My Weird Hassle-Free Longevity Diet
Keto, Broccoli Chips, Avocado & more
Longevity foods alone will not make you live beyond 100. They may not even make you live beyond 80 or 90. For one, because there are several other genetic and environmental factors that will likely determine your lifespan. But two, because exercise and clean diet by themselves will not increase lifespan substantially. If they were to, I would think we would have more people living to a 100 and beyond, because I hope there are lots more people living healthy lives. We need rejuvenation therapies to increase lifespan substantially. You can read more about why you should care about rejuvenation therapies in my post Why Longevity Science is Relevant To You.
So why am I telling you about what I eat? Because I think it could be helpful to you. How can it be helpful to you if it won’t substantially increase lifespan? Because I think eating clean can increase healthspan and to some degree lifespan. When you’re 90, I bet most people would be happy having an extra few months to live over none.
But the biggest reason, in my opinion, to care about what you eat is that it affects how you feel and think on a daily basis. Most everyone has experienced feeling sluggish after the initial dopamine boost post sugar wears out. Most everyone has experienced the feeling of lightness and energy after eating a healthy salad. Most everyone knows that it’s better to eat healthy over eating junk. The problem is not that people don’t have the knowledge or the information that healthy food is good for them. The problem is that taking action to eat healthy is painful. It requires making some difficult choices and thinking about how the food you eat will impact you in the long-term. It requires forgoing the short-term pleasures of ordering pizza and ice-cream on a Friday night.
I’m not going to be preachy in this post about why you should eat healthy. Because you know the why. I’m going to tell you what I eat and how I’ve made healthy eating easy and enjoyable for me. The problem in eating healthy lies in the implementation of it. If you can make it less work and enjoyable to eat healthy, you are more likely to do so. I’ve found my weird-hassle free way to eat healthy, and I also LOVE what I eat!
Of course, what I love to eat may not be as palatable to you, so I highly encourage you to experiment with different healthy foods you enjoy and find out what works for you. But I do want to share what I eat in case it’s helpful for inspiration or tips on what to eat.
You can also pair this post with a previous popular post I wrote - Longevity Foods: Let’s Cut Through The Clutter.
I’m vegetarian: This is because of how I was raised and for moral reasons. I’m not against meat. Yes, high-protein diets may not be the best for longevity if you are not exercising and directing the protein towards muscle strength. But most of the studies that show meat is bad for you are done on unhealthy people eating processed food along with meat or those eating meat in the form of greasy burgers, for example. I believe that if you look at some studies done on healthy people, meat is not bad for them. In fact, I know many people advocate for the fact that you get very important micronutrients from meat that are otherwise missed on a vegetarian diet (Vitamin B12 is an example). Also, meat is important for protein. I definitely have to supplement with protein shakes as a vegetarian. Anyway, I don’t mean to dive into an argument for or against meat, I’m not an expert here, but I just wanted to state that my reason for being vegetarian is not necessarily driven by longevity. One last point though, most everyone could still benefit from eating more vegetables!
I do modified Keto / Atkins / Low-Carb: I first started the ketogenic diet during COVID-19 in April 2020 because I’d read up on how it makes the mind feel alert and because I wanted to experiment with it. I loved it - all my post meal slumps vanished, I constantly had high levels of energy and my hunger cravings every other hour went away. Since then, I’ve modified it a bit to incorporate more cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower) and berries. (Yes, the carbs in these vegetables or berries can strictly speaking bring most people out of ketosis. The amount of carbs you can eat and still be in ketosis or not depends on your activity levels as well and if you want to be very precise with it, you can measure your ketone levels using different products out there). Keto is an extremely strict diet and it’s quite hard to practice as a vegetarian who doesn’t eat cheese or dairy either, so low-carb typically under 70gm / day works better for me. This way I can eat a lot more veggies and still not feel the meal slumps! Dom D’Agostino, the expert on ketogenic diets, practices a similar modified version.
What about exercise on ketogenic diets? It was initially quite hard. Low-intensity exercises were fine, but high-intensity ones for which I needed immediate glucose fueled energy were difficult. But over time my body got used to it, and now I can do CrossFit and other high-intensity workouts on a low-carb diet as well. But since I do CrossFit / some other exercise 6-7x / week, I will occasionally add more carbs like beans for additional energy.
One other thing to know: you can gain weight (I mean weight due to fat and not muscle) on keto if you don’t watch calories! Contrary to most people, I, in fact, gained 10kgs (I know, a lot!) on keto because I was eating bags of nuts and peanut butter (oh, it’s so good!) when I first started the diet. I have since lost all of that fat and some more (thank god!) but it taught me the lesson that unlimited clean eating can also get you fat - I guess I should have known - that was stupid of me!
Intermittent Fasting: I’ve been practicing this for a few years and now I just don’t feel hungry in the mornings. It’s almost impossible for me to even think about eating in the mornings nowadays. Popular media has been propagating intermittent fasting and I think it’s good for most of us because we all eat too much and eat at odd hours. When we eat and feeding frequency is also critical to metabolic health. But there are some nuances here which I will not go into in this post. For one, it is unclear whether intermittent fasting has substantial benefits for already metabolically healthy humans. Two, whether intermittent fasting without restricting calories has any longevity benefits is unclear.
Supplements: I take some supplements like Vitamin D, Zinc, Fish Oil, Vitamin B12. To know the full list, you can read one of my earlier posts: My Supplements for Longevity and Biohacking.
