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Studies show that running just 5 to 10 minutes each day may help reduce your risk of death from heart attacks, strokes, and other common diseases. Pixabay photo
Add quality years with modest lifestyle changes

By David Dunaief, M.D.

Dr. David Dunaief

The number of 90-year-olds is growing in the U.S. According to the National Institutes of Health, those who were more than 90 years old increased by 2.5 times over a 30-year period from 1980 to 2010 (1). This group is among what researchers refer to as the “oldest-old,” which includes those aged 85 and older.

What do these people have in common? According to one study, they tend to have fewer chronic morbidities or diseases. Thus, they tend to have a better quality of life with greater physical functioning and mental acuity (2).

In a study of centenarians, genetics played a significant role. Characteristics of this group were that they tended to be healthy and then die rapidly, without prolonged suffering (3). In other words, they grew old “gracefully,” staying mobile and mentally alert.

Factors that predict one’s ability to reach this exclusive club may involve both genetics and life-style choices. Let’s look at the research.

Get modest exercise

We are told repeatedly to exercise. Here’s one reason. Results of one study showed that 5 to 10 minutes of daily running, regardless of the pace, can have a significant impact on life span by decreasing cardiovascular and all-cause mortality (4).

Amazingly, even if participants ran fewer than six miles per week at a pace slower than 10-minute miles, and even if they ran only one to two days a week, there was still a decrease in mortality compared to nonrunners. Those who ran for this very short amount of time potentially added three years to their life span. There were 55,137 participants ranging in age from 18 to 100 years old.

An accompanying editorial to this study noted that more than 50 percent of people in the United States do not meet the current recommendation of at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day (5).

Reduce animal protein

A long-standing paradigm has been that we need to eat sufficient animal protein. However, cracks have developed in this theory, especially as it relates to longevity.

In an observational study using NHANES III data, results show that those who ate a high-protein diet (greater than 20 percent of calories from protein) had a twofold increased risk of all-cause mortality, a four-times increased risk of cancer mortality, and a four-times increased risk of dying from diabetes (6). This was over a considerable duration of 18 years and involved almost 7,000 participants ranging in age at the start of the study from 50 to 65.

However, this did not hold true if the protein source was plants. In fact, a high-protein plant diet may reduce the risks, not increase them. The reason, according to the authors, is that animal protein may increase insulin growth factor-1 and growth hormones that have detrimental effects on the body.

The Adventists Health Study 2 trial reinforced this data. It looked at Seventh-day Adventists, a group that emphasizes a plant-based diet, and found that those who ate animal protein once a week or less had a significantly reduced risk of dying over the next six years compared to those who were more frequent meat eaters (7). This was an observational trial with over 73,000 participants and a median age of 57 years old.

Reduce systemic inflammation

In the Whitehall II study, a specific marker for inflammation was measured, interleukin-6. The study showed that higher levels did not bode well for participants’ longevity (8). In fact, if participants had elevated IL-6 (>2.0 ng/L) at both baseline and at the end of the 10-year follow-up period, their probability of healthy aging decreased by almost half.

The good news is that inflammation can be improved significantly with lifestyle changes.

The takeaway from this study is that IL-6 is a relatively common biomarker for inflammation that can be measured with a simple blood test offered by most major laboratories. This study involved 3,044 participants over the age of 35 who did not have a stroke, heart attack or cancer at the beginning of the study.

The bottom line is that, although genetics are important for longevity, so too are lifestyle choices. A small amount of exercise and replacing animal protein with plant protein can contribute to a substantial increase in healthy life span. IL-6 may be a useful marker for inflammation, which could help predict healthy or unhealthy outcomes. Therefore, why not have a discussion with your doc-tor about testing to see if you have an elevated IL-6? Lifestyle modifications may be able to reduce these levels.


(1) (2) J Am Geriatr Soc. 2009;57:432-440. (3) Future of Genomic Medicine (FoGM) VII. Presented March 7, 2014. (4) J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;64:472-481. (5) J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;64:482-484. (6) Cell Metab. 2014;19:407-417. (7) JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173:1230-1238. (8) CMAJ. 2013;185:E763-E770.

Dr. David Dunaief is a speaker, author and local lifestyle medicine physician focusing on the integration of medicine, nutrition, fitness and stress management. For further information, visit 


This week’s shelter pet is Zeus, a 3-year-old male Golden Retriever. This handsome boy was rescued from a Florida shelter by a local family and then surrendered to the Smithtown Animal Shelter. He is a sweet and affectionate dog that craves human contact and company. 

