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Longevity secrets from around the world
Daniel Kennedy: Filmmaker
BY PETER BOWES | LOS ANGELES | MAY 19, 2021 | 0700 PT
Some of the world’s healthiest people spend little or no time pondering their propensity to live a long life. They just do it. Their lifestyles are a model for longevity. There is much we can learn from these vibrant populations, in countries such as Italy, India, Japan, and (even) parts of the United States. In this episode of the LLAMA podcast with Peter Bowes, filmmaker Daniel Kennedy discusses his quest to better understand global food and ancient healing traditions. Daniel’s documentary series, Healthy Long Life, is an exploratory journey around the globe and considers the discrepancy between lifespan and healthspan; he asks why, for many people, the final years of life are spent in sickness and pain and shares observations about spirituality, mealtime traditions and chronic diseases.
Recorded: April 19, 2021 | Read a transcript
Topics covered in this interview include:
- Filming Healthy, Long Life over four years and Daniel’s motivation behind the project
- Lifespan vs healthspan and what it means for our children and grandchildren
- Are chronic diseases pre-determined? Searching for answers.
- Deriving inspiration from people with cancer to help others avoid the disease
- Meeting physicians who use plants as medicine, including T. Colin Campbell, the author of the China Project
- Pinpointing the world’s longevity hotspots and learning from ancient healing traditions
- Fighting illness or promoting health?
- Plant based diets and the risk of contracting cancer
- Science, spirituality, food and faith
- The long lives of Seventh Day Adventists from Loma Linda, California
- The idea that “genetics may load the gun but it’s diet and lifestyle that pull the trigger.”
- The relative benefits of a healthy dietary regime and a life full of physical activity.
- Is there a French paradox – wine, cheese, butter and good health?
- Portion size and caloric restriction.
- “This episode is brought to you in association with Clinique La Prairie, the award-winning spa-clinic – and pioneering health and wellness destination – nestled on the shores of Lake Geneva in Montreux, Switzerland. Combining preventative medicine with bespoke lifestyle and nutrition plans, Clinique La Prairie offers a holistic approach to living fuller, healthier and longer lives.”
The Live Long and Master Aging podcast, a HealthSpan Media LLC production, shares ideas but does not offer medical advice. If you have health concerns of any kind, or you are considering adopting a new diet or exercise regime, you should consult your doctor.
Daniel Kennedy: [00:00:01] I found there was really only one thing that all researchers agreed on, and I love it because it’s not that appealing. Caloric restriction, eat less.
Peter Bowes: [00:00:20] Hello again and welcome to welcome to LLAMA, the Live Long and Master aging podcast. My name is Peter Bowes. This is where we explore the science and stories behind human longevity.
SPONSOR MESSAGE: [00:00:31] This episode is brought to you in association with Clinique La Prairie. The award winning Spa Clinic and pioneering health and wellness destination nestled on the shores of Lake Geneva in Montreux, Switzerland. Combining preventative medicine with bespoke lifestyle and nutrition plans, Clinique La Prairie offers a holistic approach to living fuller, healthier and longer lives.
Peter Bowes: [00:00:55] Now, there are many pillars to human longevity, diet, exercise, stress management, perhaps a supplement regime, social contacts, family, friends, mindfulness meditation, the list goes on the things we often discuss that could help us along the way towards a long healthspan around the world. Many people achieve a great healthspan without giving a second thought to any of the above. They just live their lives and longevity happens. There is much we can learn from the lifestyles of the healthiest and oldest people on this planet. My guest today is Daniel Kennedy. Daniel is a film-maker and author and director of the documentary series Healthy Long Life. It’s an Amazon Prime series that explores longevity and healthy living secrets around the world. Much of the focus is on food and ancient healing traditions, and it is a fascinating watch. Daniel, welcome to the Live Long and Master Aging podcast.
Daniel Kennedy: [00:01:56] Well, Peter, I’m so glad to be here with you today. And thank you so much for the opportunity to share maybe some behind the scenes or some added value information that we picked up in the four years of filming Healthy, Long Life.
