How Long did YOUR Ancestors Live While Eating BACON, LARD, & WHOLE MILK?
December 15, 2014
How Long did YOUR Ancestors Live While Eating BACON, LARD, & WHOLE MILK?
By DaNelle Wolford
Weed ‘em & Reap
My Great-Grandma was a tough ol’ chick.
She ate real, traditional food & could cook up fried chicken from scratch. When I say “from scratch” I literally mean “from scratch”. As in, she would kill a chicken, dress it, coat it with flour, and fry that baby up in a big ‘ol frying pan of lard. She was an amazing woman, my great-grandma. That woman wasn’t afraid of anything. She’d sleep out in the dark woods with hungry bears if you dared her to. She was that tough.
Naturally, when I started to research traditional, nourishing foods, I thought of my great-grandmother. I knew SHE would have supported my lifestyle, and probably could have taught me some amazing traditional cooking skills, but…
Did Grandma really know best?
One of the most common questions when talking about the wisdom of traditional diets is…..“Didn’t people way back then drop dead at 40? They ate a lot of meat & fat, and had a shorter life expectancy, right?”
WRONG! The truth is, life expectancy is NOT a recorded number of the age people died, but rather an average of all deaths, with a very high number of infant deaths. High infant mortality rates before 1900 skewed the numbers. The high infant mortality rate before the 1900s was due to unclean conditions and poor medical care. Subsequently, life expectancy numbers before the year 1900 gets easily knocked down to a low life number. Because infant mortality rates decreased as medical technology increased, the average life expectancy for men in 1907 was 45.6 years, in 1957 it was 66.4, and in 2007 it reached 75.5. The increase of life expectancy is due to a decreasing infant mortality rate which was 9.99% in 1907, 2.63% in 1957, and 0.68% in 2007.
The truth is the human lifespan has been consistent for more than 2,000 years!
“The inclusion of infant mortality rates in calculating life expectancy creates the mistaken impression that earlier generations died at a young age; Americans were not dying en masse at the age of 46 in 1907. The fact is that the maximum human lifespan — a concept often confused with “life expectancy” — has remained more or less the same for thousands of years. The idea that our ancestors routinely died young (say, at age 40), has no basis in scientific fact. When Socrates died at the age of 70 around 399 B.C., he did not die of old age but instead by execution. It is ironic that ancient Greeks lived into their 70s and older, while more than 2,000 years later modern Americans aren’t living much longer.”
– Benjamin Radford, Bad Science Column
Just for curiosity, I decided to research my own ancestral line as well as my husband’s ancestral line to find out how long our very own ancestors lived…
These are real live pictures of our ancestors, ya’ll.
My husband’s great-great-great-great grandfather Augustas Oliver Artemas Stowell, was born June 4th, 1783 and died August 23, 1860 at age 77.
My husband’s great-great-great-great grandmother Mary Stephens Holmes, was born Sept. 15th, 1797 and died Nov. 20th, 1885 at age 88.
My great-great-great-great grandfather James Monroe Lindsey, was born December 30th, 1829 and died January 9, 1912 at age 83.
My great-great-great-great grandmother Mary Sarah Ann Little, was born July 2nd, 1832 and died March 5th, 1910 at age 78.
Crazy, right?! Turns out grandma & grandpa knew how to live a long, healthy life with traditional food!
An excerpt from my great-great-great grandmother Martha Lindsey’s journal shows the amazing VITALITY the traditional diet brings…
“The day & night before school started in 1901, I worked one hundred buttonholes and sewed on one hundred buttons, trying to finish up the children’s school clothes. I was still sewing at dawn. I milked the cows and fixed breakfast. I worked all morning about the house and cooked dinner. Then that afternoon I gave birth to my tenth child.”
That’s a REAL LIVE journal entry from 1901, you guys.
Our ancestors didn’t worry about heart disease, cancer or diabetes. They didn’t fear Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. These diseases were so incredibly rare before the 1900s, that they didn’t need scientists to solve any mystery. There was no mystery! Our ancestors simply ate food – real food, and were nourished. Sure, there was illness and life was not perfect. But chronic degenerative diseases rates were incredibly low.
The leading cause of death before 1900 was one of four things: infancy death, death from childbirth, death from infections, & death from accidents. (source) Today, the leading causes of death are heart disease & cancer. (source) Clearly, there’s something we need to change.
Following a traditional diet will give us optimal health. Seasonal fruits & vegetables, grains, milk, butter, cream, meat, seafood, eggs – all in the best form possible and if you can digest them – is the key to weight loss and disease reversal.
