Formula For Life Part 1





QUILL WILLIAM MORROW                  1989



Preface by Harry B. Demopoulos, M.D.

Drs. Eberhard and Phyllis Kronhausen have written a comprehensive treatise on practical health matters that touch virtually everyone. They have combined their own in-depth, professional experiences, their personal experimentation, and knowledge from an impressively wide spectrum of disciplines to produce a scholarly work that anyone can understand.

This is their book. They did the work. Yhey thought, interviewed, wrote, rewrote, revised, haunted the libraries, stuck microphones into people’s faces to get their ideas recorded, and put it all together to benefit mankind.

As a medical consultant, I have attempted to provide some guidance in several areas.

The recommendations made by the Kronhausens are responsible and are generally accompanied by words of caution. In particular, we all agree that before any of the recommendations are followed, the reader consult with a physician who has an interest in such matters and seek advice.

Some areas, which just a few years ago were avant garde, have been entering the mainstream of medicine. This includes dietary restrictions of fat, sensible fiber intake, high consumption of fruits and vegetables, moderate exercise, abstinence from dangerous habits and addictions, and even the use of high doses of safe, broad-spectrum anti-oxidants to fight off the incessant, insidious free-radical attacks that cause so much infirmity and disease.

The Kronhausens bring to the reader the background knowledge, the rationale, and the practical approaches that they have dubbed “Formula for Life.: it is a valid, scholarly work that can reshape your life.


Chapter 1: Why this Book?

We decided to write this book because we had news too good to keep to ourselves. And we came to it after reaching and passing the age when most people resign themselves to a progressive decline in their abilities and capacity for enjoyment. Remember the mythical Fountain of Youth? People entered on one side bent over, decrepit, full of aches and pains; they came out the other side standing tall, happy, healthy, and smiling. Well, we don’t expect you to believe us right away, but the fact is that what we’ve discovered over the past few years has come very close to producing exactly these effects in us.

It wasn’t that way ten years ago. At that time, we were no better off physically and mentally than most people our age. Eberhard, fourteen years older than Phyllis, logically showed more signs of aging, but Phyllis was far from content with her own physical state.

There were two circumstances that probably prevented matters from being worse than they were. One was that a few years earlier we had stopped eating meat, not so much for health as for philosophical reasons. (We were, however, still eating high-fat cheeses, butter, sugar, and salt, and drinking wine with most of our meals.)

The other thing was that although Eberhard had now reached retirement age, we had no pension to retire on. This meant that we had to keep busy making a living – a circumstance we now feel amounted to a blessing in disguise. We had seen too many friends in our same age bracket retire and promptly start deteriorating.

Having decided that a total change in life-style might be an adventure to keep us young at least in spirit, we recklessly bought some land in Costa Rica – a place most people go to for retirement, not for a career – and proceeded to build up a little farm.  Whatever else it did for us, this new venture certainly provided a lot more adventure than we had bargained for. Much of it came in the form of manual labor, an automatic exercise workout that lasted from dawn to dusk.

Things weren’t exactly easy for us those first years as we tried to build a new life in such a different environment. But there was one redeeming feature that made things more tolerable than they might have been otherwise: Despite a lifetime of not precisely health-conscious living, neither of us was plagued by any of the major degenerative diseases that make their appearance after the age of fifty or so. We were and are profoundly grateful for that. On the other hand we were not spared the usual minor symptoms of advancing age – our bodies tired far more quickly than they used to and, much worse, our minds weren’t firing on all cylinders. Eberhard especially was becoming progressively forgetful. And the process of learning anything new – such as a foreign language (Spanish), not to mention tropical agriculture – turned out to be much slower and more difficult than we had anticipated.

Most dispiriting of all was the prevailing, undermining assumption that all of this was “only to be expected” at our age. In the past we had been able to cope much more easily with whatever problems had come our way, even the most serious ones. Now, however, even relatively minor problems often seemed beyond our ability to cope. And all we could see ahead at the end of this tunnel was another tunnel, and another, and another.