Peter Bowes: [00:02:08] That’s how long it took you. I was thinking, having made a few documentaries myself, what an extraordinary amount of work. This is a global documentary. What an extraordinary amount that you put into it.
Daniel Kennedy: [00:02:18] Yeah, we we filmed in 13 different countries. And, you know, there’s so much preproduction and then post-production and, you know, you can binge watch the whole thing in under five hours. And you don’t imagine when you’re watching documentaries, you don’t imagine just all that goes into making it. But we had a motivation and that motivation was to help people not only live longer, but to be well in those added years. You know, in the United States, the life expectancy is almost at 80 years. But the years that people live in good health is only about 69 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So that means that we have at birth, we’re already looking forward to at least 10 years of very poor health. And I don’t really like that idea, especially when I think about my children and my future grandchildren. And and a concern that I had, I think many people have is. Are, you know, chronic diseases, are they predetermined, is is it fate, depending on the genes that we inherit? And so we went out to search for answers to those questions. How can we live longer, but also in good health? And is there anything we can really do about it? Or is it just genetics
Peter Bowes: [00:03:52] And the point you make about the final maybe 10 years of our lives not necessarily being the best. Far from it, for a lot of people that can be in very ill health. That’s why we talk about healthspan. It’s just optimizing those years that we have with the best of health when we can enjoy physical activity, we can enjoy social contacts, we can enjoy traveling and minimize those years of decline at the end. So I think you and I are probably on the same wavelength with that.
Daniel Kennedy: [00:04:22] I think we really are. And if I just put in one modifier, I’d say healthy lifespan because lifespan could be the whole time you’re living. But what about those healthy years? And where this topic started to get really important to me was watching my best friend age and my best friend was my father, David Kennedy. And I saw that, you know, once he got well into his 70s, his social calendar was no longer filled with fun activities, but was filled with a who’s who of doctors appointments. You know, it’s like, oh, wow, Dad, you have a lot of important friends. They’re all doctors. Well, no, I’m going to seven different specialists because my dad had three types of cancer, survived them all, finally passed away from congestive heart failure. So you can imagine the different types of specialists that he had to see constantly.
Peter Bowes: [00:05:23] So Daniel, just before we delve further into that, just tell me a little bit about yourself. I describe you as a filmmaker, as an author. You also work in health care, don’t you?
Daniel Kennedy: [00:05:31] Well, if we really want to start began my career. I was a scuba dive instructor fresh out of San Diego State University. I got my degree in economics and as a scuba instructor. And I went right to work in the scuba industry as an instructor and a salesperson for scuba equipment. And I was traveling the world, all expenses paid to go on livaboards in Australia to scuba dive for ten days and then go go back home and sell those trips. But my uncle, who is an oncologist, would come and visit me in and say, Daniel, I love your scuba enthusiasm, but I think you were meant for more. And finally, I agreed to go to work with him at Oasis of Hope Hospital, which is right across the border from Tijuana, are from San Diego in Tijuana. And our hospital was founded by my grandfather in 1963 with the vision of caring for the whole person, body, mind and spirit. So I’m in my 28th year working in that mission. And really that had so much to do to inspire me to make healthy, long life, because I’m also I have a master’s in counseling. So I, I give counseling to patients and their family members. And what I’ve seen, you know, in thousands of cases that I’ve personally interacted with is this deep desire of the person who has cancer to help their loved ones not get cancer. And so healthy, long life is very cancer, preventive centric as well. And, you know, that’s my motivation. How can I help people not get cancer? And that’s in response to all of my family members that had cancer and all of my patients that just said, Daniel, we need to help people prevent cancer.
Peter Bowes: [00:07:32] So when you set about when you first thought of the idea of this documentary, this this huge project, how did you decide where to go? Because I think we all know and understand there are pockets of populations around the world that do exhibit extraordinary longevity and a well worth learning from. But it must have been a gigantic task for you just to try to focus on those specific places.
