I have an odd hobby.
I collect news accounts about people who eat all the wrong things yet somehow live an incredibly long time.
This situation is typically treated by the reporter and the old person’s relatives as:
- Entirely the result of genetic good luck, and
- Absolutely hilarious!
So I warn you, as I summarize these articles below, read slowly. Take frequent breaks. Otherwise, you may collapse from guffawing at the sidesplitting incongruity.
Here we go.
Just this week, Britain’s Telegraph informed us that Susannah Mushatt Jones of Brooklyn, New York, the world’s oldest person at 116, “puts her longevity down to eating bacon and eggs every morning for over a century.”
A sign in her kitchen reads, “Bacon makes everything better.”
The same Telegraph article reveals that the only other living person born in the 1800s is Emma Morano of Verbania, Italy, She is a few months younger than Ms. Jones and attributes her longevity to “eating several raw eggs a day.”
Then there was Edna Parker, a lifelong Indiana resident who died at 115 in 2008. She reportedly “especially enjoyed eggs, sausage, bacon, and fried chicken.”
Upon meeting her and hearing these preferences, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels quipped, “I guess we’ll have to rethink lard.”
Har! I warned you. Take these slowly!
Which brings us to Lorena Volz of Thousand Oaks, California. At her 107th birthday party, her son Don jokingly attributed his mother’s long life to “orneriness, and doing all the wrong things. She ate the worst foods in the world. She cooked her fish in bacon grease…”
Ho-ho! Fish in bacon grease and she did not plotz at 50! Catch your breath! Is the room spinning?
Now let’s swing by The Huffington Post’s “Weird News” section and chortle at the headline: “Pearl Cantrell, 105-Year-Old Woman, Says Bacon Is Key to Longevity.”
“I love bacon, I eat it every day,” said the central Texas resident.
And lest one think that this uproarious paradox happens only to women, consider Walter Breuning of Great Falls, Montana, who was the world’s oldest man when he died at 114 in 2011.
His favorite lunch? It’s revealed as the last line of a USA Today story about him — rather like a punch line.
Wait for it…
Liver and onions!
And now, as the kids say, /sarc off.
Obviously, none of this is incongruous or funny or even a bit surprising to anyone familiar with what modern nutrition science actually says. Diets high in saturated animal fat are healthy and definitively do not contribute to cardiovascular disease.
Conversely, large trials that swapped these fats for polyunsaturated vegetable oils showed that the oil-consuming groups suffered worse health outcomes.
So the only people who find the situations described above paradoxical and/or amusing are those who still believe in the government’s now discredited five-decade crusade against saturated fat — the kind of fat that predominates in meat, including bacon.
I hope that group does not include you.
One more point: Along with ignoring the last 50 years of nonsensical mainstream diet advice, many of these remarkable elders also ate lightly. Breuning, for example, consumed only breakfast and lunch, no dinner, for the last 37 years of his long life.
The strategies go together well, as skipping meals — also known as intermittent fasting, which I highly recommend — is torture on a high-carb, low-fat diet but relatively easy on a high-fat, low-carb one.
So sit down. Catch your breath. Have some bacon. And once or twice this week, enjoy a walk instead of a big dinner.
By the way, I plan to continue filling the empty hours with this odd hobby of collecting profiles of ornery centenarians who insist on eating the wrong foods. If you find any qualifying articles, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Editor, Natural Health Solutions