Fantastic Voyage – Live Long Enough to Live Forever
By Ray Kurzweil and Dr. Terry Grossman
Fantastic Voyage was the book that began a complete change of my thoughts on nutrition and got me interested in the subject. It’s not the book that would work for everyone, but it worked for me. Let me explain why.
Back in about 2004/2005, I was in the part of my life where I thought science was the be-all and end-all, and I was also interested in finding out how to avoid serious illnesses. Note that I wasn’t really thinking about “being healthy” or “living well”, I just didn’t want to get a serious illness. Of course, I would only listen to “real scientists” and wouldn’t pay any attention to “quacks”. One day I found Fantastic Voyage on the shelf in a bookshop and I was intrigued by the content and that it was written by two scientists – real scientists – including Ray Kurzweil who’s considered one of the smartest men of recent times.
In fact the book has some great nutritional and health information. It’s really quite accurate, detailed and well backed up with references and research. It also contains many futuristic predictions about health which many will consider to be a bit over the top. Just ignore those bits if you like, the rest is really good.
Three of the things that made a big impression on me were;
- They recommend that we avoid the following five things in our diet – bread, rice, pasta, potatoes and sugar – as well as cut down on the amount of meat we eat. I tried this and it really helped me. It’s amazing how hard it can be to find foods without these ingredients, which sort of highlights the problems our society has today.
- Almost every research programme that has studied any of the major diseases has concluded that the following two things universally reduce the likelihood of contracting the disease in question – a diet rich in vegetables, and exercise.
- They redefined the “food pyramid” as in the picture below – notice that the basis of this pyramid is “Vegetables (mostly green above ground type)” – that’s great advice.
The evidence for their diet recommendations is in all the scientific literature so clearly that it can’t be misinterpreted. Eating a diet rich in vegetables, especially leafy greens, and getting enough exercise are crucial ingredients in any health programme. Both of these things are 100% natural and effectively free.
Something that I didn’t like about this book is how Ray and Terry push aggressive supplementation. They recommend a whole slew of pills and capsules that can be taken to supplement health. At the same time, they run a company selling these supplements. That’s a little suspicious. However, their recommendations of supplements are based on good research and I can’t say any of them are wrong. The problem is that people might give up trying to eat a really good diet and hope that the supplements make up for it. I doubt that’s a good strategy.
Finally, I have to acknowledge that Fantastic Voyage was the book that shifted my view on health. It made me begin to take notice of what I ate. Up until I read this book, I thought science would be able to produce a pill to fix everything. After reading this book, I began to realise that diet is, in general, way more powerful than any pills.
Table of Contents – Fantastic Voyage
- You Can Live Long Enough to Live Forever
- The Bridges to Come
- Our Personal Journeys
- Food and Water
- Carbohydrates and Glycaemic Load
- Fat and Protein
- You are What You Digest
- Change Your Weight for Life in One Day
- The Problem with Sugar (and Insulin)
- Ray’s Personal Programme
- The Promise of Genomics
- Inflammation – The Latest “Smoking Gun”
- Methylation – Critically Important to Your Health
- Cleaning Up the Mess : Toxins and Detoxification
- The Real Cause of Heart Disease and How to Prevent It
- The Prevention and Early Detection of Cancer
- Terry’s Personal Programme
- Your Brain, The Power of Thinking… and of Ideas
- Hormones of Aging, Hormones of Youth
- Other Hormones of Youth : Sex Hormones
- Aggressive Supplementation
- Keep Moving : The Power of Exercise
- Stress and Balance