Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

Join the Blue Zones!

Have you ever wondered why some people live well into their 90’s and even 100’s with their mind and body relatively intact? Well, Dan Buettner of the National Geographic did too and in 2004, he identified five areas of the world, which he calls Blue Zones, where people reached age 100 at rates 10 times greater than in the United States.

  • Ikaria, Greece
  • Loma Linda, California
  • Sardinia, Italy
  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Nicoya, Costa Rica

Dan and his team of scientists studied the lifestyle that explained their longevity and well-being and found 9 shared characteristics. According to the Blue Zone project, the 9 Blue Zone lessons, or Power 9®, are:

  1.  “Move Naturally – The world’s longest-lived people don’t pump iron or run marathons. Instead, their environments    nudge them into moving without thinking about it.
  2.  Purpose– Why do you wake up in the morning? Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life         expectancy.
  3. Down Shift– Stress leads to chronic inflammation, associated with every major age-related disease. The world’s longest-lived people have routines to shed that stress.
  4. 80% Rule“Hara hachi bu” – the Okinawans say this mantra before meals as a reminder to stop eating when their stomachs are 80 percent full.
  5. Plant Slant– The cornerstone of most centenarian diets? Beans. They typically eat meat—mostly pork—only five times per month.
  6. Wine @ 5– Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers, especially if they share those drinks with friends. Moderate drinking is one per day for women and two per day for men.
  7. Belong– Attending faith-based services four times per month – no matter the denomination – adds up to 14 years of life expectancy.
  8. Loved Ones First – Centenarians put their families first. They keep aging parents and grandparents nearby, commit to a life partner and invest in their children.
  9. Right Tribe– The world’s longest lived people chose or were born into social circles that support healthy behaviors.”

Simply put, they eat primarily a plant-based diet, get regular gentle exercise including walking, fishing, gardening, have the support of a close group of friends and/or family, and have a strong sense of faith and purpose in their lives.

I recently attended a Blue Zone cooking class.  Beans are the basis of each of the Blue Zones, so for dinner I made the typical Costa Rican diet most consumed by centenarians – black beans, brown basamati rice, squash and avocado, which I doctored up with spices, shallots and Ponzu sauce (recipe below). This easy, healthy and delicious meal offers all that you need – complete protein, high fiber, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates. Even my meat-eating husband enjoyed it!

Ponzu Sauce – 1/3 cup organic tamari, 1/3 cup lemon and 1/3 cup mirin (rice cooking wine) with a dollop of honey. Use to liven up anything!

Visit the Blue Zone website for more information and take the vitality quiz to calculate your healthy life expectancy!

The Blue Zone project has the right recipe for a long and healthy life!

 

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

 

 

 

Jade Yoga Mats

I started doing yoga a couple of years ago and love it.  I’ve discovered though, that there are just about as many different styles of yoga mats as there are different styles of yoga!  My daughter was raving recently about the eco-friendly Jade yoga mat and wondered if I knew anything about them.  I hadn’t heard of them and decided to do some research.   I was impressed by their website and their philosophy.  Jade yoga mats are made with natural renewable and sustainable rubber tapped from rubber trees and contain no PVC or synthetic rubber. JadeYoga is committed to producing their mats in the U.S. in compliance with all U.S. environmental laws even though they could be produced cheaper in China.   Because their mats come from the rubber tree, they thank the trees by planting a tree for every mat sold.  They also offer a reuse program bringing used yoga mats to people who can’t afford them, thereby helping those in need and reducing the number of yoga mats going into the landfill.

Sold on their philosophy,  I was eager to try one.  The company sent me a demo mat and I’ve tried it a few times.  I have to say it is completely different from my other eco-friendly yoga mat or any other mat I have used.  The Jade yoga mat has unbelievable grip!  I noticed I could hold my downward dog and pyramid pose better and longer.  With a strenuous workout, my feet and hands get sweaty, but even so, I didn’t slip. Apparently the open cell natural rubber guarantees optimum grip. There is also better cushion and more resilience than other mats.  You really can feel the difference!  My yoga teacher tried it and agreed the grip was amazing!  Jade yoga mats are also great for pilates and other exercise routines.

English: downward dog posture I took this pict...

. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yoga offers tremendous health benefits at any age, but especially as we grow older.  It helps with relaxation, flexibility, strength, and balance.  If you aren’t already doing yoga, give it a try and consider using the Jade yoga mat. It feels good supporting an eco-friendly company with a quality product genuinely doing the right thing for the earth, even if it means paying a little more.

Information compiled from jadeyoga.com.