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Dean Ornish: The World’s Killer Diet

Today I went to visit my family in the lovely small town of Roxboro, NC. I was able to visit with my grandparents and while chatting with them, I realized it is in my genes to live a really long time. All of my grandparents are over 90 and are still very able to take care of themselves. My grandfather is 94 and for 30+ years has gone walking around the neighborhood with his friends every morning. My almost 91 year old grandmother still goes to the beach, plays cards with her lady friends, and loves to entertain. And her brother, who at 80+ years old, was still running, has finally retired at the age of 87. My other grandmother, who is also 90, still writes letters, plays BINGO, and walks daily. Tragic accidents aside, I’m hoping to see triple digits and still be in good health.

Anyway, it got me thinking about the importance of health, diet and exercise so when I got home tonight, I decided to watch a few TED videos on health. I watched several good ones but the one I liked the most was a presentation by Dean Ornish. It was a 3:22 video that was to the point, informative, and makes a very valid, simple, and often overlooked point – we control our health. Not pills. Not a quick diet. But our own actions. If you have a few minutes, you can watch the video here, but here are the key points:

1) Cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and diabetes are 95% preventable and reversible just by changing diet and lifestyle.

2) Asia, which once had the lowest rates of heart disease and diabetes, in just one generation, has gone to having one of the highest. (They are starting to live like we do.)

3) Cardiovascular deaths equals HIV and AIDS deaths in most African countries.

4) Children may now have a shorter life span than their parents due to obesity and heart disease

Change is hard and I get that. But how can we let something that is 95% preventable AND reversible, put his six feet under well before our time? Life is short enough as it is and I want to see triple digits. I’ll gladly drink spinach smoothies and wake up at 5am to workout if that means I still get to run when I’m 80, travel to the beach when I’m 90, and play cards with my grandkids when I’m 95 🙂

Photo Credit: The Center for Optimal Health (photo also used in Dean Ornish’s presentation)


Happy Trails and Happy Running,


4 Comments Post a comment
  1. TMT #

    Love your blog tonight!! You are one very lucky person to have known your grandparents for this long. All of my grandparents were deceased by the time I was 7 years old. I hope they read your blog.

    September 16, 2012
  2. Two of my grandparents lived into their 80’s and I have one currently alive at the moment who is 98 yrs young and despite a few aches and pains, he is still going strong. I know during his younger age he was active in paddling (canoe I think) and he was an avid golfer well into his 90’s. In the last few years he had to give it up due to his hip. It does trouble me when I read so many articles of the growing obesity rate in children nowadays. It’s really up to parents to teach their children about proper nutrition, and regular exercise. Of course schools, organizations, and even government can play a role in this too, but I do think, most lessons we learn come from our home.

    September 17, 2012
    • That is so awesome that your grandfather is still going strong at 98 years young! Those stories always make me happy 🙂 I completely agree that healthy eating and nutrition should be taught at home, but as a teacher, I also make it my mission to talk nutrition everyday. The thing that always amazes me is how much kids really do want to learn about eating right. They just get discouraged when they don’t have the options at home or in the cafeteria. If I could make them all spinach smoothies, I think I would.
      Happy running!!!

      September 17, 2012

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  1. 96 Years Old and Still Running « Run Inspired.

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