"Both Warren [Buffett] & I insist on a lot of time being available almost every day to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. We read and think. So Warren and I do more reading and thinking and less doing than most people in business." - Charlie Munger

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

In The Zone

I just finished reading The Blue Zones, "Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest". I recommend reading it if you are interested in healthy living. Longevity expert Dan Buettner travels to the world's "Blue Zones"-- areas scattered throughout the world where there is an unusually high concentration of centenarians (people over the age of 100)-- conducting interviews in order to find the common denominators that may likely contribute to longer living. Here are some seemingly key ingredients for a long & healthy life:

  • Eat what you sow: plant a garden, tend to it, and eat mainly food you grow & harvest yourself. You will get regular exercise from gardening and your food will be guaranteed organic
  • Go mainly vegetarian: eat meat very rarely, if at all. Many studies have shown that consumption of animal protein is connected with heart disease and most forms of cancer. None of the centenarians interviewed in the Blue Zones consume(d) meat regularly
  • Maintain a low caloric intake: a suggestion from the Okinawans: "hara hachi bu", which means stop eating when you feel 80% full, because it takes about 20 minutes for you to feel how full you truly are.
  • Diffuse stress: do whatever you need to do to make your life as stress-free as possible. Stress cripples the immune system and leaves us more susceptible to diseases
  • Be happy: spend a lot of time with family and friends if that brings you happiness
  • Introduce known "superfoods" and medicinal herbs into your diet: some examples are ginger, turmeric, maca, chia seeds, oatmeal, honey & peppermint
  • Avoid know killers (duh!), but don't fear the sun: don't smoke cigarettes, drink hard alcohol excessively, or do drugs, but do get enough sun to absorb a nice dose of Vitamin D fairly regularly. Many of the centenarians got more sun daily (sans sunscreen) than we have been led to believe is "safe".
  • Exercise daily but don't overdo it: long walks & hikes seem to be more optimal for longevity than extreme exercises that wear your body down over time
  • Keep up the good work: it is critically important to maintain a strong sense of purpose throughout life. One sure way to do this is to do what you love & love what you do.
  • Be self-reliant: do not hire people to do everything for you; doing is living 
  • Be grateful: Interestingly, most of the centenarians spent the beginning of their lives struggling. Once they overcame adversity, they had a profound sense of appreciation for life and its simple treasures

Tips & Recipes:

GARDEN: If you have some land where you live, plant a garden. Start with one of your favorite foods that grows well where you live, and learn & expand from there.
I planted arugula in my backyard, along with citrus trees (lemons, grapefruits, blood oranges, pomelos), peach, plum & apricot trees. I am making it a point to harvest the crop often and make this  homegrown produce a fundamental part of my diet. Farming is more fun when I bring Leon with me.

Quinoa & arugula salad: chop & saute onions in a pan with olive oil. Once onions are soft, add chopped zucchini & mushrooms and saute together. At same time cook quinoa, according to instructions on package. Once vegetables are sauteed and quinoa is ready, mix them together over low heat. In a separate bowl, combine washed arugula with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Himalayan pink salt & pepper. Serve arugula salad over vegetable quinoa.

DIFFUSE STRESS: The way I have avoided stress in my life is by always being kind. Being nice to everyone and truly wanting the best for everyone makes your life so peacefully simple

EAT SUPERFOODS: A great way to introduce superfoods into your diet is via juices & smoothies. I make myself fresh juices and/or smoothies pretty much every morning.

"Chunky Monkey" smoothie: one tall glass of crushed ice, 1 1/2 or 2 organic bananas, one small spoonful of organic raw cacao nibs, one small spoonful of organic cacao & maca powder, one regular size spoonful of organic peanut butter, organic almond milk or vanilla almond milk, blend in Vitamix on 5.5 power for 1 minute. Enjoy!

EXERCISE REGULARLY: Fit long walks or hikes into your daily schedule. I used to exercise more intensively before I had Leon, but it isn't good to do excessive exercise while breastfeeding because it reduces your milk supply...so.... I have been hiking with friends often, and it is a great way to stay toned and clear your head at the same time.

BE GRATEFUL: This is a really difficult thing to teach... you just kind of have to "get it". I am pretty sure my mom is the person who is most responsible for my strong sense of gratitude and for that I am... SO GRATEFUL !