When Ryan and I first sat down to the discuss this blog and our plan to improve our life by following the attributes of the blue zones, he immediately rolled his eyes and gave me his 'are you sure about this new, crazy idea?' look.
I have to say, I am so used to this look. In our relationship, I am the idea person. He is the grounded in reality person. I say yes, yes, yes. He says, let's wait and see ... or sometimes, a flat-out no.
So, when I started talking about how I thought this blog would be a great way to get our lives and health on track and share our experiences along the way, he was hesitant to say the least. But, then I started explaining that it would be about us - the real us. It wouldn't be us just showing how we are living the blue zones life, but it would also talk about how we fail, how we struggle, and how sometimes our kids eat Cool Ranch Doritos for dinner! No one is perfect and that's where he started to realize that we could possibly do this. And, we could get some added physical and mental health benefits along the way.
Goals. Goals. Goals.
First, we wanted to jot down some goals. Here's what we came up with:
We found that we often lacked energy to spend as much time outside being active with our kids. We found that we were often relying on quick, overly processed meals, because we were JUST SO BUSY.
We found that our kids always wanted more time with us. It became a problem when they wouldn’t stay in their own beds – constantly seeking more mommy time that they felt they weren’t getting during the day. It led to crankiness, hurt feelings, and a mommy and daddy who weren’t getting quality sleep.
So, we put on the brakes. We decided to get real, be accountable, and change the way we were living. And, why not get healthier and happier at the same time?
Healthier. Blue zones people make simple, small meals with fresh ingredients. They focus on fruits and vegetables – eating a mostly plant-based diet. However they also add in some fish or meat on special occasions. We decided to start meal planning so we could make more fresh meals at home and we wanted to get the kids involved. We also plan to plant more of a garden this year so the kids can enjoy harvesting their own vegetables! We’ve had gardens in the past, but last year’s was a flop so we are back this year with a new and improved garden strategy.
Natural Movement. Part of being Healthier besides eating is adding more natural movement. We have no plans of becoming gym rats and spending huge amounts of time in the gym. However, we do want to get off of our butts more and move naturally and with purpose. So, instead of just doing a jog a day, how else can we move and how can we get our entire family moving more? We will cover this topic a bunch in upcoming blogs!
Happier. Let’s talk about stress. It is a stressful world, am I right? Stress and anxiety have ruled my life for years, especially after having kids. Later on the blog we will discuss ways we are actively working to limit stress and take a more down-shifted, relaxed take on life.
Purpose and community. One of the reasons centenarians themselves believe they live longer is because they have a purpose and a sense of community. Simply put, they can’t die because then who will organize the community trash pick-up, who will mow Shirley’s lawn, or who will make sure Moses takes his medicines. Having a sense of purpose – a reason for waking up in the morning – is incredibly important. We are going to work on this (hint: work is not your purpose in life.) In addition to purpose, centenarians also give back to their community. We want to focus on some fun community projects and will share them with you!
Socializing. Hanging out with friends and just socializing has been shown to greatly reduce depression, loneliness, and also keep the mind sharp! Since we have moved around a lot, my husband and I have not been great at cultivating friendships, so this is definitely an area we want to work on! And, with that socializing comes the ‘Wine @5’ part of the Blue Zones pillars. Many of the centenarians drink moderately, generally as part of a gathering with friends. While we do enjoy beer most weekends, I wanted to get our drinking in line with socializing and make it more purposeful ... no one should drink alone after all!
You will notice that we set up our menus to follow these same ideas and will post into those categories to make it easier for you to find the posts that interest you.
We will delve more into all of these areas and much more and we look forward to sharing our journey with you!