What sparked your interest in healthy aging?
I'm interested primarily because I'm in the process of doing it. But if I had to pinpoint a moment it would be in 2003 at the Telluride Mushroom Festival in Telluride, CO, 当我听到. Andrew Weil说话. I was struck by the wisdom of his words, particularly his advice to embrace the experience of aging as a stimulus for spiritual awakening and growth. I said to myself "aha" – I want to know how to do that!
How does your approach to aging differ from the culture at large?
我们生活在一个以青年为中心的社会. Our culture spends a lot of time, energy, and resources trying to reverse aging. The problem is that aging is totally natural and, in fact, quite beautiful. I think of aging as something that adds value. 作为一种文化, we appreciate things that get better with age, 如酒, 奶酪, 和红杉, 比我们感激长辈更重要. 即使是乐器, 比如著名的斯特拉迪瓦里小提琴, are most valuable and beautiful when they are old. 我也想这样变老.
As an oncologist, you work primarily with people who have cancer. Do you see people's perspective on aging change after a cancer diagnosis?
Many people become grateful for the opportunity to age. There are 12 million cancer survivors in the United States. It may sound like an oxymoron but I think people who've had a cancer diagnosis can continue to age healthfully.
What is the most difficult thing for people to accept about aging?
最难以接受的，就是失去. As we age, we lose both physical and mental function. 我们失去了速度. We lose some of the 灵活性, agility and comfort we once had in our bodies. And, of course, the loss extends beyond our bodies. As you age, your friends age right along with you. So, the older you get, the more likely you are to experience the death of close friends. And, of course, eventually you lose your parents. Incorporating loss into life is difficult for most people but it does get easier with time. Maybe because age confers a certain understanding that life itself is the most valuable thing you have and what's valuable is still being here, 就像我的一个朋友说的, “在草坪的右边."
For me the keys are nutrition, exercise and state of mind. 通过精神状态, 我的意思是控制压力, 保持思维活跃, 学习新事物, staying socially engaged and being flexible in mind and body. I took up yoga when I turned 60 because I knew I would need strength, 灵活性, balance and serenity in the years ahead.
Has your perspective on practicing medicine changed as you've aged?
我变得更谦虚了. When I was younger, I thought I knew it all. Now that I'm older, I realize that I hardly know what I think I know. Try as I might, I can't always get it all right. Also, as a young doctor, I used to think medicine was a science. Today I have a better appreciation of the art of medicine. +, 现在我的头发都花白了, my patients heed my advice more often because they know I am speaking from experience.
What's the most important thing a person can do to age well?
Eat an anti-inflammatory diet, meaning lots of fruit and vegetables. Get most of your nutrients from food, not vitamins or supplements. Of course, there are a few exceptions to that rule, especially for aging adults. 例如, after age 50 the skin and kidneys can't make all the vitamin D you need from the sun, 所以补充是一个好主意. Other nutrients worth supplementing as you age are calcium and magnesium because the bones tend to thin a bit. Of course, resistance exercise is also important for maintaining strong bones. The last supplement I recommend is omega-3 fatty acids because most people don't eat enough cold water fish to keep the body in balance.
You can be smart when you're young, but you need to be old to be wise.