Episode 024 – Strong Coffee Strong Women™ with Sue Stillman Linja
“So there’s something called compressed morbidity… What it basically boils down to is over time if you implement healthier eating, more exercise, it compresses the amount of time that you are sick and dying at the end of your life.”
Sue Stillman Linja has traveled all over the world to meet and talk with centenarians in an effort to find the connection between their diets and their brain health. These folks are not just existing. They are flourishing and living an active life at or close to 100 years old.
She’s spent the past 25 years working with those living the later years of their lives.
As a licensed Dietician and Nutritionist and co-author of The Alzheimer’s Prevention Food Guide, nutrition and aging are her passion along with Alzheimer’s disease prevention, and “Eating to 100.”
She’s spoken at TEDx and all over the nutrition world. She is the Co-founder, Officer and President of S&S Nutrition Network, Inc., LTC Nutrition Consulting, LLC, and C0-founder and Vice President of Nutrition and Wellness Associates, LLC.
A Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School called her book the food bible with everything someone needs to eat for a healthier brain.
I lost my father to Parkinson’s disease and was interested to hear all of her thoughts on eating to maintain a healthy brain.
I had a lot of questions about some of the mixed messages we get surrounding food in our modern diets.
I hope you enjoy this episode of Strong Coffee Strong Women™.
Until next time, be nice and do good stuff.
- Instagram: @mama_sue27
Sue Linja is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a passion for nutrition and aging. In her work as a dietitian, Sue has investigated the links between diet and Alzheimer’s disease and is doing everything in her power to prevent this devastating disease from further effecting for family, friends and self. Sue has been a business owner for over 3 decades, working in healthcare communities in 12 states and employing over 60 registered dietitians (95% women). Sue is an author and sought-after speaker, most recently in the areas of living to 100, international dysphagia diets and Alzheimer’s prevention through the foods we eat. Sue hopes to age gracefully, reaching her 100th birthday by maintaining close relationships, eating a mostly plant-based diet and drinking fine wine.
[00:00:13] Welcome to 2023. First episode of the New Year. First segment of Strong Coffee Strong Women. Can you believe it in case you’re not feeling old enough? Y2K was 23 years ago. Speaking of age, my guest today has traveled all over the world to meet and talk with centenarians. She wanted to find the connection between their diets and their brain health.
[00:00:34] These folks aren’t just existing, they’re flourishing. And living an active lifestyle at or close to a hundred years old. She’s a licensed dietician, nutritionist, and co-author of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Food Guide. She’s all over the nutrition world. TEDx. Her credits are extensive and I’m grateful to have her on the show today.
[00:00:51] I lost my father to Parkinson’s Disease and I had a lot of questions about some of the mixed messages we get surrounding food in our modern diets. I hope you enjoy this episode of Strong Coffee Strong Women with the funny and ever engaging Sue Stillman. Linja, welcome to Strong Coffee Strong Women.
[00:01:08] Thanks for doing this. Do you do you have cup of coffee or do you even drink coffee?
[00:01:11] Sue Stillman Linja: Oh my gosh, yes. I have two cups of coffee in front of me. In fact, . . And I thought because. Strong Coffee Strong Women that maybe I can, I’ve never had a platform before. To rant a little bit about coffee and the nutrition benefits of coffee.
[00:01:28] So I don’t know whether you are willing to have me do that, like hijack your show right off the bat. .
[00:01:36] Chris: I am absolutely willing. That’s I am, you’re, so you’re drinking coffee? I am drinking. I picked up a local brew from a company called ReAnimator. It’s the it’s actually their chia blend. It’s made brew Mexican bean.
[00:01:50] I always try to find a local brew when we’re, when wherever we are. So I’m back on the east coast. I figured I’d support the Philly love and I absolutely would love for you to hijack this and go on a rant about coffee because, that’s the thing that I find interesting and really frustrating for me as a layman who tries to eat well and tries to focus on not eating crap. When you hear about coffee or anything, there’s always this side, like everything in life that has, that’s gonna tell you it’s good for you. And then there’s the side that’s gonna tell you it’s bad for you. And of course, we all know that if you take something that’s really good for you and you overdo it, it can be bad for you.
[00:02:29] So that, that part of the argument out of the equation, I if you drink, if coffee’s good for you and you drink 21 cups of it a day, it’s not good for you. So with that, I will just mention before you get going that you are the co-author of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Food Guide with Saan. Please complete her name so I don’t screw it up.
