Want to live to be 100 with your mind and body intact?

There are places on earth that are considered “Blue Zones” regions where people are living to be 100 years old and beyond. Not just living but thriving–living life fully.

What you may find interesting is that there are actually common daily habits and specific ways of eating that people of these Blue Zone cultures are engaged in that author, Dan Buettner, has discovered with his team of researchers.

Join me in this week’s Thin Thinking Podcast as I review The Blue Zones Solutions–a book that pulls together all the research on these cultures in a very entertaining read that may help you make some shifts not only with your weight but also with your biological timeline.

We will explore some of the foods and the lifestyles of these people in the Blue Zones which will help us all live a longer, more fulfilled, and purposeful lives in today’s episode.

Come on in!

In This Episode, You'll Learn:

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Rita Black: Want to live to be a hundred with your mind and body intact? There are places on earth that are considered blue zones. Regions where people are living to be 100 and beyond. And there are some common things that the people in these cultures are doing as far as diet and lifestyle that author Dan Butner has discovered with his team of researchers. So join me as I review his Blue Zone Solutions book that may help you make some shifts with your weight, but also the biological timeline of your life. So live long and prosper and come on in.

Rita Black: Did you know that our struggle with weight doesn't start with the food on your plate or get fixed in the gym? 80% of our weight struggle is mental. That's right. The key to unlocking long-term weight release and management begins in your mind. Hi there, I'm Rita Black. I'm a clinical hypnotherapist weight loss expert, best-selling author, and the creator of the Shift Weight Mastery Process. And not only have I helped thousands of people over the past 20 years achieve long-term weight mastery, I am also a former weight struggler, carb addict and binge eater. And after two decades of failed diets and fad weight loss programs, I lost 40 pounds with the help of hypnosis. Not only did I release all that weight, I have kept it off for 25 years. Enter the Thin Thinking Podcast where you too will learn how to remove the mental roadblocks that keep you struggling. I'll give you the thin thinking tools, skills and insights to help you develop the mindset you need, not only to achieve your ideal weight, but to stay there long term and live your best life.

Rita Black: Hello everyone. Come on in. I hope you're having a fantastic week. You know, I've been thinking about it. Many people ask me, you know, I've been maintaining a 40 pound weight release now for 27 going on 28 years. And a lot of times people ask me, well, Rita, you know, so much of weight loss, when we are losing weight or trying to lose weight, we're focused on getting on the scale and the scale being, you know, down a pound, two pounds. We're focused on weight loss. So, you know, people will ask me, well, what do you focus on? You know? When you're maintaining, the world of maintaining has alluded a lot of people. And I think the important thing about weight maintenance, I mean, I get into this a lot in other places, but for me, it's continuing to challenge myself, but in different ways. And once I achieved my ideal weight, the focus for me was optimal health.

Rita Black: You know, I wanted to dive deeper into becoming even the healthiest I could be. Then once I had my children, because I had my children a little late, you know, I started with my daughter in, I was 37. I was actually, was I 38 when I had her? I can't, I, you know, you block out this year, was I 37 when, somewhere around there I had my daughter and I had my son when I was almost 41. So yeah, so I want to be around a long, long time and those of you who have gone through my Shift Weight Mastery Process know I have this vision of wearing a red dress and dancing with my son for his 60th birthday. So there you go. So I'm focused on longevity and so that is something that my people who have gone through the Shift Weight Mastery Process, releases the weight and now are maintaining. They, again, it's, it's something that you see amongst a lot of people who are now maintaining their weight is optimal health. I mean, hopefully as you're releasing weight you're focused on that as well, but that does become, you get more, I've gotten more and more interested in health in general.

