Living Longer

Living Longer

Hi there,

My first post for 2018 is about living longer. A bit strange coming from a 32yo Mum of 1 very soon to be 2 😉 but there’s a reason why I’ve been thinking about this recently.

I’m a Pacific Islander and we can be notorious for eating a massive amount of food. This over-consumption can lead to poor lifestyle choices and poor health indicators. What sort of poor health indicators?

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Type II diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Gout… the list goes on.

It wasn’t always this way though.

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Our local church in Ma’ufanga, Tonga – 2007

If I were to take you to my mother’s village, Ma’ufanga in Tonga you would see a vast difference from the type of person living in the Islands compared to those of us who have migrated overseas.

Picture this – you can only eat from seeds you’ve planted, pick fruit from trees you climb, harvest produce from your land you work on, meat from your animals you prepare or fish you catch.

In summary you eat well, you’re physically working the land and you are involved in your village/community.

Now picture this other scenario. Convenience food has allowed fast food to be quickly prepared and poorly produced, rarely eat fruit and vegetables, regular exercise is a genuine struggle and there is a huge disconnect with the cattle grazing in the field to the beef sitting in your Big Mac burger.

So food quality is generally poor, exercise infrequently and are disconnected from your local community.

It’s almost polar opposites of how Pacific Islanders from the Islands live compared to the Pacific Islanders overseas.

Some relatives of mine pass too early and way before their time. My 55yo uncle had a stroke and died from an unfortunate head trauma when he fell, an aunty needs dialysis 4 days a week to filter her blood otherwise she’ll die, 30yo cousins struggle to walk due to gout.

I would have loved to have my uncle still involved in my life and in our community but his untimely death cut short his time with us by 30 years! Makes me sad. Imagine if your time was cut short by 30 years!

So why is this the case?

I found this great article that talks about how people live longer and what the common trait among them are? Where do they live? What are their daily habits? How to they deal with stress and so on…

So what were the main findings?

  1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle – regular exercise, managing stress, eating the right foods in the right portions and not eating and drinking to excess
  2. Being involved in supportive groups – family, religious communities and social groups

Common sense really but living this way means living better and living longer 🙂

Start small and build slowly. Try a daily walk. Practice being alone without technology for a short period of time. Question the food you’re eating – is it giving you energy or is it sapping your energy? How are you dealing with stress?

I don’t want to lose 30 years… do you?

With love,

Belinda.

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