I’m Lucie Fink and this week is Five Days of Living Longer. Hey everyone and welcome back to Refinery29’s YouTube channel. Give this video a thumbs up if you want to see more episodes of Try Living With Lucie. And if you haven’t done so yet click right here in the corner and join our family. Subscribe, subscribe, subscribe. All right so there aren’t many updates here with me, except for the obvious fact which is that my hair’s blonder. I really wanted to be blonde for my upcoming wedding, so let me know what you think. I’m growing it out because I want it to be really long. But I know that all of you are here today because you want to learn how to live the longest life possible. So let’s stop messing around and just get into the episode. Just about a year ago I came across a book titled The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. So this week’s episode is gonna be a full deep dive on the blue zones. Let’s do it. Normally I spend the intro section on these episodes introducing the topic and giving you background and then when Monday comes I’m already diving into the challenge. This week I feel like there’s a lot of upfront information that you need to know before we get into the challenge. So I’m going to start on Monday by just explaining the topic. Some scientists not too long ago were studying longevity and they were trying to figure out where the healthiest people lived. And they found these clusters of areas in the world that had the highest population of centenarians, or people who lived to 100 years of age. And they circled these various regions on the map using a blue pen. Pretty soon because of that blue pen they started referring to these regions as the Blue Zones and thus the phrase was coined. And there are five regions in the world today that are the most well-known blue zones. Number one it Icaria, Greece. It’s an island just eight miles off the coast of Turkey that has one of the lowest rates of middle age mortality and dementia. Number two the Ogliastra region of Sardinia. These are the mountainous highlands of an Italian island and this region has the highest concentration of centenarian men in the world. Next Okinawa, Japan. A large island towards the bottom of all the Japanese islands. That’s home to the world’s longest lived women. The Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. Which has the lowest rate of middle age mortality and the second highest concentration of male centenarians. And finally Loma Linda, California a California community and the only blue zone in the United States. Many of Loma Linda residents live ten more healthy years than the average American. So one thing that’s important to note about these blue zones is it’s not just about people who are living the longest lives, but it’s also about people who are living the healthiest lives. By this point, you’re probably wondering “Okay so what is the secret?” Well as it turns out these people are not following any special diets. They don’t have any secret workout regimens that we don’t know about. And no their genes are no different from my genes or your genes. And I’m talking genes not jeans. So scientists have basically pulled together years and years of research and come up with a list of lessons that we can learn from all the different people that live in these regions. So now that we got all the basics out of the way this episode is going to teach you how to turn your home, your life, and your lifestyle into that of a blue zone. Let’s go. When I first started studying the blue zones the first question that I personally had is what do these people eat. Tuesday is going to be all about the rituals surrounding food. And then on Wednesday, I’ll get into the nitty-gritty of what food they’re eating. One thing that’s pretty standard across all of the Blue Zones is that growing, preparing, serving, and eating your food are all sacred practices. And there are so many different things about the way we eat or at least the way I sometimes eat. In modern-day New York City that they just wouldn’t do in the Blue Zones. Things like eating on the go. Picking up food from a fast food restaurant. Eating while working and so much more. So if you want to apply some of these philosophies to your life and start eating as if you lived in a Blue Zone. Here are the tips you can follow. Number one breakfast should be your biggest meal of the day. Lunch is usually a mid-sized meal and then for dinner it’s the smallest. Nicoyans in Costa Rica sometimes eat two big breakfasts and then a light dinner. And the Okinawans often skip dinner altogether. In all of the Blue Zones, food is a very special thing and cooking is celebratory. And if you’re not convinced yet that you should be cooking at home. Here are three reasons why it’s great for your health. Firstly you know what’s going into your food. Number two you know that you can use the highest quality ingredients. And thirdly even though it can be very minimal, chopping your food and preparing things, and moving around the kitchen helps you get in some physical activity. Number three makes your meals social. People living in the blue zones do not often eat meals by themselves. So they don’t grab food on the go and then eat while they’re chatting on the phone to a client. They don’t hold food in one hand and then put the other hand on the steering wheel and drive. No, no, no. Meals are eaten with family and friends. Sitting down, not doing anything else but eating and then they eat very slowly and they talk and they enjoy the food and enjoy the flavors and enjoy the ambiance. And that social aspect of mealtimes is very important. Number four follows the 80 percent rule. With the abundance of food options around us. And the giant-sized plates that are being served to us in America, it’s no wonder that many people are just taking in far too much food than their bodies actually need. So the 80 percent rule asks you to stop eating when you feel 80 percent full. The thought process behind that one is that apparently it takes about 20 minutes for that feeling of fullness in your