They’d Be Mad if I Told You This

Tuesday Sep 25 | BY |
| Comments (41)

If you read the Blue Zones, a book documenting the world’s longest lived people, you’ll notice something quite interesting.

There was not one single food eaten that was similar across all the five cultures studied. Not goji berries, or kale, or maca, or cherries, or olives, or goat’s milk, or anything else.

This strongly suggests that — in terms of diet — human longevity is not tied to a single exotic food, compound or nutrient profile, but more closely related to eating high quality food found close to where you live.

The supplement and superfood companies would be mad that I told you this, but regardless of what laboratory science they have, none of it can trump this real world study. These are real people, living documented long lives.

So, in a more practical application, the next time you hear about the next, greatest, scientifically proven longevity solution, you can think twice about pulling out your wallet.

They’d be mad I told you that too.

Your question of the day: What is your “secret” to longevity?

Live Awesome!

P.S. Here is a story of someone who set up her own Blue Zone to survive her cancer and thrive.

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. Jean Hart says:

    Great article Kevin!
    I’m a big longevity fan & can attribute it to eating
    right for my Blood Type-O, limiting all forms of sugar intake to about 20 grams per day, eating organic when possible, eating raw as a portion of my daily routine, including some super foods -ie: spirulina, goji berries daily, a big green smoothie about 3X per week, moderate exercise 3 times a week, daily short meditations (5 min. 3 X daily) and honoring the Law of Attraction = we create our reality!
    I’ll be 69 in January and live a healthy, perscription free, happy life.
    Blessings, Jean

  2. Patty says:

    Water, Definately Water is number one

  3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate…..drink water throughout the night and a couple of glasses upon arising before you start putting solid foods in your body. After that, drink green smoothies and eat a big green salad everyday. Wishing you the Best Health !

  4. Melissa says:

    I agree water is #1. Then i use therapeutic grade essential oils to help with all emotional difficulties. Small meals rather than large ones go along way to helping your digestive system stay underburdened rather than overburdened 1-2 times/mth fasting is my goal. Meditation. Don’t go in for expensive cosmetics or phamaceuticals, natural fabrics that breathe & walking 3x/week. YEs i do gogi berries and green smoothies but i’m learning moderation because friends and family don’t so like my vigilante side. Tai chi or yoga. Avoiding people who ‘take the wind out of my sails’; conserving energy – trying to move out of the habits of procrastination — living in dynamic moments.

  5. Jill says:

    Hi there, I think there are people in the world who are just born with amazing “filter systems” in their bodies and all the alcohol, cigarettes and crappy foods don’t seem to make a difference to them…they just keep on living! I know 2 people who are 100 years old and are both not doing well now, but, until recently, they were completely on the ball, having eaten all the cakes and sugars and had endless coffees and alcohol etc etc in their lives but both of them had very pink, healthy, shiny tongues (I peeked!), were agile and bright right up to the end of their lives. I think we are made the way we are at birth (Ayurveda=Prakriti) but it’s possible that we can cause negative affects to that by things we do, think, eat and take part in during our lives. I have a new little mantra which is “happy, healthy” which I say to myself about 5 times a day, with a laugh and it seems to help me stay positive- Also yoga and meditation help. People are sometimes very complicated and carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. I had a crazy father and a strange brother but now I concentrate on lots of fresh air and positive people around me and have positive thoughts. I don’t think longevity has to do with anything other than knowing that doing the best you can for yourself is what counts.
    The best of everything to you all, Jill

  6. Sharon says:

    Buy local. Always eat organic. What little meats, eggs & dairy must be organic, pasture-fed. No packaged, processed or GMO foods. Do not go near conventional medical practitioners for any common illness or injury that can be dealt with holistically.

    Which brings me to the question I have been seeking alternative solutions for. I have glaucoma being treated with eye drops once per day, one drop per eye for about a year to keep pressure under control. Doc is going to start evaluation for alternatives, which I believe will be laser surgery to relieve pressure. With eyedrops my pressures stay in a 17-19 range.
    Does anyone have experience with any other alternatives to the prescription drops?

    • Sonya S says:

      Sharon, I have had experience with a friend with terrible glaucoma. When we tested him Patchouli oil and a product called PD 80/20 came up for him. He put the Patchouli oil around his eyes and took the PD 80/20 and by morning his levels had already dropped considerably. They are both natural products from Young Living, and I have used their products for years so I am a wee bit bias. :0)

      Patchouli seems to be regarded as helping with fluid retention, which is why it must have come up for him.