[00:02:47] Sue Stillman Linja: SeAnne Safaii-Waite
[00:02:49] Chris: So you wrote the book on basically the, as a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School said the Bible. For everyone. It’s someone who wants to eat healthier for the brain. So we’ll get into that. But what do you gotta say about coffee? Fill me in. Get me on the right track.
[00:03:05] Sue Stillman Linja: Oh yeah. Okay. Okay. Very good. So first I want to tell you about my two cups of coffee that I have. The one is an Idaho coffee and they actually, I brought it down here with me to Loreto and I they’ve been in business since 1988, so I think they’re doing a really great job. So it’s Moxi Java Coffee, so that was one of them.
[00:03:24] And then the other cup I have is from Lata here in Loreto, mexico and Virginia bought me that today, our mutual friend. So I thought what better day to have two cups in front of me than here? So anyway, I also wanted to quote it, it’s a twist on a quote I’ve seen before, but behind every successful woman, there’s a large mug of strong dark roast. So that’s my quote of the day. And so I wanted just to, let you know that I’m a huge coffee fan. I think there’s very little evidence out there of the negative effects of coffee, unless you’re, sensitive to it, and I’ll get into the sensitivity in a second. But really, they’ve done numerous studies.
[00:04:07] Coffee has been studied a lot. There’s like a meta-analysis, which is taking all of the research and looking at it as a whole of 220 studies and they basically show, that a moderate consumption, which can be one and a half to five cups a day Is really, and it has to be unsweetened, right?
[00:04:25] You can’t add, you can’t add cream and sugar to it and have it have these same results, but it decreased the risk of death by up to 30%. So it does that by it, it basically reduces inflammation, which we’re gonna talk about some more today cuz that has to do with everything, longevity and Alzheimer’s reduction and all that.
[00:04:44] But it also reduces diabetes risk risk of getting Parkinson’s disease. That’s been studied quite a lot. A 19% lessened risk of a heart attack and about the same decreased risk at cancer. So it’s hard to debate those numbers. There are antioxidants and, these polyphenols like a chemical makeup in coffee that it, they’re finding is most helpful and some of the things are related to caffeine being a positive there too.
[00:05:15] But. Some people are sensitive, so they actually say, you know what? I didn’t know this for forever. I didn’t, I don’t think this is well, well known, but Chris can you drink a cup of coffee right before bed and go to sleep?
[00:05:28] Chris: No. I am, but I am probably the worst person to ask because I’m a terrible sleeper period.
[00:05:35] I have been for 25 years. I sleep so lightly that. Like when the dog used to get up and walk around and replant himself on his bed, it would wake me up. My wife, Melody, she can drink a cup of coffee at nine o’clock and she’ll be asleep in about five minutes. Not even five minutes? Yep. Two minutes.
[00:05:53] Sue Stillman Linja: Okay.
[00:05:54] Case in point. And then, people who say, I can’t drink any coffee. I’m a nervous wreck. I’m, whatever. So there are levels of sensitivity. There’s like normal, which, maybe that would be, you has how many people told you’re normal anyway. I think you’re normal.
[00:06:09] Chris: That’s the first time anyone’s ever said that to me.
[00:06:15] Sue Stillman Linja: and then there’s hypo-sensitivity, which would be me. I can drink a cup of coffee at midnight and be asleep at 12:02, or whatever. And then there’s hypersensitivity that would be the people that probably can’t have any or whatever. And they believe there’s a gene, I think it’s a DORA two gene variation.
[00:06:36] I was just reading up on this because I’m like, why does this happen? So they think there’s a variation in genetic makeup that. Each person maybe be a little bit different sensitivity to coffee and caffeine. And they also, there might be an enzyme that some people produce that, make them able to metabolize caffeine better.
[00:06:54] I guess I don’t need to rant anymore about coffee, but I just think that it’s I love the title of your, of this program and I’m really honored to be here with you as a fellow coffee lover and to help everyone understand a little bit more about some of the nutrition questions that you might have for me that I can help others with too.
[00:07:13] Chris: I, the strong Coffee strong women platform has been wonderful for me because I get to talk to people like yourself and like psychologists and stuff and just strong women in general. It’s just a great platform to do that. But when you roll in the coffee, I’ve not had anyone such as a nutritionist and.
[00:07:29] And licensed dietician. And your credibility, your credits are long and I will have them at the intro of the show, so I won’t go into them here. But your knowledge of the nutritional world has, is extensive to say the least. What, this is what want to segue into. Your book talks about eating for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and stuff, and I lost my father at 89.
