Now you can learn the “secrets” to long-life which these extra-ordinary seniors have shared. I herald the super-seniors, and even this tiny flower shown here on Crook’s Peak, as they each show you the steps you need to overcome all adversity, thereby enabling you to triumph and to take your place in the sun! Now, just do it!
Most of the super-seniors are people of few words. This has made it hard for the reporters who interview them, but over a lot of articles, I have seen a pattern emerge.
No-one personifies all the needed qualities better than Hulda Crooks — so I’ll tell you her story and then synopsize the Qualities contributing to living your own Extra-Ordinary Life.
Hulda Crooks – An Equal in Spirit to the Mountains She Loved
Hulda Hoehn Crooks actions reaped the benefits of a lifetime of centered-living. What is that?
Well, she lived her life with deep faith in her Creator, in tune with Nature, and lived in a quiet, daily Way that was Balanced by simple, healthy choices for food, drink, activity, rest and filled with Gratitude of heart.
A vegetarian from age 18, Hulda’s lacto-ovo vegetarianism helped to correct a childhood that had wreked havoc with her health.
She was born May 19, 1896, one of 18 children, and lived in a log and sod home on her family’s farm by the White Sand River, Northwest Territory in what became Langenau, Saskatchewan, Canada. At the time of her death at age 101, nine of her siblings were still alive.
On the farm, she had copious amounts of butter, milk, cream, meat and in her father’s store, easy access to eating pounds of candy at a time. By age 16, she was 5 feet 2 inches and 160 pounds.
In participating in this life-style, her body would have been incredibly acidic and protected itself by walling off the acids with fat. Cheese, cream and butter are very concentrated animal proteins and sugar is highly acid-promoting to one’s body pH.
When Hulda left to attend Loma Linda University in California, a world-renowned Seventh Day Adventist institution, in 1923, she was a physical wreck, but, by being open to new ideas, the Adventist vegetarian regimen and view of world changed everything for her. Hulda was a vegetarian from then on, until her life ended at 101 years old.
After she became healthy, she usually ate only 2 meals a day, with just a few eggs used over the week and she drank lots of pure water. The rest of her diet was some dairy, grains and fruit and lots of vegetables (an emphasis and abundance of raw, but cooked vegetables, as needed, were OK, too).
Her diet is about 25% fats and 3 or 4 times the recommended levels of Vitamins A, C and E – all from the fresh food, without the aid of supplements.
Hulda completed her dietetic certificate in 1927 and nutrition and BS degree in 1943. Her training and vegetarianism finally helped her break the cycle of ”being nervous and perpetually tired”. The alkalinity of a properly-balanced Vegetarian life-style returned her body and mind to its natural birth-right, alkaline pH, so her energy, body, mind and spirit could flourish — and they really did.
Hulda learned you need both diet and exercise and a positive mental attitude. She said, ” You can’t separate the two. You need both a good diet and sufficient exercise. The diet of course provides the materials for the body’s functions. The exercise is absolutely essential in keeping up a good circulation. If we don’t exercise, the circulation is sluggish and that affects the entire body, the mental as well as the rest of the body”.
In 1927, she married her high school sweetheart, Dr. Sam Crooks, MD, anatomy professor at Loma Linda University, who suffered from a congenital heart condition and who said he did not really have the “right” to ask her to marry him, when he could die at any moment.
Showing the independent and courageous spirit that she had, Hulda replied that she definitely wanted to share his life, and they had 23 special years years and one child before Sam died at 53 and then, their only child, Wesley, also a physician, died in his 30′s in 1969.
A little later, partly to help assuage her grief, in her 60′s, Hulda discovered that vitality does not just belong to the young, so she began to climb mountains!
Building on the healthful walking and hiking pursuits that her husband Sam had encouraged her to do, even while he could not, she made hiking friends and gained strength and endurance. Building upon her walking regimens, finally, she started on 11,500 foot San Gorgonio in the mountains of San Bernadino and then “graduated” to lower 48 states’ champion highest, Mount Whitney, in Southern California, at age 66.
Over the next decades, Hulda Crooks climbed 14, 495 foot Mount Whitney a record 23 times. She is also the oldest person to climb Mt. Whitney. Her last climb on the 11 mile trail to the summit was in 1987, at age 91. She certainly was not a one-time wonder. This is also what makes her story so much more powerful and valuable.
At age 72, Hulda even climbed the mountain twice in 2 weeks; the first time with a group of teens, and the second with two of her brothers, then aged 75 and 77.
