The man and his origins

Health and Well-Being

One of the peculiarities of Calouste Gulbenkianís personality was his life-time concern about being healthy and in good shape. Although sports never really attracted him, physical exercise was an essential part of his daily habits. Besides going for long walks, where he could be in close contact with nature, which he so dearly loved, Calouste Gulbenkianís daily routine consisted in starting off the day with a series of gymnastic exercises. Indeed, this routine was so vital that he only gave up the habit towards the end of his life, when his health deteriorated substantially. In addition, he was extremely careful with his diet, based on mostly fruit and vegetables. Moreover, Calouste Gulbenkian would be very demanding with not only the way his meals were cooked, but most of all, with the quality and freshness of the ingredients used. Finally, due to his health obsession, he would carry out regular checkups.

Calouste Gulbenkianís personal library is perhaps one of the best testimonies of these specific personality features. In fact, his collection comprises quite a significant list of works related to health and well being. Of this list, one part of the books is about having a healthy lifestyle, thus concerning eating regimes and exercises: Eat well, live long, Gymnastique de chambre, Régimes alimentaires and L’alimentation et ses régimes. Another part however, relates to general health issues and consists of books such as Défense de veillir, La petite chirurgie chez soi, Vivez jeune, vivez longtemps, Pour vivre cents ans ou l’Art de prolonger ses jours and 800 remèdes d’hier et de toujours: empruntés au folklore et inspirés du bons sens populaire. As can be inferred from the titles of these books, Calouste Gulbenkian always sought to live healthy up to a very old age, similarly to what some of his relatives had done in the past.

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