• Richie Crowley

A Blue Zones Book Report

I’m a fan of accessible wellness. Accessible being affordable and local, and a rejection of the current marketing strategies of the diet and fitness industry implying that consumers need to purchase their wellness, rather than access it.

With that intro, it may not come as a surprise that I have been heavily influenced by the work of Dan Buettner and Blue Zones. I spent the first week of summer reminding myself of the ways of our world’s most studied centenarians and wanted to share excerpts from the pages I folded over with you as a means to activate the curiosity inside of the reader to educate themselves on the work of the Blue Zones. On Movement

  • “They live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving. They grow gardens and don’t have mechanical conveniences for house and yard work. Every trip to work, to a friend’s house, or to church occasions a walk” (20)

  • “Add bicycle riding to your routines. Just a functioning bike nudges you to use it” (219)

On Sleep

  • “On average, centenarians report sleeping about eight hours per day. Research has shown that when people get less than seven hours of sleep per night, their chance of catching a cold triples, they report as much as 30% lower rates of well-being, their risk of obesity soars, and they have less control over their hunger urges.” (206)

  • “Today, according to Gallup, Americans report an average of 6.8 hours of sleep of a day; 14% of Americans sleep than 6 hours. This is not enough” (212)

On Food

  • “Food also helps determine the company we keep and how we keep our company” (11)

  • “When you eat a meal in a hurry or with pent-up worry, stress hormones like cortisol interfere with the digestive process. Your body doesn’t absorb nutrients and antioxidants as well; the calories you consumer are more likely to end up as fat on your waistline than energy for your cells.” (40)

  • Hara hachi bu is a Confucian adage, intoned like a prayer before every meal, reminding her to stop eating when she was 80 percent full” (45)

  • “Americans tend to think that more protein is good for us. But here was a long-lived population (Sardinia) that grew-up on a low-protein diet: A study at the Davis School of Gerontology showed that a low-protein diet is associated with lower rates of diabetes, cancer, and death for people under 65.” (57)

  • “Today, the Adventist Diet in its current interpretation is demonstrably yielding the healthiest Americans. It is a plant-based diet that emphasizes, nuts, whole grains, beans, and soy products. It’s also very low in sugar, salt, and refined grain. It includes small amounts of meat, dairy, and eggs, and discourages coffee and alcohol.” (65)

  • “A few characteristics of Nicoya’s diet stood out. Like residents of most other Blue Zones, people here ate a low-calorie, low-fat, plant-based diet rich in legumes.” (75)

  • “When you cook at home, you control the ingredients. You can choose the freshest, highest quality ingredients and avoid consuming the cheap fillers and flavor enhancers that end up in much restaurant food. Cooking also nudges you into action, requiring you to stand, stir, mix, knead, chop, and lift. All of this physical activity counts more than you know, especially when compared to sitting down at a restaurant” (157)

On Relationships

  • “The world’s longest lived people people choose or were born into, social circles that support healthy behaviors” (21)

  • “Asses your current circle of friends using questions developed in collaboration with the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health” (223)

  1. Do they smoke?

  2. Are they overweight because of bad health behavior?

  3. Do they drink more than two drinks a day?

  4. Do they eat a mostly plant-based diet?

  5. Do they cook at home?

  6. Do they favor junk food or whole food?

  7. Are they usually upbeat or do they like to complain?

  8. Is their idea of recreation watching TV or an indoor activity?

  9. Are they curious about the world?

  10. Do they listen as well as talk?

  11. Are they engaged with the world and encourage your engagement?

  12. Are they tied to routine or interested in new activities?

  13. Do you feel better around them than when you’re not?

Within the pages of the Blue Zones Solution are many recipes, grocery lists and food rituals on how to eat to 100. You’ll come to learn that the lifestyles of those living to 100 are more accessible that one may believe, and also more fun. The reader will receive a gift as they are educated on the importance of purpose, community, family, eating plants, moving naturally and more within the pages. Thank you to the Blue Zones for the work they do, and to the reader, I encourage you to purchase or borrow this book and it’s siblings from a local library to consume its contents.

Richie. Human.


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