By many accounts, Ellsworth Wareham, now 99, has led a good, full, and meaningful life. What does he know that we don't?
As a middle-aged man, Wareham spent a lot of time in the operating room cutting into one patient after another who had heart problems. There, he noticed something: patients who were vegetarian mostly had much cleaner and smoother arteries than those who ate meat. The arteries of meat-eaters tended to be full of calcium and plaque.
So he made a choice. He decided to become a vegan. That decision was not too hard to make given the fact that many of the inhabitants of his southern Californian community were already very health conscious. Consider: there is no meat sold at one of the largest grocery stores in town. In fact, as recently as a generation ago, meat was difficult to find in the grocery stores of Loma Linda, as the New York Times reports. On top of that, smoking is banned in the town; alcohol is scarcely available; and fast food restaurants are hard to come by.
But make no mistake: Loma Linda is not some bohemian enclave of free-spirited vegans. Rather, what makes the community remarkable -- and remarkably health conscious -- is that it is home to one of the largest concentrations of Seventh-Day Adventists in the world.
source: The Lovely Hill: Where People Live Longer and Happier
Ellsworth Wareham: “I have noticed no deterioration in my mental ability with my age. I think it goes along with your general health. And I have to say this: I’m a heavy promoter of vegan approach.
I could do open heart surgery right now. My hands are steady; my eyes are good.
If your life is God directed, you see, you don’t interfere with Him. He’s a pretty big person. Let Him do it, and accept what He gives you.
I don’t go for the ‘stress theory’. I’ve never had stress. I have a philosophy ‘You do the best you can and don’t give any thought to things you can’t do anything about’.
As far as I’m concerned stress is manufactured thing.
You have to realize – it’s a choice. You get up in the morning and you choose to be happy. You just choose it. Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
Well, here we’re – we’re intelligent people. Make up your mind to be happy!”
Wareham considers himself to have adequate mental facilities. All this Wareham attributes to having adopted a vegan diet about 50 years ago. Wareham is a Seventh-day Adventist and a WWII veteran.
Loma Linda; Wareham's home town has been described as USA's only Blue Zone, an area where the longevity is appreciably higher than the national average and one of the four places in the world to have a substantial proportion of humans live past 100 years.
Dr. Wareham managed his weight by eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, and then there's his philosophy of life.
"I'm 98 years of age and I practiced cardiothoracic surgery until I was 95. I first tried to be active, working around my yard, doing my pruning and my bushes on my own land so I tried to keep a little exercised doing that.
As far as my dietary program is concerned I happened to be a vegan. I've been a vegan for half of my life. I think that's the healthier form of nutrition.
I try to maintain calm approach to the problems of life, not worry and threat over problems that come along.
I get a good night sleep and if I feel like I take a nap during the day, so I really try to be as careful as I can, preserving the energy I have.
I quit work when I was 95 because of this I have attracted some publicity from the National Geographic. Incidentally the people I worked with, very much wanted me to continue but I felt I should have spent a little more time at home with my family. I could be working right now, I could do anything that I did then even if I'm 98 now. But I picked 95 as an arbitrary time when I would quit.
I've always been inclined to be a vegetarian. My folks were farmers and we had quite a bit of meat available but it never appealed to me to eat animal products. I never drink milk by the glass, I was naturally inclined towards the vegetable type of diet..."