Well, they have alternate plant sources. Their usual diet revolves around beans, green veggies, sweet potatoes, fruits, nuts, and seeds. They enjoy garden vegetables that are in season and even pickle the excess to enjoy them off-season.
You too can switch to tofu, tempeh, and beans to load up on protein. Have you ever tried a black bean or a chickpea patty in a veggie burger? It is delicious if you season it right and complement it with a little salad.
The next source of protein in an average American’s diet is probably eggs and fish.
You’ll want to eat no more than 3 eggs per week to mimic a blue zone diet. Have it as a side dish like the Mediterranean people or in a soup like Okinawans. You can include fish in your diet as well. Studies show that pesco-vegetarians or people having only fish and veggies in these regions live long. Stick to the sardines, anchovies, and cod. They’ll have fewer pollutants and low Mercury levels. Avoid swordfish, shark, tuna, and sea bass. Steer clear of canned fish as the longest living people just eat wild-caught fresh fish.
Moving ahead, what’s the one thing common in cakes, doughnuts, pastries, and chocolate?
It’s sugar! The number of obese people is skyrocketing and sugar is a major contributor. One in three Americans are overweight. The nutritional guidelines for Americans dictate having 6- 9 tablespoons of sugar per day. But do you know how much the average American has?
22 tablespoons. And every year it’s increasing. This is because our bodies have become more resistant and can be satiated only with more and more sugar. When you are on a blue zone diet you will have to cut sugar by a third. You can safely eat 7 tablespoons of sugar per day. It’s not an easy task. You can try to limit the sugar in your tea and coffee. But did you know that sugar can hide in fruit juices, sauces, yogurt, salad dressings, cereals, and other baked goodies like bread?
Foods that come out of a box or a packet will contain added sugar. Sugary foods can spike insulin levels and even cause infertility, type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart problems. If ignored it can even cost you your life. That’s why cutting down on sugar can just increase your chances of living longer. The same goes for high fructose corn syrup. It can be the number one aging factor. If you’re addicted to sweet coffee or tea then try using honey instead of sugar. It will have sugar but at least you will get anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anticancer properties just like the Ikarians. It’s harder to dissolve honey in your cold beverages so ultimately you will be having less of it.
You can also try using stevia which is an all-natural sweetener. It’s not what the traditional blue zone diet dictates but when you compare sugar and stevia it’s definitely wise to pick stevia. Talk to your doctor before you make it a regular part of your diet. Keep your fridge and pantry loaded with fresh fruits. Avoid dried fruit as fresh is definitely going to keep you fuller for a longer time.
Snacking on nuts can also put an end to your hunger pangs. Be very mindful of the products that say low fat on the label.
The manufacturers may end up putting in lots of sugar to make it more appetizing. Centenarians believe sweets should be eaten only during celebrations. A cookie or a piece of pie is always their celebratory food. Sweets are included on religious holidays or village
festivals. You can make sweets part of your Sunday meal so that you will not feel totally deprived.
Now can you imagine the world’s healthiest people drinking soda?