The Well-Being Journal

Did Dan Buettner Convince a NYT Foodie to Adopt a Healthier Lifestyle?

Madison Agee

Yes to coffee, red wine and bread? Kale and protein shakes not required? Long walks instead of high-impact exercise? Lingering with friends over a long meal? A pair of New York Times articles reveals that the secrets to a long, happy life may be a lot more enjoyable than many of us believe.

Recently, National Geographic Fellow and Healthways partner Dan Buettner spent a day with New York Times food writer Jeff Gordinier, in which the two prepared a “longevity feast” that reflected a sampling of the discoveries Buettner made during a global expedition to uncover the areas of the world in which people live the longest – known as “Blue Zones”. Buettner and Gordinier shopped, cooked and enjoyed a meal based on Blue Zones principles.

The experience, detailed in this article, convinced Gordinier that a healthy lifestyle that promotes longevity doesn’t have to be ascetic and miserable – in fact, a Blue Zones-centered life can be pleasurable and full of tasty meals and great companionship. Some of the tips that Buettner shared with Gordinier are collected here in a companion article.

Buettner is working with Healthways on the Blue Zones Project®, a powerful community well-being improvement initia­tive designed to make healthy choices easier through changes to environment, policy and social networks. You can learn more about the Blue Zones Project here.

Topics: Dan Buettner Longevity Eating Healthy Blue Zones Project

25 Days of Kindness

Jennifer Rudloff

Reposted from the Blue Zones Project Blog

As you move through life each day, you come in contact with countless individuals—pass hundreds of people on the roadways, move past a dozens of people in grocery aisles and halls at work, and many more nearly every other place you find yourself each day. While your paths may cross, the circumstances that led you there can cause you to experience that moment in a completely different way. For example, while you’re happily enjoying your lunch, your server could be hiding behind a smile while worrying about circumstances at home.

You really never know what others are going through. If you just stopped to ask yourself how your daily encounters impacted those around you, maybe the world would be a little brighter of a place, right? Well, there’s no time like the present!

It’s amazing how a single friendly gesture has the power to completely turn around a person’s day. By performing random acts of kindness for those in your community, you’ll spread the spirit of generosity and show others that you care, all while making your town a little happier place to live. How’s that for building community?

So go ahead and join us for 25 Days of Kindness, maybe even make it a family affair, and bring a little extra happy to someone’s day.

Here’s how it works:

25 Days of Kindness

Example of a random act of kindness you'll see on our Facebook page

- We’ll recommend a new random act of kindness on Facebook each day, but don’t feel limited by what we post! Feel free to get creative and come up with some ideas of your own.

- If you complete an act of kindness, please share it! We love a good heart-warming story and would so enjoy hearing more about how you chose to brighten someone’s day, the impact you had on others, and how it made you feel. And if you’re the recipient of an act of kindness, we want you to know how it made your day.

By sharing your stories, you just might inspire someone to spread a little kindness to another.

- Remember, everything is more fun when you do it with friends. You have the power to multiply the goodness in your community by sharing with friends, co-workers, and family and encouraging them to jump in too.

It all starts December 1. To learn more and start spreading a little holiday cheer visit us on Facebook!

Healthways Facebook Page

Topics: Healthy Living Emotional Health Community Motivation Daily Challenge Social Well-Being Blue Zones Project

Walking Together for Longer, Healthier Life

Jennifer Rudloff

walking togetherWith all of our modern technology, connecting quickly has become easier. But there’s something to be said for trading some high-tech time with real, face-to-face quality time every once in a while. When we do this by going for a walk with friends, for example, it can do wonders for our physical and emotional health.

Successful Strides

Four years after becoming the first Blue Zones Project city, Albert Lea, Minn., continues to be a living, breathing example of this. A recent news article reported the city has 30 moais, or groups who continue to get together twice a week for an hour-long walk, bike ride or dancing. This Midwestern city has shown how a healthy habit can become a life-changing lifestyle.

Those who’ve participated in the Blue Zones program and adopted its principles—like regular activity and healthy eating—have experienced numerous benefits, such as:

  • Improved physical and emotional health
  • Elimination of medication for certain health conditions
  • An increased lifespan of 2.9 years on average

In summary, walking with others can make it easier to adopt healthy choices, which can grow into a lifestyle, which can lead to well-being improvement beyond measure.

Some Pep for Your Step

When was the last time you met up with a group of friends, colleagues or neighbors and went for a walk? Whether you have a health-related goal or would like to reconnect on a deeper level, consider making contact and find a time that would work. You could even consider organizing a "walking school bus" in your neighborhood, like described in this YouTube video. One step is all you need to get started. And if you want to use a little high-tech to initiate the conversation, a quick text probably wouldn't hurt.

Topics: Healthy Living In the News Exercise Physical Health Health Emotional Health Social Well-Being Success Stories Blue Zones Project

Smart Snacking Strategies

Jennifer Rudloff

A well-chosen snack can offer vital nutrients, satisfy hunger, and give a much-needed energy boost throughout a busy day. The key is portion control. Try these tricks for refueling the next time a snack attack strikes:

  • Dip high-fiber veggies in a low-fat or non-fat ranch dressing.
  • Create a delicious smoothie with low-fat or non-fat milk, strawberries, a banana, and a handful of spinach – you’ll never know it’s there.
  • Spread celery sticks with a tablespoon of peanut butter and top with rasins.
  • For a frozen treat, try a peeled banana dipped in low-fat or non-fat yogurt, rolled in crushed cereal or granola.
  • Top low-fat or non-fat yogurt with a small amount of crunchy granola and berries.
Topics: Healthy Living Snacking Strategies Eating Healthy Blue Zones Project