The never-ending quest to stumble upon a miraculous diet that would ideally let us eat reasonable portions without cutting out our precious rosè on the weekend isn’t a quest we’re willing to give up on. Ain’t no room for quitters. That’s why we always investigate when a new diet makes news (especially when it doesn’t see or smell like a disguised low-carb meal plan). The latest diet that promises to be one of easiest to adhere by is the blue zone diet. I first heard about it on one those celebrity doctor shows they play before Judge Judy in the afternoon. The first thing they said about it was that if you want to live to 100 then try this. Unfortunately, I tuned out for the rest so let’s find out here together what the blue zone diet is.
How did it start?
A clever man, Dan Buettner discovered the five cities around the world where a majority of locals celebrate their 100th birthday like it’s no biggie. He coined these geographical spots the ‘Blue Zones’ – concluding that their similar diet was the cornerstone of their remarkable longevity. Genius. Diets usually hook us in for their weight loss potential, but this one is about eating and living mindfully to thrive, shine and be divine well into our year’s disease free.
What are the world’s healthiest cities?
- Ikaria, Greece
- Okinawa, Japan
- Sardinia, Italy
- Loma Linda, California, US
- Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
Moving right along, what can I eat on this diet?
Good riddance to calories and shunning carbs! You’ll be delighted by the freedom of this eating style (of course within reason, no surprise here that refined sugar doesn’t make the list). It’s fair to say this is a plant-based whole food diet. Meals should be kept ‘clean’, aiming to use up to 5 ingredients to be gentle on your digestive system.
You’re encouraged to eat:
- 65% carbohydrates: vegetables, fruits, whole grains and only authentic sourdough bread
- 20% healthy fats: olive oil, nuts and seeds (1 handful a day)
- 15% good quality protein: tofu, beans (1 cup a day) and smalls amounts of quality fish
- Drinks: turmeric tea, unsweetened tea & coffee and enjoy a glass of wine with dinner
You’re encouraged to limit:
If you noticed already that there’s virtually zero meat on the menu? Well yeah, centurions in the blue zones eat little to no meat. Don’t be totally disheartened because small amounts of organic meat a few times a week won’t do much harm. The other thing to note is that most dairy including cow’s milk, cheese, cream and butter isn’t advised but you can enjoy up to 3 organic eggs a week and a small amount of feta cheese or goats milk.
Why? Put simply, dairy and meat causes inflammation in the body and can promote disease.
Lastly – like all diets – processed sugary foods aren’t your friend. If you’re hanging out for something sweet have a teaspoon of honey (don’t roll your eyes at me)!
What about exercise?
This wholesome lifestyle doesn’t suggest unnatural exercise like sweaty HIIT sessions. Instead, it promotes a gentle movement that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine like walking, hiking, gardening (buying pretty plants for indoors counts) and doing chores (so get vacuuming baby).
What else should I know?
You should have stress-busting practices in place in order to maintain youthfulness. This could be as simple as spending regular time with your family and friends. Whatever relaxes you, make sure it’s habitual. It’s also crucial to get enough vitamin D. So enjoy some time in the sun because it’s great for your immunity, blood pressure and lowers your risk of age-related illnesses.
Words by Jennifer Aitken.