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The Healthiest People on Earth: Your Guide to Living 10 Years Longer with Adventist Family Secrets and Plant-Based Recipes by John Howard Weeks, BenBella Books, US $16.95, Pp 268, April 2018, ISBN 978-1944648862

The Adventist enclave in Loma Linda, California, is America’s only “Blue Zone” or one of the five places in the world where people are healthier and live longer – about ten years more – than average. This was the conclusion of a National Geographic-funded research. This is mainly the result of what the people in Loma Linda eat and, equally importantly, what they don’t eat. Adventist founder and Prophet Ellen G. White founded Loma Linda in 1905. The great-great-grandson of Ellen G. White, who is also the author of this book, still lives in Loma Linda. The Healthiest People on Earth is not about religion – it is about health and happiness.

Loma Linda is located sixty miles east of LA in southern California. It is a small town in terms of population with about 20,000 but it is huge in terms of healthcare resources. In The Healthiest People on Earth, John Howard Weeks says that there are no meat markets, liquor stores and tobacco shop in the town. This city is home to the Loma Linda Market, one of the nation’s first health food stores, founded in 1936. And it is the birthplace of Loma Linda Foods, established in 1933, a pioneer manufacturer of plant-protein meat substitute products. Until October 2016 when it was acquired by Nashville-based Atlantic National Foods, Loma Linda Foods was a division of the Kellogg Company, founded in 1906 by W. K. Kellogg, who, with his physician brother John Harvey Kellogg invented and perfected the recipe for corn flakes. The Kellogg brothers were Seventh-day Adventists.

John Howard Weeks says that there is no need to be nervous about going meat-free. It is not a difficult job for those who are committed to have good health, lose weight or live longer. He suggests you start by reminding yourself as often as needed that there is only one kind of food that’s now off the table which is animal products. Everything else is OK. What could be more doable? You’re in charge of the menu and meal preparation, and you have a whole world of wonderful foods from which to choose. Going meat-free is doable at restaurants. Not only are there growing numbers of vegetarians and vegan restaurants, plus ethnic restaurants with signature meat-free dishes, but also more conventional restaurants are sensing a trend and adding new vegetarian options to their menus. Even the most stubbornly carnivorous restaurants have a few righteous items, whether they like it or not, including pasta dishes and salads.

John Howard Weeks says that going meat-free is possible even at fast food restaurants. You can have ‘Fruit and Maple Oatmeal’ at the McDonalds. Do ask them not to add cream and add extra fruit and berries. At Wendy’s, you can have baked potatoes with onions and salsa. At Del Taco and Taco Bell, a big bean burrito without cheese but ask them to add more chopped onions, diced tomatoes, and shredded lettuce. You can ask for extra hot sauce also if you want. John Howard Weeks busts many myths such as exercise should hurt/no pain, no gain, artificial sweeteners are an ideal alternative to sugar, canned or frozen fruits and vegetables are a poor alternative to fresh produce, and chile peppers are hard on your stomach.

What John Howard Weeks tells us in The Healthiest People on Earth has been known to humankind for several millennia: vegetables and fruit are good for your health and meat is bad. This is evident from the fact that the concepts of wholefoods and vegetarian food have been practiced China and India for thousands of years. These concepts have been popularized in Europe and North America only in recent decades. The Healthiest People on Earth provides undeniable evidence of the fact that animal products are bad for your health and the plant-based food is the best solution to your health issues. The fact that an entire sizable community is enjoying the benefits of avoiding animal products shows that plant-based foods are good for everybody. The Healthiest People on Earth is an inspiring and amazing book that will go a long way to help people live a healthy and longer life.

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