Frailty cheats

Frailty cheats asks what we can do to stop this decline in vitality. It is the insidious progression of weakness, unplanned weight-loss and disability. It is the wholly unnecessary beginning of the end, long before our time.

It is possible however that everything may have to change if you are mainly into just tea and white toast for breakfast; or if your diet consists predominantly of processed food, refined carbs and saturated fats.

When did you last enjoy Eggs Florentine[3] for breakfast?

Eggs FlorentineEggs Florentine

This page was last updated on 9th February, 2024.

We are recommending a fairly simple regimen that will enable you to get sufficient of the four vitamins that are absolutely necessary to prevent disability syndrome; the premature progression of weakness and loss of vitality that leads inexorably to an early demise. First comes the walker, then the wheelchair and finally bed-ridden all long before their time.

"Generally in the US, we eat a terrible diet of processed food, refined carbs and saturated fats but not many nutrient-rich foods.”

"In the UK not only is our diet increasingly processed, but we face the same issues as we age; declining chewing ability, loss of appetite and a drop in production of stomach acid which helps break down food."

- Dr Laura D Baker, professor of  internal medicine

The four vitamins

Here are the four vitamins that are absolutely necessary to prevent the early onset of weakness; I call them frailty cheats. I would recommend you read the whole of this page first, to get the big picture before coming back to look at them individually.

In today's world of processed food one does have to work quite hard to get enough of them; the alternative is too ghastly to contemplate. Many manufacturers systemically strip out the best parts and then sell the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients back to us in supplements.

Worse they may just go for pig-food.

"On average, older adults in the US spend 3 weeks in the year getting care outside the home."

- Annals of Internal Medicine

Using these frailty cheats you could change all that. Let your food be your medicine, said Hippocrates.

Early morning

A cup of silver tea is the age old start to a good morning; a squirt of freshly-squeezed lemon juice into a mug of hot water. It will provide the first vitamin C of the day and an important phytonutrient called limonin.

They are absolutely essential for healthy gums and teeth; without them we will be eating mainly refined and processed foods.

Add lemons to the weekly shopping list if you do not have a tree in the garden.


Small amounts of these frailty cheats are quite adequate. It does not need to be an enormous breakfast; if you are overweight then delay the meal for a couple hours. It has been proven to help.

Our motto is slow food, made fast; you'll find that most of these suggestions do not take a lot of time once you get organised.

And in any case what can be more important than an extra half an hour spent in ensuring your don't become frail long before your time. I promise you the flavour is so much better than cornflakes; so tasteless so we have to add sugar, the quick way to obesity and diabetes. They have a very high GI.

  1.  For fruit choose your own favourite, whatever is in season for the vitamin C. In addition, five stewed-prunes have been scientifically proven to better any medical treatment for constipation. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
  2. A couple TBSPs of rolled oats is okay; not the refined processed stuff from a box. Boil half a cup for twenty-minutes and keep the rest in the fridge for tomorrow.
  3. Lightly blanche a few leaves of spinach, and plop an egg onto the greens to poach; this will provide the B6 and folate. The choline and extra protein are so important.
  4. Either drop your Eggs Florentine onto a half a slice of whole-wheat toast and butter, or have it with marmalade; vitamin E and more C. Never use margarine.

“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to grow old.”

— George Burns, legendary comedian, actor (who lived to 100)

Morning tea

A regular cup of tea is just fine, and perhaps just a glass of water but no refined-flour cookies or crackers. You won't need them anyway; your breakfast will have provided satiety.

Take a short walk with a floppy hat in the sun for the vitamin-D, not one of our four it is true but very important. Step it out as briskly as you can, with a stick if necessary keeping in mind that slowness is one of the hallmarks of frailty.

Around the garden would be fine; use the secateurs to first smell and then pick a few roses to strengthen your hands.

Our four-vitamins are not enough to prevent frailty; daily exercise is also important to stop the progression of weakness and slowness.


