Sharing preventative and restorative health has been a passion of mine for some time now. As I have gotten older, I’ve grown to appreciate more of life’s delicacy and beauty. I want more time to witness miracles, enjoy the many wonders of the world, interact with my future grandkids, and use my skill set to serve and contribute to society by helping people heal and thrive. But it’s not just about living a long life; I want to have a long health span—living healthy and youthful longer than traditional life expectancy.
My fascination with longevity nutrition and health span began when I learned about the world’s Blue Zones. The Blue Zones are five demographically confirmed, geographically defined areas around the world with the highest percentage of centenarians. These are places where people reach the age of 100 at roughly 10 times greater rates than in the United States. Blue Zone locations include Nicoya, Costa Rica; Sardinia, Italy; Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; and Loma Linda, California.
Demographers and researchers have found that Blue Zone communities share several key lifestyle habits, with remarkable similarity in their diets. Dan Buettner’s Live to 100 on Netflix goes into detail about this phenomenon; if you haven’t seen it yet, add it to your watch list!
Here is a summary of the dietary characteristics shared by the Blue Zone residents:
- Over 90% have a plant-based diet (animal proteins only consumed a couple times a week or a month).
- Emphasis is on a wide variety of seasonal vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
- Legumes like beans, chickpeas, and lentils are consumed daily – black beans in Nicoya, lentils and white beans in the Mediterranean, and soybeans in Okinawa.
- Meat is used only sparingly – as a small side or at a special occasion.
- Processed foods and refined sugars are avoided.
- Water is the beverage of choice, with small amounts of tea, coffee, or red wine in moderation.
These Blue Zones offer us a glimpse into what healthy aging can look like, simply by changing what’s on our plate. To maximize and reprogram longevity in the human body, you need to eat differently.
Here are some Blue Zone-diet inspired recipes to try!
- Breakfast 1: Espresso, green tea, or Shaklee Energizing Tea with banana-walnut bread and tangerine
- Breakfast 2: Mixed berry smoothie with banana, collagen, and unsweetened nut milk
- Breakfast 3: Sweet potato hash with mixed veggies like kale, onions, red bell pepper, and parsley
- Lunch 1: Garbanzo and cannellini bean minestrone soup, with side salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, fennel, olives, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice
- Lunch 2: Grilled eggplant with feta cheese, mushrooms, and tomatoes, with side salad of escarole, olives, tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, basil
- Lunch 3: Miso soup with cubed organic tofu, mushrooms, green scallions, seaweed, bok choy, broccoli
- Dinner 1: Salmon fillet (wild caught), Brussels sprouts with garlic and pine nuts, ½ to 1 cup wild rice, 6 oz. pinot noir
- Dinner 2: Whole wheat pasta with tuna, olives, capers, garlic, and tomatoes, side dish of artichokes
- Dinner 3: Seared tuna steak, bok choy and spinach with garlic, one purple potato
- Snack 1: 1 glass goat milk kefir and bowl of mixed berries
- Snack 2: Espresso, green tea, or Shaklee Energizing Tea with dark chocolate and handful of nuts
- Snack 3: 6 oz. pomegranate juice and roasted chickpeas or edamame
Daniella the Dietician’s Longevity Tips:
- Don’t overeat. Eat until you feel full but not stuffed.
- Do intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating.
- Limit protein intake, especially from red meat and chicken.
- Eat a wide variety of colorful vegetables, organic if possible.
- Concentrate your wellness with sirtuin-activating compounds (proteins involved in metabolic regulation).
- Stress the body (through hormesis).
- Do some form of physical activity or movement daily.
- Get enough sleep. Try Dream Serene™.
- Limit UV exposure (X-rays & sunburns).
- Don’t smoke.
- Achieve a healthy weight. Wellness Group communities are a great tool to use for accountability and support!
Making lifestyle changes at any age can create profound changes in health and longevity. Research indicates that if you choose your lifestyle habits wisely to switch ON longevity pathways via diet, lifestyle, and supplements, you can increase your chances of living a long, healthy life.
Are you ready to turn back your biological clock?
Daniella Lavi-Dray, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian with a master’s in nutrition & dietetics from CSU Northridge and a sub-degree in public health education. Her passion lies in leading group wellness programs with her Shaklee team, promoting life-extending diets paired with proper supplementation to enhance and accelerate the health of the communities they collectively reach. Her current goal is to age backwards in a fast-paced world.