Our Journey To Longevity
(20 minute read)
Rewind to 2017 when, after 18 years in workplace design (nine of them running my own design practice) and between my wife and I 44 years total in corporate, the time had come to take on a new challenge. It’s not as if we (my wife and I) deliberately went looking for a new challenge – things were sort of “fluid”. I had just lost some money in a failed business venture and the dynamics in the design industry had changed. We were given an opportunity for a reset and took it. Being a multi-potentialite and since design had always been my passion I was not sure what my “next” would look like, but off I went anyway. My wife, on the other hand, who resigned her corporate job and became a “stay-at-home-home” mom 10+ years ago was also chomping at the bit to get stuck into something meaningful, stimulating and rewarding.
I decided to keep my passion for furniture interior and architectural design alive, but purely as a weekend hobby. I reasoned that if I was going to use the opportunity to reframe my life that I would do a proper 180º. Having felt my way around a bit, I decided to reinvent myself as a trader – a Cryptocurrency trader to be exact. Nothing says “next” quite like going from design to finance – right – except for the expression on my wife’s face when I told her my bright idea off course? My wife was looking for something less daring – something that allowed her to use her skills as a photographer and graphic designer whilst stretching her imagination as a creative and naturalist.
Anyway, I am my own man and I got into Crypto just before the mid to late 2017 bull-run (remember when Bitcoin was just $1,000) and quickly made a lot of money – not because I was smart or knew what I was doing, but because my timing happened to be right. But, naturally, what goes up must come down and so I also gave all my profits back in early 2018. That’s when I got really dedicated. I had to master the skill of trading and win back my family’s faith in me. I opted to dedicate 2018 and 2019 to becoming a student of the markets and understanding myself and my trading personality. I spent seven days a week, 16 hours a day crafting and refining my trading plan. I even produced a Crypto trading training course.
My wife on the other hand took a more gradual and systematic approach. She was slowly but surely inching her way towards becoming really good at product photography, Photoshop and balancing work, life and play. Not to mention putting up with my daily routine, 16 hours workdays and remaining the emotional centrepiece of the family.
It was during early 2018 however, as I was doing my fundamental analysis looking through ICO’s and researching all things Blockchain and Biotech, that I came across a Blog that used some magnetic words. I forget who the author was, I think it was Peter Diamandis, but it could have been Ray Kurzweil, Graeme Codrington or John Sanei (My wife will remind me that I was going through my “futurist” phase). The writer talked about “CRISPR”, ,”exponential growth curves”, “demonetisation”, “disruption”, “gene editing”, “interstellar colonisation”, “longevity escape velocity,” “moonshot ideas”. Wait. What? “Longevity escape velocity”? I understood what the author was saying, broadly understood what most of the words meant and I was definitely riveted, but the term that got me, the one that was completely foreign was “longevity escape velocity”…I had heard of “terminal velocity”, but this was not it – I had never heard it before. I had to know more.
But, before we continue – a quick detour…
A superficial Google search revealed that some of the longest living people in some of the oldest cultures (nicknamed “Blue Zones”) share certain basic commonalities in their lifestyles and diets which they, and the scientists that research them, believe holds the key to their health, vitality and longevity. Central to their lives are 5 key factors which we have committed to integrating into our lives since we came across this real early on:
- LOVE! A sense of community, a connection with multiple generations and, perhaps most importantly, the opportunity to laugh, love and be loved.
- PURPOSE! Living a life of purpose. Waking up every morning and being aware of (and thankful to) the supernatural forces that shape the world.
- MOVE! Daily physical exercise that extends beyond just walking, but includes cycling to friends and working manually in the garden or field.
- DIET! A plant-based diet consisting largely of legumes, fruit, vegetables, nuts and small portions of meat eaten directly from the source.
- WINE! Drinking enough water along with a glass (or two) of wine each day coupled with the ability to kick back, unwind and destress with your people.
OK, lets continue…
Our daughters call me “Mr. Google”, I can search for (and usually find) things in the furthest and darkest corners of the internet (not to be confused with the dark web). I started digging and, sure enough, before long, I found “longevity escape velocity”. Little did I know that I did not just find the meaning to a new term. There, staring back at me I had in fact found “THE entrance” to “THE rabbit hole – THE rabbit hole of ALL rabbit holes”. I was mesmerised. For the nerds out there (according to Wikipedia) “longevity escape velocity” is a hypothetical situation in which life expectancy is extended longer than the time that is passing.” In layman’s: “…if science can extend your life for more than a year for every year that passes then, mathematically, you will not die…”
Gripping stuff right?!
By then I had a well established daily routine – you have to have one if you want to stand any chance of success as a trader. Discipline is key. Jessee Livermore, a well known and successful currency trader, once said trading is 1% trading and 99% waiting. He was right! It was however in those long stretches of “waiting” that I would go deeper and deeper down the “longevity rabbit hole”.
