Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wanna Live Forever? Ummm, That Depends

Frank Bruni wrote an article recently in which he interviews an 87-year-old billionaire about said billionaire's quest to live till he's 125 years old. He's already 87, and my hat is off to him for that.

Said billionaire, David Murdock, is quite an interesting character. First of all, he owns a majority stake in Dole, the world's largest producer of fruits and vegetables, according to the article.

He has financed and built a huge research center, stocked with equipment that even the finest universities don't have. And many of the researchers are from some of those same universities.

All in the quest to live until he's 125 years old. Murdock's diet is not one of those calorie restricting diets that seem to be helping lab rats to live another 30% longer...and I'm glad the rats in NYC aren't on any such diets. It's actually close to 1,800 calories a day. And it's practically mainstream, in that while it is a plant-based diet, it doesn't eschew protein. However, he does grind up the banana and orange peels, which evidently go into his smoothies. And he avoids salt, sugar and booze. That'll be my downfall, for sure.

Fine and dandy. While we know no one can be assured of living till any age, much less 125, my question is this:

If you were guaranteed, say, 87 or 95 or even 125, would you eat like this guy? Could you eat like this guy? And, heaven forbid, do you eat like this guy? I mean, I can't, I don't and I most likely won't. I like my ribs and booze too damn much. And in my opinion, everything in moderation, no?


  1. We ski with some guys in their mid-80's and one guy is in his mid-90's. Very cool dudes... and they drink and eat ribs. I say the secret is high altitude skiing. In moderation, of course.

  2. @Jude - that is fairly amazing.

    I knew I wouldn't have to give up ribs and drinking, but does this mean I have to take up skiing? Because that's sure to kill me.

  3. I have always believed in quality over quantity. That is true for years, for food and just about anything else in life. I would think that even if successful, those latter years might be rather lonely as the likelihood of much if any of one's cohort is not likely to be there too.

  4. @docsconz - Good point! Who wants to be 115 and not have his/her friends around?

  5. You can always make friends along the way. If your quality of life is good, why not live forever?

  6. I know this is a food column, but it's not only about the food. Being optimistic about your life, having great relationships with friends and family, not stressing your self out about the everyday crap we all have to go through is at least as important as the food you eat.

  7. My dad is 88 and my mom is 87. Apart from my dad's mobility issues and chronic back pain, they are both in great shape and mentally sharp. But they have both already outlived nearly all of their close friends - even the younger ones. Chances are they will outlive most of their sibling as well (lots of longevity in both families - my parents both have elder siblings still living.) Despite their good health I can assure that neither of them has any burning desire to live to 125. To 100... maybe... but they have both commented to me on how difficult it is to lose all of your friends.

  8. @Owen - I imagine that, as well as outliving one's family, would be the most difficult part.

    @Jose - I wholeheartedly agree.

  9. Very interesting post and agree with you, take off my hat to Mr Murdock for his happy longevity. You are right, moderation and a positive outlook on life are great to have. Thank you for sharing your insights.