Without exaggeration, we say that we had definitely arrived at the most serious crisis point in our lives. We had already done what we could to improve our outward circumstances, which remained difficult, to say the least. Now we were telling ourselves: If only we were physically stronger; if only we could still depend on our good minds; if only we had more energy; if only we were up at least as much as down, and so on. If piled upon if, while our spirits sank even lower.

As mental health professionals we were of course perfectly aware that this sort of outlook wasn’t going to solve anything or get us anywhere. We had to try to find out what, if anything, might be done about the decline we were experiencing so painfully.

The message of traditional medicine – like that of conventional wisdom – was loud and clear: Stop kidding yourselves; there is no Fountain of Youth; you’ve reached the age when your body’s deterioration accelerates, and your mind simply isn’t going to work anymore the way it used to. That’s life, like it or not.

  • Neither of us was inclined to take such a hopeless verdict lying down. We kept improving our diet, bit by bit. As our diet improved so did we.
  • We began to tap into the life-extension movement. We met scientists, listened, asked questions and immersed ourselves in scientific literature.

The implications were exciting indeed: If we combined the high-complex-carbohydrate, low-fat (about 20% of total calories), high-fiber diet we had adopted by then with the anti-oxidants and vitamin co-factors these scientists had been experimenting with for a number of years, we’d have a winning combination. It definitely had the potential to maximize the benefits of sound nutrition, while adding the protective and therapeutic effects of the anti-oxidants and vitamin co-factors.

Anti-oxidants are natural or man-made substances that prevent oxidation; vitamin co-factors are vitamins that help the anti-oxidants (most of which are technically also vitamins) do their job better and perform specific therapeutic functions, all of which we shall discuss in this book.

Why do we need anti-oxidants, since oxygen is absolutely essential to life? Because oxygen is also a highly toxic gas whose destructive effects can most easily be seen in the corrosion of metals – iron, copper, and many other substances can be totally destroyed by “rusting,” the popular term for oxidation. And so all living organisms – plants and animals and human beings – need anti-oxidants so as to be able to live in the oxygen-rich atmosphere of our planet.

It is with great difficulty that the body controls such a highly reactive substance. For instance, after playing its necessary role in important metabolic processes, oxygen may keep on burning, oxidizing, and breaking down our cell membranes and the molecular structure of all our vital organs.

Oxygen causes this damage by generating still more destructive and reactive compounds called free radicals, about which we will have a great deal to say later on. For now, let it suffice to emphasize that our system has a critical need for anti-oxidants to prevent destructive oxidation.

  • Only Dr. Harry B. Demopoulos – a distinguished professor of pathology at New York University, who was to become our chief medical consultant – had researched extensively enough to determine the right combinations and dosages of anti-oxidants and vitamin co-factors for a safe and effective life-extension program.
  • More conservative in his approach than most others working in this field, Dr. Demopoulos had ruled out all substances – however promising – that could possibly cause trouble.
  • The leading researcher, then and now, in what is known as “free-radical pathology,” Dr. Demopoulos set out to put his twenty years of research to work, creating Health Maintenance Programs (HMP) to ensure a readily available source of the right combinations and dosages for each of the essential metabolic micronutrients required for any serious life-extension program.
  • Adding anti-oxidants and vitamin co-factors to our basic diet and physically active life-style had a dramatic energizing, stabilizing, antidepressant, and positively mood-enhancing effect on both of us. The changes in our mental functioning have been quite wonderful.
  • Our physical health has improved so dramatically that our friends can hardly believe we are the same people. Neither of us has had a severe cold or flu for the last two years because of our improved immune systems.

This happy outcome, we are convinced, is the result of having combined a scientifically worked-out spectrum of anti-oxidants and vitamin co-factors with sound nutrition, gentle but effective exercise, and a generally health-conscious life-style. How to do this with minimal effort – but to maximum effect – is the message of this book.

Chapter 2: why don’t we take better care of ourselves?

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