The longest-lived people run on a high-carb diet, and it’s a big part of their secret to living to 100 – Dan Buettner – Blue Zones

Sorry, high-fat keto fans, but people who live in the world’s five “Blue Zones” all eat tons of beans and grains, and very little meat or dairy.

Dan Buettner grew up in Minnesota during the 1960s, where he was fed a high-carb diet of bright yellow macaroni and cheese and sweaty red hot dogs wrapped inside flaky croissants.

“We didn’t know better,” he said.

But when the cyclist and storyteller started traveling around the globe, and into the homes of people in locations where elders routinely live to see their 100th birthday in good health — the world’s “Blue Zones,” as he calls them — he noticed something distinct about the ways that they were all eating.

The fare was nothing like his Midwestern childhood diet of processed foods, but Buettner noticed that each Blue Zone kitchen did have a few staple ingredients in common. Like his own meal plans, they were all fairly high in carbohydrates, but these Blue Zone diets centered on carbs of a different kind.

“The four pillars of every longevity diet in the world are whole grains, greens, nuts, and beans,” Buettner said. “When you crunch the numbers, it’s very clear that it’s a 90% to 100% plant-based, very-high-carbohydrate diet. About 65% carbs, but not simple carbs like muffins and cakes — complex carbs.”

Buettner’s chronicled some of his favorite recipes from each of those regions in a new Blue Zones cookbook, featuring dishes from Ikaria, Greece; Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California.

People who live to 100 tend to eat lots of beans

blue zones diet
Staples of the Blue Zones include hearty soups filled with beans and herbs; fermented breads like sourdough; and wine. 
Westend61 via Getty Images

Whether the cuisine is from the sandy western shores of Costa Rica or industrial church kitchens in California, it is loaded with beans.

Beans are a high-carbohydrate, high-fiber food that many dieters have recently criticized, as they’re nearly impossible to eat on high-fat, low-carb diets like the trendy keto plan.

“You can get very successful with a diet if you tell people they can eat what they like to eat — meat or cheese or eggs and all that,” he said. “I draw from people who’ve achieved the health outcomes we want. And I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that they’re eating about a cup of beans a day.”

His favorite bean dish is a Greek “longevity stew,” loaded with fennel, black-eyed peas, olive oil, tomato, and garlic.

The diet plan lines up with much of the scientific research suggesting that people who eat more vegetables and other plants while consuming little to no processed or red meat are less likely to die earlier (and more likely to have healthier hearts) than people who routinely fuel up on animal products.

Blue Zoners don’t go to the gym, and they rarely eat meat

In the Blue Zones, there are no banned foods. Instead, the environments people live in promote their good health almost effortlessly. There’s no weighing ingredients or worrying about the amounts of carbs, protein, and fat to include in a day’s meals.

Yet there are certain things that people in Blue Zones don’t eat very often. Chief among the rarities are dishes high in saturated fats and sugars, including meats, dairy, and desserts.

On average, people living in the Blue Zones eat meat about five times a month. It’s usually a three- to four-ounce cut of pork, smaller than an iPhone.

When it comes to bread, Blue Zoners tend to favor fermented varieties like sourdough over plain white yeasted slices, and they pair small amounts of pasta and grains with other staple ingredients like fresh greens or beans.

“When you combine a grain and a bean, you get a whole protein,” Buettner said. This means that, much like any meaty dish, a plant-based meal can feature all the essential amino acids that help the body grow and repair itself, but “without the saturated fat, without the hormones,” he said.

In addition to focusing on plant-based foods, people in the Blue Zones also tend to cherish the importance of lifelong friendships, move around consistently each day (every 20 minutes or so), and live with purpose. These built-in support systems are key components of longevity too, Buettner believes, and just as important as the good food.

“We keep beating this dead horse of diets and exercise and supplements,” he said. “It’s Einstein’s definition of insanity.”

Dan Buettner
Dan Buettner. 
Crystal Cox/Business Insider

If you’d like to try the Blue Zones eating routine, Buettner suggests finding a few plant-based recipes that you really like and making it a habit to cook them for yourself again and again. None of the recipes in his book include any meat or eggs, and most shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to prepare.

“The secret to eating for 100 is to find the plant-based foods heavy with beans and grains and vegetables, and learn how to like them,” Buettner said. “If you eat a Blue Zones diet religiously, it’s probably worth eight to 10 extra years of life expectancy over a standard American diet. You take those years and you average them back into your life? It gives you about two hours a day to cook.”

Make Whole Plant Foods The Foundation Of The Diet by Brenda Davis, R.D.

Brenda Davis offers fresh insights on the treatment of animals in food production and other industries, the latest findings on the health benefits of a vegan diet and expanded the information on phytochemicals, Brenda’s information is extensive in scope, yet manageable for anyone who wants to easily understand how to construct a nutritionally balanced plant-based diet.

Here are the latest findings on: using plant foods to protect against cancer, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses; obtaining essential protein without meat, eggs, or dairy products; discovering “good” fats and where to find them; meeting dietary needs for calcium without dairy products; understanding the importance of vitamin B12; designing balanced vegan diets for infants, children, and seniors; and making the most of vegan pregnancy and breastfeeding.

This is a sound blueprint to follow for better health for yourself and the planet.

How to Order a Healthy Plant-Based Meal from Any Restaurant Menu – Dean Ornish, MD, and Anne Ornish

This could come in handy! From the Forks Over Knives folks!

