In the past, I have discussed with relatively broad brush strokes the topic of the 5 so-called ‘Blue Zones’, regions of the world where folks tend to live freakishly long and productive lives. Today, I will be blogging about one specific Blue Zone, Sardinia. What captured my attention about the Sardinian Blue Zone is much the same as that of the other Blue Zones, i.e. none of the dietary components leapt out at me as a ‘secret elixir’ as independent variables in the longevity equation. Rather what stood out were lifestyle factors:
- The men and women both stay physically active throughout their lives and do not reduce their level of activity as they grow older, treating age strictly as a meaningless number. Life is to be celebrated with equal veracity at any age!
- The men walk daily over rocky terrain tending their sheep, they breathe in fresh unpolluted air, drink pure uncontaminated water, and make lots of vitamin D as they regularly expose their skin to sunlight, maintaining a healthy protective tan that safeguards them against skin cancer (believe it or not, the sun is not your enemy, Vitamin D deficiency is!).
- The women can be found tending the garden, washing clothes and milling grain, and of course going everywhere on foot, not by car.
- The Sardinians do not stress about anything and their pace of life is much slower than ours, quieter than ours, less distracted than ours (no iPhones!).
- They have a strong sense of family and community, cultivating loving enduring relationships till the end of their lives. No need for Facebook or Twitter. If they want to talk to someone, they do not text them or even call them on the phone. They walk over to their house and chat with them over a glass of wine.
So here’s my “Sardinian Theory”. If you’re not eating highly processed junk foods and fast food and you’re living a Sardinian-like lifestyle, as described above, then it does not really matter all that much whether or not you are eating the same exact foods as the Sardinians, e.g. Goat’s Milk, lamb, eggs, flat bread, sourdough bread, barley, fennel, fava beans and chickpeas, Milk Thistle and Cannonau Wine. You will be successful in maximizing your health and longevity mainly through a process of elimination, a recurring theme throughout most of my blog posts. In other words, it’s more about what you are not doing, i.e. stressing over trivial crap such as how many “likes” you got on your last Facebook or Instagram post, sleep depriving yourself to binge-watch your favorite shows on Netflix, sitting in front of a computer or television all day, then blowing yourself up in the gym for an hour 4-5 days a week (“Active Couch Potato Syndrome”), pulling up at the drive thru window of McDonald’s on your way home from work most days, overindulging in sweets, snacks and alcohol, etc. The Sardinians are healthy and long-lived primarily via exclusionary practices, not via an orthorexic obsession over every bite of food that they consume. They live happy and carefree lives, not because they are rich and have expensive toys, but because they know what truly matters in life: family, friends and one’s mental and physical health. Happiness is merely the byproduct of the aforementioned.
Live long and prosper, my friends!