Whatever dreams, goals or accomplishments we are seeking to achieve in life, it’s wise to model our route after people who are already walking the path and making these things a reality. And, as a wellness center, we’re always looking at how to age gracefully and healthily, feel energized, and to stave off chronic disease and illnesses. In other words, how to optimize our health.
In that vein, let us introduce you to the “blue zones” if you aren’t already familiar. These are pockets of communities around the world where people live to be the oldest and healthiest. They are home to high rates of centenarians and low rates of dementia, diabetes, heart disease and other common modern-day ailments. There are five “blue zones” that have been identified–Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; and one right here in California–Loma Linda. These areas around the globe have been studied–and they share many healthy lifestyle values. They feel a sense of purpose, live in community, are active throughout the day, and don’t have as many electronic conveniences most of us in the US and westernized world have.
In terms of food, there is much to learn from these communities. It turns out that the poorest among them have traditionally been the healthiest. Cooking from scratch, picking fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs from the gardens and trees, cooking and eating communally–these are several of the keys to their longevity, vibrancy and happiness. They also several common dietary principles, many of which we can easily adopt:
- Small amounts of meat (2 ounces or less about 5 times per month)
- Minimal dairy, and often it’s made with goat’s or sheep’s milk
- No more than 28 grams of added sugar per day
- No more than 3 eggs per week
- Fewer than 3 ounces of fish up to 3 times per week
- Daily nut consumption
- Drinking mostly water, with some coffee, tea or wine in moderation
- About a half cup of beans per day
- Whole and unprocessed foods make up the bulk of, if not all, of their diets
- 95-100% plant based
Compare this to the Standard American Diet (which has the acronym SAD), and let’s just say there’s some room for improvement!
- 1 in 4 Americans eat fast food every day
- Most Americans eat about 3 pounds of sugar per week
- Processed foods make up about 70% of the typical American’s diet! (EEK!)
- The average American consumes the majority of their protein from animal sources like processed meats and red meat.
So it makes sense that the life expectancy of a typical American is 80, and America is ranked 43rd out of 224 countries in terms of lifespan. What if you could extend your life for another 20 or so years? Would you be willing to do what it takes?
We can help guide you toward that admirable goal! Our philosophy and dietary approach here at Cambiati Wellness looks more like that of the “blue zones” and incorporates many of those principles, though of course some variation for individual differences and the gap between our lifestyles and those in these communities must be accounted for. The cool thing is that if you’re looking to make some changes to your meal plan and ideology, many of these tenets are relatively simple to put in place, and cooking this way doesn’t have to be time consuming. In fact, many recipe that incorporate these guidelines can be simple and even shorten the prep and cooking time you might be used to.
Although there’s no one-size-fits-all diet for everyone, it’s likely that eating fresh, plant-forward meals that are simple and use whole ingredients will help set you on the right track toward achieving those dreams of yours, whatever they may be.
Sources: bluezones.com, healthiertrajectory.com