We’re looking at The Power 9, nine common characteristics of those who live in the Blue Zones.
To read more about the BLUE ZONES, click HERE.
No. 1: MOVE NATURALLY.
No. 2 and 3: Define Your Purpose and Downshift.
Today’s characteristics are No. 4: 80% Rule and No. 5: PLANT SLANT.
No. 4: 80% RULE
In western society, we do not typically lack for food. Our struggle is too much offered too often in too many places!
Have you ever had a special dinner with friends or family that as you finish, you feel like you can’t eat another bite, but just then a scrumptious-looking dessert appears made by your smiling, gracious host whom you would hate to offend or disappoint, so you decide you have room for it.
Or you go to see an evening movie with friends after supper at home. As soon as you enter and smell the popcorn, you feel the urge to get yourself a bucket, and of course, you need a soda to go with it!
Then there’s the “Clean Plate Club.” No wasting food, right!? Far better to put it on your waist than to waste.
It hits us on all sides!! Marketers tell us we can eat our way to health, but America has been eating its way well beyond health. Not so in the Blue Zones.
The 80% Rule reflects the Okinawan custom to say, “Hara hachi bu,” before meals. Hara hachi bu is a 2500-year old Confucian mantra that reminds Okinawans to stop eating when their stomach is 80% full. This 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it.
The key to recognizing that limit is slowing down and paying attention. As Americans, we tend to eat more quickly and often on the run, preventing us from truly enjoying the food we’re eating. It’s hard for your body to get the message its full if you’ve stuffed yourself before you’re brain has a chance to register it being so!
We are often distracted during meals, be it with work or the television or our phones. Eat away from your desk. Move the tv out of the kitchen. Set your phone aside. Savor your food or share the moment with those with whom you’re eating.
If you’re a member of the “Clean Plate Club,” buy smaller plates! Replace your big tableware with 10″ plates. Get shorter, skinny glasses to minimize empty drink calories.
Remember, too, that those in the Blue Zones eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening and then don’t eat any more the rest of the day. There’s science too support the proverb, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and supper like a pauper.” Learn about HERE it with Dr. Greger, author of How Not to Die and founder of NutritionFacts.org.
No. 5: PLANT SLANT
While most people in the Blue Zones areas only consume small amounts of meat on rare occasions, all of them eat a rich array of fresh fruits and vegetables. This equates a diet full of disease-fighting nutrients, the cornerstone being beans! Favorites include fava, black, soy and lentils.
How does this apply to you?
Start small. Do you simply need to get fruits and vegetables into your diet? Make sure they’re a part of every meal!
If you want to eat meat, consider it a side dish and not the main course. Buy the leanest, finest meat you can afford. Limit portions to the size of a deck of cards and don’t exceed serving it more than twice a week.
Maximize your fruits, vegetables and grains. This doesn’t mean salad every day. There are lots of dishes and variety to be enjoyed. Go at it with an open mind and keep experimenting with recipes until you find something you like!
You can also focus on eating nuts — a small handful a day can give you an extra 2-3 years of life expectancy!
What’s important is to make a change! Take a step in the right direction, even if it feels wobbly!! Find others to make that journey with you, like other participants in our upcoming Blue Zones 6-Week Challenge from April 13 – May 18 led by University of Iowa professor emerita Beth Pelton.
BLUE ZONES 6-WEEK CHALLENGE
April 13 – May 18
Sign up for the 6-Week Challenge — Click HERE!
Thursday’s beginning April 13
In-studio at 1:30PM
Zoom option at 12:00PM
There is both a in-studio and Zoom option. Read more about it on our EVENTS page; or call (319) 337-4777 or email email@example.com with specific questions.