[00:07:53] In 2019. He had Parkinson’s. But my mom is, Gonna celebrate her 90th birthday November. And it’s I’m trying to, and I, as I look at the correlation in their lives as my father, how he ate and drank and he didn’t drink alcohol a lot, but like how he lived his life versus how my mom lives her life and lived her life.
[00:08:13] Me growing up. The book, your book, put it into perspective as to why. Might be the case because so many people think that there’s little, that one can do to reduce anyone’s risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, but you believe differently. Can you talk a little bit why and your relationship, how you got into this?
[00:08:30] Cuz I think you have a personal story about how you got started too.
[00:08:34] Sue Stillman Linja: Absolutely. Absolutely. So there are controllable factors in our lives and then there’s uncontrollable factors. We can’t really, Influence all the time. Who we’re born to, what our family history is.
[00:08:48] Maybe sometimes we can’t control where we live, but there are a lot of things that are modifiable or controllable factors. We’ll talk about that. But I love and appreciate you talking about your parents and I think, as we talk today, I’d love to learn a little bit more, especially as we talk more maybe about longevity and your mom.
[00:09:04] And I think that’s beautiful. I, Absolutely impassioned by old people. I think we have, we, we don’t treat them well at least in, in our country, in the United States of America. Agreed. I don’t think we give the value, the credibility. It’s like sometimes someone will, pass away and you’ll go, oh, they were a, a federal judge and they did this and that, and you knew nothing about them.
[00:09:29] Anyway, I. I have a couple things that have fired me up over the years. But I really have worked my whole career with aging. And a lot of times in kind of end stage of aging in the worst possible, spaces in nursing home you. Hospice care, some of those areas.
[00:09:49] So in, along with that, you see probably, it’s not a huge percent of the population that end up there, but it’s usually the sickest, the most amount of chronic disease, those kinds of things. And so it made me really You know that, that part of my career, I’m like, oh, what can I do to keep people out of these places, especially those people that I love and, care most about.
[00:10:14] And then how can I help the general population in this way? And my mom died with Alzheimer’s and she was the most amazing woman. If I would, everybody asks at some point in your life, who’s your hero, or who’s the person that most respect and all, and it would always be my mom.
[00:10:32] And she just was a loving, caring person. That was the best mother. But she, she yielded to a lack of sleep because she was taking care of six kids. She was always, wanting my dad to be happy. You had to keep my dad happy because. He was a tough German guy, that was grumpy if he wasn’t.
[00:10:50] And so mom was, maybe cooking the, and we were eating the things that made my dad happy that weren’t necessarily always the healthiest things. But anyway, so my, my, my passion comes from wanting to not have anybody else die, like my mom died, . And then also just with, having.
[00:11:09] My, my career be working with the sick, sickest of sick elderly, and how we might be able to have less. People, fall into that. I’d be glad to talk about more, but maybe you can ask if you wanna ask me any specific questions. I’d be glad to talk about the modifiable risk factors and that kind of thing, but,
[00:11:27] Chris: You go into a lot of detail about how the, why you think the Western diet actually contributes, may contribute or be a contributor to Alzheimer’s.
[00:11:35] Can you tell a little bit about that? Absolutely.
[00:11:38] Sue Stillman Linja: I don’t know if you’ve heard this term, but the western. Is also called the meat sweet diet. So that will tell it all right, so lot high amount meat high amounts of sugar, and those two things in addition to, processed foods, highly salted foods, Other contributors, but the, those, the, a lot of meat and a lot of sweets are what we call pro-inflammatory.
[00:12:05] So they create inflammation in our bodies and Inflammation it can be good if we have a little cut and we have to heal. You’ve gotta have inflamm, a little inflammation in order for that healing process to go. But when you’re consuming those foods, especially over longer periods of time, and especially if you have a genetic makeup that you know maybe is even more predisposing to chronic disease.
[00:12:31] your inflammation rises, which leads to, all of the deadliest diseases, heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Related to that heart disease various kinds of cancers. You almost can name, any disease, diabetes type two. You know that a lot of difference diseases are related to that inflammatory.
[00:12:53] Process. So if we can figure out how to reduce inflammation by the things that we do, that’s what, that’s what’s the most promising in my mind, research behind Alzheimer’s disease. Cuz otherwise they haven’t figured out the meds, they haven’t figured out all of the mechanisms around it and and I don’t think that diet is the end all.
[00:13:16] I really don’t, I think there’s a lot more we need to learn, but it certainly is. We can control and modify as well as exercise. That you can, you can’t do one without the other, we have to eat and we have to exercise. So the western diet and the western way, which is sitting on the couch Eaten a big steak and very little, green beans with bacon in ’em or whatever, as your vegetable isn’t gonna cut it.
