Understanding that the powerful urges we have to eat food that is not good for us (fat, sugar, meat, cheese) come from strong evolutionary forces that were hardwired into our bodies millions of years ago helps us make sense of why we are drawn to these foods today.
We evolved in an environment of scarcity and our bodies were designed primarily to SURVIVE UNTIL REPRODUCTION in a variety of challenging environments. But one environment in which our bodies appear to have no ability to adapt is an environment of continual dietary excess with ready and cheap access to high calorie, nutrient-poor food on a continual basis.
Here are a couple of short videos that explain this phenomenon very well:
Italy was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but in the blue zones region of Sardinia, while their daily routines look different, they are optimistic that this hardship will pass.
In one town, only one resident has been diagnosed with the coronavirus
Italy has the third-highest number of coronavirus infections, after the U.S. and Spain. But its ancient, isolated island of Sardinia, one of the world’s five blue zones hasn’t been devastated by the pandemic. It appears that some of the reasons blue zones Sardinians are able to live vitally into their 80s, 90s, and 100s may be helping them stave off COVID-19 — and sustaining them during their country’s lockdown.
Strong, local family bonds, as well as a penchant for purposeful work that involves exercise, are signposts of the blue zones and the older residents of Sardinia exemplify them.
It’s completely natural for me and my siblings to take care of my parents.
Take Maria Cirrone, 87, and her 93-year-old husband, Giovanni Andrea Meles. They’ve been housebound in the town of Orosei, Sardinia, since March 9 because of the pandemic; just one resident there has been diagnosed with the coronavirus — after returning from overseas.
Surrounded By Family in the Blue Zone
Unlike many older Americans who live far from their adult children and must fend for themselves while sheltering in place, Maria Cirrone and Giovanni Andrea Meles are surrounded by doting family. The couple live with two of their seven grown children, a son and daughter who are single and assist with cooking and household chores.
And every day, their youngest daughter, Liliana Meles, 47, brings her parents food and other supplies. Mom assures Liliana that her life will soon be normal again.
“My mother tells me often these days, ‘Don’t worry, we went through many hard times before and this, too, will pass,’’’ she said. “It’s completely natural for me and my siblings to take care of my parents. In Italy, and especially Sardinia, we have a large family mindset.”
Also, about 50% of Sardinians have a genetic mutation that may make them immune to malaria and may possibly also protect them against COVID-19, according to professors at University of Sassari in Sardinia — although research is needed.
In Sardinia, like most other blue zones, very few of the oldest residents live alone in nursing homes, which are virus hotspots in the United States. Here, many families of two or three generations live under the same roof or within walking distance of one another.
In Sardinia, Keeping Parents Healthy During COVID-19
During the pandemic, adult children of Sardinia are doing everything they can to keep their parents healthy.
Liliana Meles is relieved that her father (who once worked in Orosei’s marble quarries and now suffers from the lung disease silicosis) returned home after a hospital stay in January, before the virus spread to Italy.
“He would have been in danger in a hospital,” she said.
Gonario Murru, 89, and his wife Maria Frau, 76, live near four of their six children in Orosei, and saw them every day before the coronavirus. They also had been taking care of their three youngest grandchildren on weekday afternoons. And the couple frequently stopped by a popular bakery owned and operated by their youngest daughter Sara and her husband; Maria sometimes helped, preparing pastries and other sweets.
In recent weeks, though, they’ve limited contact with their grandchildren to phone calls. They’ve stopped visiting the bakery. And they haven’t been joining their family for a customary Sunday lunch.
Working Outdoors, Alone
But they’re hardly idle.
Gonariou Murru was elated when, shortly after Italy’s lockdown began, local government officials announced that he and other family farmers could drive to their land in the countryside to tend their gardens and care for their chickens, sheep, and pigs.
“He called me right away to say he could go outdoors again,” said his daughter, Sara. “This is work he loves to do.”
He now drives alone to his land nearly every day, returning home with enough ripe fruit and vegetables for the entire family. His wife, meanwhile, is busy in her kitchen, preparing special dishes for her children and grandchildren.
Differing Views About Protecting Mom and Dad
Their kids, however, disagree over how to best protect them during the pandemic.
Sara, who drops by to see her parents regularly, following the coronavirus’ handwashing and mask rules, thinks they’re safest sheltering at home. Her oldest sister Antonella agrees and even advised her father to isolate himself in one bedroom of his large home — guidance he has followed haphazardly. But other siblings think these restrictions are harmful to their parents’ health.
“Even if they don’t get the virus, if they go on living this ‘home detention,’ they could get seriously ill from isolation,” daughter Nicoletta said. “Just watch their eyes light up when we visit them.”
Making Adjustments for Easter 2020
Easter Sunday required big adjustments.
Instead of going to church with its outdoor pre-service pageant and then having a holiday meal together, the family stayed home and ate separately. They remained home again on Easter Monday, a day when Sardinians usually gather in large groups for picnics with friends and relatives.
