00:00 You’re listening to the live happier, longer podcast, episode 11.
00:14 Welcome to the live happier, longer podcast. We’re your hosts, Molly Watts and Angela McDade. We are here to help you build the habits of a happier, longer life. Starting now.
00:28 Hey Angela. Hey, How are you? I’m good. Oh, you’re not grand today? Well I was grand earlier but I’m good now that we’re recording. Excellent. I’m good. Grand. Whatever you want to call it. I’m well as well. And today we are recording just the two of us again and actually this is kind of fun. I like it when we just do. Yeah, we get to talk about things that we’ve researched or learned along our journey here in creating five for life. So I have a question for you. Okay. How do you like Pasta with tuna?
01:08 I do still like it. There was part of my life when that was our entire diet. Well, it might’ve served you well. So we’ve learned. That is true. At least served Rebecca well. Yes, that’s our number one child was nurtured and reared I suppose you could say. Or basically whatever germinating when she was growing. She was growing because the first year that we were married we were saving up to buy a house, so tuna pasta was the cheapest, most nourishing diet I suppose that we could afford, which which…Tuna Is full of Omega three, which we’re going to learn about here as we get into this conversation about why Omega threes are so important and why that has anything to do with what we’re going to talk about. We’ll get there in a minute too.
02:07 Today we are talking about blue zones. Blue zones was something that we came across very early on and Dan Buettner, who is the National Geographic Explorer, writer, photographer, that actually started the blue zones project. It was something that we stumbled across, very not stumbled. Whatever found very quickly when we were researching stuff for five for life and we share many of the same. Well, we can draw the same conclusions our, our five daily actions are really very well aligned with what these people are doing and have been doing for hundreds of years. So it really marries very very well with what our message is. Yeah. So without further ado, let us jump into a conversation about blue zones.
03:02 So blue zones, like I just said, is something that really was started about 15 years ago now was when Dan Buettner first, um, went and started exploring these areas. And blue zones are specifically places, geographic places where there is a high density of people who live to 100 years of age. That’s what we’ve, that’s what he’s defined it as unusually high a percentage of the population has a long life and they just have a, their longevity is higher than, you know, the average.
03:39 Yeah. Much, much more so. But you also makes it even finer is it’s the longest disability free life expectancy. So it’s, you know, it’s all very well living to you’re over 100, but these people are still very active and fit and healthy. Yeah. So it’s, it’s, you know, it’s that is included as part of his zones as well. And even like the, you know, these people are very active, well into their eighties and nineties, which is, that’s what we’re looking for. Exactly. And what his whole, like idea became was that he wanted to reverse engineer longevity, right. And just figured out what these people have done naturally and then we can learn from that, right. And learn these lessons and hopefully apply them to our own lives. So that is in a nutshell what the blue zones project or what blue zones is all about.
04:38 And he started, like I said, researching this stuff for national geographic in 2005. I believe that it’s still one of the highest circulation articles in national geographic history. So it’s pretty interesting. And it was literally called the secrets of people who live to over a hundred, over a hundred something to that degree. Yeah. So let’s talk about first those first areas that he found that were quote unquote blue zones. Japan, Okinawa, Okinawa in Japan was, I think that was the first one. The actually came across and then, you know, we went from there and then he found these other ideas and another was so Sardinia in Italy and it was up in the mountainous region. It was a specific area in Sardinia itself. And Loma Linda in California, which is a Seventh day Adventist community, and Costa Rica was another place and Ikaria Greece was that. There’s like five main zones that he talks off.
05:46 And I know there was also one, I think he did a little bit maybe a couple of years later. That was in Mexico as well. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And so he started researching all of these places and trying to, not only link them right by the fact that they, to find similar traits that are similar lifestyle habits, similar things that, that all of these regions had in common that made them, you know, have this higher propensity for centenarians.
06:16 So number one, they move naturally. Yeah. Movement is just a part of their lifestyle in Japan, I mean, not only, you know, sitting down on the floor and getting back up again. Also, I think, you know, a very famous photograph from that first article was from Japan and there’s a Japanese woman with her, um, with her hat on and she’s down in the water getting seaweed, seaweed and this again, you know, but she’s crouching, she’s, she’s, she’s literally, you know, she’s older and she’s, you know, her hips are down below her knees and do a little kid would skoot down to pick something up.
06:56 Yeah, exactly. Right. Exactly. And it’s just a natural, a natural thing for them to do. And, and this, this lady in the picture is 82. Yeah. You know, there’s, there’s 40 year olds who would look at that and go, Ugh, no way. Yeah, I can’t do that. Yeah. So we talk a lot, obviously hear about, I mean, that’s why daily action number one here is move. And we, when we do reinforce the fact that it’s not, you don’t have to go and do crazy things. It’s, it’s being active and these, this, this blue zone lifestyle is absolutely organic. Yeah, I mean it is part of their lives, you know, they do things like if you’re baking a cake, you mix it by hand, roll out dough with a rolling pin, you know, you’re doing housework and you’re sweeping and you know, everything. There’s no mechanical things that are used.