These easy lunch recipes may give you some new ideas.

Lunch made with autumn salads.An autumn lunch

Aiming for eight or even more coloured-foods every day, albeit in small quantities is the goal; a sprig of parsley would count. The longevity diet recommends more protein for the elderly; hummus and feta cheese today.

The differing greens provide the folate, the cheese or hummus some B6; and drizzle olive oil and lemon-juice for vitamin C over your salad.

Avoid the highly inflammatory salad-dressings from the supermarket; they are recipes for pain.

Wholewheat bread and butter will give you some vitamin E; sprinkle your salad with sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

A canned sardine or pilchard would provide some omega-3 to help with the arthritis if like me you have no access to salmon.

Afternoon tea

Again enjoy a cup of tea, perhaps a small bunch of grapes, not a biscuit or cookie and another short walk around the garden or down the street; it's all about keeping the cake flour and sugar to an absolute minimum.


For supper I am not going to be prescriptive. Again adding yet more greens would be good; kale is my number-one choice for the lutein that it also provides to prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.

Cook up enough brown rice to last a few days perhaps; and new potatoes if you can find them. Learn about the importance of allowing carbs to cool overnight; read up about retrogradation of resistant starch.

Some extra protein from meat, dairy products or legumes is vital; think of green-beans, peas and lentils. A yellow vegetable like butternut or gem squash provides the vitamin A; carrots, of course too.

These pork slithers with chives recipe is one of my favourites. More protein than most of us get is very important for the elderly.

Interestingly the longevity diet proclaims limited but adequate protein when we are younger; but more as we get older to prevent weight loss.

No more than a small scoop of a sweet dessert is essential; a maximum of five teaspoons of sugar in all your food for the day should be the goal. Frankly we just do not need a pudding; a light supper is best for your frailty cheats.

See a lot more options if you are plumb out of ideas from our fast healthy dinner recipes.

Pork slithers and chives.

The vicious cycle of weariness that sucks out our vitality and stops us taking a walk and planting a little patch of spinach can only be broken by an acceptance that everything may have to change; and that usually means initially we need help. Frailty syndrome prevents us from doing the very things that will halt the relentless march of this disease in its tracks.

Frailty cheats

Frailty cheats is a basic simple menu and exercise planner to ensure that we stop this progression of disability, weakness and weight loss.

Everything must change

It may mean asking a son to walk with you daily for the first week or two; and your daughter to come vegetable shopping. She will help you to find the chickpeas, tahini and cumin too should you decide to embrace this new way of living completely; for making your own hummus.

Frailty cheats us of the old age that we so richly deserve to enjoy, having worked long and hard to bring up the family and make ends meet. Is it not your aim to get to at least one grandchild's wedding?

Try and get the family on board for help. A grandchild could bring you a small glass of kefir once a week; that's a probiotic for a happy intestine. Another could make this authentic hummus recipe and regular bring you a little tub.

Get the family on board so they can learn from your mistakes and begin early on with a sound diet; there is no greater legacy you could leave.

Gums and teeth

Without healthy gums and teeth we will have difficulty eating chewy, unrefined foods.

Scurvy is a serious disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C; all soft tissues but particularly the gums are affected. Then our teeth fall out.

Full-blown scurvy is rare these days but inflamed and swollen gums are common. Then we can no longer eat real food. Dr James Lind, the famed Scottish doctor discovered that limes and lemons completely prevented the disease, though he knew nothing of vitamin C.

Remember more than half of the nutrients of citrus are found in the pulp. It's not enough to have the juice only.

And don't forget that flossing is probably more important that brushing your teeth; it is the food particles that get stuck between the fangs that do most of the damage.

Bicarb is very effective not only as a deodorant but also for effectively cleaning the teeth; it's much better than toothpaste[4].

Chew your food thoroughly; it literally delays the onset of dementia.