Avoiding fake foods like store bought crackers, cookies, cereals, granola bars, protein mixes, — as much as possible (without stressing about it too much) – is the key to keeping our bodies clean & toxic-free.
So, next time someone says to you that bacon is bad, or that lard will clog your arteries, or that fat will make you fat, have them read this article. Or this one, or this one. Or better yet, have them read my new book here. If your friends and family don’t believe a little ‘ol blogger like me, show them (affiliate link) this book and (affiliate link) this book. ‘Cause it’s time to wise up and discover the healthy, delicious food of our ancestors. It’s time to get back the skills of our great-grandmothers and become nourished.
Testimonials and Discussions
After publishing this article on Facebook pages, an incredible amount of of discussions and testimonials started rolling in. Here are some from reader comments published on these Facebook pages:
both sides of my gran mas,and granpas, was all in there late 90s. when they died, and the reason was all was shot due to other one cheating ??? little humor there ,but they was in there 90s. – Eddie
My great great grandmother lived to 96 without indoor plumbing, electricity or a car!! She had 12 children, naturally of course! LOL – Janet
My great grandfather was in good shape over 100 – Jerry
My great lived just a week short of 102. Food has been played with and antibiotics kills gut bacteria, in-turn causing all sorts of GI diseases. Our dieting is also creating issues – being hospitalised twice from diets. – Elisabeth
Think about the hard work to keeping a home. Gardening, Washing clothes by hand, making your own clothing and bedding, curtains, etc .. not having a large refrigerator and freezer to keep food. Chopping wood for heat and cooking. They obviously didn’t need gym memberships. – Kris
My great-grandma, who lived to be in her nineties, ate a wilted greens salad every night at the beginning of dinner. It was dark greens with bacon grease poured over it. That’s right…BACON GREASE!! – Libby
Father 96 and mother 88. – Mary
Grandfather 94, Grandmother 86…Never dieted and ate all the supposed BAD FOOD! -Linda
My grandma lived to be 97 – Phyllis
In those days the women often out lived men big time.my great granny died of a broken heart at 97 my granny is fast approaching that age,siblings of great granny saw 100 or more. – Melvin
My mom will be 95 – dad will be 92 knock wood – Ilene
My Grandma is still going STRONG at 93. she is sharp, strong, and funny I love her! – Monique
Gma 84, her mom 98. Gma 79. Gardened he summer before they died. – Carol
my mom is about to be 93 ! Lets not forget how hard they worked everyday.they did not sit at a desk, or computer. or stand around in a store in cool AC. They were out side in all kinds of weather…. My hat is off to all of them !!!! – Vickie
I have been saying this about eating and cooking in methods used by your grandparents + ate for years…but everyone thinks I’m loopy… Definitely go back to basics, forget shop bought junk, draw and pluck, make your own.
I rely on old recipes handed down from grandparents +…and….. all my friends rave about the taste and quality….says it all eh? Ax – Annie
97 ½ – Becky
My grandma will be 101 on November 22 – Debbie
my Nan was 98 when she passed away and was given dripping bread most her childhood… we had it too… we were skinny kids and had loads of energy… mind you they didn’t share the bacon but we got the whole fat milk – that was not homogenised! – Debs
They lived to a ripe old age, even though they smoked as well – Robert
I am a big believer in eating real foods and have eliminated most processed foods, no fast foods, etc. Our food industry is killing us! On the other hand, my grandma, aunt, and great aunt on Dad’s side died of breast cancer. Grandma was in her 40’s. They lived on a farm. Worked hard and ate well. So I don’t know what to say about that. My other Grandma also died in her 40’s from a liver disease. Grandfathers lived to be in 70’s and 80’s and my parents in their 80’s. I’m trying to improve my eating habits so I can have a healthy retirement. – Janice
One of my grandmothers lived till 95and the other 941/2. My mother is 87 not bad for eating healthy hey? – Lynne
My Dad’s 97, in touch with his children every day and devoted to God. He also had a great start in life with a mother who cooked with wholefoods as normal anf he played tennis a lot and swam in the sea. He veers away from fry ups because he never grew up on it and it upset his stomach. – Serena
and smoked,had long lives – Gina
My great great grand parents 112 grand ma 93 mum is74 I’m 54 l eat butter lard when l can and coco nut oil love them all – Tony
Three of my grandparents lived into their mid 80’s. One, who had health problems most of her life, only lived til 54. – Loralee
95 grandpa 91 grandma. Fried chicken beef the works – Susan
