My Weird, Wonderful Hobby It involves very old people and food.

Long-suffering readers know I have a weird hobby.

I collect news articles about very old people who eat the wrong things.

As I’ve recounted, these folks, who are all over 100 years old, eat bacon, steak, liver, fish cooked in grease and other animal-based foods — the very dishes we’ve been told for decades are loaded with saturated fat, will clog our arteries and will kill us prematurely.

So the mainstream media treat the fact that these rebellious oldsters remain alive as a hilarious joke, and proof that good genes can overcome “awful” diets.

Diets matter. So does friendship. Eat right, stay close to your friends, and you’ll be well on your way to your 100th birthday.

Never considered: The idea that their favorite animal-based foods might actually be reason for their extraordinary health and longevity.

Enter Emma

Which brings us to Emma Morano of Pallanza, Italy, a small town near the Italian-Swiss border.

She lived to the age of 117 years, 137 days. Born in November of 1899, she died in April of 2017 – at the time, she was the oldest person on earth whose age could be reliably authenticated.

She credited her longevity to what CNN termed her “peculiar” diet, begun when she was a teenager…

… during World War I!

Because she suffered from anemia, her physician suggested that every day, she should eat two raw eggs, one cooked egg, a handful of minced meat and a small amount of pasta.

This she proceeded to do for the next 90 years and counting.

All Wrong Is All Right

Her latest doctor (she’s outlived quite a few), as if reading from cue cards, predictably told the press that “she is so well-preserved thanks to genetics.”

Because… you know… she should have eaten tofu for the last century, not lethal raw eggs and meat.

But in light of actual science, as opposed to junk research sponsored by the carb pushers and drug industries, Morano’s diet was actually close to ideal for three reasons:

  1. She clearly followed a calorically restricted diet — I estimate she consumed roughly 1,000 calories daily, or less than half the intake of the average European or American woman. Restricting calories while still eating nutrient-dense foods has been shown to extend life spans in animals and humans.1
  1. Research shows raw eggs abundantly provide precisely the nutrients often in short supply in Western diets, especially choline, a vital nutrient for brain health.2
  1. Eggs have been definitively cleared of the charge that they contribute to heart disease.3 In fact, since these lovely packets of complete nutrition have zero carbohydrates and don’t spike insulin or inflammation — which are the real causes of blocked arteries — eggs are among the most heart-healthy foods a person can eat.

The common notion that raw eggs are likely to harbor salmonella bacteria applies mostly to large commercial flocks of 30,000 or more birds. A British survey revealed that in true free-range flocks, the incidence is vanishingly small.4

The only potential hazard of egg consumption is that heating them oxidizes their cholesterol — and there is some evidence that oxidized cholesterol may promote heart disease.5

So like Emma, I am big fan of gently cooked or, better yet, raw eggs. I use only those certified as “pastured,” available at Whole Foods and other natural foods retailers.

No Joke

The mainstream press may find these inspiring senior citizens absurd, but that doesn’t mean you have to.

Personally, my admiration for them is boundless. They are grounded in early 20th-century common sense about the value of animal-based foods. They refused to abandon this sensible path during the anti-fat, anti-cholesterol nonsense that hoodwinked many of the rest of us since the 1960s.

Rest in peace, Signora Morano, and thank you for your continuing inspiration!

To your robust health,

Brad Lemley

Brad Lemley


1 Heilbronn LK, Ravussin E. Calorie restriction and aging: review of the literature and implications for studies in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003
2 Dauncey MJ. Nutrition, the brain and cognitive decline: insights from epigenetics. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014
3 Siri-tarino PW, Sun Q, Hu FB, Krauss RM. Saturated fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease: modulation by replacement nutrients. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2010
4 Snow LC, Davies RH, Christiansen KH, Carrique-mas JJ, Cook AJ, Evans SJ. Investigation of risk factors for Salmonella on commercial egg-laying farms in Great Britain, 2004-2005
5 Staprans I, Pan XM, Rapp JH, Feingold KR. The role of dietary oxidized cholesterol and oxidized fatty acids in the development of atherosclerosis. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2005

About Brad Lemley

I am a science journalist who has written for the Washington Post, Discover Magazine and dozens of other national publications. I've written or co-written 10 books, most on health and fitness. I am a passionate advocate for self-directed, nature-based health care, and believe strongly that robust health is within reach of anyone who possesses the right information.