stomach to travel up to your brain. So if you stop eating when you feel 80 percent full. Hopefully by the time that feeling of fullness catches up to your brain you’ll be fully satiated. I’ve never tried the 80 percent rule. I usually go until I’m a full one hundred and ten. But comment below if you’ve tried it and let me know how it’s made you feel. Number five don’t take your food too seriously. Most people in the blue zones do not count calories. They don’t take vitamins. They don’t weigh their protein grams, record their macros, or even read labels on food. Of course many of these people have the luxury of not having to do this because they’re not surrounded by processed food in their grocery stores. But many people in the Blue Zones live in areas where they don’t even go to grocery stores. They just grow their own food in their gardens. They’re eating locally sourced food that’s pesticide free and organically raised. And they just don’t have too many processed food options. Instead they followed time honored recipes and they just celebrate and enjoy life through food. Naturally, each of the blue zones eats a little bit differently. And that’s because much of the food choices in these regions are based on the terrain, or on the plants, and animals that live nearby. But after analyzing a ton of dietary studies the Blue Zone researchers were able to distill this information down to share with us what on average these people are actually eating. So number one there’s a plant slant. A huge majority of the food that these people eat comes from plants. Number two their meat is clean. So even though there is this heavy emphasis on plants these people do eat meat or animal products if it’s available in their environment. So any meat that’s eaten in the Blue Zones comes from free-roaming animals. They’re raised with no hormones, no antibiotics. They’re chewing on grass that has no pesticides on it. Fully clean meat. Incaria and Sardinia use sheep or goat’s milk to make fermented yogurts that have no added sugars in them. And the Okinawans actually eat a lot of pork. Number three they eat high-quality eggs. Any eggs in the blue zones come from cage free chickens that eat a wide variety of natural foods. They have no hormones or antibiotics. And these chickens produce eggs that are higher in omega 3 fatty acids. Oh and one more thing it also takes these chickens two times as long to breed eggs as it does for the chickens making factory produce eggs. Number four their fish isn’t farmed. In most cases, people in the Blue Zones choose fish that are abundant and are not threatened by overfishing. Fish like sardines, anchovies, and cod. These are middle of the food chain species that aren’t exposed to high levels of mercury or other chemicals like PCV. Number five they eat a ton of cooked beans. Humans have been eating beans for over eight thousand years and they’re a great source of protein and complex carbs. Number six cut down on sugar. Try to get all of your sweet intake through fruits and don’t add any processed sugar to meals. Also try avoiding the processed foods that have an excess of sugar things like sauces dressings or ketchup. Number seven eat a lot of nuts. People in the Blue Zones eat almonds, peanuts, brazil nuts, cashews, walnuts, and so much more. And if they’re ever in need of a snack it’s pretty much always nuts. And number eight their main bread is either sour dough or 100 percent whole wheat bread. They don’t touch any refined flowers. Instead their bread is filled with nutrients and minerals and they mostly make it from scratch. So here’s a quick rundown of the 10 most popular Blue Zone foods. Beans, greens, sweet potatoes, nuts, olive oil, oats, barley, fruits, green or herbal tea and tumeric. As for their beverages, the findings are firstly. Drink a ton of water to stay hydrated. Secondly drink coffee. Turns out good quality coffee is sipped in pretty much all the Blue Zones. Next is tea, and people in all of the Blue Zones drink tea. Different herbs are known to have different anti-inflammatory properties. And lastly number four drinking red wine in moderation. Some people in the Blue Zones have between one and three glasses of red wine per day. And it’s always with a meal and with family and friends. It’s unclear if it’s because of the plant-based antioxidants in red wine or the fact that drinking wine helps to reduce your stress levels which is good for you too. So you don’t have to start drinking red wine if you don’t like it or if you don’t currently drink. But if you do like it and you are of age you can continue enjoying a glass of red wine in moderation. This is the moment in the video where I’d like to mention that I’m not just teaching you about this subject as the days go by but throughout this five day challenge I was actually challenging myself to live like I lived in a blue zone. So on Monday through Wednesday of this week I made sure that every single meal I eat was a Blue Zone recipe. You’ll have to get the Blue Zones book for the full recipes or I’m positive you can find a ton of them online. But here’s a quick glimpse into what I ate. On Monday I had steel cut oatmeal for breakfast. I put tons of blueberries on top. Sprinkled cinnamon all over it and then drizzled honey on top. For another breakfast this week I branched out and I made homemade miso soup. This is something that I had for breakfast a bunch when I visited Japan. And I loved having it for breakfast. So I made it myself using miso paste, tofu, and scallions. One day for lunch I made a coconut curry tofu dish and a homemade minestrone for dinner on Monday which fed me for two nights. I also made sure that most of my meals were enjoyed with other people. Michael and I invited our friends over for dinner last night and we cooked dinner for them and then we had a really fun game night together. For a nice evening game of Catan. And I even made a homemade loaf of bread. So now that we’ve explored the food it’s time to look at some of the other lifestyle commonalities in these Blue Zones. Starting with movement. Movement