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Ancient Chinese Secret of Longevity: Corn, Potatoes, and Women Bathing Nude Together

Other than the Chairman Mao worship (just another doG), this is a pretty cool video. I think its best attribute is to demonstrate that super longevity is very multi-faceted. I took note of how often it was mentioned to be rather “even keeled” in disposition (my metaphor).

I suppose I took note because that’s probably my own biggest issue.

…Anyway, of the local population of about 250,000, there are more than 70 centerinarians and over 200 in their 90s.

Funny thing is, the only foods really mentioned are corn & potatoes that they grow themselves.

Well, meat, seafood, and the fatty acids in both aren’t harmful—human evolution falsifies such fucktardiness. But, in the context of an omnivorous diet, there is great potential variety and hell fuck: if you can live to 100 on corn and potatoes if that’s what you have and it’s cheap-ass peasant food then well, what the fuck is there to say about it?

I loathe dogma and promoters of dogma, especially peddlers of the offering plate (now, they’re landing pages).

Beyond that, at a point in the video, after asking about the secret to longevity, this still popped up for only a couple of seconds, signifying to me that it’s a true secret.

Screen Shot 2014 10 23 at 9 34 22 AM
The True Secret to Longevity

…And here I always thought it was girls’ weekends and the topless pillow fights in panties….

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

51 Comments

  1. Douglas on October 23, 2014 at 11:49

    Taliking about Jeanne Louise Calment:

    “She took up fencing lessons at 85 and rode bicycle until 100. However ——

    She used to ate two lbs. of chocolate per week until her doctor persuaded her to give up sweets at the age of 119. She quit smoking only at 119, but her doctor said her abstinence was due to pride rather than health — she was too blind to light up herself, and hated asking someone to do it for her.”
    Also:
    “Longevity ran in the family. Calment’s mother lived until she was 86 and her father until he was 93. But Jean-Marie Robine, a public health researcher who is one of the authors of a book about Calment, said her great strength was her unflappability.

    “I think she was someone who, constitutionally and biologically speaking, was immune to stress,” he said in a telephone interview. “She once said, `If you can’t do anything about it, don’t worry about it.’ ”
    “even keeled”and good genetics might be the common tread here. Reminds me of the difference between burning logs in a woodstove to get long lasting heat or have a big bright short live bonfire….

  2. Sharyn on October 23, 2014 at 12:08

    I sure as heck don’t want to live that long.

    • rob on October 23, 2014 at 13:14

      Faced with that prospect I would probably become a heroin addict just to be done with it, what are they going to do throw me in jail?

  3. Dan on October 23, 2014 at 12:15

    It’s videos like this that actually make me question the relevance of using evolution as a proxy for a healthy diet. I mean you have to ask why is it so important what our ancestors ate, when human population’s today are living longer now on seemingly contrasting diets.

    • Amy L.H. on October 24, 2014 at 05:58

      Well, medical treatments have come quite a bit further since the prehistoric era. From diagnosis to treatment, we can extend life simply by curing strep throat in childhood. What could once kill people en masse is now a mere matter of a few days bed rest and a Z-pack.

      I’m generalizing, of course. You bring up a point I’ve gone over and over in my head, that people eat lots of different foods, grains and beans and dairy, and are just fine and plenty long-lived.

      On both sides of my family, people live well into their 80s before ill-health sets in, and then they tend to go relatively quickly and quietly. My maternal grandfather was the shortest lived of all of my grandparents and extended aunts/uncles on either side, and of either of his parents or his siblings, likely due to the pleurisy and lung cancer he developed from a life of working in and around asbestos-laden factories. Absent chemical interference with proper life function, I’m from a fairly long-lived stock.

      And guess what? They eat wheat and drink milk, consume cheese and yogurt and legumes and lots of other foods that are considered bad for you. I’m not saying maybe they couldn’t live even longer if they gave up some of that stuff (or that I couldn’t live longer if…) but they do just fine, and keep their mental faculties too.

      So, looking at evolution as a proxy has its faults. Evolution moves slowly, we know this, but it is constant. And we are a highly adaptable species. If we couldn’t tolerate certain foods, populations of early humans who relied upon them would have died out right quick.

