In 1939 Peter Kelder published his book "The Eye of Revelation” (download free here).
It tells the story of the discovery of a sect of Tibetan Lamas who had seemingly discovered the fountain of youth - Colonel Bradford describes their amazing health and vitality despite their very old age. He describes not only the marvelous benefits one can achieve from a 10 - 15 minutes per day practice of the five yoga-like postures they call "Rites", but also outlines the monks dietary recommendations for anti-aging and health. It is important to mention that the Lamas tilled their own soil by hand, enjoying direct contact with the soil, handling it and working with it. They were never choosy about their meals since there was little to select from. The monks ate wholesome, good food in the following manner:
- They were vegetarians but ate eggs, butter and cheese in sufficient quantities to 'serve certain functions of the brain, body and nervous system'. They had no need of meat, fish or fowl since they are strong and virile from practicing the Rites.
- One of the secrets of health they describe is to only eat one type of food at a meal, to avoid clashing in the stomach. Sometimes Colonel Bradford ate a meal consisting only of bread. At others he had fresh fruits and vegetables, or just a feast of one vegetable. At first he missed the variety of foods to which he was accustomed but after a short while came to enjoy the benefits he gained from sharing their diet.
- The monks said you should keep starches, fruits and vegetables separate from meats, fish and fowl.
- Starches clash with proteins. If you eat bread (starch) with meats, egg or cheese (protein) a reaction is set up in the stomach which not only causes discomfort, but more importantly contributes to a shorter lifespan.
- You could however have several kinds of meats to a meal. You can have butter, eggs and cheese with the meat meal, but nothing sweet or starchy - no cakes, puddings etc.
- Alternatively you could have all starches together, bread, butter, pies, cakes, puddings, fruit and fresh and cooked vegetables.
- Butter is neutral, it can be used with a starchy meal or with a meat meal. However milk mixes better with meat.
- Coffee and tea should always be taken black
- The Lamas never ate whole eggs unless they were involved in hard physical labor, in which case they might eat one, medium boiled. However they did eat lots of egg yolks, discarding the white part. They say that one should never eat the while part unless involved in hard manual labor as the egg whites are used only by the muscles. The egg yolks on the other hand are used by the brain, nerves, blood and tissues. They recommend eating them raw not during a meal, but before or after it!
- You must eat slowly, chewing your food to almost a liquid before swallowing it. They said food must first be 'digested' in the mouth to obtain the full nourishment of the food.
- By obtaining the full nourishment from the food, less food needs to be eaten overall.
This last point about eating less food, brings me to an article I read recently from BBC News about how eating less, can help you live longer. Here's some excepts from the article below:
Low-cal diet 'long-life benefits'
Scientists have found tangible signs that a low-calorie diet could reverse signs of ageing in the body. A six-month study showed cutting calories lowered insulin levels and core body temperatures.
It is known that reducing the amount of calories that rodents and other animals take in long-term lengthens their life. It is thought that restricting calorie-intake affects processes in the body such as metabolism and sensitivity to insulin - as well as the health benefits from losing weight.
Researchers from Louisiana State University studied 48 overweight men and women between March 2002 and August 2004. All were healthy, but none exercised. They were either put on an eating plan to maintain their existing weight, given a plan to cut their calorie intake by 25%.
A third group was told to restrict their calorie intake and exercise, and a fourth was put on a very low-calorie diet - 890 kcal a day until their weight had gone down by 15%, - followed by a weight maintenance diet.
After six months, the non-diet group had lost an average of 1% of their weight, the calorie restriction group, 10.4%, those who were on a calorie restricted diet plus exercise, 10% and the very low-calorie diet, 13.9%.
Fasting insulin levels - recorded between meals - were significantly reduced in all the three diet groups. Low insulin levels is one of the common factors to have been recorded in people who live to over 100.
People on either of the calorie restriction diets had reduced average core body temperature, which has been previously suggested to be an aid to living longer. Being cooler means the body does not have to expend as much energy.
In addition, there was a reduction in the amount of DNA damage - errors that occur when a cell divides - seen in the three groups.
Dr Leonie Heilbronn, who led the research, said: "Our results indicate that prolonged calorie restriction caused a reversal in two of three previously reported biomarkers of longevity."
But she added: "Longer-term studies are required to determine if these effects are sustained and whether they have an effect on human aging."
Dr Frankie Phillips, of the British Dietetic Association, said the research was interesting because it gave an insight into how losing weight affected the body. But she said it did not tell the whole story about how long someone will live. "Socio-economic factors and the environment can also influence how long you live."
She added: "We also know that being obese can cut up to nine or 10 years off someone's life. So by losing weight, you are effectively increasing your life expectancy by that long. This study reinforces the importance of being a healthy weight." But Dr Phillips said she was concerned that some people in the study were put on extremely low-calorie diets - something she said people should only do for a short period of time and under the supervision of their GP or a dietitian.
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Copyright (c) 2005 Carolinda Witt - author T5T - The Five Tibetan Exercise Rites (Penguin/Lantern 2005) and The 10-Minute Rejuvenation Plan (Random House/Three Rivers Press 2007)