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Old Ways Can Be Better Than New Ways, by Anthony T. Machi M.D.,P.A.

Updated: Feb 2, 2022

Our world is covered with turmoil. Many challenges of the old order. Will it never be better?

Our world is covered with turmoil. Many challenges of the old order. Will it never be better?

Not so in how we eat. The changes in what we eat, where we eat, when we eat and with whom we eat in the last century have led to a less healthy not healthier America. Other affluent nations across the world are demonstrating a similar decline.

In the Lesson Learned, “The Man Who Taught Us How to Eat” I write of Dr. Ancel Keys and The Seven Countries Study detailed, at, Dr. Keys and his colleagues began the world discussion of the health benefits of the traditional diets of the Mediterranean Basin the Asian-Pacific Islands.

In the Lesson Learned, Mediterranean Wisdom, I write of Dan Buettner and his colleagues who gave us the concept of the Blue Zones, five regions across the world with lessons to be learned about health and longevity. Mr. Buettner’s books, Blue Zones Solutions, and The Blue Zones, 9 Lessons for Leading a Longer Life offer the secrets of these regions of happiness, health, and longevity.

In the Seven Countries Study and the Blue Zones Project,, the traditional diets or the old ways of eating in countries across the world, including Sardinia, Okinawa and Costa Rica point us to an enjoyable, healthy life.

Dun Gifford founded Oldways thirty years ago in Boston. Its website,, describes the collaboration fostered by Mr. Gifford in bringing together researchers, academicians, clinicians, and dedicated lay people in promoting the traditional, healthy diets of the world. Oldways particularly collaborates from the researchers and educators of the Harvard University School of Public Health,

A singular accomplishment of Oldway is the traditional pyramid diet as a framework for education. Oldways has constructed five:

  • Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

  • Latin American Diet Pyramid

  • African Heritage Diet Pyramid

  • Asian Diet Pyramid

  • Vegetarian and Vegan Diet Pyramid

Also, Oldways educates through books, newsletters, conferences, and sponsored travel.

Forty years ago, I realized the importance of the Seven Counties Study and shared its lessons in lectures for professionals and the general public. These lessons informed my patients throughout my career. Thirty years ago my wife, Mary Elizabeth, and I visited the Boston office of Oldways. We were warmly greeted and given hands full of brochures. We gladly brought them home to share with other professionals working with eating disorders. Fifteen years ago good fortune allowed me to learn for foster parents who educated me regarding their lifestyle as members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Loma Linda, California, with a large Seventh-Day Adventist, is one of the Blue Zones of which Mr. Buettner writes in his books on the Blues Zones. I quickly appreciated that the Blue Zones, the pyramids of Oldways, and the countries of the Seven Countries Study bring to us consistent, congruent, and powerful lessons that can be learned. Lessons of family, friendships, community, activity, eating, and an everyday commitment to life.

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