Social interaction

Fascinating research on honeybees shows that when they become workers, harvesting nectar all on their own that their brains begin to age; but that when restored to social interaction healing occurs. Are humans any different?

Social interaction is a profound frailty cheat.


Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself and Mother Earth for future generations; and your family too, of course. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books.

Here are the back issues.

  • Lifestyle and ideal body weight
  • What are ultra-processed foods?
  • Investing in long-term health
  • Diseases from plastic exposure
  • Intensive lifestyle management for obesity has limited value
  • A world largely devoid of Parkinson's Disease
  • The impact of friendly bacteria in the tum on the prevention of cancer
  • There's a hole in the bucket
  • Everyone is talking about weight loss drugs
  • Pull the sweet tooth
  • If you suffer from heartburn plant a susu
  • Refined maize meal and stunting
  • Should agriculture and industry get priority for water and electricity?
  • Nature is calling
  • Mill your own flour
  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
  • Wear your clothes out
  • Comfort foods
  • Create a bee-friendly environment
  • Go to bed slightly hungry
  • Keep bees
  • Blue zone folk are religious
  • Reduce plastic waste
  • Family is important
  • What can go in compost?
  • Grow broad beans for longevity
  • Harvest and store sunshine
  • Blue zone exercise
  • Harvest and store your rainwater
  • Create a cyan zone at your home

Daily shopping list

  • Spinach, Swiss chard or kale.
  • Lettuce.
  • Dairy but it is controversial with some. We love to make our own kefir which is the simplest of the probiotics; and so easy.

Weekly shopping list

  • Lemons
  • Eggs
  • Fruit
  • Onions, butternut and sweet potatoes
  • Peppers, chilis and other salads
  • Mushrooms
  • Parsley, chives and spring onions
  • Cold water fish like salmon
  • Meat
  • 100% wholemeal bread; freeze the remainder of the loaf for the week.

Monthly shopping list

  • Tahini
  • Chickpeas, lentils and brown rice
  • Steel-cut oats
  • New potatoes
  • Dried prunes
  • Canned sardines, tuna or salmon
  • Spices like garlic, tumeric and ginger.

To do

Consider making your own hummus; garbanzo-beans are the richest source of vitamin B6. You can use a can but we recommend cooking chickpeas, as they are often called; and then freezing them so you have a regular supply on hand. This task could so easily be shared out by the family.

Now you have all the pyridoxine you need.

chickpeas frozen packetsFrozen packets of chickpeas.

It's hard but our advice is to reduce the use of canned food; the inner plastic lining is strongly associated with many serious diseases.

The garden

The easiest and perhaps the most important action when deciding you want to cheat frailty, is to plant a lemon tree. It will start bearing after about three years and once mature will provide literally hundreds of the fruit. Freeze the pulp and juice; you will have fresh vitamin C for each and every month. An added benefit is a phytonutrient called beta-cryptoxanthin that is proven to help prevent dementia.

The limonin helps prevent malignant tumours; these phytonutrients are essential to our wellbeing.

Basket of lemonsBasketfuls of lemons will be yours.

Consider how to grow spinach; after radishes it is probably the easiest vegetable in the garden and the plants go on producing for years. A tiny patch is all the average elderly person needs; add a couple of kale seedlings too. They are so rewarding but have to be enjoyed freshly-picked; from the supermarket they soon lose their vitality.

Here is all the folate you need.

Curly leaf kaleCurly leaf kale.

You may want to keep chickens for free-range eggs, the added pyridoxine and small amounts of vitamin E; but that is quite hard work.

The exercise from gardening is a profound frailty cheat. It's a variation of what is today being called forest bathing; all your senses come alive as you walk through nature. Smell the lemon-flowers, sample a few cherry guavas and hear the birds twittering in delight at the worms you expose whilst turning the compost heap.

"There is increasing evidence that exposure to plants and green space, and particularly to gardening, is beneficial to mental and physical health."

- Clinical Medicine (PMC6334070)[2]

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Hilton, KZN

South Africa