Back in 2005 when my rejuvenation journey began, there wasn’t much information available about how dementia risk could be reduced. But I was 68 and all too conscious of the many “seniors’ moments” I had been experiencing as I forgot names, struggled for the right word, mislaid my car and house keys, forgot appointments, found myself at the fridge or somewhere wondering why I went there… All too many to relate.
So I started exploring methods of retirement rejuvenation once I obtained a report from an Australian medical team who were overseeing a 30 year longitudinal study into lifestyle factors in the causation of cancer. That report was about me, because, since 1990 and up to the present time I have been participating in that study. The report shocked me. It told me that I was facing four significant hurdles in my hope for a happy, healthy retirement.
- I had a high blood pressure that put me in the “high risk for hypertension category”.
- My blood glucose level was in the pre-diabetic range.
- My Body Mass Index (BMI) was 34, causing me to be assessed as “Obese”, and only slightly below a BMI of 35, which would have classified me as “Grossly Obese”.
- My waist measurement was 117 cm (46 inches) (increased risk of cancer, etc).
My medical gurus whom I met in Thailand in 2005 (See in About Reg) pointed out that very short bursts of intense exercise, 10 seconds at a time and only between 18 and 24 times a week, would prevent and reverse the early stages of dementia. And also, in association with a major diet change, that would give me an almost “caveman’s body”. This website will tell the story of that transformation.
*My Diet Journey
I was asked to consider how our current human body evolved. What were the foods that available to our ancestors for most of our existence? It surely was not refined foods, trans fats and sugar! When I first considered this, it made a lot of sense; then I got to experience how a diet that responds to these simple principles helped me to get leaner. But then I extended past the ‘pure” paleo diet, which excludes dairy (because dairy was not available to our ancestors). I included dairy because my health advisers further pointed out that dairy provides calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and phosphorus that are not readily supplied in the paleo diet. And full fat dairy, like all other full fat food, is filling.
I am satisfied that my continuing physical development in muscle strength and, the feeling of being energized was, and is continuing to be contributed to my addition of dairy. And remember that my transformation actually begun at the age of 69! Check out the 2004 photo, taken when I visited Barcelona that year.
As we age our body loses the ability to extract sufficient vitamins and anti-oxidants from our food. It appears that we have an increasing need to supplement these vitamins and anti-oxidants the older we become. Certainly I believe that such supplementation has worked for me, and has apparently achieved similar results for others who followed my regimen.
Food Consumed by me on my journey to losing over 30kgm (66pounds) and achieving a healthy Body Mass Index
- Mixed fruits, each in a very small serve, in total no more than the equivalent of a large orange on any one day.
- Vegetables, raw where possible (*above ground varieties, except for sweet potato, onions and carrots).
- Full fat dairy food (*natural yoghurt, cream and cheese are very acceptable).
- Seafood, the lower in the food chain the better, such as Sardines and small Mackerels.
- Raw nuts & pumpkin seeds.
- Fatty foods, including saturated fats in meat.
- Eggs, preferably soft poached, up to three a day.
- Yes!, I do take vitamin and mineral supplements. Particularly Vitamin D3 and Vitamin C All easily obtainable.
- I enjoy a little alcohol up to five nights a week, but never exceeding 3 standard drinks (*I prefer beer, as it is sugar free). However, I am not suggesting that you should consider commencing drinking alcohol.
Food avoided by me
- Sugar and artificial sweeteners.
- All foods labled LOW FAT.
- Grains, especially wheat. Maximum of two slices of whole grain bread or two small whole grain rolls a week.
- Seafoods that are farmed.
- High starch food, particularly potatoes, but beans are acceptable.
- Fruit juice unless it contains all the natural pulp, and only a small glass a day, and only if fruit intake otherwise halved. Fruit contains sugar, something our evolutionary forebearers got very little of, and of which we need very little each day. And never start your day eating fruit. Never!
- Bread, bagels cakes. pastries puddings, anything made with flour.
*My Exercise Journey
(Of course I can not guarantee that your experience will be the same as mine. What I can say is many have followed in the same path with similar success)
Let’s first mention what never was a part of my journey:
- No Weight Lifting (except for the small weights in my hands as I am on the ministepper)
- No time consuming stretching exercises
- No Gym Visits
- No jogging
- Nothing that puts unnatural strain on leg and hip joints in particular
Here I am strengthening my abs by walking down a slope with my bike, standing upright and tensing my muscles as I steady the bike. Walking downhill this way, steadying your bike, is a simple, almost whole body workout which you will feel as you do it. Balance your upper body workout by alternating the side of the bike where you are holding it.
There is NO exercise benefit in coasting on a bike downhill!
After I ceased any form of sporting activity when I gave up social squash at 35, I did nothing which gave my muscles any form of workout beyond walking. I was told that we lose an average of 5 percent of our muscle mass every 10 years after the age of 35— but only if we don’t do anything to prevent it! And I had certainly not done anything to prevent it between the ages of 35 and 70…
It was also pointed out to me that, by losing muscle, weight increase was inevitable if our diet remained the same. Muscles at rest burn more calories than the equivalent weight of body fat, so reduced muscle mass slowly, but inevitably, leads to weight gain. So regular, planned exercise was a must if I were to reverse my negative health indicators.
Research has shown that high intensity, intermittent and brief training mixed with relaxed walking is closer to how our ancestors lived than any other combination of exercise. Pretty much everything is wrong with an extended heavy workout. We did not evolve to waste time on such an activity. What we did evolve to do was to engage in short, sharp strenuous activity, and be moderately active for much of the balance of our time.
If you look at our ancestral activity patterns, before the advent of planned agriculture and animal farming, we had relatively long periods of moderate activity, with a few short bursts of very-high-intensity efforts. Thus to replicate activities that led to our evolved human physiology we should reject both endurance training and extended levels of energy draining exercise.