Maybe it was seeing my great grandfather healthy at an old age, or my grandmother, but I have always been very interested in longevity studies and books.
One of the places medical professors have studied are the Caucasus mountains, which are close to and include some parts of Armenia.
It is here that they found many people not only live long, but surpass the age of 120. Because it was at the time of the Soviet Union, birthdates were often lost or never documented, so many don't know their actual birthday. But, many claim to be as old as 136. Even if it is not true, they most likely have surpassed 100 years old, as witnessed by a Western medical professor, Dr. Leaf.
Of course food and diet is a big part of their longevity, but their overall lifestyle habits give them a great advantage, too. Their dancing, climbing mountains, and swims in the cold mountain streams surely keep them young and agile.
My great grandfather "Pop-pop" survived the Armenian genocide and made his way to Ellis Island. I was lucky enough to meet him when I was 10 years old or so, and remember the bag of pastel-colored pillow mints he would carry around and give me. He was healthy most of his life and died at 96 years of age. It must run in the family because my grandma is 90 years old and healthy with a sharp mind (crossword puzzles every morning).
But, good health is not determined sooo much on genes. More and more studies are proving that lifestyle habits are increasingly more predictive of a person's long-term health.
My grandma lives simply, and right. She cooks dinner every night, always prepares lots of fruits and vegetables, and uses restraint (habits from the Depression). There is hardly a secret to good health. I see that it is largely her habits that keep her young and healthy.
Seeing my Grandma's example, and reading studies, I have come to conclude that a life of movement, social events, and an fresh fruits and vegetables can keep you healthy for years and years to come.
Without further ado, I want to share with you 3 Armenian recipes from my Grandma. They are the healthiest ones I could find, not only low-fat and vegetarian, but tasty, too. They are of course part of the trendy, but well-documented Mediterranean diet, so you can be sure you are getting all the benefits of the best heart-healthy diet out there. Enjoy!
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Cheers to your long life! And thank you to the generations before me and my grandma (Grams) for sharing Armenia with me through your stories and recipes.