Intentional Tuesdays

Why Do You Get Up Each Morning?

Umm, because I have to?
Sadly, this is probably true for most of us.  Take a moment to consider the implications.  It means we’d choose to stay in bed all day rather than getting out into world.  Now, I don’t think most people really believe this, just the fact that it's our default reaction is cause for concern.  We identify more with a sense of obligation than a sense of significance or purpose.  Not only is this heartbreaking, it’s killing us.  
If you’ve been with me for a while, you know the Blue Zones are five locations where people live longer, healthier lives than anyplace else on the planet.  One of the common themes across the blue zones is the elderly have a strong sense of purpose and meaning in their lives.  In Okinawa, they call this ikigai.  In Costa Rica, it’s plan de vida.  Regardless of what you call it, the effects are the same.  Studies have shown that people...
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Blue Zone - Lesson #3 - Slant towards Plants

blue zone health Apr 30, 2019
Do I have to give up bacon?  
You might.  
And that’s how I lost 80% of my audience.  
Let’s start over...  
Do you have to give up meat in order to live a long, healthy life?  Of course not.  But it’s worth noting that each of the five of Blue Zones have a plant-based diet.  Four of the five do include meat in their diet, but it’s the exception, not the rule.  A typical Ikarian eats meat 2-4 times each month.  When I was in Ikaria, I definitely saw plenty of goats and chickens running around and the Ikarians tend to these animals with great care.  Rather than eating them, Ikarians use their animals for eggs and milk.  (Goat milk is particularly popular and the Blue Zone book touts this as one of the key differentiators for longevity.). 
But what about protein?  
There are a lot of ways to get protein and none of the Blue Zones are lacking in this area....
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Blue Zone - Lesson #2 - Eat Less, Live Longer

blue zone health Apr 23, 2019
Do you over-eat?  I do.  Especially around the holidays.  Easter indulgences usually take the form of cute little animals fashioned from chocolate or marshmallow.  And Easter dinner usually results in bursting pain and crushing lethargy.  It’s bad.  And my waistline agrees.  
What ever can we do?
Hara Hachi Bu.
What can we do? 
Hara Hachi Bu.  (Ok, I’ll stop.)
The phrase Hara Hachi Bu is one of the most practical and insightful lessons that I took away from the Blue Zone book.  The phrase comes from the Okinawan Blue Zone and means, “eat until you are 80% full.”  Okinawan elders recite this mantra before every meal as a way to be more mindful.  
Okinawa is the only known culture to consciously restrict caloric intake in this way, a practice that is shown to increase longevity in some laboratory experiments.  I don’t need an experiment to tell me...
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Blue Zone Principle #1 - Move Naturally

blue zone health Apr 15, 2019
How much movement do you get on a daily basis?  If you are like me, you spend a significant portion of your waking hours either hunched over a computer or sprawled out on the couch, with the only movement occurring in my fingers.  This is, of course, not the way our ancient ancestors lived, nor is it a formula for physical well-being.  One of the common aspects across each of the five blue zones is the incorporation of natural movement into daily life.  
Of course, most of the BZ inhabitants have a significant physical component to their primary ‘work', whether it be hunting, farming, gardening, or foraging.  In Ikaria, the act of physical movement is enhanced by the fact there doesn’t seem to be 10 square feet of flat terrain anywhere on the island.  It’s incredibly hilly and walking those hills is a natural part of any Ikarian’s day, regardless of age.  From the bottom of the hill where Thea’s Inn stands, I...
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How to Live Forever - Lessons from the Blue Zone

I recently returned from a weeklong trip to the island of Ikaria, Greece.  Ikaria is known to be home to an unusual number of centenarians and has been designated as one of five "Blue Zones" in the world.  This post will launch a mini-series focused on the Blue Zone way of life and how we can apply the principles to increase both our quantity and quality of life.  In this first post, I provide a review of the Blue Zone book and offer my initial observations from my experience in Ikaria.  
Length:  300 Pages
Life Design Applications:  Health, Relationships
Recommendation:  Highly Recommended
Three Sentence Summary:  Living an active, fulfilling life well into your 90’s (and longer) may be easier than you think.  The Blue Zones explores the defining characteristics of five unique locations around the...
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