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Tag Archive: Italy

Jan 06

Living to be 100 and moving to a ‘Blue Zone’

Blue_Zones-mapPhoto Credit: www.transforminghealth.org

 From my archived columns, first published in The Examiner on January 21, 2010. The Examiner is a daily newspaper, Tuesday through Saturday, serving Eastern Jackson County, Mo.

 

“The best age is the age you are.” –Maggie Kuhn, founder of The Gray Panthers

Two friends emailed me recently on the same day with the same message, “Do you want to live to be a 100 or look and feel younger at every age?”

“OK, sure,” I thought suspiciously, “but why are you asking? Do I need to look younger?” I don’t think I want to know the answer to my own question.

“Take twenty minutes of your time and watch this video about Blue Zones,” they each continued in lock step.

Since they are friends and they were asking, I decided to check out the website and Google search Blue Zones, wondering where or what in the world they were.

I soon learned that “where in the world” was the key point. Blue Zones are indeed geographic locations; places where climate and lifestyle can help you live to be a centenarian.

If I recall my geography studies from high school correctly and that is a reach, there are temperate zones, frigid zones and torrid zones in the world. But what are Blue Zones? I am sorry to admit that I never heard of them.

I know of Red Zones, Green Zones, Orange Zones, and Purple, but not Blue.

Red Zones are easy–the area between the 20-yard line and the goal line in football. If you are on defense, better keep your opponent out of the Red Zone!

The Green Zone was in the news for years—the international area protected by coalition forces inside the City of Baghdad.

Then, there is the Orange Zone. It has something to do with making calls abroad with one’s mobile phone, but don’t hold me to that. I suspect fans of Tennessee football would not agree with this definition since they have a completely different meaning for the term Orange Zone.

The Purple Zone was a funky 2006 comedy that few people watched, and it is also refers to a football program at a small university in Texas, a newsletter, a store, a blog and who knows what else.

But, back to Blue Zones.

People who live in these zones live longer and are reportedly happier and healthier than the rest of us. They do not get sick often and can function for many years without dementia or pain.

Here are the five (and there are only five) such spots that scientists believe offer health utopia: Sardinia, Italy; Islands of Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, CA; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; and Icaria, Greece.

If I have to choose one of these Blue Zones, as my two email friends recommended, then I pick Sardinia, Italy, which sounds heavenly.

However, that was just until I learned that Sardinia’s 100-year longevity principal only applies to males who live alone in mountain villages and eat goat cheese.

The other four locations weren’t much different except for perhaps Loma Linda, and I have no idea why it is on the list. Loma Linda, CA file photo

File Photo of Loma Linda, CA

 

My friends asked if I was ready to move to one of these Blue Zones because they were ready to relocate.

“No, absolutely not,” I said remembering what Abraham Lincoln once said on the subject–“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

But I might visit Loma Linda.

Feb 24

Do you have a bucket list?

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while you could miss it.” –From the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Lately, I hear a lot about “bucket lists”. Do you have one? Better make a bucket list if you don’t. What is on your bucket list?

I don’t have one.

Occasionally, I would wonder what the term bucket list means, but until recently, I really did not have the time or inclination to find out.

I suppose I could if I were to watch the 2007 movie, “The Bucket List”, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Apparently it was a big box office success.

I didn’t see it.

However, I surmise that the plot is about two terminally ill men who take a road trip to experience a wish list of things they want to do before they “kick the bucket”.

Their bucket list was elaborate and daring, such as going skydiving, driving a motorcycle on the Great Wall of China and attending a lion safari in Africa. Also on their list were more consequential items such as help a stranger for the simple and pure good of it and witness something truly majestic. I like the latter two best, as I am not too keen on performing motorcycle tricks on a wall.

As I explored the concept of a bucket list, I found several books with suggestions, but honestly most of the items I can skip without an ounce of regret.

I set out to make one of my own as I became increasingly intrigued by the idea. The project is going slowly, however, because I find reasons that make my choices impossible to accomplish.

Here is what I have so far:

• Take a month-long trip to Italy with my college girlfriends. (Not likely to happen unless one of us wins the lottery.)
• Write the book I always wanted to write and see it displayed in airport bookstores. It will be a story set in Italy during World War II, an unrequited love story. I envision it to be a cross between “Bridges of Madison County” and “Saving Private Ryan.” (But, I need an agent to make it a best seller and a trip to Italy to make it truly authentic. Of course, I need to write it.)

• Learn to speak Italian.

Apparently, there is a pattern here, something to do with Italy I suppose.

What a feeble attempt, if I do say so myself.

Perhaps, I need to take some time this coming week to make a proper list. I am open to suggestions, dear readers, especially if you can figure out how I can spend a month in Italy.

We get busy and fall behind, far behind, on our daily tasks, don’t we. In fact, I have a wooden plaque in my kitchen depicting a little turtle saying, “I’m so far behind I think I’m first.”

Who has time to make a bucket list?

Still, Dr. Seuss could be right when he asked–what are we waiting for?

“Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite. Or waiting around for Friday night or waiting perhaps for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil or a better break or a string of pearls or a pair of pants or a wig with curls or another chance. Everyone is just waiting.”

What is on your bucket list?

Jan 21

Living to be 100 and moving to a “Blue Zone”

“The best age is the age you are.” –Maggie Kuhn, founder of The Gray Panthers

Two friends emailed me recently on the same day with the same message, “Do you want to live to be a 100 or look and feel younger at every age?”

“OK, sure,” I thought suspiciously, “but why are you asking? Do I need to look younger?” I don’t think I want to know the answer to my own question.

“Take twenty minutes of your time and watch this video about Blue Zones,” they each continued in lock step.

Since they are friends and they were asking, I decided to check out the website and Google search Blue Zones, wondering where or what in the world they were.

I soon learned that “where in the world” was the key point. Blue Zones are indeed geographic locations; places where climate and lifestyle can help you live to be a centenarian.

If I recall my geography studies from high school correctly and that is a reach, there are temperate zones, frigid zones and torrid zones in the world. But what are Blue Zones? I am sorry to admit that I never heard of them.

I know of Red Zones, Green Zones, Orange Zones, and Purple, but not Blue.

Red Zones are easy–the area between the 20-yard line and the goal line in football. If you are on defense, better keep your opponent out of the Red Zone!

The Green Zone was in the news for years—the international area protected by coalition forces inside the City of Baghdad.

Then, there is the Orange Zone. It has something to do with making calls abroad with one’s mobile phone, but don’t hold me to that. I suspect fans of Tennessee football would not agree with this definition since they have a completely different meaning for the term Orange Zone.

The Purple Zone was a funky 2006 comedy that few people watched, and it is also refers to a football program at a small university in Texas, a newsletter, a store, a blog and who knows what else.

But, back to Blue Zones.

People who live in these zones live longer and are reportedly happier and healthier than the rest of us. They do not get sick often and can function for many years without dementia or pain.

Here are the five (and there are only five) such spots that scientists believe offer health utopia: Sardinia, Italy; Islands of Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, CA; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; and Icaria, Greece.

If I have to choose one of these Blue Zones, as my two email friends recommended, then I pick Sardinia, Italy, which sounds heavenly.

However, that was just until I learned that Sardinia’s 100-year longevity principal only applies to males who live alone in mountain villages and eat goat cheese.

The other four locations weren’t much different except for perhaps Loma Linda, and I have no idea why it is on the list.

My friends asked if I was ready to move to one of these Blue Zones because they were ready to relocate.

“No, absolutely not,” I said remembering what Abraham Lincoln once said on the subject–“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

But I might visit Loma Linda.