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I just completed the Blue Zones Challenge Week Three!
The Blue Zones Lifestyle
The Blue Zones lifestyle is based on the information gathered by Dan Buettner while studying regions in the world with the highest proportion of people who live to 100 years old. They are:
- Sardinia, Italy – an island in the Mediterranean Sea
- Ikaria, Greece – an Aegean island with the lowest rates of dementia
- Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
- Okinawa, Japan
- Loma Linda, California – a community of Seventh Day Adventists who on average live ten years longer than other Americans
The challenge presents a shift in health practices that changes life for the better. It’s not just a diet or a fitness plan. Rather, it focuses on behavior, habits and environment.
The long term benefits of living a Blue Zones lifestyle include:
- a longer, healthier life
- more energy and increased strength
- better sleep
- weight loss and then weight maintenance
- nurturing, supportive relationships
- a better local community
Week Three Activities
This week’s activities focused primarily on connection.
Eat Three Blue Zones Meals
After six years of living a plant based lifestyle, I have plenty of delicious recipes to rotate through. However, I’m really enjoying the recipes provided in the Blue Zones Challenge book and the companion book, Blue Zones Kitchen.
The recipes are simple and yet full of flavor and very filling.
This week I chose to prepare Big Batch Adventist Vegetable Soup, Adventist Brown Rice Salad and Okinawa Three Minute Noodles. I loved all three! The vegetable soup is full of veggies in a rich, vegetable broth, flavored with thyme and oregano. I’ll make this soup often.
The brown rice salad is so unique. Served cold, the married flavors of rice, black olives, peppers and cucumbers in a lemon, turmeric dressing is fantastic. It makes the perfect lunch meal, served with a single slice of sourdough bread.
And you know I love noodles! The recipe called for tofu however I rarely eat soy products. I chose to add a mix of stir fried veggies to the three minute noodles instead. Yum.
Join a New Social Group
I confess I don’t really have time to join such a group in real life. It’s a busy season of my life. However the emphasis on connecting with others during the challenge…and beyond…impresses on me the importance of getting together with people more frequently than I currently do.
For now, I joined a social group…on social media: The Thriving Multipassionates. I love it. It’s for coaches, consultants and creatives on a mission to have it all.
Walk with Your Buddy at Least Once
Greg is great to walk with me. We are making use of the tip to park as far as possible from stores.
Volunteer to be an Organ Donor
The Blue Zones is all about helping ourselves to better health and helping others in all kinds of ways. I love that. And I’m already an organ donor.
Call Text or Email Someone I Haven’t Connected with in a While
I selected my friend Lu Ann Cahn, the author and speaker who encouraged me, via her book, to start a blog. I sent Lu Ann a message via LinkedIn. Pick up her book and discover the incredible value of trying new experiences.
Plan a Vacation
I leave Sunday for South Carolina! I’m enjoyimg planning what I’ll do while there. Catch the post later about that trip on Cindy Goes Beyond.
I agree that it’s so important to plan and schedule down time. We need it so that our bodies, minds and spirits can refresh. I’m building in plenty of down time while away.
Start a Meditation Practice
I began a meditation practice many years ago. Even during the busiest weeks, I try to spend five minutes a day meditating. There are many ways to create such a practice from walking meditations to quiet times focusing on breath to coloring with soft music playing in the background.
Check out these ten benefits of meditation. And then set up a time to destress and downshift, in a quiet space with a supportive environment.
Put a Lavender Plant in the Bedroom
The scent of lavender relaxes the body and soothes the mind. A lavender plant in the bedroom promotes sleep. My bedroom doesn’t get direct sunlight, something the lavender plant needs. I’ll keep this wonderfully scented plant in my room overnights and put it on the front deck during the day, so it can receive necessary sunlight.
Write a Thank You Note
Expressing gratitude in the form of a thank you note blesses the receiver and the giver. I took advantage of Mother’s Day this weekend to write a thank you in the card to my mom.
I didn’t do two activities this week: volunteer for a new organization and schedule a meetup with a friend. Volunteering is something I want to do in the future. And the meetup up with a friend came apart twice, due to changes in both of our schedules. We will get together when we can.
Bonus Activities and Daily Check Ins
These remained the same as last week. See Week Two for a reminder of what those are. I exceeded the daily goal of 12 points. The goal for the entire four weeks is 400 points. I’m on track to meet that goal.
How I Did for Week Three
I feel like I’m in the Blue Zones flow this week, even though it was an extremely busy seven days. That presented a few challenges…during the challenge!
Batch cooking helps me keep healthy ready to eat food in the fridge, which is great when I’ve had a long day. I can reheat a prepared meal in minutes and there’s no temptation to cheat.
Greg and I also attended an out of town track conference that two of the grandkids participated in, that turned into an all day event. I seriously miscalculated on the amount of food to pack along. We ended up eating CHIPS (low sodium for me) and TATOR TOTS for lunch because I didn’t bring anything beyond apple slices and cashews to eat. Lesson learned. Better preparation is necessary when away from home.
Otherwise, it’s been an incredible week on the challenge. My blood pressure is back in the normal range. I lost more weight this week than I did during the first two weeks. The weekly grocery bill is much lower, eating these simple meals. And I feel so, so good. All of those things encourage me to keep going.
On to Week Four
When I began this challenge it was with the intention to do four weeks and then evaluate whether I could continue with this lifestyle. The book continues it for me, with a full year of activities and suggestions. I’m in. This lifestyle is an easy one for me to embrace and yet it also challenges me to shift in the way I eat and connect more with others. As a happy loner who enjoys solo activities and travels, this is an area I can improve in.
I’ll check in next week for the end of the four week challenge…a day early as I prepare to leave on my trip. And when I get back, I’ll let you know how I did with the Blue Zones lifestyle while traveling.
Do you have any questions about the Blue Zones challenge? Ask in the comments below.
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I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.