Staying young when you’re cheap

Marketplace Staff Mar 5, 2010

Staying young when you’re cheap

Marketplace Staff Mar 5, 2010


TESS VIGELAND: If you’re the Peace Corps type, it’s a safe bet you’re not obsessed with your looks. They’re not generally what you’d call glamour assignments. Still, as we age, it’s hard not to notice crow’s feet, sagging chin lines. That explains why, according to the AARP, we spend more than $1.5 billion a year on anti-aging skin care products.

Here’s Cash Peters.

Cash Peters: You know, I thought aging was just a horrible fact of life. I’m growing older, I’m going to fall apart — soon by the looks of it — and die. But now, apparently, we have options.

Shari Roan is a health writer for the Los Angeles Times.

Shari Roan: There are things we can do to slow down the process and really make a significant difference on how we age, and how we feel in old age.

Well yeah, but can they be done cheaply and easily? Here’s the mathematical equation that I’m working with: Expensive + Difficult = I’m not doing it.

Roan: For some people, they just need to go into that whole consumer schtick. They need the exercise tights and the latest gym clothing and they need a fitness trainer. And if you can afford that, fine.

But I can’t, so let’s never mention it again. There has to be a simpler way. George Lamoreau is an herbalist, specializing in longevity

George Lamoreau: Most of us believe that a normal lifespan should be around 120 years.

Peters: When you say most, you mean you.

Lamoreau: See, here’s what you have to do. You have to fool the body into not turning on those genes that are going to get you on the road to degeneration. You have to keep the body young, or at least you have to make it think that it’s young.

Exactly. And the way you do that, George, says, is by making it feel strong and vital inside. And by staying in shape — not, as I thought, by buying all that stuff you see in commercials, cosmetic surgery and anti-aging creams. In fact, I have a good authority… Well, OK, I got it from the woman from the L.A. Times. But she says that a lot of the creams — the ones that magic away wrinkles — guess what? Don’t even work.

Roan: I can tell you that a lot of the very expensive skin creams, the anti-aging formulas that you see in fancy department stores, are no better than anything you’d pay $15 for in a drug store. And they sometimes cost 10 times more.

Wow, jeepers, what a scandal.

So, OK, what if I want to look young and stay young, but I’m an uncompromising cheap skate? You know, just saying. Where do I start?

Jason Andrew Wrobel: Start drinking really good water.

Hm, that’s it? Jason Andrew Wrobel is a raw food chef. And he thinks we’ve made this “living longer” thing way too complicated.

Wrobel: What I think is being required is a value system switch. By the way, I just met a 108-year-old doctor who looks like he’s in his sixties. His tips, for instance, were get out and walk, do things physical. Very basic. Eat a lot of blueberries. Very basic. Do things that make you feel good. Very basic things.

So basic that I had not even thought of them. Here’s another:

Roan: Exercise.

Ah… I’ve never liked the sound of this. But Shari Roan is adamant.

Roan: Exercise is the closest thing we have to the magic pill. But the scientific evidence shows more than any other product, diet, surgery, anything that exercise will yield the most benefit.

OK, but you can’t stop there. You have to eat well too.

David Wolfe is one of the top nutrition experts in the world.

David Wolfe: I start people off with two things: Fresh vegetable juices, because you feel that right away, and superfood blended smoothies, because you can feel it right away, cuts through all the numbness, all the resistance and people get an experience.

Yeah, right. But haven’t we heard this all before? Switch to organic fruits and vegetables blah blah blah. We never do it; it’s all too expensive. Have these gurus any idea how much organic produce costs? And what’s the point of “superfoods,” such as herbs, acai berries and cacao keeping you alive longer, if your grocery bill could give you a coronary?

Wolfe: The money issue is an important issue, and my goal is always to get the price of natural foods down down down down down. But it has to be a step-by-step process. In order to get more demand, we have to get the price down and make it more accessible.

OK, fine. So, water, free. Exercise, free. Good nutrition, still a little pricey, but probably worth it. And finally, the last tip for longevity comes from Jim Root, who runs the Glen Ivy Spa in San Diego. Age 54, looks about 12. He says, do yourself a favor: Relax outdoors, go stare at something.

Jim Root: Even if it’s to look out at the mountain or look at a plant. And then from…

Peters: But that won’t get rid of my wrinkles.

Root: But what it will do is it works from the inside out. It has more long lasting and real impact than all the creams and surgeries in the world.

Are you listening, Joan Rivers?

In Los Angeles, for the next 50 years at least, I’m Cash Peters for Marketplace Money.

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