I’ve known Paul Roe for many years. I came across him while browsing one of my favorite anti-aging forums called Longecity (formerly known as Imminst). On the forum, we shared advice about our diets and also shared pictures of how well we were aging (or not aging in Paul’s case).
Paul stood out among the crowd for his extremely youthful looks, despite being middle-aged at the time. He gave many anecdotes of people being surprised when they found out how old he was. He also came on the forum and shared his tips and reasons why he thought he looked so young.
I’ve found many people who claim to look years younger than their age, and while many are impressive, I never thought there were that many vegans who were approaching 50 who looked very young.
Paul will turn 50 at the beginning of 2019, so I invited him to share his thoughts on what enables him to remain so healthy and youthful in his manner and appearance.
What made you go on a vegan diet in the first place, and how long has it been since you started?
I went vegan in late 1995, but I had been vegetarian since 1987 when I turned 18 and gained independence of being. This is when I stopped eating animal flesh, which was something I wanted to do since my earliest childhood memories.
I happened to be in Washington DC in the summer of 1995 on a random summer road trip with a few friends. We were wandering across the National Mall and I came across this stand where are a person was handing out leaflets on the benefits of almond milk and the horrors of the dairy industry.
I grabbed the literature and didn’t think about it much at the time. I was back home a few weeks later and began to read it more closely – it was a leaflet by PETA.
After the first reading, maybe a month or so, I began to shift perspective and gave up dairy and eggs! And that was that. I don’t see any way of returning to meat, dairy, or any animal-based food or clothing in this lifetime.
Have you found the diet difficult to maintain and do you have any tips for staying on the diet?
Not difficult at all. And I don’t come across the supposed clueless stereotypes that vegans experience via people asking: “How do you get your protein?” and “Do you eat fish?” and the like.
I can go weeks interacting with new social circles before they find out about my diet. But, if someone asks, I will without hesitation dole out a plateful of advice, tips, suggestions and more on how to make the conversion to what I believe is the most humane diet we currently have available as homo sapiens. Going “from 0 to 60” in no time in that regard.
You seem to get quite a bit of attention for looking really young. Do you think this is a result of your diet or do you have a special skin care routine?
Yes, this has been stepping up recently. Morphing over time from remarks like: “You look great for your age” to more dramatic observations such as: “There is something wrong with you, bro” as I inch closer to 50.
My beloved bestie, Ruby, is convinced I am a vampire and I will at some point fake my own death and move to another town. I love it!
Anyway, in my humble opinion, it is 75% diet and 25% borderline fanatical sun avoidance.
Nut butter and legumes are also key! When adopted into the diet over many years, they can make a difference.
The effects of eating these are not immediate, but they eventually have a remarkable impact on things like acne scars and early signs of aging. I have witnessed this firsthand with friends who have committed to almond butter, hummus or similar for a minimum of 6 months. You have to stick with it, but at that point, cell turnover and renewal really begin to reflect the positive effects of dietary changes.
Do you have any recommendations for people who want to stay young?
I have all sorts of crackpot theories that I hope to codify into something meaningful some day. More than likely, they’re all way off-the-mark and formed in my mind well after I began reaping the effects of the much less outrageous, but ultimately much more effective, humdrum day-to-day lifestyle followed over many months and years.
A plant-based diet focused on nuts and legumes – but not exclusively. This diet isn’t big on leafy vegetables, but root vegetables and spices are heavily favored. I’m not a strict CRON (Caloric Restriction with Optimal Nutrition) adherent either, but practice a non-quantitative form of CRON by just intuitively consuming less than I could, every day.
I never sunbathe, but I do moisturize once in a while for added benefits. However, I have little doubt – without the healthy oils and minerals from nuts and legumes on a vegan diet, the rest is unlikely to have a great positive cumulative effect. So keeping to a good diet remains the foundation of my approach.
Any signs of aging creeping in that you’ve noticed and don’t mind disclosing?
The healthy vegan diet is the anchor of any plan for extended vitality, and as it is now called, healthspan. One thing I’m not sure about is whether diet or genetics is a factor for delaying the graying of hair. It’s been pointed out a lot to me in recent days that I have a few grays, but not much more than I had at 40.
My beard has a decent amount, but head hair? There are a few here and there. The Roe’s all gray late in life, so there is a partial genetic basis, but I am pushing past the typical Roe timeframe, which is where diet may lend an added boost to an existing tendency.
So my advice is simple: Go for a plant-based, healthy diet, then stick to it for the rest of your life for indefinite vitality… All of this is in my humble opinion, of course.
Can you recommend any vegan books or health-related books people should check out?
My two main information sources are PETA dietary advice and Nutritionfacts.org. Michael Greger is a wise sage and I love his videos more than his printed and written works. They’re great for going to sleep to, so I slap on his YouTube channel playlist and drift off into dreamland. I’d like to think the information sinks into my unconscious mind while I’m in a deep REM state, but I cannot guarantee that, of course.
Jared Leto is also a great inspiration and also, according to my bestie, my only real white male anti-aging rival in the circa-50 age-range. We both love Jared Leto so it’s not really a rivalry, but more pure admiration.
He leads more by example and isn’t pushing any cleverly coined diet plan, but he does open up during interviews on how a plant-based non-toxic diet is the most important thing in his life. He speaks, we listen!
Last but not least, I would throw my weight behind most content produced by Forks Over Knives (also a movie) and the movie Food, Inc. for opening new windows of perception.
Are there any places where people can follow you?
I actually have a current Instagram page that I’ve been updating regularly and may continue with for the foreseeable future.
I’ve abandoned blogs, YouTube channels, former Instagram, Myspace, and Facebook pages, and I forget what else all over the internet. I never really stuck with much for long, so it’s kind of gratifying to actually keep with something for more than a few months, as I have with my current Instagram page.
The descriptive header is a bit misleading. There’s very little in the way of healthspan and vegan advice. It’s mostly just fuzzy music videos and bad selfies. The name, Supernatural Cretin, is not misleading, however. I am a cretin, through and through!
Do you have any future plans relating to your lifestyle?
I think I’m going to try for PETA’s Sexiest Vegan Over 50 in 2019 when I hit that celebrated and also dreaded milestone.
Current online/marketing trends lean toward demonstrating how vegans can also build muscle mass, as well as an embrace of visible aging in the form of the Silverfox Rebellion, or similar tags.
This all works heavily against my 5’10” 140 lbs physique and 2005-style indie musician vibe! But a friend at PETA says I have a solid chance at bucking the trend due to pure anti-aging cred, so it’s worth a shot.
Plus, I already promised a few life extensionists that if I win, I will try to cross-pollinate the two. It wouldn’t be like winning American Idol, for sure! But it’s not as if it would be nothing at all.
It would be a microcosmic minute shot in the arm for SENS if I can make even the tiniest inroads toward pushing the two together.
Other plans are my bestie and I recording and putting out an actual music EP, and moving beyond the lo-fi videos shot in one take on our smartphones, which we greatly enjoy.
And as noted in more detail below: an increase in direct animal rights activism.
Aside from veganism and life extension, is there anything else you are passionate about?
We are music fiends over here in our humble pad in Lodi, New Jersey. It is our life.
I’m also a TV and movie junkie, so Netflix and Hulu get heavy usage. I’m always loosely following developments in transhumanism and biohacking. They’re extremely fascinating fields and tie directly into life extension.
On a less recreational, personal, and more activist level, I’ve not done enough to protest animal cruelty and habitat destruction. I’m mostly a cheerleader for others at the forefront of both causes, which I deeply support.
I plan to change that and get out there more often, whether it be protesting or leafletting and tabling. Whatever will support the cause!