I hope you got a good night’s sleep and woke up with a life purpose clearly in mind. Both are keys to a long, happy and healthy life. I got the Blue Zones Newsletter today in my email. (If you don’t get this Newsletter, you are missing out on lots of interesting and helpful information and great recipes. You can sign up here. Just scroll to the bottom of the page.) The newsletter warned that a low-carbohydrate diet (think “Atkins” “Ketogenic”), although delivering some significant health benefits, could, in the long run, be risky, contributing possibly to premature death. The study was huge and included 432,000 people worldwide.
On September 17th I told you about some very hopeful research coming out of University of Southern California and the Buck Institute concerning the Bredesen Protocol and its ability to prevent or reverse memory loss due to Alzheimer’s Disease. The Bredesen Protocol is tailored to the individual, but includes a low glycemic (only “good carbs”) or low-carb diet.
In the Nine Lessons from the Blue Zones, we learned that our diet should be about a 95% plant-based way of eating (“plant slant”) that avoids certain foods such as red meat and saturated fats and limits certain other foods such as fish to a certain number of times per week. It encourages getting your protein mainly from plant sources.
This creates something of a quandary: should I follow a low-carb diet to prevent Alzheimer’s and other dementia, but possibly have my life cut short so that I never reach that age when Alzheimer’s usually manifests OR should I follow a plant-based higher carb diet with its promised longer life, but the possibility of dementia in my later years.
It seems to me the answer to the quandary is to eat a plant-based Blue Zones style diet that is also Low-carbohydrate if that is possible. Although the Blue Zone diet has a lot of leeway built in, it does include a half cup of cooked beans each day. Black beans have 20 grams of carbohydrate and 8 grams of fiber, for a total of 12 grams (i.e. 20-8) of “net impact carbs.” Most low-carb diets start off with a total of around 30 net impact carbs per day, so it looks like a low-carb plant-based diet might be possible, although you should minimize meat, butter, cheese and dairy.
In fact, Atkins has a Vegan or Vegetarian version of the Low-Carb diet that has been shown to be of benefit in weight-loss and the lowering of heart disease risk factors. For those of you who might be interested in trying such a diet, here is a list of low-carb vegetarian protein sources and recipes. For some, a pescatarian or flexitarian approach might be more attractive. And here is a list of twenty-one foods that fit into a plant-based low-carb diet.
Finally, we need to remember that there’s more to a healthy lifestyle than just eating healthfully. The “Nine Lessons from the Blue Zones” covers much of a healthy lifestyle, but we should remember that things like getting enough sleep, exercising our sense of humor, consulting with a health professional on a regular basis and organizing our time are also very important aspects of a healthy lifestyle.
So, to help us exercise our sense of humor, I am including a clip from the movie “Some Like It Hot”, one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy it:
Thanks for reading and for joining in the quest for wellness.
See you tomorrow!