Last week I listened to a brilliant podcast with the National Geographic explorer and author, Dan Buettner. He travelled the world visiting all the Blue zones. (areas in the world where the oldest and healthiest people live).
There was so much to take from the conversation and there were many interesting points, so I would highly recommend that you listen when you get chance. Please click on the link below.
He believes that these Blue zone communities don’t ‘try’ to be healthy. It is just their way of life, and what they do day in day out that is the secret to their long and healthy lives. He feels that should be less personal responsibility on health, and that modern life with all its conveniences (e.g. technology, transport, convenience food) has had a huge impact. He has created Blue zone communities in America that are less ‘convenient’. For instance, he has created environments where people have to walk/ cycle to get places, where unhealthy fast food shops and restaurants are not permitted within a certain radius from school.
This is great. However, I do believe we can make individual choices that will help us to live a happier and healthier life. We can also help to control our immediate environment and the foods available to our children. Dr Chatterjee repeatedly says control the environment you can control, and I really agree with that. If you don’t keep unhealthy foods in the house, your family can’t eat them regularly and they can become a ‘treat’.
In terms of diet, there is again a real emphasis on plant foods. Those eating a more plant-based diet are without doubt the healthiest. Again, he feels strongly that these individuals didn’t just suddenly adopt quick fix diets. They grew up eating plant-based foods: it is what they eat day in day out. Dan Buettner recommends that people try a variety of plant-based dishes until they find the recipes they like and just keep on eating them. It is about adopting healthy recipes and adding them to your weekly repertoire. I have always recommended that people try one new plant-based recipe a week and have always shared plant-based recipes wherever I go. I am going to try and share recipes more regularly on this blog.
This week I tried Dan Buettner’s Longevity Dahl and was delighted that it was simple, delicious and cheap to make, and we all enjoyed it together as a family. I will be serving it up at next week’s Supper club if you would like to join us. Please click on the link for more details.
If you are unable to make it, why not try and make it at home and let me know how you go. I will try and share another plant-based recipe for you to try very soon.
Longevity Dahl (Serves 4)
1 cup lentils
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 can chopped tomatoes
Drizzle of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 – 5 cloves garlic, separated, chopped finely
1” ginger root, chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup spinach
2½ cups water
- Sauté all spices and vegetables, except spinach, gently in olive oil & water until onions are clear.
- Add tomatoes, lentils, and water and simmer for 30 mins.
- Add spinach and cook for 3 more minutes.
(Recipe from www.bluezones.com)