Outlive the average American by 10 years
According to census data, just 55,000 Americans reach 100; that’s .02% of us.
But it does show us that is it possible to live to 100. And one community found the secret in the US. Loma Linda, California has the highest population of centenarians.
And it’s important to note that many of these people who live to 100 are independent and free of disease.
So what is their secret?
Well, this led me down a path to study these Americans and others around the world who live to a healthy 100.
Scientists have always studied this trying to unlock the secret formula to a long life. But the best summary I found was by researcher Dan Buettner who wrote the Blue Zones.
In it, he visits and studies 5 groups of people around the world who live past the average population and remain healthy long after many succumb to chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Through years of study he found that at least 75% of what happens to us is based on diet and lifestyle. Only 25% is genetic. But, we have much more control of what happens to us than we think- I would even argue more.
Of the 5 regions he studied people living the longest, one was Loma Linda, California. This community is made of seventh day Adventists (about 9,000) and the group is made up of all races, white, black, Latino and Asian.
People in Loma Linda outlive the average American by 10 years. But many of them reach 100, still living free and independently.
I read a story of a heart surgeon in the community who figured he would retire at 97 years old though he felt he could still do another surgery. He was vegetarian, almost vegan.
Here is a video of the 98-year old heart surgeon, Dr. Ellsworth Wareham:
Or a 100-year-old woman who would get in her car to drive to the nearby old age home to help out the “old folks” in their 70’s and 80’s. The stories seem like fiction but they aren’t.
“Strict vegetarian Adventists live nearly a decade longer than their U.S. counterparts, suffering a fraction of the rate of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
They also weigh about 20 pounds less than their meat-eating counterparts.
Studies follow 100,000 Adventists for more than 30 years, the longest-lived among them are pescatarians.”
The information and quotes are taken from Dan Buettner’s book, The Blue Zones Cookbook: 100 Recipes To Live to 100
There are many other factors contributing to their longevity which I need to mention. It can’t just be attributed to the diet.
Loma Linda’s Blue Zone Secrets
- Find a sanctuary in time: take a weekly bread to focus on God, family, nature
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Get regular, moderate exercise like a daily walk or gardening
- Spend time with like-minded friends
- Snack on nuts: consume nuts at least 5 times a week
- Give something back: volunteer and lead a life of purpose for others
- Eat meat in moderation: if you eat meat, make it a side dish to vegetables
- Eat an early, light dinner
- Put more plants in your diet: fruit, beans, tomatoes are the favorites
- Drink plenty of water
Let’s reveal the diet secrets that make this group live to 100
Blue Zones diet
First proposed by Ellen White in the 19th century
The main diet consists of:
- “Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables constitute the diet chosen for us by our creator. These foods, prepared in as simple and natural a manner as possible, are the most healthful and nourishing. They impart strength, a power of endurance, and a vigor of intellect. “
- “Let the people be taught how to prepare food without the use of milk or butter. Tell them that the time will soon come when there will be no safety in using eggs, milk, cream, or butter, because disease in animals is increasing in proportion to the increase of wickedness among men.”
- Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper
- Adventists eat a hearty breakfast and a light dinner, and they often use nuts and seeds in their oatmeal and breakfast goods.
- Research on the dietary patterns of Seventh-day Adventists reveals that eating more calories earlier in the day is associated with a lower risk of obesity and heart conditions (which validates the age-old adage to not skip breakfast).
On sugar and desserts:
- “Sugar clouds the brain and brings peevishness into the disposition”
- Sweets as treats: Dorothy allows herself sweets occasionally, and they are always, always homemade.
- Minimize the microwave: “People cook food to death and destroy the nutrients. They should be lightly steaming them and eating them as close to the way they were grown.”
Buettner, Dan. The Blue Zones Kitchen (p. 236). National Geographic Society. Kindle Edition.
At first I wasn’t very excited to delve into Loma Linda, CA for the Blue Zones recipes because they other places like Italy and Greece sound more exotic and fun.
But, what I found surprised me. What I realized was that reading about Loma Linda, CA shows us that is is COMPLETELY POSSIBLE to eat and live this healthy lifestyle.
In other words, we can’t blame society why we aren’t healthy or excuse ourselves saying….. “if I lived in Greece or Italy it would be easy, or even a no-brainer to eat and live healthy.”
I am not perfect and certainly have thought this way.. that maybe the solution was outside of myself.
But reading more about Loma Linda, CA literally hits home. It sets a new standard and well, takes all of the excuses I had for not living a more healthy life, and makes me question myself really, what’s holding me back?
If they can do it in California, the United States of America, then it’s really on me to make these changes.
It puts the power back in our hands and reminds us that we make these small choices every day, on what to eat or how to live. We can break from the crowd, from the masses, from the SAD (Standard American Diet) diet and make a new party (maybe new friends/supporters) for ourselves.
In a word, it was inspiring to learn more about Loma Linda. Hope it inspired you too!
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Are you at home during the COVID lockdown? . We don’t know when our favorite restaurants will open up again and we can enjoy time there. . But, there is a silver lining. . Now is a great time to up your healthy cooking skills. They are skills that will benefit you for the rest of your life. . Eating more plants can rejuvenate you, center you and make you generally just feel better. . I’ll help you get started in plant based cooking and teach you other longevity tips so you start living your BEST life from this moment forward. . Click the link in my bio if you’re interested or send me a message directly to learn more. It’s a simple 4x a month cooking class. 100% plant-based. Low-carb and gluten-free. . Whether you’re 60, 70 or 90% plant based I don’t judge. Just eat more plants! See you in the kitchen. . Music: July Musician: Jef . #plantbased #vegan #eatclean #bluezones #paleo #glutenfree
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