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5 Blue Zone Diets and Recipes That May Help You Live Longer



“Blue zone” is a term for regions of the world where people tend to live longer, often up to the age of 90 and even up to the age of 100 and beyond (1).

There are currently five known blue zones. You are:

  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Ikaria, Greece
  • Sardinia, Italy
  • Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Loma Linda, California

Research shows that while aging is influenced by your genes and can vary from person to person, external factors can have a huge impact on your lifetime. These can include diet, lifestyle, stress, and social environment (2, 3, 4, 5).

Although these Blue Zones are scattered around the world, their diet and lifestyle share some similarities.

For example, people in these areas tend to exercise more and eat lots of vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and legumes.

This article provides an overview of the diet for each region of the Blue Zone.

Okinawa is a region on a group of islands called the Ryukyu Islands in southern Japan.

The Okinawa Diet refers to the eating pattern that its residents traditionally follow. Okinawans are among the longest living people in the world. The diet is low in calories but rich in nutrients (1, 6, 7, 8).

It’s primarily a plant-based diet that focuses on sweet potatoes, leafy greens, yellow root vegetables, soy, and low glycemic index (GI) grains – the ones that won’t get your blood sugar levels up (6).

By prioritizing these foods, the Okinawa Diet is rich in vitamins and minerals. It’s also full of antioxidants that fight free radicals and reduce the risk of age-related chronic diseases (6).

Although Okinawa’s diet is not strictly vegetarian, people consume animal foods sparingly. The same goes for processed foods and sweets.

Here is a list of staple foods you should be eating and avoiding while following a traditional Okinawan diet (6).

Food to eat

  • Vegetables: Okinawa sweet potato, bitter melon, bamboo shoots, cabbage, white radish, Chinese okra, pumpkin, carrots, and burdock
  • Legumes: mainly soy and soy products like tofu, miso and natto
  • Grain: Millet, pasta and rice
  • Meat and poultry: lean pieces of pork, chicken and the occasional goat
  • Fish and sea vegetables: Fish, algae, kelp and other algae
  • Spices: Turmeric and various herbs and spices instead of salt

Food to avoid

  • Dairy: Milk, yogurt, cheese and butter
  • Meat and poultry: Beef, processed or cured meat and eggs
  • Other: Edible oils, fruits, sweets, nuts and seeds

To get the most out of the traditional Okinawa sweet potato, try this baked purple sweet potato fries recipe.


Okinawa’s diet is primarily plant-based. It’s low in calories but high in nutrients. Its main staple food is the Okinawa sweet potato, along with soy products and low GI grains.

The island of Sardinia is located west of the Italian peninsula in the Mediterranean. It is said to be the home of the longest lived men (1).

The Sardinia Diet is a variation of the Mediterranean diet – also called Sardo-Mediterranean – that has been linked to the prevention of chronic age-related diseases (9, 10).

The Mediterranean diet is characterized by a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, minimally processed whole grains and legumes, nuts and olive oil as the main sources of fat, moderate fish consumption and a low intake of dairy products, alcohol and red meat (9).

In contrast, the Sardinian variant includes a higher intake of olive oil, fish, milk and dairy products as well as alcoholic beverages (11, 12).

Some of the foods that people eat and avoid on the Sardinian diet are (11, 12):

Food to eat

  • Vegetables: Tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, cabbage, zucchini and carrots
  • Fruit: Oranges, apples, bananas, dates, figs and peaches
  • Legumes: Fava beans, lentils and chickpeas
  • Grain: Barley and wheat for your traditional flatbread and pasta
  • Dairy: Goat and sheep milk, yogurt and cheese
  • Fish and seafood: Sea bass, anchovies, squid, mussels, clams and lobsters
  • Fats: Olive oil and nuts, such as almonds and hazelnuts
  • Herbs and spices: Parsley, fennel, mint, bay leaf, celery and garlic
  • Alcohol: Cannonau red wine and myrtle liqueur

Occasional foods to eat

  • Certain types of meat: Beef, lamb and pork
  • Sweets: Honey, puff pastry and candied orange peel

Food to avoid

  • Some meat and poultry dishes: also processed or cured meat
  • Processed foods: sugar-sweetened beverages, refined grains and oils, and ready-to-eat foods and snacks

If you want to try a traditional Sardinian recipe, you can make a homemade version of the minestrone.


