The only son of the founder of Baskin-Robbins, John Robbins is the heir to the ice cream empire. However, instead of taking over the family's business, John chose to pursue a different lifestyle—he's written several books on healthy living, including the best-selling Diet for a New America. John joins Dr. Oz to talk about his new book, Healthy at 100, and the choices we can make today that will help us live long, fulfilling and healthy lives.
There are several cultures in the world that can teach us a lot about aging well, John says. The Abkhasians of the Caucasus Mountains, the Vilcabambans of Ecuador and the Hunzans of Pakistan are all lean, strong and fit—even after age 100. According to John, diet isn't the only factor, although it is an important one. Since there isn't any junk food, these cultures eat the way nature intended. Plus, while their calorie consumption is lower than ours, their nutrient consumption is higher, leaving them feeling well-fed and satisfied.
Another big difference is in the way these people relate to the environment, themselves and each other, John says. "There is respect," John says. "In that respect and self-care, there's something we as a society have to learn from them, something I'm afraid we've lost in the modern West."
Even with all we know about nutrition today, John says it's not surprising that many people eat things that aren't good for them. "It's short-term gratification," he says. "We don't want to think in terms of the discipline and responsibility of long-term commitments." The real way to feel good is to live within our convictions, courage and compassion, and to do it sustainably. "No junk food by itself is going to harm you, but the cumulative impact of that way of behaving is going to harm you immeasurably," John says.
Longevity is important to many people, and John says that by following a few simple tips, we can improve our odds of reaching old age without any kind of cognitive impairment, like Alzheimer's:
Eat a healthful, plant-based diet, including lots of fresh veggies, whole grains, seeds, nuts, fruits and beans.
Avoid foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol.
Get plenty of vitamins B12 and B6, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Do regular physical exercise.
Stay mentally involved, active and stimulated.
Do what you love and surround yourself with people you care about and feel respected by.
Printed from Oprah.com on Sunday, December 8, 2013