Intentionally shaping your own Blue Zone, your own environment of longevity and vitality, is a real key to living more good years.
Transforming a healthy choice into an easy choice — rather than a stressful one — is the key. Mealtime is a great place to start! All it requires is a START SOMEWHERE attitude with just one small change at a time.
Here are three ideas from the folks who study the Blue Zone communities.
Ways to integrate food practices that enhance social connectedness, moving naturally, delicious food, and increased overall well being:
1. Enjoy breakfast like a king: The Seventh-Day Adventist practice “breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper.” In most of the Blue Zones, this routine is consistent, and most don’t make a habit of snacking. The majority of their food is consumed in the first two meals. Recent research supports “front loading” calories early in the day to avoid going to bed on a full stomach.
2. Cook at home as much as possible: By intentionally choosing your ingredients, you can enjoy the freshest, high quality foods and avoid high concentrations of preservatives, flavor enhancers, and cheap fillers. While this may sound expensive, research shows that it is generally less costly in the long run. 1,000 people were followed for just one week and their eating habits and caloric intake were tracked. It was discovered that people who ate out were consuming 275 more calories on average per day than people who ate at home. While this doesn’t sound like much, it can add up to almost 20 pounds of weight gain over one year. Cooking at home is a great family activity and nudges you into physical activity, especially compared with sitting down in a restaurant with a basket of bread or chips. It is a good starting point if you want to lose weight.
3. Eat slowly and with friends and family: In the Blue Zones, mealtimes are a time to share stories, give thanks, and talk out challenges. Generally, these people don’t eat alone, avoid eating standing up or driving, and concentrate on the meal and fellowship. How you eat can be just as important as what is eaten. Eating fast promotes overeating because your brain doesn’t have time to get the “I’m full” signal. Recently, a study found that children and young adults who ate at least three meals a week with their families were more likely to be in a normal weight range and have healthier eating patterns than those who don’t. It doesn’t have to be dinner. The key is being together.
Create your own Blue Zone! START SOMEWHERE today crafting your own environment for enhanced vitality and joy. You can do it. I will help you!