07:51 The same with gardening is all, everything is all done without machinery, which is, you know, that’s one of the things that we, we have all these great devices that make things so much easier. We’ve got a Roomba, it just zips around the room. You don’t even have to push the vacuum. So you know. But yeah, and it’s true and that’s the lesson to be learned is that we do live in a completely different society, you know, while these..full of convenience. Right, exactly. And let’s face it, most of us aren’t moving to Sardinia or to Okinawa anytime soon.
08:36 Although, I would go! Yeah, exactly. We are going to have to engineer that activity into our lives then that’s just kind of, you know, we are going to have to figure it out. The people that are living to the longest in these places, they basically don’t sit. I just saw this on a, on another post from our video from blue zones. They don’t sit for more than 20 minutes at a time. Yeah, that’s a, you know, 20 minutes. That’s not much to be. You have to, you know, people here that a lot longer. I’m pretty sure. So does that mean we have to stand up in the middle of the podcast? Do a dance and talk at the same time? Right. I mean it’s, but you know, that’s why you’ve got to get out there and move and offset some of that, you know. One of the other things they had was like, a lot of them came to garden and that garden of course they grew all of their food, so it was twofold.
09:36 Right. And again, the physicality of weeding and planting a garden and picking and pulling and digging in and all the stuff involved is another physical exercise that you’re just, as he calls it, you’re just nudged into this every day. Yeah, I love that. So it’s not, you don’t really have to think about it. You’re just doing it. Yeah. There’s, he definitely a lot of his message is that if you surround yourself with the right in the right environment, it kind of nudges you into this lifestyle. Right? And so, um, definitely we’re all about trying to create an environment around ourselves, but it’s a little different than, than a blue zones type locale. So he has basically, like we said that the, the idea being we’re going to reverse engineer these longevity habits back into our lives and blue zones talks about their power nine. So we just, we literally just talked about number one, which was moved naturally.
10:37 Um, they’re number two and we, you know, again, we share a lot of things in common with them there. Number two is purpose. And we have, we have spoken about that on and off through our different podcasts, and it’s basically what makes you get up in the morning. If you wake up in the morning and your first thought is, oh no, then, then it’s no going to get you a bed. But if you’re, if you know you’ve got something to do, places to go, people to see it, you know, it’s, it, it gives you reason to get up. Otherwise you might just lay in bed all day. In Japan. They have a word for it. Yeah. Um, I can’t for now. Ikigai We could go and plan devita. Yeah. And they, they actually have proven that having a sense of purpose, knowing what you’re doing can increase your life expectancy by like seven years. So that’s a pretty, a pretty nice thing right there. Right?
11:36 So number three in the power nine is downshift. And I think that, you know, we’re all about downshifting. This is daily action number five, let go for us. I think that in their, the environment of the blue zones, it’s just kind of again, because just like you mentioned, it’s, it’s, they don’t, they’re not dependent upon conveniences, machinery, all that stuff. It’s a, it’s more of a natural way of life for them. But also they so has, so the different areas, a lot of them have like a faith based. So, in Japan, it’s that they recognize their, their elders and ancestors. In Loma Linda, it’s, they are seventh day Adventists. So the have the have sabbath. I think it’s that from Friday, sunset to Saturday sunset, you know, so it’s like a 24 hour where they literally do nothing, do nothing.
12:35 So they just, you know, during that time they will go for a walk and take in the nature and all of that. So they have very specific. So downtime is actually downtime and they meditate and pray and do all of those things and not that we are saying that everybody has to find to religion and all start praying. But you find that time where you, you actually do take a time out and you release the stress and. Yeah, because you know, the, the one in downshift time in Sardinia, he says it’s all about happy hour, happy hour, you know, Hey hey, and another reason to move to Sardinia. So it’s doesn’t have to be a, you know, a spiritual thing. But um, it’s a time to relax, reflect, and with a glass of wine is not a bad idea either. But the, again, science has shown that by, you know, having that downtime when you’re hurried and stressed out, it triggers an inflammatory response which is associated with heart disease and all of that stuff.
13:42 And by slowing down for 15 minutes a day, you can actually turn that, turn that around to an inflammatory state. So it’s is medically effect as well. So yeah, you know, and it’s, so that 15 minutes of meditation is just, it’s good medicine, right? Good medicine daily action number five, let go for sure.
14:05 So the next parts of the power nine, four, five and six really have to do with diet, which we kind of purposefully stayed away from, um, with five for life just because there’s a lot of that, so many contradictory things, you know, so, and, and there’s people who swear by one diet or another and they all have good things and bad things and it works for some people and it doesn’t work for others. And we’ve all heard that. We’ve, I think every single one of us has heard the stories of people that are 100 who eat sausage every day and potatoes and who else?