      PD 80/20 is a powerful anti-inflamatory…it is pregnenalone which is the natural version of prednisone without the same awful side effects. It works in combination with DHEA. I have used PD 80/20 several times when all that could be done medically was to prescribe an NSAID anti-inflammatory. (Life when I had pluresy) It has worked wonderfully for me.

      You can find them on my site at and if you have questions you can reach me through that site as well.

      That being said, many things have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. So the way you eat, juice fasting, the master cleanse (which I love) and many other things can affect inflammation and fluid retention.

      Patchouli is not a very expensive oil, however I would only use the Young Living brand of oils if you are hoping to use it in a medicinal fashion.

      That’s only my two cents! :0) I look forward to seeing other posts on the subject as I am always looking for ways to learn more myself to help those around me live in optimal health! :0)

  7. Catherine says:

    Yes, water is essential, breathing well, and good fresh food in moderation. But perhaps the most important thing is to live a relatively stress free life. I have not read about the Blue Zones yet, but I wonder if they ever had wars or invasions over the years. I’ve had a lot of stress throughout my life, but I’ve overcome the effects somewhat with lots of yoga, breathing, and morning smoothies. People still say I look many years younger than I am (62).

  8. Bob M says:

    I do agree about drinking water, particularly at night and first thing in the morning. However I believe eating fermented foods is the single most important item in my diet. I juice vegetables for breakfast, and have a salad for lunch – homemade sauerkraut being the largest component, then homegrown tomatoes and home-fermented vegetables. I drink home-made water kefir in the afternoons at the office. A home cooked dinner of organic vegetables and small portion of organic meat/fish and then homemade yogurt with fruit. Not a single GMO product or derivative, I hope. I will be 67 this year, take no drugs, and will be running 18 miles of trails Saturday morning. I am younger now than 20 years ago.

  9. Selina says:


    Excellent point! especially this one: “…but more closely related to eating high quality food found close to where you live.”

    We should eat more that we grow on our land, to “become our land”. I think that is one of the main keys to great health and longevity.

    I haven’t had the opportunity to grow much myself, the only garden I have is in my balcony. But foraging wild food is another option and such a great activity 🙂

    I have gotten more and more skeptical towards super-foods. Heck, most super-foods grow right here were I live! Blueberries and nettles for example.

  10. Beverly says:

    I have always tried to eat a raw salad everyday changing to what is in season. Drink most of my vegetables, eat the fruit so don’t over do sugar. Only vitamin /mineral I take is adult stem cell nutrition to help build teleomeres. I live drug free, no shots for me, I am 65 and work circles around children half my age. They already have diabetes, high blood pressure, and much more! !!!

  11. sharon says:

    @Sharon. I, too, have glaucoma.

    It’s just so infuriating, because in all other ways I cure everything naturally. I eat an all organic, no processed food, vegan diet, yoga, meditation, tai chi, green juices daily, etc. and then I have to put these pharmaceutical eyedrops in every day.

    I tried acupuncture. No help. Now, I’ve been seeing a Chinese doctor for 2 years now that has me on very strong herbs. He said when I first saw him, “In a few months you won’t even know you have glaucoma.” I had such hopes, but my pressures have not gone down. I’m just wondering if maybe the herbs are affecting/strengthening my retina and optic nerves so that any high pressures will not affect my vision. (He doesn’t speak English very well, so I don’t know if my theories are valid). I do know that just because you have high pressures (mine are higher than yours…hovering around 20) that you don’t necessarily have optic nerve damage.

    Note that the laser surgery works only on some people and then it may last for only a couple years and you have to do it again.

    This is way too long for other people to have to read. If you want to email me:

    Sorry everyone!

  12. Scott Covert says:

    Google the FOXO gene. That, and many other future discoveries, will tell us a lot.

    The hilarious thing is that clumps of people around the world who are lucky enough to have the gene, proudly proclaim that is their lifestyle habits that make them live so long. In reality, their genetics are supercharged, which allows them to live longer. But people do love their free will concept. It’s a hard one to let go of – programmed right into our lizard brains.

    Perhaps the secret to longevity will be to survive at least another 20 years when gene therapy will be available to extend lifespan.

