How to Live Well Forever and Look Good While Doing It
Scientists in biological sciences are working on life extension — what you can do to stop the aging process.
Is aging necessary? Aging is the leading cause of death - not cancer, not disease - but aging. I'm against it. I want to get old, but not grow frail. Scientists behind a phenomenon known as "biological immortality" are searching for a way for humans to become old without becoming decrepit.
Humans can live to 80, 90, and 100 years of age; in that case, we should be working on ways to reverse aging; musculoskeletal degeneration, osteoporosis, macular degeneration, and to live with strong bodies and minds well into our 90s, 100s, and beyond.
Life extension is actually feasible today. It's been shown that we can extend healthy lifespans in mammals - and even reverse aging to bring people back to youth. - Balaji S. Srinivasan
Most people, me included, are probably "not aware of how far we've come on gene therapy, how much has been done in regenerative medicine, how advanced the latest bionic eyes are - or how deadly COVID-19 was as a threat until March of 2020."
Some brilliant people are now, at this moment, working on biological sciences, genomics, computational biology, focusing on life extension and reversing aging or un-programming it.
"There are actually amazing things that are happening in biomedicine that have simply not achieved distribution. In part because of regulation, in part because that's simply not the stories that people are interested in telling, in part because of, not exactly lack of funding, but it is lack of funding and energy sufficient to overcome the regulatory and negative press obstacles." - Balaji on The Tim Ferriss Show
Until biotech companies and scientists find ways to advance life extension and biological immortality, there are some things we can do to slow the aging process down and live into our 70s, 80s, and 90s with comfort in our bodies.
One of those things is diet.
The best diet includes many plants (I'm not a vegetarian, although I dream of being one). Michael Pollan distilled his brilliant book The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals into one sentence, "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." That is it. This mantra takes a lot of the guesswork out of what to eat to maintain good health. This simple sentence cuts down on friction and time spent thinking about what to eat for optimal health.
Another way is to eliminate or limit sugar. Sugar ages us in many ways.
According to Dr. Nish of LiveWell, sugar ages us "both internally and externally." It contributes to the risk for developing chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dementia, cancer while wreaking havoc on our skin - a more powerful incentive for some to quit sugar. Looking good on the outside motivates some more than others. Eliminating artificial sugar from the diet is one way to keep skin young and supple and natural looking.
Dr. Nish breaks down the science with a simple analogy: "If you put a banana out on the counter and unpeel it, what happens in 24–48 hours? It gets brown," Dr. Nish says. "What's happening is the sugars in that banana are reacting with proteins, causing cross-linking and the brown color (browning reaction). The exact same reaction is happening in our bodies. We're browning from the inside out."
We aren't talking about natural sugar found in foods in their whole form, like fruits and veggies. Eat as much of those as you want. We are talking about the artificial kind found in baked goods, cookies, soda, sports drinks (yes), donuts, candy, and fruit juice.
Sugar is tricky because it has 50 different names. So when you read labels, you need to know what to look for, know the many different forms sugar takes and hides behind. For example, concentrated fruit juice is nothing but sugar. The healthiest diet and the one most powerful in slowing the aging process is whole foods in their natural form and not foods that are processed like sugar, raw sugar, brown sugar, malt dextrose, etc.
Basically, any food that is packaged usually contains sugar and preservatives.
The closer you can get to eating foods in their whole form, the more nutrient-dense a food is for your body. Nutrients are what our bodies thrive on. They deliver nourishment essential for growth and the maintenance of life. Natural foods are what your body and skin crave to look their best.
Sugar takes its toll on the skin:
- Increased acne
- Appearance of wrinkles
- Sagging in the neck and chin (yikes)
- Slower healing of cuts, scraps, etc.
Dr. Nich goes on to say, "we can reduce the metabolic consequences of sugar (diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome) and possibly some of the aging aspects. But unfortunately, we'll be stuck with some of the skin changes associated with ingested sugar. Our skin is just an external display of everything that's happening in our bodies."
It's wise to cut out sugar from an early age since it is hard to reverse its effects.
One thing I do is pretend I'm European after a meal and do what they do; file nuts, fruit, cheese, and yogurt under the 'dessert' category. Those are examples of foods Europeans consider dessert. And for a drink, squeeze lemon or lime into water instead of sugary soft drinks, juices, and sports drinks.
When we eliminate sugar, our skin will glow, we'll look radiant. At the same time, we stave off aging until the biotech scientists and techies in Silicon Valley can figure out how to keep us not only living for a long time but living well for a long time, in a strong body, one that isn't falling apart in need of a recall.
The goal is for you to not need healthcare in any normal sense. The goal is for you to be this self-repairing, rejuvenating person. There are technologies out there, which would sound crazy… We can, scientists can, engineers can restore sight, cure deafness. There's good research on limb regeneration. There's good research on genetic modifications that'll make you completely ripped without ever having to do anything.
This is just the beginning.
Life extension is the most important thing we can invent.
Here is a smoothie recipe that I drink a few times a week in the morning. This is one of my favorites, I call it:
"Red Rejuvenator for the Prolific Writer"
- A handful of arugula
- One beet
- One lemon - take off the rind or leave it on. There's a lot of nutrition in the rind. Up to you. Don't overthink it
- One apple - you can throw the whole thing in there
- Two stalks of celery
- Two cups (I don't measure, eyeball it) fresh, cold, filtered water
- A good chunk of ginger
- Half a serrano pepper - this is up to you. I love spice. Peppers are good for the body
Drink it down. It will energize you and make you feel healthy. It is really important to feel healthy. It helps to feel healthy when you eat veggies or drink them.
I didn't like vegetables for a long time after being forced to eat overcooked broccoli at an already tense dinner table while growing up. I found that I love veggies raw. When I first tasted this smoothie, I thought it was OK. Now, after years of drinking it, my mouth waters before the first sip. It has an earthly flavor to it. The ginger and serrano leave a refreshing taste on the palate. You will come to find it delicious when you train your tastebuds to love vegetables and not sugar.