Creating Waves of Awareness
HUNZA and longevity of its people.
Whenever the word HUNZA comes into my mind, I immediately think of the movie “The Lost Horizon” and that beautiful and peaceful land “Shangrila”.
Hunza valley is located in northern part of Pakistan and rivals many wonderful locations around the world for it's beauty, as compared to Switzerland and many other beautiful valleys in the world.
Hunza means "Arrow" in the Burushaski language (a derivative of Persian and Macedonian). The Hunzas are the descendants of Alexander the great's three generals who rebelled against Alexander and fled with their wives (Persian) and managed to settle in what today is the Hunza valley of Pakistan. The story of Hunza goes back 2300 years ago.
Flora and fauna of Hunza valley was limited, as ninety percent of the original valley was very rocky. The Huzzas, being hard working people, managed to cultivate plants which included barley, millet, wheat, buckwheat, potatoes, turnips, carrots, beans, peas, pumpkins, tomatoes, melons, onions, garlic, cabbage, spinach, cauliflower, apricots, mulberries, walnuts, apples, plums, peaches, cherries, and pomegranates. Apricot kernels are used for making the anti-cancer medicine laetrile, which is banned in the USA, but not in Mexico.
The Hunzas consume milk, buttermilk, yogurt, and butter - used as cooking shortening and in their tea.
Hunza children are breastfed for two to four years of age.
Local wildlife include Ibex or “Marchers,” Marco Polo sheep, geese, ducks, pheasants and partridge; which was their source of meat. They do not cook as fuel is scarce. Animal manure is used as nutrients for the soil.
The Hunza salt supply is mined from the hills near a village called Shimshal and Muztagh river. The salt color is brown because it contains trace minerals and use in their tea and for their cooking purposes.
Here I would like to add, that in recent days as modern amenities creep in the valley, 200 resident of Shimshal village have managed to get energy from Solar panels provided by NGOs and Government cooperation as reported in DAWN news.
There are 14 Hunza practices that contribute to their longevity.
Basic diet is grain (whole grain and sprouted), vegetables, (raw or steamed), fruits(dried and reconstituted in water or diced and served in gelatin from goat and mutton tendon and cartilage). Meat is consumed at two to four pounds per person per week. Mutton,goat, yak, beef, poultry, brain kidney and liver are eaten as available. Dairy including whole milk, butter – milk , yogurt , cheese, and butter are staples. A grape wine known as “pani” is consumed daily contrary to belief that Hunzas are not vegetarian.
Their farm soil are maintained by organic agriculture practices “ that which is taken from the soil is returned to the soil”. Composting plant debris, and animal manure is turned back into the soil.
All Hunzas work 12 hours a day, seven days a week to them there is no “sabbath”, work does not appear to kill any one.
4. Fat source includes whole milk, butter, Ghee( clarified butter), apricot oil, and animal fats.
5.Total absence of additives, preservative, or chemicals in the air food and water.
6 Daily consumption of salt by adding chunks of rock salt to their tea and in cooking vegetables and meat.
7 No agricultural sprays or chemical of any kind
8All children are breast fed for two (girls), to four (boys) years. Traditionally there has been no vaccines or antibiotics. There are few if any birth defects recorded ,except for two hermaphrodite (“ Mukhanas”) in 2300 years of recorded Hunza History.
9. All grains, vegetables and fruits are dried for storage by use of the sun.
10 Native herbs are used for medicines, seasonings, and food. There are no western style hospital or doctors in Hunza . Part of the longevity success is due to the avoidance of injury and death found in industrial nations at the hands of high tech health practitioners.
Note : Today there are medical facilities avail able.
Glacial milk is the exclusive water source used for drinking and irrigation purposes. The fields are flooded with Glacial milk and when the water soaks the soil , a thick layer of mineral silt or “Rock flour” is left on top of the soil. The silt is plowed back into the soil before planting. The crop convert the metallic rock flour into colloidal minerals for their own metabolism. The farmers then eat the colloidal mineral rich crops. As a result of regular consumption of the essential mineral , the people are relatively disease free and live well past 100 years;
12 . Apricot oil is used for cooking along with “Ghee” (clarified butter) and yak, beef, mutton, or goat fat.(tallow)
13 Whole grains are used exclusively – no processed or white flours.
14 Hunza's eat 1800, to 2000 calories a day.
References: Dawn, Dr Joel Wallach, Wikipedia.