A cardiothoracic surgeon by profession, Dr. Ellsworth Wareham defied several odds by living to the age of 104 years. He persisted and became a surgeon in a time when most could not afford an education. With his expertise, he traveled the world through the Loma Linda University Overseas Heart Surgery Team to provide specialized heart surgeries and saved the lives of several individuals in countries where healthcare was inaccessible. He was one of the earliest practitioners of open-heart surgery and made several ground-breaking developments to the field. He even served the country through the Navy during World War II.

Having grown up through the Great Depression and on a farm, Dr. Wareham understood the role of food in one’s health. He credited his long life to a vegan diet and a healthy mindset. Dr. Wareham’s residence, Loma Linda, CA, is known to be one of the Blue Zones where people are noted to live longer than the average person. Loma Linda is home to a large population of Seventh Day Adventists including Dr. Wareham. Seventh Day Adventists (SDA) believe that the body must be treated with respect and given the highest care. Many SDAs do not consume highly fatty foods, rich spices, and oftentimes, follow a plant-based diet.

So, what does it take to live a life as long as Dr. Wareham’s? A look into his daily schedule showed that strong relationships, a plant-based diet, consistent exercise, and a healthy mindset were key components.

Early Riser

Dr. Wareham woke up at 5 am after getting 8-9 hours of sleep. Before doing anything, he would drink 3 glasses of water. He consistently drank water throughout the day, especially after work. His daily exercise consisted of mowing his lawn, tending to his garden, and walking up and down his stairs several times a day. He spent up to 10 hours a week taking care of his lawn and garden. For Dr. Wareham, regular workouts did not suit his mentality. He preferred exercise related to goal-oriented activities like taking care of his house and backyard.

Vegan Diet

He only ate twice a day. At 10 am, he would always have whole-wheat cereal with almond milk and maybe some fruits or nuts for breakfast. At 4 pm, he would have an early vegan dinner rich in vegetables, grains, and nuts.

An Active Retiree


Throughout his whole day, he would try to have a good mental attitude and concentrate on the positives. This mindset helped him face even the most difficult cardiac surgeries. In fact, as a 95 year old retired surgeon, he continued assisting on surgeries at the Loma Linda hospital. He drove himself up to 60 miles to the hospital in order to do this. His resilience and passion allowed him to assist with 3-5 cases a week, each of which would take 3-5 hours to complete.
As a Seventh Day Adventist, he focused heavily on his familial connections and spent time with loved ones and his faith. He passed away on December 15, 2018 and left behind a legacy of incredible medical achievements, social service acts, and kindness.