How to Live Longer
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Interviews by Noah Isackson
HOW TO LIVE TO A RIPE OLD AGE: A bluesman’s routine
by BUDDY GUY
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Buddy Guy performs like a man half his age. At 71, the Chicago bluesman and guitar icon spends 75 percent of his life on tour, gigging at shows around the world, playing well past midnight for weeks at a stretch, and taking just days off in between. Though suffering from high blood pressure, Guy ascribes his generally sound health to a regimen that dates back to his childhood on a working farm in Louisiana.
>> I was born on a farm. We didn’t work by a clock; we worked by daylight. When day broke, you was going to work. I haven’t lost that. If you pass my house at 5:30 in the morning, I’m up. I got this routine and I stick to it. You get out of bed as soon as you can because sooner or later, someone is going to have to turn you over and then you know it’s your time to go. Between 2 to 6, I get that afternoon nap. My sleeping time is split in half.
>> You don’t need a treadmill. You just need to move—get up and go and accomplish something. I lift a few weights, but I don’t wear myself out with that. I walk. I still love to walk. If I’m home all day, I don’t crank my car. I walk. I love to take the stairs. Don’t give me no escalator.
>> I eat real, organic food from the earth, as much as I can. I got a garden at my house, and I try to grow my own. Let me tell you why: Tomatoes, they used to be so delicious you could just cut them up and make a sandwich. Now, if you buy them at a store, you can play baseball with them.
>> I drink one cup of coffee a day. I don’t eat breakfast. I stay away from it because most breakfast food is bad for my high blood pressure and breakfast food is loaded with cholesterol. I was never in love with breakfast anyway. I don’t eat until around 1 or 2.
>> I love to cook. I eat meat; I love a lot of fish. Ain’t nothing better than a little soft pork. But I don’t eat a lot. If I make a gumbo, it’s 85 percent beans, with a little meat in there. I eat one pork chop or one drumstick of chicken. The rest is mostly beans.
>> Moderation. Ain’t nothing good for you if you do too much of it. If you make love for two hours in a row, you die. Too much water will kill you. Try to balance yourself and let your body do what it should.
>> I used to smoke in my 20s and, one day, I just threw the cigarettes away. My friends say, “You can’t quit like that; you need to take something.” Well, I don’t need to take nothing. If it don’t fit, don’t force. If something is bad, you stop doing it.