    • gabkad on October 29, 2014 at 13:20

      People don’t realize that tetanus was the biggest, earliest post natal killer of babies. If the umbilical cord was cut with a dirty sharp instrument…. look at pictures of Ethiopians and even Masaai…. they are missing their bottom front teeth. This is a cultural practice so that if the child gets tetanus, it can be fed through the hole between the teeth.

      I have no idea what paleolithic people did about cutting the umbilical cord. If they did. Or did they chew it off or what.

  4. Gilnut on October 23, 2014 at 12:38

    It stands to reason that the human animal would have as varied a diet as they did habitat. The problem with the SAD diet is not necessarily vegi versus carni, it seems to me that the problem is chemically/mechanically processed foods with chemical additives.

    My rule of thumb now is that if I can’t recognize it or pronounce it, it don’t eat it. (i.e. While bread is made from wheat, the wheat in that form is unrecognizable.)

    I haven’t gone LC Paleo or Vegetarian, and I also don’t “stress” over the food I eat. Whole foods, sourced as natural as I can get them, and I’ve lost 20 pounds and counting, over a couple of months. I also feel a shitton better!

  5. John+D on October 23, 2014 at 13:33

    Weston Price should have paid these folks a visit; longevity, apparently, but really terrible oral health and mandible formation.

    As for the tourism entrepreneur, selling photos with the girls in the pool might out-earn the photos with the oldsters. Just a thought.

    Ancestral diet: I agree with the comment by Dan above that this is a bogus research area. We ate everything and whatever didn’t kill us AND was somehow palatable and energy giving, we adapted to. This includes locusts, mice, bats, grass seed (aka wheat/rice) and ???

    In a few thousand years we will have fully adapted to hohos and fruit loops. No prob!

  6. Dr. Curmudgeon Gee on October 23, 2014 at 13:39

    FYI: ancient Chinese (Taoists) also practiced “gain avoidance” & fasting (some probably still do)

    in ancient Taoist literature, it is believe that grain caused “anger & worm” in one’s gut (something like this)

  7. Beans+Mcgrady on October 23, 2014 at 16:03

    The also conserve the jizz.

  8. gabkad on October 23, 2014 at 16:09

    Richard, can’t be that ancient. Corn and potatoes were introduced by the Spanish or Portuguese.

    • Dr. Curmudgeon Gee on October 23, 2014 at 18:47

      not sure about corn

      but yes, potato & tomato are pretty recent introduction in China (recent as in hundreds years). carrot is also recent

      i believe that sweet potato (or yam?), daikon are lotus root, are more traditional tubers /roots.

    • Richard Nikoley on October 23, 2014 at 20:29

      Not your day for the Ancient Chinese Secret meme, Gabs? 🙂

    • gabkad on October 24, 2014 at 06:27

      Corn is from Mexico. Sweet potato was also introduced not anciently.

      Lotus root is local. Daikon is a radish. Also local.

      I think the potato, sweet, regular etc. is one of the candidates for the ‘population explosion award’.

    • gabkad on October 24, 2014 at 06:33

      Just for you Richard, I ate potatoes with sautéed onion and red pepper for breakfast. 🙂

    • Richard Nikoley on October 24, 2014 at 08:42

      My go to breakfast has become beans, couple of eggs, piece or two of fruit. Sometimes 4 oz OJ cut with water or club soda, and or a glass of whole milk. On that, I won’t have a tinge of hunger for 8 hours minimum.

    • GTR on October 25, 2014 at 05:54

      Corn is like a direct millet replacement. You may unprecisely call it a “big millet”, both c4 gluten-free crops, ans so 🙂 Corn is even “impoved millet”, as it doesn’t carry the goitrogenic properties of the latter.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millet

      “Specialized archaeologists called palaeoethnobotanists, relying on data such as the relative abundance of charred grains found in archaeological sites, hypothesize that the cultivation of millets was of greater prevalence in prehistory than rice,[6] especially in northern China and Korea. Millets also formed important parts of the prehistoric diet in Indian, Chinese Neolithic and Korean Mumun societies. Broomcorn (Panicum miliaceum) and foxtail millet were important crops beginning in the Early Neolithic of China. “

    • gabkad on October 25, 2014 at 09:50

      Richard, maybe these people just look old. I mean, holy crap, did you see their teeth? Or lack thereof. Edentulism ages people big time because it results in muscle atrophy not only in the face and neck but all the way down the back. Ever notice people with inadequate dentures have hunchback? Not just from poor nutrition but also muscles balance front and back. Weak anterior muscles result in weak posterior postural muscles. And if they are eating mostly a vegetarian diet, they aren’t getting enough protein for collagen in the skin. They shrivel up.