Daniel Kennedy: [00:07:58] So I had three inspirations and they all kind of came together while I was at a conference called the International Plant based Health Care Conference, put on by the same people that have the Plantician project, what a word right,Plantician, physicians who use plants as medicine. And so I was influenced by them because they had incredible speakers like Dr T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Michael Klaper, Dr. Michael Gregor, all of these people that I had seen on Forks Over Knives, but now I was getting at the conference to meet these people and start a relationship. And so that influenced me heavily. I thought, wow, the experts are all here and I can learn from them. And then the National Geographic article that that came out about Blue Zones and reading the book about Blue Zones and seeing all the great work that Dan Buettner and his people have done, you know, that really affected of where I thought I’d go film. And I did not make it to most of the Blue Zones, but I made it to Sardinia and just other longevity capitals of the world. For example, Dan Buettner has named Okinawa as a Blue Zone. I didn’t make it there. I filmed throughout Japan. But on our way to Okinawa, a typhoon came through and we literally had to to reschedule other cities. And we were running away from the typhoon as we were filming. We would be like one day ahead of where the typhoon path was. So, you know, lots of adventures on the filming. But the third influence was ancient medicine. What could we learn from ancient healing traditions that could help us overcome what modern medicine is not overcoming. Modern medicine is a model that fights disease and it has its place. If you have an acute infection, chances are pharmaceuticals will fight back that disease. But modern medicine does not promote health. And I that’s one thing that I found throughout this filming process was that distinction. Those are two different things fighting illness or promoting health. And if you can do both at the same time, I think that’s really key to living a healthy, long life. And that’s what led us to film in China and in India. Mexico was was so wonderful to film near the pyramids in Chichen Itza and speak to these Mayan healers that continue to use medicinal plants, as you know, have been used for hundreds and hundreds of years.
Peter Bowes: [00:10:54] Yeah, I think that’s a good point you make about essentially we live in a disease care world as opposed to a preventative medicine world, which is would be the ideal if we could move towards that. You mentioned T. Colin Campbell and he is one of the first people we see, one of the first interviewees that we see in your series and such a huge giant of a figure in terms of his seminal work, which was the China Study. Why was it I mean, it’s clear why it was crucially important and very fortuitous that you got to meet him as you as you mentioned. But just for maybe people who are not that familiar with his work, why was it so important to include him?
Daniel Kennedy: [00:11:34] Well, T. Colin Campbell, I think in this generation would be the person that’s the most studied in the field of disease prevention and health promotion. And he started out at Cornell University really studying the benefits of dairy products. He had come from a dairy farming background. But the more you study it, the more he found how dairy is so detrimental. So he started to look for food groups that would actually improve our health. And I would say that he is like the godfather or the grandfather of plant based medicine. And no one has done any study that lasted as long over 20 years with so many people in in so many towns at the same time as the famous China study. And the fact that Dr. Campbell did that in cooperation with the Chinese academic science institution and with Oxford at the same time, there were plenty of eyes on to assure the integrity of the study, and his conclusions are probably some of the most quoted as far as a plant based diet. You know, I don’t think this one question made it onto the documentary, but I asked him while I was interviewing him, you know, Dr. Campbell, are you telling me that you have to be plant based? They don’t like to use the word vegetarian or vegan because they say French fries are both vegetarian vegan. So they use plant based. But I think French fries are still plant based. But you get the picture. Yeah, not all plant foods. It depends on how you cook them are healthy. Right. But I asked Dr. Campbell, do you have to be plant? Is that what you’re saying, to not get cancer and I loved his answer as a pure scientist, he said, Daniel, the data suggest that the closer you are to being plant based, the lower your risk for cancer will be. I loved it, he didn’t say yes or no, he he gave me the information for me to make an informed decision about my lifestyle, and that was a cue for the rest of Healthy, Long Life. I don’t edit anything out if if a person says I love eating meat, so be it. It’s in the documentary, I decided not to use the documentary series to preach my point of view, but to tell you, share the real stories. Hear the researchers look at the data and let people make their own decisions, because if you make your informed decision, you’ll follow through on it versus just somebody trying to sell you an idea.
