Are you suffering from a chronic health condition? Do you wonder whether you’ll ever get well? Here’s a story that will inspire you.
Back in 1976, Stamatis Moraitis was diagnosed with terminal cancer. His doctors gave him six months to live.
He was living in New York but decided to return to his birthplace, Ikaria in Greece, to live out his remaining days. He moved in with his elderly parents in Ikaria. The family had a small vineyard and garden. It was a pleasant, rural lifestyle.
Six months came and went. Stamatis didn’t die. Instead, he gradually felt stronger. He started working in the garden and vineyard.
He would work until mid afternoon and then took a long nap. In the evenings, he often walked to the local tavern, where he played dominoes.
The years passed. His health continued to improve. He added a couple of rooms to his parents’ home so his children could visit. He built up the vineyard until it produced 400 gallons of wine a year.
He eventually died in 2013 at the age of 98. He had lived another 37 years after his terminal cancer diagnosis.
He never did chemotherapy, took drugs or any other medical treatment. All he did was move home to Ikaria and change his diet and lifestyle.
About 25 years after his diagnosis he went back to America for a holiday. He decided to visit the doctors who had given him six months to live. They had all died!
In fact, Ikaria is known as one of the “blue zones” in the world where a high percentage of people live to 100 years old. They live a leisurely, low stress lifestyle and eat locally grown foods. Very little sugar. But it’s interesting to note they drink 2 to 4 cups of coffee a day and 1 or 2 glasses of wine.
The Ikarians’ diet, like that of others around the Mediterranean, includes a lot of olive oil and vegetables. Their staple foods include potatoes, beans (garbanzo, black-eyed peas and lentils), wild greens and local sourdough bread, goat’s milk and honey. They eat small amounts of meat (but only once or twice a week) and fish.
Almost everyone has access to a family garden.
If you pay careful attention to the way Ikarians live, there are three main factors at work. First, they eat a diet of locally-grown, natural foods. Second, they exercise every day, just by walking around the hilly countryside and working in their gardens and vineyards. Third, they relax and rest a lot, they never hurry and they take naps in the afternoon.
Actually, I would add a fourth factor. They don’t take pharmaceutical drugs. This could be just as important as the other three. I believe pharmaceutical drugs are responsible for many chronic diseases.
When I was 22 years old, I got chronic fatigue syndrome. It started after I had been taking antibiotics for acne almost continuously for the previous seven years.
I was diagnosed with hypoglycaemia, food allergies and various other things by different doctors. But no one had any cure. I couldn’t work for three years.
I cut out wheat, dairy, citrus fruits, nightshades and many other foods, on the advice of an allergy specialist. My diet got more and more restricted. I read hundreds of books about nutrition and health.
Eventually, I got to rock bottom. I had been on a juice cleanse followed by a raw vegan diet (on the advice of a well meaning naturopath). I lost so much weight, I was just skin and bone. I knew I couldn’t go on like this.
I went back to my parents’ home at the age of 25 and collapsed into bed. That’s when I had what I call a divine revelation. I decided to forget about food allergies and stop reading diet books.
I decided to eat three balanced meals a day, of the foods I enjoyed. No snacks. (Until this point I had been grazing all day long, as you are supposed to do to prevent hypoglycemia.)
Why did I decide this? It was intuition. When you reach rock bottom and give up trying to over-think things, that’s when intuition seems to kick in.
I remember my mother making me a mug of hot cocoa with milk and honey. It was the first dairy I’d consumed in three years. It tasted amazing.
Within a few months, my health had improved. I was back to normal weight and was working a full time, demanding job.
The human body is quite amazing. It will regain good health if you give it the right conditions – diet, exercise and rest – in the right amounts.