Hulda began back-packing at age 75, carrying a 23 pound pack. She hiked the full 212 miles of the rigorous John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, over 5 summers. She always finished what she started, and she was never afaid of hard work.
Since age 81, she climbed the 86 highest Southern Califonia mountains in addition to her annual Mt. Whitney climb. And, Hulda also finished the Kiabab Trail down to the Grand Canyon floor twice, as well as being invited, at age 91 (in 1987), to “officially” climb 12, 389 foot Mt. Fujiyama, Japan’s highest mountain. At age 80+, Hulda also held 8 world records in the Senior Olympics in marathon and road races. She also completed the 90 mile trek across the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
During the last years of her life, Hulda replaced jogging with walking and at age 90, she tallied an impressive 1,200 miles a year in walking exercise. Hulda definitely believed that the benefits of walking equal those of jogging, but with less chance of injury.
She described the regimen she used at the beginning of 1976, while 80 years old, as the following: “Early to bed and early to rise. Out jogging about 5:30am. Jog a mile and walk it back briskly. It takes me 12 minutes to jog the mile and 15 minutes to walk it. Do some upper trunk exercises, work in the yard, and walk to the market, and work.”
For 30 years, she worked with Dr. Marvyn Hardinge,MD, PhD, Dean of the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University, and then as a voluntary job there for almost the rest of her life. Her research skills were phenomenal. She was valued as a real member of the team. This kept her mentally strong.
On campus, she also used the stairs and fire escapes to run up and down long series of flights. Being tested at Loma Linda University’s renowned Human Performance Lab, Hulda showed she had the heart and lung health of a person 30 years younger than she was. And, even after that, by continuing her stair climbing and walking regimen, she improved yet an additional 7% when she was more than 90 years old. She proved anyone, at any age, can improve their Health.
She was also a work-in-progress; Hulda always desired and expected herself to sensibly reach for the next goal or the next level. When asked if there were days when she wanted to slack-off her regimen, she said, “yes, but I usually do it anyway”. Again, tenacity, perseverance. These qualities factor into the mix for a successful long-life.
Hulda often said ” I feel it is my privilege, my pleasure and my responsibility to care for the body the Lord gave me“.
Hulda also stated a valuable lesson when she said ” Sometimes I’ve had to battle high winds and icy trails. Some years it’s been so cold I felt as if my face would crack if I smiled” Crooks says of the many trips she’s made up and down Mt. Whitney, “But I always made it to the top and back down again. There’s a sense of satisfaction that you get when you’re not defeated by adverse elements.“
Like the tiny flower pictured here on “her peak”, Hulda braved and triumphed in conditions that were not hospitable. Their spirits triumph, and they are worthy role-models for us to attempt what seems impossible, by starting just step-by-baby-step.
The Congress of the United States honored Hulda Crooks by naming the peak second-most south of her beloved Mount Whitney as Crook’s Peak. Her many-times hiking partner, Representative Jerry Lewis (R – Redlands), officiated at the ceremony in 1991 when he and Hulda flew by helicopter to the summit of Crook’s Peak, which is a fitting, very challenging trail, adding about another hour to a Mt. Whitney hike. Hulda loved seeing “her peak”, and saw it last in October 1996.
Hulda believed that climbing mountains not only brought her closer to Spirit, but the lessons Nature taught her there, by the animal’s and plants’ ability to survive great obstacles, as well as the beauty of all Life, was the fodder which fueled her spirit and Gratitude, and thereby her own longevity.
So, as most of the Super-Centarians and Super-Seniors, Hulda most personified their common elements, which I think are the keys to their success. They include:
___ Rising above a difficult childhood and often it is one of deprivation.
___ Overcoming life’s problems with courage, tenacity and an iron will.
___ Being interested in new ideas and the people and world around them.
___ Not being afraid of Life.
___ Living a simple yet richly complex life — filled with excellent relationships.
___ Almost all of them eat a reduced-calorie but highly-nutritious vegetarian diet, with clean, pure water. No junk food.
___ Getting plenty of healthy exercise through chosen activity or hard physical work.
___ Staying active. Never considering retirement as an option.
___ Always resting when body or mind ask.
___ Attending to Spirit and feeling Grateful for anything and everything. Noticing the small details of Life and finding the Lessons there.
___ Caring about and respecting others. Meeting them half-way, or more.
___ Taking responsibility for their Life and Health.
___ Making goals and actively working to attain them. Then, setting the next goal.
It’s a great recipe. Start making it your own.
We’ll learn a little about the Science behind Longevity next time.
Best to all — Em
(c) 2007 Em http://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com If you desire to use or quote my article, please include the full copyright citation and my website’s address. Thanks