The Sardinia Diet follows most of the eating habits of the Mediterranean Diet with a higher intake of milk and dairy products, olive oil, fish and alcohol.

Ikaria is a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea.

The Ikaria diet is also a variation on the Mediterranean diet with a higher intake of coffee, potatoes, and full-fat dairy products (13, 14).

However, it continues to emphasize fruits, vegetables, olive oil, cereals, and legumes, while keeping meat product consumption and wine consumption low (14).

Foods That You Should Eat and Avoid In The Ikaria Diet Include (14):

Food to eat

  • Vegetables: Tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, broccoli, spinach, kale and wild vegetables
  • Fruit: Apricot, fig, plum, pomegranate, berries, kiwi, orange, lemon and watermelon
  • Legumes: Beans, chickpeas and lentils
  • Grain: Whole grain cereals and bread
  • Dairy: Goat milk, yogurt and cheese
  • Fish and seafood: Sardines, salmon, trout and herring
  • Fats: Olive oil and nuts, including almonds and walnuts
  • Herbs and spices: Mint, rosemary, sage, mugwort, garlic, thyme, basil and oregano
  • Beverages: cooked Greek coffee and red wine
  • Sweets: honey

Occasional foods to eat

  • Some types of meat: Beef, chicken, goat and pork

Food to avoid

  • Processed or cured meat: like ham or sausage
  • Processed foods: Lemonade, candy, ready meals and snack bars

Follow this recipe to try a traditional mixed green cake.


The Ikaria diet is another variant of the Mediterranean diet with a higher intake of coffee, potatoes and full-fat dairy products.

Nicoya is located in the province of Guanacaste in Costa Rica. This specific region has a 20% lower death rate than the rest of the country (11, 15).

Compared to the diets mentioned above, the Nicoya diet has a higher animal protein content and a lower intake of healthy fats.

However, it is also characterized by a high intake of fiber and low GI foods – which also means a lower intake of processed and refined foods (15).

The Nicoya Diet is rich in simple, traditional foods like rice, beans, corn, chicken, and eggs. People also consume more expensive foods like aged cheese and olive oil, but less often (15).

Here are some of the foods Nicoyans eat most and least (11, 15):

Food to eat

  • Vegetables: Plantain, yucca, pumpkin, pejibaye, peppers, onions, cabbage, tomatoes and cucumbers
  • Fruit: tropical fruits like papaya, banana, mango and pineapple
  • Legumes: black beans and lentils
  • Grain: Rice, corn and whole grain bread
  • Dairy: Soft and hard cheese
  • Poultry: Chicken and eggs
  • Fats: Butter, avocado, rapeseed and sunflower oil
  • Beverages: fresh fruit juice, coffee and guaro – a traditional alcoholic drink

Occasional foods to eat

  • Some fresh meats: Beef and pork
  • Sweets: Pastries, table sugar, biscuits and desserts

Food to avoid

  • Processed and cured meat
  • Dairy: Cow’s milk
  • Processed foods: refined cereals, sodas, and frozen foods

If you want to try a traditional Nicoyan dish, try this gallo pinto recipe – a mix of white rice and black beans eaten as a staple, often with eggs as a side dish.


The Nicoya Diet differs from the other Blue Zone diets in that it has a higher intake of animal proteins and a lower intake of healthy fats. Still, it’s high in fiber and low GI foods.

The Seventh-day Adventist Diet refers to the eating habits of the Adventist denomination in Loma Linda, California.

The people in this community are predominantly vegan, derived from the Bible. It is based on nuts, legumes and leafy vegetables. The Seventh-day Adventist Diet is the only Blue Zone diet that is largely plant-based (1).

