Over the past several months, we’ve looked at all kinds of diets and lifestyles for life extension. Specifically, we’ve covered:
- Why is Nutrition So Damned Confusing?
- Intermittent Fasting for Longevity: The Science Behind the Hype
- Caloric Restriction for Longevity
- Low-Carb Diets for Longevity
- Mediterranean Diet for Longevity
- Can the Blue Zone Diet Lead to Life Extension?
- Vegan Diets and Longevity
With all these different lifestyle choices, it can be tough to get started. We decided to take the time to introduce you to a few cookbooks, meal kits, and kitchen products that will make your cooking life easier.
Specifically, we considered useful and essential products for low-carb diets, the Mediterranean diet, and vegan diets to make the recommendations below. We also make a bonus suggestion for those of you interested in caloric restriction and/or intermittent fasting at the end of this article.
A big chef yourself? Make further recommendations to your fellow readers in the comments!
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Table of Contents
Best low-carb and keto diet products
Other than owning enough land to raise your own goats and chickens (definitely one of my life goals) there are plenty of other things you can get to help you better follow a low-carb, keto diet for longevity.
1. Best keto kitchen item: Sous vide
For those of you on the type of low-carb diet that emphasizes animal products (like Carnivore), a sous vide is the perfect way to cook meat while minimizing the formation of damaging AGEs and other cancerous byproducts of higher-heat cooking methods, like grilling or pan-frying.
A sous vide instead cooks things gradually, by heating a pot of water to a consistent temperature and allowing the food placed inside the water to cook slowly. It may take a little longer to cook your steak (an hour compared to six to eight minutes on a grill) but not only will the meat come out perfectly cooked all the way through, but you’ll also avoid all the health risks of barbecuing and frying.
Plus, for those of us who struggle to soft boil eggs (I always do mine too long) a sous vide will get you that gooey, warm, dippable yolk every single time.
A note: Some people are concerned with using plastic bags to cook their food in the sous vide because of worries about BPAs and other possibly harmful chemicals. Luckily, there are alternatives, like using glass jars in the sous vide instead, or ensuring you use only food-grade vacuum-sealable plastic bags to minimize any risks.
2. Best keto subscription box: Keto Krate
While you may be better off fasting than snacking all day if you’re interested in longevity, sometimes you just need a good nosh. And sometimes it’s important to have something healthy on-hand to prevent you from giving in to cravings for sugary or other unhealthy snacks.
That’s where the subscription box Keto Krate comes in. With 10+ different low-carb snacks and products in each box, you get a lot of tasty, easy ways to stick to your keto diet every month. The folks behind Keto Krate are also conscious to not just load it up with yummy, but otherwise unhealthy snacks; for instance, they don’t include products with soy or sucralose as main ingredients, even though these are technically low carb.
The boxes are chock full of lots of interesting snacks beyond the basics like low-carb protein bars from Quest. They’ve got things like Magic Spoon cereal (beloved of, and invested in by longevity influencer Peter Attia), almond flour crackers, zero-carb chocolate bars, and tons more.
3. Best keto cookbook: The Switch: Ignite Your Metabolism with Intermittent Fasting, Protein Cycling, and Keto
More like a complete scientific tour of how the body uses energy than just a keto recipe book, The Switch is a perfect accompaniment for people interested in both keto and longevity.
We’ve recommended this book before—in our list of top longevity books—and for good reason. The author, James Clement, is a renowned longevity scientist who runs his own research lab in Florida and collaborated with famous professor George Church on the Supercentenarian Research Study.
The book itself is an in-depth review of the importance of autophagy and fasting for life extension. It also gives specific food recommendations, including highlighting why some of the foods on paleo diets may not be as healthy as you think they are.
Best Mediterranean and Blue Zones diet products
If you’re following a Mediterranean diet for longevity you probably already have some high-quality olive oil (make sure to get your 2-4 tablespoons daily!) but there are plenty of other things you can get to help you live like a Sardinian (or Ikarian).
4. Best Mediterranean kitchen item: Traditional Portuguese clay cooking pot
Clay cooking pots, called cazeulas in Spanish, are traditional cooking vessels all around the Mediterranean, from Spain to Portugal to Morocco. They can be used in place of everything from a skillet to an oven dish, and help to cook food slowly and evenly (avoiding those AGEs mentioned above).
Because they are made of clay these pots retain heat even after you’re finished cooking. There are some important care requirements for earthenware pots, including making sure to soak and then season new ones, and knowing not to set a hot one on a cold surface (due to the risk of cracking).
5. Best Mediterranean subscription box: Sunbasket
While the Mediterranean diet is a bit too broad to have its own dedicated snack products for a subscription box (unless you consider shots of olive oil a snack—which I do…) there are tons of meal delivery services that will send you high-quality ingredients to put together your own healthy Mediterranean meals.