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And, don’t forget you can browse and search hundreds of their recipes!

Another treasure trove of mouth-watering recipes from the Blue Zones folks!


Recipes

Our Promise: Less than 30 minutes to assemble, Taste tested by experts and Follow the Blue Zones Guidelines for longevity.

red-wine-wassail

WARM & SPICY RED WINE WASSAIL

tahini-dressing

LEMON TAHINI HERB SAUCE

greens-alzheimers

MEDITERRANEAN GRAIN BOWL

banana-bread

PLANT-SLANT BANANA BREAD

kale-pesto

KALE PESTO

ginger-lemonade

GINGER LEMONADE

make-raw-watermelon-cake-perfect-for-summer.w1456

WATERMELON CAKE

asparagus-stir-fry

LEMON ASPARAGUS STIR FRY

pasta-broccoli-pine-nuts

PASTA WITH BROCCOLI, BASIL, AND PINE NUTS

More here! https://www.bluezones.com/recipes/

Announcing Quinyatta Mumford's 2020 Nutrition Classes!

Click here to sign up!

Hello, I’m Quinyatta!

Your Certified Health Education Specialist.   Although I hold a Masters of Public Health with an emphasis in Community Health and I am in the process of earning a Doctorate in Public Health, my true superpowers come from my personal journey to health.  

In 2013, I made the decision that I wanted to live. I mean really live the life that God destined me to have.  I had reached the lowest point in my life and my highest weight. I was blessed to not be on any medication, but as a health educator, I knew that without a behavior modification — medication was going to be my destiny. My then 9-year presented me with a challenge. She wanted to climb Pinnacle Mountain for her 10th birthday. At my size, there was no way that I was going to climb anything. But because IamSHE and SHEisME I committed to a regular training schedule and a liquid diet. Over the course of 6-months, I dropped the initial 50 pounds.

Today, I am  175 pounds lighter. Over the next year, I plan to reach my final goal. I want to take the last mile of my journey with women who have been or are where I am….striving to achieve optimal health while maintaining curves. I do not have a desire to be skinny…I desire to be healthy…the healthiest version of me that is possible.  

Join us for the Curvy Consciousness movement as we empower women of all shapes, sizes, and colors to embrace their feminine shape and take back their health. You do not have to be a size 2, 4, 6, or 8 to be healthy. Girl, embrace your curves.  #SizeHealthy

https://www.facebook.com/mumfordandassociates/

VEGAN 2019 – The Film

VEGAN 2019 – The Film is sponsored by abillionveg – where you can find reviews and recommendations for vegan-friendly food, restaurants and products near you: http://bit.ly/2019vegan Subtitles in English, Spanish and Chinease. Narrated by Helen Millar: https://www.helenmillar.co.uk/

PLANT BASED NEWS

Gathering Alert!!! Dr. Greger’s Live Streaming Event Jan. 8, 2020, 6-8 PM CST – and Is Skipping Breakfast Better for Weight Loss? Michael Greger M.D. FACLM – video below

Dr. Greger carrot

We have been advised that the Little Rock Seventh-Day Adventist Church at 8700 N Rodney Parham Rd, Little Rock, AR 72205-1601 has graciously made their church auditorium available to us to watch the Dr. Michael Greger Presents: Evidence-Based Weight Loss live streaming presentation tonight. It is scheduled to begin at 6 PM. Due to the lack of time to organize for a potluck, let’s just each bring enough to take care of ourselves for food and drink. The facility should be open by 5:30. Please allow time to find your seats, serve yourselves, and get situated to begin viewing at 6 PM.

Hope you can join us, but you may also live stream it to your own devices for $10. There will be no charge to watch it at LRSDAC. It would be helpful if you let me know if you are planning to attend.

[Following is a copy of the email sent by Debbie to the CHIP participants]

Hey CHIPpers,

Did you pick up a few pounds over the holidays?  Come to the live-stream presentation by Dr. Michael Greger tomorrow (Wednesday, Jan 8) at 6:00 pm in the SDA church auditorium at 8700 Rodney Parham Rd.  Dr. Greger will give you the edge on how to get rid of those pounds based on safe, scientifically proven strategies.  Just slight changes can make a big difference.

https://www.pbnsg.org/upcoming-events/2020/1/8/dr-michael-greger-presents-evidence-based-weight-loss

Come and have a good time watching together.  Bring your own snacks and invite your friends!

Happy New Year!

Debbie Burghart

Please note that Dr. Greger’s presentation location is in Eastern time so that will be 6:00 pm here.

Is Skipping Breakfast Better for Weight Loss?

https://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-skipping-breakfast-better-for-weight-loss/

Blue Zones Project 2019 Year In Review

Dear Community Champion,  

A few of you responded to my last email and let me know the link I provided didn’t work. Thank you for that!   Please find the correct link here:  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjiKieQA1DI&feature=youtu.be  

I feel this video, although a bit long, is the best one I’ve seen put out over the last 10 years. The video walks through why the sponsor decided to bring this collaboration to the community and their employers. It walks through each sector of work, People, Places, and Policies, and describes project activities, buy-in and results. In the end, I believe you will walk away with a better understanding of what we do during a project, how these projects are community led, and envision what such a project might look like in your community.  

I look forward to continued conversations on how we can bring this important work to your community!      

Let’s do this in Little Rock!