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March 04, 2011

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference New York Times Magazine: Billionaire David Murdock's Die-Later Diet - He's On a Mission to End Chronic Diseases Through Better Diets:

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MG / PGYx

I want to know what he puts in his smoothies! I fantasize about having a garden like his. Seems tough to use commercial citrus since even many of the organics include a resin coating. I wonder if it would come off with soap and scrubbing, since that should still take less time than peeling.

I do think at least some of the posted calorie counts are underestimates unless his salads include less than 1 tsp of dressing and he is eating very small portions.

My diet has taken a tumble lately and I feel the difference. This post and the one before re: sugar have convinced me to return to whole foods cooking, even if time necessitates very simple meals. It would be awesome to have kitchen staff who would cater to my every healthy whim!

Tuck Donnelly

Aunt Margaret died in 2009, at 92 years old. She lived a full life -- Phd (Vassar professor), family leader, community activist (Los Angeles), and philanthropist. Her last request was for a gin and tonic. She was happy, energetic, engaged, involved, interested, and competent to the end. In midlife she smoked at least two packs a day. By the time she died she was down to about half a pack a day. She had sherry every day before lunch, celebrated cocktail hour as if it were a religion, loved roast duck and plum pudding and had scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast almost every morning.

I only mention this because, when I see an article about 'What Mr. Murdock is eating', as if it makes a difference, it reminds me, and reinforces my own belief, that it's what's inside that leads to a long, healthy and productive life. If Mr. Murdock makes it to 125, it's because he's a very cool guy and not because he eats fruits and nuts.

Tuck Donnelly

elvira


He's also a good role model. In addition to all the amazing things he can teach us, there are also lots of things--to avoid.

He forgot about the relationship piece from Dean Ornish and the "Younger Next Year" suggestions for a full long life.

He seems to have no one around him who loves him or CARES that he live a long life. No wonder he is alone.

I hope that, in spite of following a healthy lifestyle and having some money, I can continue to care about people around me and be kind--avoiding the rudeness of pointing out that someone has not finished his soup and that certainly I will live longer than THEM! How omnipotent!

I wonder if the people around him wish him a short life.

He seems amazingly narcissistic and arrogant. Death and chronic illness can come from other sources than food intake and lack of exercise. He could have a fall, a cerebral bleed, a car accident.

Sad for the old guy, really.

The Healthy Librarian

Tuck & Elvira,

I totally agree with both of you!! What's the point of living longer without having people to care for & who care about you. Don't forget--Murdock did once have a long loving marriage, before his wife died.

Murdock's an interesting guy, IMHO, given his early years & the obstacles he overcame. When one is able to overcome huge hurdles--it's hard to understand why others aren't able to make simple lifestyle changes that will only benefit them.

He's clearly narcissistic, rude, and arrogant--but guess what--it's his choice to invest millions into research that can have real benefits to others.

Perhaps, he knows from experience that people don't change behaviors when you just suggest nicely that there's a better way to eat.

And Tuck, your Aunt Margaret is an anomaly in this world--not too many of Aunt Margarets in the U.S. In all my years I know of very few people who make it into their late 80's & 90's without serious health problems--who are living active lives on their own.

My parents were shining examples of people who were well-loved, kind, generous, & who loved-well--it's so sad that they didn't have the knowledge nor opportunities to change the way they ate & exercised--and perhaps have a better last 20 years of their lives.

Joe Rollino, of NYC, who died at 104 when he was hit by a minivan, falls into the class of people who lived right--in all ways--but still, not w/o his own quirks--like all of us. http://www.happyhealthylonglife.com/happy_healthy_long_life/2010/01/vigor-quest.html

Steven Rice Fitness

I say "Bravo!" for his personal commitment and generous funding of research to help others. Almost anyone can emulate his diet, and those of wealth would do well to emulate his charity.

DPS

Thanks for this posting. It made me think.

Murdock is quite the showman. He just throw 125 years out there as a goal. It doesn't mean that he is going to live that long. I hope he attains his goal, but it is not all about longevity.

There is not alot of detail about his diet. As I read the post, I kept thinking about how closely he is adhering to a low-fat plant-based diet.

My strategy for living a long life is continually being refined by sites like this one. My starting place is to look at the CDC data revealing the types of things that people are dying from and then I read research-based authors that address these causes of death. The numbers don't change that much from year-to-year. Here are the top 7 (of 15) listed causes of death that I obtained from a table at page 5 of http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr58/nvsr58_19.pdf

Cause of Death and Percentage of Total

1 Diseases of heart 25.4%
2 Malignant neoplasms 23.2%
3 Cerebrovascular diseases 5.6%
4 Chronic lower respiratory diseases 5.3%
5 Accidents (unintentional injuries) 5.1%
6 Alzheimer’s disease 3.1%
7 Diabetes mellitus 2.9%


Authors with strategies for preventing and reversing hear/stroke/vascular disease and cancer grab my attention. In part because it where the greatest percentages of death occur. But also, they relate to my family and personal history. My goal is to keep the big hitters at-bay and die of old age.

Alzheimer's disease wasn't on my radar screen untill I read a few postings by the Health Librarian. I noticed a recent article that may change the way the scientific community views amyloid accumulation and deposition. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health/Liver-not-brain-a-source-of-Alzheimers/articleshow/7626085.cms

CB

Regardless of his lifespan, he feels better eating the way he does than not paying attention to his diet. He's conscious of what makes him feel and function better. I notice quite a difference in energy level and overall "lightness" after tending more towards a similar diet.