At first it was innocent. I would just watch TED talks and YouTube movies on health, nutrition, wellness, futurism, science, biology and tech. Later, I would read articles on, and explore the terminology behind, meditation, rejuvenation, ageing and longevity forwarding everything to my wife as I went. Eventually, whilst on my daily runs and walks, I was even listing to podcasts on advances in Eastern and Western medicine. I would make notes and look up foreign words, engage (some may say annoy) my family and friends and rehash cutting edge concepts, white papers, research findings and blogs.
I come from a Medical family. My grandfather was a family General Practitioner, my father is an Orthopaedic Surgeon, my grandmother and my mother were Nurses and my sister studied Psychology. As for me, before I started Vitalge Nutraceuticals, at the very beginning of my career, I was a Medical, Surgical and Pharmaceutical Representative, Account Manager and Product Manager and later completed two diplomas in Chinese Medicine. You could say Healthcare is sort of the “family business”. So, I picked up words like anti-ageing, DNA helix, epigenetics, genome, longevity, mitochondria, NAD+, rejuvenation, senescence, etc. quite easily and the “life extension” hypothesis made perfect sense to me.
It did not take very long for things to become very real for me though. It was Dr. Aubrey de Grey (the worlds biggest advocate of ageing as a disease) who finally drove home the idea of ageing and ageism. A disease that…(wait for it)…can be…cured! WOW!
I remember sitting down with my wife and we started to see how what we were doing to our bodies accelerated ageing. I started coming face to face with the realities of ageing. The cigarettes I smoked as a young man started haunting me, every beer I drank seemed to taunt me, burgers, baked goods and pizza became the enemy (the BBBP rule). As a family we stopped buying canned food and started reading (and finally understanding) product labels. We started seeking out farmers markets, organic produce and ancient tonic herbs. Soon we started growing our own native and exotic herbs. Red wine and 85% chocolate became our only two vices. Going out for dinner we started seeking out restaurants who had “Buddha bowls” on their menus. Without knowing it we did not just change our diet, we also started to change the way in which we saw the world.
We were on a roll!
We started to see how if ageing is a disease it could be treated. I read that there are things called “Telomeres” activated by enzymes called “Telomerase” and that they are in fact the measure of your biological age. This part is crucial. You see, your chronological age is how old you are in calendar years, but your biological age is how old you are based on how your body is performing, how much stress it is under, how well you fuel it and how well you clean it. We specifically started dissecting the diets of the longest living cultures and comparing it to our own and realised that we could slow down our own ageing and if we really wanted to we could potentially reverse our age (my wife and I are the same chronological age).
We could not contain ourselves!
We further learnt that your Telomeres are protective end-caps on your Chromosomes and that they function like the plastic ends of shoelaces which, if abused, frey as they get older. I remember thinking that I would do anything to stop my Telomeres from shortening and freying. It was in that moment of realisation that we decided to unpack our whole life and reconfigure it in a Telomere-growing-friendly-way. You see, the less effective your Telomeres become at cell-division the more these frayed and dead cells (called senescent cells) get released into your body. It is in fact these dead cells floating around in your body that are responsible for the physical signs of ageing. Why? Because your body is not equipped to get rid of these dead cells. They just hang around like proverbial “bad apples”. It was my research on Telomeres that initially led me to Astragalus, and it was Astragalus that introduced me to the amazing and wondrous world of “Adaptogens”.
So, Healthy Telomeres + energised chromosomes + efficient cell division = healthy human longevity. Great!
And so my innocent research project into “longevity escape velocity” turned into a kitchen full of anti-ageing, cell rejuvenating, life extending, longevity promoting, smart health food, adaptogens and nutritional supplements (don’t forget the dark chocolate and Red wine – because they have Resveratrol). Naturally it did not take long before all my and our notes for this research project became an inevitable 60-page self-published – you guessed it – eBook “Eat well, be Healthy, Extend your life”.
The book lists every single life extending food we could research, find, taste, test and use. Looking back, it is interesting how the whole process did happen completely organically. Armed with the eBook as our manual and guide, our kitchen full of Telomere lengthening and life extending food and herbs morphed from my wife’s sanctuary into a workshop for experimenting, concocting and creating. Eventually we had tested enough recipes to have a workable longevity diet for the whole family. We ran our own trials on ourselves. Our goal was simple – we wanted to test and document the food and herbs my wife, my three daughters and I ate (yep, kids can eat like this too – they must just want to), how it tasted and the nett effect it had on our health.
My father (remember the Orthopaedic Surgeon) has a theory that we start dying the moment we are born. So, according to him we need to start eating longevity food on day one, and why not? Another school of thought suggests that your body reaches its peak at around age 25 and you should start supplementing as you receive your 1st paycheque. Either way – “eat like this and you will be very healthy and possibly live to see the year 2100”, we thought.
Back to us. We were taking Adaptogens in everything from tea and stews to smoothies – even with Yoghurt. We were mixing Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM) together. We added Ayurvedic Medicines to every meal. We tested supplementary and nutraceutical extracts. We were effectively hacking our bodies Tim Ferriss style and carefully monitored everything we could think of; our sleep patterns, mood, mental acuity, memory, stress levels, creativity, energy levels, cardio vascular health, endurance, skin tone and elasticity, sun spots, hair, weight, immune system, digestion, metabolism, bone and joint health, and 44 other metrics.