Rita Black: So I wanted to introduce this cool book and brand basically called Blue Zones. You've probably heard about it, maybe you have. My husband and I listened to this particular book. Well, my husband and I listen to books when we go on road trips. We've been driving up a lot to Northern California because my daughter's in college and we'll go take her home or take her back or come and pick her up. And on our last trip home we listened to this really awesome book called The Blue Zone Solution. So I also bought the book and I'm gonna share it with you today actually Dan Butner who created the Blue Zones brand. Because now there's actually a new cookbook out. I think it's based on American Blue Zones that and recipes there. But years and years ago when I first started the Shift Weight Mastery process, he was actually in Manhattan Beach, California near where I was because I had a practice down in Manhattan Beach, his well at the time. And I remember going with a friend to a couple of the events because he actually came to the area to get what he did. And what the book gets into is how he went and studied all these different cultures around the world with other researchers, took a lot of data and pulled out the main lifestyle and eating habits that have allowed these people to live, to be in these zones to be a hundred years old or more.

Rita Black: And so I'm gonna read some of this from the book so you can get a little taste of what living to a a hundred looks like. But yeah, so he would, he then brought all this information back and went to various cities across the US and established Blue Zone habits. So he actually was worked in cooperation with that particular city and he, in the amount of health improvements that they were able to get in the (inaudilbe) across the city was astounding. So this has now become you know, an established brand and the kind of work he's doing is really super cool. So I'm just gonna read to you from the back of the book so you get a gist of what the book is about because I'm sure you're gonna want to run out and get it if you don't own it already.

Rita Black: So in this revolutionary book, bestselling author and National Geographic fellow Dan Butner reveals what the world's longest lived people have eaten over the last 100 years to help you lead a healthier, more fulfilling life. Drawing on his decade long study of five Blue Zones longevity hotspots around the globe, Butner and his team of dieticians have created a diet for a new generation that emphasizes ways to look beyond your plate, showing you how to engineer healthy choices into your daily routine. In the Blue Zones solution, you'll find 44 Blue Zone foods, foods that centenarians eat to live to be a hundred. 77 delicious longevity recipes, which I've had, which are awesome checklists for promoting healthier habits stories and strategies filled with proven results and actionable advice from the world's leading experts. The Blue Zone Solutions is a pioneering plan for taking charge of your health, refreshing the way you eat, and adding more vital years to your life.

Rita Black: So yeah, so my husband and I kind of started to and my son actually, because my son's into health started really adding some more of these things. I mean, we eat pretty healthy, but we actually got some cool tips from the book. So I'm gonna just read to you a little bit about these five blue zones and some of their, what the people, the researchers found, because I think this is really fascinating. And then I'm gonna walk you through some of the, just some bits and pieces so that, to wet your whistle with regards to if you want to dive deeper into this book or not.

Rita Black: So this chapter is called Secrets of Living Long, to tell the full story behind the life-changing Ideas and practical everyday advice, I wanna share with you in this book, I need to go back to the beginning. For more than a decade, I've been working with the National Geographic Society to identify hotspots of longevity around the world. We call them Blue Zones because a team of researchers had once circled a large target region on a map with Blue Inc. Teaming up with demographer Michael Pollan. I set out to find the world's longest lived people. We wanted to locate places that not only had high concentration of 100 years old, but clusters of people who had grown old without diseases like heart problems, obesity, cancer or diabetes. Pollan did extensive data and analysis and research and pinpointed several regions in the world that appeared to have long-lived people. We needed to visit them, check birth and death records to confirm that these individuals really were as old as they thought they were. In many places, the oldest individuals often didn't know their ages or might be lying about their ages, as was famously the case in Soviet Georgia in the 1970s.

Rita Black: By 2009, we found five places that met our criteria. Ikaria Greece, an island in the GNC, eight miles off the coast of Turkey that has one of the world's oldest lowest rates of middle-aged mortality and the lowest rates of dementia. Okinawa, Japan, the largest island in the subtropical Archipelago, home to the largest long-lived women. Sardinia, the mountanous highlands of an Italian island at boast, the large world's highest concentration of centenarian men. Loma Linda, California, a community with the highest concentration of seven day a Adventists in the United States where some residents lived 10 more healthier than the average American and Koya Peninsula Costa Rica, a place in the central American country where residents have the world's lowest rate of middle-aged mortality and the second highest concentration of male centenarians.