Peter Bowes: [00:14:33] From my perspective, a documentary that starts out with a preconceived idea that you set out to prove no matter what isn’t a genuine documentary, you’ve got to hear all sides and present all sides. And I think perhaps what T. Colin Campbell was saying there was that life isn’t black and white. There’s it’s shades of grey in terms of our opinions and in terms of the truth of the science as well. And as you implied, there are plenty of populations that you will have experience around the world that do include meat in their diet. And they are still healthy. And it just adds to the the complicated nature of what we’re dealing with.
Daniel Kennedy: [00:15:09] That’s so true. But what we tend to find is in cultures where some meat is eaten, but they’re still healthy. They tend to be the cultures where people are growing their own livestock and they’re not killing the animal very often, but saving it for, you know, special events or maybe, you know, just Sunday family meal only. So their quantity is much less. But also they’re not processed in in, you know, just growing like thousands and thousands of animals and toxic situations and the meat packing and all that. They’re their own animals that they birthed, you know, and and hand fed and took care of before they partook. So it’s like they had the the understanding in the value, you know, they give thanks for the life that was given. It’s not just taken for granted in this packaged meat. So there. And I think because of that, their quantities are smaller. For example, in Sardinia, I saw they were eating cheese. I mean, it’s Italy I couldn’t imagine in Italy without cheese. But I also saw that they had their own goats. They went out, they milked the goat and they made the cheese that they served that day. So the freshness was incredible. But also they couldn’t over eat the cheese because they had to milk the go to make it themselves. And so I was picking up on that. I couldn’t preach a plant based only diet for health because I saw some civilizations still eating some meat product. But they grew it themselves. They worked hard for it and the quantities were tiny little garnishes compared with what we see in the United States, where, you know, the meat fills the whole plate and there’s a little piece of parsley as your vegetable,
Peter Bowes: [00:17:17] You talk about people, communities giving thanks for the for the food that they are eating, which I think is perhaps a nod to the spiritual nature of many of the people in the communities that you came across. And I’m just curious, to what extent did you see this as a as a spiritual journey around the world, maybe a religious journey to for some people, as opposed to a scientific journal journey, looking at the the issues that can perhaps be proven in a test tube,
Daniel Kennedy: [00:17:46] If I would, was speaking to the researchers like the the researcher I spoke with, Max Planck, it was all about the science and it was all about their studies. And they use a lot of studies with flies and such, which is really fascinating to to not just read an article written by a person, but to actually go in to where they were doing the studies. But if I was speaking to the people living in that area, it quickly became more about a spiritual journey than the science. The beautiful thing is that science and spirituality do not they’re not exclusive. They’re inclusive. You can always find the science behind the spiritual experience. And so depending on what country we were in, we would see, you know, the expression tied to a specific religion. But what I did find. Was that every single religion that I interviewed, people that participate in those religions, food was one of the most important aspects of that religion. So when I was in Israel, I speaking with a researcher who was on the original team that was cataloging the Dead Sea Scrolls, she started on that right when they were discovered in 1948 at Haifa University. She went through the whole process of the community, how they would eat together, what they would eat and what they would not eat, what was pure, what was unpure. Then I was in Mexico, you know, near Chichen Itza and Yucatan. And the Mayan healers said that while the medicinal plants do not have their medicinal power until we pray over it and bless it, and it’s the spiritual energy that enters into the plants that make them healing. So, you know, what a contrast from the ancient Judaism and their thoughts and then the Mayan beliefs. Yet how similar. And then we were able to be in Kyoto, Japan, with a Buddhist priest showing all of the preparation and the Buddhist beliefs of how to nourish the body and how the food also would nourish the soul. So from a Buddhist perspective, then we were in India and got all of the ayurvedic teaching more from the Hindu point of view. But also we spoke with various, you know, big groups of Muslims as well. And they have slight differences on what’s permitted to eat and what’s not. But, wow, food and faith absolutely go hand in hand.
