Email of the week

by Christina on September 25, 2011

From my dad to my sister, after she gave him this book for his birthday:

Darling Jenny,

I’ve spent this evening reading the book by John Robbins (Healthy at 100) that you gave me for my birthday.

I’ve been reading all the chapters on the importance of keeping fit.

What a fantastic book! I really love it and find it totally persuasive in every detail.

He marshals all the evidence in favor of a plant-based diet and daily rigorous exercise so skillfully and fairly that it is hard how anyone could possibly refute it.  It is amazing how wrong doctors have been in the past (for example, claiming that women doing strength training would endanger their ability to have children).

One particular story fascinated me, and that was the story about runner Jim Fixx.  He wrote books extolling the virtues of running, and when he died of a heart attack in 1984 at age 52, everybody scoffed and said, “That just shows exercise and running won’t stop you from dying early from a heart attack.” Late night comics found in Fixx’s early death rich material for humor aimed at health nuts.  It seemed that it was OK to be a sedentary couch potato.

It was only in reading John Robbins book that I at last learned the full story. Apparently Jim Fixx ate badly. He attached little value to good nutrition, and in fact criticized people who stressed how important it was. He ate fatty, meat-filled meals without enough vegetables and fruit.  An autopsy revealed that three of his coronary arteries were more than 70 percent blocked, and one was 99 percent obstructed. Poor eating habits killed him, not running (which is not the impression the media gave in 1984 when he died).

BTW, Jenny, you will be very pleased to learn that since your visit home a few weeks ago, I have not eaten one grain of processed white sugar!

Thanks again, Jenny, for your gift of Healthy at 100. I’m recommending this wonderful book to all my friends and colleagues!  I told our neighbor Leonard today that my goal is to never eat anything again with a mother or a face.

I love you.



{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Chris Palmer September 26, 2011 at 7:10 pm

John Robbins’ inspiring and evidence-based book “Healthy at 100” also taught me a lot about how to age gracefully. It has given me new hope that it is possible to live a long life with vigor and vitality, and that aging can be a time of good health filled with purpose, meaning, exuberance, creativity, joy, love, learning, and laughter.


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