    And telomores, folks! Don’t forget telomeres!

  13. PeterW says:

    It’s eating close to where u physically live that’s important, it’s eating a diet close to your genetic make-up

    An Eskimo living in New York City could probably not do well on a plant based diet regardless of how close and organic his source is.

  14. Chris T. says:

    Not to denigrate all the comments about H2O here, but I have never really bought into that hydrate thing.

    There is not ONE mammal, including primates, that drinks other than when thirsty.
    If they are not, they won’t drink, just because they are supposedly underwatered.

    In fact, most mammals drink relatively little, deriving most liquid intake from the food they consume.

    Why should that be different for humans? We are also mammals.
    This may indeed differ for very old people, but the hydrate, hydrate, hydrate mantra is being told to all.

    Even more questionable is the notion that 6-8 glasses of water, or about 2 quarts, should be consumed ON TOP OF all the liquid we do consume as part of our food.
    That is actually quite a bit of moisture, as plants and meat are 80+% water.

    (sure, diuretic liquids, such as coffee, alkohol, black tea have to be accounted for), but other than that… i don’t believe in this.

    However, whatever works for anyone is good. But many people force themselves to consume much more than they feel comfortable with because of this, and that is not good either.

  15. starbird says:

    probably laughter
    maybe “in the cards/cells”
    could it be hugs?
    being real and expressing emotions
    eating greens
    drinking water
    maybe it’s simply part of this eerie journey
    we all like to play like we know something
    and get to play, play, play
    till it moves on to the next ?

  16. Chris T. says:


    besides the laser surgery, there is also the Trabeculectomy (wiki…).

    My grandmother had that, but she still had to use various drops, don’t remember now which ones.

    If you live in the right states where medical marijuana is legal, that might be an option, as there seesm to be much evidence that it lowers the pressure.
    But it’s not for everyone, because not everyone wants to be on this at all, or as much as is prob. needed.

  17. Marla King says:

    Hello there!
    I agree totally. The Hunza people were studied about 30 years ago. They lived a simple stress-less life… by the 8 natural laws of health: Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sun, Temperance (even good things in moderation) Pure clean air, adequate rest, and TRUST.
    That last one is imperative! They did not have negative stress!!! That is what makes the rest all work out! Knowing our Creator lives for us to share with Him in partnership holds meaning that nothing else can beat! He gives sharing a meaning…
    and the giving goes on… and so does true joy.

  18. Steve says:

    According to an article on the BBC website yesterday, the way to a long life for me is castration. Apparently it’s male hormones that shorten our lives. Well worth a read, although I think I’ll give this one a miss. LOL.

  19. Traudl says:

    I am so glad you bring up this discussion. You don’t need all sorts of fads in eating. Instead of listening to the latest research (science has always proven wrong) look at what humans have survived on for thousands of years. When science today comes up with the same results, I am happy but I will also say “nothing new under the sun”. I have read Weston Price’s book and the research Pottenger has done with cats and those of the Swiss MD Max Bircher-Benner, including the Secret Archive of Nutrional Science. Then there is a lot of evidence in Europe that was gained in Worldwar I and II … there is no doubt:
    The one and only thing that matters is the biological quality of the food you eat. It has to be natural, unprocessed, whole, including roots, leafs, fruit and whole grain, nuts and seeds. For us modern people, it is safe to include a minimum of one third raw food, also some raw grain. Eating meat is a question of ethics, not of health (provided you eat your meat like a cat would whole and raw – including skin, intestins, bones, blood …of the animal you are eating)
    By the way, cancer has other causes too besides nutrition. E. G. radioactivity, chemicals, poisons, toxins. A well fed person will be able to handle those factors better than a malnourished one.

  20. Catherine says:

    @Chris T
    Of course water consumption should vary based on individual lifestyle and personal body needs. Every body is different in many respects. People eating a healthy, moisture rich diet probably can consume less water. Probably most people on Kevin’s site are eating and drinking healthier than most people in this country. When I started drinking more water, it did wonders for my brain, skin, digestion and energy. As a species, we are also the only mammals who drink highly processed, fructose filled drinks, coffee, energy drinks and on and on. I just encourage people to drink more water instead of all these other things. Nothing has to be 100%.

    All mammals have different eating and drinking needs. We are each a unique species, from whales to monkies.
    And we are evolving. I could write much more. Love to all.

