12.11 Summary

I have learned much in the last few years, and I have ex­per­i­ment­ed with and ap­plied this knowl­edge. I have made mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the Port­fo­lio Diet. I eat 1/3 oz. al­monds ev­ery day, not 1 oz. The Port­fo­lio Diet rec­om­mends a high in­take of soy, and I eat very lit­tle. I am a lit­tle more re­laxed about my fat in­take, but I am care­ful to eat the right fats.

As far as taste is con­cerned, I don’t feel any lack. Mary Ann and I cook a wide va­ri­ety of food for din­ner. Dish­es such as clams lin­guine; shrimp saag; broiled salmon with as­para­gus and sweet pota­toes or corn; turkey sausages with bul­gur wheat, kala­ma­ta olives, ca­pers and red pep­pers; and many more, are all de­li­cious. Sure, I don’t eat steak any­more, nor do I go to Fat Boy’s Bar­be­cue (well, hard­ly ever), but the sac­ri­fice is mi­nor com­pared to the health ben­e­fits that I’ve achieved.

My pur­pose in chang­ing my lifestyle was not to lose weight and keep it off, but that has been the re­sult. The last time I was 150 lb. was in 2007. I am cur­rent­ly at 148 lb. with a BMI of 24.3.

The health ben­e­fits of the SWLL are en­cap­su­lat­ed in my metabol­ic syn­drome score. Blood glu­cose, waist size, HDL, and triglyc­erides are all in the healthy range. The one bad val­ue I have is my sys­tolic blood pres­sure at 134. This is over the healthy range of <130. So I have a to­tal of one metabol­ic syn­drome point. Since it takes three of the mea­sures to be in the un­healthy range to de­fine metabol­ic syn­drome, I con­clude that I don’t have metabol­ic syn­drome.

A ma­jor ben­e­fit of my lifestyle is that I do not have to take any drugs. The var­i­ous drugs for high blood pres­sure, choles­terol, and di­a­betes save mil­lions of lives. But they come at the cost of side ef­fects. If lifestyle can do the job, then it is a bet­ter so­lu­tion.

As I write this, I am age 77. I am sure­ly go­ing to die of some dis­ease in the next few years, but my lifestyle gives me the best chance of ex­tend­ing those years. Here are some specifics.

Heart dis­ease. Ex­er­cise keeps my heart strong. My diet re­duces plaque in my ar­ter­ies. In 2012 an ul­tra­sound of my carotid artery showed min­i­mal plaque buildup. A 2015 stress test with echocar­dio­gram showed no prob­lems.

Di­a­betes. Giv­en my lifestyle, there is lit­tle chance that I will be­come di­a­bet­ic this side of ex­treme old age.

Cancer. A healthy lifestyle re­duces the chance of con­tract­ing can­cer. How­ev­er, a low­ered prob­a­bil­i­ty is not zero prob­a­bil­i­ty and I’m the proof. In 2009 I con­tract­ed non-Hodgkin lym­phoma. If you would like to read about my ex­pe­ri­ence with can­cer, check out my blog at http://nonhodgkinlymphoma.wordpress.com/

De­men­tia. As we get old­er the pos­si­bil­i­ty of Alzheimer’s or oth­er de­men­tia in­creas­es. Six of the sev­en lifestyle fac­tors that are as­so­ci­at­ed with a raised prob­a­bil­i­ty of Alzheimer’s do not ap­ply to me. Th­ese are phys­i­cal in­ac­tiv­i­ty, de­pres­sion, smok­ing, mid-life obe­si­ty, low ed­u­ca­tion, and di­a­betes. The one fac­tor that is ap­pli­ca­ble to me is mid-life hy­per­ten­sion. I con­clude that I have a re­duced chance of con­tract­ing Alzheimer’s. I do have age re­lat­ed short-term mem­o­ry laps­es. My pro­cess­ing ca­pac­i­ty seems to be OK.

Frailty. This is the con­di­tion that most fre­quent­ly im­pairs qual­i­ty of life as we age. So far frailty is not af­fect­ing me in a se­ri­ous way. I am not as strong as I was, but I am strong enough to en­gage in ac­tiv­i­ties like shov­el­ing snow, car­ry­ing gro­ceries up­stairs, and hik­ing moun­tains. I ex­pect this to con­tin­ue for sev­er­al more years as long as I con­tin­ue to train with weights.

So, all in all, my lifestyle has played a ma­jor role in pre­serv­ing my health and sup­port­ing a good qual­i­ty of life. Of course, it’s not a panacea. I still have hear­ing loss; bal­ance is­sues; pleu­ral cal­ci­fi­ca­tion, prob­a­bly due to as­bestos ex­po­sure as a boy; sleep ap­nea; la­tent tu­ber­cu­lo­sis; kypho­sis… the list goes on. But, who cares? All the ma­jor sys­tems are func­tion­al, I don’t need to take any drugs, I en­joy a glass of wine ev­ery night, I can hike moun­tains, and I spend all my time with a hot babe. I hope you are as lucky when you get to my age.

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