Lifestyle

The Admirably Unhealthy Habits of 11 People Who Lived to Be 100

Published On 06/18/2015 Published On 06/18/2015
100-year-old birthday party
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Most people (doctors, researchers, your mom) will tell you that you need to exercise and eat your vegetables to live a long life. And while that's probably true 90% of the time, these incredibly old individuals prove that you can still make it 100 years with a love of beer or candy intact. Absorb their wisdom and hopefully one day, you, too, will be interviewed by a local news affiliate at your birthday party.

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Whiskey and 15 cigarettes a day

British badass Dorothy Howe went viral two years ago for insisting that Bell's whisky and Superkings Black cigarettes were the reason she'd made it to 100. She claims even her doctor agrees, but would neither confirm nor deny if her "doctor" was in fact a 19-year-old frat bro.
 

2lbs of chocolate a week

Jeanne Calment passed in 1997, but she still holds the record for oldest person ever at 122. And she didn't get there by eating a ton of carrots. Calment had a weakness for port wine and cigarettes, only giving up smoking in the last five years of her life. But she was especially fond of chocolate. She supposedly ate 2lbs of it each week, making her the only real person to model her diet after Augustus Gloop's.
 

"A lot of booze"

Freshly-minted centenarian Paulina Spagnola did not elaborate beyond that comment, which we suppose speaks for itself.

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Three Dr Peppers a day

Fort Worth's Elizabeth Sullivan has been pounding three daily Dr Peppers her whole life -- and it's been a long one at 104 years. While her soda addiction earned her a personal birthday delivery from the Dr Pepper people earlier this year, it also landed her a stern lecture from her doctor, who told her the sugar would kill her. But he died before Elizabeth, so she's not switching to water anytime soon.
 

15lbs of cheese a year

If you're really serious about living forever, you need to get to one of the world's five "Blue Zones." These regions have been flagged for having an abnormal amount of centenarians. One of those promised lands is Sardinia, Italy. Researchers claim the shepherds there live so long thanks to their diet of goat's milk and sheep's cheese. On average, they're consuming 15lbs of said cheese each year. They're also pretty into wine, too, making this the ideal retirement destination for your friend who only attends parties with cheddar and red wine.
 

Salt, coffee, alcohol

You probably saw the "100-year-old BFFs" mocking selfies on Steve Harvey, but you might've missed their first outing, wherein they spilled their longevity tips. While Alice said she's still around because she's not a "user" of coffee, alcohol, or salt, Irene proudly claimed them all as vices. We know which BFF we want to party with.
 

Bacon every day

Great-great-grandma Pearl Cantrell claims eating bacon every day is the key to hitting 105. And while fellow old-timer Susannah Mushatt Jones insists she doesn't have a secret, she does eat four strips of bacon each morning. So basically, you shouldn't skip your daily pork ration.

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Regular beer, pipes, and full English breakfasts

And now, for the old British man's guide to never dying, we turn to Tom Spittle. Tom believes you should begin every day with a fry-up (or English breakfast to us Yanks), pepper in some gambling and smoking, and end with a pint or two for good measure. Between all that and his crisp ties, he's an inspiration to dads everywhere.
 

Never taking medicine

Refusing to see any "damn doctors" or take those "worthless pills" is already a classic old person move. But there might actually be something to it. Lucille Boston Lewis claims she made it a century without taking any medication whatsoever. She eventually caved, but says she picked up the habit from her prescription-shunning nana, who also lived past the big 1-0-0.
 

McNuggets and pigs' feet

At 116, Jeralean Talley was the world's oldest person -- until she passed only recently -- but she refused to eat like she was. Her favorite foods included honey buns, McNuggets, and Wendy's chili, and every Christmas, she made hog's head cheese. Deceptively, it contained zero cheese but plenty of pigs' ears and feet in jelly stock.
 

Coffee in the morning, liquor in the evening

Take away her age, and Marian Cannon Schlesinger is still a fascinating person. She was married to Kennedy aide Arthur Schlesinger Jr. for ages, lived in China for a while, and wrote seven books. While she tried to write off her longevity with a cute story about her son bringing her coffee every morning, he totally ratted her out on her other daily beverage: booze. What a lousy kid.

Kristin Hunt is a staff writer for Thrillist. She plans to follow her 94-year-old grandma's cues and will drink Harp by the beach in her old age. Follow her at @kristin_hunt.

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