      Considering all the data from Weston Price about well formed dental arches, room for all the teeth etc. the younger people in the video have crowded teeth. So based on a Weston Price evaluation, they are definitely not consuming an ideal diet. The dude with the stainless steel canines was interesting. Kind of a Chinese version of Pirates of the Caribbean. With all the tourists now flocking to that area, the water sure won’t be clean anymore and they’ll be importing the various viruses from the rest of China.

      Interesting there were no chickens or other farm animals around at all.

    • Dr. Curmudgeon Gee on October 25, 2014 at 10:17

      gabs,

      there’re variety of yam or sweet potato .

      not sure if they’re introduced

      but i’m sure those & taro more ancient & traditional than potato in Chinese diet

      Confucius is pro-agriculture hence order than Taoist (the latter seems very anarchist to me.)

      cheers,

    • Dr. Curmudgeon Gee on October 25, 2014 at 10:53

      the observation of teeth is interesting;

      reminds me that most of Chinese visitors in late 80 & 90 (from PRC) bad teeth & bad breadth (chronic) 🙁

    • gabkad on October 25, 2014 at 13:30

      Still do.

      Taro is sort of indigenous. Indo-Malaysian. But all sweet potato is from South America.

  9. Regina on October 23, 2014 at 17:21

    that’s cool Dr. Curmudgeon Gee!

  10. Michael44 on October 23, 2014 at 22:27

    John+D said –

    “Ancestral diet: I agree with the comment by Dan above that this is a bogus r

    In a few thousand years we will have fully adapted to hohos and fruit loops. No prob!”

    John, at the risk of your comment turning out to being tongue-in-cheek, I will respond to that. 🙂

    My understanding of biology (quite limited knowledge, mind you) – when an organism adapts to something within the environment in order to enhance its chances of survival, it will also then become maladapted to something else, as a trade off .

    So, maybe one day we will be fully adapted to living off, for example, a 50% proportional ho ho diet, but at what cost? What is the human organism prepared to trade off as a consequence?

    One other thing, with ho ho’s being of such low nutritional value, the trade off might actually be of a far greater proportion than the temporary benefit gained.

    • Dan on October 24, 2014 at 01:14

      No that is a very good point Michael. At the risk of sounding like a the same beating drum I have undertaken research on animal ecology and nearly always it boils down to a trade off that animal has to make whether it be physiology, behaviour or ecology. It’s also important to bare in mind our historical constraint and you allude to this. Carbohydrate and fat burning metabolisms are ancient pathways found all the way back to bacteria. The fact that is has been reserved for so long suggests we can’t really live without it. Also, we require nutrients to support our biological machinery, we can make trade offs but we are constrained to a large degree by what is needed by our systems. At the risk of sounding absurd we use fat and carbs as food, but we certainly couldn’t start eating rocks as fuel. We are constrained by our biology in many many ways. It’s known as developmental constraints theory and probably has just as much of an influence on evolution as natural selection does.

  11. doGnuts on October 24, 2014 at 00:04

    I’ve often wondered how you’ve lived as long as you have Richard. Vile potty mouth must surely be a symptom of some sort of stress, must it not?

    • gabkad on October 24, 2014 at 06:31

      Stale Ho Ho type of comment.

      Ever considered it’s just a habit? Like taking a shit in the morning?

    • Richard Nikoley on October 24, 2014 at 08:37

      Well, beyond the forced schtick on the blog where I’m lafing as often as I’m pissed, it’s thereputic.

      I’d probably be dead if I didn’t color things up.

      Thanks Gabs, fellow potty mouth. 🙂

    • doGnuts on October 24, 2014 at 08:41

      Stale? That’s as fresh as a steaming hot pile of turd Gabs. Admit it. It’s funny. Richard’s skin is thick enough to see the humor in it I think.

