Fortunately over the past three weeks here in Italy my language skills have greatly improved and have allowed an hour long conversation (more like an interview) with a woman in the small fishing town of Scilla (pronounced “Sheila”) about her diet and her daily life here. It was absolute confirmation of all that is written about when describing diet and living patterns of the longest living people on the planet. The area of Italy that I am in is close to what is called a “Blue Zone.” Four “Blue Zones” have been discovered on earth where people live long, healthy and purposeful lives. The first was discovered in Sardinia, Italy.
Here is what she said: Everything she eats is either grown in her own garden or purchased from a local source that is fresh daily. Nothing is shipped from another area of the country or outside of her world for that matter.
Her diet consists of mainly fruits and vegetables (all grown organically) a small amount of wine that is either made at home or produced locally and never has sulfites or preservatives in it. The town is situated directly on the sea and fresh fish are brought in every day. She eats fish about twice a week – grilled. If she eats eggs at all they are from the local farmer. Soda drinks do not exist for her and she drinks a lot of water each day. In other words she is mainly a plant based vegetarian with the addition of some fish and eggs.
As we continued to talk I noticed the natural exercise that was taking place just through the natural terrain of the city. She walks to work – about 20 minutes a day. But, even a five minute walk often includes climbing stairs and walking up and down slopes. The natural terrain has the equivalent of a built in stairmaster and it’s wonderful. (I’ve probably walked up and down a thousand steps since I’ve been here.)
Life here has a certain rhythm to it. People work hard but afternoons are reserved for a little rest and for families to have their main meal together. Shops close in the afternoon. They could make more money by staying open as tourists are always ready to buy something but the residents here are not interested in making the “big bucks” but rather to savor life.
The person I was talking with was very attractive. I had her figured for about mid to late 30’s and maybe 40’s. I politely asked her age and was dumbfounded when she replied 57 years!
How can we develop more “Blue Zones” in our daily lives? Between how I was raised (my mother lived so much of this lifestyle and lived a long 92 years) and all that I’ve learned through formal and life experience, I think I am going to put together a short seminar on ways we can do just that!