Research suggests that a vegan diet can lower the risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This could be a key to extending the life of the community (16, 17, 18).

Although mostly vegan, this diet divides meat into “clean” and “unclean” categories according to the Bible. Adventists can opt for some of the “clean” options (19).

Here is a list of foods to eat and avoid while following the Seventh-day Adventist Diet (19, 20):

Food to eat

  • Vegetables: Tomatoes, leafy vegetables, broccoli, parsnips, carrots and onions
  • Fruit: Apples, pears, bananas, peaches, oranges and mango
  • Legumes: Beans and lentils
  • Grain: Oats, whole grain bread, quinoa, corn, rice and amaranth
  • Vegetable protein: Soy and soy products like tofu, tempeh and edamame
  • Fats: Olive oil and nuts, such as cashew nuts and almonds

Occasional foods to eat

  • Some types of meat: Salmon, chicken, eggs and beef eggs
  • Dairy: low-fat milk and dairy products

Food to avoid

  • Certain types of meat: including pork and shellfish
  • Dairy: Whole milk products
  • Beverages: alcoholic and caffeinated beverages
  • Certain flavors: hot spices and condiments
  • Processed foods: Sweets and other highly refined foods, such as frozen foods, ready meals, and fast foods

To try a vegan version of an American staple, follow this vegan mac and cheese recipe.


The Seventh-day Adventist diet is a predominantly vegan diet inspired by the Bible. It divides meat into “clean” and “unclean” categories, and Adventists can choose between the options in the “clean” list.

Blue zones are regions of the world where a higher proportion of people live to be more than 100 years old.

There are currently five known blue zones. The longevity of its residents is partly attributed to their diet, along with other factors such as exercise and social environment.

While most of the Blue Zone diets are primarily plant-based, one (the Nicoya Diet) is based on animal foods as the main source of protein.

However, they all have other properties, such as: B. High intake of fruits, vegetables, and low GI foods.

Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta

Bipartisan effort renders assistance to Afghan allies



VERNON COUNTY – Vernon County’s Republican and Democratic parties recently completed a successful bipartisan initiative to collect needed supplies for the Afghan refugees housed at Fort McCoy. A total of 13 pallets of donated materials were collected at the Vernon County Highway Shop, with the last pallet being delivered just before the New Year.

“It was a fantastic accomplishment,” said Vernon County Chief Executive Justin Running of his county’s effort. “On the ground, we saw more and more that people are fed up with the partisan divisions and fighting that we have seen in recent years. We all have so much in common, and efforts like this remind us that what we have in common really is far greater than our differences.”

Running said the best thing about the initiative is that it’s easy to get everyone to agree to work together.

Due to the earlier than originally planned resettlement of refugees from the base, the fundraiser was canceled at the end of December. Any remaining donations received after the end of the campaign will now be redirected to CouleeCap, Bethel Buttik Food Pantry, Salvation Army, Goodwill and other outlets to help local families in need.

companies helped

The non-partisan nature of the effort also made it easy for local businesses to get involved. Businesses like the Nelson Ag Center, Southwest Sanitation, Cashton Farm Supply and Proline Printing, along with countless other local businesses, came forward to help.

According to Tim Hundt of Congressman Ron Kind’s office, Dan Kanis of the Nelson Ag Center provided a truck with a platform lift, pallet jack and driver to transport the donation pallets to Fort McCoy. Southwest Sanitation provided bins that were used to collect supplies. Cashton Farm Supply provided pallets from their Westby egg grading plant and Proline Printing printed posters for the effort free of charge.

County Seat Laundry co-owner Laura Patten was another business owner who came forward to help with the effort. Supplies were collected at the store, and many people learned of the effort when they saw a poster while doing laundry.

“People were eager to find a way to help and relieved to find a way for their donations,” Patten said. “I’ve heard many comments that people were very excited about this bipartisan effort, and I’ve expressed a sense of gratitude that there are still opportunities to come together as a community and show a normal sense of neighborhood.”