[00:13:38] Chris: Yeah. The inflammation thing is really interesting to me because on that topic, it’s like you talk about. . In your TED Talk, you talked about how the way we phrase fruits and vegetables in our society of dietary planning and stuff should be reversed, vegetables and fruits, and everyone talks about the leafy greens and stuff and how they are more beneficial than, we once thought, but they go a long way in decreasing the inflammation.
[00:14:05] Is that correct?
[00:14:06] Sue Stillman Linja: Yes, absolutely. So they a and the other term maybe that goes hand in hand with in inflammation is antioxidants. And we talk about them and you can get ’em in the pill form, which I would recommend more eating your antioxidants. But you think about the, and I use this example, and maybe you’ve heard this, but if you leave, especially here in Baja, if you leave something metal, What happens to it with the weather and whatever it rusts, right?
[00:14:33] Yeah, it corrodes. , so that’s oxidation. And so the foods that we eat that are pro-inflammatory or increase inflammation, Basically are doing that inside of us. And so the antioxidants which have the other effect to that, so they would clean the rust off of the right , the metal that we leave or clean, the things out of us.
[00:14:57] Those are the components in. Our vegetables, really any dark green leafy vegetables gonna be really high in the, the antioxidants and then, the colorful dark, orange and reds and purples and all of those. They have, they, they have different, polyphenols and these different kind of chemical compounds within them that, all of them work synergistically.
[00:15:20] That’s why you can’t. There’s, you can’t take an antioxidant in a pill form. There were some studies that they actually had to stop because people were getting cancer, from taking antioxidants in the pill form. So it’s I’m not saying that’s gonna. Happen all the time.
[00:15:37] But , the point is we need to eat whole foods and we get the things we need from a variety of foods that work together and that, the healthier those foods are and the less. Meat and saturated fats and sugars and processed foods and salty foods and all those things we eat, the better those antioxidants get to work to clean our
[00:15:59] Chris: rust.
[00:15:59] And you talked about the polyphenols. There are the same, there are those same elements in coffee and wine. It’s, is it correct that, they can be found. all in several different things. And so that seems to be the common denominator is that these things working in concert, but, and you’ve traveled the world to gather all of the evidence to support your theories and your ideas.
[00:16:22] But like where do you stand on things like, and. , and we’ll get back to the vegetables and stuff, but you said something about saturated fats and it just sent me to my, to the side of my brain where again, like coffee, you have coconut oil, avocados, avocado oil, things that I’ve always, I love avocados, I love them, but I have people that say, , they’re so high in fat, they’re terrible for you.
[00:16:46] And then I have other people say they’re natural fat, they’re vegetables, so they’re good for you. And then I use coconut oil because. I thought it was good for me, and people say it’s terrible for you because it’s saturated fat. , this is where the, and I think a lot of people feel this way, they get really frustrated because they try to do something that they think is healthy, but then it becomes maybe it wasn’t so healthy, so what,
[00:17:09] Sue Stillman Linja: yeah. Yeah. So that’s a fantastic question. And it’s a, it can get a little. Confusing. There are really three types of fats and saturated fat. I always think of as, the easiest way to think of it is solid at room temperature. You look at coconut oil in your pantry and it’s gonna maybe not if you’re in the really hot heat, but usually it’s solid, right?
[00:17:28] The fat around meat, your margins and butters and, those kinds of things. Polyunsaturated fats are the, are like omega-3. Fatty acid kind of fats and they have a very positive anti-inflammatory effect. And then they also polyunsaturated fats also are omega six fatty acids, which can ha, that would be like some of your, all of the oils they use in processing of foods and that kind of thing.
[00:17:51] And those can be pro-inflammatory . So even within one type of fat. They can, there’s two components and they almost offset each other a little bit. So there’s lots and lots of studies and research about how much, what proportion of those you need and all of that. And I think that’s too much for me, even as a, a nutrition scientist to understand sometimes, but it’s certainly too much for the consumer.
[00:18:15] So in, and then, monounsaturated fats, you’re gonna find more in, some of your. Your nuts too and your, some of the oils that are like your olive oil and that, and those are, good kinds of fats. So to, to make it as simple as possible. The fats from the fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, everything that you eat, including avocados, I think eat away.
[00:18:41] Don’t worry about it. Avocado oil is liquidated room temperature. It’s a great oil to use olive oil. You’re Italian. I’m Italian. We can talk Italian and we probably should a little bit here too at some point. But yeah, olive oil is wonderful. I, if you wanna drink a little bit of it every day, that’s probably okay too, but I just very use it very liberal.