14:42 Who knows what else, you know, they have a high fat diet exclusively and they’re still here. So it’s like diet is a really, is, in my opinion, is a really personalized situation based on your own genetics, based on your own body. However, however there are, there are trends and in these areas, these generally speaking culturally, the Diet is what everybody does, it’s they all have this diet in common. Yes. So the 80 percent rule. Now this one I think is probably, you know, no matter what, is a good idea, clever, whatever you’re doing in life, it’s just basically saying that you do everything to 80 percent in terms of when you’re eating to eat, right? You just, you, you stop before you feel 100 percent full. And that 20 percent gap is in is just incredibly important. Yeah. Because it’s the catch up because you don’t feel full until after you’re full and over full.
15:40 So yeah. And that’s. And obviously we know that here in the United States, especially overeating is and you know, is a problem. Yeah. Portion size and all of that. So, uh, I think the 80 percent rule is something that most of us could abide by. Number five is a plant, a plant, slant slant. I forgot that they’re not fully vegetarian, but they have they eat mostly mostly plant based, lots of beans. Lots of beans. Yeah. And uh, things that, fresh fruit and vegetables, green vegetables and lentils, soy, lots of things of that nature. And then they really make up the balance of that with lots of fish, chicken, low fat meat when that was kind of where we were going. That’s where the whole Omega three conversation came in before, because all of these things, they tend to, not just the fish but the soy and the beans and all of those things. They tend to be high in Omega threes. Tell us what you found out in terms of why Omega threes are so important and so good for us. Yeah, they’re so good for us. Again. So we always talk here and five for life about, you know, having the optimistic outlook in life and all of that and omega threes actually extremely helpful in that because the fight, depression and anxiety is one of the, one of the things they do but also has so many other health benefits and it promotes, so that the whole tuna pasta thing apparently promotes brain health during pregnancy and early life and. You’re welcome Rebecca. Yeah. And so this, this eating, this is, it’s very, very helpful for the, for the developing fetus and then child.
17:33 It improves heart disease risk factors and actually, very interestingly, it improves adhd issues, which you know, that’s very commonly, now lots of kids have been diagnosed but that doesn’t disappear when you know, grew up. So again, lots of grownups can, can benefit from that. It reduces chronic inflammation, helps against lots of auto immune system diseases. Cancer. I mean there’s just or it just goes on and on and on and on. What are some of those. Remind me again, what are some of the. We just, some of the foods we know like nuts, fish, fatty fish, like especially like salmon tuna. Yeah, soy beans, Broccoli, a lot of green vegetables, avocado, spinach, eggs, I believe. Yeah. So in one of the things at they eat in Sardinia is pecorino cheese, Pecorino, and it is made from grass fed sheep which is high in Omega three, which I think most cows, milk cheese is Omega six so Omega three is the one you want. Omega six. I’m sure is very nice. Omega three is particular one we’re focusing on here that is extremely good for you. Yeah. And you and you know, I think you can, you can get supplements in three fatty acids which also helped, but getting it in your diet is always, I think the first step. Yeah. So that’s the um, so that was number five was.
19:14 So we’ve gone through a move purpose downshift the 80 percent rule, plant, slant, and now number six is wine at five. We promote that. And one of the things that, again, in Sardinia, they grow their own particular grape. In Sardina, the cannonau, they, they, it’s the Cannonau wine. Yeah. And it is particularly high in polyphenols, more so than other wines. So they have a glass of wine every day, but theirs just has that extra little boost. So they share it together. That’s another, you know, they sit down, it’s a social, it’s a community kind of thing where they’re sharing with each other. Um, but he is very quick to say that, you know, it’s one to two glasses of wine. You don’t save them up and not have 14 at the weekend. No. So I’ve seen other stuff from them on blue zones that says sharing research that there’s no safe amount of alcohol. So it’s, it’s a different strokes for different folks. And this is just simply sharing what they do in, in these communities. And this is pretty typical across the board except for the Seventh Day Adventists who obviously don’t drink at all.
20:28 Um, okay. Number seven in our power nine is belong. And basically in all but five of the, the 263 centenarian that they interviewed in this first, um, exploration, they all but five belonged to some faith based community. So who knows, denomination didn’t seem to matter and research shows that attending a faith based service four times a month we’ll add four to 14 years of life expectancy. And I think that’s back to you’re consistently seeing the same people and exchanging, chatting with people, visiting and you know, so. And it’s also. Yeah, and it’s also a meditation of sorts. You know, when you’re listening to a sermon, you’re, you’re letting go of the outside world, right? You’re focusing in on something that you believe, well, it’s a shared belief in you. He said it wasn’t a, a particular denomination, it was a shared belief. So if you’re around like minded people is going to give you a sense of comfort and belonging as is the one. So if you feel you belong, you’re going feel a whole lot more comfortable than somewhere that you don’t feel you belong. And it’s, I think, you know, we talk about that a lot in terms of daily action number three, share. Really it’s the engagement and the sense of connection wherever you’re finding that wherever you’re creating that, that creates that sense of belonging because really what that’s doing is defending against loneliness and isolation, which has been shown to, you know, increase morbidity. So I think we may have missed or 20 minute exercise zone. Oh yes, yes we did. Okay. So we have to do jumping jacks right now? No, we’re going to wait until after that, this.
