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Millie's Long Life Chili

Where’s the beef? Not in this chili. Eating red meat may shorten your lifespan (1), so we made sure to only include the good stuff in our Millie’s Long-Life Chili. Our satisfying chili recipe is packed with 4 different types of the most fabulous antioxidant packed beans - small red, black, pinto, and red kidney (2). It really hits the spot without adding so much as a grain of salt to your daily sodium tally.  

Keep reading to find out how eating beans could lengthen your life!

This dish is named in honor of Millie, mother of MamaSezz co-founder Meg Donahue. At age 80, Millie was diagnosed with severe congestive heart failure. Her death imminent, she was sent to hospice care. Flash forward eight years: at the time of this writing, Millie is 88 years young and sprier than ever; She can be seen driving around town, doing her laps in the community pool, attending yoga classes, and taking ukulele lessons! Is it any wonder when you consider this chili dish is Millie’s favorite and its primary ingredient is the simple bean?  

In the 1950s, the celebrated American physiologist Ancel Keys first identified the Standard American Diet as hazardous to one’s health. He linked high-fat diets, especially foods high in saturated fats like meat and dairy products, to elevated cholesterol levels and the high rates of cardiovascular disease found in western nations.

During his research, Keys became an ardent proponent of the traditional low-fat Mediterranean diet in which beans play a central role. So enamored was he with beans, that one of the three books he published with his wife Margaret was entitled The Benevolent Bean. Originally published in 1967, The Benevolent Bean is a book that highlights the culinary prowess of this essential whole plant food.

Dr. Keys and his wife, who respectively lived to 100 and 97 years of age, really practiced what they preached. They eventually moved to Pioppi, a small Italian village on the Mediterranean Sea, where they lived happily for many years.

But you don't have to move to the Mediterranean to live a long life. The Food Habits in Later Life study demonstrated that the incorporation of legumes into the diet, more than any other type of food, may be the most powerful determinant of a long life, no matter your culture or where you live (3). Moreover, the greater the quantity of legumes you eat, the more years you can add to your life (3).

So as Millie approaches her 10th decade of life, we send her our love, along with a prescription to continue eating plenty of beans as part of her daily diet.

Increasing longevity is just one powerful way we have discovered eating beans may help us. Every edible plant contains many natural compounds that are likely to benefit our health in a multitude of ways. That's why our dishes are designed to contain as large a variety of whole plant ingredients as possible.

Imagine if you were to combine a lot of different whole plants into a complete diet... you would access a powerful nutritional symphony with many players, capable of preventing and reversing disease. So strive to eat a large variety of whole plant foods daily, because they all work in concert and in so many wonderful ways, to bring us good health.

- Ron Weiss, M.D.