The ‘average age’ of death at 48 is skewed by the high infant mortality rate so many people did live to over 80 as my family tree demonstrates. – Ann
My Great Grandparents were farmers with a huge farm. Not sure of their ages when they passed, but they were pretty old. One of their daughters, my Grandmother, passed in her 70’s but she had pernicious anemia. Her sisters all lived to be over 100, one passed at age 103 and one at 105. One is still alive today and is 101. I can remember how great those farm eggs tasted … free range chickens that came and went from their coop as they pleased, delicious tomatoes, corn, and green beans. Most of what we have today is practically flavorless. What a shame. – Mandi
Hubby’s gma had pigs on the farm and consumed all & of course used lard, cows were milked and gardened…she passed @ 100!! No chemicals, no processed food. – Jen
In Italy…They lived to a ripe old age……..Everything was home grown on a huge farm. Chickens. pigs, cows, sheep, and lots of fruits and vegetables that my family cultivated. My childhood was very memorable in Italy. – Josephine
Grandma Beard at this and lived to be in her late 80’s – Linda
My grandmother lived to be 104 yrs old. And this article is true, she cooked from scratch and ate good foods, not store bought if she bought it, it was local grown. – Wind
Great grandma 101 years old. Grandpa in his 90’s & still driving. 2 grandmas in their 80’s. we are changing the way we eat at my house. Butter, eggs, clean meat, clean fruits & veggies
Detox detox detox – Melissa
Great grandparents in their 100’s, granny 95, grampy 83, mom 85 – dad 62!!!! How he loved his candy and white bread and peanut butter and jam sandwiches, hmmmmm – Sandra
I deep fry my bacon in ghee, I’ve lost 20kgs this year. We have to rethink the way we’ve been eating. – Donna
Lol! My husband had a great-uncle who lived into his 90s. Somewhere in his 80s his doctor told him that his food choices (bacon, lard etc) because is was going to “kill” him. He leaned into the doctor, looked him square in the eye and said in his thick, southern drawl, “Well, it’s taking a loooong time!” – Jumara
To this day i eat real food , at the age of 61 , I grow my own poultry , my own vegetables prepare food from scratch , lard is always in my fridge , I do have high blood pressure , and I am very active . No complains for my general health . I am chubby . Newer on diet , – Marica
my grandma (paternal) made biscuits from lard, fried chicken and real mashed potatoes with butter and cream…… – Vicki
Granma 92,her 8 brothers/sisters all up to late 80-s with so called high colesterol diet. – Mari
Mine lived to 89. – Lissa
My dad, born in 1909, lived to 93. My mom, born in 1918 lived to 88. – Mary
One went at 96 and the other at 90. – Jennie
Ya know. My great grandparents lived into their late 80’s eating all that – Valerie
Both of my grandmothers lived until105! – Sharon
My grams lived to be 94. – Celeste
My great grandmother was 90. She loved butter – Angela
My grandma lived till 91. Grandpa 76, but at age 4, had his appendix burst n had 17 surgeries to clean him up, plus got shot in WWII. It hit his spleen n healed before he got to surgery. My mom was born after that. My grandma had 13 pregnancies, 9 survived n she had the rH factor. Tough ppl. – Jan
My 92 year old great-grandmother proclaimed to the young doctor who dared tell her not to eat pork, “now listen here you young whippersnapper you! I’ve eaten pork every day for over 90 years and I’ve lived longer and better than you ever will.!” she died of acute leukemia 4 years later and ate pork every one of those days too! – Janet
My grandma lived to 102. – Wendy
+My grandma 94, my Uncle Willy 96,My great grandma 88,My 4th cousin 106,My great great grandfather 93 and my great aunt 98.Oh and another Uncle 90. – Rick
My Great Grandmother …107… – Linda
My grandfather literally ate only meat and potatoes, frosted flakes and candy. He hated fruit, vegetables and legumes because that was all they ate during the depression–along with the occasional squirrel, opossum and raccoon. My grandmother always threw a stick of butter in the pan before she sautéed–a term she would never use lol–the meat. If they did have veggies they were served with more butter, cream and cheese. I do think the early veggies helped with his great health. But he worked in a coal mine until he was thirty, smoked until he was 45-years-old and had a *highball* every night. He never exercised, unless it was connected to his work as a custodian. His job kept him physically active all day. And he thought people who dieted and exercised were silly saying what they really needed was to push themselves away from the table. He lived to be 92-years-old. And if he hadn’t chewed tobacco he’d have lived to 100. – Lori
My grandparents died in their 90s. But let’s not forget they worked hard physically from morning to night. No sitting in front of a TV or computer hours a day. That makes a difference. – Linda
