Sandy and Stewart LevineFebruary 2016
By Donna Caruso
Marriage Health Longevity
It isn’t often that you find a long-married, health-conscious couple like Sandy and Stewart Levine. Together, they exemplify that rare union almost everyone seeks: a seamless blend of individuality and alliance, independence and connection, all with a strong component of mutual love and respect.
Throughout their 46-year marriage, the Levines have consistently worked to learn as much as possible about how to live a long, active, healthful life. Strong proponents of Life Extension®’s philosophy, products, and state-of-the-art information, the Levines are a perfect illustration of how couples with a mutual interest in good health can successfully help and support one another for a lifetime.
Origins of Getting Healthy
Now 68 and 72, Sandy and Stewart grew up in New Jersey, but moved to Florida 32 years ago and have been happy there ever since.
“I was always athletic,” says Stewart, recalling that he started boxing when he was just 8. “I was a skinny kid and small,” he explains, “and boxing helped me defend myself.”
He also earned brown belts in karate and jiu-jitsu, while playing baseball and basketball. He trained as a weightlifter while still in his teens, an activity he continues to this day. Stewart mentions that most people don’t realize that Olympic weightlifters were found to be the second most flexible athletes after gymnasts. He also had an interest in bodybuilding and entered contests as a young man. He notes that he no longer carries the weight he had then, largely due to changes that he and his wife made in their diets.
“I grew up as a meat-and-potatoes man,” he recalls, “but when I was 17 and got into supplements and protein to help build muscle, I also got healthier.”
In his 20s, Stewart started running just prior to joining the Army.
“I’ve been running ever since,” he remarks, “10 miles a week, rain or shine.”
Certified as a personal trainer nine years ago, Stewart, now retired from the business world, works part time in a local country club gym as a personal trainer. He has found that he is uniquely able to help many older people because he understands their physical needs and issues better than most younger trainers.
Sandy, a teacher straight out of college, taught elementary school for 16 years. Married at 22 after Stewart returned from the Army, she recalls that they were not healthy eaters, making poor food choices due to lack of knowledge. Then Sandy got sick.
Suffering from stomach pain, which was later diagnosed as leaky gut, Sandy kept getting worse until she discovered holistic medicine. “That’s how I changed my life around,” she says, “and Stewart, of course, followed.”
After becoming macrobiotics and switching to a vegetarian diet, Sandy’s condition improved dramatically. But it wasn’t until she found a doctor who used an allergy program with meridian points that she says she was finally cured.
A Healthy Diet
“We try to eat whatever comes naturally from the ground,” Sandy explains, noting that they are very oriented toward whole food.
“We don’t eat out much anymore,” she explains. “We eat a lot of raw foods and salads. In Florida, raw foods feel right, lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.”
While their diet is plant based, they now also include some organic poultry and fish.
Both Sandy and Stewart enjoy reading Life Extension® magazine and discovering ways to improve their diets. One of the major changes they’ve made is eliminating all added sugar.
“It’s very challenging to give up something like sugar,” Sandy explains, “but people who do that find tremendous improvement in their ability to eat well and change their whole lifestyle.”
The Levines also avoid anything made with white flour.
“We’ve been eating healthy for about 40 years now,” says Stewart, “no red meat [either].”
Discovering which supplements felt right for them has been a long ongoing process for the Levines. They both pay close attention to articles in Life Extension® magazine and sometimes agree to add a supplement to the ones they both already take.
“The one we started taking most recently is taurine,” notes Stewart. “We read an article that pointed out that as you grow older, your brain cells start diminishing, and it seemed like something we could benefit from.”
The right supplements, says Sandy, reversed her osteopenia (reduced bone mass or density), which she was diagnosed with about 10 years ago. Although she had been lifting weights for many years, Sandy discovered her bone density was not great.
“My gynecologist said I’m a poster child for osteoporosis,” because, she explains, she is small and thin. Her mother had painful osteoporosis and Sandy, not wanting to follow suit, began doing research and pinpointed the supplements that completely reversed her condition: strontium, vitamin D, Life Extension®’s Bone Restore, and vitamin K. Sandy adds that Stewart also was found to have lost some bone density, but after taking these supplements, he is now “perfect again.”
