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10 Habits from the Blue-Zones – where People live the Longest

This post was last updated on July 23rd, 2018 at 07:37 pm
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“Hara Hachi bu” – The Okinawans eat only until they are 80% full

1. Stop eating when 80% full

Wansink in his book “Mindless Eating: Why we eat more than we think” shows that few people grasp the real reasons why they consume what they do. “Everyone – every single one of us – eats how much we eat largely because of what is around us.”… “We over-eat not because of hunger but because of family and friends, packages and plates, names and numbers, labels and lights, colors and candles, shapes and smells, distractions and distances, cupboards and containers”.
The upside of the way our brains work, is that once we understand how our conditioning works we can nudge ourselves into eating healthier, slower and less.
• Don’t eat standing up or on the go.
• Turn off TV during meals.
• Switch to smaller bowls and dinner plates.
• Whenever possible eat with others.
• Eat slowly.
• Stop eating when 80 percent full.

2. Locally source fruit and vegetables

• If you cannot grow fruit and veg in your own garden, then you should find a place, where you can purchase them, where they have been grown directly and so have not been processed – eg a local farmers market or a community supported farm. Ensure that they are organic and pesticide-free.

3. Think of food and dining as sacred

• Give more time, patience and effort to growing, preparing, serving and eating. These practices should be thought of as sacred with the power to bring together families and friends.
• Implement your own daily rituals around food and meals and practice them.

4. Cook at home & prepare time-honoured recipes

• Cook your meals at home and save eating out for celebrations. In this way you can ensure the freshest, highest-quality ingredients and avoid the cheap fillers and flavour enhancers that most restaurants use. Cooking also nudges you into action and this physical activity counts more than you know, especially when compared to sitting down at a restaurant.
• Set up your home in a way that it makes it easy for you to prepare plant-based foods.
• Research, learn and make a habit of making some time-honoured recipes (found in Buettner’s book) that will make them taste good.

5. Establish a routine & be organized

• Designate Sunday afternoon as time to prepare meals for the week so that you can freeze food for later.
• Always try to have breakfast at home.
• Pack a lunch the night before.
• Have a huge breakfast before work, a medium-size lunch, and a light early dinner.
• Occasionally grab a mid-morning handful of nuts, but don’t make big habit of snacking.

6. Wake up with purpose

Purpose is fundamental to longevity, health, healing and happiness.
• Be aware of your own purpose of living. If you are not aware, do some work and discover it.
• Think about your purpose as you get up from bed every morning.

7. Incorporate some sacred daily rituals that help you downshift

It is important to reverse the stress of daily living. You cannot escape stress but you can set up your surroundings so that you can have less of it.
• Consider adding rituals that help you to downshift into your routine, such as yoga & gardening.

8. Sleep & sex are important

• Aim for 8 hours of sleep, ideal to optimize health and longevity.
• Aim to go to bed shortly after sunset and wake with daybreak.
• Wake up naturally. Dont use alarm clocks.
• Have sex often – verified longevity enhancer.

9. Grow & maintain your own garden

• If you have a yard, dedicate a space for a garden. Plant it and for the next four to six months, water, weed, hoe, prune & harvest.
• Have some water indoor plants around the house (cleans the air and provides health benefits).

10. Be social

• Surround yourself with the right kind of people (healthy & positive).
• Carefully cultivate your inner circle of friends – healthy, don’t smoke, active, upbeat, curious, like to listen as well as talk. Make sure that you feel better around them than if you are not.
• Be the glue that brings that circle together.
• Think about what your interests and talents are and find an organization/club that will nurture them.

ResourceDan Buettner – The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People,
Wansink – Mindless Eating

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General health freak extraordinaire obsessed with health research and optimal health performance. Note, I have other loves in my life, these include travel, good coffee, red wine, films & yoga.

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