Yiasas! Welcome back for another dose of KIKI KEFI! This time, let’s talk about how a KEFI-filled life can help you live to 100. #KefiLife is a recipe for longevity!
#KefiLife can help you live to 100!
Surely you’ve had the opportunity to meet Mediterranean centennials. These centennials hold the secret to vibrant and vital longevity. Did you know that living a #KefiLife plays a role? According to the New England Journal Of Medicine, the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle is the healthiest on the planet, and of course, it’s no coincidence that it boosts the existence of those who subscribe to it.
Read on to meet Iliostalahti and Konstantinos. These centennials are a testament to the benefits of a lifestyle which boasts a diet rich in olive oil, daily activity, fresh air, wine at dinner, and an optimistic outlook with positive energy — a.k.a. KEFI!
Currently clocking in at 98, Iliostalahti has lived a life so rich it will make you see stars. The matriarch to five generations, including 11 children and 45 grandchildren, she has no past serious medical issues. Iliostalahti is an example of someone who’s embraced the #KefiLife — she lives life fully and loves it just as much!
I encountered Iliostalahti by chance. Earlier this summer, I visited her daughter Fifi’s tailor shop in Elmhurst, IL. I happened to arrive as Fifi was having a Skype conversation with her mom in Greece. Just hearing their conversation enlivened my own KEFI-spirit, as it confirmed my deep belief that a long life has to do with living well AND living natural.
Iliostalahti embraces #KefiLife
Reaching old age (in one piece) is a gift. It’s one that so many are unable to behold not because of one thing, but because of the combination of everything from the environment to societal pressures; a ridiculous pace; high stress; toxic food; and a sedentary, yet indulgent lifestyle. My new friend, Iliostalahti, just two years from reaching the noble title, “centennial”, is blessed with the gift of a full and vibrant life, which is attributed to what I refer to as #KefiLife.
A spontaneous interview with Iliostalahti shed light on life routines that illustrate “what is old is new and what is new is old”. This adage dates back to the great Hellenic sages who believed that life is meant to be lived with adventure while taking responsibility for one’s self by creating an existence free from premature aging, disease, and needless pain.
A wise person once said, and I agree:
“Health is our most prized possession, generating a positive mindset of confidence, enthusiasm, strength and joyfulness that can trigger a life of optimum achievement.”
It all begins and ends with health! Iliostalahti embodies this. Let’s learn more about her #KefiLife.
Iliostalahti has been moving every day since the early 1900’s and still moves regularly. At 98, she lives in her own home, moving a good portion of the day in order to complete her daily tasks. Iliostalahti takes the stairs: 50 stairs down from her 2nd-floor porch to the yard to feed the chickens, and then back up 50 stairs to get to her room.
NEWS.com explains why movement helps people like Iliostalathi live to advanced age.
“Exercise may benefit the body in ways we can’t see: deep within our cells. A growing pile of evidence suggests it changes the way DNA behaves—for the better. For example, a single 20-minute workout appears to help tune-up DNA, allowing muscles to work better and more efficiently, according to a recent study published in Cell Metabolism. And encouragingly, a study published last year in PLoS Medicine found that people who are genetically predisposed to obesity can trump their DNA by exercising for about 30 minutes five days a week. So, will exercise make you live longer? Hard to say. But those who exercise regularly will generally see a drop in their risk for many of the diseases and disabilities tied to aging.”
Iliostalahti eats at the same times each day: 8:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 6:00 pm. She may have a snack around 9:00 pm, but makes it a habit to avoid eating a heavy meal two hours prior to going to bed. Iliostalahti has been eating on this schedule since her youth.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon and professor at Columbia University reveals why regular mealtimes make a difference.
“When you eat meals at different times rather than on a regular schedule, your body goes into stress mode. For example, when you eat breakfast at 7 a.m. one morning and 11 a.m. the next, your body becomes confused about where its next meal is coming from. This causes the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol. High levels of cortisol lead to spikes in insulin, which causes inflammation and can increase the risk of many cancers. Create a regular meal schedule and do your best to stick with it. Since life often intervenes when it comes to routines, make a habit of carrying a healthy snack with you at all times, such as air-popped popcorn or an apple, to ward off hunger pangs and insulin spikes.”
