My life had fallen apart. No longer was I a missionary, but I was no longer married either. I also had lost my house and my career in chemistry and was rebuilding. Now, I was teaching science in a High School. I was working 12 hours a day, trying to catch up and never making it. With an hour drive to work and another hour home, I had 10 hours at home. With one hour to get ready in the morning, and 8 to sleep, I had one hour for all the rest. Frequently, I stopped at a burger joint, grabbed some, and threw dinner at my High Schooler on my way to bed. The demands of teaching were so high, that I failed every condition of what made Blue Zone people live so long. I lived on fast food, I was super-stressed and unable to keep up with the demands of work, and isolated from community because of overload.
Needless to say, that job didn’t last. I switched to substitute teaching which was very low stress. When I married Regina, I stayed substituting but looking for a Chemistry job. Regina kept the stress up, partly by the long hours teaching at the university, but mostly by a series of different illnesses. Finally, in Calif, I took a low stress job at Home Depot, and took much of the daily work off of Regina so she could cope with the long hours that teaching demanded. This was a vast improvement, especially when Regina grew healthier.
Now, though, I am semi-retired and considering options. I was thinking of how I could fully retire, but now, having read about Blue Zone people never retiring, I am rethinking this. Part-time low stress work such as Home Depot and or Substituting would be the ticket. It would allow flexibility to travel or to spend time with family, very nice. Needless to say, semi-retirement has brought us much closer to the ideal. For example, we are visiting Spain. Yesterday, I wore myself out, walking 13 miles, to the top of three mountains. The picture is of me having lunch on top of the third. Without time pressure, it was low stress.
Without the diet change, all these other changes wouldn’t help much. One thing about the idea of a diet, such as a blue zone diet, that puts people off is thinking that it is blah diet food. Just look at my Breakfasts, though. One morning, I might have whole grain toast with peanut butter, or Almond butter (low sugar chocolate Almond butter – drool, drool) and sliced strawberries on top. That has four of the food items on it. The next day might be Oatmeal with cinnamon, raisins, and berries. The third day might be scrambled eggs with onion, mushroom, red bell, and salsa wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla. Another day could be sliced fruit, say oranges and grapes in Greek yogurt and Muesli sprinkled on top. I am looking for more ideas, especially ones that use beans (beans for breakfast?) As you can see, Food can be delightful, neither boring nor tasteless. Some are as quickly made as unhealthy breakfasts.
I remember one time, many years ago, I made dinner for a hungry, homeless lady. She rejected the baked chicken and vegetables, took the drippings made gravy and white biscuits! Our childhood foods are definitely comfort food but can be extremely unhealthy. Give yourself delicious foods, and retraining yourself to eat Blue Zone style can be much easier.