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Thursday, 29 September 2016


My Great - Grandma was a tough ol' chick

She ate real, traditional food and could cook up fried chicken from scratch. When I say “from scratch,” I literally mean “from scratch.” As in, she would kill a chicken, dress it, coat it with flourand fry that baby up in a big ol’ frying pan of lard.

She was an amazing woman, my great-grandma. That woman wasn’t afraid of anything. She’d sleep out in the dark woods with hungry bears if you dared her to. She was that tough.

Naturally, when I started to research traditional, nourishing foods, I thought of my great-grandmother. I knew SHE would have supported my lifestyle, and probably could have taught me some amazing traditional cooking skills. But…Did Grandma really know best ?

One of the most common questions when talking about the wisdom of traditional diets is…..“Didn’t people way back then drop dead at 40? They ate a lot of meat and fat. They must have had a shorter life expectancy, right?”

he truth is, life expectancy is NOT a recorded number of the age people died, but rather anaverage of all deaths, with a very high number of infant deaths. High infant mortality rates before 1900 skewed the numbers. The high infant mortality rate before the 1900s was due to unclean conditions and poor medical care. Subsequently, life expectancy numbers before the year 1900 gets easily knocked down to a low life number.

Because infant mortality rates decreased as medical technology increased, the average life expectancy for men in 1907 was 45.6 years. In 1957, it was 66.4. In 2007 it reached 75.5. The increase in life expectancy numbers is due mostly to a decreasing infant mortality rate, which decreased from 9.99% in 1907 to 2.63% in 1957, and then all the way down to 0.68% in 2007.

"The inclusion of infant mortality rates in calculating life expectancy creates the mistaken impression that earlier generations died at a young age; Americans were not dying en masse at the age of 46 in 1907. The fact is that the maximum human lifespan — a concept often confused with “life expectancy” — has remained more or less the same for thousands of years. The idea that our ancestors routinely died young (say, at age 40), has no basis in scientific fact. When Socrates died at the age of 70 around 399 B.C., he did not die of old age but instead by execution. It is ironic that ancient Greeks lived into their 70s and older, while more than 2,000 years later modern Americans aren’t living much longer.”

– Benjamin Radford, Bad Science Column


My husband’s great-great-great-great grandfather Augustas Oliver Artemas Stowell
, was born June 4th, 1783 and died August 23, 1860 at age 77.

My husband’s great-great-great-great grandmother Mary Stephens Holmes, was born Sept. 15th, 1797 and died Nov. 20th, 1885 at age 88.

My great-great-great-great grandfather James Monroe Lindsey, was born December 30th, 1829 and died January 9, 1912 at age 83.

My great-great-great-great grandmother Mary Sarah Ann Little, was born July 2nd, 1832 and died March 5th, 1910 at age 78.

Crazy, right? Turns out Grandma and Grandpa knew how to live a long, healthy life with traditional food!

Read more here:



FredT said...

The other thing is cause of death. Getting kicked by a horse at age 81 is different from "natural causes" (unknown). Infections also do not represent a shortage of longevity, but misfortune. Oh well. in the end we all just die anyway.

Kay G. said...

My grandmother loved her lard and bacon too, she lived to be 96! My Dad is 89 now. I hope I take after them!

Anonymous said...

Lard, whole milk and bacon was always in my grandparents house.
They lived to 82, 84, 88 and 99.

Debbie said...

the jury will always be out on this topic!! even smokers. we have a long line of smokers in my family that lived well in to their 90's. chucks grandmother smoked and had the most beautiful skin i have ever seen. she was 92 when she passed away!!!

Gail said...

Yes. It is amazing. They also worked hard their entire lives. I love bacon but Granny always said, Anything in moderation...

Thanks. All our dogs and cats get along just fine. It's the poisonous snakes that need to watch out.

Have a blessed weekend.

Mildred said...

