Monday, 23 May 2011

How to live to be 100: "Healthy at 100" by John Robbins

I recently finished reading Healthy at 100 by John  Robbins (for the video review click here).

      1.       Author Bio
John was born on October 26, 1947. He is the son of Irv Robbins and nephew of Burt Baskin the founders of the Baskin Robbins ice cream parlour. His father Irv Robbins hoped that he could pass on the company to John but John had different ideas. He noticed a breakdown in his family’s health, which he attributed to their diet rich in ice cream. John refused to carry on the ice cream business and has instead become a major advocate of a “plant based diet”. He is the author of the Pulitzer prize winning book Diet for a new America and several other publications.

        2.       Content of the Book
The book begins by examining four cultures known for their long lifespan: the Abkhasia of the Caucus; the Vilcamba of the Andes mountains in Ecuador; the Hunza of Pakistan; and the Okinawans of Japan. Robbin’s inquires as to why these cultures are living such long and healthy lives.

Throughout the book he uses these people groups along with numerous studies to reveal the importance that diet has over health. He notes that traditionally these societies have eaten a much higher amount of plants; much lower amount of meat; and virtually no processed food.
He also reveals a deep respect for the eldest persons in each society. Robbins further, looks into studies which have shown a correlation between health and love. One such study showed that divorce had as severe as an impact as smoking on one’s health.

John shows the importance that regular exercise has in promoting longevity. My favorite story, in this regard, is of Seikichi Uehara an Okinawan who at 96 years old “was featured in a New Years day boxing match and televised across Japan”. His opponent was a 39 year-old and former flyweight World Boxing Association champion. For over twenty minutes Seikichi dodged every punch thrown at him while at the same time not retaliating. After twenty some minutes had passed by and not a single hit had connected with the 96 year old, Seikichi finally offered a single blow which knocked the young opponent off his feet and won the match.

           3.       Judgement
The book was a great read. I appreciate John’s easy going writing style and the stand he takes against some of the negative aspects within western culture. I also loved how Robbins wove the four cultures examined at the beginning of his book into his whole analysis. 

Yet while John is generally careful not to idolize the people groups he examines, at a few points in the book it seems like he's doing just this. But aside from this and a few points at which I felt the information was quite basic I learned a lot from John and found "Healthy at 100" to be an enjoyable (at points quite entertaining) read.

Other Books by John Robbins: 

1 comment:

  1. If they live long maybe they're worth idolising, at least from a health perspective.