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CRONing: a personal journey
I wish I could say that my journey into the CRON lifestyle began one day in early December nearly seven years ago. This is when I received the January 1996 issue of Scientific American magazine. On page 46 of this issue, was a most fascinating report entitled "Calorie Restriction and Aging" by Richard Weindruch. Detailed in this article was well-researched science indicating that simply cutting calories could extend the lifespan of any biological organism. Wow, I thought! A fountain of youth - could it really be as straightforward as eating less food? The article hinted at some generic rules for humans to follow but wasn't very specific as to what specific dietary plan a person should follow on a day-to-day basis. At the time, I was in my mid-twenties and still flying the flags of youthful discontent. Science had always been the cornerstone of my personal beliefs. However, I was headstrong, and it was going to take more than a seven-page article to convince me. Had I explored the topic any further, I would have realized that there was a wealth of evidence supporting Weindruch's claims. Despite my skepticism, this article always remained in the back of my mind.
My personal physique had, at that time, been "very skinny." Indeed, I was one of those people who could consume as much food as they wanted without gaining weight (139 lbs @ age 18 - 26). My ancestry is Pakistani and, although my siblings I were raised in the US, we grew up on an ethnically mixed diet: lentil curry (dal), whole wheat Chapattis, rice, vegetables, and goat meat as well as an occasional "treat" to pizza, McDonalds, and KFC, if we brought in a good grade report! Don't misunderstand me a Pakistani diet is not all that healthy -- relative to a CRON diet, that is. And some Pakistani/Indian food is as bad as Western fast food. But fortunately, my parents practiced relatively good nutrition. So, I was at least partially nourished in my childhood and teens years!
When I left for college, and throughout my twenties,
the quality of my diet fell considerably. Not "having the time to
cook" (a poor excuse, but one I used more often than I care to admit),
my at-home meals consisted mostly of canned soup, TV-dinners, low-fat
milk, bananas, bread, soda and pasta. And then there was, of course, donuts,
ice cream, fast food and occasional alcoholic beverages (alcohol was something
that I never tolerated that well to begin with, thank goodness, so its
consumption was limited). Meals had to be convenient. Time was better
spent with friends, socializing; spending time preparing meals was not
the "in thing" nor was it something I wanted (or needed) to
do. So I thought!