottle.
  3. Never eat meat.
    I did not suspect that a person working the land during his whole life could avoid eating meat and be vegetarian. Of course it's possible, but Oreste relies on proteins from lentils, chickpeas and other legumes.

What do you say, would you believe it? I do believe it. And I feel a bit envious of him: when I last visited him a couple of months ago, he was smoking a cigarette sitting and relaxing in the sun.


  1. Their wisdom lies in the "humble" life these elderly persons lead: a little of everything cannot hurt. Yet, the air they have been breathing in their youth was cleaner than today and the life-style was not that hectic: they used to follow-and still do so-the natural rhythms of the days, of the seasons. I have a profound admiration for them. Forza Nonni e Prozii!

  2. As opposed to poplar conviction eating fat isn't what causes ketosis. In the past starvation diets were utilized regularly to instigate ketosis. All about health