Patten originally planned to offer free laundry for gently used items to be donated, but had to switch when it was revealed it would only be accepting new items. She pointed out that her company has an ongoing fundraising account that provides free laundry to community residents who have experienced tragedy or fallen through hard times.

to do the right thing

Tim Hundt of Congressman Ron Kind’s office thanked local businesses for their help and for stepping up from both county political parties to lead the effort together.

“One of the reasons this became bipartisan was that some companies were wary of working with just one party. Some companies have had bad experiences with the whole mask controversy, and that was really the reason for the move to make this a bipartisan effort,” Hundt explained. “When we told the companies it was non-partisan, the positive feedback was incredible. Efforts like this give people hope that we can unite on something good, put our differences aside, and just do the right thing to help people who were willing to risk their lives for us.”

Vernon County Republican Party leader Roger Call echoed Hundt’s views.

“It was just the right thing at the right time,” Call said. “We reported on the campaign on our party website and encouraged our members to consider participating.”

Vernon County Democratic Party leader Wade Lawler agreed with Running and Call.

“The reality is that we would have accomplished less if our two political parties had not worked together in this effort,” Lawler said. “By working bipartisanically, we were able to make a greater impact.”

Volunteers Kathy Sullivan and Kristina Reser-Jaynes provided some of the essential backbone at the collection and sorting facility. Members of the Viroqua Lions Club were also instrumental in coordinating pickups from some of the remote fundraising locations.

“The effort really took off when it became bipartisan and we took politics out of the effort,” Reser-Jaynes commented. “Putting aside our differences to come together in a joint effort was very refreshing and allowed for much camaraderie and great conversations.”

Save our allies

In August 2021, all eyes were on Afghanistan as the United States withdrew troops and evacuated Afghan allies from the country. US forces deployed to Afghanistan for 20 years, from 2001 to 2021, and the withdrawal marked the end of one of the longest wars in the country’s history.

As a result of the withdrawal, the US airlifted tens of thousands of Afghans facing reprisals from the Taliban, who had taken control of the country, and large numbers of these refugees were housed at Fort McCoy in Monroe County. 45 percent of the population housed there were under 18 years old. Their needs were immense, and the citizens’ efforts resulted in the collection and delivery of large numbers of donations of clothing, school supplies, and personal hygiene items.

Originally coordinated by Team Rubicon, private sector relief efforts at Fort McCoy were later transferred to the non-profit organization Save Our Allies. The US Army is not allowed to accept donations from the public, so organizations like this stepped in to fill the gap.

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2 Ways to Make Whole Roasted Sweet Potatoes for a Healthy Meal



We grew up eating toast at my house. Whether it was sweet wheat dusted with cinnamon or sourdough loaded with avocado, toast was a breakfast staple every morning. And as one of four kids, I can see why – it’s quick, easy and never disappoints even the pickiest of eaters. But now that I’m gluten-free, I’m struggling to find alternatives to toast that are just as convenient in the morning. When I discovered whole roasted sweet potatoes, I was quickly hooked. Hear me, it might sound like substituting veggies for bread, but I’ve found that sweet potatoes make the perfect base for a hearty and vegetarian breakfast that helps stabilize blood sugar, prevent cravings, and those mid-day meals to avoid feeling tired and sluggish.

Plus, sweet potatoes are super high in fiber, beta-carotene, and vitamin A. During these cold-weather months, I always jump at the opportunity to incorporate this nutrient-dense root vegetable into my meals. Whether you have an intolerance or not, Whole Roasted Sweet Potatoes are the perfect nutrient-dense and gluten-free alternative to change up your weekly mealtime!

By the way, this recipe is part of our Plant-Based RE:SET – a new 5-day meal plan coming to your inbox on January 21st! Packed with delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this is a week of meals that will make you feel lighter, brighter and more energetic. Sign up here!