is key in these regions. But one thing that I find really interesting is these people don’t lift weights. They don’t do high intensity interval training. They don’t run marathons and they don’t have gym memberships. They actually likely don’t even have gyms in many of these areas. They’re healthy because they’re just getting in natural movement throughout the course of the day by being physically active and by not leading sedentary lives. They garden, they do their own house, and yard work. They walk almost everywhere. They carry heavy things around. They’re generally just on their feet moving around doing physical work. And I did hear somewhere that the steeper the hill the people lived on. On average the longer lives they lived. Not sure if that’s just because it adds some more resistance to your daily movement or if it’s because you’re less likely to drive in a mountainous region. So these people are more likely to just walk everywhere. Or maybe it’s both. But whatever the reason on Thursday I lived my life as if I lived in one of these places. So I did not let myself sit at a desk all day. Instead I had a full day of physical activities starting with a walk to the plant district because I needed to refresh some of the plants in my apartment. Then once I got home I reported those plants as if I was tending to a garden. Then I watered all of my plants. I had a meeting in downtown Manhattan followed by a shoot uptown and I just planned a lot of extra time to let myself get there by foot. So I walked everywhere. No public transportation. When I got home I had to do a little bit of housework. I had to rehang some photos that were not straight and I wanted to wash my windows. Normally I would have waited for Michael to do some of this housework with me. But instead, I just took out our tool kit and got to work. All right so aside from getting in some natural movement some other lifestyle habits that these people have are they have routines and systems in place to help bring their stress levels down. Thus reducing the inflammation in their bodies. Now just because they live in these regions doesn’t mean these people have no stress. I mean these are still regular people we’re talking about so they still do have normal everyday stresses. In Incaria they take naps pretty much every afternoon. The Adventists in Loma Linda pray. The Sardinians have a happy hour every day. So taking a quick nap doing, something spiritual, and having a happy hour are three things that I incorporated into my life on Thursday. And the last thing that’s a common thread through all the Blue Zones is that these people have a strong sense of purpose. In Okinawa, It’s called ikigai. I have an entire book about it. In Costa Rica it’s called plan de vida. It’s overall just why you get out of bed in the morning and a lot of these Blue Zone books cite studies saying that you can add seven healthy years onto your life just by knowing your purpose. So if you know it already come at your life purpose below. Happy Friday. Okay so we’ve covered a lot here. We’ve got food, beverages, physical activity, stress relief, purpose and a lot more. But one of the cornerstones of the Blue Zone lifestyle has yet to be mentioned and that is community. Having people that you trust that can trust you and overall just having the support network in life is imperative. In Okinawa, they create Moais or small groups of four to five friends that commit to each other for life. There are a lot of people in my life that I love and trust but I’ve got to say my ten bridesmaids plus my twin sister who is my maid of honor. That is my Moai and these are going to be the women that are my support system for the rest of my life. And when I say your community I don’t only mean social circles. 98 percent of the centenarians interviewed for these books belonged to a faith-based community. And it didn’t even matter what faith or religion they were but it just showed that attending faith based services four times a month can add four to 14 years to your life expectancy. And lastly family comes first. These centenarians often commit to a life partner and they also often keep aging parents or grandparents nearby or even in their homes. So Friday for me was about community and family. I enjoyed a nice walk with Michael before he had to go off to class for the day and I made big weekend plans to get all of my best friends together for a homemade meal at my apartment. If you don’t have a faith or religion I believe that building a community at a yoga studio or a meditation center, can have the same effect as attending faith-based services. I think it’s all about just being around some of the same people over and over again. Getting to know them really well and practicing the same thing together. So my twin sister Allie and I did a Friday evening yoga class together at our favorite yoga studio where we pretty much know all of the instructors and we’ve I also gotten to know a lot of the other students that go regularly. About to do yoga together, our classic class. If you’re interested in longevity research there is so much more research inside these books and there’s also so many inspiring stories of people who live in these regions. So I would highly recommend that you get the Blue Zones book either online or I’m sure they have it at many of your local bookstores. I’m personally intrigued by the fact that even if you don’t live in these regions because let’s face it we can’t all live in these regions. You can essentially engineer a Blue Zone for yourself just by making some big changes to your community. And some places around the world are already doing this by making biking more accessible, creating community gardens, making interest based clubs and so much more. And if all else fails we can just move to Greece and live happily ever after. Thank you so much for coming back to Refinery29’s channel comment below and let me know what other 5 day challenges you want to see from me and I’ll see you then on Try Living with Lucie. Bye. 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