As a fortysomething, I have a heightened awareness of my mortality and it has made me more interested in learning how to age “the right way,” if there is such a thing.
In this year’s Food Revolution Summit, OB-GYN, TV host and best-selling author Christiane Northrup said she had lately taken to preparing her own food and finding satisfaction in it.
“Eating to keep going, that’s a typical doctor’s life. Now I’m enjoying taking the time to prepare my food,” said Northrup.
Eating organic fruits and vegetables is like breastfeeding from Mother Earth, she added.
“When a baby is breastfeeding, that baby’s saliva will be absorbed by the nipple and will change the consistency,” she said. “There is a dialog going on between the baby’s physiology and the mother’s milk. The way the earth responds to our needs may not be so farfetched. It’s a mind-opening thought.
“Why do kids put things in their mouths? They are training their immune system, through the tonsils and adenoids, to make what it needs to make for the environment the child is in,” she said.
“We have lost this conversation because we have made prevention largely about vaccines and not about what is the environment or what is the immune system doing, how we can support immunity through the foods that we eat.”
Aging and vitality
Northrup talked about the commonly held belief that as our bodies age, they would deteriorate. “It can be a dark, ominous and bleak prospect. But what happens if we realize that our bodies are designed for health and vitality and wellbeing for our entire lives?” she said.
She also discussed award-winning sex therapist and author Gina Ogden’s Harvard study. “It was the largest sex survey ever, bigger than Kinsey’s. She discovered that 60-, 70-year-old women were having the best sex of their lives because they connected spirituality and sexuality.
“Men are simultaneously told that by their 40s they will have ‘testopause,’ so men are worried that their testosterone is decreasing. Muscle strength, vitality, etc. is supposedly lost, but then there are these 70-year-old vegans breaking records.”
Northrup quoted physicist John Wheeler: “Masculinity expresses the idea that there is something worth dying for. Femininity expresses the idea that there are things worth living for.”
“We need a balance of those,” said Northrup. “Men are being brainwashed that the most heroic thing they can do is to go and die, making the ultimate sacrifice. This lives in a lot of men and they feel guilty for pleasurable things that are sustainable.”
Northrup called for banishing scared or negative thinking.
“People who practice gratitude is the antidote to that. Keep a gratitude journal. Have a mindset like a child, when you still believed the world was a good place. Look forward to vacation or the next day. People who do this tend to have lower blood pressure, lower incidences of congestive heart failure and heart disease, lower stress hormones, and increased blood flow through the body. Gratitude is medicine.”
Northrup added that people who live healthy lives tend to be more grateful for their bodies. They are more likely to exercise, eat well and focus on the good stuff.
“It’s not looking for love and support but becoming love and support,” said Northrup. “It becomes your reality.
But what if you just don’t feel grateful? Northrup advised to address your needs first; until they are acknowledged, they will not stop tormenting you until they are addressed.
“You have the power to have that need met. Trust that you have the capacity to meet that need. ‘I need to be touched.’ You may feel guilty or ashamed. But remember that anger is a cause of help,” she said.