[00:19:03] when I cook and all of that. And then I just would say any fat that you’re adding that’s solid at room temperature, coconut oil. Included. I wouldn’t go crazy on that. If you love the taste of it and you want a little bit of it on something or you like to cook a particular Asian dish with it or whatever, that’s fine, but don’t replace your other fat.
[00:19:25] With a saturated fat, like coconut oil if you’re mixing in your coffee every day, that’s a faddish kind of thing. I, I wouldn’t, I just wouldn’t do that.
[00:19:33] Chris: Perfect. That, see that, just saying that if you look at it on the shelf and it’s solid, and I got that, I looked at it and I thought that, hey, this is, it almost looks like Crisco.
[00:19:42] So you keep I have that image in my head when I, and there, there are a few things. As nasty as Crisco on the planet. But so that completely makes it clear to me because olive oil is always, extra virgin olive oil pressed, it’s always a good go-to, and I was just using coconut oil because of the higher heat factor with cooking.
[00:20:03] But it, it makes perfect sense. So the other question I have for you is regarding lentil. Ooh. I love lentils. I love and this will get me to the segue about soup. When you talk to when you’re in Italy and you talk to the Mellis family Yeah. About soup. And it was I love soups. I could totally live on soup alone, but.
[00:20:24] If I do a lentil soup, I have an extreme reaction to lentils. Like the inflammation thing completely blows me up. And so I didn’t know that people could be allergic to lentils. Is that something that could be,
[00:20:36] Sue Stillman Linja: yeah. Lentils for whatever reason. So beans, legumes as a whole, such an amazing, group of foods that provide so much for us.
[00:20:45] So we can’t say enough about beans as a whole. Lentils for whatever reason, tend to cause more people. Problems than any other legume that I know, and I can’t really explain that to you. Wow. The digestibility is problematic. In my own life, we ate a lot of lentils growing up, and that would be when I got a big stomach.
[00:21:09] A, I still make ’em from time to time. I’ve heard varying things of, soaking them like you soak beans to try to get rid of some of the issue with them or whatever. And I haven’t necessarily, Found a way but it’s livable to me, and I love him enough that I eat ’em anyway. But I guess I would love to say, I know exactly why that is, Chris but I don’t but I would say, and I wanted to play this game with you really quick.
[00:21:32] If you were to take one, one food on a, if you’re on a deserted island, you like to, I like to play this game, and you ha you didn’t know how long you had to survive and you could only take one. What would your food be?
[00:21:46] Chris: I would overthink this, but I, if I could take a pizza, then I would take a pizza , but, cause pizza’s my perfect food, but
[00:21:55] Sue Stillman Linja: But yeah. That’s funny. I I guess that was really putting you on the spot and I should have gone first because then you would’ve had time to think about yours. But I always would say beans because I think, okay, if I have to live a long time, they have protein, they have. They have, their carbohydrate, they’re, they’ve got lots of different vitamins and minerals in them, and they’re, they’re versatile.
[00:22:15] So you could probably go scrape all kinds of things from the sea if it’s an o, a deserted lion with, other things around. And you could make your beans in lots of different ways. So they also, as far as like a brain food, they’re they’ve, Really shown to have, promote nerve growth and improve memory cognition and their anti-inflammatory.
[00:22:36] Chris: And is that is that also like the other ones? The like other vegetables if they’re deeper in color, like kidney beans, are they better as the color increases or just across the board? And of course you can’t cook your beans in Crisco. We’re not talking about, like refried beans, we’re talking about beans, sadly, because refried beans in a taco or burrito is really good, but they’re probably not the beans you’re speaking of.
[00:23:00] Sue Stillman Linja: Absolutely whole beans. Thank you for clarifying that. And it is like vegetables, although not probably a significant, en enough, to, to worry so much. And there’s not all these different colors of beans, there are, vegetables and fruits, but the the, any bean that’s like a white bean is gonna have a little less.
[00:23:18] Nutritional value than your darker beans. So that’s a really good point. I hadn’t really, even spoken that too much out loud before. But yeah and I cook a pot of beans every week. It’s pretty much just the staple that I do. And I know you wanted to talk a little bit about soup.
[00:23:33] So I’d say that I, I put my, I put the beans that I cook every week and I cook ’em just. Salt and usually garlic, onion, and, whatever. I chopped up the ch the ends of the cilantro and the ends of my spinach that I wouldn’t have eaten otherwise, and I threw those in. And but those beans always go into whatever soup I’m making and whatever soup I’m making, like the perpetual soup that in the blue zones in Sardinia, the mellis.
