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Investing in your Health

New York Times Best Selling Author and Netflix Producer, Dan Buettner, Inspires a Better Life

What’s the secret to a happy, healthy, and long life? Believe it or not, it’s actually quite simple: There are no secret ingredients, no sizable expenditures, and absolutely zero manufactured elements of any kind. Dive in with us as we share insights from our interview with the internationally renowned Blue Zones Founder, National Geographic Explorer, and award-winning journalist who is revolutionizing the way Americans make choices that can lead to living your best life.

For over twenty years, Dan Buettner has been fully committed to studying the health and longevity of Americans as well as influencing the proper and attainable health-centric environments our communities should embody. What started with identifying five “blue zones” around the world where people are both living longer as well as enjoying a higher quality of life in their elder years has now also evolved into proactively creating eco-systems where our communities engage in setting the standard for clean health. 

If you haven’t subscribed to watching “Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones” streaming on Netflix, do yourself a favor and soak up the well-documented views into how Ikaria, Greece, Loma Linda, California, Sardinia, Italy, Okinawa, Japan, and Nicoya, Costa Rica exemplify the basis behind the Blue Zones truth and have since inspired Dan and his team to further extrapolate how we can manufacture healthy blue zone lifestyles in virtually any city and within our homes by way of intentional adaptation.

Most of us are well aware of the “American way of life” we reside in, that being one of convenience in all shapes and forms. We excel in offering the most fast food options in any country. We rank at the top of the most cars per household. We embrace a sedentary at-home lifestyle. And, for many of us, it stems from our childhood to no-fault of our own; comfort foods and Friday night pizza deliveries, complacent recliners and cushy car commutes. In short, however, now more than ever we categorically live in a country where processed foods and ultra-convenience, unfortunately, translate to life-threatening health diseases and a lack of organic joy. 

What is the best news of all? All of these characteristics are wildly easy to overcome with effortless, yet conscious pivots to making better decisions with our time, our food, and our focus. Ask yourself: Are you driving or walking? Are you connecting socially? Set your sights on avoiding the majority of processed foods and start eating a largely whole-food and plant-based diet that will (statistically) give you another 10-12 years on your life. 

In place of your toaster, keep a fruit bowl on the counter. Create a low-level junk food drawer. Stop buying processed meat, potato chips, sweetened snacks like cookies and candies, and worst of all, sugar-sweet beverages, and start buying more beans, nuts, grains, and tea. 

“Am I going to tell you to never have these? No, people deserve to treat themselves. But you’ll do yourself an enormous favor if you just don’t bring those into your home. If you want to go out for those treats, go ahead,” Dan says. “Simply just don’t bring them home, and you’ll cut out 70-80% of consumption right there.”

Buettner’s first cookbook, The Blue Zones Kitchen, is a fantastic resource featuring ingredients and cooking methods that can increase longevity, wellness, and mental health. The recipes also include lifestyle tips such as proper portion sizes and the best times to eat dinner. 

Who do you hang out with? Happiness is contagious. “The Blue Zone approach is to go through your contact base and think of some friends whose recreation is pickleball, biking, or gardening. Who will care about you on a bad day and have a meaningful conversation? Identify one or two friends who are vegan or vegetarian and show you how and where to eat whole foods. Actively invite them out for lunch, and bring them into your social circle: this will have a bigger, long-term impact on your behavior than any new diet or exercise, and it costs you zero. Plus, there is a ton of data that shows it works, and it's long-term.” 

“We are marketed the idea that if we change our behavior by exercising more, taking the right supplements, trying this longevity or that anti-aging hack, that we will lose weight and get healthy, yet it never works for the long-term,” says Dan. The Blue Zones approach is not trying to change your behaviors, it is asking you to change your surroundings…your eco-system. 

Every time you go out to eat, you will consume an extra 300 calories that are laden with more sodium, sugar, and oil than eating at home. “Get your hands on a plant-based cookbook, pick a dozen recipes, and cook those with your family on Sundays. If you make the effort to cook it with your family, you will gain the skills and learn to make some good and whole food plant-based recipes.”

And, we would be remiss not to attend to the travelers at heart who would love to indulge in a luxurious resort paired with the facets of an actual Blue Zones destination. Dan highly recommends seeking out Silvestre in Nosara, Costa Rica where the experience offers wellness programming, fully-equipped kitchens, and outdoor activities that will fuel your inspiration for a healthier life.

Tap into Dan’s wisdom that is creating a new category of places that are not merely the legacy of a healthy culture, but more consciously created by enlightened individuals that are intent on supercharging healthier communities! 

Follow @DanBuettner and @BlueZones for full insights

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