Sweet potato is the perfect breakfast, lunch, or dinner

Although I prefer sweet potatoes for breakfast, they’re a great choice for lunch, dinner, or even as a snack. These recipes are super easy to make and pack a wealth of flavor. After experimenting with different toppings, I ended up with my two favorite combinations. Both sweet and savory, they tick all the boxes — creaminess with just the right amount of crunch. You can put them on or off and add additional flavors you like.

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How to Make the Best Whole Roasted Sweet Potatoes

The key to making the best roasted sweet potatoes is in the roasting. You’ll know your sweet potatoes are done when you take them out of the oven and they feel soft and the skin starts to get a little syrupy. (I like to pierce the top with a fork to make sure it’s perfectly tender). Covering them with foil allows the steam to soften the potato without getting too mushy. It is best to remove the foil and let it cool down a bit before cutting it in half. When I puree the meat, I like to drizzle in a little olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. This adds some extra flavor while providing the ideal smooth base, aka the perfect canvas for your toppings.

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Sweet Potato Two Way

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Sweet Potato Two Way

Topping 1: Whole roasted sweet potatoes with seeds and herbs

This first combo is super filling and full of flavor. I love the velvety texture of the sour cream mixed with the toasted nuts and seeds for an extra crunch.

1. Once the sweet potato is prepared, take a dollop of sour cream and spread it on each half. (For a vegan option, you can opt for plant-based sour cream or even coconut yogurt).
2. It is important that the sweet potato has cooled, otherwise the sour cream will begin to melt.
3. Next, top with your choice of nuts and seeds. My favorite is a combo of toasted pecans, toasted pumpkin seeds, and toasted sesame seeds.
4. Once the nuts are evenly distributed on the potato halves, finish with a sprinkling of fresh herbs. I usually use chopped mint, dill, and chives, but any combination of herbs is just as fresh and delicious.
5. Finally, I always like to add a pinch of salt or a sprinkling of red pepper flakes for an extra kick.

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Sweet Potato Two Way

Topping 2: Whole roasted sweet potato with avocado and onion

Here’s the healthy twist on your classic avocado toast. Avocado toast has been one of my favorite recipes for years, but now I prefer this version as it’s an easy way to get more veggies into my day. The key to perfect avocado toast is mashing the avocado beforehand.

1. Slice the avocado, remove the skin and place in a bowl to mash with a fork. This makes it easier to spread and allows you to mix in any seasonings to enhance the avocado’s flavor.
2. Once you’ve spread the avocado over the sweet potato, add the sliced ​​red onion, cilantro, and salt to taste! I also love adding spices to everything for an extra flavor boost.

As you probably already know, a plant-rich diet is packed with benefits, but I sometimes struggle to find creative plant-centric meals that actually fill me up. With the added protein and fat from nuts, seeds, and avocado, I’m never unsatisfied with these sweet potato toasts. They also take very little time to prepare, especially if you boil the sweet potatoes beforehand and store them in the fridge so they can be easily reheated later. Both recipes are healthy, delicious and never disappoint. Trust me, you will be amazed!

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André Leon Talley obituary | Vogue



André Leon Talley loved the surprisingly similar rituals of two ways of life he knew well: the black community of his childhood in North Carolina, and French couture, with its historical and literary associations.

His remarkable persona and work as fashion editor, adviser and seer were founded on church ladies in their Sunday best, and an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of clothes. Few couturiers knew a fraction of what he did, and the US Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who appointed him her shield – even in heels she stood small beside his 6ft 6in – admitted that he had what she lacked, a deep apprehension of fashion.

Talley, who has died aged 73 of a heart attack, was in the front row of the Paris, and most other, shows for more than four decades, an enthusiastic warm island in an ocean of cool, as well as often the sole black presence . He could photograph, write, arrange shoots, broker ungattable interviews and covers, notably Michelle Obama as first lady, and, most importantly, predict the future based on his passion for the past. Talley’s lofty standards matched Wintour’s own when the Condé Nast empire was at its height in the late 1980s.