And then one day we cracked it!?
Through an extended process of research, discussions, trial, error, testing, perseverance and determination we had figured out what worked and what didn’t, how much of what to take and when. We could literally see and feel our youthfulness return and it felt awesome. We now knew where to shop for our nuts, seeds, legumes and herbs (even those that are out of season, because we use herbs with absolutely everything). We knew where to find our fruit and vegetables – especially the exotic, hard to find longevity ones. Even though we live inland, we knew where to find really fresh quality fish and seafood. We knew how many times a day to eat, how many litres of water to drink and how many hours a night to sleep. We knew what kinds of exercises keep us fit and strong and energise us (Hint: It’s differs from me, to my wife to the girls). We understood what stresses us out and how to avoid or manage it. We had become so attuned to our bodies that we even knew when our bodies were lacking (or craving) specific herbs.
Because of this my wife and I had turned the clock back (biologically) by +/-10 to 20% in what had just been 2 years. On paper we are 46, but on the inside we are 38 and 40 respectively. And people noticed it too – it was not just internal. My wife gets more comments than I do, even though I get some, but people (family, close friends and complete strangers alike) constantly comment on our skin, vitality, zest, endurance, aptitude and resilience. I’m even convinced I’ve stopped greying, or maybe that’s just me.
Since this is an ongoing project we (my wife more than me, because Vitalge keeps me so busy) are constantly working on expanding the eBook’s recipe section and investigating the features and benefits of food which guides even a kitchen-newb like me, on how to create mouthwatering meals, snacks and smoothies using only organic, plant based, whole food or food grade herbs and supplements.
But, even so, I was still not satisfied. Can you see my Entrepreneurial spirit emerging again? Throughout this process we had ONE challenge.
How do we get all of these amazingly nutritious fruits, herbs, leaves, nuts, roots and seeds into our bodies on a measured and regular basis in their raw, whole state without loosing any of the nutritional value along the way so that we can get the maximum anti-ageing and longevity benefits?
In the eBook there is a little over 200 different food items broken up into algae, berries, fruit, herbs, liquids, medicinal mushrooms, etc, etc. You can imagine that it felt daunting to us (and probably will to you too) to find a way to get around to making sure you get as much as possible anti-ageing, life extending, telomere lengthening longevity food into our bodies to maximise their effect in a planned, systematic fashion and on a regular basis.
Back when I was doing my research on how to put together a Cryptocurrency training program I completed two courses by two Hong Kong universities on the topic of “Chinese Medicine”. So, when we were brainstorming this problem I quickly referred to my upbringing, my experience in healthcare and Pharma and my certification and did the obvious thing. We founded an eCommerce Nutraceutical business and while I committed to developing a range of health and longevity supplements my wife set out to developing an anti-ageing skincare products range under the Vitalge brand.
To date we have developed six nutraceutical supplements and three skincare products. The supplements extend healthy longevity from the inside and delay the onset and/or help treat some of the stand-out age-related killers of our time while the skincare range deal with the outwardly fine lines, skin-spots, UV damage and loss of elasticity and suppleness.
Our principle longevity promoting product, Life Force™, responds to my personal mission to live very, very long and healthily. Because of this Life Force™ has been primarily formulated to include critical nutraceutical ingredients. These key ingredients have been shown to be effective in addressing age-related diseases and have life extending benefits. They help treat immune deficiency, loss of cognition, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal regression, lack of performance and the physical effects of growing old. These five diseases have given birth to five spin-off products each individually hyper-targeting these top five diseases states in individuals with pre-existing conditions or with family histories.
Because of our dry, almost Mediterranean climate my wife has always been frustrated by the limiting or short-lived effect and synthetic composition of most skincare products, leaving her dissatisfied and her skin malnourished. Her unwavering and passionate desire to develop an all-natural skincare range using ancient ingredients that penetrates deep and works from the inside out gave birth to the Glow Rejuvenate™ range of skincare products. In addition to the Glow range of products living up to the Vitalge ethos, a stand-out feature of the Glow Rejuvenate™ range is that it is not just a skincare range – it is an Anti-ageing skincare range.
Our goal with Vitalge is (and will remain) simple. To help! Help people look great, feel confident and live healthier for longer. We will do this by developing natural supplements and products that can be taken regularly, are easy to understand, simple to use and that goes to work immediately.
And so it is our goal to stand in front of you, 81 years from now, in 2100 – 127 years old, congratulating each and every one of you for making the important and wise decision to be healthier and live longer. We want all of you to live long and satisfying lives – lives full of wonder, lives beyond anything you could ever have hoped for. So, stay in touch, let us know how you doing and (as always) be kind to yourselves.
Here’s to you, us and Vitalge making it to 100 years.
Cornelius and Karen Joubert
Joint Founders & CEOs
If you want learn more about which telomere lengthening supplements to take and/or which foods promote an increase in your levels of telemorase download our FREE ebook – Eat Well, Live Healthy, Extend Your Life