Barring the inevitable breakthroughs — though I do not suggest you place all your eggs in the science basket — the best way to live longer, given your genes and past, is through diet.

Probably, you’re not doing enough.

You may want to go on some super-restrictive diet like Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers.

According to ESPN’s Jason Wilde, Rodgers used to see himself as a player who might retire at 36 or 37. He didn’t think of himself as an NFL “lifer.”

While Rodgers never lost a desire to play the game, according to Wilde, his passion for football has recently been reinvigorated, and he now has “designs” to play into his 40s.

To do so, Rodgers is following the lead of one of his contemporaries — Tom Brady. Brady, of course, has structured his entire life to play football into his 40s, from his notoriously stingy diet, sleeping habits, and stretching-specific workouts. Rodgers has reportedly started following Brady’s model.

Lifestyle. Absolutely crucial.

Easier said than done, of course.

As with drugs, food reinforcement works by spiking dopamine in the brain.

Many of us are carboholics.

Or, more precise, we crave a crafty combination of carbs and fat.

Essentially, the brain is wired to be motivated by the food properties that kept our distant ancestors alive and fertile.  When you eat food, the brain analyzes its composition via receptors in your mouth, upper small intestine, and perhaps liver that measure the amount of fat, sugar, starch, protein, and salt it contains.  This all happens on a nonconscious level.  If the brain “likes” what you just ate, it will release dopamine.  The more fat, sugar, starch, protein, and salt your food contains (up to the “bliss point”), the more dopamine your brain releases.  The more dopamine your brain releases, the more your cravings increase.  This is why we crave cookies and bacon but not lentils and plain celery.

Foods that are skillful combinations of fat, sugar, starch, salt, and delightful flavors likely cause your brain to release high levels of dopamine, sometimes provoking addiction in susceptible people.

Capitalism is only too happy and ready and able to entice into buying more, eating more, consuming more, always and forever. Constant vigilance is necessary, at least until we re-craft our world so that eating right is not only the optimum choice, but the easiest, cheapest, most accessible.

When a person with an addiction doesn’t use a drug for a long time, his craving for it will slowly subside.  This is why a person who quits smoking will initially feel very strong cravings, but these will diminish to a low level over a period of months to years.  Yet when that person exposes himself to the drug again, or cues associated with it– for example, by taking a puff of a cigarette– it often re-awakens those latent brain pathways and triggers a relapse into addictive behavior.

My breakfast is usually just coffee, usually with actual cream or, when out — the horrors — a dash of Himalayan salt.

Missing breakfast won’t really impact your longevity. You are free to structure your day and your life as you prefer.

Until very recently, common wisdom held that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. We’ve anecdotally tied all sorts of ills to a failure to sit down to a “complete breakfast.” But health research has proven that skipping that fried egg or bowl of cereal does not, in fact, lead to weight gain, health issues or underperformance.

Our reverence for breakfast is actually relatively recent. Before the late 19th century in the US, breakfast didn’t have any particular importance ascribed to it. But all that was changed by a small group of religious fanatics and lobbyists for cereal and bacon companies.

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