In December, Bernando LaPallo Jr. joined USANA. We’re excited to welcome all new Associates into the USANA family, but Bernando is special for a number of reasons.
Like so many before him, Bernando came to USANA because of his family — his daughter and granddaughter are also Associates. When they explained they could work together as a family, Bernando agreed.
“It’s important to me to leave a legacy,” Bernando says. “I like the fact that I can will my USANA business to my family so they have something after I’m gone. My family is very important to me.”
What makes Bernando’s story different is not how he came to USANA but his life leading up to that moment — all 111 years leading up to it.
Born in Victoria, Brazil, on Aug. 17, 1901, Bernando is 111 years old — 111 years, 5 months, and 29 days to be exact. That turns out to be 40,722 days, approximately 977,328 hours and going on 58,639,680 minutes. But who’s counting?
Bernando grew up in Philadelphia and New York. As a young man, he moved to Paris to study culinary arts at the Sorbonne. He graduated in 1928 and was working as a chef for many years, including time in the Merchant Marine during the Great Depression. Following his service, he returned to New York and raised his family.
When he was 73, Bernando completed courses in reflexology and podiatry at NYU. He had his private massage practice in New York for more than 20 years.
It takes someone special to outlive the gramophone, record players, 8-tracks, tapes and CDs (well almost). It boils down to this:
- Exercise — mind and body
- A positive spirit
How exactly did he accomplish all this? I’ll let Bernando explain.
Obedience and Moderation
Bernando has lived, and continues to live, an amazing life. As he moves closer to the 112-year mark, he says his health is his biggest accomplishment. “I can hear. I can see. And I can remember.”
He attributes his longevity to two things: obedience and moderation.
“In the Bible it says to obey your parents and the laws of God and your days will be long and healthy. I have obeyed my parents, and I am the living proof of that. In other words, understand the laws of nature and follow them and those teaching them to you.
As for self-restraint, Bernando says you can have anything you want, but it must be in moderation.
Exercising the Mind and Body
Bernando looks after his body. He keeps his colon clean and pays special attention to his eyes and feet. He soaks and lubricates his feet with oil and then puts on clean cotton socks before bed. It keeps them soft, he explains
Bernando also takes exercise — both of his body and his mind — very seriously. He walks a mile each day, outside if possible and on a machine if the weather is bad.
“Walking is the best exercise you can have, and it is the cheapest,” Bernando explains. “The smartest thing to do is walk on a regular basis, but don’t overdo it. … I’d say start with a mile and then work up to two miles round trip. Since you are human, take care of your body like a temple and if you do so it will last longer.”
Bernando wakes up at about 4:30 every morning and moves his joints around before getting out of bed. Then he gets up and does a few more warm-ups. He takes his walk between 6 and 7 a.m. when there aren’t too many cars on the road and fumes in the air. “When it’s quiet,” he says, “I can concentrate.”
Making sure to get enough Vitamin D is also important, Bernando says. He aims for 45 minutes of sunshine daily.
“When I used to sail at sea, I used to get up very early in the morning and walk up and down on the deck getting the fresh salt air in my lungs,” Bernando remembers. “I am sure that is one of the reasons I have lived so long. If you think about it sitting around all day at a desk is not good for you. It’s important for the body to get exercise. So if you have to sit at a desk get up periodically and walk up and down the corridor.”
Keeping your mind sharp is key, Bernando says. He accomplishes that by reading and doing crossword puzzles. “It keeps your brain functioning. You will come across a word, and you will want to find out about it.”
Leaving a Legacy
You’d think a man of his age would slow down, but Bernando has a number of things on his plate.
The 111-year-old is working on a second book, which he hopes will come out later this year. His first book, Age Less, Live More, focused on the secrets to long life Bernando’s father, a doctor an herbalist shared with his son. In his second book, Bernando will discuss the historical origins of different foods and how they benefit people. It will be released as an e-book with lots of photographs and videos.
Bernando currently shares a house with a longtime friend, although he is looking forward to moving into his own place later this year. “He yearns to be completely on his own as he treasures quiet,” says his granddaughter Ekayani Chamberlin.
Living on his own is just one of Bernando’s goals for the future. His goals, however, aren’t too different than ones of the past.
“My goal for the future is to try and live the same type of life I have been living up to now,” Bernando says. “Ain’t no sense in changing. I have been doing the same things for over 100 years. I consider myself very, very blessed that I can get up everyday and shave my own face, fix my own breakfast and can go to the bathroom by myself without any assistance. My goal for this summer is to release my second book. I am making plans to live cuz I know I gotta die.”
Bernando is an inspiration to everyone he meets, especially his family.
“He has been nothing but inspiration to me,” Ekayani says. “He is my mentor, my teacher, my loving grandfather. He has given me the firm belief in nature’s healing properties through his living example. … He has shown me that wisdom is a beautiful thing and wisdom makes the human being beautiful.”
Follow Bernando LaPallo on Facebook.
BERNANDO LAPALLO’s BARLEY SOUP
Yield: A gallon and a half of soup.
Ingredients and Preparation:
- Rinse and soak 1 cup of barley in water overnight.
- Chop up 4 cups of mixed vegetables in a uniform manner.
- 1/2 cup of vegetable oil. I use canola oil. I do not recommend you use olive oil as heating it will destroy the nutrients in it. If you like, you can add some olive oil to the soup after it is finished as it provides flavor and is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids.
- Chicken or Vegetable stock. I use Swanson because it contains no MSG.
- Suggested vegetables: Carrots, onions, red and green peppers and cabbage. Cabbage is very important. You can use a tomato puree as well, which is there mostly for color. Cooking is an art. If the food looks good and smells good you will want to eat it.
- In a large pot heat the oil. When it is hot but not smoking add the vegetables and sautee for 10 – 15 minutes. Do not overcook! Carefully add the barley with the water it has soaked in. Add the stock.
- Turn up the heat and bring to a boil.
- Then lower the heat and let it gently simmer for a half hour.
- Turn off the flame.
- Add salt and pepper as desired.
- Refrigerate want you don’t use. It can be kept for up to a week. Enjoy.
Editor’s note, June 5, 2013 — Bernando’s age was recently called into question after his attendance at a New York Yankees game where he was saluted. Following the game, an Associated Press article stated that while Bernando says he is 111, he has no proof. (The Social Security Administration has Bernando’s birth year as 1910.)
Bernando and his granddaughter Ekayani are currently working with the Gerontology Research Group to obtain proof of Bernando’s age. If early-life documentation (birth an/or birth certificate) can be found in Victoria, Brazil, the Social Security Administration would be forced to revise their records to show that Bernando was indeed born in 1901.