[00:24:00] Eight I, I knew this innately, but then when I heard it from them, they have a tron. that they, it’s we called it perpetual because this week it’s, if the, out of the garden is the tomatoes and zucchini, that’s what they’re gonna have in it. But they’ll also always have, a potato or sweet potato onion, garlic, olive oil.
[00:24:21] And then, maybe it’s eggplant part of the season, maybe it’s corn another season. So whatever the growing season is so that you can also do that local, Your food is coming from type of thing. So
[00:24:34] Chris: yeah. And the local food is where you get the you speak of it about having diversity, genetic diversity.
[00:24:41] Correct. In local growers because they’re not mass produced and mass grown so that it can stay on a shelf for six weeks and be packaged in plastics when you get your local. Like that to me is the biggest factor and the biggest component in my quality of life is whether I can walk down to the local produce stand and buy my vegetables that aren’t wrapped in plastic with a barcode.
[00:25:07] And when we’re you live in Baja? We live in Baja. When you go to the market and you buy a tomato, that tomato’s gonna last four days? Five days, yep. Best? Yep. I feel like I know I’m getting real food and the tron soup and like I do a kale and white bean soup. That’s like my favorite go-to.
[00:25:26] And my favorite vegetable is broccoli, Rob. And when I came home here, my mother had an entire pan of broccoli, Rob with gar sauteed garlic and onion sitting on the stove. And it’s heaven. It’s heaven. Those dark leafy greens. And to know that. Putting it in a soup. Now, I’m sure in Italy they’re using chicken broth.
[00:25:43] What are they using? What are they using? Just water and making a vegetable broth,
[00:25:47] Sue Stillman Linja: or are they using, they use whatever, they, they’re, if there’s some meat, they’ll use some meat. But the meat is a flavoring. The meat’s a condiment. The meat is not, the. Big chunk or whatever that they, they use.
[00:26:03] So it’s used at just as, so it might be that it would be the, chicken stock, from the chicken or whatever. And it usually is from, if they don’t have, if they don’t grow it themselves, it’s the farmer around the corner or whatever, and they trade ’em for their fresh. And dive that they have or whatever kind of thing.
[00:26:21] I had the, probably the most incredible 103 year old guy who just, he just almost got in my face in, in, in Italy, and he said, Why would you ever eat anything? You don’t know where it came from, and it was translated, but I got the message right away.
[00:26:37] Chris: It’s it makes so much sense.
[00:26:38] But how can you know in, in modern day America, none of us have gardens anymore. None of us have we’re and none of us have the time to even Get down to that basic level. We’re just shoving stuff in the stove and processed packaging foods and things that are quote unquote easier for us are killing us, really.
[00:26:55] But we
[00:26:56] Sue Stillman Linja: can make it easy, and I never wanna put onto somebody that they. That shame on you for eating a canned vegetable. That is not it at all, because any vegetable is better than no vegetable or whatever. And I raised kids and I know how hard it was to get ’em to three practices and have something decent to, to eat.
[00:27:12] But if there can be, could be a little bit more focus on that. Even if it was quick meals that we sit down together with and, invite your friends over to happiness increases, obviously better eating. 20, I think they said 27%. The studies showed 27% less calories if you’re eating in versus eating out even at the exact same meal.
[00:27:34] Wow. So if you were eating, chicken and potatoes and salad or whatever so you know, that equates to. Just better health all the way around. And right now in America anyway, I think the average is less than three meals a week that a family will sit down together with. Another soapbox I guess I could get on
[00:27:51] Chris: Yeah. There’s, it’s not about shaming or guilting anyone, because everyone, especially these days post pandemic, post all the political stuff, everyone’s heightened stresses are everyone’s stress. Are at incredible levels. And they’re always there. There’s financial stresses. And if you’re talking about low income families, low income neighborhoods, they don’t get the good stuff in their markets.
[00:28:13] They have processed stuff. You can see it. I’ve ridden my bike through Mexico and you go into the markets in Mexico and everything is wrapped in plastic or everything is like a bag of beans. It’s very rare that they’re gonna have the food access to really good quality foods. So that’s, we’re not shaming anyone here.
[00:28:32] We’re not doing anything like that. We’re just saying that the information is out there. It’s always been there. I just had a guy on the show, Jimmy Halle Burton. He’s also a Boise. This must be my Boise month.