So true! My paternal grandparents had bacon and eggs and lard every day of their lives and both lived up into their 90's. Born in the late 1890's.

Linda said...

Many of my ancestors lived into their 80's. I've walked through graveyards of the 1800's and noticed that many people lived a long time.

Denise inVA said...

It is amazing. Suet and lard that is what I remember in my mother's and grandmother's pantry. My mom and grandmother were in their 70s when they passed but mother was a heavy smoker. Interesting statistics!

Gingi Freeman said...

I just read an article on this on super fascinating! -

Francisco Manuel Carrajola Oliveira said...

Apesar da má tradução gostei do texto.
Um abraço e bom fim-de-semana.

Phil Slade said...

There is an awful lot of conflicting information and "advice" nowadays abour what and how to to eat that many people are simply confused. A major problem is that there is a whole generation of younger people who have never learnt the basics of food - the "can't cook, won't cook brigade" who we see in the supermarkets, their trolleys piled high with factory food and drink. I do believe that thesee habits are storing up problems for later.

So, I do so agree with the gist your post today Eddie.

Rose said...

Interesting--I had never thought about infant mortality being part of the life expectancy equation, but statistics are often misleading. I always think of my grandfather, who ate all those "bad foods" you mention and lived to be 101! On the other hand, my grandparents and great-grandparents were all farmers and got plenty of exercise working every single day.

roughterrain crane said...

Your post reminded me about what I have almost forgot. When we see traditions by scientific eye, they reveal their secrets generously. Bad traditions never last forever.

Anonymous said...

Er, I think you will find they ate bread.... and potatoes in rather large quantities as well, not to mention pies, tarts, cakes etc, and sweetshops and bakers abounded in Victorian England.

Lowcarb team member said...

Anon said

"Er, I think you will find they ate bread.... and potatoes in rather large quantities as well, not to mention pies, tarts, cakes etc, and sweetshops and bakers abounded in Victorian England."

Err, but were they drinking large amounts of high sugar soda's, were they eating mostly highly processed junk food, takeaways, high fructose corn syrup and Frankenstein man made oils and fats.

Methinks NO. They ate real food home cooked mostly. The sort of food we recommend. Whole fresh food from the farm and sea.


Anonymous said...

You should do some research in the area of food history Eddie,adulterated,contaminated food was common back then, even the drinking water could kill you and it did kill tens of thousands in the cholera epidemics. If you think processed food magically arrived on the scene at the beginning of the obesity epidemic look at some of the dates those companies proudly announce they were established on their packaging. Working class men would down several pints of beer a night in all those long gone pubs but didn't become part of an obesity epidemic, that old fashioned mild and bitter would have been a nightly liquid carbfest,I didn't even mention jam- when I think of my long dead grandmother I think of bread and jam not baked avacadoes with an egg in them. No rickets these days either.

Lowcarb team member said...

Anon said "No rickets these days either."

"You should do some research in the area of food history" Maybe you should do some research into the worsening health of young people today.

Chief Medical Officer ‘ashamed’ as rickets makes a comeback.

The Victorian-era disease rickets has returned to England, the country’s Chief Medical Officer has said, and should be fought off through a universal handout of vitamin supplements to all children under five.

In a damning report on the state of children’s health, Dame Sally Davies said that the country should be “profoundly ashamed” that child mortality rates in some of the poorest parts of England were three times higher than rich regions.

Warning that today’s children face a far more uncertain future than her own generation, she set out a range of recommendations to tackle urgent problems such as rising child obesity rates, a lack of effective mental health services for children and growing rates of vitamin deficiency.


Lowcarb team member said...

Adulterated and contaminated foods abound today, food additives and pesticides see to that even beer in many cases contains chemicals.

My grandparents also ate bread but it was not the mass produced stuff you get in the shops today, also on the menu was whole milk and grass fed beef along with bacon eggs and cheese

My mum and dad ate the same way no low fat crap for them dad lived to be 91 and my mother 97