My grandmother lived to be 104. She was born in 1899, still had her own teeth (although some were broken) and never broke a bone or hip. She lived in 3 centuries. She used lard, ate bread, drank coffee, loved bacon. She was a wonderful Christian, too, and a great example to her family. – LA-ja
Into their 80’s and 90’s! – Marilyn
my grandparents lived into their 80s and my parents 80and 90s and they ate it all too. – Nancy
And since death from childbirth (which was rampant in the 1800s thanks to infections introduced by doctors who were now insisting on sticking their hands where they didn’t belong, but before modern antiseptic procedures) and death from infections were dramatically increased in the 1800s compared to prior centuries (thanks to urbanization and industrialization of the food supply), we don’t really have a realistic picture of their real frequency outside of cities for most of the world’s history, either. – Joselyn
we have longevity in our family to age 99. wow. and I know granny ate all the “wrong” things. – Lori
one of my grandma’s passed in her late 80s and the other in her early 90s. Ive always said that eating real food, not junk laced with prservatives and toxins was the reason they lived so long. Lard, real butter, real cream, bacon, eggs, fried foods, etc….real, fresh ingredients are not harmful. Fake butter, fake cream, over-sized chickens, hormone-laced meats, pesticide-covered fruits-vegetables, etc isnt real food. – Strickland-Sims
Most of mine lived into 90’s, then modern times and now in their 60’s. – Lee
Great Grandmother 96, had 9 kids, raised two more, lived on a farm in Northern, FL. Great Aunt, lived on Cape Cod, ran an inn late into her 80’s, then passed away at 94. Smoking took other grandparents earlier…Dad was just short of 90. – Nancy
I’ve said this for years! My Dad passed away 4 years ago at 96 after losing my Mom at age 86. His Mom lived to 98! My husbands Great Great Grandfather lived to 104 and his Dad is 88. What did they eat? All that we’re told is bad for us!! Preservatives and processed junk is what’s helping to shortening lives! – Debby
96 and she said she didn’t want to live to be old. – JoAnne
My grandmother lived to be 99yrs old and in good health. – Geri
My mother is still alive and is 94. Her father died in his late 90’s. I have longevity in my family. – Adela
89 grandmother, mother almost 93. – Fran
Great grandma 105, grandma and grandpa 94 – Erin
My grandma died at 93. They were farmers. Grandpa would bring honeycomb in and kill rabbits when I was young. She canned the food they grew. We ate real butter, and she put cream on the berries she grew. He sold the corn in town. – Carole
Paternal grandmother lived to 97; maternal grandparents 84 and 81. – Diane
My Grandma lived til she was 93 dont know about paw – Elizabeth
Great grandma 102, maternal grandma 99, paternal granny 96! – Beverly
grandma 92 drank and chewed tobacaco – Garry
108…granny Biles died in 2013 on my birthday feb 16th.. she was born in 1905 – Mary
Moms 86—eats everything…grandma made it to 86…fat back…lard in biscuits…difference is ..they worked hard. Most of their lifes..carried water..wood..hung out clothes ..always workin – Mary
My mother’s mother was 105 and my grandpop was 93. Grand mom was born in 1869 and GF was born in 1857. – Florence
All but one of my grandparents lived into their 80’s and 90’s. – Scott
True, Very True. My Grandpa Died at 115yr old and My papa was 5 yr old then. 16th child. – Parameswaran
grandpa 93, grandma 89, mum 80. they had own geese, chickens, pigs and a huge veggie garden. all natural, no pestisides. – Marina
Totally agree with everyone here, My grandparents both maternal and paternal lived in their 90’s. Since the government has allowed all the toxic chemicals in our foods is when people have been getting sick, no dying more from cancers and other detrimental diseases from toxic chemicals and all the preservatives, colours and flavours and including the ones we don’t know of like the 200, 300 400 and so on that they put in our foods!!!! – Sonia
They had an entirely different life style working from dawn to dusk and then some. They didn’t have the modern conveniences of electric stoves or refrigerators or washing machines…AND they made their own food be it meat or garden vegetables. Women canned foods as well.,so they didn’t have the additives in their foods. Yes, my ancestors ate all the foods we are now told are so bad for us, and many of them lived into their 90’s… but life was not the same and we cannot compare it…. – Dee
My maternal grandmother was nearly 90, and my paternal grandmother was older than that when they passed away. My grandfathers died much earlier. They all ate real food. – Annie
I have returned to whole milk and butter. If I have a a soda it’s made with real sugar. I watch my calories and I feel great. My grandmother lived to be 94 – Mary