Sandy says that sometimes after reading an article regarding a new supplement, something resonates. “I talk to Stewart and we agree that this [new product] is something we should both use.” She adds that “I have found over the years that I’m leaning more and more toward Life Extension® products. They really work. They are excellent quality.”
Keeping active and exercising is vital to both Sandy and Stewart. For Stewart, it’s something that he does with regularity and enjoyment. He’s been weightlifting and running for most of his life, and now uses equipment at the gym where he works. Exercise is second nature to Stewart, and he needs no reminders or encouragement to exercise his body.
For Sandy, it’s been a learning experience over many years, what she calls a journey. “I came from a very nonathletic family,” she says, “so watching Stewart as an example and seeing how he metabolized food and how much easier it was for him to deal with weight issues, that motivated me.”
Sandy has been exercising regularly for 30 years, lifting weights, running, doing water workouts, using gym equipment, and walking. Her youthful illness served as a warning and once she became healthy, she wanted to continue doing everything she could to stay that way.
Sandy and Stewart added meditation to their health routines 35 years ago and continue to practice it daily, finding a sense of peacefulness and presence conducive to better overall health.
An Eye on Longevity
“People see me and they don’t believe I’m 72 years old,” remarks Stewart. “They think I’m at least 15 years younger.” But he adds that the goal is not just looking younger, but also feeling younger.
“When you change your lifestyle, eat right, exercise, and do all the right things, you feel much younger,” he explains. “You can only take care of your own life, travel your own road. The benefits soon become obvious.
“Your genetic makeup has something to do with your longevity,” Stewart continues, “but they also found that it’s only 25%. The other 75% is you making lifestyle changes, and that is what will prolong your life.”
He explains that his brother died at 55 from a heart attack and his mother at 67 from a stroke.
“That helped sway me to change my life and do the kind of living I’m doing now. I’m 72 and I’ve never had anything major wrong with me.”
But he cautions that it’s not longevity alone, but “longevity with quality.” He feels he and Sandy are doing everything they can to stay healthy and live long lives.
Sandy’s Hypnosis Practice
While Stewart focuses on his work as a personal trainer, Sandy is a licensed real estate broker, selling homes and condos in Naples, Florida. She also practices hypnosis, where she concentrates on helping people, often women, achieve weight loss, in addition to treating smoking and sleep problems. A member of Toastmasters, Sandy enjoys giving talks on both health and hypnosis.
Her interest in diet and supplements has greatly helped Sandy understand the problems many people have with addictive, emotional eating.
“It’s re-evaluating what you do with food and how you look at food and how you reward yourself with food,” she explains. For some people, one session can be sufficient, but many come back several times, and still others may do well for a while and then come back for a “tune-up.”
She sees herself as a facilitator and insists that any improvement comes from people doing it for themselves.
Advice from the Levines
After 46 years of sharing their lives, Sandy and Stewart have learned enough to effectively help others in their everyday lives and work. When asked what advice they would give Life Extension® readers, here’s what they had to say in their own words:
- If you change your lifestyle, exercise, take the right supplements, and eat the right foods, your body will be strong and will ultimately take care of you.
- Change your priorities about food and stop thinking about what tastes good going down or thinking of food as a reward. You can love to eat and still get all the benefits by eating wholesome food.
- Your desire to change must be conscious and strong. If you are truly willing to make important changes, you will maintain them.
- It’s never too late to change, regardless of where you are in life. There’s always a benefit if you switch to healthy eating habits, exercise, take supplements, and relieve stress, which are all vital for good health.
- If you follow good health practices, longevity will probably increase, but you never know what might happen each day, so remember to enjoy your life while you’re living it.
- Share your story with others and help them find better health.
When asked if they would be the same person today if they had grown older separately, Stewart and Sandy both immediately answered “no.” It’s clear that their love and respect for each other and their shared desire to live as healthy a life as possible has added immeasurably to their active, happy lives today and to their excellent outlook for continuing to be in good health tomorrow. Their openness to new ideas and constant search to improve their lives are an inspiration to everyone who meets them.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.
For more information, you can email Sandy and Stewart Levine at email@example.com