What are Blue zones?
What is the Blue Zone Diet?
Does it really work? Lets explore.
'Blue Zones' are places around the world where people live very long lives. The secret to longevity is in the food choices that these individuals make.
The Blue Zone diet is primarily a plant-based diet. Most of the food in this diet comes from fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes.
The Blue Zone diet motto seems to be: Enjoy everything but in 'moderation'. You can eat fish, you can drink wine and nuts and even an occasional egg or meat.
Here is a brief summary of what this diet looks like:
1. 95% plant based. If you must, consume meat only twice a week. Small portions of fish is acceptable every day
2. Reduce dairy such as cow's milk and products such as cream, cheese and butter. An occasional egg is OK but no more than 3 eggs per week
3. Cut down on sugar. No more than 7 added teaspoons a day
4. A daily dose of beans is essential. Plan on 1/2 cup of cooked beans every day
5. Nuts are great. Two handful of nuts per day
6. Celebrate sourdough bread or even 100% whole wheat bread
7. Eat whole foods that are single ingredient, raw, cooked, ground or fermented but not highly processed
8. Eat 'super blue foods' such as beans, greens, sweet potatoes, nuts, olive oil, barley, fruits, herbal tea and turmeric
Avoid: Sugar-sweetened beverages, salty snacks, processed meats and packaged sweets
The diet also has beverage rules:
Drink Coffee for Breakfast
Tea in the Afternoon
Wine at 5 PM
Water All Day
Never drink Soda Pop
If the Blue Zone concept interests you, look for author Dan Buettner's book by the same name. Buettner visited several locations with pockets that had a large percentage of folks who lived over 100 years. His global interviews and studies showed that these populations had low rates of diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity.
Where are the Blue Zones?
Okinawa in Japan
Sardinia in Italy
Nicoya in Costa Rica
Ikaria in Greece
Loma Linda in California (USA)
One of the most important aspects of Blue Zone living is a sense of purpose. Most Blue Zoners have a reason to wake up every morning. Okinawans call it Ikigai and Nicoyans call it Plan de vida. Most Blue Zoners in Loma Linda are adventists who view health as central to their faith. Pretty much all Blue Zoners celebrate good food, family and friends. They eat vegetarian food, exercise regularly and do not smoke. They are all about giving back to their community.
I personally find the Blue Zone lifestyle to be a lot more sustainable. I also believe it is a great starting point for folks who are trying to eat healthier and more vegetarian food.
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