What I’ve learned reading “The Longevity Solution.”
Fast. Manage protein. Eat healthy fats, more salt and magnesium. Enjoy coffee, tea, red wine.
I was looking forward to reading this book, “The Longevity Solution: Rediscovering Centuries-Old Secrets to a Healthy, Long Life” by Dr. James DiNicolantonio and Dr. Jason Fung — these guys are consistently doing some amazing research on the topics of health and weight/metabolism management, that stay kind of under the radar of main health/diet fads, movements, “news” — that’s what usually happens to a lot of important issues, that are not that “sexy” and sellable. “The Salt Fix: Why the Experts Got It All Wrong — and How Eating More Might Save Your Life” and “The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting” — other books by Dr. James DiNicolantonio and Dr. Jason Fung, that transformed my life, changed how I thought about and managed my healthy eating habits.
And it was definitely worth all the waiting. It might not give you a miracle pill or a solution for eternal youth, and it doesn’t make any sensational claims but it does bring together all the current scientific research on the topic of longevity nutrition, that is optimized for life AND health span, not just for more years of very questionable quality as standard medical advice does.
First, it made me realize one very important idea — youth and longevity are not the same. What you want in your prime years — more growth, faster metabolism, more sex hormones, more acute stressors to teach your immune system and optimize your defense systems — all of that might not be such a great idea for longevity, once the growth period is over. More growth might mean more cancer cells, faster metabolism might mean inefficient energy usage and insufficient energy supply to your vital organs and systems — and with that comes earlier death. More sex hormones will optimize your body for procreation and better mating pool, not for longevity and peace of mind. And more stressors, inflammation, training and “opportunities” for injures and infections will mean taking resources from repairing and restorative processes to “fight and defend” mode.
You might be thinking longevity is about staying young — I used to think that. But longevity is not about stopping the time and growing indefinitely — that will never happen, you can not stop the time or grow indefinitely. Longevity is about helping our body to get better at repair (cellular, DNA damage), maintaining and using wisely what we have (energy, organ, tissue and body parts’ functions) and designing our hormonal environment to accommodate all these processes better.
In youth, you want to, pretty much, get your hands on as much healthy nutrition, proteins and other nutrients, as you can, managing to the best of your ability to maintain adequate growth and development. In longevity, on the other hand, you want to teach your body, your metabolism and hormones, how to conserve and restore what you have, through regular fasting and protein cycling. At the same time, you don’t want to starve yourself, as you might need more nutrients to maintain tissues and cells, since the body is getting not as efficient and effective at it, when we get older.
It’s a delicate act of balance — longevity lifestyle.
I don’t know about you, but I plan to stack all the cards in my favor to maintain my body in the best possible condition, till our science figures out some simple way to make us live healthy as long as we want, enjoying every moment of this life to the fullest.
The Longevity Solution book is about substances we can consume — proteins, salt and magnesium, tea, coffee and wine, fats and fatty foods and about fasting.
Some of them help our cells to do better repair work (fasting and protein management), some of them help our cells to become stronger and “tougher”, enduring anything, that life throws our way (tea, coffee, wine and all the polyphenols aka plant anti-oxidants, that activate our longevity genes, that protect us from stress and damage of all sorts, through the power of hormesis aka acute stress, that makes us stronger), and other substances simply maintain our vital cellular functions (sodium and magnesium, healthy fats ), without them we can not successfully live long and healthy.
What’s really cool about this book?
Most of the practices in the book are simple, most of them are easy to do, except maybe for fasting (that does become easier with practice), the advice given is convenient and much cheaper than any anti-aging therapy. Some practices are also pretty enjoyable — who doesn’t love their daily cup of coffee or tea? A glass of good red wine with a nice meal?
The results you can feel and see almost instantly, once you start following the plan 100% with consistency.
All the science, details of the research, references to more information, analysis of Blue Zones aka places where people live the longest — all that you can find in the book.
Let’s together jump right into it! Let’s learn and start applying the most important — the longevity solution plan itself.
What and How.
The Longevity Solution Plan for your Longer and Healthier Life. (Till our scientists figure out the immortality pill thing.)
Step 1. Regular Fasting.
Food restriction VS eating as much as you want all the time has proven itself many many times, it’s proven to prolong life and increase your health span. Fasting is the most beneficial and the simplest way to restrict our food consumption. You don’t need to count calories or be on any particular diet. Even though eating nutritionally balanced meals is the other part of the equation to promote healthy and long life. Malnourishment is not cool for longevity. So you want to fast and then eat nutritious foods. That how it works.
