I am thinking more and more that I want to live in a Blue Zone. No, this is not some tropical paradise with blue sky, deeper blue water, and white beaches. According to Dan Buettner in his bestselling book, The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, there are places or cultures where the proportion of healthy 90 or 100-year-olds to the overall population is unusually high.
And it’s not because I really care if I live to be a 100, but that I want the quality of lifestyle that ultimately leads to such outcomes. If you want to find the perfect recipe for dying before your time, then look no further than the average American lifestyle. We have figured out perhaps better than anyone how to combine stress, unhealthy foods, lack of exercise, and crazy schedules in ways that have us going to the grave faster than all other first-world countries.
THE RECIPE TO MAKE IT HAPPEN
Want the antidote? According to those who actually make it to 100, there is a recipe for making it happen. In his book, Buettner boils it down to these nine things:
- Be active without having to think about it
- Cut calories by 20%
- Avoid meat and processed foods
- Drink red wine (in moderation)
- Take time to see the big picture
- Take time to relieve stress
- Participate in a spiritual community
- Make family a priority
- Be surrounded by those who share Blue Zone values
In the book he has concrete suggestions for implementing each of these strategies, but none are overly complicated and hard to do. Unless of course your present lifestyle is so all-consuming that the only way to make these things happen is to hit the reset button! For some – perhaps us included – this may be the only way.