I’ve been pondering recently on how to deal with injuries in general. When you are an active and sports person, as you age injuries are inevitable and they seem to reoccur more often the older you get. This is the time you start questioning your ability and capacity on a certain sports activity that you are passionate about and the reality of giving it up altogether. This scenario becomes very surreal and many thoughts start racing through your mind.
I’ve had leisure time last month in which I was able to evaluate life, unlike when we are in the daily routine-the rat race as is commonly known- when life just seems to pass as by and we feel unable to do anything about it. Sure, we meditate regularly during our routine life which gives us a certain balance, but life can be overwhelming on a daily basis because of multiple obligations that keep us busy. But during this last vacation, I took a look at the big picture once again and had to accept some things that are inevitable and keep coming at you in different ways but we just have to embrace them as graceful as possible. Your initial reaction is to be mad about these physical challenges, which is very normal because we would want to be young forever and feeling the same way when we were 20, but the years go by and time waits for no one. When we have the tranquility and peace and of mind to thinks about these things, it is during this time when we naturally make a balance of life events and the aging process that’s taking place around us. It is inevitable to question life, It happens to everyone and that is the beauty of it all. If we were the only ones having doubts and physical issues, life would be miserable, but everyone travels through this journey equally and eventually we all cease to exist in the physical world as we know it. Sure, some of us age better than others depending on many factors, but in the end we all return to ashes. Life is very short in terms of galaxy years, so we have to live to the max of our capabilities.
Genes have a lot to do on what deceases and proclivities we acquire, but lifestyle and attitude towards life have a lot to do with how we age. If you look at how people age, most of the time people that have been active throughout their life age better. When you are young, sports related injuries heal fast and you are back doing what you love in no time. The problem is that as you age, injuries heal very slowly and your level of performance diminishes terribly. This is when things get complicated and doubt creeps into your mind regarding your abilities because of pain, impact on daily living, the future, and your loved ones and people that surround you. I mention this because there are many factors that happen during this down time of physical and emotional healing and it not only affects us but the people that surround us because relations are impacted, anywhere from interaction with others-one become short tempered- to being unable to assist a parent, a spouse or a son/daughter that rely on us for physical and emotional support. Every active person or athlete goes through this process when injured and it is something that you think about and affect you.
My conclusion is that as you age your ability and performance will decrease no matter what. You have to start giving up some workouts and activities that are too intense or that can hurt you in a way that can really handicap you in your daily life, temporarily, or in some cases for life. This is the tricky part, knowing when it’s time to give something up and move into a more user friendly activity that will still give you that rush of excitement and the workout feeling of well-being. Unless you are an irresponsible dare devil adrenaline junkie, most people transition fine after a while of physical and psychological trauma which is part of the aging process. You just have to lower the intensity of your workouts but keep at it as long as you can because that’s what drives you forward and keeps you stocked. When you stop working out and retire from daily mental and physical activity you die. It is a fact of life. With life expectancy extending tremendously today, the resilient baby boomers are continuing to work out and practice their favorite sport well into their lives, which was unthinkable no so long ago. All of this because of better healthcare, nutrition, technology, knowhow, and determination.
So, keep on thriving and staying stocked about life.
Quinoa has taken the world by storm recently. A few years back I started seeing more and more of this product here in the US and today I see products like chips, pancakes, pasta, and maybe even Kellogg’s cereal containing quinoa, and of course quinoa in all shapes, sizes and flavors. It has even been featured in a very humoristic Budweiser commercial. This has been an amazing international growth for a product that three decades ago was mostly consumed by Andean people. When I was growing up in Peru, Quinoa was consumed mostly by low income population and not considered a staple of cosmopolitan diet. It was among other things, a local product of native decent, thus, inferior to foreign products. That was the misconception and a spell still very much alive in some circles from the colonial days that everything Indian is inferior and for the poor. Today, this mentality has changed and the country has integrated its boundaries, regions, products, and traditions. This evolutionary process has been in the making for the past thirty years and most recently has a lot to do as well to the vision and leadership of Chef Gaston Acurio. He has lead this local and for export gastronomic revolution which has positioned Peruvian cuisine and Peruvian products at a very high standard and are now recognized globally.
