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Ann Louise Gittleman is 70 years old and the picture of health. Her latest book, Radical Longevity: The Powerful Plan to Sharpen Your Brain, Strengthen Your Body, and Reverse the Symptoms of Aging, hit shelves this week. It’s her most recent in a collection of over 35 published works. The tome is rife with insights Gittleman has collected and implemented in her own life over nearly 50 years in nutrition and wellness.
We cover some of the secrets shared in this valuable handbook here, scratching the surface on the author’s 7 rules of “Radical Longevity.” But what exactly does the concept of radical longevity mean? And what was the journey Gittleman took to uncovering these secrets? We sat down with this holistic nutrition expert to find out.
What drew you to the world of wellness?
Ann Louise Gittleman: I entered the field of wellness nearly 50 years ago because of my skin. I have very sensitive skin and learned that my skin was reacting negatively to many foods and environmental pollutants. Many people don’t realize that our skin is a visible barometer of our overall health. So, while it was my own self-interest in uncovering what was going on with my skin and health that drew me to the field initially, I stayed because I realized that, by doing this work, I could help a lot of other people too. That is why I decided to get my MS in nutrition education and to later get a PhD in holistic nutrition.
How have you implemented your learnings over your lifetime?
ALG: I have written nearly 40 books based on my learnings, experience and research. At the same time, I’ve spent a lifetime implementing those learnings. I never write about anything that I don’t do for myself or for my family.
What is the most important philosophy you’ve implemented in your life thus far?
ALG: One of the most important life lessons I’ve learned is the power of a positive mindset and resilience. Many years ago, I suffered from a near-fatal concussion. But staying optimistic and moving ahead every day with the belief that tomorrow will be better helped me recover. I think many of us underestimate the power of our attitude and its effect on our overall health and wellbeing. That mind-body connection is very strong. I truly believe that one of the reasons I have been able to live a long, healthy life is that I have the mindset of resilience and view my life with positivity and gratitude.
What does aging gracefully mean to you?
ALG: To me, aging gracefully means not accepting the limitations we think we have as we get older. Many people give up valuable years of their lives. They’ve accepted some fate based on outdated ideas and data from times when we knew less and had fewer options.
Science, medicine and our understanding of the human body are advancing all the time. That’s one of the things I hope people take away from Radical Longevity – you don’t have to stop living your life simply because of your chronological age. By utilizing the latest research and putting simple strategies into practice, we can continue aging with grace, grit, beauty, vitality and with the hope that the rest of our life will be the best of our life.
You mentioned you are “anti-anti-aging.” What does that mean?
I really don’t like the term ‘anti-aging.’ I’m pro-aging in the sense that aging is a privilege and it’s something we shouldn’t take for granted. Having that perspective is important.
What I am a proponent of is healthy aging, or healthy ‘sage-ing’ as I like to say. I really believe that this is the time of our lives when we should be making the most of our years and that there are many ways to keep our body, mind and spirit in tip-top shape.
What is your number 1 tip to Clean Eating readers for aging healthfully?
Being mindful of iron is a huge component of healthy aging since too much iron creates oxidative stress that causes cell damage and unwanted DNA changes. Many younger women are deficient in iron but that becomes less of a concern for older men and post-menopausal women. Excess iron can be a ticking time bomb for issues of the heart, brain and liver. I recommend people test and give blood regularly to measure and reduce excess iron in their blood. Also, reduce use of cast iron pans.
What’s a graceful aging tip not shared in your book?
My one other tip is to consume apple cider vinegar daily. I believe that as we age, our bodies thrive on a tad more acidity on the cellular level – it’s like a positive charge for our cells. So, I recommend mixing two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in 8 ounces of water with a drop of Manuka honey and drinking that three times a day. I find that doing that every day can reduce fatigue and help you age with vitality and vibrance.
For more insights on aging well, check out our collection of healthy aging reads:
- Age Gracefully with Plant Phytochemicals
- Chia Seeds Could Be The Next Key Ingredient for Aging Gracefully
- How Kale Can Make You Look 10 Years Younger
- Weight Loss is Possible at Any Age
- 8 Herbs and Spices with Proven Longevity Benefits