    • doGnuts on October 24, 2014 at 08:44

      I’ll out potty mouth both of you if I have to by the way…

    • Richard Nikoley on October 24, 2014 at 08:47

      I lafed when I saw it.

    • gabkad on October 29, 2014 at 11:34

      Richard has ‘the knowledge’. 😉

  12. Regina on October 24, 2014 at 16:26

    here’s a daily fucktard for your amusement:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGtopbE9tMM#t=501

  13. pzo on October 24, 2014 at 19:33

    Corn/maize and potatoes, obviously not ancestral. And as some above have pointed out, modern medicine has given us greater longetify.

    Without the latter, my father probably would have died from cancer at about age 43, my mother similarly twice later in age. And this is from families with genes considered, generally, to be long lived.

    I eat real foods, including modest amounts of corn and potatoes, I exercise non-phobically, I hope to be healthy when I die. Better that than metabolic issues and long suffering.

  14. GTR on October 25, 2014 at 06:12

    May I suggest a big confouding factor called “wars”? Living 100 years in China means going through atrocities of Chinese-Japanese war, communist revolution, and then communist persecutions. Same for Europe: 2 world wars there, Holocaust, Holodomor, Stalinist persecutions in the former Soviet Union, Nazi massacres etc.

    Living in a remote village, somewhere deep in the mountains (that no fighting power cares about), and relying on self-grown local foods is a great way of avoiding participating in such events. Even if living in a city was better in a peace times, cities are the major interest for war fractions, so the city is bomarded, shelled and supply lines are cut off, inabitants not agreeing with the new powers killed etc. Remote villages win in war times; but what about a persistent peace?

  15. Pauline on October 25, 2014 at 10:06

    I wonder if going hungry and experiencing times of low calorie intake in youth may contribute to longevity. Just as too much food abundance may lead to a shorter life. There is an adaptation process going on in the body to survive. We are designed for periods of feast and hunger?

  16. Dr.+Curmudgeon+Gee on October 25, 2014 at 11:08

    ps. didn’t they mention that “less sex” is also one secret as well? XD

    • pzo on October 25, 2014 at 12:38

      Well, literally, “fuck that.” Like calorie restriction so that you MAY live a long time…or not…..in misery.

      Far better to eat a lot, fuck a lot, die young(er.)

  17. Pauline on October 25, 2014 at 16:45

    I am thinking more of those who survived times of war, when things were scarce growing up, I wonder if their genes were influenced by that hardship like my grandmother born 1904 but lived to 1998.

  18. Pauline on October 25, 2014 at 16:50

    And a friend of mine’s mother who was born 1920 and is 94 this year, her mother’s siblings have a history of long life into their 90s.

  19. MIchael44 on October 25, 2014 at 20:45

    “developmental constraints theory””

    Thanks Dan. I’ll keep that in mind.

  20. Pauline on October 26, 2014 at 02:50

    I have come upon this article since watching Into The Wild again recently, and thought it worth a mention that wild potato seeds have a protein in them that is extremely toxic and causes paralysis of the legs when eaten in large amounts especially when the body is young, vulnerable and stressed.
    http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/how-chris-mccandless-died

  21. Ulfric Douglas on October 26, 2014 at 12:05

    Pauline why would anyone eat wild potatoe seeds?

  22. Pauline on October 27, 2014 at 05:50

    I don’t know but apparently because the wild potato plant is reported in books as harmless and its not common knowledge that the seeds are highly poisonous. This was only really became general knowledge through the death of Chris McCandless and the ongoing inquiry into his cause of death. So its a warning to natural wild foragers out there. The book he had on him which he used as reference made no reference to the seeds being poisonous, particularly the amino acid in the seed.

    • gabkad on October 29, 2014 at 11:33

      Pauline, interesting read in the New Yorker. I knew that wild pea information for decades (father is a toxicologist). Didn’t know that these plants or similar are also indigenous to North America. I’m sure the native people knew about it. Too bad McCandless didn’t. But these are not the eating potato seeds.

      I listened to a woman who has the blog WTF Evolution. She says that potatoes have root hairs that trap various critters like mites and then the potato sucks up the nutrients from their bodies.

  23. Aaron Ashmann (halotek) on October 27, 2014 at 10:05

    I wonder how they got their b12 if most of what they ate was corn and potatoes.

