Optimizing Longevity with the "Blue Zones" Founder.

January 13, 2023

Optimizing Longevity with the "Blue Zones" Founder.

May 29, 2023

What if I told you that you could add 10 good years to your life? Chip Conley and Dan Buettner on the MEA campus

What if I told you that you could add 10 good years to your life?

That’s not hyperbole. A huge meta-analysis followed hundreds of thousands of people for decades, and it found that switching to a blue zones-type diet (from a Standard American Diet) can add an average of 10 years of life for women, or 13 years for men.

That’s if you switch diets around age 20, but even if you switch at age 60, you can add six years to your life—and, again, those are averages (not limits)!

I’ve spent the past 20 years researching the blue zones—five areas around the world where people consistently live to or past 100 years old and have lower rates of chronic diseases such as dementia, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Dan points out that their longevity is due to living in environments where the healthy choice is the easy and unavoidable choice; this includes walkable communities, supportive family/friends, faith, purpose, happy hours, and access to healthy foods.

Though food is only one part of the bigger picture, it is a great place to start. In the original blue zones, they don’t count calories, take vitamins, weigh protein grams, or even read labels. They don’t restrict their food intake—in fact, they all celebrate with food. Their diets are predominantly (90-100% ) plant-based; little to no dairy, fish or eggs; heavy on beans, greens, nut and whole grains; sourdough bread and red wine are staples of 4 of the 5 blue zones and they avoid sugar sweetened beverages, sweets and ultra-processed food. This is a far cry from the Standard American Diet (SAD) that we know.

Over the past four years, I’ve traveled across America with National Geographic photographer David McLain to seek out its own lost diet of longevity. The Blue Zones American KitchenOut Now—is equal parts science reporting, stunning photography, and 100 recipes to live to 100 years old.

For this book, I explored more than 60 oral histories, scientific reports, and academic papers to reconstruct four traditional American diets from the early 20th century. The finished work offers a robust, data-driven representation of what Americans were really eating a century ago.

The scope of the work is ethnically and racially diverse—it precisely captures the diets of Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, and African Americans as well as Native Americans—and the data shows that all of these diets were remarkably similar in composition to the diets of the world’s longest-lived people.

In other words: adding a decade to your lifespan doesn’t require you to give up all "American food." We just need to get away from the Standard American Diet and closer to the Forgotten American Diet… and with The Blue Zones American Kitchen now available, I hope it doesn’t have to be forgotten any longer.

New York Times bestselling author Dan Buettner will join MEA co-founder Chip Conley leading a Mastery Week March 28 - April 2 called Optimizing Longevity with the "Blue Zones" Founder. Dan is one of the leading longevity thought leaders in the world so, if you’re curious about what steps you can take to create a longer, healthier, happier life, we’d love to have you join us in this intimate workshop. Dan will also be joining Chip for an online fireside chat on January 19. You can sign up HERE and you’ll be sent a recording if you can’t join live that day.

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