Happy 100th Birthday!

As I often do, I found myself exploring the world last night. Through the eyes of my Macbook I was able to visit Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; and my favorite Ikaria, Greece!

ikaria

These five areas of the world are unique because they are all home to an unusually large population of centenarians or people who have lived to 100 years of age. Now, you may say “No way I want to live that long!” but hear me out. These people are not old and frail with seventeen medications taken daily and Alzheimer’s knocking at their door. No, these individuals are vibrant and energetic. They are happy, they have community, and purpose. They are not eating only kale in hopes to live another year. Instead most credit their age to the clean air, good wine, or as one 101 year old woman said they simply forget to die. That takes the saying “time flies when you are having fun” to a whole new level! They enjoy life and age becomes just a number.


As I read more I became inspired by the simple joys of their day. As explained in the The New York Times Magazine article, they would “wake naturally, work in the garden, have a late lunch, [and] take a nap. At sunset, they either visited neighbors or neighbors visited them.” If you live in Ikaria “at day’s end, you’ll share a cup of the seasonal herbal tea with your neighbor because that’s what he’s serving. Several glasses of wine may follow the tea, but you’ll drink them in the company of good friends. On Sunday, you’ll attend church, and you’ll fast before Orthodox feast days. Even if you’re antisocial, you’ll never be entirely alone. Your neighbors will cajole you out of your house for the village festival to eat your portion of goat meat.”

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What other food do these centenarians enjoy? In general they recommend you:

  • “Stop eating when your stomach is 80 percent full to avoid weight gain.
  • Eat the smallest meal of the day in the late afternoon or evening.
  • Eat mostly plants, especially beans. And eat meat rarely, in small portions of 3 to 4 ounces. [Centenarians] eat portions this size just five times a month, on average.
  • Drink alcohol moderately and regularly, i.e. 1-2 glasses a day.”

So take home message- sleep in, work, rest, relax, eat good food, drink good wine, don’t stress over silly stuff, and enjoy simple, precious things like time with family and friends. Even if you’re not looking to live to the ripe old age of 100 these are still some great lessons to learn from your elders!

japan_100year-old

What are your thoughts? Which of the areas above seem most like home to you? Leave your comments below!

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