The Donnelly family, an Irish clan with the combined age of 1,075 years, was just inducted in the Guinness Book of World Records for the title of the oldest kin in the world. The oldest of the group is 93; their mother lived to 94.
According to them, the secret is simple. It’s oatmeal. Twice per day.
Undoubtedly a healthier carb than potatoes for daily consumption by the Irish clan, oatmeal has yet to be studied in depth for its effect on longevity. However, we do know that oatmeal is a hearty whole grain with a fabulously low glycemic index — and has been a breakfast favorite for nutritionists and fitness gurus for years.
“The farm oats in our porridge were always local and of the finest quality,” says the youngest sibling, Leo, who is 72 years old. “Our diet has never been from processed of polluted foods.” Talk about eating clean.
But this family loves the grain so much that they don’t quit at just breakfast. They eat oatmeal at least twice every single day, often for breakfast and after dinner.
“The key is that you need to get your oats at night,” Leo explains. “We’ve always followed Daddy’s habit of that nice warm bite before sleep.” We’ve heard of warm milk, but warm oats to put you to sleep? That’s a new one.
Apparently it’s working. Not only are an impressive thirteen of the sixteen ancient siblings still alive, but “there was never a fat Donnelly raised,” Leo said proudly.
Of course, the jury is still out on whether the breakfast dish has any real effect on mortality. The kin had a number of other rural habits, as well, including eating all natural foods grown on their family farm and holding consistent family dinners.
“Mummy would say go outside and wring a chicken’s neck — that would be for dinner,” Leo reminisced.
“The vegetables we ate we had grown, the fruit we ate we picked, the eggs laid were from our chickens, the bacon came from our pigs, the bread we made by hand.”
Additionally, the Donnelly’s oats aren’t the same as the ones you find at the grocery store. “Farm oats did not arrive from foreign lands,” Leo explained. So unless you want to start harvesting oats in your backyard, your mortality is probably here to stay.