By Barbara Bennett, For Kaua‘i Owner and Publisher

Barbara Bennett on the runway during a fashion show in May 2014.

How does one embrace an 80th birthday? You don’t feel 80, you don’t look 80 years old. As I approach 2017 with awe and disbelief, I’ve spent most of 2016 thinking about the coming of 2017. I am in total wonder mentally, physically and spiritually.

Mentally, yes I don’t feel as sharp as I use to be. My memory whisks me by, but I have never been in agreement to say, “I’m having a senior moment.” I’ve always believed one’s mental attitude or dialog determines what it is. I don’t feel we need such expressions to excuse our verbal idiosyncrasy or verbal errors for gaps in conversation.

But there’s more to the mental in aging especially when you’re skipping through your 60s and 70s healthily, vivacious and driven for quality of life. You are thankful for good health. No dementia, Alzheimer’s, no heart problems. Yes, I am one the lucky ones. And that brings us to good health.

Good health assures you longevity and skipping the diseases mentioned above. I attribute good health mostly with good eating habits. I’ve always been a great believer in “you are what you eat.”

For Kaua‘i Publisher Barbara Bennett at Pink Sunday 2013.

When I realized my husband was an alcoholic, I jumped right into changing the family’s diet, believing it could help to alter the craving for alcohol. After 16 years of marriage, five children and one on the way, I jumped into a holistic and vegetarian diet for the family. I have always given credit to my husband for my fanatical interest in chemicals in our foods, and became a food addict in the most positive way.

And with each decade thereafter, I’ve been challenged physically and reacting for a solution as I always do, look for a solution. A habit from a management career and raising six sons and daughters.

At 40 years old, I was eating the same as usual and gaining weight. What is this all about? So I went to a yoga ashram and dropped eating all dairy products. It worked, my weight started to stabilize.

The real physical change came when I turned 60. Joint aches, sodium overdose and much more, and the doctor said, “You know Barbara, you are in your 60s now, that is to be expected.” In my stubbornness and natural determination, I told him, “No way, I was not going to stand for that.” I immediately jumped into a raw foods or living foods system.

I continued that for 15 years and had the most amazing and awesome results. I never went to the doctor during that period for any illnesses and made sure to check-in with a blood test every year. The doctor couldn’t believe my testing. Every year, my results got better and better.

Barbara Bennett

So here we are now at 80. I take no prescription drugs and believe and know that all drugs have side effects. And my belief system still holds that health problems and health issues can be correct by the foods we eat and consume.

I am blessed that I am still able to manage For Kaua‘i, a self-owned business with more than 10 committed workers. I don’t know how long I will be able to continue good health to allow m