[00:28:42] Sue Stillman Linja: Yay. Love Boise.
[00:28:43] Chris: Yeah, he and we talked about how riding bicycles and health affects.
[00:28:48] Your mental and physical health as well. The benefits of riding a bicycles, it’s the same as the diets with vegetables. Heart disease goes down, cancer goes down. Dutch teens, 74% of Dutch teens ride their bikes almost every day to commute, to school, work, whatever. And Dutch teens have the lowest rate of obesity, the lowest rate of antidepressant use, and the lowest rates of suicide in the entire world.
[00:29:12] Wow. Yeah. That’s powerful. So all this stuff is correlative. It is very powerful and. , when you put together all of the knowledge that you’ve put out in your book there about how it works, it’s just, if we can, it’s not even about changing. Everything at once, right? We’re not saying, okay, everyone needs to be on a plant-based diet and it has to happen tomorrow, but if you can slowly integrate this into your life over the next six months and you can eat 10% less of this and 10% more of this, that would help then it would be exponentially better.
[00:29:46] Sue Stillman Linja: That’s so good. Yeah, so there’s something called compressed morbidity, and I’m fascinated by it because it’s like, What it basically boils down to is over time if you implement, like you’re talking about, your healthier eating, more exercise, whatever, it compresses the amount of time that you are.
[00:30:12] Sick and dying at the end of your life. It saddens me to see, whether they’re 70 or 80 or 90, somebody who is just living on and on with. A chronic disease, they are onto kidney dialysis, they have diabetes and they’re having to have injections. They have, whatever, it happens to be heart disease and they can’t, they’re on oxygen or whatever.
[00:30:33] But if we can implement these changes through our life, and it’s best if you start when you’re young, there’s never too late to start. You can compress the amount of time that you are. Ill and dying at the end of your life. And I think that’s super powerful because it’s like whether that your quality of life then whether you die at 85 or live to be a hundred, which I’m gonna going to, and so are you.
[00:30:58] I think that the, that will, that’s a big deal to be able to reduce the amount of time that you’re chronically ill. And it could take a big burden off of our healthcare system, which is.
[00:31:10] Chris: Yeah. Who wants to live to a hundred? If the last 10 years of your life has spent bedridden or on a dialysis machine, I it’s the quality of life, right?
[00:31:17] And the, here’s the crazy thing, Sue, my mother is 90. Two of her closest friends are 96 and 97. Two of her other friends are in their eighties, and they’re all living within two blocks of each other here in this little development. And they walk three miles a day
[00:31:38] Sue Stillman Linja: it sounds need to study them.
[00:31:40] That’s the new blue zone in your hometown in on your street. I think I’m gonna. With my interview, pad .
[00:31:47] Chris: Yeah. The neighbor, little neighborhood, little retirement community in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania that my mother lives in is like the mecca of centenarians here. . It’s and again, it’s the quality, not the quantity.
[00:31:58] Because my father spent his last five years in a nursing home. Yeah. It actually sticks with me all of the time. Like I am, I’ve become such a picky, not pick. Discerning eater, like I just, I maybe cuz I’m getting older or maybe because I’m concentrating on it, but food is d it makes me feel I am, I guess I have a very sensitive system cuz I can eat something and within 20 minutes.
[00:32:24] I can’t get my wedding ring off or I can’t drink beer anymore. I can’t, there’s a lot of things I can’t eat anymore because it directly affects me and it’s a physical response. Like I don’t just it’s not psychosomatic. It’s actually wow, I can’t get this ring off, or I get a really bad headache when I eat lentils and stuff like that.
[00:32:42] So yeah,
[00:32:43] Sue Stillman Linja: If all of us could be more in tune to that, I think some people just have never. healthy enough to be able to know the difference of like you’re talking about. Once we do that, then we recognize a little more and can be more in tune to how we feel and how foods make us feel.
[00:33:02] Chris: And on that note if there were three things that you could tell people to stop eating immediately, what would they be?
[00:33:10] Sue Stillman Linja: I would say meat and I’m sorry to say that, but meat I’ve, I’m advocate of still eating some fish and really being mindful, I think of sustainability with those things too on the other side of things. But and then, processed, if you can have foods be in their whole form, not processed that would be another big thing.
[00:33:32] And I guess really just reducing the amounts of sweets that you eat. And I know that’s a big category and I have sugars. Yeah, I ha yep. I have I brought down my bag of little candy bars, for the trick or treaters and it’s hard to stay out of that, but I think that, there’s not, I look at foods a little more okay, am I getting any benefit out of this whatsoever?