Why is quinoa so popular? The Incas called this staple of their diet chisaya mama, meaning “mother of all grains,” and yet quinoa is not actually a grain — it’s a seed. It is high in protein, calcium and iron and a good source of vitamin C and multiple B-vitamins. It is high on the lycine/thiamine system, so in combination with other grains it creates complete proteins. In addition, it has flavonoids with a high antioxidant capacity. Exports from Peru have risen from US$ 31million in 2012, to US$79 million in 2013 to US$ 196 million in 2014. A 148% percent increase in the last year. Quinoa ranked fourth among Peru’s agricultural exports last year, behind grapes, asparagus and avocados.
Kiwicha or Amaranth, is another product high on nutritional value. This plant may be instrumental in helping lower cholesterol, reducing the risk of hypertension, and heart disease. Kiwicha contains vitamins A, B-6, K, C, folate, and riboflavin. The grain has earned a reputation for its high nutritional value and was selected for astronaut’s diet. Kiwicha was even grown in space travel by NASA in 1985, this is the time Kiwigen was introduced as a breakfast supplement and the astronaut is featured on the label. It is exported to many countries now.
Potato, thousands of varieties, the actual number is hard to pinpoint. Originated in the highlands of Peru 8,000 years ago. The Incas adopted all the previous civilizations knowhow in agriculture and kept the R&D going, thus multiplying the number of varieties and growth techniques. Maize production expanded during the Inca days, but the potato was fundamental to their empire’s food security: in the Incas’ vast network of state storehouses, potato – especially a freeze-dried potato product called chuño – was one of the main food items, used to feed officials, soldiers and laborers and as an emergency stock after crop failures. The Europeans took the potato to Europe around 1570 at a time were famine was extensive due to epidemics and decease but it soon after became a staple of European diet. After a few mishaps with the cultivation of the crop-due to learning curve and lack of genetic varieties- it helped feed many starving populations once the crop had adjusted to local conditions and became to rely heavily on the crop.
Choclo or corn, large kernel corn from the Andes. The oversized kernels are described as chewier, starchier and less sweet than other types of sweet corn and as having a nutty taste and heftier texture. This variety primarily exist only in the Andes region and was a large part of Inca diet and today it is everywhere and the main variety.
The Incas were master builders and land users because of their strong connection with the “Pacha Mama” or “Mother Earth”. Famine and thirst were nonexistent. They had food surplus and a road system that connected Cuzco all the way to Quito, Ecuador to the North, to Santiago de Chile in the south. They could message Quito to the north in one week and the tale says that the Inca king in the Capital of Cuzco would eat seafood from the Pacific Ocean in less than twenty four hours-900 km- because of the Chaski runners that could relay messages and products on request. These runners would relay from Tambo to Tambo, were food and lodging was provided. Because of the altitude and dryness of the climate, food was stored for long periods of time and they had also perfected the art of llama meat drying, most commonly known as ch’arki. The common beef “jerky” that we consume everywhere today, the name as you can tell is derived from the ch’arki word from the Quechua language, still in use today. Today there are many treks along these routes, but the most famous one is the Inca Trail.If you are into trekking, the 4day/3night Inca trail into Machu Picchu is a must in your bucket list. It is amongst the most famous treks in the world. It is a beginers/intermediate trek because of the altitude. You trek at over 3,000 meters altitude and arrive at Machu Picchu at 2,800.
Inca Terraces, because of the rough terrain that characterizes the Andean region, they engineered these terraces to grow the different foods that supported the empire. They have been in use since around 500 AD and are still in use today. The terraces are very advanced in design and extra efficient in water use to maximize irrigation capacity at high altitudes.
Finally, these Andean products are just some of the large variety that the region produces and agro exports are on the full rise. Large irrigation projects are starting to yield its fruits in the north and the south of the country and it is just a matter of time before they will revamp huge exports and good things to come. It will all depend on electors and what kind of authorities they want to elect in 2016.