Last night we hosted a dinner for 7 guests, 9 including ourselves. The theme was the blue zones. The idea was to spend time together with other people, sharing a meal using the same recipes as the people around the planet who live significantly longer than others (100 or more years).
Our guests were German, Indian, Israeli, American, and Polish (not including Zuzanna and I representing another Pole & American). Each of whom was new to Berlin, except for one of the Germans who had spent most of her life living in Australia. We were all from another place, but together for the common interest of health and happy living. Though we came together as strangers through the meetup group I created to host the event, by the end of the evening we were all making plans to meet again, and Zuzanna may have found a really great polish connection here – it was delightful to hear them speaking in Polish.
The idea of eating healthy organic sustainably grown plant based fruits and vegetables, with some red wine and sourdough bread, over conversations of family, life, backgrounds, food, health, and sustainable lifestyle was truly enriching and left a big warm happy place in my heart. The food was delicious, the conversation and time together with positive and multi-cultural folks was wonderful.
People in blue zones live longer because they surround themselves with friends and family each day or several times a week. They keep active into their 90’s and beyond with gardening, walking, and working around their homes (many claimed to continue their sexual activities well into their 90’s and beyond). They don’t have much money, and therefore have to live on the vegetables they can grow in their own gardens & farms. Meat is out of their price range except for a village annual slaughter (however the California 7th day adventists are vegetarian), or can afford from what little currency they can earn or trade with to buy produce at the markets. They keep low stress lifestyles and believe in a greater good (usually via religion), leaving the worry of their fate to a higher power.
To finish off our meal we each shared a photo of somebody special in our lives who wasn’t present but had a huge place in our hearts and minds. Transcending the event and group present, the activity encouraged the idea of spending more face to face time with loved ones.
I just wanted to share this, as a moment in time. To look back on, but since I’m sharing this with the public, I do want to recommend others give more time to be with friends and family. To focus on staying physically active, low on stress, eating food you can prepare from scratch (and having a lifestyle that affords the ability to do so).
One of the more popular stories of the blue zone people, is of a man from Ikaria, Greece. Who was diagnosed with lung cancer when he was in his mid-60’s living in Floria working as a house painter, he was told he had 6-9 months to live by multiple doctors. Resolving to die in peace (and be buried for <$200 in Greece instead of thousands in the US) he moved home to spend out his remaining days with his parents in Ikaria. After months of walking up and down the hillsides of the Island, sleeping in basic conditions in his parent’s 2 bedroom home on a stepped vineyard, spending afternoons drinking wine with his friends, and eating the vegetables he could grow on his land; he started to feel better, months turned to years, his breathing improved. At the time of the printing of the NYT article about him in 2012 he was 102. Ikaria is one of the blue zones, along with Okinawa, Sardinia, Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, and Loma Linda, California.
25 years later the greek man went back to Florida to see his doctors and try to find out what happened. But he couldn’t get in touch with them because they had all already died.
Life is short! Don’t stress, spend more time with friends and family and being active, and eating healthy foods (and less meat).