If your goal is to live a long and healthy life, then one sensible thing is to take a look at cultures that are set apart by their ability to live long and healthy lives. These areas are referred to as Blue Zones, and they are spread about the globe. The four confirmed Blue Zones are Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California, which is largely a Seventh Day Adventist community.
As you would expect; the values, daily living routines, and habits of Blue Zone people differ greatly from those of the typical American. The book Blue Zones is an awesome book that details the lifestyles of these cultures, and draws lessons that we can apply to our own lives. On the website BlueZones.com you can even take a little assessment that predicts your lifespan, and makes suggestions as to how to increase your life expectancy!
Regular exercise is a common staple in the Blue Zones. Typically, their exercise is out of necessity, and a part of most days. In each Blue Zone, walking is a significant part of this. After being cleared by a physician, it is a good strategy to embark on an appropriate exercise regimen. Having the time to exercise is typically a huge problem for us. After re-prioritizing things and re-managing time; setting up a little home gym may better allow exercise to fit into a busy schedule. A fitness professional can help you select appropriate equipment, and teach you how to exercise properly and most effectively.
The diets of these Blue Zones feature eating appropriate portions of unprocessed foods. Vegetables are emphasized and meat consumption is limited. There is a lot of misinformation out there in regards to; good eating habits, what constitutes a good diet, how to get sufficient nutrients, etc… Taking the time to do thorough research is a good thing, but it also is very good to consult a licensed dietician when able.
Blue Zone people typically have a strong sense of purpose that give them reasons for wanting and needing to stay alive; and within this purpose they are able to experience freedom, enjoyment, and fulfillment. Family and Faith are also very important to these people, and of course, these are often intertwined with their sense of purpose.
Times to slow down, unwind, and de-stress are also important features of the Blue Zone lifestyle. Many of us need to take a hard look at ourselves and our lives, to identify; values, priorities, and lack of time management that come against our ability to de-stress.
God has natural laws of health; sufficient sleep and exercise, good nutrition, and the prevention and elimination of stress. Blue Zone cultures respect these laws; but just as our society encourages us to be ok with promiscuity, violence and greed; it also makes it easy for us to accept an unhealthy lifestyle, that trivializes God's natural health laws. God is able to heal us of any damage that we do to our body, but He does not want us to put Him to the test by ignoring the laws that He put forth for our body's care. Just as Jesus knew not to jump from the pinnacle of the temple, and depend on God to send His angels to rescue Him (Matthew 4:5-7); we also must know to pray for the ability to properly care for our health, despite the distractions and temptations that face us daily.
Faith Based Wellness Message
Society would have us to accept, and even embrace, the inadequate sleep and rest, stressful situations and daily events, poor diet, sedentary existence, and exposure to harmful elements that have become regular parts of our lives. As Christians, we should understand that when we seek to be healthier, wealthier, wiser, etc. …, that our best answers are always found in our Lord. In our heart of hearts, we must truly want what God has in store for us. It is only then, that we can move in a most effective way toward achieving God’s will for our life. Temptations confront us daily, as our flesh beckons us to feel this or to feel that, to think this or to think that, and to do this or to do that. As imperfect beings, we will inevitably miss the mark daily; but if our hand is truly in God’s we are able to pick ourselves up and to continue in a purposeful way; viewing our transgression as a mistake that we would prefer not to commit again, realizing that God’s way is truly so much better. Over time, this process results in an actual change of identity, typically, little by little. So in the context of a healthy lifestyle, the unhealthy foods that you used to crave, won’t be as much of a problem to deal with, and you’ll be more able to trust God in your daily living; lifting worry, stress and strain from your life, as you focus on His Glory, and His will for your life! Depending solely on willpower to pull this off, is a losing strategy, you must actually change as a person! We are to walk by faith, but the Bible also encourages us to move forth in an informed manner: Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors, there is safety. (Proverbs 11:14) So we are to put forth our due diligence, and seek out quality resources and qualified people that can help us. We must even seek to be an informed patient/ client, prepared to ask our health professionals good questions, and give useful input. Unfortunately, medical mistakes do occur and may do a lot of harm. It is in our best interest to accept the fact that the responsibility for our health, ultimately lies with us! “Fasting” is an extremely important consideration for Christians; not only yielding benefits spiritually, but also potentially giving physical benefits as the body rids itself of stored toxins. How many of us, however, know how to “fast” safely and successfully. Fasting without respecting fundamental guidelines can result in bodily harm and even death!
The way that you resume eating after a fast is even an important consideration. When not fasting, the discipline developed through fasting, still can be important, as you recognize and resist the tendency to “eat your emotions”. We must learn our body’s nutritional needs, and base our eating on that, and not upon our mood, whether we are bored or not, on the occasion, etc. … We must even learn to recognize and resist bad practices that have generational or even cultural roots! If the extent of our knowledge about health and wellness consists of; what we are told by those that are not qualified to advise us, what we hear in general conversation, and what we see and hear on informercials, then we are in trouble. Make a conscious decision now, to learn, and to do what you can to steer your lifestyle away from disease and deterioration, and onto the path of wellness. Realize the importance of planning, shopping for, and preparing healthful meals; and act upon that! Take the time to learn and experiment with recipes for tasty dishes that are in keeping with a health-enhancing lifestyle. Don’t use medications that treat your symptoms, as a crutch, while you continue with your unhealthy habits. Be proactive, don’t wait until the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle catch up to you to the point where; your activities become limited, you require more and stronger medications, and you are pretty much forced to view life’s priorities differently. Work with your doctors to come up with a strategy so you may eventually reduce and even eliminate your medications. Put the matter of your health before God in prayer. It is very possible that rather drastic measures may need to be considered, but remember, the little bumps in the road and temporary failures can become stepping stones toward a victorious future. Keep the faith, and be persistent.
My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear
unto my sayings. Let them not depart from
thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.
For they are life unto those that find them,
and health to all their flesh.
If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.
He sent his word, and healed them,
and delivered them from their destructions.
My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments; For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.
The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life.
The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord prolongs one's days, but the years of the wicked shall be made short.
A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rotteness to the bones.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, then ask whatever you like and you shall have it.
But if the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
See to it that no one misses the grace of God, that no
root of bitterness grows up to be a trouble by contaminating
all the rest of you.