- 12–14 hours of daily fasting.
- 16:8 fasting. 16 hours (overnight) of not eating. Eat your meals in 8-hour eating window.
- Alternate day fasting. Eat one meal between 12–3 PM one day. The next day eat normally. Eat one meal a day the day after that again. Repeat.
- Prolonged fasting (more than 24 hours). For different health conditions, especially with different cases of metabolic disease.
Step 2. mTOR/Protein.
- Aim to obtain 50% of your protein from animal sources. 50% from plant sources like beans, nuts, vegetables. Mostly from whole foods. Try to go organic for health reasons. 25% of your animal protein consume from seafood.
- Aim for 1.6g to 2.2g of protein (not food but actual protein, check protein content of foods) per 1 kg of body weight. Best distributed between meals. For resistance training and older (after 65) adults.
*It was unclear for me from the book, but it seems, that professional athletes, endurance or strength, might need more protein for repair and recovery processes.
- Aim for 1.2g of protein per 1 kg of body weight. For nonresistance training people.
*From my experience, it makes sense to consume more protein on training days and around your training, than in other cases.
- Supplement with 20–60 g of hydrolyzed collagen or 10–15 g of glycine for healthy tendons, joins, skin.
*it wasn’t exactly clear for me, how you manage all that with different fasting protocols and training. More research is needed.
Step 3. Coffee, Tea and Wine.
- Coffee and tea: small amount of cream and milk is allowed, no sweeteners.
- Coffee: 1–5 cups a day of brewed coffee. Depends on your personal caffeine/coffee tolerance and preferences. Depends on the amount of caffeine and, obviously, the size of your cup.
*Drink responsibly. Caffeine can interrupt your sleep, if you don’t know how to drink it for good night sleep. I finish my coffee by 2 PM.
- Tea: drink plentifully. Brewed green, black, oolong and other teas. Green tea enriched with catechins seems to be the most beneficial for longevity, health and weight loss/weight management.
- Wine: Only in moderate amounts, 2 drinks for men, 1 drink for women, 1 drink is about 3 oz.
Preferably high-resveratrol wines such as Brazilian Pinot Noir or Lambrusco.
Preferably low in sugar such as Dry Farm Wines.
Preferably an organic version to avoid pesticides.
Consume wine with the largest meal of the day.
Consume daily small amounts rather than do binge drinking.
Most benefits in wine seems to come from polyphenols, not alcohol, quercetin and resveratrol. So, non-alcoholic wines might be a great option.
*I drink 2–3 cups of coffee, 1L of freshly brewed green tea, and I take green tea supplements. Not a wine drinker (no alcohol), but considering it.
Step 4. Salt-Sodium and Magnesium.
- 2 teaspoons of salt or 4 g of sodium is required daily.
- Consume salt before and after training.
*Not consuming enough leads to numerous health consequences like insulin resistance, kidney and adrenal disfunction, muscle spasms, dehydration, magnesium and calcium deficiency.
- Choose high-quality salts like Redmond Real Salt.
- Supplement with 300 mg of magnesium glycinate (diglycinate) or magnesium citrate — magnesium oxide is poorly absorbed
Step 5. Eat more natural healthy fats.
- Consume 2 to 4g of EPA + DHA from wild seafood and/or supplement with up to 4g of high quality fish, krill or algae oils.
- Consume omega-3s from plants too. like chia, hemp or flax SEEDS, target to 30–60g per day
- Consume good quality natural animal fats — pastured butter, ghee, lard and tallow.
- Consume omega-6s from whole food sources like nuts, seeds, pastured eggs and chicken. Keep the ratio Omega-6s:Omega-3s, 4:1 or less.
*My personal practice. I eat most of my fats from seafood, pastured eggs or olive/coconut oils. Nuts and seeds 1–2 handfuls a day. That takes care of my fat ratio.
- Consume 1–2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or a handful of olives.
As a personal advice from my professional and personal practice, to enrich and amplify this longevity solution nutrition for better health and weight management, great looks and awesome feelings and overflowing energy — do this:
- Sleep 8–9 hours on a regular schedule daily.
- Ditch added sugars for good, eat fruit for sweetness, use your sugar wisely — desserts on rare special occasions.
- Ditch processed food and processed grains.
- Ditch vegetable oils — canola, cottonseed, corn, soybean, sunflower, safflower.
- Ditch dairy for non-animal alternatives.
- Add 4 servings of green and colorful vegetables to most of your meals.
And now you are totally ready for a long, healthy and charged life!
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