What I learned reading new book “The Longevity Diet” by Valter Longo, PhD.
I’m a huge longevity and nutrition geek.
I got my basic nutrition certification back in Russia a decade ago, I got certified as a health coach 4 years ago in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York, but that’s not why I’m more knowledgeable than your average nutritionist and dietitian — I’m more knowledgeable and experienced, because I never stop learning and practicing, not for one single day, not with one single person! If you ever talked to me — we talked about nutrition, health and food 100% — I’m 100% in it.
I read almost every good book, that comes out on the subject, every study, that is recommended by the top people in the industry. I work with people non-stop, not only my clients but all of my friends and relatives (and whoever happen to talk to me), and I never stop experimenting in my own life trying things out, checking what works and what doesn’t, and besides all that, I’m not in love with any of the theories, because they are not my theories, I explore and research everything and anything, if a theory is supported by some data and comes from a good resource — I’ll give it a try, I’ll research it at least.
Sometimes researchers (very often actually) get so deep in their own field, that it seems they know nothing about what their colleagues are up to on the opposite side of the field. But that’s good also, I guess, because we need deep-in-the-field kind of knowledge, just as we do need across-the-board kind of knowledge, combining best of all the worlds.
What did I learn from the book? How can I apply what I learned to my practice to live longer, younger, fitter, stronger? How can I help YOU better because of this knowledge?
The work of Professor Valter Longo from the University of Southern California is respected by many, that’s why I didn’t have any doubts abou picking up the book, reading it and applying some of his findings, comparing it all to my other knowledge and experiences, disregarding or changing some of his recommendations.
Who knows, maybe one day, among of all the theories and information resources I absorb like a sponge daily, I’ll finally figure out my own theory of the fountain of youth to live to 1000 and beyond.
The Longevity Diet: Discover the New Science Behind Stem Cell Activation and Regeneration to Slow Aging, Fight Disease, and Optimize Weight
I’ve learned that indeed, processed and refined sugars (and simple sugars like honey, agave, natural sugars in fruits), processed and refined grains, any processed foods in general, have no place in my diet, or diet of any centenarian, or anyone who plans to enhance her physical and mental potential, possibly outliving all the centenarians — none of the centenarians consume those foods, except for VERY rare occasions. Even grains like rice, in the diet of the longest living people like Okinawans (Japan), do not constitute a huge portion of their diet, 100 g or so a day, not huge pile of rice with every meal, like some of you might think, yes, the diet of centenarians seem to be higher on carbs than say, my favorite ketogenic diet, but those carbs come from low-carb, whole, fresh, cooked and fermented vegetables, no bread or pasta, or even fruit!
I’ve learned that centenarians do not eat lots of red meat at all, it’s very occasional, if any, but most of the longest living people do enjoy small, low-mercury, high in Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA, EPA) fish like sardines, anchovies, eggs on occasions. In fact, vegan diet with occasional fish and eggs, occasional sheep and goat dairy, might be the best you can have. Being a pescatarian myself, with very little goat and sheep dairy products I can attest, that I never felt that nourished, having no cravings, while consuming no meat and eating low protein diet in general.
(Attention Girls! When you train with heavy weights, the reason why a lot of you might actually get bulky — you consume growth hormone from dairy and meat products)
I’ve learned that high fat diet IS good for us, but there is only one thing that is common among longest living people — those fats do not come from animal saturated fats, they come from nuts and seeds, fish, olive oil, coconut oil, from occasional eggs, fish and dairy. Nobody eats butter, cheese, lard, ghee by the bottle! Those fats might not cause heart disease and inflammation necessarily, when they come from good quality animals, but they certainly shouldn’t be the majority of your calories.
Most importantly, I believe, the bulk of the diet must be rich in fresh, cooked, fermented and preserved otherwise local vegetables, that people living the longest consume on a daily, on a MEAL basis!
The longest living people tend to eat 2–3 meals a day, only one of which is a bigger meal, breakfast or lunch usually.
Most meals are consumed in 12-hour or less time window. Most of the food is eaten long before bed, earlier in the day. Nobody is eating 6 times a day.
All longest living people move a lot, walking, engaged in different physical activities, like light to moderate exercise, weight training, active hobbies like gardening. They walk at least an hour a day, being quite active the rest of the day with different hobbies and chores, yes, even when they are 100!
Yes, longest living people do not follow keto, they consume some grains and some bread (100–200 grams), some beans, but all of it is whole, unprocessed, doesn’t come in some fancy product or dish, cooked very simply in a pressure cooker or steamed, fermented. Most bread is sour dough (that bread is made with natural yeast that actually consume most of the carbs and sugars in the end product).
In short, these are the main lessons we can start practicing today to live to 100 and beyond, staying disease free and active till we die:
- Eat mostly plants, unprocessed, low carb plants, cooked simply or fresh, lots and lots of non-starchy colorful local vegetables. Grains and beans? Sweet potatoes? Not a lot, in volume 1–2 cups, cooked, a day.
- Fish protein with occasional pasture-raised eggs, occasional dairy products like butter (grass-fed), goat and sheep cheeses and yogurts, low protein diet (0.4–0.5g of protein per pound of body weight) is the best for longevity and disease free life, for the best performance (unless your goal is to become a professional bodybuilder or an athlete, that do not live the longest or the healthiest)
- Eat your food during the day in a time-restricted window 12 hours or less, 2, max 3 meals a day.
- Fats are good for you. But the majority of fats should come from plants like olives, avocados, nuts and seeds (no peanuts, cashews, those are not nuts, and not nuts roasted in nasty vegetable oils), coconuts (coconut oil, milk, coconut cream), fatty fish like sardines, anchovies, salmon (low-mercury fish), occasional whole eggs and sheep/goat dairy products.
The last but not least, the diet of the longest living people tend to be pretty boring and simple most of the days. Seasonal and local, without too many (if any) exotic foods and packaged food products of any kind.
Oh, yeah, I’ve almost forgotten, the whole book is about Fasting-Mimicking Diet (FMD), 5-day protocol, when you consume very limited amount of food (around 800 cal) that come from vegetables, some nuts and seeds and olive oil.
I’m doing my 7-day Fast-Mimicking Diet. HERE is how I do it.
Below is the recipe from the book
Why do it?
To rejuvenate and re-build your body from inside out
To destroy damaged cells and cell parts
To self-consume (your body starts literally eating defective parts) defective organ parts and tissues, re-building new ones, once feeding starts
To activate “miracle” stem cells
You will look better, perform better on all levels, lose weight and reduce or get rid of your unhealthy eating habits and cravings, your inflammation will go down, FMD helps with diabetes and metabolic disorders, cardio-vascular problems and heart disease, neurological disorders — you guessed it right, it’s good for everything that doesn’t work right in your body, it’s like a re-boot for your body, everything starts anew, fresh and updated.
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