Do you know what a blue zone is?
I didn’t, until I decided to come to Costa Rica, one of the 5 blue zones of the world.
The blue zones are different parts of the world that contain the people that live the longest and are the healthiest.
I was at breakfast, eating my gallo pinto (rice combined with beans) with the locals and I asked them, “…so what do the people of Costa Rica do to live so long?”
It is not only the quantity of years that they live, but also the quality of years that causes us to raise our eyebrows and ask questions to figure out how their minds also stayed functional.
The local told me (Summarized and translated):
My grandpa is about to be 100 years old. These are the things he does to get him to this age:
- Grows and cooks all his own food.
- He only cooks with animal lard (the same animal he purchased and raised that year)
- Simple food. Every morning he has his cafe con leche (coffee with milk) and sugar, with some gallo pinto (rice and bean combination) and tortilla de maíz (corn tortilla).
- He drinks alcohol, but only the alcohol he makes at home. (Produces it himself).
- He walks about 11 kilometers (6.8 miles/ 10K+ Steps) a day into town.
- No artificial light in his house. He wakes up when the sun comes up and he goes to sleep when the sun goes down.
- He spends time with his family, his wife, and his kids.
- His work is labor intensive, he cuts crops and manages his production of food.
- Pura vida. Simple. It means pure life, living life as it is. It is pure and simple, and finding beauty in the simple and little things of life is everything.
As you read this you are like, “okay Bri this is impossible… SO I can’t live to 100 since I do the opposite of all of this?!?!?”
I don’t blame you. Living in the western world, there are pros and cons. Pros being the AC, cons being all of the additives and ingredients found in our foods that cause rice, beans, and tortillas de maíz to wreak havoc on the gut.
A curse and a blessing.
But there are some key takeaways from what I have learned from the Blue Zone.
These are the very same principles to live happily and healthily I preach to you all:
- Eat food, real food, as whole as possible
- Cook with real oils
- Walk everyday, 8-10K steps (we live in a world where technology makes this a goal we actively have to thing about)
- Spend time in real life, outdoors. Not on screens. 8 hours of screens due to work, then topple 4-6 hours of screen time from social media enjoyment, Netflix, etc. It’s no wonder you have such a hard time sleeping, this information overload is wreaking havoc on your subconscious.
- Watch sunrises, watch sunsets. Immerse yourself in nature. Be present.
- Spend time with the ones you love. There is no better endorphin release than a big ol’ hug from the people you cherish.
I travel to these different parts of the world to understand culture, health, and wellness as it is present in these different areas.
These are the things I learned and wanted to share with you. Follow the principles, and you will significantly improve the quality of your life.
Costa Rica is one of the Five Blue Zones. We can learn a thing or two by simply listening and observing the older generation of humans that know how to live happily and healthily.
Keep strong everyone!