Blue Zoning Independence Day
Independence day is just around the corner. For many folks around the U.S., this means vacation time from work and a weekend spent with friends and/or family. Holiday weekends — or any weekend, for that matter— are the perfect opportunity to implement Blue Zones’ principles.
Here are a few suggestions:
Slow down and create time in your schedule to unplug the electronics and just sit in silence. Try meditation or practice yoga. Releasing stress is important for reducing inflammation, but also recharging your batteries.
Move naturally with friends or family.
Go for a walk or hike, swim in the lake, play with your kids at the park, or work on your garden. Physical activity can be fun and enjoyable, but it’s also important for your heart, muscles, and joints. Just be sure to keep hydrated— check out a few of our suggestions. Also, protect yourself from too much sun exposure— wear a hat and sunglasses, a quality sunscreen, and avoid getting too much sun.
Load-up on plant-based foods.
Pack healthy snacks for your road trips. If the drive is long, pack a cooler. Carrots, celery, cucumbers, and peppers make for a nice snack— dip them into hummus or even a nut or seed butter (e.g. peanut butter). Wash up some grapes, bing cherries, and/ or strawberries and pack them along for a sweet, hydrating treat. Fruit platters and veggie trays make for nice snacks, appetizers, and even easy, side-dishes for picnics and potlucks. Try a grilled veggie burger or portobello mushroom instead of hamburgers, hot dogs, or sausages. Some Blue Zones recipes that would be great for potlucks and picnics include: Eggless Raw Salad, Raw Peach Tart, Baked Ikarian Chickpeas, Sweet Potato Black Bean Salad, and Cowboy Caviar .
Eat Until 80% full.
Don’t be a grazer at events— be mindful of your own hunger and fullness cues. Loading up on fruits and veggies first, will help to avoid excess calories that may be consumed throughout holiday events. Fruits and veggies add volume to your meals/ snacks without necessarily adding more calories (of course, if smothered in sugar or highly processed salad dressing— that’s a different story).
A good plating strategy: always make at least half of your plate full of both fruits and non-starchy vegetables. Rather than scarfing down your food, enjoy your company and eat slowly. Be sure to focus on your meal– the tastes, textures, and colorful arrange of foods.
Wine at 5.
If of age, enjoy a glass of wine with your meal— but don’t overdo it. Too much alcohol can lead to harmful effects on the body— and is often the cause of many preventable accidents.
Surround yourself with healthful people. Call-up a friend or gather your family members to join you on your quest for a healthy, happy holiday weekend.
Attend a faith-based service or find time to incorporate some-sort of spiritual activity— like meditation.
Realize your purpose.
Slowing-down allows our minds to focus on life around-us and the journey that we are headed on. Picking-up a new hobby, trying a new activity, or even just enjoying being in nature may help you discover a new sense of purpose.
Loved ones first.
Take a family member on a hike, meditate with your partner, play on the playground with your children, feast on plant-based goodies at family events, play cards with your parents or grandparents—- but most importantly, be sure to be present in the moment and savor the memories that are being created.
Enjoy your weekend adding longevity and quality to your life!