I found this book (The Blue Zones) after listening to yet another author on a podcast, maybe James Altucher should get props for me reading this book. I like to call him Big Game James. I have no idea why, but he has one of the best hit and miss podcasts out there. It’s one of my favorites. He finds someone to interview, has no fear in asking questions, and records the final result. He asks what he wants to know.
Yes, he may edit, but the show has the feel that the conversation went exactly as you hear it, warts and all. I love his show. And he has a number of authors on it, more so than anyone else.
I’m not sure he does this for his listeners. Rather, I think he does it because he wants to write better. To me, it doesn’t matter. By listening, I get (1) a few writing tips and tricks and (2) a book recommendation now and then too.
I finished Zones of Blue months ago. I jotted down notes in my journal and it took sometime to go back and find them. There is a fundamental flaw in the journal. It doesn’t have a search engine. Yes, I suppose I could scan or bookmark the important parts, but it doesn’t have the best indexing system.
Anyway, I breezed through this book. The author analyzed these so-called blue zones (large populations of centenarians, folks that live past 100) and wrote about the commonalities. What’s interesting is that these folks lived in various parts of the world: Italy, Japan, and even parts of California. The climate wasn’t a deciding factor, which gives me hope. Here were my high level notes:
Eat less than 1800 calories per day
I’d say this is the most important step in the book. If you look at the diets between the groups they did have a few things in common. Okinawans eat fish. The Italians had a mediterranean diet. Seventh-day Adventists have a vegetarian diet. It’s awful hard to consume a large amount of calories if you’re eating greens, fish, and meat. Leave the bread and candy corn behind (it’s so hard during Halloween).
Sleep eight plus hours each day
I think this just comes with the territory. If you’re talking to folks that are over 40 (and over 100 this is going to happen), most likely they are sleeping longer. However, I think this has more to do with the inputs. I have a years plus of Fitbit data, sleep tracking. When I hold my calorie count under 1800, I sleep more. I just run out of gas and pass out. So, yes this is important. But, I believe it’s a byproduct of eating less. No, I’m not a doctor but I could play one on television if someone picked up the phone and called.
All of these groups believed in a higher power. Catholicism was the most common. And all, prayed or meditated each and every day. Believing that death is only the start of the next great adventure is positive, especially if you believe in living forever.
Focus on the moment
I wish I could do this better. Each group talked more about spending time with family. And all, really didn’t give a damn about their possessions. This is something to note. Down Shift. And you can’t take it with you.
Eat four ounces or less of meat.
Few were marathon runners or championship baseball players. But all moved each and every day-in a natural fashion. Some climbed hills. For others, exercise was an important part of their religion. The takeaway is that it’s good to get out and about. But don’t overdue it.
The best part about this book is that it interviewed a number of folks, looked for their habits, and highlighted a tremendous amount of data. Also, anything recommended had pretty simple recommendations. Eat less. Move more (don’t overdue it). Drink red wine (a glass or two a day). Sleep. Yeah, all simple. Enjoy life. It happens so fast. Ask Danny Haren. Loved this tweet.
The Cliff Notes:
Note, the author has a number of other books. Check out his site if you’re interested.