They still found a way to share the holiday.
Maria Frau and her daughters prepared favorite recipes and left portions at one another’s homes.
Gonario Murru, who was a shepherd when he was young and later ran a hardware business, questions the logic of the last six weeks.
“My main concern is the sudden cut to personal freedom — without distinctions and with many contradictions,” he said. “We’ve tried hard to comply with the rules and have not seen all our children and grandchildren, even though we live in a place where there is only one case of COVID-19. I wonder what sense this makes. But I’m glad we are all well.”
By Barbara Schintu and Carol Hymowitz, Barbara Schintu is a journalist who reports and writes frequently for L’Unione Sarda. She lives in Orosei, Sardinia. Carol Hymowitz is a writer, editor and recognized expert on longevity and the retirement savings crisis, management trends and diversity in the workplace. She is co-author of A History of Women in America and a contributor to Getting Older; How We’re Coping with the Gray Areas of Aging. She is a consulting research scholar at the Stanford Longevity Center.
Although this last month has been difficult for many of us with so much uncertainty about the future,
one thing I can tell you is that despite all of the other factors spiraling out of control in our world today, you do have more control over your health destiny than you may realize!
Emerging information about COVID-19 has shown a correlation between underlying chronic disease and a worsened outcomes with this illness,
but the good news is that decades of peer-reviewed research have demonstrated that a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet can significantly improve and frequently reverse these underlying diet-induced conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type 2 Diabetes, and more. People frequently notice a significant difference in how they feel in as little as a couple of days on a Plant-Based diet and research has demonstrated significant objective improvements in diabetes and heart disease in as little as a couple of weeks.
Enter coupon code PLANTPOWERED for $50 off of online classes. Participate in live webinars on Tuesdays starting April 21st at 3 pm or access the recorded classes later when it is convenient for you!
There has never been a better time to take action to regain your
Neal Barnard, MD reviews some healthy foods that are great to stock up on during the COVID19 pandemic. He also covers some his own personal cooking tips and secrets. Eating plant-based meals—rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes—is a powerful way to boost your immune system and overall health. If you’ve recently stocked up on plant-based pantry staples and freezer favorites and are looking for recipes that incorporate these foods, we have you covered! http://www.pcrm.org/news/blog/20-plant-based-pantry-staple-meals
Unleashing the Power of Plant-Based Diets by Brenda Davis, R.D.
Brenda Davis offers fresh insights on the treatment of animals in food production and other industries, the latest findings on the health benefits of a vegan diet and expanded the information on phytochemicals. Brenda’s information is extensive in scope, yet manageable for anyone who wants to easily understand how to construct a nutritionally balanced plant-based diet.
Here are the latest findings on: using plant foods to protect against cancer, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses; obtaining essential protein without meat, eggs, or dairy products; discovering “”good”” fats and where to find them; meeting dietary needs for calcium without dairy products; understanding the importance of vitamin B12; designing balanced vegan diets for infants, children, and seniors; and making the most of vegan pregnancy and breastfeeding.
This is a sound blueprint to follow for better health for yourself and the planet.
Meat is ideal nutrition for my body, I once thought – after all, my own body is made of meat – like muscles, liver, kidneys, brain, and associated, more-or-less, edible substances, like fat, blood vessels, lymph nodes, tendons, nerves, bone, skin, etc. Most of my friends still believe meat is essential for vigorous health and they don’t hesitate to tell me so. I hear too often, “McDougall, if you ate a few more Tri-tips (a popular cut of beef) you’d be stronger, and be able to windsurf longer.” I answer, “For these benefits, do I have to eat the blood vessels, too?” They’re left speechless.
Dr. Brooke Goldner is a board certified medical doctor and the author of 3 best-selling books, Goodbye Autoimmune Disease, Goodbye Lupus and Green Smoothie Recipes to Kick-Start Your Health & Healing. She has been featured in multiple documentaries such as Eating You Alive, Whitewashed, and The Conspiracy Against Your Health, has been featured on TV news and the Home & Family Show, as well as many radio shows and podcasts, and is a highly sought after keynote speaker, who shares the stage regularly with Drs. Ornish, Esselstyn, Bernard Greger and T. Colin Campbell, to name a few. She has been featured on the front cover of Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine 3 times, including the current cover of Fit Over Forty. She is a graduate of the Temple University School of Medicine, was Chief Resident at UCLA-Harbor Residency, and holds a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University. She is the founder of GoodbyeLupus.com, VeganMedicalDoctor.com, and creator of the Hyper-nourishing Protocol for Lupus Recovery.
All the information provided by Brooke Goldner, M.D. and associated videos are strictly for informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for advice from your health care provider or physician. The information provided by Brooke Goldner, M.D. and associated videos cannot be used to make a diagnosis or treat any health condition. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. The information in this video is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied. Brooke Goldner, M.D. is not acting as your medical provider. —-