Zeus clearly lacked proper socialization in his early years. He is a timid and jumpy and needs a strong, loving and experienced leader to help him gain confidence so he may enjoy the world around him. Because of his fears, the shelter would prefer him to go to a home with no children or other pets. 

Zeus is also currently being treated for heartworm disease. He will only be available for foster or foster to adopt until his treatment is complete and he is cleared to be neutered.

This poor boy has been failed in the past; let’s write him the happy ending he deserves!

If you are interested in meeting Zeus, please call ahead to schedule an hour to properly interact with him in a domestic setting, which includes a dog run and a Meet and Greet Room.  

The Smithtown Animal & Adoption Shelter is located at 410 Middle Country Road, Smithtown. Shelter operating hours are currently Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Sundays and Wednesday evenings by appointment only). For more information, call 631-360-7575 or visit

The Town of Smithtown Department of Environment and Waterways, in partnership with the Municipal Services Facility and the Department of Public Safety, will host a Paper Shredding Event on Saturday, September 25th. This free event will be held at the Smithtown Municipal Services Facility, located at 85 Old Northport Road in Kings Park, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Residents will be asked to wear face masks and not to leave their cars, to protect everyone’s wellbeing amid the coronavirus. Proof of residency is required. There is a limit of three file boxes per vehicle.

“I believe the Shred Events are popular for a number of reasons. We enjoy a very environmentally conscious community. The residents here take every opportunity to do their part in protecting the local habitat. Additionally, we’ve really perfected the process, which is coordinated by the Department of Environment and Waterways, MSF and Public Safety. Residents know that they can get in and out fast, to safely and securely dispose of unwanted documents from the comfort of each vehicle and quickly return to their weekend fun.” – Ed Wehrheim, Town of Smithtown Supervisor

At the April 2021 event, a total of 430 vehicles safely and securely disposed of over 12.11 tons of sensitive documents. In 2020, over 440 households came down to safely shred documents in the Fall. The September 2020 event was the largest to date, with over 16 tons of paper safely shredded by the industrial strength “Shreddersaurus.” The turnout was three times the normal volume.

All personal documents are safely destroyed by Data Shredding Service, Inc., a full-service confidential shredding service located on Corporate Drive in Hauppauge.

By Cayla Rosenhagen

Cayla Rosenhagen

For almost a century, the Three Village Garden Club has been uniting the community with its passion for flora, education, and support for worthy causes.

On September 17, I attended the Garden Club’s “See you in September!” flower show at the Neighborhood House in Setauket. As I entered, I was instantly entranced by the vibrant floral displays decorating every corner of the historic building. Delicate, brightly colored arrangements adorning the fireplace mantle and tables welcomed me into the exhibit. This welcome was mirrored by the warmhearted hospitality of the club members.

Joan Roehrig, a member of the club for ten years, offered to give me a tour. She explained that each division of the show, Horticulture, Educational, and Design, as well as some special exhibitions, were meticulously judged by experts earlier that day. In addition to the members’ contributions to the show, the club was very grateful for the floral designs donated by local florists, including James Cress, Village Florist and Events Stony Brook, Setauket Floral Design, and Stop & Shop’s Floral Designs by Jennifer.

Our first stop on the tour was the Horticulture room, which was organized into spectacular arrangements of perennials, annuals, herbs, fruits, and vegetables all grown in the members’ backyards. The Best in Show for this category was Patricia Bany’s exquisite combination planting of succulents.  

In the Educational division, there were multiple displays regarding various floral topics, including native plants and the history of the Garden Club. Not only were they informative, but they were also so elegantly presented. The Best in Show for this division was a comprehensive, educational project board and floral arrangements piece by Donna Hill. Entitled “Floral Design Techniques,” it displayed numerous methods used in flower arranging.

The Design category consisted of multiple sub-divisions, including Multi-Rhythmic, Tapestry, Table Centerpieces, and Art Interpretation classifications. Each piece radiated creativity and innovation. Arrangements varied in style from classical to contemporary, and each displayed a strong proficiency in their craft. The Best in Show for Design was earned by Vikki Bellias.

As I spoke to the participants in the show, they were eager to share their knowledge and love for flora and the Garden Club. Joan expressed one of her favorite experiences with the club has been the December Greenery Boutique. It’s an annual event where members gather during the holidays to create festive wreaths and decorations, later to be sold to the community.