Cynthia Bailey MD, Dermatologist

I think the more the better for healthy diet spokespeople. Folks relate to different personality types and Mr. Murdock will inspire an important segment of people, one that might not be inspired by more usual, veganish diet devotes. I love the plant-based, no vice enthusiasm of this successful and feisty 87 year old tycoon who puts his money where his mouth is. Right on sir!

Hank Roberts

PS, I"d be real curious to know more about his reasons for avoiding anesthesia completely. After what I've been reading lately, I feel the same way.

It's very hard (if you aren't a billionaire, I guess) to get a doctor to even consider alternatives for anything they normally handle using anesthesia.

But egad! Look at what they're saying:

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=anesthetic+anesthesia+cognitive&as_sdt=0%2C5&as_ylo=2011&as_vis=0

Scott D'Andrea

I would like to know more about this fermented Chinese tea that lowers LDL?
Can you provide details?

Betsy

Murdock claims not to eat sugar but did you look at his Chocolate Walnut Cookies recipe? It calls for 3 cups (!) confectioners' sugar -- isn't that one of the most processed forms of sugar? I was so looking forward to learning how honey is used to make these cookies. In the article, it sounds like he's scarfing these things down, having them for dessert and snacks. I keep thinking though of your previous post about Lustig and the dangers of sugar and other sweeteners like honey. I guess they don't hurt Murdock much since he seems. And I'll probably give these cookies a pass.

The Healthy Librarian

Betsy,

I never saw the cookie recipe until after I posted--and I was shocked to see 3 cups of confectioners sugar in it! Crazy. I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole. Besides, the more sweets I eat the more I want--I'm "weigh" better off just avoiding the stuff--and not encouraging my sweet tooth!

Scott,

Yes, I wanted to know more about that tea, too. I'll report back!

Frank Cording

I too read the article and it prompted me to view his piece with Oprah Winfrey.

During this video segment he was shown doing 50+ "pushups". How many 87 year-olds do you know who can do that, was the question.

Unfortunately, the truth is, personally none, but he wasn't either. He was just moving his hips up and down, not doing a pushup in the accepted sense.

Now, I'm absolutely behind his diet and approach to life. It all sounds good.

But, if there is inaccurate information about one of his "achievements" how much else is suspect?

Colin

I'm not sure what this post tells us except that here's an apparently healthy 87 year old who eats well, invests in research and wants to spread a message. It certainly does not tell us that how he lives now (and since the age of 62) accounts for his present health.

Additionally, the statement:

'Murdock's other doctors say that even though his diet is laudable, he started his "healthful ways" too late--in this 60's--and they think genetics trump lifestyle. Hmm. To that, I'd say, "How many 87 year olds do you see with his kind of good health, vigor, and energy?"'

seems a bit odd.

On the one hand you estimate that he didn't start eating healthfully until around 62 at the earliest. At that time he owned one of the largest beef corporations in the US and enjoyed their products!

If his genetics are trumped by lifestyle, then how do we account for his present condition after six decades of poor eating? I don't buy a diagnosis that says eating healthily only after your sixth decade will maintain health on its own.

It's far more likely, I would suggest, that a combination of his genetics and his healthy lifestyle late in life have helped. Not meaning to be rude, but it seems like you're trying to have it both ways: six decades of bad lifestyle is counter-acted by 2.5 decades of healthy lifestyle late in life.

DPS

I have to give credit to Murdoch for being one of the few people that meet all the markers for having a healthy heart. The numbers in this link are depressing. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/07/us-heart-health-idUSTRE7260GN20110307

One aspect of Murdoch's health regime is that he gets a daily dose of sunlight. I assume that he winters on his 2,200 acre ranch in California or at his home in Hawaii. Either way, he get more of the sunlight needed to make vitamin D than I get here in Pittsburgh. It seems that one can survive without a daily dose of sunshine, but that high levels of vitamin D are needed to thrive.

Some recent work at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, suggest that we need even more vitamin D than one might think. see: http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/650258.html

I like the information about vitamin D at: http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/

If you have the time or the desire, The University of California has posted some great (but lengthy) videos. see

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=videos&search_duration=long&uni=3&suggested_categories=27,25,28&search_query=vitamin+d

The Healthy Librarian

DPS,

Thanks for sharing all 4 very important links. Totally agree with your conclusion about vitamin D. Interesting that my physician--who also teaches at a top med school) told me that more is better--especially in "light" of recent researcher showing women breast cancer survivors who had the highest levels of D, had the fewest recurrences. Her recommendation to me: 4000 IUs a day--which is the IOM's safe limit.

DPS

I am glad you like the links. Sunshine/Vitamin D is an important natural defense for preventing (and treating?) cancer. One of my favorite videos on this topic deals with the synergy of some of these natural/free defenses. Fast forward to 30 minutes into the video. The entire video is worth watching, but the impact of the synergy is best if you skip forward. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaDt3AJQ98c

Not surprisingly, there is nothing really new in the video. It's great for keeping me on track with diet, exercise and meditation. I have generalized the information in the video about breast cancer to be relevant to prostate cancer. Dean Ornish research on prostate cancer show the same types of benefits. see http://www.pmri.org/publications/Lifestyle_Changes_and_Prostate_Cancer.pdf

The Healthy Librarian

DPS,

Interesting that you mention, meditation. A topic I want to write about soon. Latest research shows it increases melatonin (benefiting sleep), reduces oxidative stress of exercise, increases the size of parts of the brain, turns off genes related to stress and aging, and as it that's not enough--also increases nitric oxide production, which explains the heart and hypertension benefits. Thanks for the video link--wish I had twice the free time that I do!

cookieman

Where is the chocolate cookie recipe??

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