In this day and age, there is so much information available on how to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. It can be rather confusing to figure out what the approach is for oneself. Just going through my email inbox today, I came across the following sources - all of which are valid and worthy of consideration:
1. The Blue Zone Diet and Community
2. Dr. Alan Christianson
3. David Avocado Wolfe
4. Dr. Sara Gottfried
5. Blog: Martina from the Keto Diet
All of these are professional people, well-trained in their fields; each with a significant contribution to make to our health. Having said that, it can be time-consuming and a bit overwhelming to try and figure out what the best approach is for you, as an individual. In addition to each of us being unique, there are many other considerations to take into account like: age, where one lives, lifestyle, personal health considerations. From my own experience, there are factors that change as we go along and sometimes that means adjusting our diet to accommodate whatever it is that is changing and shifting in our lives, in our bodies, etc.
Over the next few weeks, I am going to provide information on different nutritional and longevity experts (some named above) with a brief summarization of each of their approaches. I think it is important to have access to doctors and experts who are passionate and dedicated to providing us with useful information so that we can make healthy choices for ourselves.
I thought I would start with the Blue Zone Diet and community. I came across the founder of this movement, Dan Buettner, a few years ago when I was writing a thesis on “Preventive Heart Health Measures for Women: Diet and Lifestyle Suggestions.” Funded by National Geographic, Dan Buettner and a team travelled the world in 2004 studying populations of centenarians inhabiting what has subsequently be labelled as the ‘Blue Zones’ - Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Ikaria, Greece. The term ‘Blue Zone’ has been used to identify these geographical areas where people live longer lives than the norm. The team was seeking to find the common denominators that would provide an explanation for the health and longevity of the men and women interviewed who were one hundred or more years old. His book(s) on this topic and subsequent website and projects is fascinating and well worth reading.
He summarized the common denominators for longevity based on his studies in nine key points that can be easily applied to anyone’s life:
What I took from reading these books was that these people lead a simple and happy lifestyle. They were connected to their environment by reason of the fact that they consumed foods indigenous to where they lived. There did not seem to be any evidence of our Western culture's almost frenetic obsession with dieting and exercise. Their lifestyle kept them physically active and outside. There was a strong sense of community and feeling of being connected and loved by others.
Buettner has distilled their secrets in the above 9 tips and through his website and community is encouraging people to adapt their habits. Although not all of us have the ability to live in small communities in Italy or Greece, for example, there are ways that we can adapt and learn - if we choose. The way I look at it, if these people are living functionally and happily to 100+ years, they must be doing something right and I want to know about it!
Buettner has a free quiz called the True Vitality Test on his site – what better way to start 2017 than by figuring out what your life expectancy may be based on some loving choices for yourself? If you do take the quiz (it's only 12 questions and takes just a few moments), I would love to hear your feedback on it! I might even tell you what my score was!