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  • Writer's pictureJulian Molteno

EAST WEST STREET.....and Beyond!

My dear wife Suzy bought a couple of books for me at Christmas time, one of which was a non fiction work entitled East West Street by Phillippe Sands. I was in two minds about reading it because although I am fascinated with everything about World War Two, especially the Nazis and the Holocaust, it was mainly about charting the course of the legal development of genocide and crimes against humanity (neither of which terms even existed until then!) for the Nuremberg Trials. It sounded a bit dry. And complicated. And boring. Not a bit of it!!! In this astounding book Sands relates the amazing history of the times, places and characters that form the basis of this fascinating period in history. Interwoven into this is the account of his own family and their struggle to survive this tumultuous era. Sands’s knowledge of his family’s history is rather vague and he has to do a fair bit of detective work to uncover all of the details, especially as his immediate family are (along with many who experienced those times) reluctant to re awaken painful memories. At one stage he relates how his Jewish mother, at one year and three days old, was smuggled out of Vienna to Paris in the summer of 1939 by a nun called Elsie Tilney. After much investigation work Sands eventually finds out the life story of this courageous woman and the part she played in his family’s drama. And why? I hear you ask, am I banging on about this on! Because I then read the following sentence: Germain asked how much I knew about Miss Tilney’s brother Frederick. ‘Nothing’ I responded. He had an interesting life, she explained. He came to America in the 1920’s, ‘became a famous bodybuilder,’ and discovered Charles Atlas, who was his friend.’ WHAAAT??!! How exciting! Germaine also mentioned to Sands that Frederick wrote an autobiography called Young at 73 - and Beyond! And thanks to the miracle of the internet (and Suzy who knows how to use it) I was soon the proud owner of this magnificent tome. I love it when bodybuilding unexpectedly pops up in the most unlikely of places. Now, I know a reasonable amount of bodybuilding history and had never heard of Frederick ‘Doc’ Tilney and assumed that he must have had some peripheral (or self inflated) role in the early bodybuilding scene. I was interested to find out that actually he was very well connected and very well known, writing many articles and pamphlets and also developing innovative routines and products. He worked closely with some of the biggest names in bodybuilding at the time including Bob Hoffman, Ben Weider, John Grimek and, of course, Charles Atlas. I am going to do a series entitled “Pioneers of bodybuilding we owe a debt of gratitude to” and I’ll go into Tilney’s life in more detail then. In this post I want to briefly chat about his amazing book Young at 73 - and Beyond! The book is mostly about healthy, natural eating, wholesome cooking methods, engendering a positive mental attitude and enjoying an energetic life experience! The rather startling first chapter encapsulates his Active Vitality by chronicling a day in the life of Mr and Mrs Tilney. I’ll give you an account of just his MORNING routine. He wakes at 6am “concentrates on some positive thoughts to help bring into realisation that day’s objectives” and then “enjoys almost two hours of loving” with Mrs Tilney. Apparently they are “still sweethearts after half a century.” Following this “delightful Love Ritual” Fred then does a “considerable number of sit ups and thigh raises” before, “Standing in front of a large mirror I clench my fists and fling my arms out and up and backwards while mentally, meaningfully repeating such affirmations as: “I AM Power!”, “I AM Health!’, “I AM Courage!” and other such positive thoughts, all the while taking in great gulps of clean fresh air.” What a guy!!! I love him!!!! Now for breakfast: “I may have a bowl of raw old-fashioned oatmeal, as is, direct from the box, uncooked (NOT made into a porridge). I add some wheat germ, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, a few raw almonds, some raisins, a sliced banana, raw unheated honey, and water. Throughout the year, as available, I use berries of various kinds and sliced fresh fruits- peaches, mangoes, pears, cantaloupe, apples, plums, honeydew melon and strawberries. In addition I use considerable amounts of pitted dates, and unsulphured black mission figs......wonderful energy foods.” Phew! I’m exhausted! Fred’s day powers on in similar vein, relentlessly positive and upright. After this first chapter, showing how he lives the life he extols, the rest of the book is more instructive. Tilney’s enthusiasm for raw vegetables and eating the whole fruit (skin, pips and all) is quite infectious! A look at some of the book’s chapters will give you an idea of his philosophy of the Science of Natural Living. Eating for Super Health To Live Far Longer — Abandon Obsolete Cooking Habits Try These Beneficial Juice Cocktails Secrets Of Managing Yourself For Success How To Pack Super-Health Into Every Minute Of Every Day Written in 1968 just when America was really starting to gorge itself on McDonalds and endless sugary drinks Tilney’s gospel was a timely call to action that could have avoided the slough of obesity the western world now finds itself in. If only we had listened.  

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