Peter Bowes: [00:20:45] I think what’s interesting to me is, is often it is the the lifestyle of the faith. And I’m thinking of the Seventh Day Adventists community close to Los Angeles in Loma Linda. It’s not necessarily the religion and the belief in God. It is simply the daily lifestyle that encourages and almost dictates longevity, because it involves a lot of movement. It involves a lot of social contact, which you could describe in another way. You could say that’s mindfulness, that’s people just letting go a little bit. And I think all of those components together all add up to a potentially long life.
Daniel Kennedy: [00:21:22] Yeah, that’s so true. Loma Linda is another one of the zones that Dan Buettner identified as a blue zone. And we did go to Loma Linda and you’ll see throughout our documentary series interviews with Dr. Hans Steel of the Lifestyle Institute, which is, you know, based in Loma Linda, and they’re using Seventh Day Adventist nutrition. I did just read a study recently published that talked about how even Christians can have a higher quality of life because of their Christian convictions. And so you’re thinking, well, OK, how does that work? Because they’re praying to the God that actually heals or what they said. Well, no, because. In their core beliefs, they don’t approve of being intoxicated. Well, we know that drink over drinking is tied to one of the causes of cancers. Christians tend not to believe in smoking. You know, they point to the scripture that says your body is a temple. So why would you pollute the temple, you know, with smoke? Christians tend to believe that fellowship is important. There’s a verse that say Don’t Stop Meeting Together, you know, so that social support and this article went down and looked at all of these lifestyles, habits that are associated with Christianity, and then they found the science behind how that would actually promote health. And I can tell you from speaking with these other practitioners of other religions, it’s very, very similar. You know, not only do Jewish people say no pork, but Muslims also don’t eat pork. So I find it very, very interesting for a modern day study to confirm if you’re practicing a religion, it probably is bringing you more toward healthy lifestyles. You know, even in sexual behavior, religious people tend to not promote multiple sexual partners, but they’re more promoting monogamy. And so that lowers your risk to exposure to sexually transmitted diseases. So I found that very fascinating. And I think it comes out in healthy, long life in the different episodes of the series without being preachy. I don’t think that the documentary really, you know, preaches.
Peter Bowes: [00:24:11] I don’t think your documentary is preachy at all. But that is one thing that having watched all of them, one thing that really came through to me and made me think a lot and I jotted down the phrase, genetics may load the gun, but it’s the environment. And this is the very sort of modern day debate in the longevity community in terms of delving into the science and especially genetics and how much weight we should put on genetics and our genomes and how we are made as opposed to the world that we live in and the outside forces that influence how our lives progress. And it’s a fascinating dichotomy, isn’t it?
Daniel Kennedy: [00:24:51] Yes. Dr. Michael Gregor, the author of How Not to Die, is the person who says that genetics may load the gun, but its diet and lifestyle that pull the trigger. I mean, what a powerful statement. But throughout the series, we hear other experts giving us some data. Speaking to that, doctor, Dahlia Garcia, who’s an oncologist that works exclusively with women who have breast cancer. She told me her story that she is an oncologist, but she stopped treating patients with chemotherapy and radiation. She’s not against that. But she said, you go to a clinical oncologist for that, but you come to me because I only do lifestyle medicine. And she brought out that women who have breast cancer when they study it, only five percent of all women with breast cancer either have the BRCA1 which is the breast cancer mutated gene or BRCA2, gene. 95 percent of the women that have breast cancer don’t have the cancer gene. Breast cancer gene, though, if you do have the breast cancer gene, your probability of cancer goes high, but lifestyle can absolutely override it. My uncle, the oncologist at Oasis of Hope Hospital, Dr. Francisco Contreras, pointed out that if you look at all cancer types, less than 10 percent of people with any type of cancer actually have a cancer associated or mutated gene. And I decided to verify that. And I found that on American Cancer Society’s Web site. And they get all of their data well, mostly from the National Cancer Institute or the National Institute of Health in the United States. So I found that fascinating.