Martina Matkovic, a member for about 6 years, described how the members regularly meet over tea and sandwiches to discuss various matters and attend lectures together. This teatime tradition goes back almost a century to the times of Jennie Melville, the club’s founder in the 1920s. From its inception, the club played an important role in the community through local beautification and support for causes such as employment during the Depression and clean water availability. Later, they took part in war relief efforts during World War II. The club continues to support environmental and educational movements and even offers horticulture scholarships and camps to students. 

The Three Village Garden Club is always looking for new members. No green thumb or gardening experience is required, as it is an educational group. If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact the club’s president, Karin Ryon at (631) 813-5390.

The Three Village Historical Society and Gallery North are pleased to present The Holiday Market, a series of outdoor holiday shopping events, located on the grounds of the Three Village Historical Society at 93 N. Country Road, Setauket and Gallery North, just across the street, at 90 N. Country Road, Setauket. Each market will feature music as well as a variety of food trucks and unique, artisanal goods and gifts to a safe, and socially distant outdoor setting this holiday season.

Event dates are Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.: 

  • Saturday, November 27th (Small Business Saturday!)
  • Saturday, December 4th
  • Saturday, December 11th
  • Saturday, December 18th

To register as a vendor please visit:

To register as a food truck please email [email protected]

 For more information, call the TVHS at 631-751-3730 or Gallery North at 751-2676.

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Blueberry Banana Smoothie

A Splendid Smoothie

( If you ever find yourself craving something healthy and easy to make, you’re not alone. Maybe you are constantly on the go, chasing after little ones or just started a new job. Whether you’re on the move or relaxing at home, smoothies are a simple way to add nutritious ingredients to your diet.

From strawberries and mangos to blueberries and more, there are almost limitless smoothie options. You can use different combinations of greens and textures or even add something savory like peanut or almond butter.

This Blueberry Banana Smoothie is simple with just a couple basic directions and gives you the energy you need to finish out your day strong.

It has 1 cup of spinach, which is full of iron and vitamins, frozen bananas and blueberries to fill up your fruit intake for the day and berry yogurt to add a hint of dairy and some sweetness to your drink.

Garnish your finished product with fresh blueberries for some extra flair. With chia seeds for added texture, this smoothie is perfect for breakfast or even an afternoon snack.

Find more healthy recipes at

If you made this recipe at home, use #MyCulinaryConnection on your favorite social network to share your work.

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

YIELD: Serves 2


1 cup spinach

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar blend

1 tablespoon almond butter

1/2 cup bananas, frozen

1/2 cup blueberries, frozen

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon minced ginger

1/2 cup berry yogurt

fresh blueberries, for garnish (optional)


In blender, blend spinach, water, apple cider vinegar, almond butter, frozen bananas, frozen blueberries, chia seeds, cinnamon, ginger and yogurt until smooth.

Pour into two glasses and garnish with fresh blueberries, if desired.

See video of recipe here.


The Atelier at Flowerfield in St. James invites artists ages 16 and up to submit entries for the 2021 Atelier Invitational, online at the link below.

This exhibition, now in its third year, will highlight the work of artists in all visual arts (except photography and video). The exhibition will be held in The Atelier’s 2,000 square foot gallery, which functions both as a professional studio space and exhibition area.

Artists may submit up to four (4) images of original artworks.
Submissions must be received no later than October 15th, 2021
Accepted works will be notified October 22nd, 2021
Works must be brought in by November 4th, 2021, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Works must be framed and ready to hang with wire.
Entry fee: $50
Opening Reception November 11, 2021, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

For more information contact [email protected]org
or call 631-250-9009. To submit artwork, click on button below:

Sign Up Now

The Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium

Spend an evening at the Vanderbilt  Reichert Planetarium with Grace Grella, nationally acclaimed psychic and host of The Grace Grella Show on NSTV on Sept. 30 from 7 to 9 p.m.  

After surviving three near-death experiences at the age of seven, Grace’s connection with the spirit world began. She has studied metaphysics, psychic and mediumship development, astrology, numerology, and rune stones. Grace is also a certified Reiki master.

She will give audience members “messages from above.” Doors open at 6:30 pm, show begins at 7 pm. Seats are first-come, first-served.

Grace has appeared on national television (MTV, NBC) and on Long island radio (WBAB, WUSB), and has hosted her own live, unscripted, Long Island cable show for more than 25 years.

Tickets: $25 members, $35 non-members, $45 at the door. The evening includes a one-hour show, and one hour of Zodiac forecasting for 2021. Grace will do audience-style readings for entertainment only. Attendance does not guarantee a reading.

Tickets are nonrefundable.

Seats are limited! Purchase tickets early. This event will sell out!

