Financial planning must include lifestyle choices...especially DIET
As a retired long-term care and financial planner, I've had 23 years of intimate client conversations about health history, financial realities, and the hard truths of aging.
Long term, chronic healthcare costs in retirement are a huge concern. All retirement planners are trained to treat these costs as INEVITABLE... and enormous.
Advisors now recommend setting aside at least $500,000.00 for retiree healthcare costs.
That is, literally, setting aside half a million dollars to give away to doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes (don't forget insurance companies!) What if you can only save $600,000.00 in total?
The planning community's top advice amounts to: plan for the worst--without any real hope for the best. And forget about buying insurance if there is even a HINT of any chronic condition present.
Do we have a choice here?
Opt out of long-term illness
In 2016, almost by accident, my wife Kathleen and I transformed our lives by embracing the "Paleolithic" diet and lifestyle. Our startling success led me to research the long-term implications of these simple life choices for our retirement years.
Sure, we enjoyed the "usual" Paleo benefits:
losing weight (30 lbs. for Kathy, 40 for me)
gaining daily extra hours of energy (6 AM - 10 PM with no drop-off)
I stopped getting sick (since going Paleo 1/1/2016 I have not seen a doctor and have had exactly TWO colds. Kathy, a teacher exposed to hundreds of sneezing kids, still has 80% less illness).
We are even more excited to find our daily routine and easily sustainable diet may actually prevent or mitigate many chronic health issues feared by all retirees, including:
Alzheimer's and dementia
It's hard to imagine "old age" without health problems, but our confidence is high.
This blog will share our story and results.
See David's SUCCESS STORY on "Mark's Daily Apple", the web site of Mark Sisson,
author of The Primal Blueprint.
Learning about "Paleo"
There are many great resources for the nuts and bolts of the Paleo or "ancestral" lifestyle--and why you should consider them. My everyday habits and success are drawn from wide reading and following of:
Go to any of these sites, now or later, for great information. They're the experts. There are others as well. Google "paleo" and see what happens.
I strongly recommend reading their BOOKS, not simply browsing websites...but that's just me.
Paleo is not a religion
Each resource above offers different emphasis. Not everyone agrees on certain ideas, although the broad principles are common to all.
Sally Fallon, for example, is not technically a Paleo advocate- but her information on whole foods vs. modern industrial processed foods is invaluable. Anyone worried about health and longevity should read Nourishing Traditions, including every sidebar and snippet.
Mark Sisson's The Primal Blueprint, and his website "Mark's Daily Apple" have influenced and educated millions. I often give this book to friends.
It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, is another under-appreciated gem.
BUT--don't get snagged on any one personality or rule set.
None of these sources will steer you wrong, but you're better off absorbing multiple points of view. Take liberally from each, see what works for YOU.
It's ok to skim the surface at first. Paleo's scientific underpinnings can seem daunting, but don't worry.
You don't have to become a dietician or biologist to do Paleo.
Go at your own pace. Experiment. Be receptive. Keep learning.
This blog will highlight the science in an easily digestible format--eating the mastodon one bite at a time.
Paleo after age 50
Ancestral-style life choices benefit all age groups, but our focus here is those over age 50.
We slightly weathered folks have spent at least a half-century following questionable dietary advice.
We're more likely to be
Obese or at least overweight
Diabetic or pre-diabetic
(insert your symptoms here)
Most people we know are taking medication. Being sicker as we age is our "new normal."
But what was the "OLD Normal?"
Why didn't pre-Industrial Age societies have these problems?
Numerous studies of ancient hunter-gatherer populations show no significant incidence of chronic disease in older (or any) age groups. Hell, studies of CURRENT traditional hunter-gatherer groups (they still exist) show the same thing.
These populations were generally FAR more active than we are today, even the pre-industrial agrarian groups. They also consumed no mass-produced processed foods. If they ate something, they (or someone they knew) picked it, grew it or killed it.
Seemingly innocent items like bread, pasta, most supermarket legumes, sugar and all industrially produced corn & seed oils are "processed foods."
It's your body that's supposed to process food-not a factory.
Paleo living is, on one level, cutting out this middleman. Paleo returns you to what hunter-gatherers ate: meat, fish, eggs, nuts, greens, tubers, and some fruit. (See future posts for fun "gray area" foods like dairy and alcohol.)
But for us retirees (or just us oldsters) Paleo's secret weapon is not just eating a lot of protein, or ditching bread and beans, it's
REMOVING MASS-PRODUCED, REFINED CARBOHYDRATES, PROCESSED FOODS
(OF ANY KIND), SUGARS AND INDUSTRIAL SEED OR CORN OILS from our diets...
and replacing them with natural, nutrient-dense whole foods.
This is easier than you think. I've done it, and so can you.
Thanks for reading this far. Come back regularly for new information.
Why I do this
I'm not selling books or courses. At this time I have no "affiliate" links to make money if you click on another site. This is just me sharing what I've learned. Why?
I am mad as hell.
I realized, as I read book after book about the paleo lifestyle, that my generation (and everyone else) has been hijacked-usually for life- by all the "conventional wisdom" out there on diet, nutrition, exercise, and pretty much anything else related to health.
(Now is a good time to read our disclaimer.)
Formerly trusted sources-including academia and major media-now seem more than a little bent by special interests.
The medical profession is coming up short, too, although the newer trend in integrative or functional medicine seems promising.
Sure, I'm happy that doing THE EXACT OPPOSITE of what most conventional sources recommend has turned my own life around...
...but I am less pleased that I had to wait until age 57 to find all this out. That's fifty-plus years of unnecessary medical care, obesity, low quality of life, and needless apprehension about diet-caused illness.
So I am trying to get the word out any way I can. This is me tweaking the nose of global corporate interests that make money on processed foods--and the medical care they generate.
If you're now curious about ancestral living and eating choices, I've done my job.
This blog will explore specifics--please visit regularly.
Living well is the best revenge!
And don't forget...
DAVID WHITESIDE IS NOT A DOCTOR and does not give medical advice or treatment. He offers information and personal experience only. Nothing you read on this website or blog should be construed as medical advice or as intended to supersede information you get from your medical professional. Following the advice given here or on any recommended resource site does not create a doctor-patient relationship or create liability for David or anyone else. David is not liable for any loss or complication you experience from following any diet or taking any action. You should check with your properly accredited medical professional if you think you are injured or ill.