  21. wendy green says:

    great post, and much agreed. at 57, i can say with my life long experience: daily ashtanga yoga, pure water, fresh air, locally grown fruits and veggies, and WORK, get outside and tend your garden! oh and relationships, and PETS.

  22. Nadia Harper says:

    I completely agree that a really important aspect to eating healthy is eating what is local and/or in season to your area. Eating foods from far away not only uses many resources in transport but contributes to a feeling of being disconnected or ‘lost’. We need to eat foods that are local to where we are which will help us to feel grounded to the place where we are living.

  23. Patty says:


    Its not about how much Water you drink. It is about the quality of Water. The enegetic frequency of the Water. Most Water people drink today is dead it is not true living Water with a life force.

  24. kim says:

    My grandmother eats everything, smoked until around age 80 and has been through WW2, the loss of her father while young, her mother while pregnant with my mom, the death of her sister and brother in law together in a car accident, her husband and my mom (her only daughter. ) my grandmother is the healthiest person I know because she has an amazing attitude! she has had so many stressful events, painful losses and a sub-optimal diet, but she is 88 and very healthy. she has some osteoporosis and that’s it. But, as a child, people from that generation were not exposed to plastics, chemicals like DDT, etc, tons of dangerous vaccines and no GMO’s. basically everything they ate was “organic” because the sprays weren’t around until after WW2. so maybe that’s why she can get away with what she does now. We all start off full of chemicals now because our moms probably ate GMOs and all kinds of other junk in their food, and water and breathed it in from the air when they were pregnant with us. Then we get vaccinated the minute we’re born. and it goes on from there….Just live, love and laugh..and pray!

  25. DAwn B says:

    Great article. Makes sense, my ancestors are all very long lived and strong people (which probably helps), but they were all farmers and ate what they grew and what grew around them. They lived very close to the earth. My maternal grandmother is the only one I know of that died before reaching at least 85, and we have many centenarians in the family tree. One Aunt lived to be 112.
    I’ve joined a vegetable co-op and started a garden again. I am hoping this helps get/keep us all on the right track.

    Thanks! Dawn

  26. Denise B says:

    I have to remember to keep the credit card in the wallet as I am reading different blogs. Everyone wants to get me to purchase the next great discovery. I fell for it a few times but soon realized I would be in the poor house if I continued to do so. Thanks for the reminder Kevin. The blue zones also remind us the importance of community – it’s not all about food!

  27. Mark says:

    Of all the nutritional factors involved in longevity, methionine intake has the greatest effect assuming that one
    avoids the common causes of premature death.

    Methionine is abundant in animal protein and soy. It is low in most plant-based foods. Restricting methionine intake will have the greatest influence on longevity and cardiovascular health. It is not necessary to restrict caloric intake to increase longevity.

    Clean, raw, organic food is best if low in methionine. This means little or no dairy, eggs, chicken, fish, beef, pork, soy and a generally low protein intake. 25 grams per day of protein is all that is necessary for most individuals.
    This requirement is easily met from a diet of fruits and vegetables and a few nuts and seeds.

    The only supplements worth considering are selenium, iodine and B12. A variety of organic raw foods will take care of the rest of the nutritional factors needed for a vibrant existence here on earth.

  28. Do U suggest reading Blue Zones in an effort to be healthier?

  29. Esther says:

    Kev…………Great article and the absolute truth!
    I take a few supplements…almost all the rest comes from the gardens…mine and local!

    Kev – would it be possible to put the LINK to the article that Dr. Williams wrote for this.
    I printed it out and it is on my Gratitude board and my fridge……I think it was “Lessons from the Blue Zones”
    It was the best article ever – EVER!!…….Simple easy advice……..Our families favorite line is……
    “They live Simple Lives and make Good Choices”
    For supplemental reading I would suggest his book…….”Prolonging Health” by Dr. J.E.Williams


    • Esther says:

      Sorry…………my reply to the days question…..

      I am in my 60’s also and we took Dr. Williams advice………we created our OWN Blue Zone.
      It works wonderfully!


  30. I agree positive thinking and being happy adds years to your life but I also believe that those people who live up to 100 years old (my grandmother is 101 years old) and have eaten junk, high fat food, smoked cigarettes etc. have one thing going for them — they were born before pesticide entered their diets. They are made of better stock than us who were born post pesticide/DDT, which was introduced to our food after WWII. I think we have to work harder than them at keeping our bodies clean and healthy. We live in a much more toxic world now.