Rita Black: To tease out the factors that contributed to longevity in these places, we assembled a team of leading medical researchers, anthropologists, blah, blah, blah. He gets into that how he traveled all over the world, how they pulled out all these data. And he said they came up with these nine lessons we call the Power nine. First lesson, move naturally. The world's longest lived people don't pump iron run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving. They grow gardens. They don't have mechanical conveniences for their house and yard work, every trip to work, to a friend's house or to church is a walking experience. So yeah, they definitely are walking, walking uphill. Herding goats. I, I thought I said that is a new California trend. I can start a power goat herding exercise group. Don't you think that'd be fun? Anyway, so yeah. So the exercise was moving naturally and things like cooking. Cooking is actually an exercise like the women would chop the wood for the fires and kneed the bread, you know, and that you work up a sweat doing that.

Rita Black: Okay. Two, purpose. The Okinawans call it ikigai, and the Ikarians call it plan de vida. Both, it translates into why I wake up in the morning. In all blue zones, people had something to live for beyond just work. Research has shown that knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of life expectancy. Interesting. Three, downshift. Even people in the blue zone experience stress, which leads to chronic inflammation associated with every major age related disease. The world's longest lived people have routines to shed that stress. Okinawans take moments each day to remember their ancestors. Adventists, pray, Ikarians take a nap, and sardinians do happy hour.

Rita Black: Hmm, well, which culture do you wanna live in? Then number four, 80% rule. Hara hachi boo. I've, I've talked about this with my shifters. The 2,500 year old Confucian mantra spoken before Meals in Okinawa reminds us to stop eating when their stomachs are 80% full. The 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight and gaining it. People in the blue zones either smallest meal late in the afternoon or early evening, and then they don't eat anymore the rest of the day. Plant slant beans, including fava black beans, soybeans, lentils are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. A meat, mostly pork is eaten on average only five times per month. And in a serving of three to four ounces about the size of a deck of cards. Wine at five. I think some of you may like this. People in all blue zones, even some Adventists drink alcohol moderately and regularly. Moderat drinkers, outlive non drinkers. The trick is to drink one to two glasses per day with meals, or I mean with friends and food. And no, you can't save up all week and have 14 drinks on Saturday.

Rita Black: Right tribe, the world's longest lived people choose or were born in, into social circles that support healthy behaviors. Okinawans create Moe groups of five friends that commit to each other for life. Research shows that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious. By contrast, social networks of long-lived people favorably shape their health behaviors. And I know some of the people in Manhattan Beach who started Moe back when the blue zones visited in the Earl. Well, 2009, 2010, and those Moe's are still going. So isn't that cool? They get together every Wednesday morning at 6:30 AM and go walking. And it's, and the idea is you have that group of people who support you through everything in life. And I think this group has gone through a lot in those 10 years or 12 years.

Rita Black: Community. All but five of the 263 centenarians we interviewed belonged to a faith-based community. It didn't matter which religion. Reachers shows that attending faith-based services four to five times per month will add four to 14 years of life expectancy. Loved ones first successful centenarians in the blue zones put their families first. They kept aging parents and grandparents nearby or in the home, which also lowers disease and mortality rates of their children. They commit to a life partner, which can add up to three life years of life expectancy. And they invest in their children with time and love, which makes the children more likely to be caretakers when the time comes. What we discovered in every Blue Zone as the Power nine suggests, is that the path through a long, healthy life comes from creating an environment around yourself, your family, your community that nudges you into following the right behavior subtly and relentlessly just as the Blue Zones do for their populations.

Rita Black: It's something interesting in the Shift Weight Mastery Process that one of the skills of long-term permanent weight mastery is support. So that is very interesting to me. Now I'm gonna go through the list of foods or kinds of you know, the foods that you want to eat according to the Blue Zones. So follow these guidelines and you'll crowd out refined starches and sugar. Replace them with more wholesome nutrient dense and fiber rich foods and do it all naturally.

