People are constantly asking me: What do I eat? What should they eat? What should they do to help avoid disease and live longer? In the past 30 years I have undertaken to learn all I could about proper nutrition. This is why I created and built the North Carolina Research Campus, bringing together the brightest scientific minds from eight universities, including Duke, UNC, NC State, among several others. Through the Dole Nutrition Institute, we aim to "feed the world with knowledge" with our books, award-winning newsletter and videos as they become available, social media and our new contemporary blog.
Because of this, my good friend Arianna asked me to revive the blog I started two years ago. Specifically: Would I discuss the healthy way I live and the information I have gathered in my 88 years about the importance of retaining a healthy life through diet, exercise and lifestyle? I agreed because my belief is that knowledge is power, and too many people feel powerless to know what they should eat for proper nutrition and thereby change their eating and exercise habits.
My own recipe for longevity includes considerable amounts of fruits and vegetables. An additional major responsibility for the maintenance of our bodies is regular exercise; at least 4 to 5 times a week. I do not take pills; do not have any need nor use for aspirin, and certainly do not use any supplements. Everything I need comes from my fish and vegetarian diet. I personally like to juice up several different kinds of fruits and vegetables -- bananas, pineapples, red bell peppers, apples, carrots, celery, broccoli, spinach, parsley, tomatoes and cucumbers, to name a few. Skins and peels of all fruit and vegetables -- including pieces of banana peels and citrus rinds -- because there is much more nutrition in any of these areas that are touched by the sun.
Basically, I personally eat a substantial breakfast each day consisting of varieties of: Unprocessed whole grains (like oatmeal), plenty of fruit and vegetables -- berries, banana, pineapple -- and topped with nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, any kinds of nuts). Frequently I have an egg white vegetable omelet. For lunch and dinner I like to have a fish like John Dory, Dover sole, salmon, black cod or sardines, all of which are rich in omega-3. These are accompanied by a salad and/or vegetable soup -- and often both. For snacking I like to have popcorn, of course without butter or salt.
I have not eaten this perfectly all my life. But the loss of my beloved wife, Gabrielle, to cancer 26 years ago, and the deaths of two of my sons in tragic accidents brought home to me the preciousness of life for all of us. I resolved to take better care of my own health -- and spend effort to help others live healthier, longer lives as well.
Despite all the advanced medical knowledge and developments, Americans are more and more unhealthy every year. 66% of the population is either overweight or obese. Diabetes cases have tripled in the last 30 years. Heart attacks, stroke, various cancers and liver ailments have been linked to excess weight. We take pills to solve all the diseases we are creating. Major medical operations have become routine, much due to improper eating. All of this in turn sends health care costs through the roof. Yet by focusing on simply managing disease symptoms and care costs, we distract ourselves from the root of the problem, which is that we have historically been eating by our taste buds rather than our minds. We take better care of the maintenance of our cars than we take care of the maintenance of our bodies.
The purpose of this and future blogs will be to provide health recipes for a
longer life. In my first blog, "A Recipe for Longevity," I recounted some of
the healthiest fruit and vegetables (in my second blog I expanded on nuts).
My plant-based diet plus fish is to credit for my low blood pressure, high energy and robust immunity. Many of the people I work with that are half my age complain that they feel tired all the time. I tell them: Look at what you're eating, how much you are exercising and how much sleep you are getting.
As promised in my last blog, I will write a series of posts about various areas of longevity such as:
- Healthy Eating New Scientific Discoveries from research campuses such as my North Carolina Research Campus
- The Nutrition Value of Seeds and Skins of Fruits and Vegetables
- To Do the Impossible You Must See the Invisible
- Two Hours is Time Enough, Two Days is Too Long
- The Joys of Juicing
- Pineapple Power: Combatting Colitis
- The Sunshine Nutrient: Vitamin D
- Why I Don't Eat Meat
- Five Reasons to Eat Fish
- Nutrition Deficiencies & Obesity
- Why I Don't Take Medicine - or Need It
Length of life means little without quality of life, which is why I will blog next about brain fitness: What exercises, mental and physical, plus foods can help keep your mind sharp and focused throughout your future.