From $8.99 to $11.99 a serving, Mediterranean meals from Sunbasket include recipes like Salmon with green romesco and apple-poppy seed salad, and Sicilian chicken breasts with salmoriglio sauce and broccoli.
6. Best Mediterranean cookbook: The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100
Since a plurality of the Blue Zones (locations worldwide with the highest proportion of centenarians) happen to be in the Mediterranean (Ikaria and Sardinia), it should come as no surprise that the longevity-promoting Blue Zones diet shares a lot of DNA with the Mediterranean diet.
In this cookbook, author and National Geographic researcher Dan Buettner has compiled 100 mouth-watering recipes specifically taken from individual Blue Zones. Each recipe was selected to conform to his observations about what leads to the extraordinary longevity and good health of the people in the Blue Zones.
You get 40 recipes specifically from the Mediterranean Blue Zones, including things like lentil salad with garlic and herbs, and porcini mushroom risotto, plus as a bonus 60 other recipes from long-lived places like Okinawa.
Best vegan and vegetarian diet products
Plenty of people choose to omit animal-derived products in their diet for health reasons. Vegan diets for longevity are booming. Here are a few products to help you get started with one.
7. Best vegan kitchen item: Instant Pot
Here’s the truth about eating vegan: figuring out balanced, healthy meals every day can be exhausting. I know that the temptation to just make boxes upon boxes of Annie’s Vegan Mac is all too real, but there is a better way to make quick vegan meals that don’t require too much effort.
I doubt this is the first you’re hearing of it, but trust me, the hype is well-founded. The Instant Pot is a rice cooker, yogurt maker, pressure cooker, and slow cooker all in one. You can drop all the ingredients you need for a meal and set and forget it.
What’s particularly nice about the Instant Pot, in comparison to a slow cooker, is that you can get crockpot meals in under an hour.
But what makes an Instant Pot particularly friendly to plant-based dieters is that it has a whole community of vegan chefs anxious to share their latest recipes. Check out this roundup of vegan Instant Pot recipes to get started.
8. Best vegan subscription box: Purple Carrot
Restaurant menus, the bar, and the candy aisle—there are so many places where animal products can sneak into “vegan” products. So much so that many vegans opt to source and track everything themselves. And that’s fine for people who have the time and enthusiasm to do so, but for those of us with jobs and kids, ingredient sourcing and meal planning can be an overwhelming hurdle.
That’s where a devoted vegan subscription box can come in.
Purple Carrot is an entirely plant-based meal subscription kit. Something particularly nice about it is that you can choose between meal kits, where you cook the pre-measured ingredients at home, and prepared meals, which you can pop into the microwave for a quick five-minute dinner. Meals start from $9.99 per serving for the meal kits and $12.99 per serving for prepared meals.
9. Best vegan cookbook: Vegan Planet, Revised Edition
If you’ve been in plant-based circles for long enough, you’ll probably come across two cookbooks: Raw by Charlie Trotter and Roxanne Klein, and Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson. Because Vegan Planet offers easy plant-based recipes and plenty of them, I would recommend it to any vegan interested in life extension.
I particularly appreciate that Vegan Planet abides by many of the recommendations set forth by Drs. Greger, Esselstyn, and Campbell. That means that the cookbook not only omits recipes with dairy and eggs but also limits recipes that rely on oils.
Another benefit of this recipe book is that it offers dishes inspired by a variety of cultures. Check out their Sesame-Asparagus Sushi Rolls and Jerk-Spiced Portobello Steaks to get started.
Best caloric restriction and intermittent fasting product: Cronometer
Beyond just an empty plate, what kind of kitchen product could possibly help you with eating less, or even not eating at all?
Actually, Cronometer, an app designed for people following caloric restriction for longevity, can not only make sure you’re getting enough nutrients if you practice caloric restriction but can also help you time and track your fasts. Whether you’re planning longer water fasts or shorter intermittent fasts this tool allows you to manage and document all the great stuff you’re doing to activate autophagy in your body. Plus it’s free and available on both iPhone and Android.
Do you have an essential kitchen gadget that you’d recommend for any of these lifestyles? A cookbook that’s your ride or die? A subscription box that’s worth the cash?
Let us (and your fellow readers) know in the comment below! And if you’ve tried any of these products, we’d love to hear about it.
I’m the co-founder of Longevity Advice and have been passionate about radical life extension ever since I was a teenager. Formerly I was a content marketing director in the B2B software space. I’m also a sci-fi novelist, wargame rules writer, and enthusiast for cooking things in bacon fat. My sister once called me “King of the Nerds” and it’s a title I’ve been trying to live up to ever since.
By day, I am a problem solver, writer, and the co-founder of Longevity Advice. I’m best known for writing about technology and have been featured in Forbes, The Hill, and TechRepublic. When the batteries are powered down and the suit comes off, I’m an enthusiastic hiker, runner, and Rocket League competitor and enjoy discussing minimalism, Studio Ghibli, and Icelandic sheepdogs.