Rita Black: Number one, plant slant. See that 90 to 95% of your food comes from a plant or a plant product. Limit animal protein in your diet to no more than one small serving per day. Favor beans, greens, yams, sweet potatoes, fruits, nuts and seeds. Whole grains are okay too. While people in four of the five blue zones consume meat, they do so sparingly and using it mostly as a celebratory food, a small side or a way to flavor dishes. I'm just gonna skip over some of this stuff. Free searchers have also found that people who consumed a quarter pound of fruit daily were 60% less likely to die during the next four years than those who didn't. Oh, this is a little interesting. The best of the best longevity foods are leafy greens such as spinach, kale, bee, turnip, tops, charred and colors. In Ikaria, more than 75 varieties of edible greens grow like weeds. Many contained 10 times the polyphenols found in red wine. Studies found that middle-aged people who consumed the equivalent of a cup of cooked greens daily were half as likely to die in the next four years as those who ate no greens.

Rita Black: Okay, how you can do it. Keep your favorite vegetables and fruits at hand. Don't try to force yourself to eat ones you don't like. That's such a great tip. Eat what you like. Use olive oil like butter saute vegetables over low heat, stock up on whole grains. Wheat didn't play as big of a role in these cultures, as did oats and barley brown rice. Use whatever vegetables are going unused in your fridge to make vegetable soup by chopping them, browning them in olive oil and then adding boiling water to cover. So retreat from meat, that's number two. Consume meat no more than twice a week. Eat meat twice a week or less in serving size. No more than two ounces. Cooked favor, true free range chicken, family farmed pork or lamb instead of meat. Raised industrially. Avoid processed meats like hotdogs, luncheon meat or sausages. Most blue zone people ate small amounts of pork, chicken or lamb. Adventist, the one exception ate no meat at all.

Rita Black: Now, how you can do it pretty much covered that one. Now, the third one is take it or take or leave fish. If you wish, you can eat up to three ounces of fish daily. I guess they consider fish different than meat. Think of three ounces of a size of deck of cards before it's cooked. Select fish that are common and abundant, not threatened by overfishing. The Adventist health study number two, which has been following 96,000 Americans since 2002, found that the people who lived the longest were not vegans or meat eaters. Interesting. They were vegans or pesco vegetarians, also known as pescatarians. People who ate a plant date based diet, including a small portion of fish up to once daily in other blue zones. Fish was a common part of everyday meals eaten on average two to three times a week.

Rita Black: Okay, diminish dairy, minimize your consumption of cows milk, dairy products such as cheese, cream and butter. The blue zones cows did not figure significantly in any blue zones diet except that of the Adventist, some of whom eat eggs and dairy products in the terms of the human diet. Dairy is a relatively newcomer introduced about 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. Our digestive systems are not optimized for milk or milk products, and we now recognize that the number of people who often unknowingly have some difficulty digesting lactose may be as high as 60%. Wow. Small amounts of cheaps milk or goats milks products, especially full fat, naturally fermented yogurt with no added sugars a few times a week are okay.

Rita Black: All right, so again, this isn't a diet you guys, but this is just taking some common eating habits from people who've lived to be a hundred. Five, occasional egg. If you must eat eggs, limit to three times per week. Eggs are consumed in all five blue zones where people eat them an average of two to four times per week. As with meat protein, the egg is a side dish eaten alongside a larger portion of whole grain or other plant-based feature's. Fry an egg to fold into a cornea with a side of beans. Number six, daily dose of beans. Eat at least a half cup of cooked beans. Daily beans are the cornerstone of every blue zone diet in the world. Black beans, nacoya, lentils, garbanzos and white beans in the Mediterranean and soybeans in Okinawa. The long-lived populations in these blue zones eat at least four times as many beans as we do on average one country, five countries.

