A 102-year-old woman shares her recipe for a longer life: home cooking, Epsom salts, and spirituality

  • Pearl Taylor, 102, appears in her granddaughter's TikTok posts to discuss her aging "secrets."

  • She credits her longevity to a natural diet, gentle exercise, spirituality, and following politics.

  • The great-great-grandmother shops and cooks for herself, climbs stairs, and does her own laundry.

Dan Buettner, an author and the host of the hit Netflix series "Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones," has identified five regions — so-called Blue Zones — where people live longer, healthier lives.

The health and lifestyle expert found that residents of Okinawa, Japan; Ogliastra, Sardinia; Ikaria, Greece; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California, were the most likely to live beyond 100.

He mostly credited their diet — largely consisting of produce, grains, nuts, and beans.

Pearl Taylor of Dayton, Ohio, may not live in one of Buettner's Blue Zones, but at the age of 102, she maintains many of the communities' habits.

The great-great-grandmother often shares her tips on diet, exercise, skincare, and a positive mindset on the TikTok channel of her granddaughter Taylor Bernal.

Recently, one of their videos garnered almost 1 million views. In it, the centenarian advised people to "love yourself " first.

"Grandma is all about living life to the fullest," Bernal told Insider. "We are in awe."

Taylor, born in Cuba in January 1921 and raised in Jamaica, said she was happy to spill her longevity "secrets." She hopes people will try and mirror her lifestyle, even if their age is in the triple digits.

"I guess I have a lot of life lessons to share," she told Insider.

She doesn't eat prepackaged foods

Taylor prepares every meal for herself and said: "It's been years since I've eaten anything out of a package." She said her combined Cuban, Jamaican, and Indian heritage led to her insistence on natural ingredients. "We used to slaughter our own pigs and chickens," she said.

Though she eats the occasional piece of meat in the form of ribs, chicken, or ground beef, most of her dishes are vegetarian. A typical breakfast for her, she said, is chopped papaya and banana, followed by griddled pancakes made with quinoa, flaxseed, and powdered rice.

Pearl Taylor with her granddaughter Taylor Bernal.
Taylor enjoys appearing in her granddaughter Taylor Bernal's TikTok posts.Courtesy of Taylor Bernal

"It's a good ritual that helps my stomach," the former factory worker said.

She said that her lunch was always light and that dinner might consist of Jamaican-style rice and beans.

She swears by her homemade 'green juice'

Taylor drinks zero-calorie orange Gatorade, between two and three bottles of 16-ounce mineral water, and a cup of decaffeinated coffee each day. She also takes a probiotic sourced from a spa in California that costs $60 for 100 tablets.

"It's worth every cent," she said. "I have a great digestive system and never burp or get a stomachache or headache."

She also swears by her homemade "green juice," which she makes in a blender. The fresh ingredients include aloe root, celery, parsley, ginger, and water sweetened by Splenda. "I'll drink it before dinner," she said.

As for alcohol, she limits herself to two glasses of sweet red wine each week. "I guess it helps manifest happiness," she said.

Her most intensive exercise is shopping at Walmart

Taylor said she could easily navigate the stairs of her two-story townhouse. She employs a cleaner but does her own laundry.

She performs a series of gentle leg exercises while sitting down. "I raise my leg and hold it there for four of five seconds," she said, adding: "I do that 10 times on each leg."

Her most intensive exercise, she said, is exploring the aisles of her local supermarkets while shopping: "Walmart is a giant store, and I will walk around it for two hours every weekend."

Pearl Taylor as a young woman sitting at a dinner table with pink candles.
Taylor in 1968.Courtesy of Taylor Bernal

Taylor also practices a form of meditation by deep breathing while rotating her neck. "It relaxes me and gets rid of any pain in my body that I might have developed while sleeping on my side," she said.

She never showers and instead soaks in a bath with olive oil and Epsom salts

Taylor doesn't follow a strict skincare regime and often uses plain soap on her face.

However, she likes to treat herself to long soaks in the bathtub. "I never have a shower because I always want to stretch out and relax," she said. She prepares her bathwater by dropping in a bubble bar and adding a few tablespoons of olive oil and Epsom salts.

"I observe this three-step ritual every time," she said. "It keeps my skin nourished and smooth."

She doesn't get stuck in negative thoughts

The centenarian dips into spirituality books to read select passages about inner peace. They often draw from faiths such as Christianity and Buddhism, she said. "God is everything," she said, adding: "But you have to learn to love yourself before you're in a position to love others.

"You should also learn to let go of negative thoughts. That's the way I live my life."

Taylor said that she kept her mind sharp by following the TV news, particularly when it involves politics. "I've been interested in politics since the days of Richard Nixon," she said, adding that her main sources of news were CNN and MSNBC. "I'll stay up until 11 p.m. watching them," she said.

Another favorite topic of hers is travel. She enjoys poring over an atlas to identify the countries she's curious about. "I'm always seeking information," Taylor said.

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