ABOUT MY GENES
“This is a very important day for me!” I have decided to share my life with you, a journey of my life through experiencing my ageless youth still in my sixties. Just by chance and without intention or curiosity I found relatives in the XV-XVI- and until now living into their eighties and nighties. I could say LONGEVITY is in my genes. It seems that in my mother’s side of the family, my grandfather’s family “Salas”, were a bunch as tough as old boots. I have flicked through the pages of history and I found them fond of traveling and great sailors, always in control, in the know. Always taking advantages of circumstances or jobs or helping kings or governments, not in a bad way just making the best of the good opportunities, hard working and risk takers, ENERGETIC and GREAT SURVIVORS, their genes are still alive in the XXI. Just like them I found myself living a full life, not missing any chances that have come my way. I have always believed that chances in life only come once. I PLANNED my life since I was seven, took risks and grabbed the chances life presented to me. I traveled and moved continents and lived in foreign lands, discovered things that my family only partly shared. I did it alone in a modest capacity and what I found is that perhaps the Longevity genes in one side of the family have helped me: to SURVIVE hard times, to PLAN my life in advance, they have given me the ENERGY to carry out my plans, and to KNOW what I wanted from life without caring how crazy it was in the eyes of others. I have no doubt now that all that has happened to me is in the GENES I inherited. This doesn’t mean that I can’t learn new skills and become successful, it is just that help from my genes has made things a bit more familiar and less scary, perhaps easier, although the hard work and energy is always needed to keep going through my life .
I became curious about ageing at an early age perhaps before I was seven. It may have been the fact that I had experiences of youth and old age living within an extended family that was so large. From a child’s perspective I could see everybody preoccupied with keeping young. Saturdays or towards the end of the week when I didn’t go to school, the corridors of this old colonial house where we lived became a health and beauty house, with terracota tiles and a courtyard with a stone sculpted lion in one corner where I used to sit on top to observe what was going on in front of my eyes. I was changed forever. My five beautiful aunts and my mother used to create masks and potions from natural products and cake themselves with face masks, hair revitalisers, body wraps, and apply all sort of creams made from fruits, almonds and olive oils, egg yolks, cream, grated almonds with the skin on that came in small sacks to clean and removed death cells from the skin.
For the skin irritation was always on hand panela (sugar cane toffy) incredibly good to remove the undesirable spots, the famous Royal Jelly from bees that had enormous skin rejuvenation powers, and of course soap was a no, no, unless the skin was grease like mine and only I could used it sparingly. The best face cleansers of all times were olive oil, and rose petals water. To drink plenty of water was a must to keep the skin young and plump, the best sun protection was to avoid the midday sun rays, and take the sun in the early hours of the morning, tanning the skin was not fashionable or done and wearing a hat and long sleeves kept arms and neck without blemishes and wrinkles.
I was introduced to the ritual of looking after my skin in childhood around ten years of age. I am grateful for this tip from one of my aunts who recommended it to me. It was not vanity in her eyes, it was as important as looking after ones hair or teeth. “The dust and even some pollution gets around and blocks the skin pores and damages the skin!” she would say. “Since then I have kept a routine: to clean my skin, brush my teeth, say my prayers and read to sleep. The breakfasts were always full of nutrients from: fruits, nuts, whole grain breads, biscuits, corn arepas, eggs and the famous broth made of meat or chicken. Although coffee was available, I remember it being a masculine drink that was always taken strong from recently grounded coffee grains at mid morning or mid afternoon, mainly in the places that men met to have a tinto as it was called when served in a small cup together with a cigar or cigarrillo. I am from Colombia, the second producer of coffee in the world, of cafe suave expresso and I can claim I never have been fond of coffee. As having a cup of coffee and a cigarrillo became so popular I could see the skin turning dry, leathery, wrinkled and prematurely aged in the people of all ages and sexes who became fond of this past time social activity. I still have a picture in my mind of a glamorous young woman in the fifties with a tinto and a cigarrillo in a cigar holder. If only they knew what they were doing to their skin and health! It was a fashion, a liberation!
At home we had for breakfast and mid afternoon fresh roasted organic chocolate made in balls and mixed with spices such as cinnamon and cloves, which gave a special aromatic flavour to this drink. My grandmother would supervise the making and preparation of the chocolate. The grains from the cacao fruit were dried in the sun, roasted and then ground and made into balls and mixed with fresh whole milk. With a wooden mixer they were whisked vigorously until the end result was a creamy chocolate drink. My brothers and sister and I would put the cheese into the hot chocolate, which used to melt and stretch in thick ribbons. When no one was around, me and my brothers would have a competition of who could have the longest cheese ribbon. My second eldest brother and I both became doctors. Looking back in the early seventies he was already preaching and practicing Nutritional Medicine. I learnt a lot from him when I visited his clinic in Colombia and saw his patients looking so young and fresh with long shiny hair, beautiful smooth plump skin and shiny eyes – it didn’t matter at what age. He was the first real Anti-Ageing doctor I came across. He believed that youth was in the food we ate. I followed him closely and with his inspiration founded a clinic in London where I practised my pioneering Rejuvenating therapies.
So for today I can say that my NUTRITION since childhood has been important. I have had and still enjoy a good health, incredible energy and a very good thick skin. I look a lot younger than my years and certainly younger than a lot of other people of my age group. I love youth and never feel old and my thirst for life is unquenchable. I don’t believe in retiring as the body always needs the social interaction, exercise, energy and satisfaction of a job or hobby or helping others.
I don’t believe in plastic surgery as it is just a quick fix. After few years the effect goes away and ageing comes back with a vengeance, as the cause of the sagging, the wrinkles and lack of sex appeal comes from inside. I have learnt from other people’s mistakes I can sadly say, so I am careful and conservative. To look after my skin I have tried expensive creams and occasionally peelings. Never lasers, or heat or radiation in my skin or anything aggressive. I can obtain the same results with a good exfoliation using dry oat flakes made into a paste and rubbed vigorously on my face. It closes the pores and with olive oil on top it looks very good. Topical vitamin E and A work wonders on the skin and most important of all protection from the sun.
To keep slim and avoid sugar cravings I have 100% organic chocolate bars that I have almost every day, with plenty of vegetables, proteins and water. I have been reducing sugar for many years and I can say I don’t have pains of any kind and my energy is very good. Chocolate is such a good anti-oxidant and so rich in copper that brings back the colour of your eyes.
My exercise is limited to walking in moderation and stretching my joints and muscles at home. I came across young women in their forties having hip replacements from exercising in Gyms. If anything that kind of exercise is the best way to part with your youth.