Discover more from Stephen's People
Have you tried the longevity diet?
(No. 103) White bread makes you dead, plus tons of links you'll want to read, by Stephen P. Williams.
I grew up on white rice, mashed potatoes, and white bread (also pickled pig feet, Instant Breakfast drinks and Space Food Sticks). Illustration by Stephen P. Williams
My diet right now is pretty good for me. I’ve learned that my body enjoys itself when I eat almost no sugar, avoid carbs that are white (rice, Wonder Bread, bananas) or could be white (brown rice, grains), and eat lots of beans, vegetables and protein. Plus water. I’ve come to believe that my body lets me know when I’m not eating the right food. In general, diets seem not to work for me. So I am surprised to be writing about this thing people are calling the longevity diet.
An article in New Scientist (warning, there is a paywall after the first page) says this diet, which includes lots of beans, greens, whole grains and meat, could add 10-13 years to people’s lifespans if they start it in their 20s, and that even 60 year olds who start eating this way could add 8 years (which, let’s face it, seems like a lot when you’re that age — I know!). An eighty year old might gain 3 years.
In many ways this is not surprising, because most people who take up this good diet will be leaving behind a bad diet of processed foods. That alone would improve a person’s health. When you add intermittent fasting to the mix, it appears that you actually stave off some of aging’s wretched effects.
As the OG physician Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be food.”
Here’s how the longevity diet breaks down
Last April a study came out saying there were six actions that made up the longevity diet. These steps make a person lean, with healthy blood sugar levels. Some of the steps (such step one) are, shall we say, not easy.
1 Eat just barely enough to keep your body mass index at about 22.
2 Eat a lot of whole grains, legumes and nuts. Eat fish, but not meat.
3 About half your calories should come from complex carbs (no refined carbs), about 12 percent from plant-based protein and fish, and the remainder from plant based fats such as avocado oil.
4 Each day, take at least 12 hours off from eating. This is the much ballyhooed “intermittent fasting” that has swept the nation (including me — I try to do 16 hours a day without food, 8 hours with).
5 Do a full fast for a few days every three months, or do several days of what some people call a fasting-mimicking diet that somehow lets you eat a little bit while not eating anything at all. (I am not sure that these work, and I’m pretty sure I could fast easier than I could fast-mimic.)
6 Drink no more than five alcoholic drinks, wine or beer a week.
From the department of literary advice
Hands and heart illustration by Stephen P. Williams
“Please sit down, he said. Be patient. The main thing is this — when you get up in the morning you must take your heart in your two hands. You must do this every morning.”
from Here and Somewhere Else: Stories and Poems by Grace Paley and Robert Nichols
If you like what you read, please consider becoming a paid subscriber. Stephen's People is a reader-supported publication and paid subscriptions help me spend the hours needed to produce new posts.
This guy has an infectious laugh and attitude. Seriously, this is an enjoyable video.
I just texted to say I love you…
A new study shows that most people don’t realize the positive effects our friends experience when we send them a nice text. Reach out and text someone today. I wish my friends and family would text me every day. I could do without the texts from strangers, however.
Heat pumps, LED lighting and rainwater capture are just some of the features that make the The Aegis Living Lake Union assisted living center super green. With the power of the purse, older people could ensure that this type of healthy architecture becomes the norm.
Our friend Walmart
The most seductive shopping experience on the planet will soon offer in-house preventive medicine for people over 65. This is the way that medicine should go in the coming years.
Do your research
I have used various of these supplements at various times. I still take some of them. I recommend reading about the ones that interest you. If they seem right, try them for a week and see how you feel. But do not take these blindly.
Thank you for reading, and please leave a comment!