Peter Bowes: [00:26:45] You do focus on food in all of the countries that you visit and all the communities. Not a huge amount of talk about exercise. I mean, there is some. But I’m wondering in terms of the balance, because we often talk about food and exercise as being two of the key pillars to help us live a long and healthy life. Where do you based on what you’ve learned over the years, where do you putthe emphasis?
Daniel Kennedy: [00:27:10] I put it on food, one hundred percent, you can sit and be rather sedentary, but if you’re eating the right foods, you will not gain weight. Your blood pressure won’t go up. Exercise is an incredible plus, you know, but when I was in Sardinia, I was, you know, talking to men in their 90s that were still working full time. None of them had a gym membership. None of them exercised. If you ask them, do you exercise? They would laugh. But you know what? They were out work in those fields at six in the morning. They were taking their herds up to grazing areas and they would walk two to three miles each way to take them in the morning and then another five to six, you know, round trip in the evening to bring them back. So when your lifestyle is, you know, more traditional and natural, you don’t need to exercise because you’re up and active all day long. And I, I would preach more about being active. And so if you have a desk job, you probably have to go exercise because you’re not active. And my emphasis is on the food because exercise is incredible for toning your muscles, you know, for keeping your body strong and for the detox of it and for feeling better, your emotional health with the release of endorphins. But it’s really food that is turning your genes on and off. And that’s why it’s so much more powerful exercise. There’s not studies talking about how it’s up, regulated down, regulating genes that are associated with disease. It really is food. And to quote Dr. Michael Klapper, who says this and healthy long life, it’s the food. It’s the food, it’s the food. And he says when you eat a mouthful already, the nutrients in the food you’ve just taken into your body are playing your genes like a piano.
Peter Bowes: [00:29:22] And it is interesting what you were saying also about just everyday exercise and movement. And that comes right back to the Loma Linda lifestyle on the Seventh Day Adventist community that.
Daniel Kennedy: [00:29:32] Yes,
Peter Bowes: [00:29:33] There is actually a fantastic gym in the center of Loma Linda, which I’ve been to the university gym. The but a lot of the centenarians in that town, many of whom I’ve met, haven’t stepped inside that gym or any gym, but they do their own yard work until they’re extreme age and they do their own dishes and they live that kind of old-fashioned lifestyle. And they’re live long lives.
Daniel Kennedy: [00:29:55] Yes. And they’re not sunbathing and overexposing to the sun. They’re fully clothed, but they’re getting fresh air and the sunlight so needed for vitamin D and other reasons in a healthy way. But yeah, that why would I go to a gym? I’m working my garden or my farm, you know, hours and hours in the day. So I am not against exercise and gyms and such. But if you can just be active, I think be way better to go for a bicycle ride or go kick the football around and be active and have fun then just to get on a treadmill.
Peter Bowes: [00:30:41] You mentioned alcohol earlier and I think we all know and understand and can agree that too much alcohol is not good for us. They drink quite a lot of alcohol, red wine in France. You delve into the French.
Daniel Kennedy: [00:30:54] Yes.
Peter Bowes: [00:30:54] Paradox, which is the, I suppose, the paradox, the fact that a lot of cheese and red wine is consumed in French restaurants and it’s generally pretty healthy community. Why is that?
