I have been wanting to read this book The Blue Zones for awhile. I am not sure why I didn't just run out and buy it, except - well, I don't do that anymore. I will put books on my wish list for Christmas. I will read books on my Kindle (usually free ones). And we don't have any book stores anymore.
So last week while I was down and out with bronchitis, I paid $5 for the Kindle version and read it in a few days. It was very fascinating and worth the read. I also went to the website and checked to see what my "age" is. Turns out: 41. I remember the days when my lifestyle had me a good 5-10 years under my real age, and now it's only two. This is not surprising with the amount of stress that I am under, the lack of time for exercise and cooking, and the "still carrying around 30 lbs of baby weight" status.
There are many things I learned from the book that I will be trying to incorporate into my life (again, and for the first time):
1. Beans. One of the things that most of the Blue Zones had in common were beans. Fava beans, pinto beans, other beans. Most Blue Zone areas are bean eaters. I had gone a little on the "Paleo" wagon a couple of years ago (but never full bore) and stopped eating as many beans. Also, as I age, I find that I cannot eat as many carbohydrates and maintain my weight. So my tendency has gone toward more chicken and fewer beans.
2. Sleep. I have already been working on this. I try to get 8 hours a night.
3. Walking/ exercise. Most of the Blue Zone areas get a lot of exercise. Walking as part of daily life. Gardening. Few actually "work out" a lot - they just get more exercise in general. And in Okinawa, one of the biggest things was just frequently getting up and down from the floor. This is where being 43 with a toddler is a good thing.
4. Meditation/ Yoga. I have not really done this much yet. But at my women's retreat weekend, I learned the importance of being able to meditate (and for me, I find Yoga to help with that.) I want to start taking 15 minutes in the morning to stretch/ do Yoga, and meditate quietly in my room. If only the kids didn't get up so damn early. I also learned that knitters/ crocheters get meditation benefits because their minds go "blank" while they work. So I pulled out my crocheting.
5. Sabbath. I am not particularly religious - religion serves a purpose much like meditation. A "higher purpose". One item that many religions put forth is the idea of a Sabbath - a rest day. With two full time jobs and two kids, this is going to be tough. But I am going to try it. I am going to try and do all of the chores on one day, and set up the crockpot for one day on the weekend. Just to enjoy family.
So what's happening this weekend:
1. My husband is off at "Zombie Survival Camp" with the 7-year old. It's kind of their "Sabbath". I'm at home doing laundry, cooking, taking the baby for his haircut, etc.
2. Tomorrow we are going to either meet friends for dinner and to chill out, or have a very simple soup for dinner.
3. I have been invited to a housewarming. I would love to walk there (about a mile one way), but I'm not sure I'm physically up to it yet.
4. Dinner tonight is bean burritos and tomorrow may be lentil soup. Beans!!
Have you read the Blue Zones? Do you meditate? How do you reduce stress. Do you want to try and live longer?