22:12 Okay. Um, so number eight is loved one first. Yeah. And that’s the, the family. All of these communities have very, very tight knit families. Multi Generations living in the same house and great respect for the elders. Yeah. Which is, uh, which is uh, you know, an interesting dynamic and one that is certainly a struggle for many kids as we live in, you know, you live in a different continent for goodness sakes. Yeah. Well, I, I do personally, but I think it’s, again, it’s part of the lifestyle that may work in those particular communities. Here it it, we’re not set up the same, you know, having, having your parents or if you have an extended family living with you for a lot of people, both husband and wife or partners, they all go out to work. So if there’s a, a parent at home who needs full time care, they physically aren’t there to look after them, you know, where as in a lot of these communities as you know, the don’t have the same lifestyle of 9-5 job’s and all of that.
23:27 So although personally it may be a struggle for some people to have that multigeneration, physically it’s not necessarily as. Yes you. No, and he’s actually, I mean that’s part of their work now at blue zones is they’re trying to set up communities. I mean that’s one of the things that we are not set up here. I mean and that’s as the population continues to age, our whole infrastructure of our cities and our communities is not really structured to support that older people living independently. And that’s the difference, right? So in these blue zone communities, the whole community is really still structured so that the older people can live independently in terms of even if that means living with family, it means that they’re not, they’re not being having to be cared for to the same extent yet it’s just different. And that’s why the blue zones project is so important because they are trying to figure out how to reverse engineer that into our lifestyle here in the United States.
24:28 And number nine is the right tribe. And this, more again, is just, it’s another one that we would, we would wrap into share. Share. Yeah. Because it’s basically the longest, uh, the world’s longest lived people shows social circles that support healthy behaviors. Right? And that’s. So you’re really just going to surround yourself with people who are not living healthy lives, who are negative, who are totally depressed about getting older. It all rubs though. You’ll probably end up the same. It’s infectious. It’s like the say laughing is infectious. Misery is equally as infectious. Yes.
25:07 But what I love about blue zones, what I think is the big takeaway, and you know something that we definitely believe as well, is that to live a longer, happier life, good genes help, right? But to create that happier part, to influence your longevity, you can do it. You can develop habits that, and again, it’s back to it’s, it’s things that you are doing everyday. These people do these things everyday without thinking about it. So if we can do these things every day and then it does become part of your life and you don’t have to take a time out to do them necessarily, it’s just, it’s just part of how you live. Right? And we here at five for live, we talk about not a power nine, but we talk about five daily actions, move, learn, share, give, and let go. They’re all really designed to create a positive mindset to help combat the fears that people have about aging and the problems that people have, at least in the United States with aging, loss of mobility, cognitive decline, loneliness. The whole idea being that by creating habits, whether it’s a better diet, whether it’s, uh, you know, learning using your brain more, these things are all going to just give you a leg up.
26:34 They’re not guaranteed. Nothing’s guaranteed. This is not, you know, the power nine is not a guarantee. No. Not everybody lives to 100 years. They have a very high number of people who do, but, but they don’t all. I mean, and with the way that the world is today, and with the medical advances we have here in the United States, chances are even if you find yourself battling a chronic disease state, you’re still going to keep on living. You’re going to get no. So isn’t it better to have a good outlook about that and create and do the things that you can to defend against seeing your life as a downhill slide and really trying to make the rest of your life the best of your life. Exactly. I just summed that up so cleverly know, yeah, you should do this. I should do this.
27:19 So go check out www.bluezones.Com. Their whole website says inspired by the world’s longest lived cultures. We help you live longer, better, so that’s what they do. There’s meal planners, there’s all sorts of ways that you can learn more about blue zones and hopefully you’ll get as much out of it as we do all the time because they really do have a lot of great resources. Yeah. It’s just it’s, It’s so interesting to see how what we have put together as a longevity lifestyle habits and how it actually ties in with people who have just been doing it. Yeah. Yeah. That they didn’t have. They didn’t have one plan. It was just what they did. Just did it. Yeah. All right. Until next time.
28:08 Thanks for listening to the live happier, longer podcast. Now it’s time to move, learn, share, give and let go. Five daily actions to make the rest of your life the best of your life. See you next week.