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Back in the day...

Updated: Oct 14, 2023




I had a ‘Nan’ once upon a time, whose lifestyle would (according to today’s ‘healthy living’ standards) probably raise a few eyebrows.


Said grandmother was, by all accounts, both old-school…and German.


This is significant, for all the distinctly ‘un-English’ teachings it introduced to my young, influential mind… many of which have stuck, even to this day.


The lessons mainly constituted - but weren’t limited to - some rather unconventional approaches to fitness, wellness and nutrition:


Tea… in copious amounts. But always in a china cup.


Second breakfasts.


Kuchen for lunch…. (That’s cake!)

Again… with tea!


Lipstick… always. Everywhere.


Home-made vegetable soups and meat broths for dinner


Egg white custard


Yoghurt, if insomnia strikes


Fresh bread… from the baker!


Frische Luft - always! (Open those windows. All day. Everyday.)


A prune or two - self-explanatory!


Quarter pounders, on occasion!


Slapping one’s own back (in the name of circulation!)


The cumulative effect of these habits - well, it certainly boded well for my Nan’s vitality, mobility… longevity, in a way that mainstream health ‘experts’ would probably credit to luck or genetics, rather than coincidence, but which I’m beginning to deduce was directly correlated to those small, incremental behaviours.


This idea ties in nicely with the common thread I’ve often noticed among those who identify as an age that society might label as....‘ripe.’


That is, their ‘health secrets’ are often the antithesis of what we - the younger (ish) cohort of society - have been taught to believe are the keys to longevity and wellness.


That is (loosely speaking)

Don’t drink

Don’t eat sugar

Avoid caffeine


In essence, my Nan seemed to live by what could be called an ‘intuitive lifestyle’, comprised of choices which were a direct reflection of her own unique constitution, taste and metabolism.


Her rationale had little regard for what the ‘science’ of biochemistry might have to say either for or against any one of those choices.


What I take from this, fundamentally, is that a ‘healthy lifestyle’ is subjective, and doesn’t always look like three square meals. Meat and two veg. Five a day. Eight glasses…


Often…


It’s Apfelkuchen! (Apple cake!)


And tea!


And a nice little spazieren (stroll!), but not before rollering one’s hair and donning one’s finest brooch!


As a refreshing, not entirely unappealing alternative to today’s wholegrain prescription for ‘living one’s best life’ … the ‘Grandmother method’ seems to resonate with something more than the stereotypical desire for ‘wellness.’


It also speaks to the long-suppressed voices of appetite and autonomy - at the core of which is the belief that there is maybe no better determinant of what’s ‘right’ for one’s mind and body, than what intuition, common sense and experience relays to our decision-making machinery, at any given time.








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