Friday, November 4, 2011

Live a Longer, Happier Life and Endorphin Warrior Training Bracelet Winner!

What do Sardinia, Italy, Nicoya, Costa Rica, Okinawa, Japan, Ikaria Island, Greece and Loma Linda, California have in common?  These 5 areas of the world, known as "Blue Zones," are places where people live longest, according to researchers and Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones and Thrive.  Check out these ten life style habits which contribute to their longevity and may help you live a happier, longer life:

Have a couple of glasses of vino a day. Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. The trick is to drink 1-2 drinks per day (preferably Sardinian Cannonau wine), with friends and/or with food.  (K - another good one to try for your list of 100). 

Never graduate. Continue working or working at learning all your life. Acquiring new knowledge may in turn reinforce youthfulness.

Toughen up your telomeres.  Blood samples from elderly Nicoyans showed longer-than average telomeres, the ends of the chromosomes that dictate how many times cells can divide before dying. Avoiding anything that may shorten them, mainly stress, will lengthen life. Stress leads to chronic inflammation which is associated with every major age-related disease. What the world’s longest-lived people have that we don’t are routines to shed that stress. Okinawans take a few moments each day to remember their ancestors, Adventists pray, Ikarians take a nap and Sardinians do happy hour. Find a stress shedding strategy that works for you and make it routine.

Get moving! 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 without thinking about it. They live in places where they can walk to the store, to their friends house or places of worship, their houses have stairs, they have gardens in their yards.

Know your sense of purpose. The Okinawans call it “ikigai” and the Nicoyans call it “plan de vida;” for both it translates to “why I wake up in the morning.” Do an internal inventory. Be able to articulate your values, passions, gifts and talents. What are the things you like to do and the things you don’t? Then incorporate ways to put your skills into action.

Grow your own garden.  And eat locally grown food.  Meat is okay to eat, but consider it a condiment and try the leanest, finest meat you can afford. Try to limit it to a portion the size of a deck of cards and only twice per week. Beans, including fava, black and soy and lentils are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. Snacking on nuts–about a handful a day has been associated with and extra 2-3 years of life expectancy.

Eat the super tuber. Okinawans tweak the traditional Japanese diet of leafy greens, rice and fish, by substituting sweet potatoes as their carb. Just as important as what you eat, is how much. “Hara hachi bu” – the Okianawan, 2500-year old Confucian mantra said before meals reminds them to stop eating when their stomach is 80 percent full. The 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it. Serve food at the counter, store leftovers, then sit down to enjoy the meal. Replace your big dishes with 10” plates.

Make your own moai. The world’s longest lived people chose–or were born into–social circles that supported healthy behaviors, Okinawans created ”moais”–groups of five friends that committed to each other for life. Research from the Framingham Studies show that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness is contagious. Assessing who you hang out with, and then proactively surrounding yourself with the right friends, will do more to add years to your life than just about anything else.

Pray for your life. It doesn’t matter if you’re Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish or some other religion that meets as a community. If your worship has waned, you can still tap the effect by regularly meeting with like-minded people to nourish your soul.

Put family first. This means keeping your aging parents and grandparents near by or in your home. (It lowers disease and mortality rates of children in the home too.) Work on being in a positive, committed relationship and invest in your children with time and love. (They’ll be more likely to care for you when the time comes.)

Read great blogs like this one.  Just checking if you were counting, or even read the whole post:).

Residents of these areas outlive the rest of us by an average of 10 years - many living past 100.  By incorporating some or all of these strategies in your life, chances are you will not only live longer, but enjoy your life more!  (Strategies taken from Men's Health and

And on to making someone a happy winner of the 
Endorphin Warrior Training Bracelet.  
Chosen using, the winner is...

(no, sorry Kate) -  Colleen of IRONDIVA

Congrats Colleen!  Take a look at the Endorphin Warrior website and choose a word or phrase for your bracelet and figure out the correct size for your bracelet.  Please email me the info and your mailing address at

Have a great weekend!  Any interesting plans?


  1. Working on the 100 grape varieties is really a fun project! Looking forward to successful surgery and rehab and running together again!

  2. So excited about this. Will get the info to you when I get home from IMFL. Thanks so much!

  3. Love this post! Congrats to Colleen.

  4. I think I need me some wine and a blue zone!
    Congrats Colleen!

  5. What?? Somebody who's NOT me won your giveaway? Sigh...I guess it's time. :)

    I like the nap + happy hour strategy, myself. Your posts are always thought-provoking. Most of them where I think about what I should do instead of implementing it, but eventually, once I've heard it enough, maybe I'll start putting some of it into action.

    Have a great weekend!


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