autumn days

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Blue Zones

My friend Audrey invited me on a hike a couple weeks ago.  As we walked and talked for hours about everything under the sun, she recommended The Blue Zones, a book of "lessons for living longer from the people who've lived the longest."  I had been quite perplexed by my recent disinterest in reading, until this book.  Apparently positive, comforting, non-fiction books are what is on tap for me in my current gestating phase (seven weeks until our third babe arrives).  This book was just what my inner-doctor ordered.  Through this book, I was able to travel the world to areas where people live in awesome numbers to be healthy and happy past 100 years of age.  The narrative of the unfolding human stories and research kept me coming back for more.  After reading this book, I am able to explain some important ways in which to help yourself stay healthy longer.

My Summary of Lessons:
  • Vegetables, local and fresh
  • Consume less in general, more nuts and beans and whole grains, fewer meats  
  • Exercise, mild and daily
  • Rest, sitting back to appreciate the gifts of life all around us 
  • Live with or near family  
  • Weekly or daily social time with friends
  • Be likable and sociable
  • Take comfort in faith
  • Wake up with a purpose, such as tending to the garden, grandchildren, the community, or a herd of sheep
The Blue Zones' Nine Lessons:
  • Move Naturally: Be active without having to think about it
  • Hara Hachi Bu: Painlessly cut calories by 20 percent
  • Plant Slant: Avoid meat and processed foods
  • Grapes of Life: Drink red wine (in moderation)
  • Purpose Now: Take time to see the big picture
  • Down Shift: Take time to relieve stress
  • Belong: Participate in a spiritual community
  • Loved Ones First: Make family a priority
  • Right Tribe: Be surrounded by those who share Blue Zone values
At the end of each chapter is a highlighted summary of research findings.  The last chapter sums everything up neatly, even providing a link to take our own longevity quiz, complete with suggestions for increasing the quality and quantity of our lives.  The Blue Zones met my needs for a comforting novel and informative research paper.  And it provided me with a gateway back into my love of reading.  What a gift.

Sharing the book with a friend

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