Many Paths to Feel and Look Younger
Accelerated aging can be triggered by a variety of lifestyle behaviors: a poor, unbalanced diet deficient in vitamins and minerals; tobacco and alcohol use; lack of exercise; physical and/or mental trauma; pharmaceuticals; UV rays, and pollutants in the environment. Obesity is also a contributing factor. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc. gov) and the National Institutes of Health (nih.gov) report that more than twothirds of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese.
The human body is composed of approximately 100 trillion million cells: a universe within a universe. Some of them, including brain cells, are rarely replaced. Others are constantly being replicated, as existing cells multiply and make new ones using building tools from wholesome, vitamin-rich, plant foods. The aging process can be compared to a Xerox copy of a copy; each cell can multiply a certain number of times before it dies. Each reproduction becomes increasingly blurry and as more cells are damaged or lost, the effects of aging appear—the “crepe” effect as skin thins and ages, for example.
However, our chemical process of living (biochemistry) has been uprooted from earth’s garden. A deficiency in basic, plant-based vitamins—that the body uses to rebuild, restore and re-create our trillions of cells—can be the genesis of accelerated aging and chronic disease.
Because aging begins in childhood, the length and quality of our Earthly existence depends on daily lifestyle choices, not genes as many allege. Genes may “load the gun”, but lifestyle “pulls the trigger” according to T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University.
Achieving a long, high-quality, disease-free life while preserving our natural beauty is unlikely if cells are undernourished. According to Health.gov, we are encouraged to limit consumption of foods with refined sugars, nitrates and hydrogenated oils (trans fats), including hot dogs, processed delicatessen meats, bacon, doughnuts and fries, and to reduce daily sodium intake and to consume less saturated fats and refined grains like all-purpose flour, and increase intake of a variety of locally sourced, nutrient-dense plant-based foods.
To challenge the effects of aging, we must feed our cells with high-vibrational, clean, plant-based foods. We also require exercise such as aerobic activity, yoga or lifting light weights. Highly beneficial is meditation or sitting in silence for 30 minutes daily and using the breath to exhale thoughts that no longer serve you. Staying positive and undertaking mental activities such as reading, learning and exploring new places, stimulate the brain with new associations and adventures.
Aging may be inevitable, but the rate of aging is largely up to us. Creating healthy longevity and upholding our aesthetic with nourishing plant-based nutrition and new behaviors may help us maintain a youthful appearance. It appears the fountain of youth isn’t a fountain after all; it’s a lush garden requiring mindful tending, fertilized with self-compassion.
Chef Wendell Fowler is an inspirational speaker, syndicated writer and author who shares his science-supported message of the mind-body benefits of a plant based diet and lifestyle, and that disease is not necessarily one’s fault. For more information, visit ChefWendell.com.