Let me be clear, there are a lot of diets out there. The Blue Zone diet isn’t one of them.  Eating the Blue Zone diet isn’t about only eating just carbs or protein; instead, it’s a lifestyle change.

The Blue Zone diet revolves around the idea of longevity and five regions throughout Latin America, the U.S., Asia, and Europe that have the largest number of centenarians in the world. Think Okinawa, Japan and you are on the right track.

Here’s how it works:

Common Factors

These regions have several things in common. First, the people who have lived to be a century or more all move their bodies every day in strenuous jobs or active behavior—not just for a short duration a couple of times a week. They also take time to refresh and relax. They unwind. Get that, America? They do it without guilt, which is easier because they are part of thriving communities and families that support this idea. Many are religious, or have a strong sense of spirituality and community.

Key Points

Some of the so-called secrets of the Blue Zone diet include:

  1. Your largest meal should be earlier in the day, with meals getting smaller by late afternoon and evening.
  2. Eat a mostly plant-based diet, including beans. Eat meat sparingly. Rely more on fish than red meat.
  3. Eat until you are 80 percent full and you will avoid weight gain.
  4. Drink 1 to 2 glasses of alcohol daily. Red wine was the most common type of alcohol consumed, as well as locally made types from the various regions. Soda was seldom, if ever, consumed. Water and teas with local herbs were also common beverages.

Food for Thought

The specific foods varied region to region, but it fell into the same categories, Blue Zone book author Dan Buettner found.

Red beans and rice in Costa Rica, a Blue Zone, are closely related to the garbanzo beans and lentils in another region. A variety of vegetables and small amounts of fruits grown locally were also a common element. Local fish provides low-fat, high protein, and omega-3’s. Nuts, locally-made cheeses, and herbs also play a big part of the diet in the Blue Zones.

These ingredients provide perfect meals, like a Tex Mex Bowl with avocado and brown rice, or a Veggie Lentil soup. The Blue Zone diet definitely provides food for thought.