Daniel Kennedy: [00:31:06] So I asked a number of experts about the French paradox and wow, I was so excited to actually be at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, with the director of nutrition for the for the whole world, you know, Dr. Francesco Branka. And he said, well, there there’s no data that confirms there is a French paradox, but there is plenty of data that suggests that there are some polyphenols or flavonoids in red wine that help combat the high fat diet in France. You know, because while we all know that in French food, the three most important ingredients are butter, butter and butter. So it’s it’s rather high fat. But when I spoke to the professor of nutrition at Sorbonne University in. Paris, France, Professor Annick Clément, she also said, well, I’m not so sure about the French paradox, but there’s something that’s being overlooked when we look at the French diet, we’re just looking at the food. But we should be looking at how we eat, when we eat and with whom we eat. And she brought that out that in France they still do like a two hour meal. And she said it’s all about disconnecting from work. And she said if somebody brings up a topic of work at lunch, we won’t go out with them again. We only invite people that will enjoy a meal and they’re eating very, very slowly. Not huge quantities, but they take the whole two hours to have their meal. They’re disconnected from stress and so they’re having a conversation and getting that social support. So she was talking a lot more about how food can be a part of stress management and social connection. And I found that to be fascinating. As you know, I’m the typical American that will have my iPad open my phone, my computer and I shoveling in the meal at my desk while trying to finish writing an article. And I see that’s something I need to change in my life.
Peter Bowes: [00:33:41] That is something that I’m guilty of as well. And you’ve kind of preempted my one of my final questions, which was going to be based on your four years experience doing this and meeting these different communities, what have you learned that you might well be applying to your own lifestyle now? What have you seen in terms of these ancient traditions or wisdom from centenarians from Italy or from Paris that you think that is so convincing? I want to live a long, healthy life myself. I should do it now.
Daniel Kennedy: [00:34:11] Well, as I spoke to experts from Cancer Research UK to the University of Beijing to the University of Delhi in India, or I spoke to a professor in Shizuoka in Japan, what I found was that they all have some data that may suggest differentiations on what we should be eating. And I found there was really only one thing that all researchers agreed on. And I love it because it’s not that appealing: caloric restriction – eat less. And so that’s challenging in the United States because, you know, you’re always ask at the drive through, would you like to up size that or, you know, make it bigger?
Peter Bowes: [00:35:10] I think the answer to that is don’t go to the drive-through
Daniel Kennedy: [00:35:12] Exactly. Louie Anderson, the comedian, once said something on one of his specials, probably 25 years ago that I’ll never forget. And he said, I went in to 7-Eleven for a Slurpee and, you know, had my 20 ounce cup. And as I was ready to check out, I said, would you like to upgrade that to the 50 gallon drum? And he said, well, how much more is that? He says, a nickel, five cents more to go to 50. But he says, there I am, you know, walking with my 50 gallon Slurpee. The whole thing in the diet is geared to eat more, eat more, eat more. And we’re just going to charge you cents more. But the reality is God already gave us a tool to know how much we should eat and that’s how much should fit in your two hands. And that’s the full meal. So the caloric restriction is really important. How does that influence me? In a practical way? I tend to be more plant based because I can guarantee you that a cup of kale has hardly any calories versus to, you know, a cup of some donuts per se.
Peter Bowes: [00:36:30] That’s an easy calculation to make as well. I would maybe add to what you say in terms of just reducing the amount of food caloric restriction. Add to that when we eat and the and you’ve touched on this in the circumstances under which we eat. And there’s a lot of good science going on at the SalK Institute here in California about time restricted eating and not eating late into the evening and perhaps reducing the number of meals or at least eat between a certain time in the morning and then stop eating at dinner time, which is usually about six p.m. for most people. I think there’s a lot of validity that there is.
Daniel Kennedy: [00:37:06] And I’ll just tell you, and this is just my experience with zero data, right? This is a testimony of one person, I eat my meals between 12 and six and so I don’t eat the breakfast, which they drilled into our heads is the most important, you know, meal of the day. Well, maybe so. I break fast at 12:00 noon, and here’s my testimony. I used to have, you know, like a reflux kind of thing, but just restricting when I’m eating. And also I found that any kind of grain product tended to really give me indigestion. And so I don’t eat a lot of grains anymore. And I sleep very, very well and never have any reflux unless I just give in. And every once while I do and I don’t shame myself, hey, if I’m in France, I will absolutely have a croissant in the morning with coffee and I will probably feel it for a couple of hours.
