Did you know some places boast life expectancies of 100 years or more? These areas are called Blue Zones, where longevity and vitality reign supreme.
Together, we’re going to dive into where these places are located, what factors make living past 100 possible, how TABLE incorporates these factors similarly into our programs, and how you and I can start adapting these ways of living to promote better overall health. It’s a new year with room for new resolutions, so let’s get into it and grow together!
The 5 Blue Zones in the world are located in Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California; Ikaria, Greece; and Nicoya, Costa Rica. So, how are the people living in these areas outliving individuals in other parts of the world? It has been identified that they incorporate nine healthy principles into their daily lives. We are going to dive into six of these nine principles.
Make movement a natural part of your day.
Walking places or manually doing things on your own helps keep the body healthy. Make it
a goal to walk at least 20 minutes every day, or instead of driving to run errands, walk if you live within walking distance. Volunteering at TABLE is a great way to incorporate moving into your day. Whether you helped us with our move into our new space, or are packing bags of food, moving items around, or delivering food to the children we serve daily, you are making movement a natural part of your day.
Know your sense of purpose.
Everyone is in this world for a reason. Whether you’re here to learn, teach, inspire, or even volunteer, there’s something you are meant to do. Doing activities that feel good to you will make it easier and less stressful to live. A great way to learn and feel good about yourself is to help others in some way or give back to the community. At TABLE, we are giving back to children in our community who struggle with food insecurity. Our mission is what helps drive our staff, volunteers, and donors to show up, help, and live every day.
Eat until you’re about 80% full.
Don’t overeat and don’t eat until you’re 100% full. The majority of the time people continue to eat even though they are full, which isn’t healthy to do. At TABLE, we provide children with fresh, healthy food, full of nutrients and proteins that help them get full quicker and keep them full longer. We want children to understand the health benefits of specific foods and encourage them to continue to eat more of them to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Every month we send home nutrition education kits with a new recipe, ingredients to make that recipe, facts about each ingredient in the recipe, and an activity sheet. We hope that children and families will try new foods and learn about the healthy food that goes into their bodies. The earlier children understand how specific foods are beneficial to their bodies, the more they will carry out these habits in their lives.
Eat a largely plant-based diet.
Plant-based foods like beans, vegetables, and fruits provide unlimited amounts of health benefits including antioxidants, vitamins, and proteins, and can even be used for medicine. At TABLE, our number one priority is to provide kids with fresh produce because fruits and vegetables are critical to the body’s health and development. TABLE partners with local farms that allow us to serve organic produce and provide farmers with a sustainable business. We are grateful for growing these relationships with local farms including Wildflower Lane Farm, Sankofa Farm, Gabor Farms, Elysian Fields Farm, and Farmer Foodshare. TABLE also has specific nutrition guidelines to ensure we are providing children with the highest quality food. It’s crucial to eat fresh, plant-based foods regularly to ensure overall improved health. If you want to donate food, please look at our nutrition guidelines article before doing so.
Connect with your community.
Work together on a project that betters you and others. At TABLE, there are multiple ways to get involved with the community. Every week, we have volunteers who gather together to help sort and bag food and deliver food to the families we serve. Even at the many events TABLE puts together, we are always welcoming people to come, be involved with the community, meet new people, and enjoy each other’s presence all while benefiting children who suffer from food insecurity.
Put family first.
It’s so easy to get buried into your work, or for our kids to become attached to their electronics that we lose sight of the importance of connecting face-to-face with those we love. At TABLE, we encourage the families we serve to spend quality time together by providing them with food and recipes to cook and eat meals together. We also host events such as picnics and trips to local farms. As community members, we love seeing entire families volunteering together either during our kids’ shifts or helping out in the office. We even sent out a survey to our families and 69% of families eat more food together because of TABLE!
The seventh, eighth, and ninth principles include prioritizing stress relief, choosing social circles that support healthy behavior, and drinking alcohol in moderation. Are you ready to embrace a longer, healthier life? Dive into these Blue Zones and see how these healthy principles can transform your life and well-being by practicing them daily. It’s still the start of a new year, so let’s come together to form our own Blue Zone with our Orange County community.