Healthy at 100
John Robbins inherited much of the Baskin-Robbins ice cream chain fortune. He rejected this, and devoted himself to promoting natural health and other causes. Isn't it nice to see someone with character and integrity, who is not seduced by materialism? He wrote a book called Healthy at 100 on longevity. Also please read the article There are no Long Lived Cultures. John covers four different cultures we can learn a lesson from. The first three are very poor, and the fourth has an average standard of living.
The Abkhasia people in the Russian Caucasus mountains are known for their long life and excellent health. They work hard all their lives just to survive. Family life is close, and old age is respected. They eat a lot of vegetables, fruit, and nuts. Their staple is a whole corn porridge. They do drink a fermented milk beverage called matzoni, but this is not something we want to do. They keep working well into their 80s generally.
The Villacamba in Ecuador are very similar. They must work their fields just to eat and survive. They eat whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and beans. They have little sickness such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. They eat almost no animal foods.
The 30,000 Hunza people in the Himalayan mountains eat millet, wheat, buckwheat, vegetables, fruit and nuts. Their staple is whole grain chapatti bread. They eat two meals a day. They fast every week. They work hard at farming, just so they can eat. Family life is strong and close. Their calorie intake is very low. They eat a minimal amount of dairy foods. Many myths and exaggerations have been made about Hunza health and longevity, but they really are far ahead of the rest of the world here.
What do these three cultures have in common? They eat minimal, or no animal foods. They exist on whole grains, vegetables, beans, nuts, and fruits. About 70% of their diet is whole, complex carbohydrates. Sugars and refined foods are almost unknown. They definitely eat less than 20% fat calories. They do not eat desserts. They take in less than 2,000 calories a day on average, even though they do much physical labor. Serious illnesses like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease are uncommon. Obesity is unknown. They lack doctors and hospitals, and do not take prescription drugs. They lack central heat and plumbing. Contagious disease is a problem due to poor sanitation. They walk everywhere they go. These are not some romantic, quaint, chrarming outposts one would want to live in
Who are the very healthiest and longest lived people on earth? The 1.4 million Okinawans in Japan. Read the book The Okinawan Program. Every though they only comprise 1 in 5,000 of the world population, they have 15% of the super-old who have reached 110 years or more. This is an overrepresentation of 75,000 times. Let's say that again...75,000 times the people 110 years old or more. They eat more soy foods than anyone else on earth. This proves beyond any doubt that soy is good food. They eat whole grains, beans, root vegetables, fruits and seafood. They eat little animal foods. They also eat less than 2,000 calories a day and less than 20% fat calories. Sadly, the younger and urban Okinawans are giving up these traditional practices. Like most of Japan, they are adopting the Western ways of eating beef, pork, chicken, milk, dairy products, refined foods, sugars, and desserts.
Now let's look at the richest country in the world- America. One half of those over 65 have two or more chronic illnesses. Ninety per cent of those over 65 are on various prescription drugs. Read the Most Medicated Nation article. 95% of those over 65 have arthritis. A quarter of those over 65 are so sickly they are medically defined as "impaired". Half of Americans over 85 have Alzheimer's, and need 24/7 care. The senility rate for those over 85 approaches almost 100%. We have some of the highest cancer, diabetes, and heart disease rates in the world. We're overfed and undernourished. We eat twice the calories we need. We eat twice the protein we need. We eat 42% fat calories, nearly all from animals. We eat 160 pounds of various sugars. We eat a mere 1% whole grains. We hardly eat any green or yellow vegetables. We rarely walk anywhere, but drive every-where. There are now 1/3 of all U.S. adults medically classified as obese. Now our children are obese. One third of all children will grow up diabetic in America. Our quality of life is simply terrible when it comes to health. Yes, we have bigger homes, more cars, bigger cars, more food, more money, and more everything else material than anyone else in the entire world by far. What does that mean though? Nothing. Health is real wealth. Without good health and quality of life you have nothing. Americans look good only when viewed from the outside.