Eat what you can eat everyday: There are a few reasons why I’ve converged on eating what I do and the way I do. For one, I hate to cook. I do not enjoy it. Two, a low-carb diet makes me feel better. Three, I eat what I love to eat (within the purview of healthy foods) and have experimented a bunch with my food to figure this out. The end result has been that I’ve optimized for spending as little time as possible to cook food while still eating healthy and enjoying the same foods everyday. I genuinely do not get bored of my diet - I can eat it everyday and that’s what I usually do. Weekend food is not special either.
Now, let’s jump into what I actually eat!
I don’t eat breakfast. My breakfast is coffee. I drink Starbucks Medium Roast Iced coffee. It’s tasty, I love it. My first 2 cups of coffee are pure black. I simply take it out of the fridge and pour myself a cup. Around late morning, I’ll do a cup of coffee with some heavy cream in it.
I typically start eating around 11:30am. Here is what I begin with:
2 pieces of Brazil Nuts (to get my Selenium content)
Tempeh: This is great for gut health (fermentable fiber), it gives me my protein, it’s easy to eat and I like the taste. I just eat it plain or in other words, I do not cook it. I sometimes dip it in hummus or guacamole for some more flavor.
Broccoli: I throw in frozen organic chopped broccoli in the microwave for ~15 minutes and it almost becomes chips like! I then add salt and garlic and devour it. I think I might be a bit weird, because this is literally my most favorite food item. I can have 5+ plates of these “Broccoli-chips” everyday. I’m not kidding.
On weekends, we either make roasted cauliflower in olive oil or Avocado salad. We get chopped organic cauliflower because we are too lazy to spend time chopping it, dress it up in olive oil and garlic powder, and throw it in the oven. It’s delicious.
The avocado salad is lettuce, spinach, avocado, dressing (olive oil, mustard, little bit soy milk, capers) and “vegan cheese” (nutritional yeast and cashew blended together). We found the recipe in an Avocado recipe book. If you are interested in the recipe, simply respond to the email or message me and I’ll send you a picture.
Post weekday lunch, I usually just tend to snack till we leave for CrossFit or tennis around 6pm. I guess it’s sometimes not the best habit because it’s easy to over-eat when snacking, but I somewhat stay in the ballpark of my maintenance caloric level. Here is what I snack on (I don’t necessarily eat all of these everyday, it’s just an exhaustive list of what I snack on and I pick and choose based on my mood):
Coconut Yogurt with Berries and Chia Seeds: The coconut yogurt has 0gm. of sugar. The brand is Culina for those of you in the U.S. We get the coconut yogurt unflavored and top it with some raspberries and chia seeds. Yum.
I took this picture with the yogurt delicately balancing on my balcony railing in an attempt to be artistic. You see, I thought that if I’m going to use Instagram, maybe I can try to improve my photography skills. Suffice it to say that neither my photography nor my Instagram skills have made any progress.
Protein Shake (Vegan protein shake with a little bit of walnut milk): It’s easy to not get enough protein on vegetarian keto so I try to be cognizant of drinking my protein shakes. I also lift 4-5x / week so I’m definitely mindful of this. Even for those who don’t lift as regularly, protein can be important even just to maintain muscle mass, specially as you age.
Beyond Good Chocolate (92% Dark)
We love dark chocolate. It’s so good. We used to eat 95% Lindt, but now have settled on this one. I guess I should give a disclaimer that I do not receive any affiliate commission from any of these brands. I have no relationship to them other than the fact that I am a consumer and I’m telling you what I eat.
Cashew Nuts: The previous obsession was Macadamia nuts. Now that’s on break and cashews have taken over.
Smoothies: Frankly, I rarely make these anymore. Just because I don’t like to drink too many of my calories. But if I do make it, the ingredients are typically: spinach, kale, protein powder, berries, flax, avocado, walnut milk, water.
Dinner is basically the only meal we cook, if you can call it cooking. We exercise everyday and cook right after the workout. Dinner is protein shake and eggs with mushrooms and spinach. Our process of making eggs is very simple. Crack open eggs in the pan. Dump a bowl of cut organic mushrooms we bought. Dump a bunch of spinach. Let the eggs cook. Jump in the shower. By the time we’re done with our showers, the eggs are ready as well. Boom!
And if you want to add some more flavor to your eggs, you can top it with guacamole and / or salsa.
On days we don’t feel like eating eggs, we make a pot of veggies. Dump a bunch of chopped veggies in a big pan. Broccoli, cauliflower, Tofu (this we chop), mushrooms. Add curry powder. Maybe add some olive oil. Put on the lid and let it cook. That’s it.
On other days, when we don’t feel like eating eggs or veggies, we order a salad / bowl from Sweetgreen or another similar place.
This post is not me advocating for being keto (it’s not everyone) or being vegan or spending less time cooking or eating certain healthy foods over others. Don’t read too much into it. It’s literally me penning down what I eat and why I eat it. You need to figure out your own healthy foods that you can eat in a sustainable manner. And if you are looking to eat healthy in a hassle-free manner, maybe this post can serve as an inspiration (or give you some tips).
If you are wondering which foods are healthy, I think we frankly all know the answer to it whether or not we want to believe it. But I’ll state the obvious - stay away from sugar, alcohol, and processed food like chips etc.
If you want to know the highest-impact longevity foods and the big levers to focus on in nutrition such that it doesn’t seem so complicated, please read my previous post Longevity Foods: Let’s Cut Through the Clutter.
A few closing thoughts: I want to state it again that what you eat can have a huge impact on how physically and mentally active you feel on a daily basis. It was a game-changer for me to change up my diet to what I have now. It doesn’t have to become an all-clean diet overnight, you can take steps to get there. But if you truly want to eat healthy on a daily basis, I highly encourage working towards it because it can not only improve your health, but also your happiness and energy.
On a lighter note, enjoy this joke, but don’t fall prey to it :)
Stay healthy & see you next time,