This is a great story about a man who was diagnosed with lung cancer and given 9 months to live. He returned to his native home on a small Greek island called Ikaria, to die and be buried with his ancestors. He began feeling healthier and soon his lung cancer went away, he ended up living to be 98. The inhabitants of this island sleep late, take frequent naps, stay up late socializing and drinking homemade wine, and get much of their food from home gardens. They also drink an herbal tea made from wild plants gathered from the mountains. They do work, but have a generally relaxed attitude about time and money. It is common for these people to live well into their nineties.
I know Paul has stated that he believes that if a person with cancer were to come live on a toxin freepermaculture farm and eat food grown in polyculture, their cancer would go away. I am of the same opinion, I think that the high instance of cancer and other diseases today is a direct result of the toxins that we live with every day, in our air, our homes, and our food. It would be interesting to do some research into this island, how they grow their food, how they take care of the land, and how they interact with each other. I imagine there will be some similarities with the permaculture principles.
If you want to read more about a study on exactly that topic Check out Nutrition and physical degeneration by Dr Weston A Price. This is not light reading, though if you are already on a permaculture website you see most of the topics covered in the book, his study covered something like 130,000 miles of travel to 14 different civilizations that didn't eat the modern displacing foods of commerce, candy cookies, white flour, margarine, Crisco, veggie oil, etc...It is an epic masterpiece on human health. After reading it we completely overhauled how we shop and cook and spend much of our time. It led to "the day dad threw all of the food in the house away" Good riddance.
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