Iliostalahti eats and lives homegrown. She plants, picks, and prepares her own nutritional foods, including fruits, vegetables, eggs, fish, poultry, pasta, pure flour, yogurt, cheese, and sausage, to name a few. She also makes her own wine, ouzo, and body soap. These foods are on the Mediterranean diet pyramid. Additionally, drinks six glasses of water daily. She eats sweets weekly, and meat monthly. This makes a difference.
She says, “Everything in moderation but olive oil on almost everything”. Studies reveal that olive oil has been identified as an anti-inflammatory compound which combats unhealthy aging.
Iliostalahti is a model “organic,” citizen. Since switching over to mostly organic two years ago, I have experienced a difference. I can see why eating this way has had an impact on her longevity.
Related: FAQ’s about Organic Foods
Truly, the majority don’t have the time to plant, pick, and prepare every ingredient/meal every time, but certainly, we each can take healthy measures by thinking, shopping for own own organic ingredients, and preparing life-sustaining meals.
She’s a fighter
Iliostalahti has had a full and challenging life, marrying at the tender age of 15, bearing 11 children and losing one child. She was widowed at 50. Nonetheless, Iliostalahti rises to each challenge. Her progeny also fuels her energy to continue on with enthusiasm and desire.
If this Hellene’s life is long and full, she says it is because of her rich faith. It has graced her with abundance and a loving family. She says, “Prota o Theos – God first”. This has been her priority and direction, guiding her true north on a journey that is spiritually and healthfully centered.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
A youthful and spry 95, Konstantinos wil turn 96 next month. He’s is a gentleman in every regard, and is a practicing Orthodox Christian. Similar to Iliostalahti, Konstantinos abides by the same Mediterranean lifestyle. Although he is one of nine children — all of which are living well into their 80’s and 90’s — he didn’t have a big family. He and his first wife had two children. He had two more children with his second wife.
A native of Greece, Konstantinos immigrated to America from his native Tripoli. Here in the land of opportunity, he still lives in his own home and leads an active life. He still drives his own car. His choice of movement, besides plenty of walking, is dancing the Tsamiko. He’s had one hip replaced, and recovered beautifully.
Konstantinos is blessed to have family that adores him and checks up on him regularly. I met a few of his grandchildren, and they absolutely adore their papou.
Like other centennials, Konstantinos follows a regular routine. His personal routine includes:
Sleep 8 hours each night
Practice good hygiene and self-care
Cook his own meals
Care for his home
Avoid “Καταχρήσεις”, or anything excessive or abusive
When I asked him how he lives his life and what he attributes his longevity to, he replied:
“Παν μέτρον άριστον – “Pan metron ariston”: Everything in moderation”.
If you analyze that phrase, it means: with balance and moderation one can become excellent. How simple, yet profound!
#KefiLife for longevity
Living to 100 is a byproduct of #KefiLife. It’s simple and easy to get KEFI. Simply aspire to — and act — with excellence, in both mind and body!
Ζήτω – long live – Iliostalahti and Konstantinos!! I hope you, my friend in KEFI, follow in these dynamic Hellene’s footsteps all the way to Centennial! Let’s all live the #KefiLife and live to 100!
Get a daily dose of KIKI KEFI and more tips on the #KefiLife at www.kikivale.com
Other articles by Kiki Vale:
She was a prevalent force at WMAQ & WBBM radio where she was the first female airborne news/traffic reporter.Kiki’s voiceover work has garnered her Omni awards for Evian water and Coca-Cola commercials.
These days Kiki enjoys energizing audiences on stage during motivational speaking engagements, and through writing. Her highly regarded “Kefi-That Life Force” column, was published previously in The Greek Star. She’s currently working on her first non-fiction book.