Although Wintour said Talley sent her handwritten notes about his experiences with race, so “it was always bubbling under the surface”, he avoided the subject publicly, concentrating on his unique personal status in fashion.

Only in interviews publicizing his second memoir, The Chiffon Trenches (2020), written after Wintour had discarded him from Vogue without a word, did he describe her as “a colonial broad”, on whose watch Condé Nast had remained undiversified into the 21st century . He felt he had been exploited as an exotic, and sometimes as an ambassador for a black milieu; always the first to be bumped from a guest list. The released anger energized his last years.

Anna Wintour and Andre Leon Talley in 2013. Photographer Andrew Kelly/Reuters

He had been creating identity and an unrepeatable career path since his childhood in Durham, North Carolina. Born in Washington to Alma (nee Davis) and William Talley, who had gone there to work as government clerks, from the age of two months he grew up in the Durham house of his grandmother Bennie Davis, for 50 years a cleaner at nearby Duke University.

She encouraged the boy to read and gave him his own shocking-pink painted study, while his father sent a set of encyclopedias. At nine he discovered Vogue in the public library and later walked to a newsstand on the white side of town after Sunday church to buy it.

After Diana Vreeland arrived as editor in 1963, Vogue became Talley’s portal to a better planet. He read every caption, recognized the Beautiful People’s names, especially the French ones: he had been a Francophile since hearing Julia Child say “Bon appetit!” on her TV cooking show. He and Bennie took pleasure in clothes, and yearly boarded a bus to Washington or New York to buy the best that could be afforded. He read Flaubert’s Madame Bovary on one trip, intending to teach French in high school.

But his world widened, as he went on from North Carolina Central University on a scholarship to Brown University, Rhode Island, where he wrote a master’s thesis about black women in 19th-century French art and literature, and was picked up socially by wealthy white students from Rhode Island School of Design; he wrote for their college mag. They were his entree to New York, and, with a letter of introduction from one of their parents, to an unpaid internship in 1974 at the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute, where Vreeland curated extraordinary exhibitions. She noticed his creative input, summoned him to her office, wrote “ANDRE – THE HELPER” on her pad, and ordered him to stay by her side to show’s end.

He recognized her resemblance to Bennie, the same perfect clothes ritually maintained and tissue-paper-packed, the gloves, hard work and discipline. Vreeland found him a receptionist job on Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine, where he was taken out on the town by the Factory entourage, and did thorough research before talking to Karl Lagerfeld. The designer was the first of many to dress Talley, tossing him custom-made shirts with matching mufflers at the end of the interview.

Another Talley teen hero, John Fairfield of Women’s Wear Daily, recruited him and in 1978 sent him as bureau chief to Paris. The French could be hostile – a PR executive mocked him as “Queen Kong” – and there were imbroglios over favored couturiers. Talley eventually left to freelance.

In 1983, he moved into as news editor at US Vogue, under the command of Grace Mirabella, just as Wintour became his creative editor. When she was appointed editor in 1988, Talley took her old job, both a novelty – male, gay, African American – and a link with Vreeland. In 1998, he was appointed editor-at-large.

That title was somewhat unfortunate: after Bennie’s death, Talley comfort-ate the food he associated with her kitchen, and his tall slenderness consolidated into girth beneath wonderful robes and capes sewn for him by major designers. Wintour and his pastor at the Abyssinian Baptist Church of Harlem persuaded Talley to book in for repeated clinic stays, but the struggle with weight never abated. His belief in the power of pageantry to elevate lives, in careful selection, upkeep, and tissue paper, had fallen out of fashion, and in 2013, Vogue discarded him.

There was no personal life to return to in his borrowed home in unchic White Plains, New York, nor had he got much money. Many fashion-world friendships ended in silence. He confessed that, though proudly gay, he had avoided sex since childhood abuse. As a true dandy, like those in favorite novels by Balzac and Baudelaire, his real romance had always been with the clothes.

André Leon Talley, fashion editor, born 16 October 1948; died 18 January 2022

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