[00:33:56] And if I justify that I’m in my mood will improve or whatever, then I will, we’ll do that. But those would be the things and meat, really replacing meat with plants, with legumes, with, other things as much as possible would probably be the healthiest thing I could suggest for anybody.
[00:34:15] Chris: Because you can get your proteins from other places. Correct. The meat that what we’re sold is that meat has protein and you can’t do without it because you need protein. But legumes have protein. Eggs have protein.
[00:34:26] Sue Stillman Linja: Absolutely. Yeah. And fruits, vegetables, grains, there’s every other food, I said fruits, but fruits don’t have protein.
[00:34:33] But pretty much every other food categor. Has protein in it. And so it doesn’t have to be from a hunk of, animal source in order to get protein. And you know that I think soy got a bad rap for a while, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with, and in fact, we should be. Consuming soy every day, whether you’re a woman, a man, whatever age you know, so learning how to use tofu, you could throw it in your blender along with whatever you’re putting in there in your smoothie in the morning and you don’t even notice it cuz it’s pretty
[00:35:04] Chris: non-discreet.
[00:35:05] See that’s an amazing point. Because I was one of the guys who, everyone said if you eat soy, you’re raising your estrogen levels as a. , it’s terrible for you. And so I love tofu. I, it’s a, it solved a big problem for me because I don’t eat meat. And so there was, it was fabulous for me to put tofu on some toasted bread and make an interesting with a tomato and some lettuce.
[00:35:26] But then all of a sudden I thought as I get older, that’s not really something I want to do. So I couldn’t really find a definitive answer, and I thought I was one of the people that thought soy was bad. Yeah.
[00:35:36] Sue Stillman Linja: So that research, Chris, just to tell you, it’s staggering. Like you would have to drink. 12 quarts of soy milk every.
[00:35:46] For that to be, the result of that . So it’s when I went back and read that, cause I’m like, I’ve gotta be able to justify, cuz people will have these questions all the time. But there’s just, so many risk reduction. Things with that, and nobody’s gonna eat that kind of quantity or drink.
[00:36:03] And just like you said from the very start, if you drink, a gallon and a half of coffee every day, that’s not good. You could eat too many blueberries. You’re gonna turn purple and it wouldn’t be good for you. But, and so the same would be with.
[00:36:16] Chris: So I, Sue, I could talk to you for hours.
[00:36:18] This is a wonderful conversation. Just before I let you go, is there anything that you are working on that you’d like to talk about, or, and I’ll mention the book, the Alzheimer’s Prevention Food Guide. Do you have anything you want to talk about and let people know where they can find you if they have any questions?
[00:36:32] Sue Stillman Linja: Sure. So I am, working hard on working less, but the things that really make me excited are creativity in the kitchen. So I’m gonna be working on more like centenarian studies and developing. Recipes for things that incorporate the foods that are both healthy for your brain and healthy for longevity.
[00:36:54] So tho some of those things I’ve been working on so I’ll be doing some classes for adult learners in Boise in the spring, and then always working on some webinar or another with a group called Becky Dorner and Associates out of Florida. You can look me up, via Google.
[00:37:10] You can Facebook, I have Instagram. I’m on LinkedIn, so any place like that would be great and I love these topic areas. I love healthy aging. I plan to live a, with a compressed morbidity to a really old age, and I’m always justifying how I can still have a glass of wine. Or a cocktail every day and do that, or maybe not every day, every few days,
[00:37:35] Chris: well tequila’s a health food.
[00:37:36] So we always have that
[00:37:37] Sue Stillman Linja: fall back. . It’s vegan Chris. It’s vegan .
[00:37:41] Chris: Perfect. Perfect. So I will have the link to all of your stuff in the show notes. I will link to the book, the Alzheimer’s. Prevention food guide. It’s got meal plans, it’s got portion information. It’s if you’re looking to eat for your healthier brain or even just get any information that will lead you down a path to make the small changes.
[00:38:02] This is the book for you. It’ll be on our website along with Sue’s firstname.lastname@example.org. Sue Lin. Thank you so much for taking the time.
[00:38:11] Sue Stillman Linja: Thanks for having me.
[00:38:16] Chris: Hey, thanks for listening to the show. If you like what you’re hearing, please spread the word. We’re listener supported, so leaving a review on Apple or Spotify really helps. If you wanna listen to past episodes or find out how you can support the show, head over to the mind onset.com. Okay? I’ll be here next week.
[00:38:33] I hope you will too. Until then, be nice. Do good stuff.
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