Peter Bowes: [00:38:10] I just concluding again, you’ve met all these extraordinary people around the world. What are your own personal longevity aspirations? Do you think about your life in the decades to come? And do you have a do you have a goal? You maybe even have a number that you’re aiming for?
Daniel Kennedy: [00:38:27] Yes, well, I just want to be healthy, but I’m I don’t think I’m wanting to live 100 years unless that comes with really good health. But my motivation to keep healthy, like I have a few personal goals. One is I want to be medication free my whole life. So right now I’m 53 years old and I’m not taking any medications. And I do blood work about every six months just as a way to keep myself motivated, to make sure that all the markers that you would look at are saying that I’m keeping in good health. And my motivation is I really want to be here for grandkids and I want them to remember grandfather playing with them in the park. But I also want to make a contribution and area that I’m focusing in. I’m doing my doctorate in social work at USC right now, and my whole focus is the health gap. And the governments are always politicizing health and trying to do these different programs. But what I want to do is start a nonprofit fund that will educate marginalized groups on self care and how they can be health promoting and not need so much access to the health care system, which is only illness fighting, not health promoting. And so for me to accomplish that and help people on a large scale, it starts with me being healthy. A person who’s really ill can’t make as good of a contribution to help somebody else. So health is paramount to everything. If you get really sick, you have a heart attack or you’re diagnosed with cancer. Everything else in life is put on hold. And so I’m I’m hoping that healthy, long life can help people, you know, really become productive in their lives.
Peter Bowes: [00:40:31] Very wise words. Daniel, it’s been fascinating talking to you. Thoroughly enjoyed the documentary. Thank you for spending time with us. Appreciate it.
Daniel Kennedy: [00:40:38] Well, thank you so much. And I’m assuming that you’ll let people know how to to find us.
Peter Bowes: [00:40:44] That’s exactly what it’s going to go on to say that if you want to find out more about Daniel’s work and his documentary, which I would recommend, I’ll put the details, all of the details into the show notes for this episode, and you’ll find them at our website, the Live Long and Master aging website LLAMApodcast.com – LLAMApodcast.com. And since you’re still with us, Daniel, you tell us as well if you want to go directly to the documentary. I guess around the world there are different ways to watch.
Daniel Kennedy: [00:41:13] Well, there are. So if you would just go to my website, HealthyLongLife.com – I put a couple of buttons that are easy to connect you to Amazon Prime and to resources that were offering some of them for free, including our cooking app, which is available around the world for iOS and Android, also called Healthy Long Life. So please go to my website, HealthyLongLife.com And if you’re in a country that is predominantly English speaking, Amazon Prime has the documentary available to you. If you’re in another country, even like Mexico, where I spend half of my life, it’s not available that way. But if you have an Apple TV box in your house, you can go to the app section and find Healthy Long Life and download it and watch it that way.
Peter Bowes: [00:42:07] Lots of ways to find it. Daniel Thank you very much ineed.
Daniel Kennedy: [00:42:09] Thank you. Well, an honor to be on your program, and I really appreciate the work that you’re doing
Peter Bowes: [00:42:14] And likewise and I think people will draw a lot of inspiration from what you’ve done. It’s well worth watching. And the beauty of Amazon Prime, of course, as you can go back and watch it again if you don’t absorb it all first time. And I think it’s one of those productions, isn’t it? You sometimes need to watch these things a few times to really fully appreciate what people said.
Daniel Kennedy: [00:42:32] Thank you so much.
Peter Bowes: [00:42:33] The LLAMA podcast is a Healthspan Media production. If you enjoy what we do, you can rate and review us at Apple Podcasts, you can follow us on social media @LLAMApodcast and direct message me @PeterBowes. Do take care and thanks for listening.