Purchase Tickets

Image from ‘Seasons of Change on Henry’s Farm’. Photo credit: Ines Sommer

Throughout this summer, Huntington’s Cinema Arts Centre has been offering free pop-up film screenings around Long Island in order to bring attention to local agriculture. Presented in partnership with Suffolk County Department of Economic Development & Planning, the local economic development initiative, Choose LI, the Cinema’s new ‘LI AgriCULTURE’ series has offered a unique look at farming on Long Island.

This October, the Cinema Arts Centre is partnering with Fink’s Country Farm, a family-owned and operated farm in Wading River, for a free day of fun and a screening of the independent documentary film, ‘Seasons of Change on Henry’s Farm.’

Image from ‘Seasons of Change on Henry’s Farm’. Photo credit: Ines Sommer

The LI AgriCULTURE series engages the local community in Long Island’s rich landscape of sustainable food production through the power of documentary film, helping to foster pride in our shared agricultural and aquacultural heritage, and inspiring Long Islanders to choose more local foods. Presenting dynamic documentary screening and discussion programs, virtually and in a variety of locations, this program will connect audiences to local food producers and encourage and empower the community to include more locally and sustainably produced foods in their daily diets. Learn more at:

The October event of the LI AgriCULTURE series will take place on Friday, October 1st at Fink’s Country Farm in Wading River. The program will be presented in partnership with Fink’s Farm, and planned with guidance from the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development & PlanningChoose LI, and Peconic Land Trust. The free program will feature a day of fun including a petting zoo, hay rides, a corn maze, pumpkin picking, food and refreshments, a discussion with a panel of experts, and a screening of the independent farming documentary, Seasons of Change on Henry’s Farm.

Seasons of Change on Henry’s Farm: Surrounded by GMO-heavy industrial farms in Central Illinois, for a quarter-century Henry Brockman has successfully operated a small family vegetable farm based on principles of organic cultivation and biodiversity. But farming takes a toll on his aging body and Henry dreams of scaling back. While his former apprentices run the farm, Henry spends a “fallow year” with his wife Hiroko in Japan. But things don’t turn out as planned, and Henry must grapple with the future of farming in a changing climate on personal, generational, and global levels.

This program is made possible with support from the Long Island Community Foundation.

“The Cinema Arts Centre has always used the power of film to educate, inspire, and mobilize the Long Island community,” says David M. Okorn, executive director of the Long Island Community Foundation. “We are proud to support this film initiative that will connect residents to Long Island farms and fisheries and help them understand the importance of locally-grown food.”

Event Information:

Date: Friday, October 1st 4:00 – 9:00 PM (A rain date is scheduled for October 7th)

Location: Fink’s Farm, 6242 Middle Country Road, Wading River, New York 11792

Fees: FREE to attend. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP on the Cinema Arts Centre website: Or by visiting the event page:


4:00 – Pumpkin picking, hayrides, corn maze, animatronic chicken show, animal feedings, food, and tabling with local organizations

7:00 – Screening of the documentary film ‘Seasons of Change on Henry’s Farm’

8:00 – A panel discussion with local experts

Suffolk County Legislator Nick Caracappa was recently invited to tour the Suffolk County Farm in Yaphank, operated by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE). Caracappa’s colleague, Legislator Jim Mazzarella also attended.

According to CCE’s website, The Suffolk County Farm and Education Center’s mission is to provide hands-on research-based learning to all residents with themes in agriculture, animal sciences, history, STEM, healthy living, and life skills in a unique year-round learning environment and in community spaces. The Farm’s vision is to connect with the County’s agricultural heritage and to pave the way for a bright, healthy, and sustainable future.

The tour included a tractor tour of the facility, which includes sunflower and cornfields, animals, a playground and various gardens.

Also in attendance were 32 National Grid employees, volunteering their services as part of the company’s “Project C” initiative. Project C is a program designed to transcend convention and create a more equitable future. In collaboration with the people of New York State, Project C wishes to inspire positive change — from neighborhood beautification to workforce development. Legislators Caracappa and Mazzarella presented each volunteer a Certificate of Recognition for their volunteer work.

“I’d like to thank Vanessa Lockel, CCE’s Executive Director, Vicki Fleming, the Director for Suffolk County Farm, as well as farm employees for a tour of this incredible county facility that has so much to offer. Whether it be in the way of education or for family recreation, the farm programs and events provide something for everyone,” stated Legislator Caracappa. “I’d also like to offer a special thanks to the employees of National Grid who volunteered their time to work the farm today. Suffolk County Farm truly is a resource run by and for the community.”