  31. Calypso says:

    It has always confounded me that us raw foodists or lovers of healthy food (and the wonderful life and experiences that living this way brings us) bleat on about eating locally grown fruit and vegetables and then so many of the ‘superfoods’ have traveled more miles than both my parents put together in a lifetime.

    There was a time when I had all the superfoods I could lay my hands on and to be honest, I didn’t really feel that much different. I still use some of them and if I could afford it, I’d have more, but the idea behind raw food is a back to basics lifestyle.

    A back to basics lifestyle should surely be cheap? Local, seasonal vegetables should be cheap but they’re not. It’s bizarre. In Spain, bananas grown in the Canary Islands are more expensive than bananas shipped from Costa Rica.

    Anyway, to answer the question of the day, I’m not sure I’m qualified to tout my secret to longevity as I’m only 43, perhaps I’d better check back here in sixty years, but I would say sunshine, doing a job that you actually enjoy, being less materialistic, a healthy mostly vegan diet, yoga, meditation, a healthy relationship, the love of a good dog, and enjoying the little things are all important. And I’m a big fan of avoiding stress.

    Healing your negative internal dialogue and making sure your thought patterns are healthy is as important as a healthy diet.

    And I have a to-don’t list that I read regularly in order to heal the contents of my skull as well.

    I love this site. It has held my hand along my raw food journey and is the one site I keep coming back to. It’s great to feel part of such a healthy and intelligent community.


  32. mia says:

    Move more than sit, drink water, get up early, do things you love every day <3

  33. Cynthia says:

    Excellent website, congratulations on your new addition! Happy to see you are always improving things. But don’t get too obsessive. Get some sleep, and enjoy that little one.

  34. Sonya S says:

    I think stress is the number one shortner of lives. Mayo clinic even now acknowledges that stress plays a role in something like 95% of the diseases.

    So since food choices are out…as some eat clean, some do not and both live long…might it be lessening the stress or the way we respond to stressful situations?

    I never used to believe in Mind over Matter and what I thought at the time was “all that rot.” But as I age, I realize that what we tell ourselves does become our reality. If we say “I hate mornings” over and over again…guess what? We’ll hate mornings. If I say “I get up easily and on time and I love mornings,” guess what? I end up getting up before my alarm and having a great morning. (I have tried this…it really works!)

    I have heard of families who have had generations of people die at 40. So everyone in that family thinks “oh my I’m going to die at 40” or something similar. I am thinking in particular of a case like this where the man was totally healthy, but when he hit 40 he suddenly died an unexplained death.

    I know cancer patients who have a will to live, and they do. I know others who are scared and tired and just want to be done…and they go quickly.

    When we get a speeding ticket we don’t think we deserve, do we rant and rave at the policeman? Or do we thank the creator for that event as it is probable that he was protecting us from some other future harm down the road. ( I just had this experience so it’s fresh in my mind) 🙂

    I know people who are fanatical about their health and are very sickly. The stress of eating so clean is kiling them. And I know people who eat like crap and are loving their life, and they are (at least for the moment) seeminly healthy.

    Does that mean we shouldn’t eat healthy? No, I think it just means when we get stressed about anything, we need to reevaluate either what we are doing or the way we are percieving what we are doing.

    I know a young gal who recently told me she quit her job because, in her words “it was killing me.” Do what you love, or love what you do.

    Find the beauty in every moment. Be grateful for the hard times. Find something about each person you meet that is good…and tell them. Live with passion. Believe that you are going to live to 120 in perfect health and that you are going to leave a wonderful legacy. Have a dream that is bigger than you and persue it. Make contributions to others lives.

  35. Pete Kruse says:

    Indeed, wild and crazy superfood supplements were surprisingly missing! The common thread was definitely that they all ate Whole, fresh Foods – rich in fruits and vegetables.

  36. Concur.

    Secret? I’m only 27.5yrs of age so who knows! But everyone tell me I look no more than 20 (which may be bad or good?) – I say it’s all the green tea, sunshine, organic foods and veganism ^^ AND! A healthy and positive outlook on life! No stress. No sourpuss. No negative nancy! Just smiles all around 😀

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