  24. Dr.+Curmudgeon+Gee on October 27, 2014 at 12:46

    below is my poor translation of he traditional Yao diet from Baidu & others PRC sites

    http://baike.baidu.com/view/964885.htm

    maze, red yam, (white) rice, glutinous rice,
    pumpkin (or squash), taro, beans (not sure what type of beans),

    daikon, cabbage, broccolli, spinach, winter melon, chilli pepper, tomato, bamboo, peas, eggplant, fungi, tofu,

    egg, bacon, smoked meat, cured meat, fish, bird

    they live w/ their livestock (pigs & chicken, duck, buffalo) they probably also hunt (birds) & fish

    drinks: wine & “fat” tea (tea leaves sauteed w/ in fat with green onion, ginger, salt, chilli pepper, sometimes peanuts, beans, rice, sometimes offal)

    cheers,

    • gabkad on October 29, 2014 at 11:58

      This is where the China Study fails. Give a Chinese person a pig and watch what happens… as if… There are very few voluntary vegetarians in traditional Chinese society. Just people who have no access to animal protein.

      The ‘thing’ about soybeans is they were traditionally used as a means to increase the fertility of the soil. Until there was famine and someone figured out how to make them edible. Because soybeans are not a valid source of nutrition for human beings unless somehow they are treated to eliminate the huge amounts of anti-nutrients.

      Charles Mann’s book ‘1493’ is a very interesting read. He’s got all this information on how different food plants made it around the globe from South and Central America. Fascinating and also why I truly believe that the population growth on this planet can be attributed to the crops moved around from the Americas. And how domesticated animals made it to the Americas.

      It’s like, what was curry before the introduction of chili peppers? They have been adopted so thoroughly by cuisines in Asia and Europe that it is ubiquitous to their cooking and tastes today. People can’t even imagine what the heck their ancestors ate before the introduction of various plants from the Americas. Just consider Italian cooking without tomatoes? Or Irish cooking without potatoes? Or Hungarian and Turkish cooking without paprika.

      The sunflower is from the Americas. Squash, beans….. it’s incredible how foods made it around the world and how they have fundamentally influenced the diets of everyone. (Fava beans, peas and soybeans were native to Eurasia, but the other beans were not.) How food crops made it around the world and how they influenced people is fascinating.

      That tea, btw, sounds super gross. I can’t even imagine why (aside from the caffeine kick) anyone would sautee tea leaves with other foods. Back when tea first started to be introduced to England, there was a justified damning of it as being of no nutritional value. And how tea plants were smuggled out of China is also a fascinating story. So much cloak and dagger stuff went on in the past.

    • Dr.+Curmudgeon+Gee on October 29, 2014 at 21:42

      i imagine the “fat tea” is probably similar to Tibetian’s “”butter tea”

      i had “tea leaves salad” once in a Burmese restaurant (or maybe Cambodian?). tea leaves sauteed & salted, it was actually quite good.

      re. B12, forgot where i read it. some veg*an Indians (Jains?) get it from unwashed vegetables. after they immigrated to the west, they’d develope b12 deficiency (don’t ask for my citation)

      i don’t know why all the Yaos in the clip are shown to eat veg only, when the sources clearly state that their traditional diet, is clearly omnivorous.
      i wonder the producer picked the poorer people to make a point, considering how propagandist it is.

      cheers,

  25. Ron on October 29, 2014 at 05:18

    You’re so useless .. It’s pathetic. Even Jack Kruse is better than you.

  26. Richard Nikoley on October 29, 2014 at 11:10

    “You’re so useless ..”

    Here’s the funny thing. I never say shit like that. If I do, it’s something like “you’re so useless to me.” For, I can’t stand being automatically dismissed as a solipsist fucktard who presumes to speak for everybody because his mind is the only one that exists.

    “Even Jack Kruse”

    Yea, and if you checked into it, you’d know that this was Jack’s last hurrah, you stupid ignorant fucktard.

    https://freetheanimal.com/2012/05/dr-jack-kruse-neurosurgeon-is-a-big-fucking-liar.html

    • gabkad on October 29, 2014 at 12:01

      Where is that phony baloney these days anyway? Keeping a low profile or am I entirely out of the loop?

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