Rita Black: Study financed by the World Health Organization found that eating 20 grams of bean daily reduce a person's risk of dying in any given year by about 8%. How you can do it, find ways to cook beans that taste good to you. You know, make sure your pantry has a variety of beans to prepare. Beans. Dry beans are the cheapest, but canned beans are quicker when buying beans. Make sure to read the labels. Use pureed beans as a thickener to make soups creamy and protein rich. Make salads hardier by sprinkling cooked beans onto them. Keep your pantry stocked with condiments that dress up beans and make them delicious. Mediterranean bean recipes, for example, usually include carrots, celery, and onion, seasoned with garlic, thai pepper, and bay leaves. When you go out to dinner, consider Mexican restaurants, which always have pinto or black beans. Number seven, slash sugar consume no more than seven added teaspoons a day. Centenarians typically eat sweets only in celebrations. Their foods have no added sugar. They typically sweeten their tea with honey. This adds up to about seven teaspoons of sugar a day. The lesson to us, enjoy cookies, candies, bakery items only a few times a week, ideally as part of a meal.

Rita Black: Okay, eight. Snack on nuts. Eat two handfulls of nuts per day. A handful of nuts equals about two ounces, which appears to be the average amount that blue zones centenarians are eating. Almonds in Ikariai and Sardinia, pistachios and nacoya, and all nuts with the Adventist. All nuts are good. Nut eaters on verage outlive non nut eaters by two to three years according to Adventist health. Study number two, similarly, a recent Harvard study followed 100,000 people for 30 years, found that nut eaters have a 20% lower mortality rate than non nut eaters. Nine, sour on bread replaced common bread with sour dough or 100% whole wheat. Bread has been a staple in the human diet for at least 10,000 years. And three of the five blue zones, it's still a staple, while not typically used for sandwiches, it does make an appearance at most meals.

Rita Black: But what people in the blue zones are eating is different all together from the bread that most North Americans buy. Most commercially available breads start with bleached white flour, which metabolizes quickly into sugar. White bread delivers relatively empty calories, spikes insulin levels. Refined flour is not the only problem inherent to our customary white or wheat breads. Gluten, a protein gives bread its loft texture, but also creates digestive problems for some people. Bread in the blue zones is different, either whole grain or sourdough, each with its own healthful characteristics. Breads in Ikaria and Sardinian, for example, are made from a variety of a hundred percent whole grains, including wheat, rye, and barley. Each of which offer a wide spectrum of nutrients such as tryptophan and amino acid, and the mineral selenium and magnesium.

Rita Black: Go holy whole. This is 10. Eat foods that your grandmother would recognize. Another definition of whole food would be one that is of a single ingredient, raw cooked ground or fermented and not highly processed. Throughout the world's blue zones, people traditionally eat the whole food. They don't throw the yolk away to make it an a white omelet. They don't spin the fat out of their yogurt or juice the fiber rich pulp out of their fruits. They just don't and they also don't enrich or add extra ingredients to change the nutrient nutritional profile of their foods instead of vitamins or other supplements. They get everything they need from nutrient dense, fiber rich whole foods. And when they prepare those dishes, those dishes typically contain half dozen or so ingredients simply blended together.

Rita Black: All right, so this is, so this is a great book. The it at the end, there's like a bunch of recipes. The book itself gets into the studies and, and into the stories of them going into these communities across America and making changes in people's health. So definitely check it out. It's really kind of expands your mind a little to think about living a long life and doing what you can to support. So many of these things he mentions are actionable. They might not be doable every day. And what he does suggest is definitely he gets into, in the book, different ways to ease into the lifestyle. It's not, again, a diet, but a way of life.

Rita Black: So okay, so even if you don't buy the book, wasn't this a great way just to look into eating healthy, not just from a weight loss perspective, but from really enhancing your life and living that really long, healthy, powerful life. I hope that you enjoyed this and have an amazing week. And remember that the key and probably the only key to unlocking the door, the weight struggle is inside you. So keep listening and find it.

Rita Black: And please subscribe to our podcast so you can get our podcast every week. Have a great week. You wanna dive deeper into the mindset of long-term weight release, head on over to www shift weight mastery.com. That's www shift weight mastery.com, where you'll find numerous tools and resources to help you unlock your mind for permanent weight release tips, strategies, and more. And be sure to check the show notes to learn more about my book From Fat to Thin Thinking. Unlock Your Mind for Permanent Weight Loss.