Once upon a time, a man desperately wanted to live to 100 years old. He spent a lifetime searching for the key to longevity: read books, attended seminars, and consulted experts. As he entered his 70s, the man became increasingly obsessed with his goal. He began exercising religiously, eating only organic foods, meditating daily, taking many vitamins, and even trying radical therapies that promised to extend her life.
Yet despite all his efforts, the man could not shake the feeling that his time was running out. He became anxious, worried that he wasn’t doing enough or that his life would end before he reached his goal.
Finally, at age 90, the man realized that his obsession with longevity had made him forget the essential thing: living in the present moment. He decided to stop worrying about the future and embrace each day as it came. He spent more time with his loved ones, indulged in his passions, and made every moment count. And he died at the age of 100.
About 45 km (28 miles) from the city of Loja, Ecuador, there is a village in the mountains known for its old-age inhabitants. Researchers and residents have various theories of why this is so, including miraculous herbs. Due to the high density of long-lived people, Vilcabamba is better known as the “Valley of the Centenarians,” and the main street is the “Avenue of Eternal Youth” (Avenida de la Eterna Juventud. in Spanish).
In 1973, “National Geographic” published a report on Vilcabamba, noting ten times more centenarians in western countries. Why? Because of pure water, a favorable climate, a vegetarian diet, and a total absence of distress and stress. “In this part of the world, everyone lives happily, even when they will die,” the magazine commented.
Water is one of the famous “magic potions” supposed to explain the secret of longevity. With supposedly curative properties against cholesterol and rheumatism, the liquid with 11 minerals would have the power to reduce cardiovascular problems and extend life expectancy.
Vilcabamba water circulates throughout Ecuador, and more than 20,000 bottles per month go to Panama, the USA, China, and Japan. Tobacco is grown in the mountains, without chemical components, and is 100% natural tobacco. Some elders smoke and blow smoke like chimneys.
“We eat our peas and our vegetables, very little meat, and we don’t drink alcohol or even taste sugar,” maintains Juan, an old man who says he is 101 years old. Next to him, another centenarian adds, “I knew a neighbor who died at 118… and another younger one, who died at 109.” A conversation partner, 93 years old, interrupts him: “I plant cassava and corn, and I never use anything supernatural to make my vegetables grow faster. Today, farmers outside Vilcabamba use more fertilizers, which ultimately illness older people.”