Young for Life: The Easy No-Diet, No-Sweat Plan to Look and Feel Ten Years Younger
By Marilyn Diamond and Dr. Donald “Rock” Schnell
Rodale Books, 2013
In the mid-1980s Marilyn Diamond and her husband of the time co-wrote a wildly influential bestseller called Fit for Life, which promoted vegetarian or vegan diets as the path to perfect health and vitality. So when I was handed her recent book to review I had low expectations for it. Then I read the introduction. I learned that after decades of a nutrient-sparse diet combined with a lot of aerobic exercise, Marilyn was in bad shape. So she abandoned her own advice, upgraded to a smarter husband, and wrote a smarter book.
Marilyn and Dr. Rock now know that, contrary to the over-flaunted myth, vegetarians do not in fact live longer than the rest of us. Diamond and Schnell go on to assert that any food that is composed of isolated protein and no fat must be a chemically processed substance because such a creation doesn’t occur naturally with real food. Is it possible that they understand the importance of saturated fat? Why, yes it is. They also understand that a lot of important nutrition information is mysteriously missing from databases like Medline.
The approach to exercise in this book is an improvement over the time-consuming aerobic approach. Isometric exercise is promoted and a routine that only takes a few minutes is suggested for those who want to try it.
There are a lot of supplement recommendations that I don’t necessarily agree with completely but then they move on to cover the fat-soluble vitamins, starting with vitamin D. The coverage of how sunlight is converted to vitamin D is slightly flawed but they correctly state that the sun does not cause melanoma. In fact, the sun is an important weapon against cancer.
The “subversive” information continues with the claim that butter is a health food, cholesterol is good for you, and soy isn’t. If you want to get those all-important fat-soluble vitamins like A and D, you’re going to have to eat animal foods that come with fat and cholesterol.
Diamond and Schnell point out that the cherry-picking Seven-Countries Study by Ancel Keys cannot be considered science and proves nothing about fat or cholesterol in relation to coronary heart disease. Major studies mentioned in this book include the study by Dr. Michael DeBakey, the Nurses’ Health Study by Harvard University, the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, and the massive Framingham Study. Billions of dollars have been spent trying to prove the cholesterol-lipid hypothesis. The result has been failure. Have we wasted enough money yet?
Did Diamond and Schnell happen to discover our website and learn anything there? I don’t know. There is no mention of it in their book, yet they do list Weston Price’s Nutrition and Physical Degeneration as a resource and there are brief references to Sally Fallon [Morell] and Dr. Mary Enig as well. This book is interesting from the standpoint that, once again, people with firsthand experience with veganism have found their way to Weston A. Price. Thumbs UP.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2013.🖨️ Print post
I’m about half way through this book. Although I’m glad Diamond seems to have done her research, I’m getting frustrated with the fact that the authors gloss over many points… they tell the reader that a vitamin helps with something or other, but don’t explain how. Also, after reading a supposition about how much would be saved if we could reduce heart attack rates by 142% (or something in that range over 100%) I really now question the other numbers they have included, as you cannot reduce a rate by more than 100% without going into negative rates, something impossible to achieve in this case! I also wonder why they don’t mention vitamin K2 (they mention saturated fats helping get calcium into the bones)and only mention magnesium once, near the start of the book.
A good review, Tim. Just a comment: you refer to Schnell instead of Rock in the last few paragraphs.