What is a “Blue Zone”?
The Blue Zones consist of five regions in Europe, Latin America, Asia and the U.S. that researchers have identified as having the highest concentrations of centenarians in the world. If you don’t already have Dan’s book, you can buy it here.
Blue Zone residents are considered to be the “world’s healthiest people.”
Diet Habits of People Living in Blue Zones
Residents of people living in Blue Zones live in very different parts of the world. Yet they have nine lifestyle habits that lead to happier, healthier, longer lives. Although not all of the nine lifestyle habits are related to diet, I am happy to say that the diet-related habits are inline with the anti-inflammatory clean eating diet we promote here on Clean Cuisine.
Blue Zone centenarians have the following diet habits in common:
They get most of their protein from whole food plant sources.
Blue Zone residents are big on beans! Fava, black, soy and lentils are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. Most centenarians eat beans every day.
Centenarians are not vegan, but they eat very little meat. On average, meat is eaten on average only five times per month. Serving sizes are small at 3-4 ounces.
People in all Blue Zones (except Adventists) drink alcohol moderately and regularly. Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. Apparently the trick is to drink 1-2 glasses per day (preferably Sardinian Cannonau wine), with friends and/or with food. And no, you can’t save up all weekend and have 14 drinks on Saturday 😉
Blue-Zone Friendly Tempeh Chili
Taking the longevity diet tips from the blue zones into consideration, this Tempeh Chili is a hearty and satisfying recipe that will help you do the following three things:
Eat less meat.
Add more vegetables.
Get more plant protein (especially beans!)
10 More Blue Zone-Friendly Recipes
Blue Zone Minestrone (This is the recipe what was featured on the Today Show. I have not yet made it, but it sounds amazing!)
Zucchini and White Bean Burger
Savory Carrot and Brown Rice Dinner Pancakes
Golden Lentil Dal Recipe
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Taking the longevity diet tips from the Blue Zones into consideration, this Tempeh Chili will help you eat more plant based protein and less meat.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (OR unrefined avocado oil, divided)
- One 8-ounce package tempeh (such as Light Life brand See notes below if you would like to add meat)
- 1 large onion (chopped)
- 6 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 3 carrots (chopped)
- 2 stalks celery (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- Pink Himalayan sea salt (to taste)
- 1 cup store-bought salsa (I like to buy fresh salsa from the deli section of my supermarket)
- 1 1/2 cups organic vegetable broth
- 1 can (15 ounces fire-roasted chopped )
- 1 can (15-ounces pinto beans)
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 cup frozen organic corn
- Chopped cilantro and avocado (for garnish)
- Warm 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the tempeh and brown on all sides, about 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove tempeh from saucepan and set aside.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, carrots and celery, cover and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables soften.
- Add the chili powder, cumin and salt. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute, until well-mixed and fragrant. Add the salsa and tempeh to the saucepan and stir to coat the tempeh with the spices. Stir in the vegetable broth, tomatoes, beans and lime juice. Bring just to a simmer; do not boil. Continues to simmer and stir occasionally until beans are heated through and all ingredients are combined well, about 10 minutes. Add in the frozen corn and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Garnish with cilantro and avocado.
If you would like to add meat, you can add 1/2 pound of grass fed ground beef or turkey at the same time as you add the tempeh. If you don’t want to use tempeh at all, you can also just add the ground beef or turkey as a replacement.